Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Visitors

It was a real surprise to find this red squirrel visiting Skip on a couple of mornings last week. I assume it was just exploring new territory. I've not seen red squirrels in the garden before, although when I first came to Wamphray there were some in the forest plantation on the other side of the village.

It was great to see another visitor to Scotland recently - Flying Scotsman! We caught up at Bo'ness where the locomotive was on show for the day. A big crowd had come to see it, such is the hype surrounding this very special locomotive.

At this time of year, there is always something I like to see. I headed to Drumlanrig Castle for a bluebell experience!

The walks through the grounds of Drumlanrig are always interesting, whatever the time of year. The drifts of bluebells were spectacular last week.

This is the pets' graveyard!

What a lovely place!

Photos © Skip Cottage

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pride of the Tyne

This is the 07.09 from Glasgow arriving at Carlisle, having run down the Glasgow South Western line via Kilmarnock and Dumfries. It was my transport on to Newcastle that day, to spend time exploring pastures new whilst the car was having its first service in Carlisle.

It was my plan to explore the Metro system, and this I duly did, and enjoyed the experience!

My all zones day ticket took me to South Shields, and included the ferry crossing. A trip on 'Pride of the Tyne' was too good an experience to miss!

I rather liked the fact that the South Shields ferry landing has a name!

It was officially opened in July 1999. It was named Maisie’s Landing after Councillor Maisie Stewart, who at the time was Lord Mayor of South Shields. The name was chosen through a competition in the South Shields Gazette.

Tied alongside is the newer ferry 'Spirit of the Tyne', see here.

'Pride of the Tyne' approching the landing side on. The vessel was one of the last to be built at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend in 1993. She has been recently refurbished, see here.

After only a few minutes we were approaching North Shields. An uphill stroll to the Metro Station, and I had time to go the long way round to Newcastle Central Station to catch the train back to Carlisle. And home to Skip. A 'different' day out!

Photos © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spring is here!

It's the last day of April, and this brave little daffodil is braving the hail! Was spring ever going to arrive?

Then, in just three days at the beginning of May, the bare branches of the beech trees on the road to Skip became covered in green!

In the garden, the wild cherry blossom came out.

And the new growth on this Sambucus racemosa Sutherland Gold was wonderful to see!

I don't have many alpine plants in the garden. I picked up three 'interesting' containers at a car boot sale last year. This is one.

Rhododendron 'Elizabeth' is first to flower this year. It's thirteen years since it was planted. It took a bit of a knock this winter when some invading sheep had a good nibble on it, but it's done well.

So much work to do yet in the garden. This is the busiest month. But no flowers from seed this year. Potatoes are in, and growing away. I expect I'll get some salad greens underway this week too.

I encountered this wildflower on a walk. I haven't yet identified it though. Now, where's my book?

This sparrowhawk has cottoned on to the fact that I feed the birds all year, and it has been visiting regularly, and keeping all the little birds on their toes. The photo is taken through two layers of glass, so I was quite pleased to get the shot, although it would have been nice if he (she?) had turned round to look at me!

Photos © Skip Cottage