Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who met this fine swan on one of his recent golfing adventures.
We had a beautifully sunny day today but paid for it with a drop of a few degrees on the thermometer. It was above freezing but decidedly chilly when I cycled up to the town to see if I had left my mobile phone in the tourist office yesterday. Greatly to my relief, I found it neatly tucked away in a draw there. Once I had it back in my pocket, I returned home and began thinking about a cycle ride to celebrate the first day of November.
Unlike the get up and go of the past couple of days, I had to make quite an effort to get going today. I was hoping for the temperature to rise a bit before I set off so I put in some time by cleaning my chain and then put in some more by having a cup of coffee. In the end though, there was nothing for it but to go cycling so off I went.
There was no doubt that it was beautiful day…
…but a light north wind made me grateful for every layer of clothing that I had on.
I stopped a few times to take pictures as I went across country towards the River Annan but I only used this one.
Whenever I crossed a river, I tried to get a reflection. This one in the River Annan is from Hoddom Bridge.
And this is the wooded slope above the river.
If I had stopped to take a picture of every good view, I would never have got home.
I stopped on the bridge at Annan to have a snack but couldn’t find a reflection worth showing and I was heading on towards Canonbie from Kirkpatrick Fleming when a flash of colour in the verge caught my eye. I was past it before I realised what it was and although I don’t usually turn the bike round and go back to take a picture, I did on this occasion.
The two blokes sitting in the cab of a lorry in a lay-by just down the road must have wondered what I was doing.
I took the same road from Canonbie to Hollows that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had walked along yesterday but I (just) resisted the temptation to take all the same shots again as I went along. It did give a me a very good view up the Esk valley just before I dropped down to the Hollows.
And it also gave me the chance to take an autumnal shot of Hollows Tower as I passed.
I had a final go at a reflection when I crossed Skippers Bridge just before getting home.
I had covered 44 miles by the time that I got back. My speed was very modest because if you are trying too hard, you tend to miss the best views and you also get reluctant to spoil your momentum by stopping all the time.
Mrs Tootlepedal had had a busy day getting manure and spreading it about in the garden as well as shifting a buddleia and generally continuing to tidy things up for the winter.
I filled up the feeder…
…and had a cup of tea.
We were both feeling that we had done quite a bit already during the day but it was such a lovely afternoon that we went out on our bikes for a very short run to the Kilngreen and the Castleholm and then back over the Jubilee Bridge. It was well worth the effort.
We paused for a moment on the Kilngreen so that I could watch a goosander in the river….
…and the gulls flying past…
…and then we cycled up the Lodge Walks.
Mrs Tootlepedal was very interested to see the trees that had been felled for safety reasons. The beech tree stumps were still surrounded by fungi…
…and there were all sorts of interesting things on bits of one of the hollow conifers.
Having cycled up the Lodge Walks as far as the Lodge, we turned and cycled back down.
When we crossed the Jubilee Bridge, we were in the shade for a while and it began to feel very much like November.
Back in the garden, I finished picking the Charles Ross apples. This was just in time because the birds have discovered them and two or three had been pecked so thoroughly that I left them there for the birds to enjoy the rest. I searched for the last few raspberries and enjoyed some of them more than others as the flavour was very variable.
We are promised a cold night tonight and we were expecting a frost but I see that the latest forecast only goes as low as 3°C so we may escape. Just in case though, I went round the garden taking pictures of some of our floral survivors.
The fuchsia is going to be moved anyway but it has given us its best display ever so we can only hope that it will like its new spot next year.
Although there is some rain coming on Thursday and Friday, the forecast is showing a lot of sunshine over the next week or so and this autumn must be going to be one of the kindest that we have had for many years.
The flower of the day is a lone knapweed, flowering long after its due date….
…and the flying bird of the day is a black headed gull, shining in the afternoon sun.
For those interested in that sort of thing, details of my ride today can be found by clicking on the map below.