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Archive for July, 2016

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Ada and shows a golden-ringed dragonfly which she spotted on the road outside her house.  One of those green eyed monsters.

Golden-ringed dragonfly

I was still remarkably creaky this morning so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in church, I wondered if Dr Velo could work his magic on my joints and went out for a gentle short ride on the fairly speedy bike.

To make things easy, I went due south to start with, giving me a mildly downhill route which was protected fro the most part from a crosswind.   This did mean of course that the return part of the trip was mostly uphill and into the wind but you can’t have everything.

Although I was using roads which were familiar, I chose a route combination which I have never cycled round before and this added interest to my trip.    I really like the quiet back roads with occasional large trees in the hedges.

The road to Chapelknowe

The road to Chapelknowe

One of the reasons for choosing my route was to check up on a road that used to have the worst surface in the district.  I had been reliably informed that it had been repaired and my informant turned out to be quite correct.

Solwaybank road

The Solwaybank road, now a thing of beauty

There are wide views after you come out of the woods.

Solway Plain

Looking over the Solway to England

In spite of the green verges of the Solwaybank road, on the whole the countryside is gradually turning browner and patches of colour in the verges are getting scarcer.  These ‘small yellow dandelion shaped flowers’ among the grasses were an exception.

hawkweeds

Possibly common hawkweed.

hawkweed

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had thought of cycling to Westerkirk with our neighbour Liz for a cream tea at the village hall in the afternoon but when Liz turned out to be unable to come with us and then it started to rain a bit, we decided that the sofa had more allure than a soaking and sat down to watch the Ride London cycle race instead of pedalling ourselves.

When it finished, I walked round the garden.  The poppies are doing everything that the gardener hoped.

poppies

The recent rain and a brisk breeze made them hard to photogrpah close up and some of them ended up looking more like exotic butterflies than anything else.

poppies

In the vegetable garden, the cardoon is getting ever bigger…

cardoon

…and I am worried that when the flower finally blossoms, we won’t be able to see it.

The various clematis on the fence are looking very fine.

clematis

clematis

And that was about that for the day.

After tea, I added my day’s cycling into my cycle stats and see that I have have now done  just over 2500 miles for the year.  Considering that the very bad weather early in the year meant that I only did 350 miles in January and February combined, I am mildly pleased with the total.

The flower of the day brings mixed emotions.  It is the first sight of the Japanese Anemones for the year.  I really like these flowers but they are definitely associated with the end of the summer months and once again, the summer will soon have slipped away before I have done half the things that I meant to do.  As I get slower with age, the days seem to pass more quickly.

Japanese Anemone

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who had business in Berwick on Tweed and saw three bridges.  You may have to look carefully to find the third one.

Berwick bridges

We had a very quiet day today after the active day yesterday.  I can confirm that standing around on your feet for seven hours is very much harder work than sitting around pedalling for the same amount of time.

The weather helped, with frequent showers giving us a good excuse to sit indoors not doing anything much.

I did go up to the town to do some shopping and then replenished my stocks of good cheese and honey at the local producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre but these were my only excursions.

We did take advantage of one of the dry spells to clip the yew ‘chessman’ in the garden.. This is quite a complicated operation as it has perennial nasturtiums sprouting out of it which one of us needs to hold up while the other clips and snips.

In other dry moments, I caught up on the mowing which has been sadly neglected of late.

I looked at a few flowers while I was out there.

The crown makers have left us plenty of rambler roses.

rambler rose

The cornflowers continue to delight me.  They seem never ending.

cornflower

And the darkest of our three astrantias has finally condescended to put out its flowers for inspection, long after the other two.

astrantia

Once again, the garden was full of insects and almost every flower seemed to have one.

poppy with hoverfly

We found a moment to dig up a row of early potatoes and once again they were surprisingly large for earlies and as you can see…

potatoes

…one of them is suffering from a large crack in the surface.  This has been a frequent problem this year, presumably arising from some very wet weather while they were developing followed by a long dry spell.

