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Posts Tagged ‘tulip’

Today’s guest picture comes from a reader in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. Spurred on by my biscuit making efforts, Lisa has produced her own Garibaldi biscuits which are very nicely presented.

It was a day of constant wind here today, often gusting at over 40mph. As a result, apart from going out for a very short street coffee morning, we had a quiet day indoors as there was definite danger of being blown over if you were not paying attention when you were in the garden.

To be truthful, I did spend a few moments in the garden after coffee seeing if I could get plants to stop waving about for long enough for me to get a picture. One or two obliged.

There were dancing feet to be seen on a Jacob’s Ladder….

…and a Veronica.

More flowers that survived the frost are showing which is a cheerful sight.

Old tulips are fading away gracefully while the Welsh poppies are doing their best to fill any gaps

A shy ranunculus has just come up. Its delicate colour is a challenge to my camera but the dull light this morning was helpful.

I couldn’t miss a second flower on the clematis at the front door. The front door variety may not have the huge number of flowers that the back door clematis has but each of its flowers packs a bit of a punch.

It didn’t take me long to get back inside out of the wind and I frittered away much of the rest of the morning reading newspapers, doing the crossword and looking at birds (and occasionally mentioning to Mrs Tootlepedal that there was a bit of a wind out there).

There were plenty of birds to watch. While the feeder was not very full, sparrows congregated on the bottom plate…

…and when I filled it, a siskin sensibly took the high road.

During the afternoon, a tentative beak appeared…

…which was followed by the rest of the bird…

…and a hearty snack ensued.

Now you know what a happy rook looks like

We did think about going for a walk after lunch but several punishing gusts of wind in quick succession, persuaded us that the chance of fun was strictly limited and we found more things to do indoors.

I put some accompaniments onto the computer so that I can play trios without breaking any isolating rules.

We have been cooking for ourselves since the lockdown began but following a suggestion from a friend, we applied to a local hotel for a hot meal to be delivered this evening, and bang on schedule delicious portions of fish and chips and vegetarian lasagna arrived from The Douglas, fully as tasty as they would have been if we were eating in their dining room.

However, this was a much more substantial amount of food than we have been used to eating, so afterwards I felt the need to ignore the elements and go for a walk to shake the meal down.

Luckily the wind had dropped a bit and the sun had come out and it was by no means a hardship to do a quick three bridges.

The church was looking good without the trees in front of it…

In spite of an inch of rain recorded by Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge over recent days, there was still not much water in the river but there were plenty of oyster catchers and a wagtail to be seen.

The nesting mother, the anxious father, and another pair further upstream The wagtail was wagging its tail.

I saw a goosander but as it had its head continuously under water and was trawling at speed, it didn’t offer a photo opportunity.

The brisk wind made things a bit chilly and I didn’t hang about too long as I went round the new path on the Castleholm and crossed the Jubilee Bridge…

…but as always, there were things to see along the way, like a thrush in the Clinthead Garden

It was very tame and hopped about until I had got my picture.

…and some neat planting there….

….trees and flowers on the Castleholm and Scholars’ Field…

…and the the heavily tree lined banks of the Esk as I crossed the bridge.

I was pleased to have taken some exercise, especially as the wind is due to continue for a day or two, so cycling is not on the menu until Monday at the earliest.

The flying bird of the day is one of the many sparrows about at the moment.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who extended her permitted walk as far as Regents Park where she enjoyed the rose garden.

Rose garden regents park

We had a warm and sunny day today with light winds.  Days like this are to be treasured.

The star in the garden was the first peony, beating the tree peony easily.

first peony

A lot of our ferns suffered badly in the frost but some of them have shrugged it off and are doing very well.

ferns after frost

I saw an orange tip buttefly in the garden but it flew off leaving me to watch this white butterfly on the sweet rocket instead.

butterfly on sweet rocket

After the rain, the garden is looking quite healthy but there is a notable gap in the far corner which should be glowing with rhododendron flowers.

no azaleas

All the same, there is colour to be found, so we are not crying too much.

four garden pictures

You have to look hard to spot this camassia though as it has got itself hidden behind taller plants.

camassia

The final remaining set of tulips looks set to last for ever.

tulips

The garage clematis is getting more flowers out every day and will soon be in full bloom.

garage clematis

Partly because I thought that it was Thursday (a lockdown category error that is quite common) and partly through natural indolence, I didn’t get my bike out to make full use of the good day until after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone out to her street coffee morning.

However, once I got going, I enjoyed myself a lot.

It was a perfect day for a pedal…

road at enzieholm

…and instead of my usual little circle starting up the Wauchope valley, I headed up Eskdale today, crossed the Black Esk by this bridge…

tanlawhill brodge

…which is one of my favourites, not because of the beauty of the structure but because of its placing in the surrounding landscape.

Once over the bridge, I followed the White Esk through Castle O’er and up to Eskdalemuir.

Like the bridge, this little road is one of my favourites too with interesting verges (the butterfly would not give me a side view….

butterfly head on

…and some lovely woods.

wood at tanlawhill

When  I got to Eskdalemuir, I climbed a stiff hill out of the valley of the White Esk towards the valley of the Black Esk.

The climb lasts for a mile and goes up just under 300 feet.  You get good views back as you climb out of the valley, but the camera does not do justice to the amount of puffing I had to put in to get the view in my opinion.

hill out of E'muir

T was heading towards Lockerbie and passing through timber country.  The forests here grow, get cut down and grow again at a dizzying pace.  I was passed by a dozen timber wagons going to and fro.  It is a highly organised and mechanised business these days.

cut timber

Having crossed the Black Esk, I got a welcome spell of downhill as I descended into the  valley of the Dryfe Water which is cattle country.

old hedge

I expect that many if not all the loaded timber lorries were heading for the huge timber yards at Steven’s Croft where I passed the country’s biggest wood burning stove.

stevens croft

Once I hit the old main road at the power station, I turned south and headed for Gretna, passing this fine lake of buttercups outside Lockerbie on my way…

pool of buttecups lockerbie

…and stopping to admire the motorway bridge over the Water Of Milk from the bridge on the old road.

motorway bridge

Peering into the shadows under the bridge, I could see extensive works, designed perhaps to let fish go up stream over a weir.  Today there was hardly enough water coming down to cater for a tadpole.

under the motorway bridge

The cycling was now pretty flat, which was a relief to my knees and I stopped from time to time to admire flowers by the road.  The red tree on the right of the panel is a red horse chestnut, I think.

rhodie, umbellifer and red chestnut

I had an interesting route mapped out in my mind for the English section of my trip when I had passed through Gretna going south, but it dawned on me as I pedalled along that the bridge at Longtown (my proposed homeward route) was shut to all traffic as it is undergoing repairs.  I wondered if it would be open to a pedestrian pushing his bike but decided not risk it, and rather tamely circled round and cycled back up to Gretna again before approaching Longtown on the north side of the bridge.

The old gravel pond there, with a fine hawthorn on its bank, looked positively Mediterranean today.

hawthorn Longtown pond

By this time, my knees were getting slightly mutinous and home and a nice sit down came into their conversation quite a lot, so I stopped taking pictures and concentrated on knocking off the final fifteen miles of route with as smooth a pedalling style as I could muster.

It has been my ambition in recent years to have at least one cycle outing each year that covers as many miles as I have had birthday.  I was born in November 1941 and my route covered exactly 80 miles today, leaving me with a couple of bonus miles in hand.

I got home in time to enjoy an evening meal of liver cooked with carrots and spinach from the garden, provided by the industrious Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had been busy in the garden while I was out.

It was a warm day today but one of the joys of cycling is that you provide your own cooling breeze as you go along and I found it very comfortable.  All the same, I lost four pounds on the jaunt in spite of eating three bananas, a satsuma, a small honey sandwich, several dates and some guava jelly.  I drank about 900ml of water too.   In normal circumstances, I would have organised a stop half way round to enjoy egg and chips at a cafe or pub on a ride of that length.

