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Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Today’s guest picture, from my younger son Al, shows Matilda having fun in the Art Park yesterday.

Matilda

I had a long day today as Mrs Tootlepedal had decided to go to London to buy some secateurs for the garden.  This involved getting up at 5.30, having a quick breakfast and taking her to catch the early train in Carlisle.

When I got home, I took advantage of a handy bed to do some horizontal reading of the newspapers but then got up and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green before shifting a lot of the compost from Bin C into Bin D.

I also took a walk round the garden to see what had been going on while I was away yesterday.

More lilies had come out.

lilies

The one at the back had some nice detail.

lilies

For some reason I thought of Darcy Bussell

A second day lily has joined in the fun.

day lily

The new one took some time during the day to open fully.  When I first saw it, it looked like this…

day lily

Is it all right to come out?

The cardoon is now taller than me and has got several flowers in the making.

CaRDOON

The first of the flocks of phlox have arrived too.

phlox

I couldn’t pass by the roses without a glance.

The queen of Demark and the Wren

Then Dropscone arrived for coffee.  I was shocked when I discovered that he had not brought the traditional Friday treacle scones but more than recovered when he unveiled a big pile of these eponymous treats.

drop scones

They went very well with some strawberry jam.

When he went off to ponder about the state of his golf game, I went out into the garden again and mowed the front lawn, dealt with the last of the logjam….

logjam

…turned some more of the compost and looked at a few more flowers.

clematis

Clematis is everywhere

Bobbie James has flowers in all stages of development.

rose Bobbie james

The last of the pinks is just holding on when all the others have gone.

pinks

And I found that I had been a bit disrespectful about the ageing Ginger Syllabub the other day as new young, vigorous blooms were to be seen today.

Ginger Syllabub

As usual the astrantia was buzzing.

astrantia with bees

You might think that the bees would have taken all the pollen by now but obviously not.

This all made for quite a busy morning and I sat down when I got in, intending to have a bit of a rest and then go out for a walk or a pedal as the mood took me.

Things conspired against me.

First it was Wimbledon, then it was the Tour, then it was Wimbledon and the Tour simultaneously with feverish channel hopping and then, just when I was feeling guilty enough to leap into action, it started to pour with rain.

I took the hint and stayed sat sitting.

I did get out after the rain had stopped but only as far as the compost bins where I finished the transfer from Bin C to Bin D.  No pictures today though as the government has asked me not to put compost bin pictures on the internet for the time being as there is already far too much unstable political excitement about without adding compost into the mix….and I forgot to take any pictures anyway.

I rounded off the garden action by picking some gooseberries and stewing them.  They are delicious with ice cream.

I then adjourned to prepare the Water of Leith post which some of you may have seen and when I looked up, the sun was shining…

delphiniums

The view from the front room window

…but alas, too late to be of practical use.

It was very pleasant though as I drove back down to Carlisle in the late evening sunshine to pick up Mrs Tootlepedal up off the evening train.

She had purchased a very stout pair of secateurs so she felt that her trip to London had been most satisfactory.

I should add that as she had bought the secateurs at the RHS Hampton Court Garden flower show, which she had attended in the company of our daughter Annie and followed that up with a boat trip down the Thames on her way back to London, she felt that the whole thing had been well worth the long day.

I was pleased to see that she had survived the fierce southern heat (28°C or so) and the blazing sunshine.  It was 9°C by the time that we got home.  Different worlds.

On a sad note, I couldn’t show her any of the wonderful display of orchids along the Canonbie by-pass as Genghis the Grasscutter had been along with his mower and mowed them all down.  Tragedy.

The flying bird of the day is a blackbird in the silver pear tree.

blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who met these sea creatures while on a walking holiday in the west.

sea creatures

According to the forecast, the weather for the rest of the week and beyond is going to be cold, wet and windy so we tried to make good use of a very pleasant day today.

After breakfast I had a little business to do on the computer and then I went up to the Archive Centre to pick some more of the sheets that the industrious data miners had piled up ready for entering into the database.

