Posts Tagged ‘aubretia’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who managed to find some splendid blossom on a recent permitted walk.

mary's blossom

Although the forecast for today was for a worse day than yesterday, it was in fact just as good a day, not quite so warm in the morning when it was cloudy but sunny and springlike in the afternoon.

I resolved not to mooch about aimlessly as I did yesterday but to take advantage of the time on my hands provided by the lockdown and enjoy life.

I was greatly helped by a WhatsApp chat with our daughter Annie and her daughter Evie followed by a convoluted but enjoyable, and ultimately solvable, extra big holiday crossword.  This passed the morning until coffee most pleasantly.

The garden was in good form too, with plum and pear blossom brightening things up.

pear and plum blossom

The Brunnera is adding new flowers every day, and nearby, Honesty has arrived…

brunnera honesty pulsatilla dame flowrs

…while the pulsatilla is realising its potential and aubretia drips over the side of the dam at the back of the house.

Not everything in the garden is showy like the primroses  and I really liked this tiny white flower….

bittercress and primroses

…until Mrs Tootlepedal told me that I was not to like it as it is called hairy bittercress and is a pest in the garden.

I resolved to put a dry day to good use and shifted more compost from Bin C to Bin D and then I scarified the middle lawn.  I have a little electric machine which does the hard work of digging the moss out and it leaves the lawn looking like the panel on the left.  Then the push mower acts as a sweeper and collects all the moss which ends up in the wheelbarrow….

middle lawn after scarifying

…and the lawn ends up looking like this.

middle lawn afetr mowing

There is still a lot of moss there but there is a lot less than there was half an hour earlier.

After lunch, I went out into the garden again and enjoyed the tulips and daffodils in the sunshine.

tulips and daffs

We filled the pond and the tadpoles were grateful for some extra water to swim about in.

tadpols daffs marsh marigold dicentra

Marsh Marigolds have come out in the pond and together with backlit daffodils and richly coloured dicentra, everything was good.

I took my bird camera into the garden and sat on the new bench hoping for interesting birds to arrive.  This did not go to plan and I pointed the camera rather randomly at flowers instead…

tulip primrose magnolia

…though I took care to line up this shot properly to do justice to the cowslips.

cowslips parade

I did more sitting down on different benches and watched bees and flies enjoy the delights of a euphorbia and a bumble bee visit the berberis

bee fly frog bumble bee

…and I followed up that with a pond inspection with Mrs Tootlepedal where we met a frog.

Mrs Tootlepedal went in and I thought that I might as well scarify the front lawn too and when I had done that, I mowed the greenhouse grass as part of the neat and tidy garden project.  There are now peas and potatoes, radishes and beetroots in the raised beds.

greenhouse grass

A blue tit arrived on the rowan tree to check out the work.

blue tit in roawn

After all this, I took a moment just to enjoy the views.

middle lawn top bed

I had put a diagonal stripe on the front lawn.

diagonal front lawn

Wauchope Cottage was looking quite contented in the sunshine.

wauchope cottage blue sky

And the pond was grateful for being filled up.

filled pond

Then, after all this contemplation,  I thought that it was time for some action, so I got my cycling clothes on and went off for a short pedal.  To be truthful, I got my cycling clothes on, then watched the ‘Flash Bang Wallop’ routine from Half a Sixpence which  Mrs Tootlepedal was watching on the telly, and then went for a pedal.

It was five o’clock by the time that I left, but it was still warm so I was able to wear a layer less which made the ride more comfortable.  Needless to say, there was a brisk wind blowing but it suited the route that I took on my familiar 20 mile Canonbie circuit and kindly blew me home up the hill to Langholm.

I didn’t stop for many pictures as I had promised Mrs Tootlepedal that I would be home in time for tea, but I couldn’t resist this little lamb…

lamb bloch

…or the view back down Wauchopedale.


Cycling is a great pleasure at this otherwise rather gloomy time because there is little or no traffic on either the side or main roads, and as a result of the lockdown and the pause in economic activity, the views are often much clearer than usual.  I could almost count the sheep on the English hills when I looked over the Solway plain from the top of the hill at Tarcoon.

penines from tarcoon

I stopped for a look at Whita Hill and the monument as I got near to Langholm just to show that good weather accompanied me all the way home.

whita from seven sisters

To round off an excellent day, Mrs Tootlepedal cooked corned beef hash for our tea and I had a little pudding of stewed rhubarb and ice cream.

