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Posts Tagged ‘lithospermum’

Today’s guest picture shows a great crested grebe, sent by my Glastonbury correspondent Venetia.  It was seen while on a visit to Shapwick Heath nature reserve with my sister Mary.

Great crested grebe

Our dry spell continued with another mostly sunny day here but the cool north easterly wind meant that it wasn’t a day for the natty shorts as yesterday had been.

Mrs Tootlepedal didn’t care because it was quite good enough for her to spend a day in the garden doing useful stuff all over the place.

She started in the greenhouse and I came and sat in the warmth while she potted out seedlings.  I could see the rosemary in flower through the glass and went out to try to get a picture of it.

rosemary

I find it a very difficult plant to capture properly.

While Mrs Tootlepedal toiled, I enjoyed a leisurely morning which was enhanced by the arrival of Dropscone bearing some traditional Friday treacle scones.  After he left, I had space to do the crossword, visit the shop  and make some lentil soup until it was time to eat the soup for lunch.

There were not many birds about and the plum tree was operating a separate gender policy for chaffinches at first….

plum tree

…although shy glances were exchanged later.

chaffinches

A redpoll was in full breeding colour.

redpoll

I had a look at the pond and was impressed by the ripples of agitation which a light footed pond skater created.

pond skater

And Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a rather fancy daffodil which she couldn’t remember buying, let alone planting.

fancy daffodil

During the morning, we got a call from the bike shop in Longtown to say that my slow bike was ready for collection so after lunch we drove down to pick it up.

The slow bike has a belt drive rather than a chain so that it has no chance of getting oil on my trousers when I ride it around the town.  On this occasion I had got the bike shop to make it even more convenient by fitting a solid tyre to the back wheel thus making sure that I could never get a puncture.

solid tyre

Robert William Thomson of Stonehaven patented the pneumatic tyre in 1846 but he was frustrated by the lack of thin rubber and he turned to the development of his solid rubber tyres. It was not until 43 years later that the pneumatic tyre returned, when it was developed as a bicycle tyre by John Boyd Dunlop.  It will be interesting to see if the return of the solid rubber tyre catches on 130 years later.

With its enclosed gears, stand, belt drive, rear view mirror, mudguards and solid tyre, my slow bike should be the perfect vehicle for a leisurely tour through town or country.

I was interested to see how it would ride with the solid tyre fitted so I took it for a spin up the Lodge Walks to check for possible nuthatches while testing it out.

There were no nuthatches to be seen but the trees are beginning to show their springtime green…

Catleholm trees

…the primroses are very fine…

primroses

…and it is always a treat to have an ice cream from the van on the Kilngreen and have a chat with Mr Grumpy at the same time.

heron

The new tyre coped with all the bumps very comfortably and handled well so first impressions were good.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed to an extension of the trial by cycling with me up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back.  In spite of the sun, it was chilly enough in the wind to need a coat but it was a beautiful day to be out.

Mrs Tootlepedal cycling

I stopped to record the continuing dilapidation of the cottage across the field from the road…

blochburnfoot cottage

It is picturesque but a sad sight.

…and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted the first bluebells of the spring.

first bluebell

Once again, the bike handled well and dealt with any bumps most comfortably.  The rolling resistance seemed very reasonable too so I am quite happy with my new tyre after the initial ten miles.  The bike shop man told me that this was the first solid tyre that he had fitted so he too is interested in how it rides.  The only unanswered question is how durable it will prove to be.  That question will take some time to answer.

I had another walk round the garden in the afternoon.

The euphorbias are enjoying the sunshine a lot…

euphorbias

…and I liked the contrast between a tiny lithodora and an extravagant tulip.

lithospermum and tulip

Later on, Mrs Tootlepedal made the first rhubarb crumble of the year and I enjoyed a generous helping for my tea along with some cauliflower cheese.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a go at a new sonata (for us) by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739).  I had found it in the bottom of a drawer under a pile of other music and it turned out to be very attractive and not too difficult so it will certainly appear on our menu again.

I haven’t made the best use of the recent sunny weather for taking the flying birds of the day but there haven’t been many birds about and I have had plenty of other things to do so once again, the flying bird of the day is not of top quality and I apologise.

chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a colourful corner of my daughter’s garden on Monday.  As she is in Cannes at the moment, it is having to get on without her.

Annie's gardenI personally had a very quiet day in contrast to the loud and windy weather outside.  After a night of rain, it was at least dry, although we only got very infrequent moments of sunshine.

I put a dull day to good use by doing some vacuuming, dusting and window cleaning.  Now that the front room is watertight, we are trying to make sure it is well looked after.  I also made some soup, mowed the grass round the green house and on the drying green and put a week of the newspaper index into the database so although I didn’t work up any great speed at any time, at least I was generally employed usefully for once.

In between times, instead of staring out of the kitchen window, I walked round the garden once or twice.

Things were rather yellow today.

yellow flowersyellow flowersOther colours were available.

white flowersapple blossomlithospermum and euphorbiaBut the most striking flower was yellow.

tulipMrs Tootlepedal, stopped tidying up inside after lunch and started to to some tidying up in the garden instead.  She showed me an interesting looking thing.  We think it might be a slime mold.

slime moldIn spite of the threat of rain, I went for a walk in the second part of the afternoon.  I was in search of garlic and bluebells.  There was garlic….

garlic…and bluebells….

bluebells…but neither of them are at their full glory so I will just have to try again later.  The rain stayed away and the walk was very pleasant though…

beechy plains…and there was much to please the eye along the way, both in the way of wild flowers and mosses.

flower and mossThere were bluebells here and there wherever I walked….

bluebellSome of them were being visited by very orange coloured bees but I couldn’t get one to stop long enough for a picture.

I thoroughly enjoyed a rabbit giving a living example of lying low.  It saw me and having decided that I was between it and safety, it just sat very still indeed and hoped that I would go away.

rabbitI went away so its scheme worked.

At Pool Corner, near the end of my walk, I checked up on the slow worm shelters.

There were lots of little ones.slow wormsAnd one big one.

slow wormWhen I got back home, Mrs Tootlepedal had been at work in the garden but had been driven inside by the nagging, inhospitable wind.

I enjoyed a cup of tea and looked out of the window at some nice colour combinations instead of my usual birds.

garden colourI did see a bird or two as well.  The goldfinches were still going on at each other.

goldfinchesNear the feeder, Mrs Tootlepedal has put in a hellebore which seems to be enjoying life in spite of the wet and windy weather.

helleboreIt is not the world’s most exciting flower but it repays closer inspection.

helleboreIn the evening, my flute pupil Luke came.  His mother came too and asked if we would like to play a few simple duets at a musical evening at The Hub at the end of the month.  We boldly said that we would so we will have to practice hard.

After yesterday’s fine display of wing feathers, the birds were keeping themselves to themselves to day and so we have a wingless flying goldfinch of the day.

flying goldfinch

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