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Posts Tagged ‘polemonium’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She was hit in the eye by this burst of colour on her morning walk to Kenwood House.

Kenwood colour

After breakfast, I cycled up to the town to do some business including paying in a handsome cheque kindly sent to me by the government.  This was a refund for the very expensive road tax which I had paid on our old car.  One of the benefits of the little white zingy thingy is that it is tax free to put on the road, part of the inducements to go electric.  These benefits will doubtless disappear when more people start buying electric cars but judging by the published figures on the rate of sales, I should be safe for a while yet.

Then  I drove off into England for the third day running, this time to see my singing teacher Mary.  My ambition is to be able to sing a simple song more or less in tune and in a pleasant manner so she has her work cut out on both fronts.  However, she is a first rate teacher and I came away feeling that with work, I might be able to achieve my goal.

An added bonus was being able to watch a small flock of lapwings flying around in the field opposite her house after the lesson.

It was another fine day so when I got home, I took a walk round the garden in the hope that more azaleas would have come out.  They are very reluctant.

not out azalea

This one has been covered with  promising buds for ages but it is still strangely reluctant to burst into flower.  Our warmer weather is set to continue for a day or two so I am keeping my hopes up.

When I went in, I found that Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer and chief data miner for our local newspaper index, had brought round the sheets which will mean when they have been entered into the database that we have reached 1900.  Three cheers to all involved.

It was soon time for lunch and after I had eaten my soup and cheese and done the crossword, the downside of the little white thingy came into play.  The crucial word here is “white” and some pointed remarks from Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to the fact that a white car shows the dirt.  For many years now I have avoided washing our car because in my view, it just encourages more dirt, but even I could see that the new car is going to require regular washing.  Ah well, nothing in the world is quite perfect.

After I had washed to car, the middle lawn called to me.  The moss eating mixture which I applied a few weeks ago seems to have had an effect but there was still a very mossy patch in the middle of the lawn so I got out the scarifier and gave the whole lawn a going over.  When I had collected the moss with the mower, the lawn looked quite potential…

scarified lawn

…though my assistant thought that there was still work to be done.

scarifying assistant

…and to be fair, there is still quite a bit of moss about.

As you can see from the lawn picture, we are between colour at the moment with the tulips and daffodils past but there is a lot of green about…

green garden May

…and there are spots of colour here and there.

The sweet rocket is coming out…

sweet rocket

…the tree peony is very nearly out…

tree peony flower nearly out

…and the Japanese azalea is doing its best too.

japanese azalea

The cow parsley in the back border is beginning to look really impressive…

rampant cow parsley

…and Mrs Tootlepedal has a purple stemmed variety in another bed.

purple stemmed cow parsley

I went round to the back of the house, to check what flowers could be seen along the dam…

flowers along dam may

…and found daisies, potentilla and the first of the aquilegia, one of my favourite flowers.

I came back into the garden and found that the white polemonium…

white polemonium

…had been joined by a blue variety…

blue polemonium

…and the first geraniums have arrived too.

cranesbill

I took a view from an upstairs window which showed that only two of the five azaleas in the bed along the road have come out…

azaleas in sun

…and then went off for another short and gentle therapeutic pedal on the slow bike.

I passed the bluebells on the hill again without walking up to visit them this time.

bluebells on hill

When I had been down in England in the morning, I had noticed that quite a few hawthorns had come out and I was interested to see if ours were out too.  They weren’t….

hawthorn not out

…but they are going to make a good show when they do arrive.

Although most of our trees are now green, the alders along the river sides are still waiting to join in, as this picture of the Glencorf Burn shows.

leafless alders glencorf burn

Normally, if I have a good bike ride, as I did yesterday, I would try to go further the next day but as I had my sensible head on today, I went slightly less far than I did yesterday and my ankle thanked me for it.  I was very happy to find my sensible head as often it is well hidden away.

I didn’t have much to time watch the birds today but I liked the concentration shown by this pigeon…

concentrating pigeon

…and checked out the usual customers on the feeder.

redpoll, siskin, goldfinch

My flute pupil Luke came in the early evening and I was able to use a tip which I had picked up from my singing lesson to help him get over an awkward corner in one of our pieces.

I also introduced him to Scott Joplin as a change from baroque sonatas.