After that, I spent as much time out of doors as I could.  Mrs Tootlepedal spent all day out in the garden, planting, trimming, tidying and generally providing me with as many beautiful things to photograph over the next few months as is humanly possible in our climate.

I spent time shredding hedge clippings, trimming the clematis over the back door so it doesn’t get into the gutter….

clematis

…sieving compost and mowing lawns.

The front lawn is still very mossy so I got the scarifier out and scarified it for the third time this year.  I am anxious not to have to re-seed the lawn so I have the scarifier on a gentle setting but Mrs Tootlepedal was still impressed by how much moss came out.   I was rather de-pressed.  We shall see in a week or two whether the work was worthwhile or not.

I had plenty of time between tasks to appreciate the fruits of Mrs Tootlepedal’s labours.

philadelphus

The philadelphus between the two lawns is superb this year.

philadelphus

There are other varieties around the garden.

The white Scotch roses are looking well too.

scotch roses

I trimmed one side of the yew before the perennial nasturtium crept round the corner….

tropaeolum

…but I can’t trim this side at the moment.  The nasturtium is growing furiously.

tropaeolum

Today Wauchope Cottage, tomorrow, the world.

The Rosa Goldfinch is also thriving and makes a grand sight from a distance….

rosa goldfinch

…and from close up.

rosa goldfinch

As well as the usual crowd on the astrantia there were visitors elsewhere in the garden…

rose and insect

hawkweed and bee

…and there was a very satisfactory buzz about the place.

The violas and ox eye daisies in the bed round the bird feeder are doing exceptionally well this year and they continue to provide a feast of colour…

violas and daisies

…with the help of some geums and Welsh poppies.

For added colour, more coral peonies are coming into flower.

peony

I was anxious not to waste what might turn out to be the last decent cycling day of the month so I got the fairly speedy bike out and pedalled gently up and down the Wauchope road for 22 miles.  This brought my monthly total to 400 miles.  This means that even if I don’t get out again before July comes, I have covered enough miles to hit my target for the month of June.

I stopped on my way up the road to admire a spiky yellow wild flower….

spiky yellow wild flower

…which Mike Tinker tells me is agrimony.

Nearby, an umbellifer had the inevitable visitor.

umbellifer with insect

If you find one of these on a dry day without a friend or two, it is most unusual.

And there was also this to catch the eye.

thistle

Three flowers for the price of one stop was very good value.

I made a second stop when I was pedalling along the banks of the Esk in the town to have a look at two oyster catchers beside the river.

oyster catchers

I wonder if this is mother and child

I did stop again on my third lap when, out of the corner of my eye,  I saw that Genghis the grass cutter had failed in his attempt to slaughter every orchid beside the road.

orchid

I hope that this one will survive.

I got home in time to pick a few strawberries to make some more jam as the last batch has proved very popular and is disappearing rapidly.

My flute pupil Luke came and we did some more work on our Haydn trio.  Working out the timing for a slow movement with a good mixture of demi-semi quavers, semi-quavers, quavers and crotchets (with the occasional triplet thrown in) requires a lot of hard work and concentration but we are progressing.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and playing works by Telemann, Boismortier and Mozart gave us great pleasure.

If this does prove to be the last day of good weather for some time, at least we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

The flying bird of the day hasn’t quite taken off yet.

oyster catcher

The third oyster catcher beside the river this afternoon

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my sister Mary paid to Queen Mary’s Garden in Regent’s Park.  She seems to find good weather for her visits to the park.

Queen Mary's Garden, Regent's Park

I have been a bit wimpish lately about cycling in brisk winds so I made a plan to get up promptly this morning and to get dressed straight into my cycling gear, thinking that I would be too embarrassed not to go cycling even if it was windy.

This plan worked quite well,  though not quite as promptly as I had hoped but all the same, by the time that Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing with the church choir, I was ready to go out on the fairly speedy bike.

The second part of my plan involved a change of my usual tactics.  On a windy day, I try to choose a route that will leave me with the wind behind me for my return home.  The trouble with this plan, which seems quite plausible on the surface, is that it means starting my cycle outing by heading into a brisk wind and this can be discouraging and often ends up with a shorter trip than I would have liked.