I didn’t have much time to watch the birds but a very obliging sparrow flew into shot as I was going for my shower.  It is the flying bird of the day.

flying sparrow

I append the map of the ride.  I carefully organised all the climbing at the start of the route!

garmin route 20 May 2020

Those interested can click on the pic for more details.

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Today’s guest picture comes from ever sunny East Wemyss, where our son Tony found a forest of stones on the beach and added his own effort (complete with flower on top).

Tony's tower

It was far from sunny here after a second night with rain and the hills were covered with mist when we got up.

There was a faint but persistent drizzle about and this put paid to the delights of the street coffee morning but it did let me get out for a quick look round the garden.

The sweet rocket looked unperturbed by the weather…

sweet rocket

…while other flowers had noticed the overnight rain.

four wet flowers

New geraniums are coming out….

geranium white

…and a few flowers on azaleas and rhododendrons have survived the frost with the Japanese Azalea coming out by far the best at the moment.

three azalea survivors

I went in to grapple with a technological problem and on my way past the front window, I admired a rook in the plum tree.

rook inplum tree

The technological problem concerned a little device for converting old cassette recordings  to digital formats.  My brother had kindly sent it to me, as he had no further use for it but it just wouldn’t work properly.  I did all those technological things one has learned to do over the years; using strong language, turning things on and off, uninstalling and reinstalling software, kicking furniture, plugging and unplugging wires, blaming the government, but nothing worked until I swapped the lead that my brother had sent with the device for one I use with my bike computer.  Then miraculously, all was well.

We had lunch.

The next problem, as my brother remarked, was listening to cassettes that I bought years and years ago and wondering why I had bought them.

After the tech problem had been solved, we checked on the weather.  The drizzle had almost stopped so Mrs Tootlepedal resolved to go and do some gardening and I embarked on a bicycle ride.

By the time that I left home, the drizzle had given up and it was quite windy, but it was not long before I was cycling on dry roads as the weather had obviously been better outside the town.

The lying down cows were lying flat out again but a couple of them spoiled my picture when I got to there by standing up before I could get my camera out.

sitting and standing cows

As you can see there were plenty of grey clouds about but I was cycling in pleasant sunshine…

three trees grainstonehead against clouds

…and I kept my fingers crossed that the sunshine would last.  If it had rained though, I was well equipped in a rainproof jacket, and in fact, I was far too hot when the sun was out and the wind was behind me.

I saw a fine display in the hedgerow of these alkanet flowers just after I passed those three trees at Grainstonehead…

blue wild flower woodhouselees

…and there were some more striking flowers at Canonbie when I had crossed the bridge there.

daisy canonbie

More and more of the Pyrenean Valerian is to be seen each time I got out and it was joined by docks and birds foot trefoil today.

three wild flowers canonbie

The sun went behind the clouds as I got near Langholm and one or two drops of rain added a little speed to my pedalling but I got home dry (and over hot).

Two nights of rain have left a measurable amount of water in the unscientific rain gauge..

unscientific rain gauge

…but Mrs Tootlepedal had welcomed the moist soil as she planted her sweet peas out while I was bicycling.

sweet peas planted out

I took a picture of one of the last of the tulips, perked up by the warmth after the rain…

last of the tulips

…and enjoyed the look of the lawn when the sun came out again…

lawn in evening sunshine

…noting that a little well placed shadow covers a multitude of sins.

The sun brightened up a fancy geum, just out today…

fancy geum

…and brought out the best of a second iris.

new iris

The plants hadn’t forgotten that it had been raining though.

drops on spirea

I went in and looked at the feeder as I went past on my way to a much needed shower.

A redpoll and a greenfinch provided a good contrast.

redpoll and greenfinch

A Zoom meeting with my brother and sister and an evening meal of pasta with a meat and tomato sauce rounded of a day which ended more cheerfully than it had begun.