We entertained Mike Tinker to a cup of tea in the afternoon and he brought some long awaited stability to the weather and the evening turned out to be beautiful.

Delphiniums

phlox

I might have seized the moment and gone for a walk or a short pedal but I let it slip through my hands like sand and watched an exciting woman’s city centre cycle event from London instead.

This event was made even more exciting by the fact that before the broadcast started  my daughter rang up from London to say that she was standing very close to the finish line.

When we turned on the telly, there she was in the background behind two talking heads.  We rang her up to report this and had the rather bizarre experience of hearing her answer her phone a few seconds before we could see her reaching down to take it out of her pocket on the screen.   Such are the wonders of technology.

The flower of the day is another wonderful poppy.  The mixed bag of seeds is really working hard now.

poppy

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An appropriate guest picture for today was sent to me by Edward Winter from Sheffield.  He tells me,”It shows the cup the late John Edward (Ted) Dunglinson won for his victory at Langholm in the 1963 All Weights Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling competition.  Ted was my mother’s cousin but to me, he was always and remains, Uncle Ted.”

Langholm1963AllWeightsTrophy

I got up at ten past five in the morning and as a result there are far too many pictures in today’s post so those of an impatient nature or with better things to do should just scroll quickly down, click the ‘like’ button and go back to their own life.

The reason that I got up at ten past five was that I could hear the faint sounds of a drum beating.  When I went out to look, there was nothing to be seen in Caroline Street…

Caroline Street

..but it wasn’t long before the source of the noise that woke me became plain…

CR 2016 Flute band

…it was the Langholm Flute Band with their followers, taking a break while parading round the town to wake us all up to greet the Langholm Common Riding and summon us to go up the hill for the hound trail that starts the day off.

They were soon back to their puffing and blowing and thumping the drum…

CR 2016 Flute band

…on into the High Street…

CR 2016 Flute Band

….and it wasn’t long before they headed up the hill.

CR 2016 Flute band

After greeting the Cornet and his Right and Left, getting ready to perform their duties at the hound trail…

CR 2016 hound trail

I followed on up the hill.  I played in the flute band for thirty years and then retired and I haven’t been up to see the hound trail for ten years since then so this was like a new experience for me.

I could have had a bet on the outcome of the hound trail…

CR 2016 hound trail

…but I knew enough to know that I didn’t know enough to risk any money on the outcome so I joined those waiting for the action to start.

CR 2016 hound trail

We were all waiting for this man to appear.

CR 2016 hound trail

He had the air of one who has just walked briskly for five miles through wet long grass and tussocks dragging an aromatic sack which sets the trail for the hounds to follow.   A colleague has walked the other five miles down the far side of the valley to set the trail for the return journey.

Ewes valley

The hounds run five miles up the right hand side of the valley and then back down the left side crossing the main road twice.

Once the trail setter had arrived, the hounds’ owners brought their dogs to the start.

CR 2106 hound trail

The hounds are held back for the start with different techniques…

CR 2016 hound trail

…but this was the favourite style.

CR 2016 hound trail

The dogs are very keen to be about their business.  A very short clip to demonstrate….

…and then they are off.

CR 2016 hound trail

…leaping dikes…

CR 2016 hound trail

…and disappearing into the distance in minutes.

Hound trails are not the greatest spectator sport as there is little sign of the hounds for the next half hour.  Still, the scenery is beautiful.

CR 2016 hound trail

Mist rising from the river valley below.

Then, almost without warning, the anxious owners set up a great wailing and banging of feed bowls…

CR 2016 hound trail

…and the first dog appears running towards the finish.

CR 2016 hound trail

The excitement over, the flute band convenes at Hillhead…

CR 2016 flute band

..and leads the company back from the hill into the town…

CR 2016 Flute Band

…passing through the rising mist on the way.