Today, therefore,  I decided to start off downwind and this resulted in my doing the first 20 miles at 16 mph and feeling open to adding quite a few miles of the rest of the trip.

On my way along the Canonbie by-pass as I went from the Hagg to the Hollows, I noticed a large number of orchids so I stopped to have a look.

canonbie by pass orchids

I must have seen at least a hundred over the whole length of the by-pass.

My next stop was to look at the River Lyne as I crossed the bridge south of Longtown.

River Lyne

I often stop to look at this view as I like its peaceful nature and while I was there today, I went down to the river side and looked up at the bridge.  I saw something which I must have seen before but never noticed, if you understand what I mean.

Lyne Bridge

At some stage this bridge has either been drastically widened or undergone a major repair.  I was a bit alarmed to see so much driftwood resting against the pier of the bridge.

I stopped for a banana and a date while my bicycle had a rest beside its favourite bench at Newtown after 20 miles.

Newtown bench

Very often on a Sunday, this is my turning point and I head for home to complete a fairly easy 40 mile run but today, after such an enjoyable whistle down the wind, I took a more extensive route home through Irthington….

Irthington Church

…which has a nice church and then onto Carlisle.

I passed a couple of fine buildings.

Newby Grange and Rickerby

It was my plan to go through Rickerby Park and cross the footbridge over the River Eden but when I got there, I found that the bridge was closed so I took a look at the river near the bridge…

River Eden

…and cycled into the centre of Carlisle and crossed the river on the road bridge before dropping down into Bitts Park.  This route is very popular with walkers as it is part of the Hadrians Wall walking route.  You can’t see any sign of the Roman Wall here so I had to make do with the impressive walls of Carlisle Castle…

Carlisle castle

…past which I cycled.

I decided to take the National Cycle Route 7 from Carlisle to Dalston, an off road but well surfaced track which follows the River Petteril…..

River Peterril

A caul which I think provided a lade for a mill beside the river.

…and the railway out of the city.

At Dalston, I bought some extra bananas and sat on the grass for a while to plan my route home.

The wind was coming from the north west and I wanted to go north so I chose a route which tacked into the wind, giving frequent sections where the wind helped me for a while and the process of getting home was not too painful at all.

I passed through Great Orton and admired one of my favourite churches….

Great Orton Church

Built in 1098….the porch added later….much later.

….and then wiggled my way round the Carlisle Northern by-pass until I got near to Rockliffe.  When I looked over the fields, I could see the spire of Rockliffe Church and the River Eden, tidal at this point, looking very full indeed.

View of Rockcliffe

River on the left, spire on the right

I thought that the  river might make a good photograph so when I got to the village, I cycled down the path beside the church only to find….

Rockcliffe flood

…that the tide was so far in that my way was impassable without getting wet feet.

I didn’t fancy soggy socks so I chose a different route and headed for Gretna up the service road.

This road runs right beside the fairly new section of motorway and when they built the motorway and the service road, they didn’t stint on planting wild flowers and what might have been a utilitarian section of road is a delight…

Gretna Motorway

Gretna Motorway

…with plenty to please the eye.

My zigzagging was going so well that I did one last zigzag from Gretna to Kirkpatrick Fleming and ended up going up the A7 on the cycle route.  I had leisure enough to stop there for one last wild flower view…

Auchenrivock flowers

…before completing a 75 mile trip and arriving home really pleased with my plan for the day.

Those interested may click on the map below for more details.

garmin route 25 June 2017

The temperature was ideal for cycling, there was enough occasional cloud to moderate the heat of the sun and as you can see, there was no serious climbing at all.  Good route choice.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy all afternoon in the garden so I had a walk round with her when I got back.  Naturally I took a few pictures.

The Queen of Denmark was looking good.

Queen of Denmark

As were the delphiniums, which have withstood the winds very well this year.  Mrs Tootlepedal gave them early support.

delphiniums

We came across a very curious sight deep in a flower bed…..

cat in flowers

…which turned out to be the back end of a neighbour’s cat having a snooze.  It gave us a scornful look and tucked back in under the leaves.

