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Posts Tagged ‘tadpole’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba who is not in Manitoba at all at the moment.  She is in London and visited Kew Gardens where she took this picture.  You might think that as it was taken in a famous garden it shows a wonderful plant but in fact it is an even more wonderful glass sculpture by glass blower Dale Chihuly.

glass blower Dale Chihuly’s career KEW

We had another very fine day here today and with the wind coming up from the south, it was warm as well as sunny.

I pottered around the garden in the morning when I wasn’t drinking coffee or doing the crossword.

There was colour galore…

red flowers

…with old and new plants enjoying the weather.

purple flowers

There were more bees and other insects about today and I found two of them visiting a Welsh poppy…

welsh poppy with flies

…but they hadn’t discovered the first of the Icelandic poppies yet.

icelnadic poppy

When I walked over the pond bridge, there was a lot of tension on every side…

surface tension with frog

…but viewed from another angle, the frog seemed quite relaxed.

frog may

Nearby I saw this puzzle picture.  Was it a version of Jonah and the Whale?….

tadpole om lily leaf

….or was it just a water lily leaf half out of the water with a tadpole resting at its heart?

I walked along the dam at the back of the house to see if birds were bathing in the water there.

A sparrow had obviously just taken a dip when I arrived.

wet saprrow on barbed wire

When I came through the back gate, I passed one of the less cultivated areas of the garden.  Against all her ingrained gardening instincts, Mrs Tootlepedal is going a little wilder each year.

dandelions in garden

Blackbirds are nesting in the climbing hydrangea on the front wall of the house and this one took a moment to rest on the feeder pole before going off to collect more worms from the lawn.

blackbird

It had a wisp of nest stuck on its head which made me think how lucky we are to have hands and arms.  It twisted its head this way and that, so I imagined that it knew something was stuck up there, but it had no way of getting it off.

Although the crossword was quite tricky and took some time, I managed to have several wanders among the flowers.

This is Mrs Tootlepedal’s current favourite….

rhododendron in bloom

…and this is mine.

late tulip

I had a close look at the cow parsley and found, as so often is the case, that there is more to some flowers than you think.

cow parsley blossom

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar over lunch and when she came back she sat on a garden bench and had a snack while I scarified the front lawn and collected the moss with the mower.

It has been very dry over the past weeks and as there is no rain in the immediate forecast, Mrs Tootlepedal had been doing a lot of watering in the vegetable garden before breakfast.  I thought that I ought to do my bit, so I watered the azaleas round the front lawn and one of the hedges which we have been cutting back.  Most of the azaleas have been refusing to progress from buds to flowers and I wondered if the dry spell was the cause.

The next task was putting the netting onto the metal frames for the two small fruit cages in the vegetable garden.  This involved measuring and cutting, and a good deal of bending and stretching.  By this time, the afternoon had got decidedly hot and we had to stop before we had quite finished the job.  Although a trick of the light makes it look as though we have only done the sides, we have done the front and back of the two cages as well.  Just the front section of the top of the left hand cage remains to be done.

fruit cages netting

After a short collapse and a cup of tea to recover from the heat, Mrs Tootlepedal made a fish pie for our tea.  When we had eaten our meal, she went back to the Buccleuch Centre where she was acting as a front of house volunteer, and stayed on to watch a screening of All My Sons by Arthur Miller.

I got my natty cycling shorts on and went out for a suitably short evening ride.  I am still trying to take care of my feet by mixing rest and gentle exercise (with frozen peas applied from time to time) but at least I can cycle without pain so I enjoyed my ten mile outing.

I looked up to see a tree at one point and was surprised to see the moon high in the sky behind it.

tree and moon

It was a grand evening to be out on very quiet roads and it was good to be able to cycle far enough to get a view.

wauchope road evening

I was keeping an eye out for hawthorn blossom but I only saw two bushes in flower and they were in a sheltered but sunny spot near the town.

first hawthorn

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from the Buccleuch Centre with her withers thoroughly wring by the Miller drama and this made me quite glad that I hadn’t gone too.  I generally need cheering up not wringing out just now.