We are promised a gloriously sunny day tomorrow, getting warmer and warmer as it goes on and then the temperature is going to drop on Thursday but not to frostiness again, thank goodness.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch.

flying greenfinch

Footnote:  patient readers may have noticed a slight similarity in the posts from the last two months and they would be right.  I have a routine; have breakfast, do the crossword, get up, have coffee, do a little gardening, have lunch, take some exercise, Zoom the family, have tea, do the blog, go to bed.  It is a simple life but the very routine helps to make the tedium of the lockdown bearable with not too much time left in the day to sit about and worry about the future.   The way things look at the moment, the patient reader can expect quite a lot more of the same.  I thank you for your patience which is commendable.  We are very lucky in having varied countryside available right on our doorstep.

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Today’s guest picture is another from Bruce’s recent walk.  As well as his uncommunicative stranger, he encountered fifty shades of green.  I don’t think there can be a greener local view than this one.

bruces esk valley view

After the excitements of yesterday, it was back to the well trodden paths of lockdown today.  I rose late, ate a leisurely breakfast, did the crossword and then got up in time to have a walk round the garden before coffee.  Everything was as it should be.

In the garden, alliums are working towards spherical perfection…

allium close up

…and the flowers on the tree peony are looking promising.

potentional peony tree

The downside of the tree peony is that by the time that the flowers come fully out, they are often covered up by the leaves.

I liked the delicate red trim on the petals of the last of the yellow tulips…

tint on yellow tulip

…and the way that the yellow azalea encourages visitors.

yellow azalea stamens

Pollinators have been doing their work in the garden as these potential plums show.

potential plums

I had time to wonder about what had caused the petals on this Icelandic poppy to go white…

tinted poppy

…before it was time for our socially distanced street coffee break.

It was a bit warmer today so we chatted for longer and the world must be a better place as we certainly put it to rights.

After coffee, we went back into the garden and had a wander round before getting down to work.

The peonies are just about ready to burst into flower.

potentional peony bed

This azalea was part of a panel yesterday but it is so rich that I thought that it deserved a place of its own today.

deep red azalea

It was a cool morning again but the sun was warm enough to encourage petals to open generously on tulips….

tulip

…and the lilac.

lilac

Mrs Tootlepedal, being a true artist, is never quite satisfied with the way the garden is, so today’s task was to open up the view from the front door by cutting back the box hedges on each side of the path to the lawn.

I remembered to take a before and after picture for once.  This was the scene at ten to twelve…

P1050992

…and this was a scene an hour later after a lot of hard work had removed four of the little box bushes that make up the edges.

 

hedge trimming start

When I looked at the pictures on the computer in the evening, it became apparent that I had chosen totally the wrong angle for the shot and it doesn’t look as though Attila and her henchman had made much difference at all.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal returned to the task of widening the gap and I went off for a cycle ride.

It was reasonably warm in theory but a cold and blustery wind made picking the right amount of clothes to wear a tricky problem.

I put on too many and since I was feeling a bit tired and grumpy because of the wind, I didn’t enjoy my ride as much as usual and it took me a long time to get round my familiar Canonbie circuit.

It was a pleasant enough day with plenty of sun on my route but I only stopped for two pictures, this one of the big structures which have been put up under the power lines at Canonbie, prior to work on the lines….

canonbie pylons

…and this one at Byreburn where the varied colours caught my eye.

byrebrun houses

When I got home, I took a third picture to show Mrs Tootlepedal’s hedge reducing work in my absence…

hedge trimming

…and she reckons that about six foot of hedging has been removed.  That may not sound much, but she had done an amazing amount of work.

There may be another plant to be removed tomorrow to make the gap exactly equal on each side of the path but the task is almost complete.  Most of the box cuttings have been shredded and some are already back in the garden as mulch round the bottom of another portion of the hedge.

I walked up the road from the front gate to record the first honeysuckle flower in the hedge there.  I had noticed it as I cycled back home.

honeysuckle road

Beside it a viburnum is in flower.

viburnum

This plant comes from a cutting from a plant that came from a cutting that Mrs Tootlepedal took near an underpass while going shopping in Carlisle many years ago.

