A social circle

glasshouse window opener

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was struck by the elegant simplicity of this device for opening all the windows of a glasshouse near Denholm in one fell swoop.

glasshouse window opener

The forecasters tend to look on the gloomy side of things and although we were promised a morning of rain,  thunder and lightning, in the end we got nothing more shocking than another heavy shower and the arrival of Dropscone for coffee.

Dropscone was due to play in a golf tournament near Denholm in the afternoon so he was a bit apprehensive but unless he was very unlucky, he should have been all right because the rest of our day here was fine, often sunny and quite pleasantly warm for once too.

This let me get out into the garden to pick some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s carrots.  We are plagued by carrot root fly so Mrs Tootlepedal has been taking extra precautions this year and they seem to have paid off.  Carrots have joined the beetroot and wild raspberry jam in the home produce section of our kitchen.

carrots, jam and beetroot

The wild raspberries produce a rather ‘pippy’ jam but it does have a very good flavour.

The scientific rain gauge shows just how heavy our brief showers have been…

rain gauge

…but I was able to get out into the garden to do some dead heading and tidying up.  The last of the delphiniums are now assisting the compost.

By early afternoon, not only was the washing hanging out and drying quickly but the poppies were holding their heads up in a very satisfactory way.  I didn’t photograph the washing but I did snap a poppy or two.



Once again the bees had not been discouraged….

bees on poppy and cornflower

…and I was particularly pleased to see a small tortoiseshell as well as the more common large white.

white and tortoiseshell butterflies

The tortoiseshell was hiding in a box ball but I should be able to get a better picture in a few days if it keeps coming to the garden.

I had received an unexpected letter from Germany a few days ago and in it, a lady who has started to read the blog fairly recently introduced herself and told me that she would be coming to Canonbie.  She added that she would be happy to share a cup of tea, a biscuit and some conversation with me.  We had a mutual friend in a colleague who taught across the landing from me in Langholm Primary School some forty years ago.

A cup of tea alone is a considerable inducement but when a biscuit is added, who can resist so I got on the fairly speedy bike, readjusted my new mirror and set off to cycle down to Canonbie by my usual route.

Instead of looking for wild flowers today, I thought that I would look at views on my way.

There was no shortage.

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills
Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills
Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon
Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon
Cows at Mossknowe
Cows at Mossknowe
Cows at Mossknowe
Cows at Mossknowe: taking the longer view
View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead
View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead
Liddle Viaduct at Riddings
Testing the zoom: The Liddle Viaduct at Riddings seen from Grainstonehead about a mile away.
The old road passes Woodhouselees
The old road passes Woodhouselees

As you can see, it was a beautiful afternoon with the added bonus of not being too hot so that when I got to the house that I was visiting, I was in good order to pay a social call.

My welcome was very warm and the tea was refreshing, the biscuit nourishing and the conversation interesting.  It was useful to get a view of Brexit and Britain as seen from abroad as our press is generally very insular and we don’t have much of a view of what is going on over the Channel.  I was pleased that my blog had lead to such a sociable and informative occasion.

I stayed an hour and then cycled on home and took one last view on my way.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House
Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

I thought that the completed silage and the puddle gave a good reflection of our changeable weather.

The wind was very brisk again and I was happy to find it pushing me back up the hill into Langholm.  We should be grateful for the brisk wind, as it has been helpful in getting things dry after the heavy rain showers.

When I got back home, I had enough energy left from talking and cycling to mow the greenhouse grass and trim back the climbing hydrangea so that it no longer threatens to block our gutter.


I see when I look at the picture, that the trim might need straightening up a bit.

I also had time for a look at two flowers, a nicotiana, a favourite of Mrs Tootlepedal who loves the scent in the evening and a red astrantia, which has waited until the paler varieties are dying back before making an appearance.  As regular readers will know, I dearly love an astrantia so I was very pleased to see this one finally coming out.

astrantia and nocotiana

I was also pleased to see a water lily in flower.  Often when rain fills up the pond, the water lilies get drowned.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

It has started to rain again as I write this. We have several more days of sunshine and showers to come but if the balance between the rain and shine is the same as it was today, we won’t complain too much.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “A social circle

  1. That third poppy is amazing with its almost transparent petals. It’s as if it was carved from pink alabaster.
    The views are beautiful with all the clouds adding interest.
    I wonder if your water lily is fragrant. Our fragrant white water lilies smell like honeydew melon.

    1. I tried to get a sniff of the water lily but my sense of smell is not good and I couldn’t bend down near enough without being in severe danger of falling into the pond.

  2. I like it when a blog leads to a social meeting.

    The window opener is interesting.

    Now I’m wishing my rain gauge would fill partway up but we have nary a drop.

      1. Ann Lovejoy, garden writer, says we live in a modified Mediterranean climate. Modified because our winters are wet but we do tend to have dry weather from June through September.

  3. I think I have finally caught up with you again. Your summer is progressing nicely, and it is good to see the fruits and produce from the garden in the kitchen. We should start seeing more produce from ours in a few weeks.

    We have entered the severe heat and dry weather period here now, and your photos of heavy grey, water-swollen clouds are a welcome sight. We reached the high 90s today; tomorrow 107 degrees is in the forecast. Much spot watering of gardens and trees got done today. Watering alone takes up a lot of time these days, and I would be happy to borrow a cloud or two from you. 🙂

    1. I couldn’t cope with 107 degrees, even for a short part of the year. You can have as many of our grey clouds as you like. We have plenty to spare at the moment (and temperatures around 60 degrees to go with them).

  4. I don’t know which photos I like the most, the beautiful flowers, or the views of the countryside from while you were on your bike. One thing about your changeable weather, you have nice clouds to add some interest to the landscape photos.

  5. Lovely photos of poppies and views to brighten up another damp day here. Sounds a perfect outing too with a ride on your bike through beautiful countryside followed by engaging chat and biscuit and arriving home to see that perfect water lily …a feel good read…thank you!

  6. What a picturesque cycle ride….was going to nominate a favourite but found it impossible. We have a more conventional rain gauge but I invariably forget to empty it which skews the readings slightly

  7. How nice to meet a blogging friend! And even better that you could ride your bike to have tea and biscuits with her. All your pictures are lovely, but I especially like the one with the cows on the hill.

  8. You have a beautiful view there! One interesting thing I noticed is that your cows look a lot better than New York cows. Ours are very skinny and mangy looking xD Great post 🙂

  9. Beautiful water lily and lovely poppies.
    Glad you had good weather for your ride over to Canonbie and an enjoyable meeting once there.

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