At the bottom is the little river Ouseburn. Click for information on its industrial past and its current regeneration. Its source is located outside the city close to the airport; it meanders through suburb and park, past this spot, before entering a culvert to flow underground for a short distance. Then it emerges into the light to join the river Tyne and, shortly afterwards, the North Sea.
Along the path through the trees are the nettles, the balsam, the hated Japanese knotweed (grrrr...) and a great many birds.
Including a pair of kingfishers.
Too fast to capture on camera (this is not my photograph! Thank you, photo.net), but a delight to watch, swooping for insects, perching on rocks and branches, sometimes calling to each other.
The water is low at this time of year, and will soon develop a drainy smell. Still some tiny fish in it, although this isn't the spot where these jewel-like birds dive for them.
They perch for a few moments on rocks and overhanging branches before flitting swiftly further up river.
We walk past their nesting site and look back.
Sometimes you can see them returning to the little nest hole in the mud bank to feed their young. No sign of them today, though.
And then we are out of the trees and heading towards the allotment, the dog picking up speed ahead of us. There's horrible Vale House in the background.
And old Tommy, who lives in Vale House, tending his little plot. The river winds past our allotments, and sometimes, in long dry spells, we've been forced to dip for buckets of water from it. The allotments further down, on the other hand, have sometimes been flooded by it in the winter. Not always a tame little river, then.
Our shed has seen better days, but it's remarkably sturdy, and bigger inside than it looks.
On the way home, we spot the first fully-opened peony in the street. The rest will follow fast; this is a good area for peonies.
Outside many of the houses in my street is a growing bag that holds one potato.
Mine isn't here; it's in my back yard. We are having a street competition: Elspeth down the road provided anyone who wanted to join in with a growing bag and one seed potato each; at a given time in the future, we will bring our bags down to the top of the hill, where we will find out whose potato has produced the biggest crop. There will be prizes and a street party.
The rivalry is already intense. Elspeth couldn't remember the variety of potato that she'd ordered, and many people have never grown one in their lives, so there will be surprises in store.
When I get home, I find that there are two old codgers enjoying the warm weather too.