It wasn’t a day for flying birds so a greenfinch is the perching bird of the day today.


Footnote:  I took the precaution of not listening to the news today.  That helped.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  His dogs take spring seriously in East Wemyss.

daffy dog

Finally the warm weather arrived in Langholm and when we got up we wondered if the the warmth would bring the tulips out.

It did.

And in the end, the race to be first tulip out was a dead heat.

first tulips

The bergenia was flourishing too.


It may have been warm but it was windy too and as the forecast suggested that it was going to get windier as the day went on, I took my permitted exercise fairly early in the day.  It would have been better if I had been earlier still, as it pretty windy by the time that I got out.  The wind was coming from the south so I thought I would try to see how far I could persuade my legs to go before they got fed up.

This turned out to be 15 miles straight down the A7.  The wind was very gusty and I thought that I might be in danger of being blown off course if I went on, so I agreed with my legs and turned across country to came back via the Brampton to Longtown road.  It was not busy.

empty Longtown Road april

Notice the verges mowed to within an inch of their life with no wild flowers showing at all.

With the wind now behind me, I did the next ten miles at 16 mph and had no trouble in getting up the gentle hills back to Langholm on the A7.  They were not busy either.

empty A7 april

I had hoped for more miles but in the end I was content to settle for 30miles in pleasantly warm conditions.  If I could get the same warmth next week with half the wind, I would be even more pleased.

I was back home in time for lunch for which Mrs Tootlepedal had made an extremely nourishing soup.

On a normal sunny, warm day in April, I would now have gone out for an interesting walk but, having taken my permitted exercise, I was stuck in the garden for the rest of the day.

There are worse places to be stuck in.

I had taken a picture of these cowslips before I had gone out in the morning and I took another one now just to show how much the light changes the colours that you see in the flowers.

cowslips in light

The sun picked out some old friends, including the last of the crocuses..

celandine, crocus and rosemary

…and the good light brought out the best in the cardamine.


I see that the cardamine is called the cuckoo flower because it is supposed to come out as the cuckoo arrives but I think that we will have to wait a bit before we hear that familiar call.

Mrs Tootlepedal found a delicate skeleton of a leaf and draped it across her sleeve to show it off for me.

skeleton leaf

I mowed the middle lawn and then needed a sit down so I tested all the benches in the garden in turn, hoping that garden birds would visit me.

I saw a sparrow getting ready to build a nest.

sparrow with nest material

But I had to get up and walk around to see this small tortoiseshell butterfly warming up its wings.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal told me that she had seen another smaller brown butterfly, but it didn’t return so we couldn’t check it out.

The dunnocks were very noisy and active again, but this one paused in a tree long enough for me to take a picture.  It was off chasing other dunnocks a moment later.

dunnock in pear tree

I sat on the new bench for a while but no interesting birds (or any birds at all) appeared, so I had to make do with the view of the newly mowed lawn adorned with fresh tulips among the daffodils.

view from new bench with tulips

Then I mowed the front lawn for the first time this year.  This involves squashing a lot of moss but there were some blades of grass here and there so once again I hope for the best.  The lawns may, with luck, look respectable by the end of June.

I wandered around looking for new flowers and found that the lamium was nearly there…

lamium buds

…but lacking any other novelty, I went back to looking at the tulips and daffodils.

tulip and daff backlit

The magnolia was brightly back lit by the afternoon sun…

magnolia backlit

…and it has one or two flowers out.

magnolia flower

I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and enjoyed the view…

view from kitchen window

…and then I went inside and upstairs to take the same view from above to give a more general picture of what is probably peak daffodil time.

middle lawn early april

The garden tidy up continued as Mrs Tootlepedal moved the second kitchen waste compost bin to a new position but I felt that it would be too exciting to have a picture of this in the same post as new tulips, so that will have to wait for another day.  (OK, I forgot to take a picture.)

We now have two aubretias out….


…and having recorded them, we went in for a cup of tea and the last of the ginger biscuits.

It was still a lovely day, perfect for a walk but we did our bit and stayed at home.  A collared dove kept an eye on us.

collared dove

Instead of a walk we had a six way meeting including  my three sisters, my brother and Mrs Tootlepedal and me through the medium of Zoom.  We are all, except my brother who uses it for a language class meeting, pretty new to this so it took sometime before we were all on screen and able to talk.  Then we had to learn not to all talk at the same time but in the end, we managed to have quite a cheerful conversation with added banter.

