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Posts Tagged ‘willow’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who was alarmed to see some bears while he was out on a walk  in the town.  He calmed down when he noticed that there was a stout fence between them and him.

bears townfoot

It was a very unreliable day today as far as both the weather and the weather forecast went.  The forecast changed every time that I looked at it and the weather changed even more frequently.  At one moment the sun shone brightly and at the next it was raining or even sleeting.  There was one consistent factor however, a strong and cruel wind that cut like a knife.

As a result, I gave up any thoughts of cycling and watched the birds for a bit.  There are still plenty of them to watch at the moment, with twenty or thirty chaffinches and goldfinches on the plum tree and at the feeder….

invading chaffinches

…and siskins hanging about too.

siskin acrobat

There finally came a moment after coffee when the weather seemed to be set fair for long enough to let me out for a short walk, so I chanced my arm and went for a stroll round Easton’s and Gaskell’s Walks.

There was blossom in the park…

blossom in park

..and plenty of signs of wild garlic growing on the bank beside the river as I went along Easton’s.

wild garlic shoots

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like this walk much as she thinks that the trees don’t look quite well grounded enough…

bare roots

…and she may well be right as there are always little landslips happening along the path and many of the trees are leaning in a threatening manner, but I got along safely today.

As I turned back up the hill at the end of the riverside track, I saw a rich bank of moss…

mossy bank

…and the promise of a good show of bluebells to come later on in the spring.

bluebell shoots

When I got up to the Stubholm there were more signs of spring…

hawthorn buds

…and as long as I could keep out of the wind, it was a very pleasant day for a walk.

stubholm path

I didn’t dawdle though as I went along Gaskell’s because I wouldn’t have enjoyed being out in a heavy rain shower so I kept my camera in my pocket and stretched my legs until I was well on the way home.  Then I stopped to appreciate a tree at Wauchope Kirkyard…

graveyard tree

…and an ash twig on the road down to Pool Corner…

ash twig…and some alder catkins beside the caul.

alder catkins pool corner

The daffodils along the road sides are just beginning to come out, although it will be a week or two at least before they are out in full force.

daffodils moodla point

I got back home to find Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden, making metaphorical hay while the sun shone..  I looked around and was happy to see the first chionodoxa of the year.

chionodoxa

We went in for lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her monthly Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I settled down to watch Scotland getting beaten by Wales in the Six Nations rugby tournament.  I was so certain that we were going to get beaten that I ended up  mildly pleased when we give the Welsh a good fright before going down.  Even a blatant but unpenalised forward pass in the run up to the first Welsh try failed to significantly dent my equilibrium.

After Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her meeting, another spell of sunny weather tempted me out for a second short walk, this time over three bridges.

Once again, the sunny weather made for a cheerful scene but the  sharp eyed…

Castle Hill and gritter

…will notice a bright yellow gritting vehicle parked on the Kilngreen.  The driver told me that he had been out gritting the country roads to the west and north of the town as frost and snow to quite low levels are expected tomorrow.

Mr Grumpy was out enjoying the evening sunshine while he could and as I passed…

heron one leg

…he raised a languid foot in greeting.

heron two legs

On the Castleholm, I stopped for a chat with a camera club member, retired postman Stan, and by the time that we had finished talking, the sun was dropping behind the hills. It was getting quite chilly so once again, I put more effort into walking than snapping and only stopped to salute some willows at the Jubilee Bridge…

willow

…before hurrying along to get to home and some welcome warmth.

It started to rain again not long after I had got in.

Quite apart form the forecast of sleet or snow for tomorrow, it looks as though the unsettled weather is going to continue for at least a week so my cycling mileage for the month (zero miles so far) is likely to be very poor.  I don’t much mind cold conditions and I can cope with wind if it is dry and I can live with some rain if it is not too windy but I have passed the age when cycling in cold, wind and rain at the same time has any appeal at all.  I will try to sneak in as many walks as I can between showers.

The flying bid of the day is one of the large flock of chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s walk round the Wemyss Estate.  As well as a parakeet in a tree, he came across a curious deer which was looking a bit lost.

wemyss deer

We were visited by storm Diana today.  I must say that the practice of giving passing weather fronts a name is obviously a bad idea.  They are getting ideas above their station and we got a lot of rain and some stiff winds in the afternoon.

It wasn’t too bad in the morning when Dropscone came round for coffee.  Sandy dropped in to pick up some keys for the new archive centre but he was busy and didn’t stay for coffee.  This meant that Dropscone and I could eat all the scones which was a stroke of luck as the scones were particularly tasty today.

Although it was raining lightly as Dropscone left, the forecast said that it would stop raining by twelve o’clock and then start again by one.  As it did actually stop raining at three minutes to twelve, I went out for a short three bridges walk.

I was detained for a moment by some cheerful calendulas in the garden before I left.

calendulas end of november

The clouds had lifted on the hills and I could almost see the monument.

misty monument

There was a touch of colour in the last willows which are fading away beside the town bridge.

last willow

And some of our resident ducks had found a calm spot for a paddle above the bridge.

floating ducks

I was very impressed by the amount of hay being transported by a single driver from the arable east coast to the pastoral west.

big hay

I passed more evidence of the activity of the Langholm Walks volunteers who have been putting new discs onto the walks signposts.

Langholm Walks signs

Walkers are spoiled for choice

The group is trying hard to encourage walkers to come to the town and sample the many delights of walking in our woods and hills.

As I went along the Lodge Walks, I discovered that the forecast had only said that it would have started raining by one o’clock.  It didn’t say when it would actually start and that turned out to be at about ten past twelve so I didn’t get very far on my walk before the rain came down.  Luckily I was well armed (or legged) with welly boots and a large golf umbrella.  As I was sheltered from the worst of the wind and there was plenty to look at, I still had a good walk.

I saw berries by a wall…

lodge walks berries

…and lichen on a tree…

lodge walks lichen

…as I went up the Lodge Walks.

Then as I crossed the Castleholm, I saw a tree with many, many branches…

castleholm bare tree

…a soggy gate…

soggy castleholm gate

…and a tree stump with a mixture of fungus and fallen leaves which were so well matched for colour that it was hard to tell them apart.

castleholm fungi and leaves

Round the back of the stump, there were more clear cut fungi.

castleholm fungi

As I walked back along the path to the Jubilee Bridge, I could see many hazel catkins…

castleholm catkin

…but by the time that I got to the bridge, the rain was coming down so steadily that I put my camera back in my pocket and concentrated all my energies on not letting my brolly get blown away by the wind.

By the time that I got home, it was a thoroughly miserable day and so dark and gloomy that I didn’t bother to get my bird watching camera out at all.

After lunch, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised some singing for my various choirs.

Mrs Tootlepedal made another delicious evening meal and fortified by that, I ventured out into the wind and the rain to go to a Langholm Sings choir practice.  Some of the work that I had done in the afternoon turned out to be quite useful.

It had stopped raining by the time that we came out of the practice and this was just as well as the river was high and flowing fast as I crossed the suspension bridge.  We are promised more heavy rain tomorrow so riverside dwellers may be getting a bit nervous.

I didn’t try for a flying bird of the day today and a rather fuzzy perching gull is standing in for the position instead.

perching gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is obviously enjoying a stay in the north east of Scotland.  He visited a famous collapsed sea cave called Bullers of Buchan.  It must have been spectacular when the roof fell in.

Bullers of Buchan

There is no question but that summer is going to be a disappointment this year as it can’t possibly be better than the spell of glorious weather we are enjoying at the moment.  We had another really warm and sunny day today (25°C in the afternoon) and with little or no wind, it was almost too warm for comfort at times.  This is nearly 10°C above the seasonal average.   From a gardening point of view, we could do with some rain and the forecast is offering us a cooler, wet day tomorrow which should be quite welcome.

Mind you, it offered us terrible thunderstorms with torrential rain and big hailstones today and none of that arrived so we are not raising our hopes and we did a lot of watering of thirsty plants in the garden today.

I had an early look around for interest after breakfast.

We are not short of colour.

Some from familiar plants….

Welsh poppies

Welsh Poppies

perennial wallflower

Perennial wallflower with a wonderful array of tints

dicentra

Dicentra which has lasted for weeks.

…and some from new arrivals.

goura pink

Pink Gaura, new this year in our garden with its friend…..

gaura white

…the White Gaura.  They are also called Wandflowers.

orange hawkweed

The first of many, many orange hawkweed

oriental poppy

And our first oriental poppy on the back wall of the house beside the dam.

While we were talking to a garden visitor, a bright orange tip male butterfly fluttered past us but by the time that I had got my camera out, it had fluttered off leaving only the less colourful female to pose.

orange tip butterfly female

I didn’t just look at flowers.  Mrs Tootlepedal collected a pocketful of stout and healthy looking acorns in the autumn of 2016 and with careful attention, she now has a small oak forest growing in one of the raised beds…

Little oaks

…proving conclusively that little oaks from great acorns grow.

She is going to transplant the saplings out into the wild wood when they are strong enough.

She also noticed a small clump of fungus growing from a patch of farmyard manure behind our new bench.  By the time that I got to them, they had faded away.

tiny mushrooms

Dropscone, who has been up near North Berwick, refereeing at a junior golf tournament, came round for coffee.  He told us that the haar had been so bad in North Berwick that one of the rounds of the tournament had been cancelled on the golf course there because players couldn’t see far enough ahead to hit safely.  We were very lucky with our holiday weather.  He hadn’t lost his skill at making treacle scones while he had been away.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I got a drill out and finished fixing two new bolts through the metal post holding up the honeysuckle archway at the back of the garden.

arch bolts

This was one of those jobs which have been needed to done for about ten years so there was quiet satisfaction at its final completion.

Our neighbour Betty was clipping the hedge between our gardens so I thought that I should take the hint and clipped our side of the hedge too.  Then Mrs Tootlepedal took the hedge trimmer and tried to cut down a big clump of comfrey…

compost plant

…but found that the stems were too tough and awkward for the hedge trimmer.

I found it too hot to stay out so went in to do the crossword while Mrs Tootlepedal toiled on.  After lunch the positions were reversed and Mrs Tootlepedal took a well deserved siesta while I went out and mowed the front lawn and sieved a barrow load of compost.

I noticed the first flowers on a Scotch rose called Harison’s Yellow.

Scotch rose

Then I was just contemplating the willow beside the hedge…

willow

…and looking at it closely…

willow close up

…when two even more interesting specimens appeared over the hedge.

Liz and Mike

As they used to say in the society papers, this was Liz and Mike enjoying a joke while pausing at Langholm’s premier garden watching venue.

We all agreed that the weather was quite unnatural and as we spoke, a drop or two of rain looked as though it might herald the forecast thunderstorm.  But Liz and Mike went on their ways and the rain went on its way and the rest of the day was as fine and warm as it had been all the time.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down from her siesta and immediately started work in the garden again, watering and planting out.  I took a picture of a musk flower that had come out during the day…

musk

…and then went off to buy some food for my evening meal and then cook the meal as I was going off to sing with Langholm Sings at a concert in the evening.

The other Mike, my cello playing and singing colleague came round and we drove off to Waterbeck, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to go the Buccleuch Centre where she was doing the front of house duty for a Dougie MacLean concert.

We got a good audience at Waterbeck and I enjoyed croaking my way through the songs, though there were one or two that could have done with a little more preparation time, especially as I had missed the last concert owing to being in North Berwick.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed the Dougie MacLean concert a lot.  (Here is a link to another concert of his for anyone who would like to get to know this engaging folk singer. most famous for his song ‘Caledonia’)

It was a busy day so I didn’t get a moment to look at any flying birds at all.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who strayed as far as Berkshire to take this picture on a sunny walk in Twyford a day or two ago.

Twyford, Berkshire

Our brief summer has gone and we are back to normal spring temperatures.  It felt a bit chilly as a result this morning but it was quite a fine day and there was even a brief glimpse of sunshine to light up Dropscone and Sandy who were doing a bit of bench testing after our morning coffee.

Dropscone and Sandy

They are both keen travellers and as Sandy has just come back from a holiday in the Canary Islands, he was complaining of feeling the chill as a result.

Needless to say we had some good scones with our coffee.

While I waited for them to arrive, I spent a little time staring out of the window in the effort to catch a flying bird.  Birds were scarce though and only goldfinches arrived in any numbers…

golfdfimch

…and they either spent their time deliberately turning their backs on me…

_DSC3857

…or nipping quickly into the feeder before i could catch them.

goldfinch

When Dropscone and Sandy had gone on their way,  I wandered about the garden.

I ignored the tulips today and spent a lot of time dead heading daffodils as the day of the daffodil is almost done.  There are some late comers to the feast…

daffodil

…and this is my daffodil of the day…

daffodil

…but most of them are gone now.

They will soon be replaced by these…

allium

…which are lining up to come into flower.

The silver pear is doing its best…

silver pear

…but although it is covered in flowers, they are so discreet that a casual passer by would hardly notice them.

A single clump of  apple blossom packs more punch than the whole pear tree.

apple blossom

I heard a lot of buzzing on the gooseberry bush and managed to take a striking but indeterminate shot of a visitor to the flowers on its way.

wasp

It looks like a wasp but I couldn’t get it to pose nicely for me.

wasp

It has been a regular visitor to the gooseberry so I hope that I will get a better look at it soon.

Things are going over….

hellebore

The hellebores have been great value this year

…and things are coming on

willow

The willow showing three stages of development on one twig.

Mrs Tootlepedal has three trilliums in the garden and although they are not quite showing up like the carpets of trilliums that appear in America, two of hers are looking quite healthy.

trillium

This is the best of them

I got the hover mower out and mowed the grass round the greenhouse.  Just to annoy me, it has been growing more quickly than the grass on the lawns.

I woke up very early this morning and was nearly deafened by the dawn chorus outside.  Some of the noisiest birds in the garden are the blackbirds and one has taken to sitting on the silver pear during the day and singing as loudly as possible.

blackbird

Mrs Tootlepedal has seen a mother blackbird feeding a youngster and I hope to be able to catch some blackbird family action with the camera.  There are plenty of blackbirds about…

blackbird

…but I haven’t seen a baby blackbird yet.

It started to rain after lunch but that didn’t affect us very much as we spent the afternoon going to Dumfries where Mrs Tootlepedal had an eye appointment.  The eye department is still in the old hospital which has recently been superseded by a brand new building elsewhere in town.  This has the wonderful effect of  letting us park without problem in the vast and largely unoccupied car park.

It made going to hospital a pleasure and we added to the jollity of the day by stopping off at a garden centre on the way home.  We met another Langholm couple there who had been visiting the new hospital.  They told us that parking there was a nightmare.  Land values in the UK are curious and it is an oddity that they can find millions to build a new  hospital but still can’t afford to acquire enough land for adequate car parks for the patients.

A little rain won’t come amiss in the garden after some hot dry days but we just hope it knows when to stop.  The forecast is ominously unsettled.

I couldn’t get a good flying goldfinch today and this rather pointillist effort was the best that I could manage but at least it is flying and it is a bird.

goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture shows that Mary Jo has not been wasting her entire time in London going to concerts and seeing the sights.  She has looked at interesting things as well.

Mary Jo's moss

We had another grey, cold and windy day today.  To be fair, it has been pretty dry recently and if it hadn’t been for the very chilly wind, we would probably have been celebrating a good spell of weather.

I went up to the Moorland bird hide after breakfast to fill the feeders for Sandy who is still on holiday in the sun and it was so cold that even sitting in the protection of the hide was not much fun.

There weren’t that many birds to take my mind off the chill either.

blackbirds

Different blackbirds were in evidence

robin, tit and siskin

And a shy robin, a bold great tit and a tiny siskin

unknown bird

And this bird, unknown to me, which stopped for a very brief moment.  I welcome identification from knowledgeable readers.  It might be a chiffchaff.

woodpecker

A woodpecker was very busy flitting between trees and feeders…

woodpecker

…until it finally came near to me and made sure that I got its good side.

As I say, I didn’t stop long and was pleased to get back to the town and get a  little shelter from the cruel wind.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work in the garden of course so I lent a little hand here and there and wandered around as well.

New flowers are coming out, some from the soil ….

tulips

….and some from handy boxes bought from a garden centre to temporarily fill a bare patch in a bed.

pansies

Amazingly, there are still one or two daffodils waiting for the moment to burst into flower…

unopened daffodil May

…while others, like these daffodils of the day, are nearing the end of the road.

daffodil

Dozens and dozens of daffodils have been dead headed already.

There is almost always something to see.  Today it was a pulsatilla, the first of many I hope….

pulsatilla

…with some pretty ferns unfolding in the back border….

fern

..near the first Solomon’s seal of the year…

solomon's seal

…and on the other side of the garden, a fuzzy willow bud, defying the cameramen to take a sharp picture.

willow bud

And if there are no bees about, there is usually a fly on the euphorbia,

fly on euphorbia

If you get really fed up with the chilly wind, you can get your camera to take silly pictures…

tulip picture

…and go inside for a cup of coffee.

tulip picture

Once inside, you can look out of the window and see that the goldfinches have taken over the feeder…

goldfinches

…with such total domination that you can see a chaffinch banging its head against the pole in frustration in the picture above.

A pigeon cast a beady eye on proceedings from the plum tree.

pigeon

When I went out to tell Mrs Tootlepedal that coffee was ready, a blackbird demanded to have its picture taken.

blackbird

We were rather alarmed to see a man up the telephone pole behind the house as the last time that this happened, he accidentally disconnected our internet.  All was well today though as you can tell from the fact that this post has been posted.

After lunch, we went off to see Matilda and her parents in Edinburgh and had a constructive afternoon making scones, getting nails painted (some of us), playing a very non competitive form of snap and some Pelmanism.

We had a delightful evening meal and tested the scones (very good) before we walked up to the station to catch the train home.  Slightly unnervingly, both the up and down trains were precisely on time.

Mercifully, the forecast says it is going to get warmer over the next few days and as my thumb is now nearly cured and my new bike should appear either tomorrow or Saturday, things are really looking up.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches, losing a bit of seed in its anxiety to shout abuse at a friend.

goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s recent trip south and shows a public sculpture in Sheffield.  The sculpture is called ‘Double Helix’.   I like the sculpture but don’t know how it got its name as it looks more like a contorted screw eye than a double helix.

sheffield sculpture

Our slightly warmer weather continued today but so did large quantities of rain which fell from the sky with gusto during the morning, making everything soggy again.

As the rain was accompanied by a very brisk wind, even when the rain stopped the day didn’t feel a great deal better.

Happily, while the rain was at its worst….

puddle

…I had the pleasure of Dropscone and Sandy’s company for a cup of coffee and a scone.  They are both off to southern European sunshine islands for holidays shortly and so they didn’t mind the weather here as much as I did.  It makes going abroad more fun if the weather is horrible at home.

The rain stopped after lunch and I was able to go out into the garden to capture the daffodil of the day….

daffodil

…but it was too wet to wander about or do any lawn care so I came back in and watched the birds.

They were very busy again today but you can have too much activity so I settled for some quieter portraits of our regulars today.

siskin

repoll

goldfinch

A greenfinch turned up and was probably quite surprised to be treated with an unusual lack of respect by both siskins and chaffinches.

greenfinch being hounded

The siskin flew away and the chaffinch just bounced off so the greenfinch continued feeding quite unruffled.

Mrs Tootlepedal was helping at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop over lunchtime and when she came back, the weather was too unsympathetic to garden so she went for a rest and after doing some computer work, I went for a walk.

It was still very windy but it was warm enough to make walking a pleasure if you could get out of the wind.

I walked along the park wall to see if the red tipped lichens were enjoying the warmer weather….

cladonia

…and found that they were thriving.

I thought that it would be better to walk along the top of the bank at Stubholm rather than along the rather soggy riverside path so I went up the track and along the top of the wood.   I am impressed by the fact that only some of the trees on this steep bank have fallen over so far.

tree on bank at Stubholm

When I got down to the Murtholm fields, I could see that quite a bit of rain had fallen….

puddle at Murtholm

…so it was no surprise to find an oyster catcher in one of the fields (in a rare moment of sunshine)…

oyster catcher and lambs

…as well as traditional sheep and lambs.

The willows are starting to show along both banks of the river.

willow

And there was plenty of water coming down the river past the old distillery building.

Langholm Distillery from Skippers

As it got near Skippers, it was foaming and boiling…

Esk at Skippers in spate

…but the new bridge repairs are holding up well and the bridge is still standing.

Although the river was quite high, it wasn’t high enough to need all three arches of the bridge.

skippers in April

I entertained myself by looking at lichen on the bridge parapet (right frame in the picture below)…

lichen

…and a very pretty sort on the fence at Land’s End (in the left frame).

I stopped off at the Co-op to acquire some fish cakes for my tea and then walked back to the suspension bridge.  Looking  up river from the suspension bridge, I could see that the Langholm Bridge was using all three arches…

Langholm Bridge in april

…and looking downstream, I could see three goosanders on the gravel bank beside the Wauchope.

goosanders

I was expecting them to get up and swim away when I got close but obviously they thought about swimming much as I had thought about cycling in these conditions and they were fast asleep and going nowhere.

The garden continues to show a little more colour each day…

spring flowers

…and I was happy to see the dicentras coming out as they are great bee magnets.

dicentra

It was far too wet and windy for bees today though.

When I got in, I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that it was warm enough to be out in the garden in spite of the wind and we spread a little manure about in a helpful way and then she stayed outside doing useful tasks for a while before the wind blew her back inside.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to some serious sock darning while I looked through my pictures and tapped away at the keyboard for this post.  In this throwaway age, it is rather reassuring to be able to wear well darned socks.

We are told that it is going to get suddenly very warm for the time of year tomorrow afternoon and then stay quite nice, if a bit cooler, for the next three or four days.  I hope that this turns out to be true.

Following my success in thinking about things and then seeing the things that I had thought about appear, I bought a lottery ticket along with my fish fingers this afternoon.

I am going to have to think a bit harder it seems.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba who has been visiting Denmark and was impressed by this ratty mural in Copenhagen.

copenhagen rats

We had rather ratty weather  here today, grey and occasionally drizzly but it was warmish and the cold winds had dropped so we made the best of it.  Fortunately, yesterday’s sore rib had miraculously cured itself so that helped a lot.

The birds made the best of it too and arrived at the feeder in droves all day.

I spent five minutes after breakfast looking out of the kitchen window to get the following sequence of avian activity and I could have taken roughly the same scenes at almost any time of the day.

Goldfinches threatened siskins….

goldfinches

…siskins scared the feathers off other siskins…

sisknins

…and more goldfinches shouted at more siskins while a redpoll looked on…

busy feeder

…and once in place, the redpoll ignored the goldfinches…

redpoll and goldfinches

…even when they got up close and personal.  They are the most imperturbable birds I know.

redpoll and goldfinches

A study in how to ignore a goldfinch.

The goldfinches had to resort to being beastly to each other.

goldfinches

But generally there was mayhem.

busy feeder

That was five minutes of action between 9.47 and 9.52.  Mrs Tootlepedal looked out of the window and remarked, “There are just too many goldfinches.”

Then Dropscone arrived with treacle scones for coffee.  There won’t be any treacle scones next week as he is off on holiday again, this time to what he hopes will be the sunny shores of Majorca.  He is an enterprising traveller.

After he left, we went out into the damp and gloom and Mrs Tootlepedal with the aid of a spirit level and some help from me got the first two of the four new vegetable beds into their final position.

new veg beds

Two down and two to go.

I took a picture of a clump of miniature daffodils as ‘daff of the day’ but when I looked at the picture on the computer, I found that they are so tiny that some heavy overnight rain had splashed mud all over them, rather spoiling the picture.

daffs

Leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to make fine adjustments to the levels on the new beds, I went in and made some potato and onion soup for lunch.

After we had lunched on the soup, Mrs Tootlepedal went back out into the garden and I got the slow bike out and did my standard short 20 miles circuit down to Canonbie and back.  It was nine degrees and the wind was light so pedalling was undemanding but the conditions were gloomy and views were not available….

misty view

…so I didn’t stop to take any.

I did stop for livestock beside the road though.  Lambs are everywhere and all carefully numbered to comply with livestock traceability regulations.

lambs

…and the Canonbie cows were conveniently grazing right next to the road.

canonbie cows

I am surprised that they were able to see me as I passed.

canonbie cows

But I was pleased to see them.

I was also pleased to see a very fine crop of willow flowers on a tree at Canonbie Bridge.

willow at canonbie bridge

willow at canonbie bridge

I had parked my bike at the lay-by beyond the bridge and walked back to take the willow pictures.  When I went back to the bike, I noticed that I had parked it by a large patch of butterbur on some rough ground.

butterbur

In spite of the cold and the gloom, spring is creeping in on us, almost by stealth.

My twenty miles took me over 200 miles for April so far which is very satisfactory after such a slow start to my cycling year but I am still well behind schedule.  Must try harder.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still hard at work in the garden when I got back.  She was improving her new paving area for the garden bench.  She hadn’t been satisfied with the small stepped terrace she had made for before she went down south so today she had lowered the step a bit and now felt happier with it.

Considering that we had intended to have a quiet day today, we had been quite active but that was enough and we went inside for a cup of tea and a rest.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a very satisfactory three quarters of an hour playing music while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted and drank wine.  Afterwards the conversation was general and I arranged to go on a fern hunt tomorrow, weather permitting, with Mike who is a fern enthusiast.

The flying bird of the day is a redpoll.  It is not a very good picture but it is a change from the usual chaffinches.

redpoll

*Definition of OAK:  Old and Knackered.

 

 

 

 

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