I liked this…

euphorbia

…which Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is a Euphorbia (an Euphorbia?) which we bought earlier this year.

There are still Dutch irises coming out and the first of the Calendulas have appeared…

calendula and iris

…so we are not short of colour.

And the bees were coming in numbers onto the astrantia.

bee on astrantia

I thought it was only appropriate to take a picture of Special Grandma in honour of the gardener.

special Grandma

I made a sausage stew for my supper and cooked three little beetroots which have been picked as thinnings.  Both turned out well and that rounded off a day strictly on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

While I was in the garden, I met a young blackbird on the lawn.  It is the non flying bird of the day.

blackbird

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our older son’s visit to Anstruther and shows that he took his friends with him.

Tony's dogs

Another of the regular Moorland bird feeders was away on holiday today so I had a second opportunity this week to act as a fill-in feeder filler so I went up after breakfast to do my duty.  If the weather is good, which it was today, the duty is also a pleasure as it gives me a chance to sit in the hide and watch the birds.  We are not feeding birds in the garden at present so it is an extra pleasure to do a little bird watching from the comfort of the hide.

I had a good variety of birds to watch today.  There was a host of siskins….

siskins

…but only one greenfinch and tree sparrow that I could  see.

tree sparrow and greenfinch

Either a jay paid several visits of several jays paid one visit each but one way or the other, there were plenty of opportunities for jay watching.  (I was hoping to get a shot of jay walking but alas, no.)

Jay

There were a very few blue and great tits about…

blue tit great tit

…but I didn’t see a coal tit today at all.

My chief entertainment came from some very obliging woodpeckers who came up close to the hide and stayed nice and still and sometimes even ‘watched the birdie’.

My Lumix was on its best behaviour after having refused to work at all and it came in handy.  (It knows that I have ordered a new camera. Too late now.)

greater spotted woodpecker

The one in the bottom left corner was the first arrival.  The other three pictures are all of another bird which arrived twenty minutes later.

After our recent warm weather, it was a lot cooler today and I began to feel a little chilly and left the woodpeckers to it and came home.

I had a cup of coffee, did the crossword and then went out into the garden to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to and to take a picture or two while I was out there.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out new flowers and I looked at some old friends.

Rosa Wren and Rosa Mundi

Rosa Wren and Rosa Mundi

A Rodgersia and a Spirea had a competition to see which could pack most flowers into the smallest space.

Rodgersia and Spirea

I think that the Rodgersia won

At lunchtime, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre which was putting on a show for children and I had some potato soup and cheese to get my strength up and went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and then sieved some compost.

There was a lot of buzzing so I paused from time to time to look at the cotoneaster and the astrantia which are still attracting a lot of interest.

bees

Mrs Tootlepedal came back and got straight down to some more planting and tidying and I lent a hand and did some dead heading and tidying of my own.   I even did some weeding on the middle lawn.   The large amount of grass and flower pollen floating about at the moment is not helping my breathing so any work I do is done at a very gentle pace with regular visits indoors for a little rest.  Mrs Tootlepedal on the other hand just carries on regardless.  She is a human dynamo in the garden.

She notices things too and called my attention to a red admiral butterfly sunning itself on a path.

red admiral butterfly

Like the woodpeckers earlier in the day, it sat very still for its portrait.

red admiral butterfly

I love the little torches it has sticking out of its head.

I took a last set of flower pictures….

melancholy thistle

Melancholy thistle, Martagon Lily and just about the last pale blue Iris Siberica

…and then we went off shopping to stock up on food and supplies.  By great fortune, our food shopping managed to include some scones and clotted cream.  We are not quite certain how this happened but we managed to get rid of them when we got home by eating them with the recently made strawberry jam.  We haven’t had a cream tea for ages so this was a real treat.

I was considering an evening cycle ride in the hope that the wind, which had been boisterous all day, would have died down by then but the fresh wind persisted so I went for a walk instead.

It was a lovely evening as long as you could keep out of the wind.  I chose a sheltered route and enjoyed my stroll a great deal.