I looked over the hedge to get a ‘passer by’ look at a colourful corner…

colourful corner from road

…and went in to have a cup of tea and a late look at the bird feeder.

chaffinches and sparrows

Chaffinches and sparrows were stocking up.

In the morning, the postman had delivered a parcel containing no less than  six sorts of tea: Orange Blossom Oolong, Keemun Black Tea, Lapsang Souchong, Nuwara Eliya Black Tea, and Assam Broken Gold Tips Tea ~ GFBOP ~ Summer, so I should be alright for a cuppa for the next few days at least.

In a turn up for the books, we got a little rain this evening, just a little rain to be sure, but very welcome all the same.

The flying bird of the day is one of the sparrows.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s permitted walk yesterday.  It was raining, but she didn’t care as it kept other walkers away, and the fresh green colours it brought made her happy.

mary's park walk

The gloomy weather from the second half of yesterday’s walk carried over into this morning and it was cold and grey when we got up.

The day was serially brightened up though by two unexpected arrivals.  First our friend Marjorie, who had obviously been reading the blog, arrived with a gift of dates.  This is the sort of friend a man with no dates needs.

And then, as if that wasn’t good enough, the doorbell rang and a delivery man left a mysterious parcel on our doorstep.

This turned out to be a present from our daughter Annie, who had obviously been reading the blog, and contained a wonderful assortment of fine cheeses.  This is the sort of daughter that a man with a lack of fine cheese needs.

How thoughful people can be.

There was enough chill in the wind to discourage the street coffee drinkers from meeting but a forecast of “rain later” got me into some winter biking gear and out for a ride on the shopping bike.

I didn’t stray far from home as I wasn’t anxious to battle the wind for long or get caught out if the rain came early.   Basically I cycled up and down the same roads twice.

The blackthorn was looking lovely near the Glencorf Burn.  This is a favourite spot for sloe gin drinkers when the fruits come.

blackthorn cleuchfoot road

Spring proceeds slowly with a green tree on one side of the little valley and bare branches on the other.

hawthorn and alders

I cycled over the Sawmill Bridge on a little diversion to add some distance to my ride and thought that I would take a picture, before any rain comes, of the Ewes Water just to show how dry it has been .

very low ewes water

I managed to rack up 20 miles and enjoyed my ride more than I expected.

When I got home, I watched a collared dove battle with the feeder..

collared dove panel

…while chaffinches had to wait until it was finished.

I had a wander round the garden but it was too cold to do anything useful so I admired the ‘wild flowers’ in the back border….

honesty and cow parsley

…and greeted both the winner in the first rhododendron stakes…

first rhododendron

…and the first azalea stakes too.

first azalea

The grape hyacinths are going over but there are white bluebells…

white bluebells and fading garpe hyacinths

…tiny lily of the valley…

first lily of the valley

…a second flower on the garage clematis…

early clematis flowers

…and a geometrical Solomon’s Seal…

solomons seal

….to look at instead.

It wasn’t much fun outside so I went back in a watched the birds.

Goldfinches managed to share perches but greenfinches were not so caring.

greenfinches and goldfinches

Alarmed by the greenfinches, goldfinches took off to eat their seeds in peace.

goldfinches coming and going

We added the gravy from last night’s chicken stew to the remains of my brown lentil soup and it made a delicious dish to be enjoyed at lunchtime.  It went down particularly well with some bread and first rate cheese.

After lunch, I poked my head out into the garden again.  The lack of sunshine made it possible to take some pictures of flowers that are overwhelmed by bright light.

primrose and lady's smock

Even the bright red fancy tulip looked better to the camera with no glare.

three tulips

I went back in and spent some frustrating time working on a music program which unkindly crashed before I had saved my work. I have got so used to programs which silently back up my work as I go along that I had forgotten to take that basic precaution.

I went and had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal, and a ginger biscuit calmed me down.

