Hot stuff

Today’s guest picture, sent to me by her father, shows Matilda in a discussion on parenting showing a very fair minded effort to see both sides of the question.


It was a warm and windless day and in spite of some disagreement from certain recalcitrant joints, I decided to make the best of it and go for a more adventurous pedal than usual.

My creaky knees meant that I wasn’t in any hurry to get going and I put off the moment of departure by looking round the garden before I left.

A scruffy blackbird was doing some much needed grooming.


The white peonies look more gorgeous every day at the moment.

white peonies

It is not Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite flower (she calls it a thug) but I like our cornflowers.


I finally girded my loins and got going.  My route took me north from the town up the Esk valley and I stopped after about ten miles to admire this view….


…and to walk down to the side of the river….

river Esk

…where I would find the Girdle Stanes, a prehistoric stone circle.

My phone is not great at picking detail out of a crowded background but here is an impression of the circle (or rather half circle as the rest has been swept away by the river).

girdle stanes
girdle stanes

This is one of seven sites that make up the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.

Leaving the stones, I crossed the White Esk  at Eskdalemuir…


…but only when a party of sheep had made way for me….

Sheep at Eskdalemuir
You can tell how fierce the Eskdalemiur sheep are by the fact that the shepherd has to wear a helmet.

…and headed over the hill out of the White Esk valley and down into the Black Esk valley and then up again out of that and down into Dryfesdale.

This part of the journey was going across the grain of the land but on a fine, calm day like today, it was a joy to follow the undulations of the road.

On the way over the hills, I had been listening to a lot of complaints from my left knee so I stopped and adjusted the height of my saddle by about 1 cm and this made a terrific difference to my comfort.  It is amazing how much a tiny difference in saddle height can add to or subtract from the pleasure of riding a bicycle.

The Dryfe Water took me into the market town of Lockerbie, where I hired a couple of sheep to look after my bike….

Lockerbie sheep

… while I went to purchase some of the famed Lockerbie chips for a much needed snack.  I had done about 26 miles by this time and this had included a good many hills so I was glad of the rest.

The second half of my journey was a lot flatter but to make up for this, the sun was at its height and the day got very hot and heavy so I found the flat going even harder than the hills had been in the fresher air of the morning.

Still, I battled on down to Gretna and then back through Glenzier and Canonbie to Langholm.  I passed a hive of activity at one of the drilling sites near Canonbie.


There are currently two schemes afoot, one to extract gas and the other to dig coal from the large coal field that lies beneath the green fields in this area.  I think that this rig belongs to the gas seekers.

The pictures of the ride make it look much more cloudy than it actually was and I have got quite sunburned knees after the fifty mile circuit.

Those interested may find details of the ride here.

Owing to a rather late start and the need for extensive rehydration and recovery when I got back, this effort took up most of my day but I did have some time to walk round the garden again before tea.

Frogs and blackbirds were to the fore again.

frog and blackbird

Their majesties were in good form too.

Crown Princess Margaretha and the Queen of Denmark.  The queen is being pestered by flies again.

I found a more decorative tiny creature on an Iris.  I would be pleased of any reader can tell me what it is. It was very small, about 1cm long.

tiny creature

It is rare that Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like the look of a flower but for some reason, this St John’s Wort isn’t to her taste at all.

St John's Wort

I know what I like and this is it.

An Eryngium just getting the first hint of its blue colour.

Two new clematis plants have come into flower.


And the Rosa Goldfinch is really doing well.

goldfinch rose

I rounded the day off with a visit to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group.  All six of us were there and sometimes that is a bit overpowering in a small room but tonight we were on very good form and played sweetly and the hour and a half flashed by.  This was also a tribute to the fine selection of music from Bassano through Haydn to Fauré which our librarian Roy pulled out of his seemingly inexhaustible well of recorder part music.

There was no time to catch a flying sparrow today so a non flying complicated rose is the flower of the day.

rosa Gallica complicata

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Hot stuff

  1. Apparently the only thing complicated about that rose is finding the origin of its name. All I can find on Rosa complicata is that it is ancient and the origin of the name is lost to history. Its name is listed as “unresolved,” essentially meaning that nobody really knows. That is very unusual.
    The flower and landscape photos were a day brightener.
    Matilda seems to have a bit of philosopher in her. It’s not hard to imagine that blanket as a toga.

    1. What it even more unusual than nobody knowing about something is the fact that in this case it is generally admitted that nobody knows. That is very rare.

  2. Lovely photos of Matilda. Flowers were beautiful too – the thug, the eryngium and the final rose I think I like the best. I enjoyed your cycle ride – you are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area. The bug is a capsid or mirid bug called Globiceps cruciatus. It is a herbivore and lives mainly on low-growing vegetation – poor Mrs T!

  3. I would probably take up cycling if there was lovely countryside to ride through as you do. The flowers were gorgeous, I liked the Eryngium most of all, but it was a tough choice with so many other worthy competitors.

  4. So much to comment on, the wonderful pictures of Matilda, the long cycle ride, a splendid frog picture, an interesting insect and all those flowers, what a start to my day.

  5. What a simply gorgeous excursion! So much to see. Such vivid color and expression in everything and everyone! Most enjoyable.

  6. Matilda is sure growing quickly! She’s a beautiful baby and will soon be giving you a run for your money, I bet, when it comes to discussing the ways of the natural world. 🙂 Loved the frog photo (again) and the last photo of the complicated rose is particularly sharp and crisp. Glad you had such an enjoyable cycle.

      1. I don’t know that I will ever have the patience for a tripod. My mother-in-law went home today and since I was tired, I spent a good part of the day reading my camera manual and trying to play with the settings, realizing that photography may end up being like algebra for me, something I will never really grasp or understand.

      2. Reading the manual is hard work. Never read more than one page at at time before you go out and try it. It just makes the head hurt.

  7. I’m trying to get caught up with some of your recent posts. Matilda is precious, the landscapes are at once lush and serene, and the flowers are beautiful. I love the Eryngium in particular. And I too am too lazy to use a tripod, although I am beginning to think for close photographs it might be the only way to go because I can’t count on my knees.

  8. The pictures of Matilda made me smile, wonder what she’s thinking about? The stane circle is somewhere I’d like to visit. Living fairly close to Stonehenge and Avebury we tend to forget there are prehistoric circles elsewhere. Personally I enjoy a nice St Johns Wort but that eryngium is a show stopper!

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