Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘knapweed’

Today’s guest picture is another from Stephen’s visit to North Queensland. As well as idyllic beaches, he and his wife visited the Kuranda aviary where amongst others, they encountered this striking pair of birds.

Australian birds

The weather gods relented today, and after sending us more overnight rain, they let up by morning and allowed us to enjoy a dry and sometimes sunny day today. This gave us the chance to do some work in the garden and let me take a few pictures while I was out there.

Well, to be honest, I took a lot of pictures but I am putting in this panel of four pale flowers to stand for them all.

four pale flowers

It was pleasantly warm and the wind was noticeable but not offensive so there was really no reason why I should not have gone out for a cycle ride after breakfast to make good use of the day. All the same, I managed to find several reasons; a crossword, coffee, dead heading, picking sweet peas and so on until I finally ran out of excuses and set off for a pedal about midday.

To tell the truth, I didn’t feel exactly enthusiastic about the idea so I started off very slowly and stopped to look at wild flowers at the earliest opportunity.

The yellow bedstraw beside the Wauchope road is very striking at the moment…

yeloow bedstraw by road

…as are the pink heads on the yarrow when they first come out.

yarrow by road

The verge trimmers have left this road alone so there are a number of orchids around…

orchid by road

…but this little tormentil flower is so low to the ground that it might well escape the mower even if it does come.

tormentil by road

As I went on, the sun came out and in spite of having to pedal into the wind, my spirits lifted and I decided to take a diversion to investigate the road along which the turbines for the new windfarm at Solwaybank will arrive.

It was a narrow and poorly surfaced road but now it has been resurfaced and a extra bit of width has been added.

solwaybank road

The arrival of the turbines has been delayed because of financial problems with the suppliers so the extra width has got many traffic cones on it to stop it getting worn out before the big lorries finally come.

It was a treat to cycle along a well surfaced back road but when the time came that a brand new windfarm road had been built across country….

solwaybank road for windfarm

…I was left pedalling up the old narrow road.

new solwaybank road

However, as it had been resurfaced not too long ago and was still in fair condition, and as there were foxgloves on the way…

foxgloves solwaybank road

…I wasn’t complaining.

The new windfarm will be the fourth in our area and as I cycled along, I passed under a power line that was built for one of the previous sites.

The people who put the poles up must had a very good piece of string as they are in a really straight line from one corner to the next.

windmill power line

Once I had got to the end of this road, I turned for home and with the wind now behind me, I found that I was going too fast to think of stopping for every wild flower that I passed and it wasn’t until my legs started complaining as I got near the end of my ride, that I stopped again.

I was looking to admire a fine spread of knapweed on the old A7 near Hagg-on-Esk and I was lucky to find a hoverfly with same idea.

hoverfly

The knapweed and daisies are in good form along the road here,

verge irvine house road

When I got back to Langholm after 36 miles, I was seized with decimal mania and cycled through the town and out of the other side for two miles. The verge cutters had been slaughtering wild flowers here.

mowed verge A7 terrona

The extra four miles brought my trip up to 40 miles and my mileage for the first ten days of the month of July up to 200, the most that I have cycled in such a short spell this year.

If I stick to cycling, and don’t try to do any walking, my feet are not too bad and in recent days I have found myself feeling quite a bit happier about taking exercise. This is a tribute to the healing skills of Dr Velo.

I had enough energy left when I got home to get the mower out and mow the two lawns. We are going down to London again for a few days on family business tomorrow so they needed a cut before we went.

While I was out, I checked on the new fuchsia in the chimney pot. It is settling in well.

fuchsia chimney

The hostas are bursting onto flower…

hosta flowers

…but they can’t compare with the magnificence of our neighbour Liz’s filipendula.

liz's astilbe

When I went in, I spent a little time checking on the birds.