CR 2016 Flute Band

There is a quick  walk across the fields…

CR 2016 Flute Band

..before re-forming again for the last lap down the High Street…

CR 2016 Flute Band

This is Langholm’s Common Riding alarm clock.

CR 2016 Flute Band

Leaving the band to play a tune or two in front of the Town Hall, I headed home to wait for our visitors, Matilda’s other grandparents, her aunt and her cousin.

As they arrived, the town’s flag was being handed out to the cornet and we took our visitors  along to see the mounted procession, led by the town band, come over the Town Bridge….

CR 2016 horses

…and along Thomas Telford Road.

CR 2016 horses

The cornet leads the mounted procession round the Square Pump and the Buccleuch Centre…

CR 2016 horses

…and you can see that he is taking his job seriously.

CR 2106 Simon Tweddle

Soon they are heading back to the centre of the town and the length of Thomas Telford road is filled with the 180 or so horses that are following the cornet.

CR 2106 horses

The horses go down to Townfoot and back to the Market Square where the first fair is cried but we left them to it and joined the crowd at the top of the Kirk Wynd waiting for the gallop up the hill.

CR 2106 Kirk Wynd

Finally the cornet appeared…

CR 2106 Kirk Wynd

…cheered on by the crowd and followed by the rest of the riders.

CR 2106 Kirk Wynd

With such a press of spectators and so many riders, it is always a wonder that no one gets hurt but once again, the moment past off safely.

Once the riders had gone onto the hill, we took our visitors back home and had a hearty brunch.  The blackbirds were enjoying the sunny weather in the garden…

blackbirds

..and there were almost as many insects as there had been horses.

insects on poppies

Mrs Tootlepedal took our fellow grandparents, Eileen and Francis up to the Market Place to hear the second crying of the fair when the horsemen came back from the hill but I stayed with Katherine and Lola as Lola, Matilda’s cousin was taking part in the Highland Dancing competition on the Castleholm.

When we got to the Castleholm, we were in time to see the cornet carry the flag round the racecourse in the ‘Cornet’s Chase’..

CR 2106 Castleholm

…so called because the other riders, having given him a generous start, follow him round the racecourse.

CR 2106 Castleholm

The cornet takes the flag back to the grandstand where it rests for the afternoon….

CR 2106 Castleholm

…and then there are a series of horse races for riders who had followed the cornet, both big and small.

CR 2106 Castleholm

Highland dancing is a serious business and requires the correct costume…

Lola at CR 2106

…and all the dancers wear wellies or Crocs over their dancing shoes until the last minute.  Lola looked very elegant though when it was her turn to dance under the eagle eye of the judge.

Lola dancing

The dancing went on all afternoon so I went off from time to time to watch the other events on the Castleholm.
The Crown takes pride of place on the athletics field.

CR 2106 crown

There were athletic races….

CR 2106 Castleholm

CR 2106 Castleholm

…and horse racing…

CR 2106 Castleholm horse racing

The bottom corner, first race

CR 2106 Castleholm horse racing

The top corner, second race

And Cumberland Wrestling which starts with an embrace…

CR 2016, Cumberland wrestling

…and ends with a fall.

CR 2016, Cumberland wrestling

Which may happen in many different ways.

CR 2016, Cumberland wrestling

The clothing may look casual but the wrestling is serious.

Having been up and about since five o’clock, I was getting a bit tired so I left Lola dancing away and went home for a cup of tea and a sit down.

We were very fortunate in having fine weather for our great day as there were some threatening looking clouds on the other side of the hill as I went home.

CR 2016 clouds

When the rest of the party had not reappeared after another hour, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see what had happened.  Lola was still dancing!  There are innumerable dancers and innumerable classes so you have to have great stamina to compete in these events.

They finally came back to the house and Lola was proud to show off a fine collection of gold and silver medals, a reward for all her hard work.

Lola

Now wearing her second dancing costume of the day.

There had been dancers from Philadelphia and Canada in the competition so this was no small scale event.