The flying bird of the day is the sparrow which appeared earlier in the post.  It came back down off the fence and took a bath.  The water was certainly flying even if the bird was not.

sparrow splashing

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who took a trip to Greenwich Park and enjoyed the view on a sunny day.

View from Greenwich park

I started the day with a visit to Dropscone to return his hat and gloves which he had left behind after coffee yesterday and then pedalled on to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre where I stocked up on necessities such as honey and cheese.

When I got home, I found the birds in a rather subdued mood after some frantic to-ings and fro-ings at the feeder in the past few days.

stately chaffinch arriving.

Even the threatening behaviour seemed strangely  gentle.

chaffinch and siskin

Our neighbour Kenny appeared with some grass cuttings for Mrs Tootlepedal who was going to lay them as mulch on one of her beds.  I purloined some to make a green layer in compost bin A.

While I was out, I had a look round the garden.  The recent cold spell has put new growth on hold without discouraging the plants that were already out…

april garden flowers

…but there were a few promising tulips to whet the appetite for things to come.

first very pale tulip

No one could say that they were fully out…

first pale yellow tulip

…but it is better than nothing.

firsy yellow tulip[

In the pond, tadpoles are beginning to break away from the crowd.

tadpoles

I liked this blackbird which came to listen to our conversation with Kenny.

blackbird on chair back

Mrs Tootlepedal was well enough to do a little light gardening like digging up an old potentilla from beside the dam and I gave her hand and shredded the plant when it had been uprooted.

I got the mower out and had a test go with it on the middle lawn but there has been so little grass growth that it was a pointless and I put it away again and had another walk round.

The Christmas tree has thoroughly settled into its outdoor situation and is developing well…

sprouting christmas tree

…as is the rhubarb growing beside it.  I am dreaming of crumble.

growing rhubarb

I took a picture of the first plum blossom of the year…

first plum blossom

…and we can only hope that a few bees show up soon or I will have to get busy with the pollinating brush again.

Mrs Tootlepedal planted out a very cheerful primrose, which she purchased recently, into the chimney pot beside the feeders.

new primroses in chimney

The fact that it had been on offer at a very reduced price made it all the more attractive we felt.

The euphorbias are showing their claws.

crab euphorbia

I got my slow bike out again and pedalled back up to the town to buy some gel insoles for my shoes.  I had received some sage advice from arthritis sufferers to the effect that some padding in the shoe could only be a good thing so I am resolved to give it a try and see how it goes.

When I got back, I went in for lunch and had another look at the birds…

siskin landing among goldfinches

…and among the usual suspects, I was pleased to see a coal tit paying the plum tree a visit.

coal tit in plum tree

It soon came down to the peanuts and had a check out and a nibble.

coal tit on peanuts

It didn’t stay long but I hope it comes back soon and brings some friends.

After lunch, I put my new insoles into a pair of shoes and went off on my new bike to do a few miles and see what life on the road was like.  Now I know that there is no structural  damage to my sore foot, at least I can can give it as much exercise as it will take and cycling is a very stress free activity.

I haven’t been out for ages so I stuck to doing ten miles but it was a great pleasure just to be out and about and turning the legs over in a meaningful if steady manner.

This view from my turning point may not be very scenic but it was welcome all the same.

the open road

It was a grey day and there were no wild flowers in the verges so the only other picture I took as I went along was this diagonal procession of sheep.

diagonal sheep

Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough when I got home to go for a shopping expedition to Gretna and we were organised enough to get home in good time to watch the Grand National steeplechase.

After the race, I went over the hymns for tomorrow’s church service and cooked some sea bass, which I  had bought at the market in the morning, for my tea.  Mrs Tootlepedal had hot smoked salmon, a favourite dish, for her meal.

