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Posts Tagged ‘gooseberry’

There may be serious concern about the lack of insects in general but today’s guest picture from Venetia shows that there is no shortage of them just now in Somerset.

somerset flies

We had a typical April day here today, breezy, cool and occasionally rainy but it was just warm enough to allow for gardening and the breeze was just steady enough to allow for a little cycling so in the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal gardened and I went for a cycle ride.

Before I left, Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to a small patch of violets tucked away against a fence in a corner of the garden.

violet

Although the theoretical temperature was not too bad, the wind seemed to carry the chill of winter in its wings and I was well wrapped up again as I battled into the breeze.  When the sun was out…..

Wauchope road

…I was in a green and pleasant land, with the fresh green of the new larch growth…

larch

…very prominent.

But mostly, I was in the shadow over here and the sun was over there in the distance.

View from the Bloch

I looked more closely at one of my favourite trees.

Bloch tree

There were masses of flowers to be seen on my way.

flowers

By lurking about in the valley bottom for the most part, I kept out of the worst of the wind but even so, cycling back down to Langholm with the wind behind me was enough to make the slow bike feel like Pegasus.  I fairly flew along.

The twenty miles that I managed brought up my target mileage for the month and as it has all been done on the slow bike, that was very satisfactory.

I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden on my return and mowed the drying green.  This was a painful experience as it has almost as much moss as Mary Jo’s Danish lawn.

I had a look round and tried to get a better euphorbia picture but only succeeded in catching a fly.

fly on euphorbia

The tulips are growing all the time but still keeping themselves to themselves.

tulips

And I found a daffodil of the day standing still enough to photograph.

daff

Then  it was time for lunch, the crossword and a look at the birds.

I very much enjoyed a little action sequence that took place over two seconds.

A chaffinch approached the feeder quietly…

busy feeder

…suddenly there was pandemonium as birds flew off in all directions and a lone redpoll was left to wonder what all the fuss was about.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on business and I stayed in to greet the gas man who came to give our boiler its annual safety check.  In a sign of the crazy way businesses are organised these days, it turned out that he had come all the way from Glasgow to do our check, which was already well behind its scheduled time, because the local engineers were too busy.  Having finished, he was ready to drive back to Glasgow (90 miles away).  It must make sense to someone.

While the engineer was busy, it started to rain and it looked well set in for the rest of the day.    Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea though and he must have had some good vibes in his pocket because when he got up to, the rain went too.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked round the garden.

There was plenty to see.  A bee was buzzing about in the pulmonaria…

bee on pulmonaria

…and a blackbird was busy collecting more  worms….

blackbird with worms

…and things were busy growing.  Flowers on the gooseberry and on the silver pear.

gooseberry and silver pear

I look forward to eating gooseberries (if we can avoid the sawfly) but the silver pear fruit is inedible.

The rain looked as though it might hold off so I went for a walk.

I hoped to see waterside birds and I did but the light was pretty gloomy and the birds were far away so although it was a pleasure to see the birds, it was  a problem to get good shots of them.

oyster catcher, dipper, wagtail and goosander

From top left clockwise: Oyster catcher, dipper, goosander and pied wagtail.

I also saw a grey wagtail and I took a wonderful picture of the rock from which it had just taken off.  I haven’t posted it here to avoid excessive excitement among sensitive readers.

I was doing the three bridges walk and I passed a lot of ladies’ smock which has appeared like magic on the banks of the Esk near the suspension bridge….

Ladies smock

…a grand show of colour in the Clinthead gardens…

redflowers

…some striking male flowers on the noble firs on the Castleholm….

male noble fir flowers

….a very colourful tree (which I can’t identify.  Is there a helpful reader out there?)…

Castleholm tree

…and the first broom flower I have seen this year.  It was in the minister’s garden.

broom flower

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was back out in the garden so I took a look round and was struck by this jewel on a leaf.

raindrop

I had a little Archive business to catch up on as one of our members is kindly helping out a lady who wishes to visit the town for some ancestral research and then it was time to sit down and have a tasty curry for my tea.