We sat down to a good meal with our visitors before they left for their lodgings in Ecclefechan.  They are going to another dancing competition further north tomorrow.  I feel quite tired just thinking about it.

I had hoped to round the day off with a visit to the handing in of the flag, the last event of the Common Riding but the early start proved too much for me and I settled down to write this post instead.

I did find time to take a picture of the flower of the day to celebrate the fine weather which had may the day so particularly enjoyable.

poppy

 

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Today’s guest picture, taken by my sister Mary,  shows a lovely view of the Thames at Richmond.  The sharp-eyed may see the inevitable low flying aircraft in the sky and wonder that people are pushing for an extension to Heathrow which would mean even more of these disturbers of the peace above Londoners’ heads.

The inevetable aeroplane, if you look hard

As she was getting up, Mrs Tootlepedal glanced out of the window and saw a rose collector leaving the garden with another bag full of roses for the crown.  They work hard.

After yesterday’s wall to wall sunshine, we had a day of almost wall to wall drizzle today so it was lucky that I had many mundane but essential tasks to do to fill up my time.

A quick look out of the back door showed me that only the marigolds were likely to bring much sunshine into our lives today.

marigolds

The rest of scene was hanging heads…

wet poppy

…soggy petals…

cosmos

…and water, water everywhere.

nasturtium

One of the more pleasant moments of the morning was to test out the newly made wild raspberry jam on some of Dropscone’s drop scones with accompanying coffee.  The jam passed the test.   Dropscone tells me that his golf has been up and down…but not always in the number of strokes that he would wish.

I had photo cards to finish, Heritage DVDs to copy and then cards, postcards and disks to deliver to the High Street .  All this took some time and before I knew it, it was time for lunch.

After lunch I set the breadmaker to make some dough for a dozen rolls.

I was hoping that things might get better in the afternoon but the drizzle persisted.  It was gentle enough to let Mrs Tootlepedal get out and clip the wings of her chicken.

topiary chicken

Over the years, the chicken has got stouter an stouter and a radical re-clip with substantial slimming is in the offing.

I  helped out with a little tidying up and also took the chance for another wander round the garden.

The delphiniums have survived very well even though a lot of them are now nestling in the compost bin.

delphinium

Of all the flowers in the garden, the nasturtiums seem to be most fond of a drop of rain, hanging on to all they can collect for dear life.

nasturtium

A new fuchsia in a pot was making the most of the shelter of the greenhouse.

fuchsia

Looking up, I could see a collared dove, sitting somewhat morosely on the  wires above the back garden.

collared dove

We didn’t stay out long.

The dough for the rolls came out of the breadmaker so beautifully kneaded and spongy that you could have made a bouncy castle from it.

The rolls themselves looked good when they came out of the oven later in the day but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating tomorrow.

On the evening before the Common Riding, all three of the town’s bands, the brass band, the pipe band and the flute band play in the town at various times but so gloomy was the day by this time that we stayed indoors and waited for better weather tomorrow.

While I was out in the garden, I noticed a small flock of homing pigeons taking their daily exercise nearby so there are a great many flying birds of the day today.

racing pigeons

And a little dahlia, impervious to the rain by some curious chance, is the flower of the day.

dahlia

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Today’s guest picture is the town hall of Ripon.  My brother, who was visiting,  was much taken with the inscription.

Ripon

We had a day of pleasantly cool but sunny weather today and if I hadn’t had quite a strenuous pedal yesterday, I would have been out on my bike.  As it was, I spent a quiet morning in the garden checking out insects.

The bees have been joined by hoverflies.

astrantia

Mrs Tootlepedal has some very pretty sunflowers coming out…

sunflowers

…and they are real insect magnets.

sunflowers

I was busy with a little dead heading when the garden was suddenly invaded by a team of expert rose clippers.

rose pickers

They attacked our ramblers with ready secateurs and in no time they had a crate filled with blooms.  When they left, I followed them on my bike and trailed them to their lair.  They were part of a gang which was hard at work in a shed.

The crown

The object of all this activity is the ceremonial crown which will be carried through the town among the other emblems as part of our Common Riding procession on Friday.  It is an honour for our roses to be part of it.

Once the roses are trimmed and prepared, the crown maker Les binds each one individually to the framework which has been precovered with moist sphagnum moss to keep the roses fresh.

Les making the Crown

This is the most painstaking work, taking many man and woman hours and I shall look at the crown with new respect when it is paraded  round the town on Friday.

When I got back home, Attila the gardener was starting the job of taking down a small tree which is steadily dying and I helped out by shredding the branches.

After lunch, I printed out some more pictures to go on cards which will go on sale in the town. They raise funds for the Archive Group and the last lot sold quickly which was pleasing.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal headed off to Carlisle for some shopping and I took advantage of the continuing sunshine to go for a walk.

My plan was to walk along the ridge between Castle Hill and Potholm Hill and then descend to the road for the return journey.

It had rained quite a lot last night and I wondered whether the going might be a bit too soggy for fun but the hill was in very good condition and I followed my plan to the letter (well almost).

Kilngreen

There was no chance of waving at Mr Grumpy on my way as the Kilngreen is given over to the shows for the next few days so I went straight up the hill.

Castle Hill

The hill was covered with wild flowers…

Castle Hill

…and the walking was delightful.

The views weren’t bad either.

Panorama from Castle Hill

You can click on this panorama to get the bigger picture.

I soon got to the summit of Castle Hill and the ridge stretched out in front of me.

Castle Hill

I walked along the ridge…

Ridge from castle hill

…looking to the left….

Esk valley

The Esk valley

…and the right…

Ewes valley

The Ewes valley

…and sticking to the wall as I went.

Castle Hill ridge

As well as the views, there were things of interest closer to hand.

fungus and heart's ease

Fungus making use of a handy drop of dung and Heart’s Ease sheltered against the wall.

I got to the end of the wall and there was a handy stile to get me onto the next part of my route.

stile on Potholm Hill

All was going well until I got to the top of the next summit and  spotted a group of cattle grazing further along on my route.  I don’t like to get too close to hill cattle so I cunningly dropped down the side of the hill and contoured along with a view to reaching the fence and then walking up it to the next gate, having bypassed the cattle.

My plan was not very successful.  I dropped down out of sight of the cattle quite successfully but the cunning beasts knew what I was up to and when I looked up the hill, they were cantering along the ridge and soon formed up in front of the gate I was hoping to get to unobserved.

I wasn’t going to argue with them so I changed tack and followed the fence downhill until I came to a second gate which gave me access to the track which I would have joined in the first place so all was well.  I took a look at the very picturesque cottage at Henwell…

Henwell

…and then went down to Potholm Bridge and walked home along the road.

I ate wild raspberries from the hedgerows and clicked away as I went but there have been too many pictures already so I will just put in a sign of the times that I passed.

crop

Crops starting to ripen in the fields

…and a chaffinch that was hopefully looking for seed in the garden when I got home…

chaffinch

…and that will wrap up the day nicely.

It was a walk of just under 6 miles and it is a tribute to both my new knee and the exercises which the physio gave me for my troublesome hip that I could do it at all.  Two or three years ago I was quite certain that I would never be able to walk over the hills again so I count this a great blessing.

The chaffinch wouldn’t fly to order so there is no flying bird of the day but Rosa Wren more than makes up for this deficiency in my opinion as it appears as flower of the day.

Rosa Wren

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie who has been visiting her granny.  It shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother Mauri, who is 99 and 51/52ths years old.  We are going to her birthday party next week.

Mauri

It was a grey day and I had meant get up and get out early as there was a threat of rain later but it was one of those days when spring and footsteps were not related to each other so it wasn’t until after coffee that I finally got on the road.

Feeling that I had been over the same roads rather too often lately, I chose to head south out of the town to visit a different area of England.

This entailed a hilly route…

garmin route elevation26 July 2016

…which got hillier as I went on and didn’t have much in the way of flat bits on which to recover.  Also, as you can see from the elevation above, the downhills tended to be rather steep and as I am of a cautious disposition (especially on roads that I don’t know well), this entailed going very slowly down some of the hills as well as up them.

All this meant that I was never going to break any speed records and since this was so, I stopped quite a lot to take pictures as I went.

flowers by the road

There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road

I crossed into England over this fine bridge over the Liddle Water at Penton.

Penton Bridge

The ramp on the right of the bridge is a natural rock formation

I crossed back into Scotland by a much less impressive bridge over the Kershope Burn about 18 miles later.

Kershope Bridge

Riparian owners should be prevented by law from letting scrubby trees spoil photographers’ views of bridges.

In between, there was never a dull moment.

Tunnel of trees

I like this tunnel of trees near Catlowdy

I was often up on a ridge with good views.

Lyne valley

Just before I got to Roadhead, I turned left and took a road that was new to me back towards Newcastleton and Scotland.  I was surprised to find a little church in the middle of nowhere.

Bewcastle Reform church

It turned out to be the Bewcastle United Reform Church and has services once a month.

Past the church, I got into some high moorland…

Bewcastle fells

…but it wasn’t long before I was back among flowery verges.

Bewcastle fells

I had met one sharp shower a few miles after I had left Langholm but I had a rain jacket with me and it hadn’t lasted long so I wasn’t discouraged.   As I got near Newcastleton though, I could see a heavy rainstorm over the Langholm Moor, my route home.

As the wind would be against me, this was rather discouraging but I stopped and put my rain jacket back on in Newcastleton and plucked up some resolve and started to pedal up the steep hill out of the town in a steady drizzle.

I was rewarded by the rain stopping almost immediately and the only difficultly that I had in getting up the hill was having to stop and look at orchids all the time.  Mike Tinker had told me that there would be orchids and he was right. There were orchids lining the road the whole way past the golf course.

orchids

The hilly golf course itself can best be described as ‘sporting’ ….

Newcastleton Golf Course

..and it really pays to keep your ball on the fairway there.  I never played well on it.

I was having one last look at the roadside flowers…

orchid and pipit

…when I was distracted by the cheeping of a meadow pipit on a fence post.  It may have been hopping mad.

I toiled up the long and straight road to the county boundary….

Hill road

Looking back

…but the wind wasn’t as bad as I had feared and I finally reached the summit.  The ground there was liberally sprinkled with yellow flowers.

yellow flowers on Langholm Moor

I would welcome a suggestion as to what they might be.

Coming back down to Langholm from the county boundary is not the breeze that it should be as you have to cross the Tarras Valley on your way…

Tarras valley

The valley is marked by the line of trees.

 

..and this involves yet another down and up but at least the monument is in sight and you are not far from home.

Looking down the valley from the far side, I could see Cronksbank, a childhhood memory for one of the blog’s regular readers.

Cronksbank

Although I had only done 35 miles by the time that I got home, I had climbed about 3000ft so it was no surprise that I had struggled to keep my average speed above 10mph.  This was 4 miles an hour slower than I had managed for the whole 100 miles on Saturday and only increases my respect for the Tour de France professionals who fly up hills faster than I can go along the flat.

It had been rather chilly on the cloudy ride with a nip in the wind and temperatures only in the high fifties so it was a bit annoying that the sun came out just as I turned into the drive.

Still, it gave me the motivation to have a walk round the garden.

phlox

The phlox is really beginning to cut loose

dahlia and knapweed

Mrs Tootlepedal had been visiting Gretna in the pursuit of shopping bargains while I was out and after she came back, I went off in the car in search of wild raspberries.  I found enough bushes to pick a pound and while I was doing this, I saw a striking caterpillar on a ragwort plant.  When I looked closer, every ragwort plant seemed to have its own caterpillar (or two).

ragwort with cinnabar moth caterpillar

A little research when I got home told me that these are cinnabar moth caterpillars.

In the evening, I turned the wild raspberries into two jars of raspberry jam while my tea was cooking.  Raspberry jam is brilliant as it only takes about ten minutes to make it.  The downside is that using this ‘quick’ method means that it has to be eaten quite soon. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks she may be able to bear up under the strain.

There is no flying bird of the day but I think that the crocosmia, the flower of the day, looks remarkably bird like so that should make up for it.

crocosmia

Those interested may click on the map below for details of the ride.  It is a lovely route.

garmin route 26 July 2016

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary and shows the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens.

The Round Pond from Kensington Palace

I spent the morning preparing posters and taking pictures up to the Information Hub in the High Street.  There I met with Corrie and Sandy from the Camera Club who brought yet more pictures and together we hung just over forty photographs to make up the annual summer exhibition of the Langholm Camera Club.

We were pleased with the end result and when the others left, I stayed on as it was my week for purveying information to any visitors who might come into the hub.  I was not rushed off my feet.

It was one of those days when the combination of a poor weather forecast and unreliable weather made it hard to plan ahead so when I got home I took advantage of a dry spell to mow the front and middle lawns and help Mrs Tootlepedal with some gardening tasks.

I found time to admire the flowers too.

I can’t stop looking at the roses.

roses

After being late in arriving, the pink poppies are now falling over themselves to impress us.

pink poppies

The second wave of clematis is in full swing.

Clematis

I am sure that there is one with five petals about somewhere.

And in the back border, I could see the first flowers on a buddleia and a fine knapweed.

buddleia and knapweed

And nearby, the picture is white.

yarrow and astilbe

Yarrow and astilbe

All this led to a rather late lunch.

We went out into the garden again after lunch and Mrs Tootlepedal showed me some very curious fungus growing under the variegated elderberry.

fungus

It was like rough black hair.

She also pointed out that the annual nasturtium has tripartite seeds just like the perennial one even though they look quite different.

nasturtium seeds

Annual on left, perennial on right.

The were very few birds and only two white butterflies about in the garden but once again there were plenty of bees.

bees on astrantia

After looking at the weather rather dubiously for a while, I made the bold decision that the forecast rain must have past us by so I picked up a camera or two and went for a walk.

I stopped as I turned out of the garden to record the richness of the floral borders of the dam behind the house.

Dam

The clouds were of the looming variety so I settled for my favourite short walk and soon saw a couple of oyster catchers tip toeing along, pretending that they weren’t really there.

oyster catchers

A passing duck laughed at their naivety.

mallard

Mr Grumpy was standing on a rock in the middle of the river.

heron

I walked on to the Kilngreen and after admiring the many gulls in flight…

gulls

…I went up to the van in the car park there and bought an ice cream.  I was just chatting to the vendor when he remarked that it looked as though some heavy rain was on its way.  As I had no coat on, I finished the last of my cornet and walked briskly on.  It didn’t take me long to wish that I had got a coat on as heavy rain began to fall.

I wasn’t feeling very tough so I sheltered under a convenient tree and  called the MTRS* and she kindly drove round and picked me up.  Needless to say, the sun came out as soon we got home a few minutes later.  Still, it didn’t take long before it started to rain again.  It was that sort of day.

By the time that I had gone to our corner shop to pay my bill, I hadn’t got long to wait before my flute pupil Luke turned up.  We hadn’t played for a few weeks so it was good to get back to work.  We played a Loeillet trio sonata with the computer providing the accompaniment and considering that the computer is very unforgiving  in the matter of tempo, we did well to play all four movements with only a very few stops and starts.

The forecast looks a little better for tomorrow so I hope to get back on my bike again.

The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull from my truncated walk.

black headed gull

*MTRS:  The Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service, vital for distressed cyclists and walkers.

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