I am hoping that my new foot regime will let me get out an about a bit more and a look at the forecast shows that it should be cold but dry which will help, though a bit of warmth would be even more welcome.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from foreign parts.  Dropscone is on holiday in Majorca and was impressed by the efforts to keep the sea at bay there.

majorca

We had another lovely day here.  I don’t want to sound ungrateful because we have enjoyed the spell of good weather immensely but getting it so early in the year, may well mean that we will have to wait a long time for another good spell to come along.  In the meantime we may not be as pleased to see normal late spring weather as we would have been if we hadn’t had this misplaced burst of summer.

Still it is very welcome while it is here.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s river of blue is coming along…

hyacinths

…though it is not easy to capture on camera.  The sharp eyed will just be able to make the hyacinths out in front of the daffs.

The area for the new bench was smartened up and dead on cue the new bench arrived…

new bench

…and by happy coincidence, a lady bearing gifts of plants for Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden  turned up at just the right time to give the new bench a test.

P1090174

It was decided that it was a fraction too high and the bench maker promised to return and cut a bit off the bottom of the legs.

All the same, it was quite suitable for Mrs Tootlepedal and I to sit on while we drank our morning coffee and I was pleased to see that the dicentra beside the bench was acting as a bee magnet.

bee on dicentra

It had attracted a very big bumble bee.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy in the garden and I found that she had planted out one of the corydalis from the pots by the greenhouse.  She had found a good spot.

corydalis

The sun has brought on the tulips and there is colour on all sides.

tulips

tulips

This was my daff of the day.

daffodils

I had a look for tadpoles in the pond and for life on the dam and found both.

tadpole and water boatman

A little pond skater cast a big shadow!

On the front lawn, a blackbird found a juicy worm…

blackbird

…and having found it, disappeared into our holly bush.  As it went in, another came out and the in and out traffic continued so it looks as though there must be a nest in there.  We await developments.

I took advantage of the dry conditions to mow the middle lawn again and the battle against the moss is progressing quite well but as rain is forecast for tomorrow, I am not counting any chickens yet.

With all the action in the garden, there was not much time to watch the birds and there weren’t many birds to watch but I was pleased to see a goldfinch in the plum tree…

goldfinch

…not least because I could see some growth on the plum tree too.

In the garden, I sieved a little compost and I am now getting near the end of the material in Bin D so another compost shifting process will start soon.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I put the last of the new veg beds into place. Some delicate work with the spirit level was required.

veg beds

The slightly narrower beds and the consequently wider path between them should makes things easier for the gardener.

After we had finished the bed, we sat on the bench again and I felt bold and thirsty enough to try drinking a mug of Mrs Tootlepedal’s ginger and ginseng infusion which comes in a standard teabag.

After drinking it, I found myself strangely serene and at the same time somewhat stimulated but curiously with no great desire to try the stuff again.

Under the influence of the concoction,  I put on my cycling shorts for the first time for many months and went off for a gentle pedal round my customary Canonbie circuit.  It was so warm and sunny by this point that I had to apply some sun blocker to my peely-wally limbs before setting out and I certainly needed it, as it was pretty warm in the sun. I had to keep drinking even on a short ride.

As the forecast suggests that the temperature is going to drop ten degrees and it it is going to rain at some point in every day to the end of the month, I enjoyed the warm  sunshine today a lot.

I was in no hurry.  Indeed my legs made it plain that I couldn’t have hurried even if I had wanted to so I had time to stop and look around.

I had noticed on a previous ride that if the sun was in the right place, it picked out the house beyond the central arch of the Liddle Viaduct and so it proved today.

Liddle viaduct

Yesterday it was celandines and today it was anemones.

anemones

I stopped on Canonbie Bridge to see how the willow flowers were getting on.  They were pretty well over but beside them, a new flower was sprouting.   I think that this is an ash tree.

canonbie tree flowers

I stopped on Hollows Bridge to see if I could persuade myself that I could see green leaves on the trees beside the river.

