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Posts Tagged ‘garden flowers’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia who visited the the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi and thought that possibly this advertising poster, commissioned from Toulouse-Lautrec in 1896 by the Simpson Chain Company, might possibly be of interest to me.  It was indeed.

Toulouse Lautrec poster

If you are interested there is more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Chain 

I had the intention of taking my new belt driven bicycle out for a spin after breakfast but what with one thing and another (things to do, cold northerly winds, lassitude, mental instability etc), I didn’t get out until midday.

I had a quick look at the garden in the morning…

anemone

…and couldn’t resist another look at the anemones, radiant in the sunshine.

I enjoyed watching a bee literally getting stuck into a rhododendron flower…

bee and tulip

…and admired the colour of the tulip.

When I finally got going, I chose a route which I hoped would see me battling the breeze on my way up to the county border above Eskdalemuir and then getting swooshed back down to Langholm with the wind behind me.

Alas, my calculation was out and I had a crosswind to annoy me in both directions.  However, it was a lovely sunny day and the cool north easterly breeze stopped me from cooking in the sunshine so “mustn’t grumble”.

It is quite a hilly route by my standards and I have to be careful of my tin* knee when going up steep hills so I was lucky to have my new gears working well today.  The new bike’s hub has a choice of really good low gears which let me get up the hills without putting too much strain on my legs and I enjoyed the journey up to the border at 1000 ft above sea level.

I snapped away as I went along.

It was a great day for wide views and closer looks.

bluebells

wild flowers

This is the Esk at Bentpath.

Esk at bentpath

bluebells at bentpath

I saw a lot of orange tip butterflies on my way and even spent some time on the Shaw Rigg chasing up and down the road on foot trying to catch a male who kept stopping and then flitting onwards just before I got the camera into focus.  I had to settle for this shot of the female which annoyingly doesn’t have the orange tip to her wings.

female orange tip butterfly

Wherever I looked there were beautiful corners…

esk view

…prehistoric stone circles…

stone curcles

…and wide panoramas.

Upper esk valley

This one was looking up the upper Esk valley over Eskdalemuir to the hills behind.   Sharp eyed readers may spot a curious white tower in the middle distance.  I passed it later.

On a sunny day Eskdalemuir is uniformly lovely.

Upper esk valley

And this is the white tower a few miles north of Eskdalemuir village.

samye Ling
It is part of the Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist monastery which has a beautiful temple.  It is not the first thing that you might expect to see in the Scottish Borders but the community has been here for 50 years and is part and parcel of this part of the world now.

Leaving the monastery behind, I headed up the single track road to the county boundary.  It is one of my favourite sections of road as the records show that in five miles the gradient is so steady that you only lose 15 meters in the course of climbing 432 metres.

Road to Ettrick

The climb is gentle, the scenery delightful and the only fly in the ointment is the need to avoid the large and speedy timber lorries that come hurtling up and down the road.  Luckily they make such a noise that you get plenty of advance warning.

I stopped for a light lunch at an abandoned sheep fold in the forest at the top of the hill…

sheep fauld

…and was quite pleased not to be driving in a car on such narrow roads when log lorries were on the go.

B709

The trip home wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked as the cross wind nagged and pestered and I had to keep a sharp eye out for the many potholes on the way.  This didn’t make for relaxed riding.

I chose a slightly different route for my return which  gave me other views, including the junction of the Black and White Esk rivers…

meeting of black and white esk

…and a new selection of wild flowers.

wild flowers

As I got near to Langholm, I saw a farmer rolling his grass pastures…

rolling the grass

..and reflected that I could do with a good roller for my lawns.

I took a last look round…

valley north of langholm

…and was grateful for a quirk in the wind which pushed me up the final climb and then down into the town.

I had only done just over 40 miles but with over 2000ft of climbing, it felt like quite a long ride and my average speed was very modest.  I don’t do many hilly rides so it was a pleasure to have managed one without taking any harm to my joints.