The weather is set to continue in the present cool, showery mode for several days but if we can make as good use of the days as we did today, it won’t be too bad.  Those three magically warm and sunny days last week have spoiled us though.  Everything looks and feels dull by contrast.

The flying bird of the day is a reliable chaffinch.  They should give hovering lessons to the other birds.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a fine peacock which my sister Mary saw on a walk in Holland Park. She was with my Somerset correspondent Venetia.

peacock

Thereby hangs a tail, as they say.

We have had to wait a long time but we finally got a warm and pleasant day today, though just to ensure that we didn’t get too uppity, the weather gods provided a stiff breeze, some clouds and an evening rain shower to go with the sunshine.

I was feeling a bit tired after pushing the slow bike around in the wind yesterday so I was more than happy to have a cup of coffee and some treacle scones with Dropscone rather than set out on another long pedal in the morning.

Before he arrived, I cycled round the town doing some business and then walked round the garden.  The gooseberry bush is starting to show signs of life…

gooseberry bud

…among its formidable thorns…

…and a rather cross bee gave me a hard stare when I went into the greenhouse to check on Mrs Tootlepedal’s seedlings.

bee in greenhouse

While Dropscone and I were drinking our coffee, I noticed an unusually marked jackdaw on the lawn.

jackdaw

It was taking a rest from collecting nesting material.

By coincidence, just as Dropscone left and I was checking a freshly out pulmonaria in the garden…

pulmonaria

…this handsome dog….

Vizsla

…brought Dropscone’s sister with one of her daughters and a grandchild in a pushchair to our garden gate.  His sister has sent me a fine view of the town which will appear soon as guest picture of the day.

The dog, for those who are interested in these things, is a Vizsla, a Hungarian breed.

After Elizabeth and Anna went on their way, I took a moment to watch the birds.  The flocks of siskins and goldfinches have vanished like snow off a dyke and our regular crew of chaffinches flew in instead…

flying chaffinch

…doubtless quite pleased to see the coast clear.

They were joined by a greenfinch…

greenfinch

…who as usual didn’t seem to be pleased about anything.

After lunch, I got the slow bike out and set off up the road to see where my tired legs would take me.

They took me to the Cleuchfoot road where I enjoyed the tree beside the Glencorf burn…

tree and glencorf burn

…and these colourful alder catkins….

alder catkin

…and then, with a lot of huffing and puffing, they took me to the top of Callister where they finally gave up the unequal struggle with a strong wind and went on strike.

The view from the top of Callister doesn’t show the 25mph  gusts of wind.

View from Whita

It does show how the long winter and spring have drained all the colour out of our hills and it will be a couple of months before we are living in a green and pleasant land again.

Still, it was genuinely warm at about 10°C so it was nice enough to be out, even with bolshie legs and the brief 14 miles took me over 100 miles for the month.

When I got back to the town, I went along the riverside  before I finished my ride, in the hope of seeing one of these.

oyster catcher

There is nothing like an oyster catcher to make you forget a stiff breeze.

I had a cup of tea and walked round the garden to enjoy the little bits of colour that there are about.

cowslip

Mrs Tootlepedal’s recently purchased fancy daffodil has survived the weather and is looking quite cheerful, though I had to hold its head up to get this shot.

fancy daffodil

A winter aconite had attracted a bee.

bee on aconite

I thought of a walk but the threat of a rain shower sent me back indoors after I had done a bit more work on the new raised beds.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and since Gardener’s World was not on, Mike watched England ladies play Wales ladies at football on the telly while Alison and I played played flute and keyboard duets.  Although the football ended in a goalless draw, Mike said that he had enjoyed it and Alison and I had certainly enjoyed our playing so with added conversation,  it was an evening well spent.

Our spell of warmer weather is set to continue for a while and I hope to get some more useful miles in over the next few days, even if they are slow ones.