A reader suggested that the collective term for our siskins should be ‘squabble of siskins’ but he pointed out that it has already been taken by seagulls. This is a pity as it really fits the feisty little things.

siskins sparring

If they are not squabbling over the seed, they are kicking one another.

a squabble of siskins

Some more sensible siskins prefer to nibble the nuts in peace.

siskin on nuts

Watching the recording of today’s stage Tour de France once again provided an opportunity for some relaxing sofa testing in the evening.

With some potentially heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, we are keeping our fingers crossed that our transport all works smoothly for out journey south.

A goldfinch, leaving the siskins to fight it out among themselves, is the flying bird of the day.

goldfinch leaving

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture was taken by camera club member Mairi on our Beamish outing last weekend, and shows that there isn’t just light a the end of the tunnel, there is a Tootlepedal too.

beamish pipe dream

Our spell of excellent weather continued today.  We had a sunny day but it wasn’t too hot so that was the best of both worlds.

After breakfast, I wandered round the garden.

There are plenty more poppies to come.

poppy with followers

I took a few general shots of colourful corners as the garden is looking quite bright.

flower bed view july 1

flower bed view july 2

flower bed view July 3

Amongst all the colour, there is plenty of whiteness about.

white flowers

And a steady supply of red admiral butterflies.

red admiral butterfly

We had coffee and then we went down to Longtown to collect Mrs Tootlepedal’s shopping bike from the bike shop.  It has had its granny gear fixed so Mrs Tootlepedal can laugh at hills now.

While we were pottering around the garden when we got back, loud cries made us look up and a small flock of swifts could be seen circling above our heads.   They are very nippy so I was pleased to get this shot even though it is not of the highest quality.

swift in flight

As lunchtime approached, I ran out of excuses to justify any more dawdling, so I had a cheese and tomato sandwich and set out to do some pedalling.

There was enough wind in my face to make the first twenty odd miles hard work and I took care to give myself plenty of short breaks for a rest and a drink.  Although I wasn’t looking for wild flowers on my way round, sometimes my stops coincided with something interesting.

cycle wild flowers

This vivid buttercup meadow just out of Langholm was worth an unscheduled stop for itself.

buttercups bigholms

I came to the Hoddam Bridge across the River Annan at the twenty mile mark…

river Annan at Hoddom

…but I couldn’t get a good picture of the bridge as the sun was straight above it and both sides of the bridge were in shadow.

I crossed the river and headed uphill on the other side towards the Repentance Tower.

repentance tower

The tower, built in 1565, is perched on the very top of the hill but the climb was worth it for the splendid view down over the Solway.

solway view from repentance tower

The masts are the radio station at Anthorn on the English side.

Once I had dropped down the hill towards the coast, I could see the triangular peak of Skiddaw, one of the northern Lake District fells, across the neatly mowed fields.

skiddaw

It was a beautiful day to be out cycling and after the hard work of the first twenty miles followed by the climb up past the tower, a bit of downhill, some very flat roads and a following wind for the next twenty was very welcome.

I stopped for my 30 mile snack in Eastriggs, outside the Devil’s Porridge museum just next to Sir James, a ‘fireless’ engine.  The firelessness was necessary as it worked in an enormous explosive factory where a spark from a fire could have spelled disaster.

sir james devils porridge

(A fireless locomotive is a type of locomotive which uses reciprocating engines powered from a reservoir of compressed air or steam, which is filled at intervals from an external source.)

From Eastriggs I headed on to Gretna and crossed the river Sark by the (fairly) mighty border bridge between England and Scotland…

 

sark bridge

…and from there it was not far to get home.  Since I was now going uphill and the wind wasn’t helping so much, I was happy to stop to admire the orange hawkweed at the Hollows bus stop…

hollows bus stop

…and some very bright knapweed beside the bike route near Langholm.

knapweed

I had hoped to do 50 miles and I actually did 51 so I was very content as I had a cup of tea at home with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had spent more time collecting signatures.

After my refreshing cup of tea, I had enough energy left to mow the middle lawn and set the sprinkler on the front lawn…

…and have a last look at the flowers.

There was a lot of yellow (and some dancing feet)  to see…

four yellow flowers

…and the Rozeira de L’Hay had a curiously wriggling centre which turned out to be a bee.

rozeira de l'hay

I can’t get over Mrs Tootlepedal’s new salvia.  It is the flower with everything.

P1030390

I retired indoors for a cool shower and and a nourishing meal of mince and tatties provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.  With Wimbledon and world cup football on the telly, finding an excuse for a quiet sit down after the meal was not hard.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch taking a good look to see of there was a spare perch about.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was on a bus crossing Waterloo Bridge when she came over all Wordsworth and admired the view.  (I know, I know; he was crossing Westminster Bridge but that is not far away).

View from bus window while crossing Waterloo Bridge

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:

After rain overnight, we had a fine and occasionally sunny day today so Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of it and toiled away in the garden morning and afternoon with a break for a committee meeting after lunch.

I went out for a look around after breakfast and saw Mrs Tootlepedal’s least favourite bird sighting , a sparrow in the vegetable garden looking for vegetables to destroy.

sparrow in veg garden

Sometimes when we got out there are twenty or more sparrows lurking about among the plants.  This one didn’t stop long though.

flying sparrow

I noticed that a young bird was lost in the greenhouse and looking pensive….

sparrow in greenhouse

…but it found its own way out in the end.

It was quite damp as you can see but it soon dried out and I mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass rather carefully.  We keep the grass there quite long so I even took the trouble to get the grass rake out first and make sure the grass was standing up to meet the mower.  In an uncooperative way though, quite a lot of the grass lay down again between me putting the  rake away and getting the mower out.

I had a look at the gooseberry bush to check for sawfly….

gooseberry bush

…and was pleased to find that there were none about.  The Solomon’s seal is being eaten by sawfly so the gooseberry may well be next.

I then got some lawn feed out and finished feeding the middle lawn.

While I was at work, our neighbours Liz and Ken walked over to see what was going on and I was telling them about my fern walk yesterday.  I lifted up the leaves of one of the ferns in our garden and they were impressed by what lay behind.

fern

So was I.

After all this excitement, I went in and watched the birds.

I saw a blue tit, an infrequent visitor…

blue tit…and several regulars too.

goldfinch and siskin

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went to her committee meeting and I got the new bike out and pedalled round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I checked to see if all the recent rain had put a bit more water into the Wauchope….

Wauchope Water cascade

…and found the little cascade was busy but not overflowing.

The grass beside the river was full of these little yellow spikes.

yellow wild flower

I need help in identifying them

Not long after I set off,  I became a bit worried about the weather, both behind me…

bloch view

..and in front…

bloch road view

…but the grey clouds passed me by and I had an enjoyable ride with the brisk breeze being more helpful than not.

When I got into the Esk valley, it was easy to see by the river that it had been raining quite a lot.

River esk at hollows

I said confidently to a reader the other day that there was lots of yellow rattle about but since then it has been hard to find so I was pleased to find a good sprinkling about beside the old A7 today.

P1110652

And there was a lot of knapweed there too…

knapweed

…and a mini meadow of daisies, knapweed and meadow vetchling as well.

wild flowers old A7

Thanks to the helpful wind, I got home in good time and found Mrs Tootlepedal back from her meeting and busy improving the back border.

I mowed the front lawn.  It is showing the benefit from the feed that I gave it last week and now definitely has more grass than moss on it.  I regard this as a minor triumph considering that earlier in our very wet and cold spring, I was seriously thinking about digging the whole thing up and starting again .

Then I went to sieve compost as Mrs Tootlepedal is using it by the bucket to improve the soil in the back border.

I checked and found that the bees are still finding pollen on the astrantias.

bee on astrantia

This concluded my outdoor activity for the day except for a few minutes of thinning out the gooseberries.  I stewed the thinnings and had them with cream in the evening.

Following my new schedule, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before tea.  I am trying not to take too many photographs so I don’t have to spend so much time looking through them but it is hard.

The flower of the day is a Martagon Lily, taken in the morning when things were still damp.

martagon lily

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows Justin half way up the Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District  yesterday.  He was accompanying my brother Andrew to the summit and had paused to admire the view.  My brother took the picture.

Old Man of Coniston

I am going to break with habit and start today’s post with a picture that I took last night after I had posted yesterday’s offering.  Clear nights have been  a rarity lately so this view of the moon just breaking free of a layer of thin cloud was very welcome.

Moon

I have not been sleeping as well as I would like recently so it took me some time to get up and have a late breakfast this morning and Mrs Tootlepedal had long departed to sing with the church choir before I managed to get the fairly speedy bike out and set off for a traditional Sunday morning 40 mile run down the flat roads to Newtown and back.

I was very pleased to see that although Genghis the Grasscutter…

Canonbie by pass

…had slaughtered most of the orchids along the Canonbie by-pass, a few….

orchids

…had escaped his vengeful blades.

There was a westerly wind blowing with quite a bit of bite in it so I had to pay attention to my bicycling and didn’t stop to take any pictures until I paused for a breather and a banana on the bridge at Longtown on my way home.

The River Esk at Longtown

The River Esk at Longtown

When Mrs Tootlepedal and I had driven to Carlisle yesterday, we had noticed that the knapweed on the banks of Aucherivock diversion were beginning to make a show so I stopped just before I got to Langholm today to show the knapweed in action.

knapweed

Auchenrivock diversion wild flowers

Thanks to the hedges on the Brampton road sheltering me from the worst of the crosswind and the kindly wind helping me up the hill on my way home, I managed to knock a few minutes off last Sunday’s time for the same journey and averaged just under 16 mph for the trip, a very good speed for me these days.

When I got home, I took a look round the garden.

blackbird

It seemed to be full of blackbirds.

The roses were as gorgeous as ever…

roses

…and they have been joined by a buddleia…

buddleia

…which I am hoping will attract hordes of butterflies into the garden.

The poppies come and go quickly…

poppy seed head

…but I think that this new pretty little Fuchsia will last a bit longer.

Fuchsia

I went in to have a cup of tea and watch some of a very exciting stage of the Tour de France.  It got a bit too exciting and the strain of watching it got too much for me so I went back out into the garden for another look round and to pick some more blackcurrants.  I am hoping to make blackcurrant jelly if I have the patience to pick enough of them.

Mrs Tootlepedal has a red flowering potentilla which has been a bit disappointing after some early promise but it has just started to flower again.

potentilla

I hope that it continues to make progress.

The nasturtiums need no encouragement.

nasturtiums

More roses caught my eye.

roses

Lilian Austin and the revived Ginger Syllabub

I went back inside just in time to watch a most horrendous crash in the tour as the leaders whizzed down a hill.   They were going down a narrow and twisty road at 70 kph.  On my own ride earlier on I had gone down a wide and straight road at 50 kph and I thought that that was quite scary enough.  These tour cyclists are  very brave men.

I append a quote from Cycling News that gives you an idea of just how hard these fellows are.

 

“X-rays confirmed a non-displaced right clavicle fracture and a non-displaced right acetabulum fracture. Richie also suffered extensive superficial abrasions involving the right side of his body. At this stage, the injuries will not require surgery. The plan is to re-evaluate Richie tomorrow morning and confirm that he is stable enough to be transferred home.”

While the crash was dramatic and the injuries fairly serious, the team remains hopeful that Porte can be back in action before the season is over. If all things go to plan, then they say that he could be racing again by August.

The other person involved in the crash, got back on his bike and finished the race.  When he was asked if he was hurting at all, he replied that he couldn’t tell yet.

