Hedge fund

Castern Hall

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit to Staffordshire by my brother, where he passed Castern Hall, a privately owned 18th-century country house in the Manifold Valley, near Ilam.  It has often been used as a film set and I see from its web site that you can buy it if you want, as it is for sale.

Castern HallOur weather has got noticeably colder around the equinox but it has stayed mainly fine for several weeks so we are not complaining too much.  It is a race against time for fruit to ripen after the generally cool weather and the blackberries are losing the race, although one or two ripe ones can be seen.  Our autumn fruiting raspberries, after a promising start, look to have given up the battle and I am watching sadly as a lot of fruit stays green and hard.  I think the apples will be all right though and we will start picking one tree soon.

I had to turn down the chance of Friday treacle scones today as I had pictures to print for the cattle Show tomorrow and a visitor to meet with whom to discuss the Moorland Project Website.  These activities kept me busy for most of the morning (picking and printing pictures is a lengthy business) but I did pop out into the garden for a moment or two.

The poppies were still hanging their heads so I looked to a marigold and Lilian Austin for some colour today.

calendula and roseThe rose, Lilian Austin, seems to like the colder weather and has several blooms on the go.

Lilian Austin roseI had a moment for watching birds too.

blue tit
A neat and  perky blue tit visited the new feeder
And a rather dishevelled goldfinch visited the old feeder

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did a little work in the garden and then we got ready to go out for a bike ride.  It was windy and rather grey by this time and there were even a few spots of rain but we trusted a forecast of a dry afternoon and set out regardless.  Our faith was well rewarded, as the sun came out almost as soon as we started and stayed with us for the whole ride.

Our route took us along quiet roads….

Kerr wood…up into the gentle hills to the west of the town and we enjoyed the early autumn scenery as we cycled through it.

Barnglieshead roadBarnglieshead roadWe were held up at one point as a rush of traffic coming the other way forced us into the verge.

sheep on roadWe had hoped to see some fungus beside the road as we went along but for many miles we saw nothing.  Then we came to a section where a row of mature beech trees lines the road and all of a sudden, there was more fungus than you could shake a stick at.

Some was quite dull…

fungus at barnglieshfungus at barngliesh…and some was more interesting.

fungus at barngliesh

fungus at barngliesh
Other fungus lovers had obviously got there before us.
Barngleish fungus
This fungus was trying to hide
Barngliesh fungus
And I have no idea what this is.
Barngliesh fungus
This was the last that we passed

All these were growing within 100 yards of each other and we saw nothing like them in the whole of the rest of the 14 mile trip.

The brisk wind had been against us or across until we got to Barnglieshead, just past the fungus, so we were pleased to turn for home there with the wind at our backs.  This was not just because it made for easier pedalling but also because it made the day feel pleasantly warm when the wind wasn’t niggling away at us.

There are two of the things I like most in this picture, a nice bit of downhill and Mrs Tootlepedal

The way home down the valley looked very inviting.

WauchopeI once produced some text and pictures for a cycling leaflet which the council was proposing to publish and I heard that there had been a great deal of amusement in the design office when they went through my pictures.  Someone told me later that they had been dismissed as ‘just a lot of pictures of roads’.  I noticed when I looked through my pictures today that there are ‘quite a lot of roads’  in them but I think now, as I thought then, that scenery is all very well but what a cyclists want to know is what sort of roads they will meet so I hope readers will forgive me if that is what I have shown today.

What with all the stopping to take pictures and the brisk wind, we took a fair bit of time to go round our fourteen mile loop but I had enough time left to add another half mile by going up to the High Street to get some pills, pay a bill and (most importantly of all) order fresh supplies of coffee and buy some local honey.

Mike and Alison Tinker have family visitors so there was no Friday tootle tonight and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a quiet night in.

This may be my last post as Mrs Tootlepedal and I have been invited to judge the children’s classes at the Cattle Show tomorrow and may not get out alive.

I did find a flying chaffinch today.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Hedge fund

  1. I love the ‘roads’ in the photos they add life – especially at rush hour:) Your rose is spectacular, what colour! Good luck with the judging. Very few dull moments in your life!

  2. Lillian Austen is gorgeous, and your traffic jam made me laugh, and you never show too many roads. I wonder why all the fungi had decided to have a convention in that one place?

  3. The trees on the right hand side of the road that Mrs. T is cycling through look like apple trees.
    I like the stone walls running through the fields. We have many miles of them here but most run through forest and we don’t see them like you see yours.

  4. I’m not a cyclist, but if I were, the condition of the roads would be a very important consideration if I were thinking about cycling in the area. Including the roads also shows that great views of the beautiful countryside are available right from the road as well.

    I also loved the Lillian Austin rose!

  5. Wow, I missed the amazing fungi show! I’ve been a little unwell still and have forced myself to catch up on other work before my blog reading treats.
    Your woolly traffic doesn’t look too lethal and how pretty is the scenery. I’m glad you have such lovely surroundings and quiet roads to cycle along. Beautiful landscapes, Tom! I guess it won’t be very long before it will have a covering of snow again though. I’m sorry you had bad luck with the berries but I’m glad the apples will be fine. I am hoping to get some mulberries this year before the critters demolish them.

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