With Dropscone away for the week umpiring juvenile golf matches, I have the cycling field to myself. I had two plans in mind for the day. Plan A meant getting up at 7 a.m to take advantage of the very light morning winds and cloud free sky and using the morning to pedal 50 or 60 miles before coffee. Plan B meant having a long lie in, getting breakfast after the B & B guests, and then sauntering round the morning run in a stiff breeze and with the risk of rain. I chose plan B of course. Luckily the rain held off until I had got round.
I had plenty of energy left to wander about in the garden with the camera.
It’s not all competition though. We have John Lewis birds here too.
The fortress keeps the jackdaws off but it doesn’t make for good bird pictures as this picture of a coal tit proves.
Usually the oriental poppies come out, flourish for a moment and then are battered to bits by the rain and wind but this year, by some weird stroke of fortune, they have survived the wind and the rain remarkably well.
While I was wandering, I was hailed by Bruce and Lesley and a conversation ensued in traditional style over the garden fence.
Bruce has received notice from people who know about these things that there may be an aurora visible in Langholm about now so he and I have been popping out into the garden on clear nights to have a look but without any success so far. He also told me about the triffid that you can see at the top of the page. If he disappears on his morning dog walk, we will know where he has gone.
While I was talking to them, I noticed this Weigela just coming into flower.
The dark irises are set off by a single Icelandic poppy.
It is not easy to get the computer to show just how dark these plants are. They are in complete contrast to vibrant colour of this blossoming rose.
I was pleased to see a goldfinch about. We only seem to get one or two every now and again at the moment. They look very exotic compared with the sparrows.
The sparrows are relentlessly active at the moment.
After lunch, I went off to the Tourist Information Point to welcome visitors and generally give out tourist information. Last week I had no visitors. This week was infinitely better. I had one. He lived locally anyway and was just looking in to see what we had. I did three crosswords and read my camera manual so it was time well spent. My eye was caught by this colourful garden on the other side of the river.
Just for regular reader Joyce, I took a close up of the notable locals panel. I hope you can read it, Joyce if you click on it.
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had dug out the old clematis root by the garage. This is the plant that has been killed by two hard winters. She is a nifty hand with the pickaxe.
I saw a nice new geranium flower and tried to take a picture of a bee on a flower too.
After a cup of tea, I put on the cycling gear again and went out for a run with Mrs Tootlepedal. She is cycling quite a bit at the moment and tells me that she is feeling the benefit. We went up Wauchope, past the Kerr wood to Mossknowe and back by the A7 cycle route. This is 13 miles and we did it in a whisker under 10 miles an hour which wasn’t at all bad considering the breeze we had to face at the start. You may think that I go on about the wind a lot but it has been very strong as these two pictures of felled trees taken today show.
The ride started peacefully, with a good view of this heron at Pool Corner.
The little camera is very good if you can get close enough. It was a lovely day for a pedal as I hope you can see from this picture.
You can see that the verges are very lush just now. Among others, we saw cow parsley, bluebells, campions, vetch, buttercups, geraniums, speedwell, tormentil and this field of bog cotton.
In the evening, the recorder players (or at least three of them,) came here to play because Jenny is away on holiday. We enjoyed a good play with perhaps some religious pieces by Byrd being the most enjoyable.
The high spot of the whole day was a feast of strawberries from the greenhouse. Well, they were strawberries and it was still May and we have never managed to ripen strawberries in May before. They went down well with a drop of cream and some caster sugar.
I hope these will be the first of many this year.