Today’s guest picture shows a flowery scene from Kew Gardens which caught my sister Mary’s eye.
The forecast was full of dire warnings of heavy rain, possible thunderstorms and general mayhem. In the event, midsummer’s day was a quiet day with some very light rain now and again, hardly a breath of wind and just a hint of menace thanks to a very clammy humidity.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Moorland feeders after breakfast as I was acting as a fill in feeder filler for friends who had gone off to some mist covered mountains. As usual, she sat in the car and kept an eye out for hen harriers while I filled the feeders and then sat under the grass roof of the hide….
…in the hope of interesting visitors.
She got a glimpse of a harrier and I saw many more birds than on my last visit. There were coal tits, great tits and siskins….
…as well as blackbirds, chaffinches and a robin.
The inevitable pheasant pushed himself forward…..
..and there were several visits from woodpeckers and a jay.
The jay kept too far down the glade for a good photo op but it was was entertaining watching it as it was clearly quite peckish…
…and found food wherever it could.
That great Scottish pest, the midgie, was in evidence too so I didn’t hang about long as I was getting bitten a lot and we drove down to the banks of the Tarras Water to see if the wild irises were out.
There were some but it was not the great carpet that I had hoped for…
…so I photographed a yellow rattle….
…and walked back to the road to see if I could find any of the horsetails which I seen growing on my last visit with Sandy a few weeks ago.
They were not hiding.
I was impressed.
The midgies were on the go here too so we didn’t dally and went home for coffee.
It makes life difficult to plan when the forecast is not reliable. At ten in the morning, the BBC weather map showed heavy rain covering Langholm and the surrounding area for some hours and although there was no sign of any such rain, the thought of it kept me off my bike and wasted what could have been a good cycling day.
I tested the strawberry jam and found that it hadn’t turned out too badly at all so I tested it again. It was still all right.
I wasted time doing the crossword and then, wondering if it was going to rain soon, I went for a wander round the garden.
The roses are gorgeous…
…with new blooms coning out every day. The first of the moss roses has joined in.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out poppies and protecting her vegetables from the depredations of the voracious sparrows so I had time for a look at a colourful corner….
…and my favourite colour combination of the day.
Mrs Tootlepedal liked this subtle gradations on a peony.
A few other things made the camera click.
…but in spite of it being the longest day of the year, the light was very dull and I soon gave up and went in for lunch.
After lunch, the day brightened up a bit and even the weather forecast admitted that it wasn’t raining so I got my fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.
It was lucky that we had gone to see the roadside orchid yesterday because Genghis the grass cutter was out with his machine today and the verge where the orchid had been was totally flattened.
Luckily I found some more on an uncropped verge near Gair….
…but unluckily my Lumix chose this moment to stop working and I had to fall back on my phone camera for the rest of the trip.
It was a really good day for a leisurely cycle ride with a mixture of very occasional raindrops and some cheerful sunshine and I saw many interesting things which I failed to record as I find using the phone with my cycling glasses on quite tricky. (If I take them off, I find it even trickier.)
I did see a lot of fields where the silage was being cut….
…and I even noticed a fungus, the first that I have seen in a verge this year.
I pedalled here and there, keeping an eye on the weather and thinking of going a bit further while the going was good but some more persistent raindrops and a burst of slightly windier weather made me think that the promised storm might be finally on its way so I headed for home and managed 37 miles.
As you can see from the map below, it was quite warm so perhaps it was wise to stop before I got too cooked.
Those interested can click on the map for more details.
Mrs Tootlepedal had rescued a blackbird from the strawberry netting while I was out but there were still plenty of strawberries left to pick so I picked them.
I had time for a shower and a tea of baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce before I went out to our Common Riding choir practice. I was pleased to see my cello playing friend Mike there as it would mean that I wasn’t going to be the only bass. We had a good session in spite of very sultry conditions which were not very sympathetic to singing and it was still a fine day when I walked home.
I apologise for putting too many indifferent pictures into today’s post but it was the longest day so perhaps it needed a long post.
And I did get a rather indifferent flying bird of the day to round things off suitably.