I divided my attention between things that were close….

slow worms at Pool Corner

A heap of slow worms at Pool Corner

yellow wild flower

I would welcome a suggestion as to what this pretty flower might be called

….things that were a bit further away…

A sandpiper on the Esk

A sandpiper on the Esk

Stables on the Stubholm

Stables on the Stubholm (Arty shot)

….something that was quite far away…

The round house seen from Easton's Walk

The round house seen from Easton’s Walk

…and some views.

Wauchope graveyard and Warbla in the background

Wauchope graveyard and Warbla in the background

Castle Hill

Castle Hill

Stubholm and Whita Hill

Stubholm House and Whita Hill

It was a much better choice than battering into a strong wind on my bike and getting depressed.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had her tea and was back out in the garden trimming hedges when I got home.

In a vain effort to improve my brain power, I had fish cakes for tea.  It hasn’t helped my typing.  I could get the blog done in half the time of i didn’t have to correct eevry other wird.

The flying bird of the day is the jay seen from a distance……

flying jay

…and I normally would have been quite happy to finish a post with it it but it is outshone today, in my view, by a relaxed greater spotted woodpecker.

greater spotted woodpecker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker who is on holiday in Wales.  He tells me , “I came across this interesting ancient monument while walking here in New Radnor -it is strangely called Four Stones.”  I think that I have worked out how it got its title.

Four Stones Radnor

We had a really pleasant day today – warm and dry, not too windy and with some occasional sunny spells.  I should have been out on my bike all day as I am still short of miles for June but a combination of mild asthma and sore feet kept me off the bike in the morning.

This gave me the chance to go bee hunting again.

bee on geranium

This one was exploring a chive

bee on geranium

This one was getting really stuck into a geranium.

We are getting a good variety of bees which is pleasing.

There are plenty of  bright flowers for the bees to visit.

iceland poppy and iris

And lots of detail for the bees to admire when they make their visits.

flower hearts

I was very pleased to see some flowers on the potatoes…

potato flowers

…and I am looking forward to some new potatoes from the garden in the not too distant future.

After a look at the tropaeolum….

tropaeolum

…which I see has had to be tied down to stop it flying off, I got the hover mower out and gave the greenhouse grass and the drying green a haircut.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy with the strimmer so although these areas are in the working part of the garden, they look very neat.

I was just thinking about going for a cycle ride after lunch when a knock on the back door heralded the arrival of Dropscone at a very non standard time.  He had purchased four brioche rolls at such an advantageous price (10p for all four) when passing through Hawick just before the supermarket closed for the night that he felt he had to share them with me.  This was very kind of him and we enjoyed two each over a cup of tea.

After he left, I finally got kitted up and went off on the fairly speedy bike.  I pottered round the 20  mile trip down to Canonbie and back with plenty of stops for photos.  They haven’t got round to mowing the verges immediately out of the town so I was able to enjoy a colourful mixture of buttercups and clover….

buttercups and clover

…with an attendant bee…

bee on clover

This bee really is in clover.

..before pedalling on wondering how they could bring themselves to cut verges when they look like this.

There was a different sort of growth beside the road at the top of the hill on the Kerr road.

new trees

These tubes all contain broad leaved saplings as the landowners can’t get permission to plant conifers unless they provide a fringe of native trees round the new plantations.  On the other side of this little summit are rows of identical conifers.

I am looking for views taken in Canonbie Parish to enter into the Canonbie Flower Show in August so I tested out a few possibilities as I went from Langholm Parish into Canonbie and then back out again.

Chapelhill

A typical scene

baling the silage Canonbie

Baling the silage

The natives were interested in what I was doing.

Canonbie cows

In between taking those two views, my route took me down the main Canonbie by-pass. This is quite a busy road with fast traffic  and and I don’t usually stop for picture opportunities while I am on it but some bright colour caught my eye today and I applied the brakes.

orchid

More orchids

orchid

Lots more orchids

For a short section of the road, the verge was full of orchids.  They must bloom there every year but I have never noticed them before.  I couldn’t miss them today.

I stopped for my three favourite trees in full summer rig out….

Canonbie trees

…before cycling through the village and back up the Esk to Langholm.