As the sun sank after a full day’s work, I resisted the temptation to take a sunset picture as I already had too many for the post and so all that is left now is the flying bird of the day.  Or rather, in today’s case, the fleeing bird of the day.

fleeing siskins

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Today’s guest picture is a second one from my brother Andrew’s recent walk in the Peak District.  He enjoyed this fine view of Wetton Hill from a nearby peak.

wetton hill

My feet were giving me some grief this morning so I had a very quiet time, rising late and doing no more than a little light mowing and some garden wandering.

A few new flowers were to be seen.  This is a polemonium or Jacob’s Ladder…

polemonium

…and this is the first of dozens, if not hundreds of clematis flowers on the plant that surrounds the garage door,

first garage clematis

Although parts of the garden are very neat and ordered, the back border has a more natural look.

back border

I was pleased to see that at least one of the poached egg flowers has developed a little white to go with a big yolk.

poached egg flower

The Charles Ross apple has so many blossoms that I thought that there wasn’t room for any more but a closer look showed that there are still a lot of buds waiting to open.

very blossomy charles ross apple

As there were no bees about, I went around with my little pollinating brush, buzzing in an encouraging way as I dusted the flowers.

A euphorbia won the prize as the greenest thing in the garden today.

green euphorbia

The birds were hard at work and the feeder was half empty by lunchtime, leading to vigorous competition for places.

goldfinch and siskin in a scrap

Doubtless correctly worried by the possibility of being caught by a passing sparrowhawk, most birds are unwilling to risk sticking their necks out, but this goldfinch plunged right in.

goldfinch tucking head in

I filled the feeder though before we left to drive to Lockerbie in the new little white thingy to catch the train to Edinburgh.

Mrs Tootlepedal drove, her first go at driving an electric car any distance.  Like me, she found it very easy to drive, light on its feet and very responsive.  We arrived safely and made our way to the station where everything went wrong.  Our train wasn’t just late as usual, it was cancelled entirely.   They offered us the chance to wait for an hour and catch a train to Glasgow and then change to a train to Edinburgh.   As this would have got us to Matilda’s with roughly an hour in hand to talk, play, eat before leaving to catch our train home (if there was one), we declined the offer gracefully and went back to the car.  What made the whole thing worse was that Mrs Tootlepedal had made sticky toffee pudding especially.

It tuned out to be the fault of a signal failure somewhere up the line.

To cheer ourselves up, we extended our trip home to include a garden centre where we had a modest cream tea and Mrs Tootlepedal bought some stout garden string.  Not an entirely wasted outing then.

The sun was out and the first azalea of the year was enjoying itself.

red azalea

With the lilac and other azaleas on the way in and the tulips on the way out, there is plenty of colour about.

lilac, tulip, azalea

It was even warm enough for a blackbird to do a little sunbathing on our neighbour Betty’s garage roof.

blackbirds on betty's garage

A lone bee was doing its best among the apple blossom…

bee with full sacs

…and I thought about a short cycle ride until I looked up and saw some very threatening clouds massing over the town….

clouds over holmwood

…so I went in and read the papers….and looked out of the window from time to time.

partridge and pigeon

Once I had decided to not to go for a bike ride, the clouds drifted off and the bird action continued.  Siskins are equal opportunity bullies and will attack anyone, friend or foe.

two fierce siskins

We were forced to have big helpings of sticky toffee pudding after our evening meal.  Ah well, it’s an ill wind…

According to the forecast, we are in for a week of much chillier weather starting tomorrow, with some early morning temperatures drifting down towards freezing again.  The cycling shorts are going back in the draw and we will welcome the return of the winter vests.

The flying bird of the day is a redpoll.  I see that it has been ringed so I wonder where it has come from.

flying redpoll

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Today’s guest picture is another from Sharon’s visit to Berlin.

20180907_181837

In spite of the gloomy forecast at the beginning of the week, we had another dry day here today with a decent amount of sunshine.  Unfortunately the wind continued to blow vigorously so it took me quite a long time to get up the energy to go out on my bike.

I had several good wheezes to distract me before I got going and of course, I always have to have a look at the garden first.

I am very attached to the papery poppies that have come out of the seed packet this year.

P1140268

They have a subdued elegance.

And in spite of the brisk breeze, there were butterflies everywhere in the garden today.

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Indeed, you had to look sharp to avoid being knocked over by them as they flitted from flower to flower.

I did get going in the end and found it a hard battle.  I was pleased to stop to admire a small clump of traditional toadstools…

P1140276

…and in an effort to get some gender balance into the blog, I refrained from taking any more outstanding cows and took two sitting bulls instead.

