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.
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.
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.
It makes for a very fine back road for cyclists.
On my way back from Rockcliffe, I passed a fine bunch of rosebay willowherb…
…and had to wait at the level crossing yet again.
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…
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.
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.
And there was plenty of colour to go with it.
And two new flowers.
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…
…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…
…perhaps because a couple were entertaining their child by putting some feed out…
…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.
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.