Sunshine before the storm

Today’s picture, taken recently by my brother, shows my eldest sister on the tow-path of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

Worcester and Birmingham canal

As a welcome contrast to the recent gloomy weather, today was bright as a button.  A bit annoyingly, I had agreed to go and be the curator of the Moorland Art exhibition from 12 to 2 which cut the day neatly in half and prevented me from going for a long ride unless I got up very early as I planned to do..

It was very sunny when I did eventually get up…..

A chaffinch checking to see if I was coming out on the bike.

…but rising late, I modified my morning plan from cycling into walking up to the town to get our morning paper which hadn’t been delivered….not quite as exciting as a long cycle ride but the best that I could do.  I met Gavin on my way and having read of my interest in a tablet, he offered to acquire one for me at an advantageous price on his forthcoming visit to the United States to see his boy.  This was a very thoughtful offer but I turned it down as I still don’t know if I really need one.

I picked up the paper and walked home.   This left me time to look at the birds.  I was expecting a rush of birds with taste to visit my gourmet fat balls.

Blue tit
Demand didn’t quite match my expectations.

After a cup of coffee with Sandy who came round to see what was what, I went up and spent two hours welcoming nobody to the exhibition.  This did give me plenty of time to bend my mind to reading the paper and doing the crossword so once again, I wasn’t bored.

When I got home, I got my bike out and had a quick scoot round the morning  afternoon run.  To be accurate, it was quick downhill and down wind as far as Canonbie but it got a bit slower on the way back.  It was a lovely day but it was chilly enough for two layers of bike clothing.

view from tarcoon

Swallows or possibly martins sensing that it is time to go home..

And a tree on the horizon, shaped by the prevailing conditions….

tree at Tarcoon

….reminded me that this is a windy place and soon the fine summer will be just a memory.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from a meeting of the Embroiders’ Guild and was hard at work in characteristic pose on her refashioned bed in the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal
Manure dug in, roots removed.

I got the mower out and mowed the middle lawn.  It is past its best but it still sets off the rudbeckia, cosmos and nasturtiums quite nicely.

Middle lawn

I wandered around with my camera in my hand while Mrs Tootlepedal delved.

The late afternoon sunshine made the birds stand out well.

siskin on feeder
A siskin fluffed up against the north wind.
coal tit
A coal tit stands still for a moment. This is rare.
blue tit on plum tree
A blue tit makes a pretty picture
A rook
A rook flaps lazily past overhead

I often try to take pictures of solo flowers for effect but today, I liked them better in groups of two or more.

two roses





The stubby lime green nicotianas (above) have grown well but they have no smell and the taller white variety (below) is not so striking but has the most lovely scent in the evening.


My favourite flower is still going well.


In the evening we watched the end of the penultimate stage of the Vuelta.  This turned out to be most exciting and the commentary was greatly improved by the presence of Jens Voigt, a fine professional cyclist himself and the living proof that Germans have a great sense of humour.  He and Chris Horner, who leads the Vuelta, are both over forty and Jens’ pleasure in seeing a fellow forty year old pedalling away from the other more youthful main contenders up a killingly steep final climb was well communicated.

We are hoping to go and watch the cyclists in our own Tour of Britain tomorrow live as they pass within six miles of Langholm but the forecast is for such terrible weather, rain and forty mile an hour winds, that we may chicken out.

In a break from chaffinch tradition, the flying bird of the day is a siskin.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “Sunshine before the storm

  1. Rotten luck with exhibition babysitting. We had 35 in the other afternoon in two hours. OK, 26 P2 bairns with 4 staff, then 5 other visitors.
    Do you know what time the Tour o Britain is due through oor airt, be that Copshaw or Canonbie? I think I’m hitting the wrong websites to find any times. Thanks in case you’re in the know! 🙂

  2. The birds don’t look very happy with the gourmet fatballs, maybe the new ones are too rich for their blood. You probably should have done an incremental step, like fine dining fatballs before going all the way to gourmet. 😉

  3. Sorry about the lack of spectators at the exhibition, very boring. Lots of perching birds to delight me, thank you, I especially enjoyed the coal tit.

  4. Delighted you had some sunshine. The garden and lawn look very impressive.
    Glad you had time for the crossword!

  5. The garden still looks lovely, especially the nasturtiums. Poor Comma do has just gone out for a twenty mile run in the wind a d possible rain. Sensibly I’m staying home in the warm 🙂

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