Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Venice working. She caught La Serenissima in a less than serene mood.
A bright start to the day here soon faded to grey but at least it didn’t rain. It was decidedly chilly for the time of year and I was pleased to have a visit to the dentist after breakfast to keep me off my bike.
When I got back, I watched blackbirds for a bit. A small group were eating our plums but were not grateful enough to pose properly while actually pecking the plums.
In a neighbouring back yard, another set were devouring rowan berries but I got my camera settings wrong and messed up a couple of ‘beak and berry’ chances.
There are plenty of berries left….
…so I hope to get another chance.
I looked at two good clumps of flowers at the back of the garden before I went back in.
After coffee and a slice or two of bread and marmalade, the lack of rain made even a chilly day too good to resist and I got my fairly speedy bike and set off. It was cold and grey, I was cycling into the breeze and the distant hills were so shrouded in mist that it looked as though I was heading into a rain shower.
My spirit was very weak and I nearly turned for home.
Luckily my spirit may have been weak but my legs were surprisingly strong and drove me on regardless. In the end, I had a dry and enjoyable 43 mile ride, though it was so grey that I didn’t stop for any pictures of wild flowers or views.
I did stop at Gretna Green for a snack though and noticed a mound next to the car park which I hadn’t seen before. It had been spiralised…
…so I followed the spiral until I attained the summit and looked at the view.
Not very inspiring.
On the other side, inventive entrepreneurs had constructed a courtship maze…
…though why they think that anyone should want to come to a car park in a rather dull and flat corner of Scotland to do their courting is a mystery to me. They probably know best though.
Of more interest to me was a small flock of birds on wires nearby.
Normally if I see birds like this, I assume that they are starlings but on this occasion there are clearly two different sizes of perchers perching. I have decided that the larger ones are starlings and the smaller ones, sparrows.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden and I had a wander round there too. She has been using a bit of compost to improve the soil here and there so I sieved a couple of buckets to top up the supply.
I checked out the new clematis…
…and a late burst of flowers from Lilian Austin.
There are three in the picture although you can hardly see the two behind.
We have had an excellent crop of plums….
…and for once we got exactly the right amount. Usually with plums it is glut or starvation but this year we got a steady supply of sweet ripe plums to eat every day for a couple of weeks, with just enough surplus for a plum crumble last week and today’s special, an oat, ginger and plum bake. It was delicious.
Cosmos, dahlia and poppies are doing their best to cheer us up….
…and I even saw the very last lupin and some late astrantia too.
I dead headed the poppies and cornflowers and anything else that I could get my snippers on and took a final look round before going in for a cup of tea and a slice or three of the oat and plum bake.
There are still more flowers to come.
It was time for a shower after the cup of tea and cake and then, as things still looked rather gloomy outside, we sat and looked at the telly in amazed horror at the amount of rain that has fallen on Texas. It made our month of August, the coldest for thirty years, look positively benign.
We are getting quite excited here as we are promised some sun tomorrow.