Making a fool of myself


Today’s guest picture shows the main bridge over the river in Mechelen, a Belgian town visited recently by my brother Andrew with my sister Mary.


We had the promise of some good weather today so when Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to church, I armed myself with a marmalade sandwich and two bananas and set off to see where my fairly speedy bike would take me.

The wind seemed quite gentle in the garden before I set off but once I was out on the road, I found it was quite brisk and it got brisker as my ride went on.

I took my usual route down the main roads to Newtown on Hadrian’s Wall but instead of coming back the same way after eating my sandwich, I turned into the teeth of the wind and battled across country to the banks of the River Eden at Rockcliffe.

I passed Newby Grange on my way.

Newby Grange

This is the sort of house I am going to live in when I grow up.  What fun the mowing must be.

Nearby was the sort of pub which tells you that the world can’t be all bad whatever happens.

The Stag Inn

Once I had got to Rockcliffe, the wind had done its worst and it was either across or behind me for the rest of the trip.

I have been dipping lately into one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s books which reveals the origins of the  English landscape and this led me to realise that at one stage on the route to Rockcliffe, I was cycling along one of the roads that was built at the time of the enclosures.  It is typically very straight and has wide verges.

Enclosure road

It makes for a very fine back road for cyclists.

On my way back from Rockcliffe, I passed a fine bunch of rosebay willowherb…

rosebay willowherb

…and had to wait at the level crossing yet again.

level crossing

Considering how few trains there are on a Sunday, this was bad luck.

I stopped at Gretna for a late lunch of egg and chips and while I was drinking my coffee, a lady came up and introduced herself as a keen reader of this blog.  It turned out that she was the one who had made an embroidery based on one of my photographs and when I was sent a picture of it, I was careless enough to put it in a post upside down.  She was very forgiving and I hope she will send me a guest picture of the day soon.

I passed  both sheep…

Why do Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder come to mind?

…and cattle.

This time it is Tommy Steele

The day was dry and warm enough for a really long ride but the punishing wind kept me down to 60 miles and I was quite pleased to have a sit down when I got home.

Those interested in the details of the journey can click on the map below.

garmin route 17 July 2016

After a pause to recover (and watch the end of another stage of the Tour de France), I went out to mow the front lawn and look at the garden while I was out there.

The Special Grandma rose, which Mrs Tootlepedal was given as a present to mark the the birth of Matilda, is flourishing.

special grandma

And there was plenty of colour to go with it.

lily and marigold

phlox and Queen of Denmark

And two new flowers.

clematis and Rosa Wren
A clematis and Rosa Wren

And then I went off on my slow bike down to the river to see if I could find a flying bird of the day.

I passed an inevitable oyster catcher admiring some wild flowers in the river bed…

Oyster catcher

…and was rather surprised to be able to add a flying rook to the usual ducks and gulls on the Kilngreen.


There was no shortage of gulls coming from all directions…

black headed gull

…perhaps because a couple were entertaining their child by putting some feed out…

black headed gull

…though I am not sure how good chips are for a gull’s diet.

I got home in time to see a very healthy crop from a single potato which Mrs Tootlepedal had just dug up.

New potatoes

While I was in the garden, I picked a pound of gooseberries and went inside and stewed them.  I then added some custard and when that mixture had cooled down, I folded in some whipped cream and in this way made a fool for myself.  It was very tasty.

While I mowing the lawn and shooting flowers, Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off and bought a chicken so we had roast chicken with new potatoes and gooseberry fool for our tea and  it is hard to think of any kings and princes who could have dined better than us.

The flower of the day is a knock out  poppy…


…and the flying bird of the day is another gull.

black headed gull

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “Making a fool of myself

  1. Not only are the flowers beautiful in their form, but Mrs. T has some unusual and breathtaking colors in her collection. The ones that really struck me were the lilies today.

    60 Mile is a long ride for any one as far as I’m concerned, then you mowed the lawn also. Just thinking about it has tired me out to the point that I need a nap.

  2. I like that dark colored clematis and your potato harvest has reminded me what’s so great about vegetable gardening. I’d bet they were delicious.
    That roadside full of rosebay willow herb is a really beautiful sight. We won’t see it here for a week or two.
    When I see places like Newby Grange I’m always happy that I wasn’t born an 18th century gardener.

      1. I am not at all keen on marmalade sandwiches. I’m a staunch supporter of a lettuce, cheese, tomato, ham and cucumber uncut doorstep sandwich, liberally seasoned with a thick layer of good old English mustard.

  3. That poppy is a true beauty queen! But I didn’t quite get the point of making a fool of yourself…whipped cream crowns many delicious fruity concoctions.

  4. You’ll be signing autographs next! Your fan club must be growing, have you considered writing a book? I’d buy it. A 60 mile ride, fabulous, I am stuck in my commuting rut, on my slower than slow bike, not that I have even a quite speedy bike. Those open back roads of the borders look great, despite the black history that created them. Keep pedalling and blogging, cheers.

  5. I am impressed by the mileage especially as you were riding into the wind for some time. I love to be able to provide a meal using produce from the garden and your potatoes look very good. I love a fruit fool!

  6. A lot of mowing at Newby Grange!

    The potatoes look good. We harvested some of ours already, and are waiting for the rest to come in.

    Your should put your travels and photos into a book. Wyn Buick, Pembrokeshire veterinarian did that. His book started out as a WordPress blog.

  7. Sixty miles in punishing wind is most impressive, Tom! The Grandmother Rose is very attractive. What a lovely gift to mark Matilda’s birth. When my brother died in his twenties, I bought a beautiful small perfumed velvet dark red rose called Eric the Red that I grew in a large pot. Every time it bloomed it was a lovely reminder of his life. I think it is a lovely thought to plant trees for births and deaths.

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