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Near the end of the ride (my usual 20 mile Canonbie circle), I parked the bike behind a fence and walked down through the woods…

P1140279

…to get a view of the river Esk near Broonholm.

P1140281

I thought that I might see a lot of fungus under the trees but this little clump was the only fungus that I saw.

P1140286

I managed to make it home and found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work on the computer.

It was fine enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to take her lunch out to the new bench and I joined her later on.  Out of the wind and sensibly clothed, it was a good day to test the bench.

The afternoon was given over to gardening.  I was in poetic form:

 There was mowing, dead heading
And sieving and shredding.

Mrs Tootlepedal is still in full Attila the Gardener mode so there was plenty of shredding to do.  The good summer has speeded up the compost process and there are now two big buckets of sieved compost waiting to find a home.

While we were sitting on the bench having our lunch, I noticed that a second flowering of a polemonium has come out to join the late flowering delphinium.

_DSC7062

As they are in the same bed as the reliable golden wedding rose and the perennial wallflower…

_DSC7064

…there was no shortage of colour in that corner of the garden.

I noticed a young blackbird sitting quietly on the fence and went in to get a camera.  I was surprised to find it still there when I came out.

_DSC7059

Then Mike Tinker came to bring Mrs Tootlepedal a gift of some liquid worm compost from his wormery as it  produces more than he needs for his own garden.  He joined us for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit and his visit was well timed as it began to rain lightly just at that moment.

I took a picture of a leycesteria before I went in.

P1140287

Although the rain stopped, we didn’t go back out to the garden when Mike left as I had to have an early evening meal because it was the first meeting of Langholm Sings, our Community Choir in the evening.

I did find time to take a few bird pictures though.

I like the shiny black feet that jackdaws have.

_DSC7072

This goldfinch has been very badly painted!

_DSC7054

I hope it gets some better feathers before the cold weather arrives.

Not all of our bird visitors are smart.  A sparrow had bitten more off a fat ball than it could chew and a coal tit was parked on a perch with no seed.

_DSC7076

The first meeting of the choir was well attended with a couple of new members and Mary, our director had brought some new music for us to tackle.  Two of the pieces were good to sing and quite easy but the third piece looks as though it will keep us busy for some time.  This seems like a good balance and I thoroughly enjoyed the singing, especially as my voice lasted reasonably well.

The flying bird of the day is another of the chaffinches which fly up to the feeder and conveniently hover for a moment before landing just so that I can snap them.

_DSC7074

 

 

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The guest picture of the day was sent to me by my older son, Tony.  He was much impressed by this robot lawn mower mowing a public space in Edinburgh.  I was too so although it is not the sharpest photo, I have used it.

robot mower

We had another day of incessant sunshine and I was pleased to have been able to get up, eat breakfast and get out for a 25 mile cycle ride by half past seven in the morning.  The temperature was perfect when I started off but it was already getting too warm for comfort by the time that I finished.

I took a picture with my phone to give a general impression of the ride…

sunny day at Glenzier

…and was pleased to find an early silverweed flower at my foot.

silverweed

They seem to like the salt that gets put on the roads in winter.

Apart from avoiding the worst of the heat, my early start allowed me to be home in time for coffee with Dropscone and since it was Friday today, this involved treacle scones.  He had laid out some of his cash on a better quality bag of flour and this had paid off as the scones were first class.

While I was awaiting for him to come, I killed a little time chasing butterflies in the garden.

female orange tip butterfly

This is a female orange tip butterfly

small white butterfly and bee

I don’t what type this very plain white butterfly is. I liked the neat pollen bucket on the bee nearby.

I couldn’t help noticing a few flowers too.  Some were big and brash….

oriental poppy

Our first oriental poppy of the year

peony

Several peony flowers are on the go now.

Some were more delicate….

Welsh poppies

A floating cloud of Welsh poppies

Welsh poppy

A near perfect one

And the sunshine made for a couple of quite classy close ups.

Welsh poppy

Dancing feet

astrantia

Delicate petals

It was good though to get back into the cool indoors out of the sun and enjoy the coffee and scones.

After Dropscone left, with a few sticks of rather weedy looking rhubarb in a bag, I thought about mowing a lawn but decided that discretion was the better part of valour today and went back in and did the crossword instead.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been having coffee with ex work colleagues at the Buccleuch Centre but after lunch, she got busy in the garden and I went out to supervise.  I did manage to sieve another bucket or two of compost for dressing the vegetable beds and we put some netting on the strawberry beds,  but mostly I drifted about, trying not to get too hot.