A lightly boiled egg for our tea finished the active day off.

The flying bird of the day is a rook which flew high over the garden while I was testing one of the benches.

flying rook

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who took it on one of his walks.  A local farmer has fenced off a section of a field for the convenience of walkers passing across his land, and fortunately it is just wide enough to allow for social distancing as required these days.

andrew's walk

Although it wasn’t actually freezing here today, there was such a chill in the wind that my head actually hurt when I went for a morning stroll round the garden and I was happy to go back inside and have coffee and a biscuit in the warmth of the kitchen.  If those minor deities who helped me out yesterday had been alert and on the job, I would have stayed in the kitchen for the rest of the morning, and the afternoon too.

But they were sleeping at work, so I went out into the garden to help Mrs Tootlepedal with the general tidying up.  The log shed also holds the sieved compost tubs and I went to move one of these to a better place.  It was quite heavy and I leaned forward as I went to put it down briskly, and then, in an echo of one of those scenes from early silent movies that are so amusing to watch, the tub landed on one end of a short plank which I hadn’t seen.

In obedience to the laws of physics, the other end of the plank rose up sharply and cracked me on the nose with some force.  I did not find this funny at all but like the poor cat in the cartoons, I saw stars.  In no time at all I was back in the kitchen being tended to by Mrs Tootlepedal with Dettol and paper towels.

I was not only hurt but very embarrassed by the fact that I might have to seek medical help at a time when the health service has other things to worry about.  However, the damage was not too bad and I had only suffered a cut and some bruising.  By great good fortune, the swinging plank missed my glasses by a millimetre and the main damage was to my pride, though my nose may bear a scar or two.

After a paracetamol and a shrewdly placed piece of tape, I was able to have my lunch and then to venture (very carefully) out into the garden again.

It was still cold, but the wind had dropped a bit so I wandered (carefully) about.  There was enough to look at to keep my mind off my nose if you see what I mean.

The fritillaries are coming on regardless of the cold…

fritillaries blooming

…and the blue tits were back again.

blue tit in silver pear

Daffodils are multiplying…

triple daffodil panel

…the scillas are improving and a tiny aubretia has started to come out too.

scilla and aubretia

By half past three, (really only half past two but the clocks went forward last night), the wind had calmed down enough and my fettle had improved enough for me to go for a short walk.  It was a day for a cycle ride on my alternating walk/ride schedule but I felt that that would be really pushing my luck so a (careful) walk it was.

Pool Corner looked very peaceful for a day which was still very cold and had been so windy earlier…

pool corner peace

…but as I went on, the wind continued to drop and the sun had enough warmth in it to make it a good day for a stroll.

I went to the Auld Stane Brig and then  walked up the hill, enjoying trees…

tree above auld stane brig

…and views on my way.

view from lower warbla

I didn’t go far up the hill and soon turned back towards the town.  Clouds had blocked the sunshine over me…

sunshine on distant hills

…but there was enough wind left to blow them away again as I walked through the Kernigal wood…

kernigal wood track

…enjoying the varied treescapes…

kernigal wood trees

…as I went.

kernigal wood

A fallen branch was covered in script lichen and buds on the hawthorns promised blossom to come.

script lichen and hawthorn buds

As I came back down the hill into the valley…

above the murtholm

…there was enough sunshine and warmth to make me feel very cheerful.

beechy plains

I enjoyed the contrasts of sunshine and shade as I walked back along the river…

easton's walk sunbeam

…and the blossom in the park was the icing on the cake.

blossom in park

My attempt to take a picture of the mass of daffodils on the banks of the Wauchope at Caroline Street was thwarted by Mr Grumpy getting in the way.

heron and daffodils kirk brig

I extended my walk by going along the banks of the Esk where the calm scene was a world away from the swirling floods of February.

bridge with low esk

The pair of oyster catchers were once again beside the water…

pair of oyster catchers

…with a third one a few yards away.

lone oyster catcher

I managed to get home without falling over or knocking into anything which was a relief for Mrs Tootlepedal.

And to me.

The non flying bird of the day is a collared dove which had being flying very shortly before I took this picture of it on our drive.

collarded dove


Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my occasional correspondent Elaine.  She and our neighbour Liz were visiting a garden centre when they met some unexpected customers in the aisle of the polytunnel.

big pigs

We had another day here that started with sun but turned rainy in the afternoon.  I had a very quiet day as I was recovering from an outbreak of very sore feet (for no reason) yesterday.  I did think of going for a gentle bike ride in the afternoon but the rain put paid to that.