Light rain began to fall in the afternoon but it didn’t come to much and more is needed of the garden is to get the drink that it requires.  But the rain did encourage birds to come to the feeder and it was busy.

A blackbird dived down to get some fallen seed….

diving blackbird

…while a sparrow contemplated life in the rain…

sparrow in the rain

…and a starling got tucked into the feeder.

starling on feeder

The gloomy day reinforced how lucky we have been with our good weather during the lockdown.  If it had been like this every day, we might have got very gloomy ourselves by now.

There is a choice of flying birds today, both chaffinches.

head banger chaffinchflying chaffinch

Footnote: Moaning on the blog has been so productive that I am wondering if I should mention that I am seriously short of gold nuggets.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He wants us to know that the sun is still shining in East Wemyss.

sunshine in wemyss

Our spell of chilly mornings and warm afternoons continued, and as the sun was out all day in a cloudless blue sky, it was no hardship to get dressed a little earlier than usual and go out and enjoy the garden.

I did so in company with a dunnock.  It was darting round the rhododendrons singing lustily as it went.

dunnock on rhododendron

I had a look around and was  happy to see the first potential fruit on one of the espalier apples.

first apple bud

The reason for the early rise was that I had promised to take a couple of tea cakes up to Sandy.  He is still imprisoned in his house while recovering from a foot operation.  If we have felt the lockdown  to be occasionally a little tedious, have pity for Sandy who has not been able to get out and about for two months.  He was remarkable cheerful under the circumstances.

On my way up to see him, I found that the track up the hill is now lined by dandelions and where you get dandelions, you get friends of the dandelion…and notification of the inevitable passing of time.

up Jimmy's Brae

When I got back down the hill, the on street, physically distanced, socially interactive coffee morning was in full swing and I joined it for a while before going in to to see if our own dandelions were popular too.

They were, though they had to share the attentions of the insects with other flowers too.

insects on dandelion

The new fritillary may be somewhat sober on the outside, but look inside and there is a world of fun.

inside dull fritillary

New, more delicate tulips are arriving to join the showy ones already out…

four new tulips

…but the showy ones are still well worth a look…

inside a yellow tulip

…especially on a sunny day…

four luminous tulips

…and in combination with the last of the daffodils.

lawn and bed

As I roamed round the garden, I met charming accidental flowers (aka weeds)…

weed in garden

…and stunning intentional ones.  Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a second Bordeaux anemone, this one looking towards the sun.

anemone in bloom

Although the grass in the garden has been very reluctant to grow, I mowed the middle lawn and then gave it a good watering.   I will do the same to the front lawn tomorrow if time permits.  They both need feeding but I am waiting until the soil warms up.

After lunch, I went for a cycle ride for my permitted exercise.

I had hoped to go a good distance as the day was set fair and the wind was supposed to be not too strong.  This turned out to be optimistic and as I cycled down the main road south, it was obvious that the breeze was as boisterous as ever.  When I got to Longtown and turned straight into the wind, I found that it was just too strong to make cycling fun so I gave up and headed back to Langholm.

The sight of many dandelions in the verges cheered me up…

dandelions on A7

…and the blue skies and an empty road made up for the breezy conditions.

top of new road

In fact I was so cheered up by the time that I had crossed the town bridge and enjoyed the poplars in the park…

poplars from bridge

…that I added a few more miles to my trip by cycling up to Cleuchfoot and back.

It really was a lovely day.

trees at cleuchfoot cottage

In the end, I managed 33 miles, not quite my original target but still not bad for a windy day.

And I got home in time to join my brother and sisters in a Zoom chat.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a lamb stew with dumplings for our tea and as somewhere in all this, I had found time to look at three crosswords, it must go down as a very satisfactory day.

It was still light after our meal and when I looked out of the window, I saw a collared dove considering the possibilities of the seed feeder.

dove on feeder 3

Unlike many current politicians, it made a good effort…

dove on feeder 2

…to look at both sides of the problem.

dove on feeder 1

While it was battling away, the flying bird of the day, a goldfinch, was peering cautiously round to see if there was a way of getting at the seed without being buffeted by the dove.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  On his permitted walk, he revisited a blue bell wood that he found unsatisfactory when he photographed it on a walk not long ago and found it much more satisfactory today.

andrew's bluebells

We had another sunny start to our day and the neighbourhood alfresco coffee morning team enjoyed their physically distanced but socially engaged conversation while taking in some rays.