I noticed the first yellow rose of the year…

Scotch Rose

…and enjoyed peering into an allium.

allium

Whenever I did get too hot, I went indoors and practised songs and/or flute and recorder pieces for the concert in the evening.

While I was out in the garden at one point, a tremendous racket announced the arrival of a bunch of starlings which sat on the electricity wires and chatted.

starlings

starling

They didn’t stay long though and were soon off in search of food for the youngsters elsewhere.

Other birds were available.

sparrows

Sparrows checking out some red pellets

I noticed that a blue polemonium had come out…

polemonium

…and the lupins are now going strong.

lupins

I went back in and made a feta, tomato and potato bake for our tea and then we picked up another choir member and set off for Newcastleton where our choir concert was being held in the church.

The thermometer in the car said 30°C when we got in and even driving along with the windows open didn’t cool us down at all.  I was hoping that when we got there, the church would be dark and cool but it was just as warm inside as the day was outside and by the time that the choir and a very satisfactorily large audience had piled in, it was a bit like a furnace.

The heat didn’t affect the singing too much but playing instruments when your hand is hot and sticky is not quite what you want so although the recorder piece went not too badly, the flute accompaniment was rather streaky.  The pianist complained that he too was making mistakes because his hands were slipping off the keys.

The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the concert.  As well as the choir, there were poems, solo songs and a terrific contribution by three of our conductor’s students from Carlisle who sang songs from musicals and some crisp close harmony work as well.

All in all, the audience got quite good value for their entrance money, though there was enough scope  for improvement in the choir to warrant a another practice before we repeat the concert in another church next week.

The almost flying bird of the day is one of the starlings.

starling

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My brother recently mislaid his phone and took this picture on a walk along The Edge from Edale in Derbyshire to test out his new one.  It looks good to me.

The Edge

Our rather unnerving spell of beautiful weather continued today but I couldn’t make the best of it at all.

After breakfast, I had to do a two hour  stint in the Information Hub in the High Street and not a single visitor came in seeking information.  Luckily there was a good exhibition of the paintings and other art work  of my old friend Jean, who used to come archiving with Sandy and me.  We miss her a lot and it was good to see her work, collected by her son Niall from many of the people who presently own it.

Dropscone also popped in just before I shut up shop.  He had been busy golfing.

After a quick lunch, I took a moment to walk round the garden.

I looked down on tulips today.

tulip

tulip

There are new flowers about.

azalea

The first of what should be a good show of azaleas

polemonium

Polemonium or Jacob’s Ladder

This  euphorbia is a favourite of mine….

euphorbia

…and repays closer study.

euphorbia

I didn’t have long to wander about as I was expecting a meter reader to visit the Archive Centre.  He had a four hour window within which he was due to arrive so I was able to put several weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive database while I was waiting for him not to come (as it turned out).

It was time wasted but it was a bit frustrating on a beautiful afternoon to be stuck indoors.

Annoyingly, the sun went in just as I was crossing the river to go to the Centre so that the riverside blossom wasn’t quite at its best.

blossom by river

I got home just in time to meet a very charming fellow whose business it is to prepare the ground for the removal and replacement of telephone poles in people’s gardens.  We have two in ours which serve us and our neighbours.  They have been condemned and will be replaced soon.    We are hoping that our garden won’t be wrecked in the process.

A phone call to the power company told me that they are expecting the meter reader to come tomorrow.  Dash.  More time wasted tomorrow.

My flute pupil Luke came for a lesson even though he is in the middle of his school exams and we had a very productive time.  This cheered me up after my rather dull day.

It was still sunny after I had eaten a meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal while we played and there was time to get the fairly speedy bike for a short ride.  I had intended to go up my favourite route, the Wauchope road but the council has freshly tarred and gravelled it from the edge of the town and it was impossible to cycle along it.

I turned back and pedalled south down the main road and then back through Canonbie, passing the church…

Canonbie Church

…and going up the Tarras road to Langholm.

Everything is going very green.

railway bridge at Mumbie

A glimpse of a bridge over the old railway beside the road

I got a good view of Whita from the Mumbie…

Whita from Mumbie

…and an even better one of the distillery in the low evening light as I paused at Skippers Bridge for the obligatory photo op.

distillery evening spring

The eighteen miles in the company of Dr Velo worked its customary magic and chased away any remaining grumpy feelings from pointless sitting about earlier in the day.