I take my hat off to them.

After the stage was over, I went back out to pick a few more blackcurrants and have a last look round the garden.

new white flowers

Two new white flowers

clematis

A clematis with a big smile

astrantia

A fly turning its back on the beautiful centre of an astrantia

bee on ligularia

A bee among the twists and turns of the ligularia

I didn’t have long to look around as it was soon time to get showered and changed, ready to go out for a meal with the ‘old man’ of the Coniston climb, my brother Andrew.  He is on a touring holiday with his wife’s nephew Justin who comes from New Zealand and he kindly took the three of us out to the Douglas Hotel for an excellent meal.    We enjoyed good food and stimulating conversation.  It was interesting to get a New Zealand perspective on our present political situation in the UK.

The non flying bird of the day is one of our resident blackbirds, taking a dim view of life this afternoon.

blackbird

Note: I wish that I had had my flying bird camera to hand during the afternoon when I saw a sparrowhawk arrive in the garden, do a handbrake turn and disappear into the middle of our neighbour’s holly tree.  A very large number of starlings made a hasty exit from the tree in short order.  It was an unusual sight as mostly the sparrowhawks swoop down and pluck their prey  off a feeder, a branch or the ground.  I have never seen one fly into the middle of a thickly leaved tree before.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who started a journey north by going to Kentish Town Station where she was quite surprised to find a garden on the platform.

Kentish Town Station

We had a better day today with just a hint of warmth, although no one would have called a high summer day.

I had to spend two hours in the morning not taking advantage of the good weather while I sat in the Welcome to Langholm office in the Market Place from ten until twelve.  I was able to take advantage of the peace and quiet though (just two visitors to welcome) by getting a couple of weeks of the newspaper index put into the Archive Group database so it wasn’t time wasted.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal was still helping out at the Buccleuch Centre but she was soon back home and out in the garden.

I went out too.

By the front lawn, two blackbirds sat upon a hedge.  One stayed for a picture….

blackbird

…and the other flew off, stood on one leg and gave me a hard stare.

blackbird

The Rosa Wren nearby drew my attention away from the blackbird.

Rosa Wren

It is bursting with blossom.

Rosa Wren

 

I walked through the garden.

In the back border, I noticed a clematis covered up by other plants and Mrs Tootlepedal kindly stepped forward and drew aside the curtain.

Clematis

Its name is Ernest Markham

Beside it, a pink geranium stood out.

geranium

Mrs Tootlepedal has some knapweed in one of the flower beds…

knapweed

…and it is a plant which is popular with bees.

knapweed with bee

High above the knapweed, Bobbie James looks light and airy…

Bobbie James

…while further along the fence, the Ginger Syllabub has entered a rather blowsy period…

ginger syllabub

..and like Blanche Dubois, it is perhaps past its best.

The fancy geums are also coming to an end but they have been very good value and lasted a long time so we say goodbye to them with gratitude.

Geums

After lunch, I was tempted by the Tour on the telly but managed to resist it long enough to get the fairly speedy bike out, pump up the tyres and head off down to Canonbie and back.  A brisk wind kept me concentrating on just cycling for most of the trip but I did stop to admire the bus shelter  at the Hollows…

Bus shelter, Hollows

…and some wild knapweed on the old A7.

Knapweed

Knapweed

It was growing among the meadowsweet in a really rich roadside verge.

Wild flowers in verge Auchenrivock diversion

I kept to a steady speed and had enough energy when I got home to saw a few logs, sieve a couple of buckets of compost, have a shower, see the finish of the Tour stage and be ready for my flute pupil Luke when he arrived for another go at our Haydn sonata.  I had asked him to be sure to find a little time to practise through the week and it turned out that he had.  Nothing could be more satisfactory.

After tea, for which Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared a roasted shoulder of lamb, I went off for more music with Mike and Isabel.  This was to be our last evening of playing for a month so it was especially enjoyable.