I had a wander round the garden in the sun after breakfast, dead heading almost the last of the daffodils and some of the first of the tulips, while keeping an eye out for colour as I went.

The orange wallflower was too bright for the camera in the sunshine so I had to stand in front of it to put it in some shade and tone it down a bit.

orange wallflower

The aubretias were fairly bright too.

aubretia red

Both the pink and the blue.

aubretia blue

All three espalier apples have now got blossoms on them and as there are very few bees about, I will get busy with my pollinating brush when the weather permits.

three espalier apple blossom

Another pale flower caught my eye.  This is the very first potentilla flower of the year.

first potentilla

I had a doubly sunny morning as Dropscone dropped in for coffee.  In a salute to the changing season, he didn’t bring the traditional winter Friday treacle scone but came with a good pile of eponymous drop scones instead.

dropscone and coffee

In case anyone is wondering if there were too many drop scones for two grown men to eat with their coffee, don’t worry.  We managed to dispose of them all with the help of some home made raspberry jam.

After Dropscone left, the clouds wasted little time in covering the sky and the first drops of rain arrived just as I cycled round to our corner shop.  Luckily they stopped while I was in the shop and the rain didn’t start seriously again until after lunch.

I looked at the hymns for Sunday’s service and then I looked at the birds.

Everyone was busy getting stuck into the seed…

birds eating

…and then chewing it thoroughly.

redpoll and siskin munching

Siskins, goldfinches and redpolls were keeping chaffinches away from the perches…

chaffinch hoping for a seat at the table

…but as the rain started and the traffic grew heavier, the siskins began to have trouble with more siskins…

more siskins in conflict

…and goldfinches.

siskins in conflict

A sensible siskin deserted the sunflower seeds and turned to the easily available peanuts instead.

upside down siskin on peanuts

Despite the rain, Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz went off to plant out Mrs Tootlepedal’s little oak trees.  They returned having accomplished the task, thoroughly wet but remarkably cheerful.

While they were out, I made a batch of ginger biscuits.

As a contrast to the rain falling from above, the water coming out of our taps decreased in volume quite alarmingly in the evening and a call to the water company revealed that there is a leak somewhere nearby.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that they can fix it promptly, because not having running water is very boring.

Thanks to the quiet day, my feet are feeling much better as I write this and I hope to be out and about again tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches who couldn’t get a seat at the table.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who met this violinist in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  The exhibition is called “Too Cute”.

Brum fiddler

I had a restless but inactive day as my dratted foot went from being more or less pain free at breakfast to extremely sore by the end of the day.  I am frustrated.  What is best? Rest? Exercise?  A mixture of both?  I can’t wait to see the doctor on Friday.

Meanwhile a disjointed post will accurately reflect a disjointed day.  The best thing about it was that Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough to go off to an embroidery meeting in Hawick where they combined business with lunch and I have no doubt that the banter had them all in stitches.

I made frequent forays in search of flowers and found a promising tulip…

nearly a tulip

…an actual aubretia…


…a dog tooth violet (a candidate for seeing if mirror photography will work)…

dog tooth violet

…and a little lamium.


Mrs Tootlepedal  is mildly vexed to find that the jackdaws have now removed nearly all of her wool mulch for their nests.

no wool left

It was a warmish day with a bit of chill still in the wind but we were short of sunshine and I had to rely on the daffodils along the back path…

daffodil path

…and some that our neighbour Kenny planted along the dam at the back of the house to bring some brightness into the day.

dam daffodils

Other flowers were available.

cowslippy thing

The magnolia has come out.

open magnolia flower

The birds emptied the feeder again today with siskins and goldfinches the first to get tucked in…

siskin and goldfinch and food

…but with chaffinches arriving to get their share too.

one chaffinche on each side

As the seeds  went down, things got heated.

arguing chaffinches


The next part of the post contains composting pictures which those of a nervous disposition may find too exciting for their own good.

In the afternoon, while Mrs Tootlepedal was away, I turned my hand to some gentle composting.  I sieved some more of Bin D and finished emptying Bin B into Bin C.

This left Bin C (on the left) and Bin D (on the right) looking like this.

Bin C and Bin D

Bin B is now ready for refilling from Bin A…

Bin B empty

…but as Bin A is only half full….

Bin A half full

…I can take a break from turning compost for a bit.

The end product of the system is this.

two buckets of composy

Mrs Tootlepedal will soon find a home for it in the flower beds and vegetable garden.

Of course, you don’t have to do turning and shifting and sieving as you can just leave your compost in a great heap and let time do its work but where is the fun in that?

I had rung up the phone company in the morning to complain that the fallen telephone wire which is lying across our garden had not been fixed back up again.  The men who came on Friday had promised that someone would come on Monday to do the job.

Rather to my surprise, I got through almost immediately to a very competent and helpful lady in India who told me that the job had been marked as closed for some reason but she said that she would start a new job and get someone round as soon as possible….and with the right ladder!

She gave me a window of 48 hours in which to expect them but she must have added strong words to her case report as no less than three men came round in the afternoon.  I was pleased to hear that they had brought the blue ladder with them too.

Things went downhill a bit after that as having inspected the pole in our garden, they declared that it was so unsafe that they could not lean a ladder against it under any circumstances, blue or not, for fear of knocking the pole and its live wires over.

Of course the pole doesn’t belong to them as it is the property of the energy company so that means more delay.  They did think of taking the phone wire across the garden by a different route but that would have involved using one of their own poles beside the dam and when they looked at it, they found that it was decidedly wonky too, being over 60 years old.

New poles all round seems to be what is needed.

But as we have been waiting for six years to get the pole in our garden replaced, we are not holding our breath.  Something may happen as the phone company men are going to report to the electricity company  men that the pole is dangerous and the  telephone wire is still draped across our garden…

fallen wire with sandbags

..though it does have additional official sandbags on it now.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm Choir and found that we have had a concert arranged for us next Tuesday for which at the time of writing, we have no conductor, no accompanist, not many singers and no music.  It promises to be an interesting event.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch female



Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from a boat trip that Dropscone took while on his holiday in Majorca.  He saw these  interesting rocks.

majorca cave

The forecast drop in temperature came about but it was not quite as dramatic as it might have been.  All the same, some light drizzle and clouds made the day seem very gloomy compared with the last two days.

It rained while we singing in the church choir in the morning but by the time that we emerged, it had stopped again and I paid a visit to the dam at the back of our house before going inside.  On our side of the new bridge, aubretia is beginning to drip down the concrete…


…and on the other side of the new bridge, our neighbour Liz has a striking clump of marsh marigold.

marsh marigold

In the garden, evidence of the morning drizzle was to be seen…


…and so I turned up the flower of a dog’s tooth violet to get a sunnier view of it.

dog's tooth violet

I went in and prepared a beef stew for the slow cooker, checking on the birds outside from time to time.

The siskins seem to have found somewhere more attractive to eat and we are left with mostly goldfinches and chaffinches at the moment…

busy feeder

…who are always ready to exchange a few well chosen words.


Once the stew was started, I took a second walk round the garden.

The hyacinths looked cheerful enough…

grape hyacinth

…but the tulips were missing the sunshine and stubbornly refused to display their charms.

closed tulips

After lunch, I had time for another quick look round.

There are some weather conditions which seem to make the hellebores lift up their heads. I haven’t quite pinned down what the requirements are but today was one of the days when it happened.


The hellebores have been very good value this year and have been out for ages.

Something has been eating the petals of the daffodil of the day.


We made an early start on the trip to Carlisle for our afternoon choir as we had some shopping in mind.

We visited a bookshop first and then went to a specialist tea and coffee supplier where I bought tea from India, China and Sri Lanka to go with the African teas that I am currently drinking.  Two packets of coffee beans from Nicaragua and Brazil also found their way into the shopping bag.  Sometimes, we take the wonders of international trade for granted but I reflect on a small part of it every day as I drink tea and coffee.  And am grateful.

We concluded the shopping by going to a well known clothing store where I bought a shirt just like that.   My ability to make such a bold and swift decision was greatly helped by the fact that my personal shopping adviser was holding my hand and she suggested that a shirt might be a good thing to buy.

The afternoon choir session did not turn out as expected.

We got there to find that our conductor and accompanist, who come down from Glasgow each week, had found that railway maintenance which should have stopped in time for them to get to the practice was still ongoing and they were trapped on the wrong side of it.

In the absence of anyone else, a pianist from the choir stepped forward to act as accompanist and I got the chance to take the choir for a shortened session.  As there is nothing more magical than waving your arms about in a casual way and being greeted by the sound of glorious singing, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

The sun had come out by the time that we finished and the evening was so lovely that we took a longer and more scenic way than usual to drive home.

The stew was good too so the day ended very well.

A collared dove sat in the plum tree.

collared dove

I checked a weather site for local weather and it said that yesterday’s high was 69.3°F and today’s was 60°F and tomorrow’s will be 51°F.  This translates roughly as a drop from 20°C to 10°C so we will back to feeling the chill again.   April showers are also likely and I may be a bit pressed to get as many miles in on the slow bike as I would like before the new bike arrives with the new month.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

A literal footnote:  Mary Jo kindly sent me a picture to cheer me up.  It shows her husband leaving his mark on lawn in Denmark that is so mossy that it makes mine look not too bad at all.

moss in Denmark




Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia.  She was walking at Burrington Combe in North Somerset, when she saw this sight on the far side of the road.  It is the very crag which inspired the writer of the 1763 hymn starting: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself  in Thee’

Rock of Ages

We had another dry and mostly cloudy day today.  The dry weather was very welcome but once again the chilly and brisk wind took away some of the pleasure of being out in the garden.

After a cup of coffee and some excellent scones with Dropscone, I spent a lot of time in the garden so felt the wind quite keenly.

I was finishing tidying up after the installation of the compost bins.  I sorted the old wood into ‘(possibly) usable’ and ‘totally rotten’ piles and then with Mrs Tootlepedal’s help, I used some of the wood to improve the partition between Bins C and D.  It all looks very good now but I haven’t put in a photo of the finished set up because I have elderly readers and don’t want to over excite them two days running.  This is a responsible and caring blog.

In between the compost work, I mowed the two lawns and looked at the moss, which always seems more conspicuous after a cut, in a slightly depressed way.  I am waiting for some warmer weather to encourage grass growth before getting the scarifier out.

Mrs Tootlepedal has transplanted some hellbores and a fritillary as she thought that they were blooming rather unseen where they were and she has put them beside the other hellebore near the feeders….


…where they will make up a new ‘spring corner’ if they survive the transplanting.

I couldn’t resist another look at the amazing euphorbia…


…although the brisk wind made taking flower pictures tricky.

We are getting quite excited by the prospect of azaleas….

azalea buds

…and Mrs Tootlepedal is impressed by her rosemary beside the greenhouse.


I find it a very difficult plant to photograph well as my camera sees the leaves much more clearly than the elegant flowers.  I will try again with the macro lens on a sunnier day.

I thought that I had found a nascent tulip afflicted by a dread disease….

fancy tulip

…but Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is a fancy variety and is supposed to be like that.  I look forward to seeing it when it is fully out.

The aubretias overhanging the side of the dam are thriving.


In spite of having had quite an energetic time in the garden, I had enough oomph left to go for a short cycle ride late in the afternoon.  It was still very windy so I settled for a valley-bottom-hugging ride up and down the road beside the Wauchope Water to Cleuchfoot and back a couple of times with a bit added on to make up twenty miles.

I was rewarded for my get up and go spirit when the sun came out just as I started cycling

I saw a towering gorse bush…


…and some very young lambs in a field.

cleuchfoot lambs

I went along the banks of the Esk in the town on one of the laps, hoping to see some interesting birds but had to settle for a small meadow on the bank beside the suspension bridge…

cleuchfoot lambs

The flowers that look quite white in the sunshine are in fact a very pretty purple when seen from closer in.

wild flower

Whenever I had a chance through the day, I looked out of the kitchen window.  It was not hard to spot birds lining up to try the new feeders.


siskin and chaffinch

Some customers got impatient though…


…which led to some unedifying moments. ..

chaffinch, goldfinch and siskins

…while off feeder, discussions on the value of a second Scottish Independence Referendum became heated…

chaffinches squabble

A goldfinch wished that all this bad behaviour would cease immediately.


All this bird action is very entertaining to watch but it leads to mess under the feeders and Mrs Tootlepedal is justifiably starting to complain about the smell.  My sense of smell is so poor that I don’t notice anything myself but I will have to put my mind to clearing up and disinfecting the affected area.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see some high class ballet being streamed to the screen in the Buccleuch Centre and but as I find ballet very impressive to watch from a technical and athletic point of view but painfully slow and repetitive from the point of view of advancing a plot or telling a story, I left her to go alone and did some catching up on blog reading.

There are two flying birds of the day,  a goldfinch absolutely delighted by the prospect of one of the new feeders….


…and a siskin.  Not a good picture but siskins don’t hover so getting a picture at all on a dull day is a bonus.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »