Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Gavin. It shows him in front of an enormous hedge in the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh yesterday. By coincidence, Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda were there too yesterday but they didn’t meet Gavin. Perhaps they were on the other side of the hedge.
I had a wonderful plan to leap up early and pedal 40 miles in the early morning sunshine before breakfast. The alarm went off on cue, I woke up, the sun was shining, I rolled over and went back to sleep again. Sometimes, as Robert Burns said, the best laid plans….
I was wandering round the garden after a late breakfast, taking pictures of a fine oriental poppy…
…when who should appear on a bicycle but Dropscone. He wasn’t cycling far though, merely crossing the town to pay a bill. Having discharged this obligation, he returned for a cup of coffee and a dainty biscuit.
He has been away for a few days acting as a golf referee at an international children’s golf tournament near Edinburgh. He would have had a better time if he hadn’t had to spent eleven hours on the course in pouring rain and lashing wind on Wednesday. He was very cheerful all the same.
When he left, I completed my tour of the garden.
When I finished my tour, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to the Moorland bird feeders, as I had been asked to fill them today in the absence of the regular volunteer. Mrs Tootlepedal was armed with binoculars and was hoping for a sight of a hen harrier on the moor behind the feeders.
She didn’t see a harrier but I was happy enough with a woodpecker and some spring cones.
I also liked this view of the woods on the other side of the Tarras valley.
We couldn’t stay long as I had an appointment to meet a lady from our camera club in Newcastleton who was bringing over some pictures for our photo exhibition which starts next week. I just had time to mow the middle lawn before going up to find her. She was on time and will come over again next week to see the exhibition.
After lunch, I looked at another fallen walnut tree branch which Mrs Tootlepedal had tidied up in the garden. The yellow lichen seems to like walnut…
…and then we put our bikes in the back of the car and drove the eleven miles down to Longtown.
The attraction of Longtown, an otherwise unremarkable town, to Mrs Tootlepedal is that it lies in the middle of the Solway Plain, a very flat piece of country. We intended to ride a gentle fourteen mile route but thanks to missing a poorly signposted turn, we managed to achieve a fifteen mile circle. In the beautiful sunny weather, with a light breeze to keep us cool, we didn’t mind the extra mile at all.
I stopped from time to time to take a picture as we went along.
The sharp eyed will have observed Mrs Tootlepedal disappearing into the distance in the two shots above. She was in fine fettle and we kept our average above 10 mph for the journey.
Road side spectators watched us whoosh past with barely concealed amazement.
Near the end of our journey, we passed one of my favourite buildings, Arthuret Church, and I added yet another shot of this impressive edifice to my collection.
When we got home, we had a cup of tea by way of refreshment and Mrs Tootlepedal went out to do those things that a gardener does in the back border….
…while I mowed the front lawn. Luckily, the two forms of physical exercise which I enjoy most, cycling and lawn mowing, are not much affected by my sciatica. Leaning forward and taking your weight on your arms must be the secret.
I had another look round when I had finished mowing.
It was such a lovely evening that we decided to drive up onto the Langholm Moor and have another look for hen harriers. This time Mrs Tootlepedal saw a male flying low over the hill as soon as we stopped and we had an entertaining time watching it swoop along the ridge. It was well in binocular range but a little too far away for my camera. At one moment we saw what looked like both a male and a female together.
I had time to look at Tinnis, my favourite hill….
…before we headed home for tea.
In the evening, I updated my cycling stats and found that this year I have done more miles by the end of May than I had by the end of June last year. This is very satisfactory but may also explain why I feel a bit tired. I am still working my way back to full fitness after the illness that laid me low two years ago and have to be careful not to overdo things.
The non flying flower of the day is another view of that pond-side Primula.