A pleasant surprise

Aix-en-Provence -Cafe where Cezanne and Zola used to meet - called Les Deux Garcons

Today’s guest picture is a reminder from my sister Mary of sunny days in the South of France, captured when we visited Aix-en-Provence not so long ago.

Aix-en-Provence -Cafe where Cezanne and Zola used to meet - called Les Deux Garcons

Today had two good things about it  and one of them was surprising considering that the forecast had been for rain showers all day when I last looked at it.

The first good thing was the arrival of Dropscone for coffee on a Saturday bringing with him the traditional Friday treacle scones. Freshly cooked too.  While we ate and drank, the rain poured down outside but when it came to be time for Dropscone to leave, the rain had stopped.  It still looked pretty gloomy but I ventured out into the garden after a while.

Of course as soon as I said in yesterday’s post that the blackbirds had gone, they came back today…

blackbird

…and I saw a goldfinch while we were having coffee too.  When I looked over the back fence, I could see that the blackbirds had been busy eating the rowan berries on the other side of the dam which was probably why I hadn’t been seeing them in the garden.

As soon as I got my camera out though, they all flew off leaving a starling to take the rap.

starling with rowan berry

I enjoyed watching some sparrows bathing in the dam while I waited for the blackbirds to come back…

sparrows bathing in dam

…but the blackbirds were camera shy so I gave up and went in and had lunch.

I took a couple of pictures on my way in.

snowberry
A single snowberry
marigolds
A lot of marigolds (and some nicotiana and nasturtiums)

While I was preparing lunch, I was entertained by a pair of blue tits on the feeder.

Blue tits

The second good thing about the day was that when I checked the forecast again, it said that it would be dry, possibly sunny later and almost windless in the afternoon.  It was a bit hard to believe after the poor forecast yesterday and the morning rain shower but I put on my cycling gear and ventured tentatively out, ready to turn for  home at a moment’s notice.

It was windless so I pedalled on and although it was grey and autumnal…

Sprinkell road
The road near Sprinkell

…it was good cycling weather.

I stopped for a bridge near Eaglesfield….

Eaglesfield bridge

…with the merest hint of blue sky off to my right.  By the time that I had got to Gretna, the blue sky had become a fixture and the bridge over the Sark was glowing in the sunshine.

Sark Bridge, Gretna

I leant my bike against the parapet and enjoyed a banana while viewing Gretna’s answer to the Rio Grande.

Sark
Scotland to the left and England to the right.

I had started out with twenty miles in mind and as I had done twenty five by this time, I headed straight up the main roads back to Langholm with the gentlest of breezes helping me on my way.  It had become a perfect day for a pedal in every way.

I made a little deviation off the A7 to visit Hollows Bridge…

Hollows Bridge

…and see my favourite fiery tree…

fiery tree Hollows

…before stopping off to admire  Hollows Tower.

Hollows Tower

Mrs Tootlepedal was at home by this time after a full day learning about Japanese quilting at an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting so I stopped pootering about and put my head down for the last few miles home.

It was lucky that I did have my head down as I noticed something unusual in the verge as I passed the Middleholms road end.

mushroom

I stopped and looked around.

Ink Cap
It was a bunch of common ink cap mushrooms at various stages of development

I took the opportunity, since I had already stopped, to cross the road and look across the Esk to where I had lately been taking pictures from the other side.

Broomholm

I managed the distance neatly so that I arrived home bang on 40 miles.  This was very pleasing for a decimally inclined chap like myself.  Then I enjoyed a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We both felt that we had had a good day out.

There was enough light left to watch a coal tit on the feeder….

coal tit

…before I went off to have a shower.

I had put a beef and vegetable stew into the slow cooker in the morning so all that was needed for the complete evening meal was some courgette fritters and Mrs Tootlepedal came up trumps on that front.

Being Saturday, we settled down to enjoy our weekly dose of Strictly Come dancing as we ate our meal and we hope that this week, the worst dancer will get eliminated, something which often doesn’t happen owing to a misplaced sense of irony in the voting audience.

My flower of the day is the Fuschia on the back wall by the dam which I noticed while I was stalking berry eating blackbirds….

Fuchsia

…and the flying bird is a berry eating blackbird which flew off before I could photograph it.

flying blackbird

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “A pleasant surprise

  1. That’s a great shot of the misty road near Sprinkell and the ink caps were a great find. I keep hoping to find some of those but never do. It looked like the one in the close up shot was actually dripping “ink.”
    The landscapes are beautiful as they start to turn to fall and so is the garden. There aren’t many who grow snowberry these days and I was surprised to see it.

    1. It is not there on purpose. It is a relic of a plant that Mrs T tried to eradicate years ago but because it grows behind the compost bins, it is hard to get at.

  2. Decimally inclined and miles? 🙂 I put this sunny Sunday into collecting walnuts (of which we have more than plenty this year). Again have to thank you for the beautiful landscapes from the borders you show.

    1. I know, I know. I was teaching children using centimetres and miles at the same time. The government chickened out when we were supposed to convert to a decimal system from the old imperial measures and I can buy milk in pints or litres in my local shop. How are you? I hope that you are well.

  3. I like your ink cap photos. I have been looking out for them here in the usual places but no luck yet. I love the shot of the winding road near Sprinkell – it draws one in.

  4. That country road near Sprinkell is an inviting route! I grew up in a small town that had many roads like that, way back when. I love photos of those roads lined with trees, disappearing off around the bend. It seems like in your area you still have quite a few, and hopefully the traffic is light.

  5. Fungi are fascinating for many reasons and one of them is their variation in stages of development in just the one species, as you’ve shown with the common inkcap mushroom. Quite often I imagine they could be mistaken for several different species. Thank you for sharing these interesting ones. I’m always pleased to see your fungi shots.

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