Esk at Hollows

Hmm.

I could see some green leaves further on though.  What I think might be a  beech at Irvine House and what is definitely a bramble at the end of the bike track.

beech and bramble

When I got home, I had a cup of tea and persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal to leave the garden for a while and come with me for a walk. She had been working hard all day so she cycled along beside me while I walked with cameras in hand.

I was hoping for riverside bird life but we only saw a lone oyster catcher and a distant grey wagtail.

wagtail and oyster catcher

There were plenty of people about and even one hardy young lad swimming in what must have been pretty chilly water so it was no surprise that there weren’t many birds about too.

The walk had its compensations though.

Ewes with daffs

Lodge Walks

And when we got home I found that the reason that I hadn’t seen any honey bees in the garden today was probably because they were all visiting my neighbour Hector’s currants.

bee on currant

On consulting my spreadsheet, I find that my afternoon ride, though short, still brought up the 1000 miles for the year so far.  I am still behind schedule but making progress.

I didn’t have time to spend waiting for a good flying bird to turn up so this is the best that I could do for flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom.  He sent me this delightful view, taken on his morning walk in South Africa.

Tom's walk

There are far too many pictures in today’s post but when the sun shines after so much gloom, it is hard to stop the shutter finger clicking.

It was a beautiful day in Langholm today…

Beautiful day in Langholm

…so it was a bit sad that I had volunteered to spend most of the morning in  the Welcome to Langholm office, especially in view of the fact that I had no visitors to welcome.

When I got home, there was time to mow the front lawn, hunt for tadpoles…

tadpoles

…note signs of spring (plum tree on left and sliver pear in the middle)…

signs of spring

…check out the growing river of grape hyacinths…

hyacinyth river

…applaud the first tulips of the year….

tulips

…capture the daffodil(s) of the day…

daffs

…and go in for lunch.

There were birds about, both peaceful…

chaffinch and goldfinch

…and excited.

chaffinches

All too soon, it was time to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to visit Matilda, her parents and her other grandparents in Edinburgh.

The train journey was the only time all day when the sun didn’t shine….

Tinto hills

Tinto Hills shot from the train window.

…but it was sunny in Edinburgh when we got there.

Matilda and her parents were visiting her other grandparents who were visiting from Cambridge.  They  have a pied a terre in Edinburgh, with a fine camellia by the door.

camellia

Matilda was waiting for us and it only took the addition of a mask to turn Matilda from a small serious child….

Matilda

…into superhero Ladybug.   She saved us from innumerable evils with great aplomb.

It was a day for a walk but Matilda had already been to the Botanic gardens which are not far away so she turned the offer of a second visit and the grandparents made an excursion by themselves.

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh,  free to enter, is a treat.  It was ideally suited today for a gentle grandparently stroll in the sun.

Botanic Garden

Mrs Tootlepedal, Eileen and Francis take the air

I took too many pictures and I have put a selection of them here.  As well as catkins….

Botanic Garden catkins

…and exuberant flowers…

P1090070

…and more modest flowers…

P1090068

…there were well designed corners…

P1090067

…plentiful signs of spring…

botanic gardens

…and Chinese gardens with streams and bridges.

botanic gardens

And there were other interesting things too, like a magpie and a tree creeper…

magpie and tree creeper

…which was obligingly creeping up a tree when we saw it…

…and a grey squirrel.

botanic gardens squirrel

We didn’t have long, although it would have been easy to have spent hours enjoying the sights…

botanic gardens

The prettiest flowers of the tour

botanic gardens

This bed was a mystery

…did I say that there were catkins?

botanic gardens

…and we had reluctantly to drag ourselves away from the garden to go for our evening meal.  Matilda’s aunt and cousin who also live in Edinburgh came to join us so nine of us sat down for a family meal.  It was rounded off by a serving of Mrs Tootlepedal’s sticky toffee pudding which we had brought up with us on the train.