The flying bird is one of our loyal band of chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited Kew Gardens yesterday with my sister Susan.  They went to the water lily house.

Inside the water lily house

I had had a look at the weather forecast last night and as a result I had thought that an early start would be best for cycling.  These sort of plans often turn out to be more theoretical than actual but today I managed to achieve my object and was off on my bicycle while Mrs Tootlepedal was still in the land of dreams.

I had an appointment with some coffee and treacle scones later on so I stuck to my standard 20 mile round trip to Canonbie and back.  The wind was brisk but in a helpful direction, the sun was shining and my legs were in a good mood so I stuck to pedalling and didn’t stop for any pictures.

This left me with time for a walk round the garden before Dropscone arrived for coffee.  It was a good morning to be out among the flowers, with plenty of gently sparkling colour….

geranium and potentillas

A geranium and two potentillas

…and some ‘in your face’ wow factor.

geranium

Hard to ignore

peony

Very hard to ignore

The peonies were at their best…

peonies

…and the Sweet Williams were dazzling.

sweet williams

The orange hawkweed was attracting insects….

orange hawkweed

…and the pond was rich in frogs.

frogs

I enjoyed the the effect of the surface tension of the water.

A young Rosa Goldfinch flower was almost perfect…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed the waterfall of tropaeolum down the side of the yew.

Rosa Goldfinch

I just had time to admire a white campanula….

campanula

…before Dropscone arrived for coffee.

He had been playing golf at Kelso yesterday but he had been afflicted by an appalling outbreak of shanking which had spoiled his day.  (Shanking would spoil any golfer’s day to be fair.)  As one who was been afflicted with the same disease in my playing days, I was able to offer a sympathetic ear to his troubles…..and enjoy his treacle scones at the same time.  This eased the pain.

By the time that he left, the sun had gone too but it was still dry so I mowed the middle lawn, thinned out the abundant gooseberries on the gooseberry bush with Mrs Tootlepedal’s help and had another look at the flowers.

Even without the sun, they were still looking good.

The clematis at the back door is over but fortunately the climbing hydrangea is stepping to fill the gap.

Hydrangea

I saw a little stem of Rosa Goldfinch which. showed neatly how the flowers turn from yellow to white as they mature.

Rosa Goldfinch

A cotoneaster in the back bed was buzzing with bees but they were rushing around in such an excited fashion that I couldn’t get a picture of them so I settled for the flowers themselves.

cotoneaster

An overview with bee

cotoneaster

A close up

I looked at three old friends….

iris, clematis and peony

…checked out the blue lupin which has reached the opening up stage…

lupin

…and went in to stew the gooseberries and make some soup for lunch.

And that was that.

I arranged to go for a walk with Sandy in the afternoon but shortly after lunch it began to rain and didn’t let up for ages so I did the crossword, put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised being a bass and in this way, managed to fill in the rest of the afternoon.

Without the sunshine, it turned into a rather cold and miserable day and Mrs Tootlepedal, who would have liked to be out in the garden doing useful things, got rather gloomy too.  It didn’t feel like June at all.

Earlier in the morning, we had thought of going on an outing but it was just as well that we couldn’t think of anywhere to go.

On the plus side, the rock hard gooseberry thinnings turned out to be quite eatable when stewed…..and with a good splash of sugar added.

The forecast is for a much better day tomorrow and I hope that they have got that right as I am helping out on a guided walk and it won’t be much fun if it is raining.

The flying bird of the day is a single cotoneaster flower taken in the morning sunshine.

cotoneaster

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Flamborough Head.  As well as seeing gannets and a puffin, he witnessed a dramatic sea rescue of a woman who had got into difficulties in the sea.  It needed a brave onlooker who plunged into the sea, a life boat and a helicopter.  Here the helicopter is lowering medical assistance  to the shore.

Helicopter

Mrs Tootlepedal was very excited when she looked out of an upstairs window after breakfast and saw that the first of her Shirley poppies,  grown from seed, had shown its colour.

Shirley poppy

I was excited too as I like them a lot.

Talking of plants grown from seed, Mrs Tootlepedal is also very pleased with the good show that her Sweet Williams are making along both sides of the drive.

Sweet William

It would be a very gloomy person who wasn’t cheered up by these bright flowers.

In the morning, I had to visit the Archive Centre to replace a bulb in one of the microfiche readers.  Luckily you can buy the bulbs in town so it was not a great problem.  I had a bit of other shopping to do and I got back home in time to watch Scotland play Japan at rugby for the second time in two weeks.  Like the first match, Scotland managed to win but once again it was a far from convincing performance.  Still, it can’t be bad if you can win matches when you are not playing your best.

By the time that the game had finished so had the dry weather and a light rain was falling.  It got heavier which put paid to any plans for a walk or cycle.  It did ease off though and both the sun and I came out into the garden.

philadelphus, peony and water lily

peony and marigold

Everything was rather wet but still looking good.

We had a  bit of a worry a few days ago when one branch of our gooseberry bush got terminally sick and had to be cut off but the rest of the bush seems to be doing very well and the fruit is developing nicely.

gooseberry

The rain came back again and I went inside.  It didn’t dampen the spirits of the sparrows who continued to trample happily on each other in the pursuit of seed.

sparrow trampling

A blackbird took advantage of a rain filled coconut shell to have a drink.

Blackbird

The rain eased off again just in time to welcome a visit from Bob to the garden.

bob

Bob had brought Mike Tinker and his daughter Liz with him.  She is a professional gardener and her visits are always welcome as she is very generous and helpful with her advice.  She had given Mrs Tootlepedal two Cardooms last year and there was a ceremonial inspection of the plants today.

They are doing well.

Cardoons

They are members of the artichoke family and should soon have big flowers.

Mike and Liz went on their way but not before Mrs Tootlepedal had pressed a dahlia on Liz.

When they had gone, I noticed a bee heading for a foxglove.

bee and foxglove

In spite of the some ominous looking dark clouds, the rain seemed to have gone away for a while so I decided on a short walk while the going was good.

The view of the church from Caroline Street is much improved since a tree on the river bank had to be felled.  You can see the stump in front of the wall.

Langholm Parish Church

This is where Mrs Tootlepedal sings in the choir on Sundays.

I passed the family of oyster catchers between the bridges on the Esk.

oyster catchers

Both the adults tried to lead me away from the youngster.

I walked along the Kilngreen taking in the sights both welcome…

Mallard

A mallard making waves….well ripples.

…and less welcome.

Giant hogweed

This looks like giant hogweed on the Castleholm bank, a real pest among weeds

My walk took me towards the cricket ground and I noticed that there was a match on in spite of the rain earlier.

Cricket notice

I see that the most important spectator attraction is in the biggest writing

I kept away from the bar but stood on the boundary watching the game for several overs.

Langholm Cricket Ground

For those unfamiliar with the game of  cricket, there are bowlers who hurl balls at…

bowlers

…batsmen….

batsmen

…who fend the balls off with a bat.

They are surrounded by fielders who collect the balls that the batsmen hit and catch them out if they are in the air.  On the occasion though, the fielders failed to keep hold of two very easy catches and the batsmen biffed and bashed and won the game.

I walked home when the game ended.

As I am still a bit tired after missing a whole night’s sleep, I was very happy that it had just been a short walk and to make things even better, Mrs Tootlepedal made the tea.

We followed the main dish up with a plate of strawberries and cream.  It seems bad that we have to eat strawberries and cream every day just now as the strawberry plants are very productive but someone has to do it.

The flower of the day is a Goldfinch Rose.  It is yellow when it comes out at first but soon changes to white as it develops.

Goldfinch rose

The flying bird of the day is two siskins.

flying siskins

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, who is visiting the Aigas Field Studies Centre in Inverness-shire and took this photo yesterday at Loch Aigas.

Loch Aigas

Our run of pleasantly warm but very grey days continued.  In spite of occasional spits of rain and some very dark clouds at times, it also remained dry and considering that there have been heavy showers nearby, we feel quite lucky.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent a good deal of time helping with the archaeological survey of the Roman fort at Broomholm but didn’t have the opportunity to find any Roman treasure.

I didn’t have the chance to go cycling or walking because I was otherwise occupied.  In the morning, I did my stint in the Information Hub on the High Street and had the opportunity to give out information to several people who wanting some, both local and visitors to the town.  I also had a visit from Dropscone so I was well entertained.

When I got home, I had a light lunch and walked round the garden.

Things are growing and the garden is looking quite lush.

foxgloves

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with her white foxgloves.

peony

The first of many pale peonies

delphinium

And the first of many delphiniums

The area round the pond is flourishing.

pond in June

And the bed at the end of the middle lawn is bursting with life.

daisies, roses, sweet rocket

My creaky joints had benefited from a good night’s sleep and a quiet morning so I mowed the front lawn and put some more buck-u-uppo on the middle lawn.  Everything got so washed out by the continual rain last year and in the early spring this year that the whole garden still needs a lot of nurturing in spite of our recent good weather.

I finished and took another look at some flowers….

nectaroscordum

Nectaroscordum

lamium

The Lamium took its time but is doing well now.

I had just gone in to look at the birds through the kitchen window when I was distracted by a very ominous sight.

rabbit

Yes, that is the tail of a rabbit going up the garden path.  It went a lot quicker when I rushed out of the house and pursued it with blood curdling oaths.  A rabbit is a most unwelcome visitor as it can wreak havoc in a garden in a very short time.  A neighbour told Mrs Tootlepedal that she had seen a rabbit in her garden so this might be the same one.  We can only hope that it is a lost youngster and that it will soon find its way out of the streets and back into the country.

On the plus side, the bees were busy again and there was quite a buzz in the garden.

iris with bee

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her fort, we set about trimming the hedge along the road.  It looked quite passable by the time we had finished.

street hedge

It is bookended by Philadelphus

When we had finished, I went in to cook the tea and Mrs Tootlepedal had a go at the front garden hedges.

hedges

Before and after

There are quite a few more hedges and box balls to go so we will be kept busy.

I had time for one last walk round the garden while the mince was cooking.

We had a bit of a crisis with the gooseberry bush when one branch mysteriously died back and had to be cut off but both it and the strawberries have enjoyed a little rain and are looking potentially very tasty.

strawberries and gooseberries

There are very few plums as they flowered when there were no bees but those that are there are looking quite healthy.  The apples have fruited better, perhaps because I hand pollinated them.

apples and plums

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we were able to congratulate ourselves on some more evidence of good progress.  It won’t be long before he will be able to play better than me (a fairly easy target admittedly) which will be very gratifying for me as a teacher thought it might make me practise a bit more often as a player.

The mince turned out well and after our evening meal, I went off to play some sonatas with Isabel.  No trios tonight as cellist Mike was away in Edinburgh.

In celebration of the increased number of bees in the garden, the flying bird of the day is a bumble bee.

bee

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Liz’s visit to the Chelsea Flower show.  It shows the much admired Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth garden.  It is difficult to know what to think about it without actually being in it.

Laurent -Perrier Chatsworth GardenIt was Dropscone’s 74th birthday today and he celebrated by going round his favourite 20 mile morning cycle ride but found it hard work as the wind has still not relented.  He brought some of his Friday treacle scones round afterwards to be enjoyed with coffee.  I was trying to take a birthday picture of him but he was too quick for me and I only got this fleeting glimpse as he cycled away.

