Today’s guest picture shows a gardener hard at work in Queen Mary’s garden in Regent’s Park. He was spotted by my sister Mary.
We had another beautiful day today and the present weather has certainly made up for the gloomy spell last week. Owing to failing to go to bed at a sensible time yesterday, we were both a little tired and took the morning very gently.
I had a chance to look at some pairs of things in the garden, both winged….
There were insects everywhere and especially on the red astrantia.
Mrs Tootlepedal is very happy about the Michaelmas daisies coming out as the cornflowers begin to fade in the bed on the edge of the drying green…..
…although this was almost by chance rather than deeply planned.
I was very happy to see a blackbird thinking about rowan berries….
..and finally taking a nibble.
Still, another blackbird gave me a second chance.
We gathered ourselves together about midday and drove off to Carlisle to do some shopping for things that cannot be found in Langholm. I packed the fairly speedy bike in the boot and after we had filled the shopping bags, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to drive home via a garden centre and set off to cycle home. It was a treat not to have to cycle round in a circle as I do when I set off from home.
To make the ride more interesting, I started off by going to the south, taking the bike path beside the river down to Dalston. It is a very pleasant path to ride, with a good surface for almost all of the way. I feared that it might be a slow business with pedestrians, other cyclists and dog walkers to negotiate but in the event, there were not too many other users and such dogs as I encountered were very well behaved.
From Dalston, I travelled across country, passing the 11th century church of St Giles on my way…
… to the Carlisle by-pass. My eye was caught by some brilliant rose hips at one of the roundabouts.
The by-pass has an excellent cycle path alongside it and with the wind mostly behind me, I was soon at the village of Rockcliffe, where I stopped for a moment to walk across a grassy patch to the banks of the River Eden just before it flows into the Solway Firth.
The gap in the trees along the right bank has been made to allow the owners of the house on the bank an uninterrupted view of the river.
This was my view straight across the river.
Looking around me, I could see that the church at Rockliffe has been sensibly placed up on a bank to avoid the possibility of being flooded…
….and the road edge has been marked off with prettily decorated blocks to discourage motorists from driving on to what might be very soggy grass at some times of the year.
This is a spot well used to floods.
I pedalled on to Gretna where I paused for a banana and a look at what wild flowers were still about.
As I cycled up the back roads from Longtown to Langholm, I was able to enjoy the early autumnal views of golden fields near Englishtown…
…and a fine view of a heathery Whita seen from Tarcoon.
It was a grand day to be out but the downside of having the wind mostly behind me was that I wasn’t getting much cooling from the breeze and with the temperature in the sun being in the high 20s, I was well cooked by the time that I got home after 40 miles.
I didn’t have long to recover before it was time for tea. We have quite a lot of courgettes in the vegetable garden and Mrs Tootlepedal had been able to buy some polenta in Carlisle so she made some courgette fritters with polenta and feta to go with a beef stew which I had made for the slow cooker before we went to Carlisle. If you have a glut of courgettes, I can thoroughly recommend fritters with polenta and feta as a way of using them up. They were delicious.
In the evening, we went to see our local youth theatre group perform Bugsy Malone at the Buccleuch Centre. We are very fortunate that this group has worked hard at producing a steady stream of local youngster who can sing and act remarkably well and they made a very good effort at trying to make us forget the film.
The flower of the day is the lobelia which looks better all the time….
…and I even found a rather fuzzy flying bird in the garden when a sparrow flew off a compost bin to join the rest of its family on a nearby shed roof.