I joined them for a while and then went off to look round the garden to check on developments.

I found a stunning tulip just opened…

red tulip opening

…and another one developing a hint of a tint.

yellow tulip with tint

The lamium seems to add more flowers every day and is obviously enjoying the chilly mornings more than me.

lamium doing well

And this qualifies, I think, as a colourful corner.

tulips and grap hyacinths

I am hopeful that an anemone, which has been unfurling at an amazingly slow rate over the past week, will open fully soon.  Curiously, it likes to turn its back on the sun, and as it is at the very front of a border, it makes it hard for me to get a good picture of it.

anemone nearly there

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy as ever and after her coffee and conversation, she got the last of her potatoes planted out.

potatoes in

Rather annoyingly, she decided not to buy too many seed potatoes this year, but with hindsight, this was probably not the best decision that she has ever made.   The way that flour is proving hard to find though probably indicates that she should have been planting wheat anyway!

We are out of homemade blackcurrant jam, so I am keeping an eye on the blackcurrant bush and hoping that it will have enough berries on it to make a few pots this year.  It is looking promising at the moment.

blackcurrant buds

I took a pictures of these cheerful tulips and went in for lunch.

fancy tulips

After lunch and some creative time wasting, I went for a cycle ride.  The sun had disappeared behind some grey clouds and the energetic east wind meant that I was back to riding in my winter jacket again.

I didn’t need the warmth too much as I cycled up to the top of Callister with the wind behind me, but I was very glad of it on the way back.  It was miserable battling into the cold, cold blast coming straight up the road towards me.  This stretch of my ride had much of the enjoyment of being repeatedly hit in the face with a wet fish.

It took me 33 minutes to cycle the six and  half miles up the hill and even pedalling furiously, I could only knock two minutes off that time on the way back down into Langholm.  Hard work.

I pedalled along the river as I passed through the town and was pleased to see a couple of old friends, though the oyster catcher was scooting away from a dog walker…

oyster catcher moving off

…and the gull was looking round to see what the fuss was.

gull checking

I cycled through the town and out of the other side, taking the main road north until I got to the road junction where this memorial is sited.

rideel memorial

I visited the church at Teviothead where he was minister on a ride earlier this week.

(You can hear a 10 inch shellac 78 rpm recording of his poem set to music here.)

Opposite the memorial, new life was to be seen.

sheep and twin lambs

And across the valley, I could see the preparations for a new forestry plantation.hill ready for planting

The four miles home, gently downhill and with the cold wind now behind me, made me forget the hard work into the wind and I ended up feeling, slightly erroneously, that I had had a very enjoyable 21 mile ride.

Before I had gone out on my bike, I had mixed and prepared some rich dough and put a dozen tea cakes to rise.  When I got back, they were ready to go into the oven.  They came out looking quite inviting, flatter and more suitable for toasting (the proper destiny for a tea cake) than my last batch.

tea cake triumph

I spoke to my siblings courtesy of Zoom and then, as the sun had come out again, I went out into the garden to enjoy the evening sunshine.

sunlit daffs

I noted the Esau and Jacob of the starling world on top of Irving’s holly tree. (Gen 21.11)

starlings

I used the last of Mrs Tootlepedal’s mince and a tin of tomatoes to make an unsophisticated but enjoyable pasta sauce for our tea.

We have so settled in to the gentle rhythm of the lockdown that it will come as quite a shock when we suddenly get choices and have to make up our minds where to go and what to do….if we ever get to that time.

In the meantime, there was no flying bird of the day today, just a perching chaffinch.  By way of variety, you can have him looking down,,,

chaffinch looking down

..or up.

chaffinch looking up

Take your pick.

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