DropsconeAfter he had left, Granny and Mrs Tootlepedal and I left too but this time by car for a shopping trip to Carlisle.  We visited Aldi and managed to pick up a modestly priced garden chair and a very, very attractively priced little back bag for my (fairly) speedy bike.

saddle bagI hadn’t intended to buy the bag as I think it is a little too small for my requirements but it was so attarctively priced that I couldn’t resist it.  I reckon that can pack a small tool kit, a spare tube, a medium banana and an egg roll into it as well as a lightweight rain jacket so it will answer well enough for trips under 50 miles.   Looking at the picture above, you might well think that I need a new saddle too and you might well be right but it is hard to give up something that has been moulded by so many miles and is still pretty comfortable.

The morning was cold and windy and grey but by the afternoon, the sun had appeared and the temperature was finally at a reasonable level for the time of year, even in the wind.  We made the most of it.  Granny came out and supervised Mrs Tootlepedal at work on one of the borders.

Granny in the gardenI was busy with compost.  I sieved the last of the material in bin D for Mrs Tootlepedal to use on her border and then started shifting the material from bin C into bin D.

compostThere can be no better fun than playing with compost but my dodgy back means that I have to be careful to take things gently and the rest of the material will be moved in small stages.  Of course then I will be able to move the stuff from bin B into Bin C.  What joy.

I also mowed the middle and back lawns, easy work because of the dry conditions, and did some shredding so my horticultural enjoyment was complete.

I did need a little sit down with the crossword afterwards though.

By this time, it was so warm and pleasant that there was no alternative to a short cycle ride in spite of the persistent breeze.  I repeated yesterday’s fourteen mile trip and thanks to both the warmth and starting in the afternoon instead of before breakfast, I was able to pedal a lot quicker today.

On account of the recent very cold and windy weather, I have done a very poor mileage in May and I can only hope that June is a kinder month.   Last year I did just under 1400 miles in March, April and May.  This year I will have done just under 1000 miles so there is some serious work to be done to get back to full fitness and that needs good weather as I don’t want to damage my new knee by charging about in inhospitable conditions.

A weather expert last night on the TV told us that the cold spell was caused by stormy Atlantic weather during the past winter.  He wasn’t to hopeful that things would change so maybe today was another flash in the pan.

The garden responded to the warmth while it was around.

lithodora and bee

There were plenty of bees working away

apple and bee

Luckily some had chosen the apples.

soft fruit

Potential strawberries and developing gooseberries

Mrs Tootlepedal has a lot of bluebells but she is sad that many of them are Spanish bluebells (left) and not our native bluebells (right). The Spanish bluebells take over from the natives and she is thinking of digging them up.

bluebellsThe first of the rhododendrons is bursting with colour in contrast to the single azalea flower to have come out so far.

rhododendronazaleaThe fine yellow tulip has also spread its wings, revealing a very delicate red border to its petals.

yellow tulipThe little willow bush near the feeders is flourishing at last.

willowA new arrival is a pair of white and blue Polemonium, commonly called Jacob’s ladder.

polemoniumThe clematis over the back door is starting to look as it should…

clematis…but most of the flowers are still waiting to come out.

All in all, the day was one of promise.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I played a few flute and keyboard sonatas and we both agreed that in spite of enjoying ourselves, a little practice wouldn’t go amiss before we play together again.

It was a busy day and I didn’t have much time to bird watch so the flying bird of the day is a composite leaping and diving great tit.  A bit of a cheat but the best that I could do.

great tit

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s sister Elizabeth, who is visiting her daughter in America.  It was taken on the Monticello estate (home of Thomas Jefferson) which is near where her daughter  lives. It shows a hotel for insects, and she assures me that there are many insects in this part of the world.

Charlottesville April 2015 005Although it has been chilly and windy lately and the road gritter was out again last night, in general there have been enough sunny spells to keep our spirits up.  Today was almost one continuous sunny spell, although it was only 5° when I set out on my bike to do a little training.

Rather than go for a cycle ride, I decided to see if I could cycle up a 1½ mile, 600ft climb twice in a row without wrecking myself.  I took the climb at a very steady speed and stopped to take a photo or two with my phone at the top.