The flying bird of the day is still sitting and still giving me a hard stare.

blackbird

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who met this fine swan on one of his recent golfing adventures.

swan

We had a beautifully sunny day today but paid for it with a drop of a few degrees on the thermometer.  It was above freezing but decidedly chilly when I cycled up to the town to see if I had left my mobile phone in the tourist office yesterday.  Greatly to my relief, I found it neatly tucked away in a draw there.  Once I had it back in my pocket, I returned home and began thinking about a cycle ride to celebrate the first day of November.

Unlike the get up and go of the past couple of days, I had to make quite an effort to get going today.  I was hoping for the temperature to rise a bit before I set off so I put in some time by cleaning my chain and then put in some more by having a cup of coffee.  In the end though, there was nothing for it but to go cycling so off I went.

There was no doubt that it was beautiful day…

Wauchopedale

…but a light north wind made me grateful for every layer of clothing that I had on.

I stopped a few times to take pictures as I went across country towards the River Annan but I only used this one.

road from Ecclefechan

This natural arch was on the road from Ecclefechan to Hoddom

Whenever I crossed a river, I tried to get a reflection.  This one in the River Annan is from Hoddom Bridge.

River Annan at Hoddom

And this is the wooded slope above the river.

Hoddom

If I had stopped to take a picture of every good view, I would never have got home.

I stopped on the bridge at Annan to have a snack but couldn’t find a reflection worth showing and I was heading on towards Canonbie from Kirkpatrick Fleming when a flash of colour in the verge caught my eye.  I was past it before I realised what it was and although I don’t usually turn the bike round and go back to take a picture, I did on this occasion.

fungus

A good crop of fungus

fungus

A very autumnal picture

The two blokes sitting in the cab of a lorry in a lay-by just down the road must have wondered what I was doing.

I took the same road from Canonbie to Hollows that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had walked along yesterday but I (just) resisted the temptation to take all the same shots again as I went along.  It did give a me a very good view up the Esk valley just before I dropped down to the Hollows.

Esk valley from Hollows

And it also gave me the chance to take an autumnal shot of Hollows Tower as I passed.

Hollows Tower in autumn

I had a final go at a reflection when I crossed Skippers Bridge just before getting home.

Esk at Skippers

I had covered 44 miles by the time that I got back.  My speed was very modest because if you are trying too hard, you tend to miss the best views and you also get reluctant to spoil your momentum by stopping all the time.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had a busy day getting manure and spreading it about in the garden as well as shifting a buddleia and generally continuing to tidy things up for the winter.

I filled up the feeder…

feeder

…and had a cup of tea.

We were both feeling that we had done quite a bit already during the day but it was such a lovely afternoon that we went out on our bikes for a very short run to the Kilngreen and the Castleholm and then back over the Jubilee Bridge.  It was well worth the effort.

We paused for a moment on the Kilngreen so that I could watch a goosander in the river….

goosander

…and the gulls flying past…

black headed gulls

…and then we cycled up the Lodge Walks.

Lodge walks

Mrs Tootlepedal was very interested to see the trees that had been felled for safety reasons.  The beech tree stumps were still surrounded by fungi…

fungus

…and there were all sorts of interesting things on bits of one of the hollow conifers.

fungus and mold

Having cycled up the Lodge Walks as far as the Lodge, we turned and cycled back down.

Lodge walks

It was just as pretty in either direction.

When we crossed the Jubilee Bridge, we were in the shade for a while and it began to feel very much like November.

Back in the garden, I finished picking the Charles Ross apples.  This was just in time because the birds have discovered them and two or three had been  pecked so thoroughly that I left them there for the birds to enjoy the rest.  I searched for the last few raspberries and enjoyed some of them more than others as the flavour was very variable.

