Dodging showers

Today’s picture was taken while on a jaunt to the Thames by my sister Susan. It shows Billingsgate.

Billingsgate

It was a day of sunshine and showers and after breakfast, I went out on my speedy (relatively) bike in the hope of catching the sun and avoiding the showers. I didn’t quite manage it but I only had about 15 minutes of not very heavy rain to put up with. I went over Callister and came home by Chapelknowe and Glenzier in an undemanding 26 mile circuit. I should say that it ought to have been undemanding but the first seven miles, uphill and into a moderate breeze, were hard work. After that, I got the best of the wind but I still couldn’t squeeze the average above 14.7 mph for the trip. I am hoping that my asthma improves soon because I just can’t put any work into climbing a hill without my legs giving out at present. It never bothers me for long so I am quite hopeful of being back in good form by the weekend.

I took the little camera with me and took this picture of modern farming methods. There are a lot of fields like this round us. They are growing maize. If you see them in the distance, they look like little lakes.

maize
Amaizeing

The road sides are packed with wild flowers which makes for a very pleasant time as you pedal.

wild flowers

I met a result of the heavy winds on the cycle track on the old A7 beside the Auchenrivock diversion. Being on a cycle track, there will be no urgency to remove it. I might have to get out with my little saw myself.

fallen tree

It is hard to believe, looking at it now, that two years ago this was a trunk road, carrying log lorries, tourists and commercial traffic between the North West of England and the Scottish borders.

When I got back home, I had a look to see how the fat ball fortress was doing.

ball fortress
Sparrows and a blue tit
ball fortress
Sparrows with a coal tit leaving

The birds come into the fortress with care but they seem to be able to fly out at full speed. The starlings can get in but the jackdaws haven’t found a way yet.It seems to attract more sparrows than we had before but perhaps that is because there are new young birds among them.

It started to rain heavily almost as soon as I got into the house but fairly soon, the weather was fine again so I took the camera out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s collection of irises has been added to by the appearance of this one with a delicate white border round the petals.

iris with edge

This rose shows the rain that there had been.

rose

And yet another new iris had made an appearance.

a new iris

The red rose by the road hedge is doing very well again this year.

red roses

Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to a number of Sweet Williams that have come into flower.

sweet william

I don’t know what the treble clef shaped object in the middle of the flower is. I did some research on the web but I couldn’t find a picture like it.The flower below has one too, though not so distinct.

sweet william
Somewhat battered by the weather

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went to work and I put a week of the E&L into the database. Rather unnervingly, considering that we have been working hard for several years, I read an article in the paper today saying that the British Library is in the process of digitising thousands of pages of newspapers from the nineteenth century which will be put on-line and which will be searchable. If that includes the E & L, our work may be overtaken. I shall have to enquire about it. It won’t be free as ours is even if it does appear on-line. I also put some golf results up on Dropscone’s BGA website. He had spent yesterday organising a tournament in Duns. He is very keen.

We welcomed more B & B guests tonight. While I was waiting for them, I took another turn round the garden with the camera.

The lupins are reaching up. I hope that the top flowers will have emerged before the bottoms ones start to die but I wouldn’t like to put any money on it. I will keep an eye on them.

lupins

I took advantage of a sunny spell to mow the middle lawn and though I say it myself, it is doing not too badly considering the wildy variable weather we have had. They are forecasting much higher temperatures for the end of the week and we should get some good growth then.

lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal asked me to take a picture of the beneficial results of the pea stockade so here it is. You can see beans in flower behind the peas. They have needed protection from the birds but they are well braced against the wind.  The price of veg is eternal vegilance.

pea fortress pays off

I was tempted to take one last picture of the yellow azaleas before they are finished for the year.

azalea

A new flower has appeared near the flag irises. Mrs Tootlepedal tells me it is a codonopsis.

codonopsis

These drooping flowers are hard for an old man to photograph as they require a lot of stooping or even, if it is dry enough, lying on the ground. (Lying on the ground is easy enough. It’s getting up that’s hard.)

The flag irises have lasted amazingly well in the wind. They are largely unsupported.

irises

Also in the same corner of the garden, this white potentilla keeps steadily producing flowers.

white potentilla

 

Just to show how popular the fat ball fortress is, this picture was taken in the evening sunshine and it still full of sparrows. Perhaps one day soon they will have eaten so much that they won’t be able to get out.

evening sparrows

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

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