When I got in, Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a cup of tea on the new bench in the garden and I kept leaping up to photograph more flowers.

There were a lot to choose from.  They included a fine display of lilac blossom and the first sighting of a new yellow tulip, just out today…..

lilac and tulips

…as well the first of the white clematis on the wall round the back door, one of the few remaining daffodils and some of the very hardy grape hyacinths which have been out in frost, rain and sunshine for weeks.

hyacinth, daffodil and clematis

After a nourishing evening meal of corned beef hash, I went off to sing with our Langholm Choir.  For some reason the cycling had reduced my voice to the merest croak so I wasn’t much use but I was able to hit some impressively low notes.

The flying bird of the day was far too busy hitting some high notes of his own to be flying about.

blackbird singing

*Tin knee:  Actually it is likely that my new bike and my artificial knee are made of the same material, titanium.

Those interested can see details of my bike ride here.

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an ingenious planter which my brother Andrew encountered on the platform of Penrith Station…..

penrith station

…where he also met my sisters Mary and Susan.  More about that later.

We had another generally fine day with just the merest touch of rain in the early evening but the sun was not so hard working as yesterday and it felt a good deal cooler.

I had intended to embark on a bicycle ride of some length but my legs had other ideas so instead I was happy to welcome Dropscone for a cup of coffee.  We sampled some of Mary Jo’s Canadian jam with his scones and found that it went very well.

Dropscone brought with him a small gift of crusty rolls which he had acquired at an extremely reasonable price from a Hawick supermarket just before it shut for the day as he passed through on his way home from a  golfing meeting late last night.  In return, we sent him off with a bag of rhubarb stalks.

I mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass and then had a walk round the garden.

There is no shortage of things to look at.

The anemone is among my favourite flowers.  Its hand painted look appeals to me.

anemone

The white bluebells are looking strong.

bluebell

And the good weather has the tulips opening their petals to the world.

tulip hearts

At noon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre Coffee shop and I went in to have lunch and keep an eye on the birds.

Goldfinches appeared to be unhappy about something.

goldfinches

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal reappeared and I got out the new bike and went off for a gentle and short run down to Canonbie by my usual route.  I don’t have any pictures to show from the trip as most unusually for me, I did the whole twenty miles without stopping at all, except on the two occasions when I had to cross the main road.   I have added a pannier to the set up and the bike coped with this without difficulty.

Since I hadn’t taken any pictures on the cycle ride, I took a few in the garden when I got back….

bees on dicentra

Two colours of dicentra both acting as bee magnets

garden ferns

A ferny corner of the back bed

strawberries

Ornamental and edible strawberries both in flower

lamium, tulip and rhododendron

Lamium, tulip and rhododendron

daffodil

The daffodil of the day (not many left)

azalea

This is the dawning of the age of azalea (with more to come)

…and then, as it was sunny for a bit,  Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to see the bluebells.  Unfortunately we had left things just a moment too late and by the time that we got to the bluebells, the sun had gone in again.  There was plenty to see on the way through the park and along the river…

park trees

Blossom in the park

…but the most surprising thing that we saw was several young rabbits scuttling across the grass at the far end of the park and disappearing into holes in the banking.  We stopped to watch them scamper about and one rabbit felt mistakenly that it was well enough hidden…

park rabbit

…to avoid the inquisitive lens.

We walked on.

wild garlic

wild garlic along the path

easton ferns

ferns everywhere

P1100090

bluebells and more wild garlic

When we got to them, the bluebells were at their best…

bluebellsbluebells

…but the clouds had thickened up and the dull weather didn’t do them justice.  However, the scent from the flowers was not affected and gave our walk special pleasure.

We came home along the Stubholm track…

Stubholm track

…and walked back through the park, passing stitchwort by the Stubholm track and…

stitchwort and white wild flower

…and an unknown white flower in profusion at the park bridge.

We didn’t have long to wait after we got home before my brother Andrew drove up bringing Susan and Mary, my two eldest sisters with him.   Andrew is on a holiday in north Lancashire, my sister Susan had been staying with friends in Cumbria,  my sister Mary had joined them for a short break in the Lake District based in Penrith and all three had come to Langholm to test the new bench, marvel at the new bike and have a meal at the Douglas Hotel with us.

The test, the marvelling and the meal all went off well and we waved them goodbye as the light began to fade at the end of a good day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch showing strong shoulders as it approaches the feeder.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s visit to Kew Gardens.  The sedentary minded can view the gardens from this land train.

Kew Gardens 6 May 2018 006

We had a fair day here today with very occasional sun, a good breeze and some late rain.  It meant that Mrs Tootlepedal could garden until she was exhausted and I could do some lawn care and go for a walk.

I had hoped to have my new bicycle by now but an enquiry to the bike shop revealed that it might not even be ready for tomorrow.  I hope that it will be but I have steeled myself for more delay.

Anyway, in the absence of cycling, I scarified the front lawn and collected up huge quantities of moss to the great interest of our resident blackbird who followed behind me pecking up food for his family.

baby blackbirds

I got a better picture of one of the youngsters later in the morning.

baby blackbird

They seem to be bigger than their parents so it is no wonder that the parents have to keep busy to feed them.

The dead heading of daffodils goes on (Mrs Tootlepedal must have hundreds of daffs in the garden) and the dead heading of the tulips has just started (she has hundreds of these too)  I counted over eighty of the red tulips in the narrow bed at the end of the drive and as Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that she only planted twenty, they have done remarkably well.

There is other colour about.

lithodora and primula

But still some daffodils and lots of tulips….

daff and cowslips

…and the long lasting cowslips too.

tulips

I sieved a little compost which Mrs Tootlepedal promptly used for planting out a recent purchase and then it seemed to be lunchtime.  Time flies when you are having fun.

After lunch, I went for a walk in the hope of seeing bluebells.

I saw fine blossom in the park as I walked though…

park shrub

…and many unfolding ferns along the way…

fern unfolding

…but best all, I saw the bluebells.

bluebells

I had time on my hands so I followed a track that the local mountain cyclists use through the woods.  At times it looked very inviting…

cycle track through wood

…and at times it looked truly terrifying.  I wouldn’t be able to tackle a track over bumpy roots and  fallen trees, through small streams and up and down steep banks so I take my hat off to those who do.

I am more interested in looking at things as I walk along.

There was a lot to look at.  As I took too many pictures, I am going to add only the barest number of words.

ajuga

Ajuga

larch cones

Larch keeping its cones over the winter.

view

A view at the end of the track down the hill

lichen

Lichen on a wall

blossom

Blossom

blossom

And more blossom

bluebells

I went to another bluebell wood but it wasn’t quite ready yet.

moss

There was interesting moss to make up for the lack of blue

hairy moss

Very interesting moss

dandelion

The dandelions were in good condition

distillery

Spring comes to the old Langholm Distillery

river esk

Looking down the river Esk from beside Skippers Bridge

skippers Bridge

And looking back at the briodge

wildflower

Wild flowers beside the river

heron

An old friend getting his feet wet

cherry blossom river esk

Blossom between the bridges

It was a delightful stroll and only needed a drop or two of golden sun to make it perfect.  I got a little splash of sunlight near the end of the walk but it only lasted a moment or two.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been working hard in the garden while I was out and by the time that I got back from my walk, we were both quite tired enough to make going inside and having a cup of tea seem like a really good idea.

Once inside, we got planted and didn’t go out again.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Mike I enjoyed a small glass of Old Speckled Hen, a quality bitter beer, and then, while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal caught up on all the news that was fit to hear, Alison and I enjoyed some good music, ending with a Partita in G by Telemann .  This was a really good way to end an enjoyable day.

If only my new bike would appear all would be well with the world.

I have put out some fat balls at the feeder and they attracted the attention of a sparrow today.  It is the perching bird of the day.

