Good timetabling


Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.


The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier
It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus
hen harrier
I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.


Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.


And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.


Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses
The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch
sweet pea
A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young
two cosmos
The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….


…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Good timetabling

  1. Excellent post, I am constantly in awe of your time management. You’ve made me quite fond of the hoverfly. I like cornflowers too even though over on this side of the pond they get the invasive bad rap.

      1. Agreed, and both those photos are grand. I have b
        Grown some mixed cornflowers ( we call them bachelors buttons) that also come in pink and white and a very dark maroon. But the blue is the best.

  2. It’s nice to see the heather. I know of one plant that lives at the end of a very difficult climb, and that’s why it’s never seen on my blog.
    I drove for 45 minutes to see rosebay willowherb and it wasn’t blossoming yet. The bloom times of many of our plants are far off what they have always been and I don’t know why.
    The glowing dahlia is really amazing. It’s a flower to get lost in.

  3. I believe you are spot on with your hoverfly identification! What excellent photographs of it. How wonderful to be able to see and photograph such a rare and beautiful bird as the hen harrier is! It certainly looks to me like a hen harrier. With so many lovely flowers and all those photos of moorland views and heather I found your post extremely enjoyable from start to finish. Thank-you, Tom.

      1. Locals here will shoot hawks and owls they think are after their chickens. Our farm is a safe zone, although bullets know no boundary.

  4. I believe that your hen harrier is indeed a hen harrier, and you and your new lens did well with it!

    I also liked the glowing dahlia, along with all the poppies. The rosebay willow herb and heather are lovely as well.

  5. Spectacular views, a bridge, heather, the beautiful blue of cornflowers. This post is full of riches.

      1. And you have such lovely ones. Ours tend to be much more prosaic and much less interesting.

  6. Lots of wonderful photos to enjoy and such variety. How fortunate to see the hen harrier hovering, the heather amongst the firs, the brook babbling, a pretty bridge, bright cornflower and to top it all off that stunning dahlia …all worthy of a prize!

  7. The octet of poppies is particularly lovely, as is the photo of the cosmos twins. The hoverfly is outstanding.

    Your countryside looks so green compared with ours now, but you have all the rain right now. 🙂

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