Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February Garden.

Finally, the crocuses are properly blooming.

While out snapping the crocuses I venture deeper into the garden with my camera. It'll be nice, I hope, to look back on these photos later in the year as from this point in the year the garden just gets better and better.

Crocismia remains.

Garden view, complete with various plastic bags from over the wall which I have still to tidy up.

Blown over strawberry tree, I hope it will be OK once staked.

A promising magnolia bud.

Our "lawn".

Lupins. Always lovely, even in the rain.

I planted some tulip bulbs last Autumn. I'm not sure what type was in the centre of the middle pot but something has found them to be tasty, grr!

The path, with another tree needing staked leaning in to the top right of the photo.

I caught the last of the Sarah Raven "Bees, Butterflies and Blooms" programmes on the telly last week. I have visions now of me wafting through a garden bursting with wonderful plants listening to the bees buzzing and watching the butterflies. We can dream. I'll start by adding a packet of cosmos seeds to my shopping list for when I'm next in a suitable shop.

I tried taking some photos of the newly tidied house before it all got messed up again. They weren't terribly good so I squashed them into a little mosaic.

March tomorrow...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

(Not Just a) Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Friday first...

... towards evening, in a sky that has been grey all day, a small area of pink briefly appears. I take a pic for the flickr sky pool.

Hubby was due back from work soon which was good as there were a few things waiting for him at home...

...a small pile of birthday presents.

...and a big pile of birthday cake.

It was decorated with candles in hubby's cycling club colours. Rather appropriate as he was going out for a curry with the club that very night.

The little black blob right in the middle of this photo is a blackbird who was singing his heart out all evening till it was quite dark. The sound, with its promise of spring, made me ridiculously happy.

Then it was Saturday...

...It may still look like the middle of the night but it was about 9am. Off we go...

Pylons, brooding skies.

The big bike scuplture and the folly in the distance. I'm feeling lazy this morning so we're just heading out along the (flat!) cycle path.

The loch.

Swans at the loch, and a coxless four in the background ("From backstops, ready, row!")

The pair of pink footed geese are still about.

Past the castle. It's raininng now, I'm risking getting my camera all wet with this shot.

Along the cyclepath it's reasonably sheltered from the rain. It seems crazy that we have so much water here (more than we need or want!) and just a few hundred miles away parts of the country are preparing for a drought.
I go as far as these bike artworks. After taking a peek over the hedge to check the weather conditions for a possible route home via the hills, I decide to keep to the cyclepath - as one walker I passed commented it was "Not pleasant".

Rusty old bridge detail.

One last soggy view.


After my shower I put on my new top, the print seemed appropriate. It's from White Stuff. Tess from Driftwood doesn't know it but it was from a post a couple of years ago on her blog where she asked for ideas on where to buy clothes that I discovered White Stuff for myself. I love their tops - gorgeous prints, long and flattering cuts. They do free delivery and returns and often have special offers running. Thanks Tess!

Saturday night we have a babysitter and I take hubby out for a birthday meal. I have black pudding croquets, balmoral chicken and mud pie. Put that way it sounds basic, the menu did indeed look basic (and hubby looked a little worried) but it was all absolutely delicious. Hubby had salmon nicoise salad, sea bass with samphire and rhubarb tarte tatin. Yum!

Now to Sunday...

...and I have company, I decide to take A & N over part of my route from yesterday. I'd spotted some snowdrops I wanted a closer look at and persuaded them to accompany me with a promise of woods to explore and a castle to see.

Some of the trees we pass are completely decorated with lichen.

Close up.

The snowdrops! And lots of mud.

More snowdrops.

More mud!

This is from under a huge archway we discovered below the cyclepath which a farmer uses to store his combine harvester and some other equipment.

Looking out the other side of the arch back towards the woodland.

Out past the castle.



Admiring the view.



Back past the castle (with perched bird).

Some welly cleaning before getting back in the car to come home.

Now I'm jumping back to last Sunday (and well done if you're lasting this long!). It was a sunny day (woohoo!) and we went to the grounds of a nearby country house which are open to the public (for a fee) and have lots of different play areas.

More snowdrops! There's no sign of any other flowers yet, daffodils are still tightly budded and even the crocuses haven't flowered fully yet.

Pine cones on a branch (some came home to decorate a shelf).

On the new play train.

Looking up (gorgeous!)

Last snowdrop shot, promise!

Espalliered apple tree against an old brick wall.

The view.

N was most grumpy and spent much of the time crying to go home, so the visit wasn't a great success. We had much more fun today, despite the weather.

Isn't it nice when you can dictate your shopping list and someone else writes it down for you.

Phew, rather a gallop through the last week. I've been having a clear out and a big tidyup. Long overdue. Still ongoing...

Roast beef for tea tonight, mmmm.


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