_DSC3957

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s Spanish tour.  I was excited when I saw compost in his email header but it turned out to be Santiago De Compostela and not interesting garden products. Santiago De Compostela looks quite interesting though.

Santiago de Compostela

We had another grey morning after some overnight rain and once again a keen wind made it feel pretty cool.

My morning was greatly brightened up by the arrival of Dropscone, bearing treacle scones and reports of his recent holiday in Majorca. As the temperature there had been about 24°C, he felt that he had made a good choice of destinations.

After he left, I went out into the garden to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to.  Wisely, considering the chilly breeze, she was working in the greenhouse and I was impressed by how well her seedlings are coming on in the indoor warmth.

greenhouse seedlings

My hand is a lot better so I felt able to get the push mower out and give the middle lawn a cut.  After that I needed some refreshment so I went in for lunch and a look at the birds.

The siskins were back today and eating as if there were no tomorrow.

siskins

I had to fill the feeder three times.

There was some more regrettable siskin behaviour though.

siskin attacking goldfinch

After lunch, I should have been going to Carlisle to pick up my new bike but the bike shop got in touch to say that some parts hadn’t arrived yet and the pick up was to be delayed until sometime next week.  I was  very disappointed but we watched the start of the men’s race in the Tour of Yorkshire on the telly instead…

….and then went back out into the garden.

Some plants were in the pink.

hellebore

And Mrs Tootlepedal was very pleased with this purchase of these primulas as they came from the bargain tray at the garden centre .  Although they are  basically for next year, they are adding a good dash of colour in the short term.

primula

I was very pleased to see bees buzzing around among the gooseberry flowers.

bee on gooseberry

They were still busy there when I checked again in the early evening.

In the absence of my new bike, I contemplated a ride on the slow bike but as I think that riding the slow bike with its straight handlebars may have contributed to my sore hand, I thought that I would wait until my hand was completely cured before going out on it again and went for a walk instead.

I went to see if it was possibly to walk through the newly felled Becks Wood, a favourite walk before the loggers got to work.

On my way, I passed a dead nettle…

dead nettle

…a rapidly maturing lamb…

lamb

…any amount of dog’s mercury and sprouting leaves…

dog's mercury and new leaf

…and two sheep.

sheep

There wasn’t a tree left standing in the wood when I got to it and all the felled timber had been removed. More in hope than in expectation, I followed the old path and found that it was easy to get down to the bridge across the Becks Burn…

Becks bridge

… looking a little forlorn in the open air, devoid of mystery now the trees beside it have gone.

The path up the other side was in good condition and I could soon look back at the way that I had come..

Becks wood

…and be thankful that the path through the woods has been reinstated and exists again, even if the woods don’t.  The area will soon be replanted and many new plants will grow now that there is light and air about so I am not sad about the change.  It makes life interesting.

Having crossed the Becks Burn, I made my way down the road and then crossed the Wauchope Water by the Auld Stane Brig…

auld stane bridge

…and climbed a short way up Warbla on the other side of the valley so that I could look back at the felled wood.

Becks wood from Warbla

They have made a thorough job of the felling and taking the timber away.

The day was getting warmer but the taller hills were still shrouded in low clouds…

Castle hill from Warbla

…so there was not much in the way of views.

There was plenty of other interest though as I walked back home past ash trees laden with male flowers…

ash tree flowers

…primroses peeping out of a  wall and rabbits trying hard not to be noticed…

primrose and rabbit

…and hints of this and that.

garlic, bluebell and fern

The woods are covered in wild garlic and bluebells just waiting for a bit of heat to burst into action.

This weekend has a very good forecast so perhaps by Monday, the promise will be fulfilled.

The Beechy Plains are looking beechier by the day…

Beechy Plain

…and one or two wild garlic plants have tried their best.

garlic and fly

That fly gets about.

I got home in time to watch the last few kilometres of the Tour of Yorkshire.  It had an excellent finish.

After tea, the sun came out and we went back into the garden again to make the best use of the day.  I zipped round the drying green with the light mower and felt quite positive about my hand.

Unfortunately my Friday night orchestra was otherwise engaged but Mike, her husband came by himself so we enjoyed a glass of beer and conversation with him with no musical accompaniment.

The flying bird of the day is two sparring goldfinches.

goldfinches quarrelling

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who appears to be spending May Day in Madrid.  He visited El Parque de Buen Retiro where he admired the colossal statue of Alfonse XIII, best viewed from across the boating lake.

8 of 96 El Parque de Buen Retiro

After putting on a good show for the visit of Mary Jo yesterday, the local weather gods fell back exhausted today and we reverted to mostly grey skies, a very cold wind and rain later. It didn’t matter all that much to me but Mrs Tootlepedal has got very fed with gardening in the cold.

She had woken up early and done quite a bit of good work in the garden before breakfast and then after breakfast, she decided to drive to the council dump, 18 miles away to get rid of the old vegetable bed boards, the old bench and sundry other items.

I had woken up with a very tender and arthritic thumb with a considerably swollen right hand so my plan was to let Mrs Tootlepedal do any work that was going and to try to rest the hand as much as possible.  While she went off to the dump, I took a  very gentle walk with my pocket camera clasped in my left hand.  Even with the light camera, taking pictures was not easy.

I had hoped that the bluebells might be out so I walked along the river past great banks of wild garlic, just about to burst into flower….

wild garlic

…and a lot of golden saxifrage and the occasional bluebell…

golden saxifrage and bluebell

…but it has been too cold and not sunny enough so when I got to my preferred bluebell spot, only a few were showing and the path up through the woods was still waiting for the blue carpet to be rolled out.

early bluebells

I walked up the path all the same and enjoyed what there was to be seen along the top.

hawthorn

Views over the town are disappearing behind fresh leaves.

leaves on Stubholm

leaves on Stubholm

When I got to the Stubholm, I continued along Gaskell’s Walk with just a hint in the blue sky above Meikleholm Hill to cheer the day up.

Meikleholm hill in spring

The path through the young birches was at its most magical.

gaskells in spring

There were a lot of grasses coming into flower along the path.

grass

When I got to the Auld Stane Brig, I stopped to look at the permanent little lichen forest that grows on the fence post beside the bridge.  At only a little over an inch high, it stubbornly resists rain, snow, hail, wind and the road of passing traffic.

lichen at auld stane brig

Further along the road some of the hedge was full of different lichens.

lichenA lone butterbur was in flower beside the Wauchope Water…

butterbur

…and on the wall at Pool Corner there was enough heat under the shelter for the slow worms to have come out.

slow worm

They like to snooze in a heap.

slow worm

When I got back to the garden, i was welcomed by the magnolia at the gate and Mrs Tootlepedal who had got back from her visit to the dump…

magnolia garden from gate

…and she, with a little help from me, gave the car a good clean up, even going as far as getting the vacuum cleaner on to the job.

The nearby tulips caught my eye…

P1090503

..and I went off to look at some more.

P1090505

I couldn’t hold the big camera up or get the tripod into position so there are no bird feeder pictures today.  I did take a picture of the chimney pot underneath the feeder though….

P1090508

…before going indoors.

That concluded my activity for the day and I spent the rest of the day sitting down reading the papers or working at the computer, typing carefully with gentle fingers and holding the mouse in the loosest possible grip.

As it started to rain heavily, this was no great hardship.

I did take one more picture of some flowers in a vase on the kitchen table with Mrs Tootlepedal kindly holding up one of her scarves to make a background.

P1090509

The quiet day certainly did my swollen hand no harm and I may need to look after it again tomorrow as I have learned that my new bike might be ready for collection on Friday and I shall want to be in as good condition as possible for a test ride.

There being no flying bird of the day, I have put in standing still and swimming ducks of the day instead, shot in a sunny moment on my walk.

mallards

Mary Jo kindly sent me a picture of an old man she saw at the blogging computer in our front room yesterday.   I don’t know who he is.  He looks much older than me.

blogger

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a fine selection of flying birds spotted by Mike Tinker in Singapore on his way home from New Zealand.

flying swans

There won’t be much in the way of text today because I have had a hard afternoon and evening as we first had a rehearsal for our Langholm Sings concert with the Langholm Concert Orchestra and then, after a relatively brief pause, we had the concert itself.

As I was not only singing in the choir but also acting as compère, it was quite a busy time….especially as I was only told that I was acting as compère two minutes before the rehearsal started so I literally had to make it up as I went along.  Still, I enjoyed both the singing and the introducing so I am not complaining, just a bit jiggered.

When it comes to making things up as I go along, I sometimes think that I should have been a politician.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent a very busy day in the garden and I wandered about there too.

daffodil

Daff of the day (with added fly)

muscari

A tributary of the river of blue

daffs

The back path

tulips and daffs

These tulips keep coming up year after year.

spring flowers

Garden colour

dogs tooth violet

There are a lot of these about

lichen on plum tree

The plum tree is home to many lichens.

tulips

The tulips came out generously in spite of a generally cold and grey day.

I was just saying to Mrs Tootlepedal that you never seem to see a bee on a daffodil when I was proved wrong yet again.

bumble bee on daffodil

There is obviously a lot of pollen going about.  I will have to change my statement to. “I very rarely see a bee on a daffodil.”

I expect I will see lots now.

After lunch I took a walk down to the river, stopping off to check on the red topped lichens on the park wall.

lichen

Still thriving.

The poplars beside the church are in leaf…church with poplars

…and the ladies’ smock along the river bank is going very well.

ladies smock

A lesser black backed gull almost flew for me.

gull

…and I was a millisecond to late to catch a flying mallard…

mallard

…but it was fun to watch them both.

I didn’t have much time to watch the garden birds and because of all the garden activity, there weren’t many about.  When they got a chance though, they turned up in numbers.

busy feeeder

I was going to cheat and make either the mallard or the gull look as though it was flying but I ran out of energy and three chaffinches will appear as flying birds of the day instead.

flying chaffinches

I have a very heavy day tomorrow as we are singing in the church choir and then going to Glasgow for to attend a concert in the evening so a post may not appear until Monday.

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who is on holiday with his family in Spain.  His picture shows his grandson Elliot surrounded by trains at Vilanova Railway Museum.

Elliot Graham surrounded by trains at Vilanova Railway Museum

We got the promised sunshine today.  The whole country has been gloomy over the past few days so there were amusing remarks on the breakfast radio show that I listen to about a strange light in the sky.  The show comes from London where they had added warmth while we had ice and the remains of the snow.

ice and snow in April

Still blue sky is blue sky and always welcome.  Sandy is always welcome too and he arrived after breakfast and drove us up to the Moorland bird feeders were it was his day to refill the feeders.  I gave him a hand and we sat in the hide for a while to see what was about.

The answer was not much but the bit of sunlight gave me a chance to take a picture or two.

great tit, blue tit and siskin

Great tit, blue tit and siskin

chaffinch and blackbird

Chaffinch and blackbird

coal tit

Flighty coal tit

As you can see from some of the pictures, it was quite windy and cold and a pheasant looked thoroughly fed up.

pheasant

It was chilly, even in the shelter of the hide and interesting birds were conspicuous by their absence so we didn’t stay too long and went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a biscuit.

After Sandy left, I did the crossword and looked at our own garden birds.  The usual suspects were there….

redpoll, goldfinch, siskin

…but in was very pleased to see a couple of redpolls back at the feeder.

redpoll

The siskins, as well as being very messy feeders, were as belligerent as ever.

siskins

I had decided not to go to visit Matilda today as the weather demanded a cycle ride of reasonable length and thanks to the early frostiness, I wasn’t able to get out soon enough to be able to catch the afternoon train to Edinburgh.

Matilda did very well without me and swam nearly a whole width of the swimming pool on her back with no help.  She will doubtless be aimed at the 2030 Commonwealth Games.

I had a nourishing lunch and got the slow bike out.  In spite of the sun, the thermometer was only just touching 6°C (about 40°F) so once again, I was well wrapped up.  Although it was coming from the south west and should have been warm, the wind was once again both brisk and nippy so pedalling into it at the start of my journey was hard work.

This bit of road, near Eaglesfield may not look very important…..

road near eaglesfield

…but it was the first bit of road that I had cycled on for fourteen and a bit miles which was not heading into the wind.    To give an idea of the meanness of the wind, it took me one hour and forty six minutes to do the first 15 miles of the route and only seventeen minutes longer to do the next 25, which were either across or downwind.

As my average at the end of the ride was only 10 mph, the whole thing was painfully slow.  Partly this was caused by the wind and partly it was because the road I chose for the main downhill ten mile section of the trip was full of potholes and floods…

puddles and daffs

… though it did have some fine daffodils, and few celandines…

celandine and sheep

…an interesting sheep and a fine view across the Solway Firth…

skiddaw from Rigg

…as consolations.

My asthma has not been helped by the constantly wet and chilly weather over winter so I found that I needed quite a lot of concentration just to keep going and since I had to keep a keen eye out for potholes on unfamiliar roads, I didn’t find many interesting things to photograph on my route but I did stop to note the delightful blue of the Longtown gravel pit pond….

Longtown pond and windfarm

….and the new windfarm behind it.

It is good to see that as well as annoying me, our never ending supply of wind is being put to good use.

It  was still a lovely day when I got home so I had a walk round the garden….

garden flowers early april

I was pleased to see the first of the ‘main crop’ daffodils out.

…and then I had a mile and a half  walk round Gaskells to make the most of the rare good day.

I adopted a very modest pace and this let me see quite a lot as I pottered along.

I was very interested to see buds on the hawthorn…

hawthorn buds

…as this is real sign of better things to come.

I heard some loud engine noises and was surprised to see how literally the pilots of a couple of planes were taking the phrase ‘low flying’.

low flying plane

I wouldn’t be surprised if he/she found that they had moss on the undercarriage when they got home.

I saw tiny lichen and big fungus…

lichen and fungus

…and the first rabbit that I have noticed this year.

rabbit

I like the way that rabbits equate ‘standing very still’ with ‘hiding’.

Two more tried the same stratagem a little further on.

rabbits

The main purpose of my walk was to check out the red tipped lichen on the park wall to see if it had survived the frost, rain and snow.

There was a rather scraggy patch along with a promising wild flower…

lichen and wild flower

…just to prove that our park wall is a rich habitat and not just for moss and lichens.

Finally, almost as I had given up hope, I found a healthy looking clump.

lichen

My discovery of photography in my later years has provided me with a lot of pleasure but I don’t think anything is better than the ability of a camera to let you see wonders of nature that you just can’t see with the naked eye.  These lichens are tiny, the red dots like pin heads.

Mrs Tootlepedal told me in a phone call this evening that she had enjoyed both sunshine and very pleasant warmth in the deep south but I wasn’t envious.  Honestly.  They don’t have traffic free cycling routes on public roads like us.  I hardly saw a car for 34 of my 40 miles today.  Mind you, a little warmth wouldn’t go amiss.

I am really looking forward to the coming of my new bike.  I have pedalled three hundred miles on my slow bike over the past twenty two days but in the same amount of time and probably with less effort, I might have done sixty to eighty more miles on a quicker bike.

The low flying ‘bird’ of the day is the second of the air force planes that passed me on my walk.  Credit goes to the nerve and instrument reading skills of the pilots.

P1080619

Those interested can see details of the bike ride here

And you can see Sandy’s day here.

 

 

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