Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He has been paying more attention to his garden in the lockdown and it is looking good. He likes the way that his arch not only provides a hanging point for his flower baskets but frames his big tomato plants too.
We didn’t pay much attention to our garden here this morning, as it was hard to see it through the drifting drizzle that was forecast to last all day. Under the circumstances, a trip to England, where the forecast was much better, seemed like a good idea.
When we took Venetia to see Hadrian’s Wall a few days ago, we had intended to come home by a circular route giving us a 100 mile round trip. In the event, we failed to get a free charging point at the car park to work, got a bit timid about range, and came back from the wall by the way we had come although we had plenty of power left in the battery. Today, we determined to go the whole way just to persuade ourselves that we can trust the battery meter in the car.
The forecasters proved to be on the ball, and by the time that we had got twenty miles from home, the drizzle had cleared up and it had turned into a decent day, though with no sign of the sun. I had done some research and loaded an app onto my phone to deal with the car charger at the car park but we went to a different car park on this occasion, six miles further down the road. It came as a big surprise to find that the charger there was provided by a different company and my app was of no use.
There was a lady in a Tesla charging at the double socket, and when we plugged into the second socket, she got out of her car and kindly told us that our socket wasn’t working, unplugged her car and checked while we plugged ours in to her socket. By good fortune, the card we use for charging in Scotland worked with this charger and soon the Zoe was humming gently as she topped up her battery.
We went off to the cafe and had lattes and toasted tea cakes (but with no humming). Then we had time for a walk after coffee and Mrs Tootlepedal led the way up a fine paved path . . .
. . . leading to a road up a hill past a handsome holiday cottage . .
…until we came to the Wall.
We could have followed that exciting paved path up the steep hill near the edge of the crag but we chose the route in the other direction beside what is left of the wall . . .
. . . and took the easier climb to the top of a grassy hill.
Looking along the line of the wall, it was clear that the Romans had chosen to put it on top of the escarpment whenever they could to add extra height to an already imposing structure.
There was a grand view south from the top of the hill.
If the Roman Wall isn’t your thing, there are any amount of more modern dry stone dykes on all sides.
From the top of the hill, we walked back down to the car, passing clover and ‘snow in summer’ on the way.
We unplugged the car and found that the hour we had spent in the cafe and on our walk had been exactly enough to fill the battery back up to where it had been when we set out. As the charging is free in an attempt to attract electric vehicle owners to visit the area, this was very satisfactory indeed.
With both occupants and the car fully refreshed, we headed onwards towards Bellingham and Kielder Water, a large reservoir surrounded by forests. It was a lovely drive but as this meant going north, in the end we found ourselves back in the drizzle that we had left in Langholm.
As a scenic treat, the reservoir fell some way short of ideal . . .
. . . and even if the ferry across the Water had been running . . .
. . . I don’t thank that we would have been tempted to go on board.
We did see ragged robin beside the shore and where there is ragged robin, there is often an orchid too.
There was no sit-in facility at the cafe at the visitor centre, and as there were a lot of midges about, we were happy to drink a cup of hot chocolate and move on before we got bitten to death.
It got progressively wetter and gloomier as we headed back to Scotland but we stopped at a little nest of road and railway bridges just after we crossed the border.
The railway is long closed and was flooded when the reservoir was created.
We had only topped up the car battery with the 40 miles to see if we could use the charging point, not because it was needed, and when we got home after our 100 mile journey, we still had over 120 miles left on the meter. This was very encouraging, and I hope that it will make us more confident about undertaking longer journeys in the car in the future.
It was still drizzling when w e got back, but we had a quick walk round the garden before having a cup of tea.
The Roseraie de l’Hay has come out but the damp weather made it need it a helping hand to hold its head up for the photographer.
I took a few more pictures . . .
. . . filled the feeder, and then went into to watch the birds from inside.
A jackdaw . . .
. . . and a blackbird were concentrating hard . . .
. . . while the sparrows were busy as ever.
In the evening, we watched the final of the Great British Sewing Bee while the evening sky outside took a dramatic turn with a belated appearance of some sunshine.
Owing to gloomy weather and lack of time, the flying bird of the day is a slightly fuzzy sparrow . . .
. . . but the flower of the day is much zingier in spite of the rain.
Footnote A: The Zoe keeps a check on what we are doing, and it told me today that we are currently averaging 4.4 miles for a kWh of electricity. It costs us 17.5p a kWh to charge the car at home so that makes our ‘fuel’ cost about 4p per mile.
Footnote B: WordPress sent me a message to say that is exactly 11 years since I started writing this daily diary. I have missed a few days over the years but I would like to take this opportunity to thank regular readers, some who were there right at the start for their forbearance and patience in wading through the literally millions of words and thousands of pictures, and particularly those kind people who take the time and trouble to add their invaluable comments to the posts. Here’s to the next eleven years, if spared.