With the aid of a handy app, Alistair was able to get us out of the house in perfect time to catch the bus back to the station and we walked along Princes Street to the station in the evening sunshine.  Arthur’s Seat formed a backdrop to the city and…

Arthur's seat

…a good crowd were enjoying the view from the top of the hill.

Arthur's seat

Our journey home went well and we arrived back, tired but happy after a busy day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the sun.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent visit to New Zealand where they saw this handsome NZ kingfisher.  I don’t know which of them took the picture.

NZ kingfisher

It was reasonably warm for the time of year again this morning but once again the effect was somewhat spoiled by light drizzle and a very strong wind.  I stayed indoors and did some useful stuff.

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off to the dentist for some treatment and I filled some of the time while he was out by watching the birds.  I was able to confirm that we have at least four lesser redpolls visiting us at the moment.

busy feeder with redpolls

I am not sure if the hidden bird at the back of the feeder is another redpoll or a siskin.

There were plenty of siskins shouting and beating people up.

busy siskins

A wood pigeon brought a more stately air to the proceedings.

pigeon

The forecast was for a fine afternoon with a further rise in the temperature so after lunch, I thought of cycling although the wind was a bit off-putting.  However, I did manage to get into my cycling gear and go out.  Virtue was rewarded when it turned out that the wind had dropped considerably from the morning and although it was still noticeable, it wasn’t totally discouraging and I enjoyed pedalling in some warm air.

There were signs of spring along the road and although the prettiest was probably this primrose…

primrose

…..the most welcome was probably this larch twig, a real forerunner of the new green season.

larch bursting

As always, I looked at a wall if I stopped to take a general view and I liked this crusty set of lichen…

lichen on wall

…and was interested to find that there were some tiny red spots of colour among the stems when I put the picture on the computer.  I hadn’t been able to see them with the naked eye.

The most noticeable thing was not the roadside flowers or the larch needles but the fact that the grass has at last started growing in the cultivated fields.

Ewes valley april

We are greening up….

Ewes valley april

…although the rough hillside has some time to go yet before it goes green.

I was a bit sorry to find that the day was more amenable to cycling than I had thought that it would be as I could have gone a more interesting route if I had realised.   I made up for my dull route choice by stopping at the Kilngreen to buy a nougat wafer from the ice cream van there and I ate it while sitting on a bench by the river and enjoying the bird life.

This is a lesser black backed gull (I have to thank a reader who corrected my view that it was a herring gull last time one appeared in a post),

lesser black backed gull

And these are a small fraction of the hundreds of rooks that swirl about in the sky over the town.

rooks

I took a picture of the Langholm Bridge to show how much the river has dropped since yesterday…

Langholm Bridge

…and then I pedalled home, arriving just as the sun came out.

It was such a lovely afternoon that I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal, who was just having a cup of tea indoors after some hard work in the garden, to come and drink it outside.

Mrs T's new bench area

She has almost finished her new bench area so we put a couple of plastic chairs out and tested it.

This is the view that we had from the chairs.

daffodils

It was wonderful to be able to sit out and enjoy the warmth and the sunshine as this was our first opportunity for months.

The new lawn shaping has been completed and this is how it looked this afternoon.

new look middle lawn

You can see the new bench are on the right.

I was quite pleased to see the grass on the middle lawn trying to win the battle against the moss so I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn.  There is no picture of the result there as the moss is still winning hands down.

I had time for a camera-wander.  I got a fleeting glimpse of a tadpole in the pond….

tadpole

…which was very encouraging.  There were lots of others about too.

The first fritillaries are out…

fritillaria

…and I found a corydalis in a pot and the rosemary next to the greenhouse.

corydalis and rosemary

The temperature is due to drop back a bit but even half a day at 18°C was enough to cheer us up enormously.  We have had such a long spell of cold and cool weather that we had begun to think that things might never warm up again.