White YettThe white van rather spoiled the view so I disappeared it on the computer when I got home.

White YettThe monument and the McDiarmid memorial were looking very good in the morning sun.

monument and memorialI rolled gently back down the hill and then climbed back up it again, still slowly but quite comfortably.  The view was still good from the top.

white yettI was at 272m or 892ft when I took this picture.  The bottom of the climb is at 86m or 282ft so the climb is almost exactly 600ft.

Once again, I rolled gently back down the hill, as I am a decidedly cautious descender these days and spurning the chance of a third go at the hill, I rolled on home, having done just under eight miles in almost exactly an hour.

Fortunately Dropscone was soon at hand with some reviving treacle scones and I was very happy to find at the end of the day that my legs were none the worse for the exertion.  The point of the training is a cycle event in Cumbria on Monday which is fifty miles and has 3500ft of climbing.  I realise that eight miles and 1200ft is a bit on the short side but I haven’t been feeling at my best lately so knowing that I can do some steady hill work is very reassuring.

During the day, I had quite a few strolls round the garden and I paid particular attention to the tulips.  Mrs Tootlepedal has some very decorative miniature tulips out at the moment.

Miniature tulipMiniature tulipI love the geometry of the internal workings of the bigger tulips.

tuliptuliptulipThe joy of six.  I am sorry (but not very) to have so many tulip pictures but it was a day for repetitions.

I had seen some promising wild garlic, which is an allium, on my walk yesterday and today I saw a tame  allium in our own garden.

alliumI checked the gooseberries to see if the insects were still at work.

gooseberry with beeThere seems to be plenty of pollen about in spite of the freezing mornings.

The plum blossom is looking not too bad either.

plum blossomHaving said that we never get any sparrows at the feeder, we are getting quite regular sparrow visits now.

sparrowMrs Tootlepedal had spent the morning doing some useful shopping and among other things, came home with a very reasonably priced log splitter from Aldi so we won’t keep having to borrow Liz’s from next door. I split a few logs with it.

In the afternoon, having almost finished the work on the front room, Mrs Tootlepedal turned her attention to the garden.  With some modest help from me, she put in our potatoes for the season.  I took time out to sieve some compost for her to add to the potato bed and when I was not needed, went off and mowed the gauss round the  greenhouse and on the drying green grass.

After a very brief discussion, it appeared that we were both more than happy to turn over the bulk of the front lawn to a wild flower meadow.  It lies in the shade for a lot of the day for most of the winter months and is hard to keep up to a good standard.  It will be interesting to see if the plan for the mini-meadow works out well.

While Mrs Tootlepedal continued to slave over the potatoes, I took another photographic stroll.

I am mazed that I ever thought that euphorbias were dull.

euphorbiaDiscreet, yes but dull, no.

There is a flourishing rosemary plant beside the greenhouse.

rosemaryIn a spirit of repetition, I had another go at catching the apple buds.  My big zoom lens had found it hard to do them justice so I gave Pocketcam a go.

appleIt was more successful.

The final picture of this tour was perhaps the fanciest daffodil that we have in the garden.

daffodilIt was really nice to be out in the garden in the sunshine once more, watching Mrs Tootlepedal at work and if there are two things that I enjoy, they are sieving compost and mowing grass so we were both very cheerful.

I made a trip to the High Street during the morning to get in new supplies of Ethiopian coffee beans and while I was doing that, I called in at one of our art galleries and picked up an object which Mrs Tootlepedal had commissioned from a local potter.

tea bag bowlIt is a unique vessel specially made to put our tea bags in to dry before they are recycled, hence the handy holes in the bottom.

A recent survey claimed that retired Danish ladies are the happiest people in Europe but as I sit at my tidy computer desk, typing this entry in a warm, dry, well lit room, with some economically chopped logs glowing in the stove, I am giving them a jolly good run for their money tonight.

The flying bird of the day is a wide winged chaffinch.

chaffinch

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