Ill met

Coming up to the Orangerie

Today’s guest picture shows a flowery scene from Kew Gardens which caught my sister Mary’s eye.

Coming up to the Orangerie
Coming up to the Orangerie

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….

Laverrock 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….

siskin, coal tit and great tit

…as well as blackbirds, chaffinches and a robin.

The inevitable pheasant pushed himself forward…..


..and there were several visits from woodpeckers and a jay.

Jay and woodpecker

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…

wild irises

…so I photographed a yellow rattle….

yellow rattle
I found another one with seed pods and they really do rattle if you shake them.

…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.

moss rose

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….

colourful corner

…and my favourite colour combination of the day.

campanula and foxglove

Mrs Tootlepedal liked this subtle gradations on a peony.

campanula and foxglove

A few other things made the camera click.


lambs ear


…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.

garmin route 21 June 2017

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.

flying jay





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Ill met

  1. According to my outdoor thermometer, we had 34.6 degrees here, and according to my indoor one, it went to 30 degrees indoors at one point today. At bedtime it’s 27. I think you are happier up there!

  2. It’s hard to imagine why they’d mow down orchids. I hope they’ll let the yellow irises be.
    I like the dark color of the moss rose and the colorful corner of the garden is beautiful.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that mushroom. It has some interesting things going on, on its cap.

  3. I hope that the Lumix just needed a break from working so hard to get the images that you do, and that it’s working okay again. Your blog is a treat for the eyes every day, even if you’re not that happy with the photos.

    1. A new Lumix is on order as this one is very moody as far as the zoom goes and already has a spot on the sensor from lubrication. It has been used pretty well very day since I bought so I don’t reckon that I can complain too much. It is very handy for the pocket when cycling or walking as it is very light and the zoom is good so I am risking another.

  4. Very frustrating to have the weather be so iffy that you aren’t sure whether to go on a bike ride.(Happens in Maine, too.) Your gardens are beautiful. Baked eggs with spinach? Yum! The spinach will soon be coming, and that’s a dish I’ll be sure to try.

    1. Mrs T is trying to provide regular spinach but we ate all the first lot before the second lot arrived so this was done with commercial frozen spinach.

  5. The birds have been at our strawberries, so we are having to net them over today. I have been worried that we will get birds caught in the netting, so wasn’t happy to hear that Mrs. T had to rescue a blackbird in yours. I hope it’s not a regular occurrence! Your midgies sound like our black flies. They have been particularly bad this year (along with our ticks).

      1. We net our table grapes, and it keeps most of the birds out, but there is always someone needing rescuing. we did get some insect netting this year to test on a row of pinot noir. We are hoping it keeps birds and bees at bay.

  6. You are quite brave to tempt the forecast from 37 miles away. The weather is so volatile lately even with satellites I suspect it’s hard to predict. Glad you managed to use well every moment of the longest day. The roses are incredible.

      1. Even with the satellites and radar at their disposal the weather has just become too volatile to pin down. But at least we do get a list of possibilities.

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