We are promised a cold night tonight and we were expecting a frost but I see that the latest forecast only goes as low as 3°C so we may escape.  Just in case though, I went round the garden taking pictures of some of our floral survivors.

poppies and dahlias

The poppies and dahlias have been brilliant this year.

nasturtium and fuchsia

The nasturtiums against the house wall may well survive but the fuchsia is more delicate.

The fuchsia is going to be moved anyway but it has given us its best display ever so we can only hope that it will like its new spot next year.

Although there is some rain coming on Thursday and Friday, the forecast is showing a lot of sunshine over the next week or so and this autumn must be going to be one of the kindest that we have had for many years.

The flower of the day is a lone knapweed, flowering long after its due date….

knapweed

…and the flying bird of the day is a black headed gull, shining in the afternoon sun.

black headed gull

For those interested in that sort of thing, details of my ride today can be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin-route-1-nov-2016

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s holiday in the Lake District last month.  She describes it as, “Another compulsory bridge.”

Another compulsory bridge

The weather improved a good deal today and I was able to walk up to the High Street  without any rainwear on to take my turn dispensing information to tourists at our visitor centre there.  On this occasion, I actually did dispense some information to tourists, though only a modest number, it must be said (two).

However, there was an art exhibition of works by the local Art Club and people came in to see the paintings, Dropscone dropped in for a chat and my relief arrived well before his appointed time so the time fairly whizzed by.

When I got home, I walked round the garden.

The rose, Bobbie James, recommended in a recent TV gardening programme is beginning to show why the presenter liked it.

rosa Bobbie james

It was soon time for lunch so I went in, stopping to look at the birds….

sparrow

The demand for seed was as insistent as yesterday

…and afterwards I mowed the middle lawn before the grass got too long to manage easily.    It was surprisingly and gratifyingly firm after the recent rain so credit must go to Lorne who helped me a great deal with the spiking last autumn.

I’ll have to mow the front lawn tomorrow or people may get lost in the long grass.  I should have done it today but the need for a cycle ride to stretch my legs was more pressing.

It was dry, cloudy and pleasantly warm but very windy so I approached the ride with some trepidation.  However, I chose my route well and after a tough first three miles butting straight into the wind, the rest of the twenty mile circuit was much easier with the wind either behind or across for the most part and some good shelter from banks and hedges when it was in my face.

I didn’t take many pictures en route as when it is windy, I have either got my head well down and don’t notice much or I am going to fast to see things in time to stop.

I did see a brilliant flash of red beside the road soon after I started though and even went back to check what it was.  Brilliant flashes of red often turn out to be drinks cans rather than flowers and although this wasn’t a flower, at least it wasn’t a discarded can.

dock leaf

I don’t think that I could meet a much redder leaf than this one.

When I got home, I walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had been busy all day painting our old downstairs shower room which is being converted to a utility room for the washing machine and was pleased to take a break.

As the day had warmed up and the garden had dried out, there was plenty to look at.

astrantia and martagon lily

Plants are developing all the time

New lilies are opening.

lily

Hostas are bursting into flower.

hosta

Moss and rambler roses are coming into their own.

moss rose rambler rose

And one of the many cornflowers and the Fuchsia on the back wall shone out.

cornflower and Fuchsia

I picked a few strawberries and was more than happy to find some in good condition after the rain and then I looked at the blackcurrants.  They were ready to pick and Mrs Tootlepedal and I cleared the bush off.  They haven’t been netted but the birds had left us plenty and they will soon be converted to blackcurrant jelly.

I should mention that we have had to eat strawberries nearly every day for what seems like weeks but we are bearing up bravely.

After tea, I went to off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  The events of the day in the political world have been so extraordinary that we spent some time putting the world to rights before we started to play but once we got going, we had an enjoyable musical evening.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that Mike’s wife occasionally glances at the blog so I will take this opportunity to mention that not only are Mike’s political views very sound  but he also  played very well tonight (as he always does of course).

The flower of the day is a knapweed.  It is a wonderfully complex thing when looked at closely.

knapweed

And the flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »