Today’s guest picture is a striking picture of the sun seen by my brother on the ceiling of Malvern Priory.
We had a forecast of a warm, calm day with good sunshine so I thought that it would be a good day for a long cycle ride. The forecasters got one thing right, it was generally sunny but after yesterday’s genuine warmth, it was back to feeling a chill in the air again today….and it was far from calm, with a noticeable breeze blowing during the day.
Still, I got the fairly speedy bike out, adjusted the saddle a bit and set off to see where my legs would carry me. I adopted my standard principle on a breezy day of cycling out into the wind and hoping that it would be still there to blow me home.
As it turned out, my legs felt extremely cheerful so I pedalled about for most of the day.
The predominate colour in the verges is white, with a combination of cow parsley and hawthorn….
…pretty well all along the journey. There was a lot of green too of course…
…and some striking yellows from gorse and broom.
The best hawthorn was near Cummertrees and if you look closely, you can just make out the railway line on which Mrs Tootlepedal and I travelled on Saturday among the bushes.
I got to Bankend and and stopped to photograph the tower there but when I turned to cycle up the road to Dumfries, I got a second view and photographed that as well.
The road from Bankend to Dumfries offers fine views over the Lochar Moss to the east….
…complete with cows. It is good farming land.
Once I got to Dumfries, I turned back down to the banks of the Nith estuary and cycled back towards Bankend on the low road.
Across the river, the imposing bulk of Criffel dominated the view.
This is the plug of an old volcano which spread its lava as far as Langholm and it can be seen easily in the distance if you climb any of the hills round the town.
I was intending to have a cup of coffee and a cake in the cafe of Caerlaverock Castle….
…but when I got there, I found out that many other people, including a coach party of tourists had had the same idea so I left them queuing for service and cycled a mile or two onwards to the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust where I had soup and a roll in the company of two other diners.
I was greeted as I arrived at the WWT by this fine otter.
Up to this point, I had been generally cycling into the wind so I was more than pleased to find the wind had stayed honest and was quite prepared to help me all the way home. The extra speed which this gave me, made me rather unwilling to stop for more pictures though I did stop at the bridge over the river…
….in Annan to have a snack and a photo op…
…and again on the bridge over the motorway at Gretna for another snack and a look at the wild plants round and about me.
Thanks to a policy of stopping every ten miles or so for a drink of water, a nibble of guava block and a bit of banana or a sandwich, I arrived home in very good order after pedalling 85 miles. Mrs Tootlepedal was out having a celebratory reunion over tea and juice and coffee with a team of friends with whom she had won a WRI competition last year so I wandered round the garden and looked at the results of her hard work.
And then I thought, “85 miles is a rather ragged number,” and went off to cycle another five miles to bring up a round 90 miles for the day. I felt so cheerful that I was sorry that I hadn’t added another ten miles and picked off a hundred. My legs on the other hand said that ninety was quite enough thank you.
Mrs Tootlepedal came home as I went out and she was still in the garden when I got back and she pointed out out a polemonium that has come into flower and I noticed a new geranium.
After a last look at various Icelandic poppies…
…I went in for a cup of tea and a shower. It didn’t seem long afterwards before Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out again, this time on foot to the Buccleuch Centre to see a screening of Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
With a first half lasting nearly and hour and a half, this was a long sit but mercifully, the second act was shorter. We had seen this play nearly 50 years ago when the London production came to Edinburgh on tour and I think that this was a disadvantage tonight because although the play was as funny and touching as ever, it wasn’t at all surprising which it certainly was when we first saw it. Still, it was very well acted and unfussily produced so it was a treat to see it again.
I don’t have a flying bird of the day but I did see a rather winsome jackdaw through the kitchen window.
It was standing near some Solomon’s seal which also caught my eye.
Those interested can find details of my ride by clicking on the map below. You can see that I chose a nice flat route.