The are a lot of daffodils to choose from but this one was my daffodil of the day today.

daffodil

I made some risotto for our tea and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing with the Langholm community choir.  Our concert with the local orchestra is in two weeks so we worked hard.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It is not a good picture but I think that it conveys some of the energy that these tiny birds put into their visits to the feeders  so I have put it in.

flying siskin

I would like to thank Canadian reader and Langholm exile, Joyce Lewis, for a very kind mention of this blog in an article which she wrote for our local paper.  It is very nice to think that the pictures can bring back youthful memories of the area.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  He has just spent a few days acting as a referee at an international children’s golf tournament on the east coast.  It’s tough work but somebody has to do it.  (The tide was out there too.)

Golf course

I heard all about the golf tournament when Dropscone came round for a cup of coffee this morning.  In a terrible shock to my system, he didn’t have treacle scones with him although it was Friday but I recovered when I found that he brought a very acceptable substitute in the form of four brioches.  They went down very well with some home made blackcurrant jelly.

It rained while we were drinking our coffee but it had stopped by the time we had finished and the weather for the rest of the day just got better and better. I didn’t go cycling though as I had a concert in the evening and felt that it would be better not to go to it in a tired state.

As a result I have only got garden pictures.

iris

Taken just after the rain had stopped

Mrs Tootlepedal spent a good deal of time in the garden again today.  She is busy planting things out…

greenhouse

There are all sorts of things ‘coming on’ in the greenhouse

…as well as doing the weeding and tidying up that keeps the garden looking so neat.

I did a little too.  I sieved some compost for the vegetable beds, trimmed the front hedge and scarified and mowed the front lawn.

This left me plenty of time to look around.

lamium

After an early start and then a pause, the lamium has started to flower again

The rose Lilian Austin is showing its first flower…

Lilian Austin

…and the Rosa Moyesii is doing very well.

Rosa Moyesii

Rosa Moyesii

It is sharing a corner with a thriving philadelphus.

rose and philadelphus

And talking if thriving, the Fuchsia on the back wall of the house has got a fabulous display of flowers…

fuchsia

…on half the plant.  This is all the more impressive as the other half hasn’t got any flowers on at all.

In fact, things are thriving all around as the mixture of sunshine and occasional rain is helping a lot.

Sweet rocket, ox eye daisies, irises and spirea

Sweet rocket, ox eye daisies, irises and spirea

The rhododendrons are going over with the exception of the this dark beauty.  Mrs Tootlepedal claims that it glows in the dark…

rhododendron

…and the last two of the azaleas are beginning to fade away, but they are going out in style.

azaleas

Mrs Tootlepedal has some pale lupins by the front lawn and I like the way that they look as thought they have tiny internal uplighters for each flower.

lupin

After I had scarified and mowed the front lane, Mrs Tootlepedal gave it some liquid feed as it is not looking as green as we would like and while I was standing there contemplating its general lack of oomph, Mike Tinker came round and spotted a frog enjoying the sunshine on a lily pad in the pond.

frog in pond

I spotted a spider on a nearby leaf.

spider in pond

A reader has asked how the tadpoles are doing so I looked for a tadpole too.

tadpole

There is plenty of life in the pond with snails and water boatman too.

I was reading a photographic supplier’s catalogue recently and came across a handy device which you can fix up with one end gripping your tripod and the other end gripping the stalk or stem of a plant to stop it waving in the wind.  What a handy device, I thought but of course you can just hold the plant with your hand as I did today with this fancy buttercup.

buttercup

Mike thinks that I might take better pictures if I did use my tripod and the handy device and he is probably quite right….but then I might not have enough time to practice songs and music for concerts as taking really good pictures takes a lot of time and patience.  I never seem to have much of either.

