Today’s guest picture shows a new style of letterbox which my friend Bruce spotted while out in Langholm. You have to get up very early to post a letter in that part of town.
We got up quite early today as Mrs Tootlepedal and members of her embroiderers’ group were due to spend a morning sewing and chatting at the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre to encourage knowledge about and interest in their group. I took her along in the car with her box of stuff and when I had dropped her off, I continued on up the road to Bentpath to put my photographs into the tent at the Benty Show.
It was a delightfully misty morning.
As I got to the field, it looked as though the swallows might be getting ready to leave.
I put my photos up among some quite hot competition and then went back to Langholm where I visited the Producers’ Market to buy fish, coffee, honey and venison…..and see what Mrs Tootlepedal and her gang were up to.
They were having a good time. The little boy on the far left of the picture stayed and did three solid hours of needle felting.
He was the son of the venison lady. She gave me quite a shock when, as I went to buy my supplies, she said in a firm voice, “I want to have a word with you.” I wondered what bad thing I had done but it turned out that she had been inspired by a conversation we had about cycling at a previous market and had subsequently got on her bike in a substantial way. She is even making local deliveries of venison on her bike these days.
As a reward for being inspirational, she kindly gave me a gift of two venison sausages curled neatly up to look a bit like cycle wheels. I was much touched.
If anyone else would like to be inspired, I am happy to oblige.
I drove off up the hill in the car after leaving the market in the hope that some of the early mist might still be lying in the river valleys but it was already retreating up the hills…
…so I went home, mowed some grass, did a bit of dead heading and watched butterflies.
I didn’t neglect the bees…
…especially as I had just bought two jars of local honey.
And sometimes I could see butterflies and bees simultaneously.
The poppies were as gorgeous as ever….
…and the cornflowers and crocosmia are blending well….
…but the star of the day was a newly opened lily of enormous size.
It is some sort of lily longiflorum (well named) which Mrs Tootlepedal very untypically purchased over the internet in the middle of a sleepless night. Buying stuff on the internet in the middle of the night is not recommended but this impulse purchase looks as though it is going to turn out very well.
After lunch, I went back up to Bentpath to visit the flower show and check on my pictures. I had managed to get a second and two thirds so I was modestly pleased as the standard of the other pictures was really good.
The weather was very kind….
…and the show has a very beautiful setting beside the river…..
…with the village church….
…and the fine bridge….
…as a backdrop.
As well as photos, food, flowers and vegetables, there are sheep in a curly horn contest….
…children’s and terrier races, a wood carving demonstration and two hound trails.
I like the hounds. They are superb athletes.
The hounds follow a scented trail over the hills and come plunging down through the bracken, leap fences….
… and when they come to it, they leap down the banking and dive into the river…
…swim and run across the water, leap up the bank at the far side…
…and sprint for the finish line.
Or at least the leader did. The following hounds took a more cautious view of the whole watery part of the race.
After a good deal of encouragement from their owners, they did finally get across and headed for the finish line…
…though one or two laggards were still out somewhere on the hill.
The hounds were followed by a fell race at an altogether more sedate pace….
…though rather disappointingly, the human runners use the bridge to get back to the show ground and don’t have to fling themselves into the river. In the first hill race that I ever ran at Newtonmore in the Highlands, we had to wade through a waist high river just to get from the field to the bottom of the hill.
I made a final visit to the show tent….
…and then made my way home.
It had been the very picture of a village flower show. There was sheaf tossing and a barbecue still to come for those with stamina.
I was pretty tired by the time that I got back so although the weather was still very pleasant, I did nothing more energetic than walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal who had been very busy clearing and preparing flower beds for next year (she is always thinking ahead) before sinking into a comfortable chair and putting my feet up.
The flying bird of the day might have been a buzzard flying above the field at Bentpath but my hand was too trembly to catch it properly so it turns out to be the first few petals of the first cardoon flower of the year.