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.
Our 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.
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….
We 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…
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.
The way home down the valley looked very inviting.
I 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.