I have had to put the bird feeders away for a week or two because of a number of poorly birds visiting the garden.  It looks like Trichomonosis which affects garden birds so I am cleaning everything very thoroughly and letting our feeder site settle down for a while. As a result, there will be few if any flying bird pictures.  This may not be a bad thing for my thumb (which is enjoying its rest).

Here are some green trees of the day instead.

Castleholm trees

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony, who is having a well earned rest on Cyprus with Marianne.  There they need umbrellas to shelter them from the sun, a novel idea to us.

umbrellas in cyprusWe had a genuinely warm and pleasant day today which was a great treat.  I didn’t make the fullest outdoor use of it because much of the morning was spent being social indoors.  First Dropscone came round with some scones for coffee.  He has been beaten by the gravel on the back roads and has had to alter his usually immutable morning cycle route to avoid the worst patches.  He had already been out for 20 miles by the time he came to see me, putting me to shame.

To be fair, I had walked round the garden.  There is more to see every day just now.

peony

The first peony is nearly out

iris

The first iris is really out.

pink strawberries

Mrs Tootlepedal’s pink strawberries are looking very pink indeed

A very small rose

A very small rose has made an effort

bee on allium

What looks like a honey bee visits an allium

aquilegia

How can Mrs Tootlepedal think that these are dull?

azalea and pansy

A couple of show offs

Mrs Tootlepedal and I have been discussing whether things are blue or violet.  There is nor much doubt about a cornflower and a viola..

cornflower and viola

Blue and violet

…but a polemonium is not so clear.

polemonium

Is that blue or violet?

After Dropscone left (with a little rhubarb to help us reduce our rhubarb mountain), I had time to watch the birds for a moment….

sparrow

baby starling

A baby starling arrived and looked round hopefully. No parent came to feed it so it flew off again.

…before the minister arrived.  Scott’s  scone and coffee radar had misfired and Drospcone and I had finished everything off before he came but he took it very well.  He too had been out on his bike so I felt very badly about my lack of exercise. He has been pedalling a lot recently and is going to do a 100km sportive this weekend.  He should be ready for it.

When he left, I went to assist Mrs Tootlepedal who was clearing out some sickly privet in the back bed.  This involved a good deal of shredding and kept me busy until lunchtime.

Usually I find it hard to get out on the bike if I don’t get going in the morning but today I surprised myself a lot by finding myself in cycling gear soon after lunch and then actually getting the fairly speedy bike out and going off on a ride.  Scott, the minister, had told me that he had been round Bailliehill and Paddockhole on his morning ride so I resolved to do the same in the afternoon.

It was a lovely day for cycling and for the first time this year, I went out with only a single jersey on.  I even ventured to expose my new knee to the fresh air and put on a pair of shorts even more stylish than those worn by Stan Warwinka in Paris last week.

I soon passed one sign of the better weather.

silage cutting

A field being cut for silage

I stopped again for a drink and a banana when I reached the top of the climb after eleven miles.  I love this unfenced road snaking across the col between the Esk and the Water of Milk.  It is not very high up but there is a great feeling of being out in the hills as you cycle along it.

BailliehillKeen cycling fans may wonder why I need to stop to eat a banana and have a drink when cyclists eat and drink on the move all the time.  All I can say is that they have much better bike handling skills than me and if I tried to eat a banana while pedalling, I would probably end up in hospital.  I have never been able to ride a bike with ‘no hands’.

I didn’t stop for any more photographs as my legs began to get rather competitive and I pedalled round the 26 miles circular route in a time that made me feel quite cheerful.  My knee was a bit sore when I got home but it soon recovered.

I had enough energy left for another walk round the garden when I got back.

poppy

This hairy monster will soon turn into a glorious oriental poppy.

shuttlecock fern

The shuttlecock fern unfurls from inside.

The chimney under the feeder has been brightened up a lot recently.

chimneyThen I went in for some bird watching….

Baby sparrow

A baby sparrow’s prayer is answered.

…before joining Mrs Tootlepedal to watch part of a very entertaining Australian production of the Pirates of Penzance on DVD.

Then I had a shower, made some tasty cauliflower cheese for tea and went off to drive Susan to Carlisle for our weekly recorder group meeting.  Our plan to put in some serious work for a forthcoming concert was somewhat dented by the absence of one of our players on account of a family crisis but we had an enjoyable play  and some useful practice all the same.

We are promised an even warmer day tomorrow with even more sun and even less wind.  If that happens, I predict an early return of the stylish shorts.  Sunblock may be involved.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch diving for a perch.

chaffinch

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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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