The verges on the old road hadn’t been cut and I stopped twice for things that got my attention.

ragged robin

Ragged Robin

an umbellifer and friend

An umbellifer and friend

I was going to take a picture of a yellow rose in the garden when I had a walk round after I got home but on closer inspection, I decided that it might not be quite what the readers would want to see…

rose with flies

The downside of a warm and calm day

…so I didn’t take it.

After tea, another excellent fish pie from Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to sing with the small choir that is practising to sing three songs in a concert in the town in July.  There were nine sopranos and trebles, four altos and three tenors.  I modestly took my place as the one  and only bass but I certainly didn’t oompah up and down the square.

We had a most enjoyable practice and I have got a month to try and get a bit of tone quality into my unused low notes.

No flying birds or bees today.

 

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Today’s guest picture is possibly the last from our daughter’s Devon jaunt.  She visited the celebrated garden at Knightshayes and thought that I might enjoy a view of some handsome grass.  I did.

Knightshayes

I had no commitments so I was able to ease through the day at a gentle pace.  It was fortunate that it was a day of better weather, still breezy but almost entirely dry and occasionally even sunny in the afternoon.

I mowed the middle and front lawns in the morning and that was the most energetic thing on my programme.  For the rest of the time, I enjoyed the garden, a cup of coffee and a crossword until it was time to make some lentil soup for lunch.

Before coffee, I took a camera out with me.  The peonies were at their best today.

peony

peony

The tropaeolum tadpoles are turning into flowers.

tropaeolum

There is no shortage of colour.

sweet william, campanula and Lilian Austin

After coffee, bees became the focus.  For the first day this year, there were really a lot of bees about and it wasn’t a matter of finding one to photograph so much as not being able to choose which one to shoot.

The pale blue lupin was a popular spot.

lupin with bee

But lots of other flowers had their admirers.

allium, iris and weigela

The peonies and lupin in the vegetable garden joined in.

lupin and peony with bee

It was very cheering to see so much activity.

I took a couple of pictures of a more general nature….

orange hawkweed

We like the orange hawkweed a lot

kitchen window colour

Mrs Tootlepedal has provided a rich tapestry of colour to enjoy when looking out of the kitchen window.

…and went in to cook the soup.

After lunch (the soup turned out well and there was a good selection of cheese to go with it), I got the fairly speedy bike out and went out to face the wind again.  Although there were some very heavy gusts as I started which nearly tempted me into hugging the valley bottom, I stuck to the task and took to the open country and was rewarded when the gusts calmed down and later in the ride, the sun came out.

The downside of the trip was that the council had been very busy mowing the verges so there were no wild flowers for me to see.   This blatant pandering to the supposed needs of motorists is reprehensible and I had to find other things to use as an excuse to pause and catch my breath from time to time.

Middlebie Church

Middlebie Church

A virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water

A Virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water near Middlebie

Mein Water Bridge

This is the road bridge that I crossed. In spite of the recent rain the water is very low.

When I got to the old A74, I was so cross about the verge cutting that I got off my high horse and stopped to take a picture of it…

A74 and orchid

…and was glad that I  did so because right on the edge of the long grass was an orchid, the first that I have seen this year.

Now that I had my eye in,  as I went on down the road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming, I saw dozens more orchids in the long grass.

orchids

This was the moment that the sun chose to make its appearance and as I was no longer cycling into the wind, I stopped muttering grumpily and started to really enjoy the outing.

Once I had the wind behind me, I was going too fast to look at the verges carefully, whether they were  mown or un-mown and it needed something bigger to attract my attention.

Gretna Windmills

As you can see, two of the newly installed Gretna wind turbines were not going round.  This is disappointing when there was plenty of wind to be harvested.  The dark clouds soon passed over.

I stopped one last time to admire a neatly scalloped roadside fringe of bird’s foot trefoil on the old A7 near Irving House.

bird's foot trefoils

Fortunately the council had not got to this verge with their mower yet.

My trip came to 36 miles and although it took me a long time, thanks to the wind in my face for the first and most hilly 12 miles, I enjoyed the outing.  After not cycling at all for the first six days of the month thanks to unhelpful weather, I have managed six outings in the last eight days which is a bit better.  If only the wind would drop, I would be very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been trimming a Forsythia while I was out and she wondered if any knowledgeable reader can tell her what this curious growth is.

forsythia growth

It was on many of the branches.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fish pie for our tea and then went off to watch a live screening from the Royal Ballet, leaving me to have a restful time at home.  I admire the skills employed in ballet but the fact that it takes ten minutes to say something as simple as “Ooh, you look nice,”  taxes my patience beyond its admittedly small limits.  Also my joints hurt when I look at the performers.  I feel their pain.

The flying bird of the day is visiting the peonies and is not a bird.

flying bee

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s Devon holiday.  She visited a famous garden but found her attention slipped from flora to fauna.

cat

She is obviously having better weather than us as we woke up to another cold, grey, occasionally wet and always windy morning.

I cycled up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to visit the data miners and got wet cycling home again.  There were compensations though.

I passed a female goosander sitting on the river bank near the church and when I got home, I got a camera and came straight back out to see if she would still be there. Luckily both the rain and the bird stopped.

goosander

Birds have a curious attitude to cyclists.  As long as the cyclists keep going, the birds will often stay still but as soon as the cyclist stops, the birds usually get going.  This proved the case today and after giving me a scornful glare, the goosander walked down to the water, launched herself….

goosander

…and paddled gently off downstream.

I was cheered up by the arrival of Dropscone with scones for coffee.  He has been very busy lately both refereeing golf tournaments and playing golf himself so he had much to tell me.

He went off in the hope that the rain would stay away and he could get some more golf in and I went out to the garden and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I also looked around.

The flowers are very resilient for the most part and I thought that they were worth a close look.

allium, clematis, peony

honeysuckle and foxglove

There were a lot of bees about this morning in spite of the occasional rain.

allium, clematis, peony

The nectaroscordum was a particular attraction.

honeysuckle and foxglove

honeysuckle and foxglove

…and on several occasions, I actually saw a bee barge another off a flower.

The Rosa Goldfinch is coming along very nicely…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and by coincidence, I saw an avian goldfinch in the garden today too (but not when I had a camera to hand).

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window and remarked that there were a lot of sparrows about.  Some were feeding young….

sparrow feeding young

…and some were enjoying a bath in a puddle.

sparrow feeding young

As it looked as though the rain would keep away, I went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and although there were one or two drizzly moments, they came to nothing and I got round dry.

The wind was pretty brisk again but not quite so rough as it has been so I ventured out into the open country and did a 27 mile circular ride instead of just pottering up and don the road beside the Wauchope.

The first seven miles were very hard work into the wind but good route choice meant that the subsequent 20 miles were less troublesome and for some of the time, I fairly scooted along with the wind behind me.

The cool temperatures and the brisk wind meant that it didn’t feel much like warm weather cycling but the countryside did its best to cheer me up either with daisies….

Gair road with daisies

…or buttercups.

sprinkell road with buttercups

I kept a close eye on the verges when I was was going at a suitably slow speed.

verge plants

There is almost always something interesting to see.

umbellifer and grass

And if I am not in a rush, it is a pleasure to take a close look.

hawkbit, trefoil and little pink flower

Flowers often have friends.

I took a picture of the Esk from the Hollows Bridge…

Esk at Hollows

We are at peak green

…and then scrambled down the bank to look back up at the bridge from near the river.

Hollows Bridge

It is a lofty bridge

I would like to have got a better view but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t think that falling in the river was a good policy.

On my way back home, I passed a lot of Pyrenean  Valerian.  Seen from a distance it looks a little undistinguished but from nearer, it is a very pretty flower.

pyrenean valerian

The roadsides are full of daisies at the moment and I particularly liked this little scene on the side of the main road just where it is joined by the bike track.

daisies and rhododendron

My flute pupil didn’t come this week but I still got a musical ending to the day when I went to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  We made some good progress on out Mozart Piano Trio and enjoyed the new Telemann trio which has just arrived through the post as well.

As it looks as though the wind might drop a bit over the next few days, everything is good.

The flying bird of the day is two flying bees.

flying bees

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