Today’s guest picture is another from my daughter’s visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. Heaven knows what the wonderful flowers are.
We are enjoying a spell of warm, dry weather which is extremely welcome. It is letting Mrs Tootlepedal get some really useful gardening done and it is letting me get some good cycling miles in.
It was sunny from the start of the day and I took a moment before getting the fairly speedy bike out to have a look round the garden.
As always, I was happy to see a bee. They love the Dicentras.
I would be even happier if there were a lot more bees about but in spite of the good weather, they are still very scarce.
Our neighbour Gavin took a break on his customary morning walk to give two of his friends a guided tour of the garden. They were impressed that Mrs Tootlepedal does all the work herself. I am impressed by that too.
There are a lot of birds in the garden at the moment. Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t regard house sparrows in a very friendly light as they eat her young plants if she doesn’t protect them well but I am very happy if they pose nicely for me.
Hedge sparrows or dunnocks are often to be seen creeping about under plants in the borders. I caught a young one under the feeders today.
Siskins are still the most frequent feeder visitors…
…but they have to fend off the occasional incursion by sparrows….
…and everybody gives a starling a wide berth.
I didn’t have a moment to look at the flowers today because I had only a limited time to complete my cycle ride. I set off up the A7 to the north with two plans in mind – either go straight up the road against the wind for twenty miles and enjoy a whizz back down with the wind behind or else take a more circular and hilly route and avoid having to pedal into the wind for too long.
The forecast had promised a reasonably light wind but after eight miles butting into it, it seemed quite strong to me and after a pause to look at Ewes Church…
…I turned right at Fiddleton and headed for the hills.
There is a stiff climb out of the Ewes valley….
…and on to the ridge at the top…
…but it is well worth it, both for the views when you are up there and the steady descent down to Hermitage Water and the Castle on its bank.
The run back down the road to Newcastleton with the breeze now behind me was most enjoyable after the slow progress over the first sixteen miles.
I passed several bridges of various sizes on my way from Fiddleton to Newcastleton and stopped for two of them.
The water in the rivers is very low. The fisherman are crying out for some rain.
I stopped in Newcastleton to buy a strawberry tart from a handy cafe as I needed a bit of fuel for the last leg of my trip, 10 miles over the moor with a thousand foot summit between me and Langholm.
I had designed my route in the hope that the brisk breeze would help me over the hill and my hopes were realised in full and the ten miles passed without any trouble. If I had had more time to spare, I could happily have spent an hour or two just snapping away at all the wild flowers. But time pressed and I settled for a view of Tinnis Hill…
…and an impression of the quiet road that I followed.
There was so much bog cotton about that at times it looked as though it had been snowing.
The sting in the tail of the road across the moor is the valley of the Tarras. It gives an extra up and down when you are almost home.
The bog cotton and and some very colourful moss gave me an excuse for a breather…
..and more wild flowers gave me another.
The climbing and the wind made for a pretty slow average speed for my outing but it had been such a pleasant trip that I wasn’t too sad about this……but all the same, I scurried down the last hill and just managed to creep up to exactly 12 mph for the circuit which gave me some respectability (but not much).
Those interested can see more about the route by clicking on the map below.
I should add that the weather information that Garmin have added to the route map was wrong in every respect except the wind direction and even that was a bit more from the north than they show.
I just had time for a shower, a change of clothes and lunch before we set off to Carlisle for a combination of shopping and singing. The shopping went very well. The singing was not quite so good as our usual conductor and accompanist were missing, as was quite a good proportion of the choir.
With our concert coming up next week, it left us a little under prepared but those present gave of their best for the substitute conductor and it also gave us a chance to meet the young lady who is going to be our new accompanist from September onwards. She did amazingly well considering that she was sight reading everything today.
After a heavy eight days of cycling, singing and gardening, we were very pleased to have a sit down when we got home.
The flying bird of the day is another siskin.