Sloe bicycling

Tony Galloping

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my son Tony.  He is the one on the hindmost of the two greys galloping along at the Lauder Common Riding. The photo was taken by ‘Lord Spencer-Taylor’, aka Robbie

Tony Galloping

We were expecting guests in the early evening so the morning was spent making ready for their arrival and after a fortnight of my solo housekeeping there was plenty for Mrs Tootlepedal to do.  I offered a hand where it was helpful but also found time to mow the drying green and greenhouse grass between showers.

We got a load of washing out onto the whirlygig in perfect time to catch a shower but the gap before the next one was long enough to get everything dry.

The flowers are still playing catch up as when the sun is not out between showers, it is still rather cool.

Not all the dahlias have been nibbled
And the poppies are still attractive

There are lots of different shades to be seen…

hosta and ligularia

…even when the flowers are finished.

I found a rather unusually elongated radish and the first plum of the season.

radish and plum

I had the radish with my lunch but the plum has not been eaten yet.

I put the mixture for some soft baps into the breadmaker after lunch and went off for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal was going to take the dough and shape the baps for me but my dérailleur malfunctioned and I had to make a repair stop at home after eight miles which coincided nicely with the moment to take the dough out of the machine.

With the baps rising, I went out again for another eight miles and stopped to take a picture or two on the way.

There was a pretty outbreak of ‘bonnie purple heather’ beside the road…


…and plenty of yarrow to go with it.


I went up the little road to Cleughfoot….

Cleughfoot road

…and stopped to check on the sloes.


The crop looks very good but a closer look…


…revealed ominous looking scabs on some of the berries.  I don’t know what has caused this but I hope it doesn’t spread.

I got home before the next rain shower and had time to look round the garden again.  It looked all white to me….


water lily

the first cosmos of the season

The bright berries if the rowan in the sunshine over the garden made a contrast with the grey clouds in the background…


…but luckily our visitors arrived before the rain did.

We had a cup of tea and then Sara and Janet agreed to stretch their legs before our evening meal.

They had had a very wet visit indeed to the celebrated garden at Glenwhan in the west of our region yesterday so they weren’t at all discouraged by another shower as we walked along the banks of all three of our rivers.

We nodded to Mr Grumpy as we crossed the town bridge…


…and crossed the Sawmill Brig and the Jubilee Bridge before posing for a picture on the Duchess Bridge, the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Sara and Janet
Sara and Janet suitably dressed for high summer in Langholm

It wasn’t really a day for hanging about looking for photo opportunities but a bunch of fungus on a tree stump couldn’t be ignored.


The rain stopped before we got back and we were soon seated round the kitchen table enjoying an excellent meal, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sara sings with an Edinburgh community choir and we were able to sample some of their work very professionally presented on YouTube.  They sing unaccompanied which is very impressive but I think it would be too hard for me.

The flying bird of the day is an insect visiting the raspberries.  It looks a bit like a wasp to me.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Sloe bicycling

  1. Your flying bird of the day is a digger wasp of some sort. They are solitary wasps that dig nests in the ground. It is good to see the heather in bloom again!

  2. The garden is looking very colourful this drab August. The sloes might be infected with a fungus, Taphrina pruni (pocket plum):

    ” … Fruits display the most obvious signs of infection, with small blister-like white spots three to four weeks after blossom, that enlarge rapidly as the fruit develops. The flesh of the young fruit becomes spongy and gets a white spore layer over the surface as the fruit starts to shrivel.

    Infected fruit grows much more quickly than healthy fruit, enlarging rapidly to ten or more times its normal size, becoming elongated, twisted, one sided and curved a bit like a small banana.

    A cavity will develop in the fruit in place of the stone. Infected fruit will have a spongy texture and then a white covering over the skin as the fungus spreads. The fruit will turn grey, then crease and hollow like a pocket until a dark dry shell is all that’s left.”

    It will be interesting to check on them in a couple of weeks to see how it is progressing.

  3. From the way that your guests are dressed, I would have thought that it was mid-fall or even later. It’s no wonder that some of the flowers aren’t doing well. That may also be the reason for the scabs on the berries, but I’m not a plant expert.

  4. I don’t know much about sloe fruit but you might want to look into whether or not the infected plants should be destroyed before the disease can spread.
    The heather is beautiful. I hope you’ll see some summer weather before fall.

    1. These are wild blackthorn bushes so no one is looking after them. The sloes generally are only of interest to those who add them to gin in the bottle.

  5. Sara and Janet are definitely bundled up. What are normal temps for you this time of year.

    1. We would expect temperatures comfortably above 60F on a decent day but it has been struggling to get to that. It has not been too bad when the sun is out but the underlying temperature has been very much on the cool side.

  6. Your horse rider son looks a very proficient and happy rider. Love the two photos showing the different shades and especially the raindrop…the heather photo tones in beautifully ! The white flowers are lovely too!

  7. I learned a couple of new things in this post: baps and sloes. I now also know where the expression ‘sloe-eyed’ comes from. I had been curious about that.

    We are coming out of the extreme heat, for now, but our apples seem to have been affected by the long string of very hot days, dropping much fruit and yellowing leaves even with adequate water. Some varieties seem to be less tolerant than others. Roughly another 6 weeks and the equinox will be here. The grapes are doing very well, so far.

  8. I think I would like your weather very much, being a pluviophile. I’m taking advantage of a 25 mph windy day to catch up on your blog. Reading front to back for a change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: