Today’s picture was sent to me by Dropscone. He was very proud of his younger daughter’s eye for a bargain when he found that she had purchased this tray of doughnuts on special offer for only 20p. Quite her father’s child. He tells me that it was he who has eaten the missing two doughnuts.
It was another hot, sunny day today and I would probably have been better off if I had stayed indoors in the cool but it didn’t work out like that. Both Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out. Mrs Tootlepedal, who loves programmes about archaeology on the TV, got the chance to do some field work using a plane table and an alidade with a group that is looking to survey the remains of a WW2 army camp on the Castleholm. She had great fun and will go again.
When she had gone, I wasted a little time walking round the garden.
In the end, I pulled myself together and I went out on my bike, putting some bread in to cook before I left to make sure that I wouldn’t try to go too far. As it happened, I felt very good as I started and I decided to a do a three lap up and down to Wauchope School so that I would never be too far from the bread in case of breakdown (physical or mechanical). I puffed along as fast as I could and was pleased to be able to keep the speed up over the whole 20 miles, finishing with an average of 16 mph which is my top speed these days.
Not long after I got back, it was time to sling the photographic gear over my shoulder and to take a walk up a hill to watch the cornet and his mounted followers take part in the annual ride-out to the Benty. I had photographed them from a distance last year and so I wanted to get closer up this year. I walked briskly as I wanted to be in position before the horses arrived but found that I had gone to the wrong place and only just caught them arriving at the field at Calfield.
It was really hot and sunny but it was also very hazy.
The Benty ride-out is the start of two weeks of events – ride-outs, social occasions, a grand concert and arcane mysteries – that precede the great day itself. The riders (all male) arrive at Bentpath where a meal with speeches, toasts and songs takes place in the village hall before riding back to the town along the opposite side of the river. It must have been like an oven on the hall today because it was very hot in the open air as I walked back down to the town.
As I had walked up, I had passed a team of men working very busily at cutting and transporting the grass for silage from the fields of Becks Farm.
In the dry conditions, the tractors kicked up a severe storm-door as they went too and fro and my eyes are still suffering from this as I write.
I had never been to this exact spot before and I must say that it is a very lovely place in this fine weather.
Luckily I found a friend who was also walking back to town and we chatted away as we walked, making the journey home seem much quicker than I would have found it if I had been by myself.
Once home, the final moments of the 13th stage of Tour de France kept me out of the sun for a while and some ice cream helped me to cool down.
However, the garden needed attention and we were soon outside again. I had taken a picture of the hawkweed seedheads in the morning but Mrs Tootlepedal didn’t want a whole garden full of hawkweed next year so they had disappeared by the afternoon.
She was also busy in the vegetable garden which is thriving.
I found that she had picked a turnip.
I noticed a new blossom on the rambler rose on the back fence. It was good to see it as the whole pant is suffering severely from mildew as you can see.
I shifted a little compost and then I picked the first few blackcurrants of the season. The bush is not netted so we are sharing them with all comers and I will try to pick the ripe ones each day before the brds get them. Then I trimmed the last two box balls on the front lawn. Mrs Tootlepedal appeared with the electric trimmer and we trimmed one of the hedges too. The hedges and balls that give the garden a lot of its shape, are getting harder and harder to keep neat every year for some reason.
After a cup of tea, we took the car, some binoculars and my long lens up onto the Langholm Moor to see if we could see a hen harrier. We saw a lot of action but it proved hard to capture on camera, partly because my eyes were full of tears from the day in the bright sun and the tractor dust. Mrs Tootlepedal, who had the binoculars, enjoyed herself a lot.
I wasn’t helped by the continually changing light as the first clouds of the day appeared. I am not even sure of all three pictures are of a hen harrier.
We rolled home very pleased with the show and I stopped on the way to take a picture of the bog cotton which is really flourishing on the moor this year.
I had a quick look at our own birds when I got home.
We are planning a trip to the seaside tomorrow so I hope it will be a bit cooler there as I was just about kippered in the sun today.
A low flying but still distant harrier (I think) is the flying bird of the day.