Today’s picture shows the Regent’s Park heron. Its rather dark colour may be explained by it being in London and not in our clean country air or it may be a different sort. It was sent to me by my sister Mary.
It was a breezy but fine day this morning and with Dropscone playing golf, I was able to have a late breakfast and get the fairly speedy bike out at my leisure. The temperature was in the mid fifties so it was far from warm but it was very pleasant to be out on the bike pootling around. I went on my customary route over Callister but was sadly just too late to see what passes for a fox hunt these days crossing the road. I did catch up with a friend who was walking up the hill, with a rifle slung over his shoulder and stopped to talk to him for a while. As well as being a country sports enthusiast, he is an ex competitive cyclist and had been over to Dumfries to watch the stage finish of the Tour of Britain there.
I pedalled on to Paddockhole, battling against a stiff breeze and then, because the day was sunny and the breeze would be behind me, I added a couple of miles to Corrie Common to my trip. This involved a 1.3 miles climb of 300ft at 5% but with the wind behind me and a very steady gradient, it was no trouble at all. I was rewarded by a fine view down the valley of the Water of Milk and could see the road I had followed on the other side of the river a couple of weeks ago.
At Corrie Common, I turned and came back the way I had gone out.
The pedal home was a pleasure with the wind helping and apart from about 50 yards of madness when I tried to rush up a small hill, I kept to a speed that didn’t require any heavy breathing at all and the twenty five miles took me just under two hours and left me in good condition.
After a shower and lunch, I had time to look out of the window…
..and a walk round the garden. The white rose has really come up trumps.
The stiff wind had in the main kept the butterflies away but there was one out and about sharing a sedum with a white tailed bumble bee.
The sedum paled into insignificance compared to the traffic on the Michaelmas daisies. Almost every one of the dozens of flowers had an insect of some sort on it and some had two.
Among the long lasting flowers that have given us pleasure over the so called summer, I should include this astrantia.
I went in and made myself a cup of tea (and stared out of the window of course.)
The coal tit, which can’t eat a seed while on the feeder, lurks on the fat ball fortress until a seat is free, darts in, picks up a seed and darts off again. You have to be on your toes to catch them.
I didn’t want to waste this rare bit of friendly weather, so I picked up the camera and went for a walk round Gaskells. My first stop was the old Wauchope graveyard.
I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and walked back along the other side of Wauchope Water. I find the bedrock endlessly fascinating where it gets exposed.
It makes you consider how short man’s existence on earth has been compared with the steady passage of time involved in the laying down and solidifying of these layers of rock.
Still I don’t let it weigh on me too much.
Various organisations and individuals have planted seats at strategic points round Langholm for elderly walkers to take a rest and admire the view. This one…
…must have been out there by a tree lover.
The stock of wild flowers to accompany my walks has greatly diminished but there are a few about still.
And even the ones that are over can still offer visual entertainment.
As I came back through the park, I saw a better sited seat.
When I got back, I found Mrs Tootlepedal sitting and reading the newspaper in the warmth of the greenhouse. I wandered about a bit…
This time, the flock of bees on the sedum was amazing. They are all white tailed bumble bees. I counted nine on this patch alone.
Other unexpected small flying objects have landed on a box ball. I think the tiling conundrum may have got too much for Mrs Tootlepedal and she has been asking for help.
I then got a bowl and picked enough raspberries to make three more jars of raspberry jam. They are growing well at the moment and given reasonable conditions, there may be more jam to come. That’ll be jam today and jam tomorrow.
I have been looking at the forecast for our forthcoming trip to France and it says that it is probably going to rain a bit but at least it should be a lot warmer than it is here. We are looking forward to it.
In the evening there was an introductory programme on the telly for Strictly Come Dancing but fortunately for Mrs Tootlepedal it doesn’t start properly until we come back from holiday so she wont have to miss a step. I enjoy it too.
Today’s flying chaffinch is trying to stop in time before crashing downwind into the feeder.