When the time came, the concert in Waterbeck Church went quite well and Mrs Tootlepedal, who came to both the Langholm Sings concerts, thought that this one showed the benefit of our extra practice on Wednesday.   It is almost certainly true to say that we could never have too many practices before a concert.

From a personal point of view, I had a little eight bar tenor solo to sing in one of the pieces.  It went very badly last week and was much better this week so I was happy.

No flying bird today but three magnificent hostas on the banks of the dam round off this post.

hostas

One more concert to go on Sunday with the Carlisle choir and then I can have a good lie down.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary, who was on the Unite for Europe March yesterday (as was my sister Susan).  It was rather mentally dislocating to see this peaceful and sunny picture after the recent events nearby.

Unite for Europe March 25.03.17 003

We had our third consecutive day of beautiful weather here and we are having to try very hard not to get too used to this sort of thing as it can’t possibly last.

It was such a good morning that I didn’t spend any time making a meal for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir but got out on my bike instead.  Once again, I had to wait until the morning had warmed up a bit but considering that the clocks had jumped forward an hour during the night, I was quite pleased to get out as early as I did.

My route was extremely dull, being straight down the main road for 15 miles and then straight back again so I didn’t take my camera but I did use my phone to catch a tree at my turning point.

tree near smithfield

The Sunday morning ride is usually very peaceful but for some reason there was a steady stream of traffic going south today and this made the trip less enjoyable that normal so I was happy to get home.  I had hoped to do the 30 mile trip in under two hours but  a freshening crosswind on my way back meant that I missed my target by three minutes.  On the plus side, the thirty miles took me over 1000 miles for the year which is a notable landmark.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I arrived and I got out my camera and had a walk round.

The crocuses have enjoyed the three warm days and were putting on a good show…

crocuses

…after looking as though they were completely over  earlier in the week.

In the pond, the warmth has caused the weed to grow a lot…

frog

…but there was enough space for a mass of wriggling tadpoles…

tadpoles

…who seemed to be blowing bubbles under the surface.  I have never seen foam like this before and can’t decide whether it is a good or a bad sign of tadpole health.

The grape hyacinths are making a little progress…

grape hyacinth

…although the planned river of blue is still the merest trickle.

The euphorbias are growing bigger every day.

euphorbia

…but so is the moss on the lawn.  I did mow a bit more of the middle lawn but there are spots when a blade of grass is hard to find.

I went in and looked out.

chaffinch

A chaffinch, perhaps wondering sadly if it always has to be the same seed for lunch.

flying chaffinch

And another putting a spell on a bird below in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We had a light lunch and then, after a quick run through one of the songs for out Carlisle choir, we set off for a bit of shopping and the weekly choir practice.

The practice was fun but hard work, as we are going through a couple of songs where if you are singing an A, there is bound to be someone else singing a B in your ear.  Still, we did get praise from our conductor for having obviously done home practice so that was very satisfactory.  More is required though.

It was such a lovely day, that we took a  roundabout route home.  We passed a pub in Rockcliffe and called in to see if we could get a meal as there wasn’t one ready in the slow cooker at home.  We had forgotten that it was Mothering Sunday though and the pub told us that they were on their third session of people taking mum out for a meal already and if we hadn’t booked, we were too late.

 We consoled ourselves by walking past the village church…

Rockcliffe Church

…and down onto the water meadow beside the River Eden.  It is a beautiful spot on a sunny evening.

River Eden

River Eden

River Eden

The River Eden floods so the church is placed on a handy hill…

rockliffe church

…and the bank below it was covered in pretty primroses.

rockliffe church

Mrs Tootlepedal was much struck by the roots of a tree fixed into the rocks beside the track to the church.

rockliffe church

There must be the makings of a ghoulish fairy story in the manner of the Grimm Brothers there.

We drove home and enjoyed a fry up for our tea.  Not quite as good as a meal out but quite tasty all the same.

The flower of the day is a chionodoxa, smiling back at the sun…

chionodoxa

…and the flying bird is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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