Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. She is working hard in Zurich at the moment but found time to admire this trio of trees ageing differentially.
Yesterday we had a sunny morning and a grey afternoon (and by the time that we went to bed, the inevitable rain had returned). Today we had a grey and drizzly morning which was extremely depressing but by the afternoon, the clouds had broken and a cheerful sun appeared.
As a result, we spent a quiet morning. Mrs Tootlepedal engaged in domestic tasks while I went off to the producers’ market and made some judicious purchases of fish, honey and a variety of beef, lamb and venison for slow cooked stews over the next month.
To hold my purchases, I had taken along a very stout store bag which Mary Jo from Manitoba had given to us when we met in London and I was quite surprised when a lady at the venison stall said, “I know where that comes from.” And even more surprised when it turned out that she did know where it came from as she had spent time in Canada and in Manitoba itself. It’s a small world, as they say.
I put the bad weather to good use when I got home by practising choir songs and putting another one into the computer. Because I don’t play the piano, the computer gives me a lot of help when I meet a new song.
We had a good lunch and then, as the day had brightened, we went out into the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal set about improving her new path and I did some dead heading and shredding before I got my camera out.
The honey lady at the producers’ market had told me that the bees are very hungry at the moment and they were tucking in at the dahlias as soon as the sun came out.
The poppies and cornflowers were quieter.
The absence of really cold mornings has allowed the cream coloured potentilla in the garden to keep flowering and has encouraged the Ooh La La Clematis to have a second go.
A butterfly was to be seen clinging to the back of a dahlia, presumably to get some sun on its wings.
The weather seemed to be set fair so I got my cycling gear on and set off up the Wauchope road on the fairly speedy bike.
My confidence in the steady state of the weather turned out to be misplaced and I soon found myself pedalling through a curtain of drizzle. There was still plenty of sunshine about though and I had the wit to stop and look behind me.
The rain subsided and I pedalled on until I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse where I considered my options. I had planned to do a triple Cleughfoot recycling route and the weather looking back to Langholm appeared fair enough…
…but behind Cleughfoot things looked very threatening.
I decided to risk sticking to my plan and pedalled as fast as I could uphill and into the wind towards the black clouds, stopping briefly to admire a combination of sloes and haws….
…before turning at the top of the road and whizzing back downhill and downwind as fast as I could, hoping to outrun any rain.
The sloe photo opportunity proved my downfall though as I was caught by the shower and had to stop to put my rain jacket on to protect my camera. Still, it was only just the edge of the rain and I was soon back in sunshine and when I got to Langholm, I stopped in our garden where Mrs Tootlepedal said it had hardly rained at all.
I decided to let the shower get well past before going up the road again and this gave me a chance to admire the nasturtiums and calendula at the end of the drive….
…and an unusually dark solo nasturtium flower beside the new path.
The sedum shone so brightly…
…that it seemed to be giving me the all clear so I set off on my second lap. In spite of some gloomy looking clouds, it stayed dry and I was enjoying myself when I went over a slight bump in the road and my water bottle fell out of its cage.
I had to stop and retrieve the bottle from the verge and when I realised that I was within a few yards of my favourite cascade, I took this as a sign and clambered down the bank to have a look.
There was not as much water going down the river as I had expected but it is still a lovely spot.
Because I had been delayed by the rain, I was a bit behind schedule so I abandoned the third repetition and only did enough to bring up twenty miles. I wanted to take advantage of the sunshine to go for a walk so I got changed quickly and set off to walk round the Becks before the sun went down.
Mrs Tootlepedal, who had done a hard couple of hours work on the path, thought that a cup of tea was a better option so I went by myself.
The difference between the miserable morning and the sunlit late afternoon was chalk and cheese.
It was a pleasure to be out and about.
I walked down through the woods and across the Becks Burn, keeping an eye for fungus in dark places. I saw this crop of tiny fungi on a dead branch.
I was pleased to come out into the sunshine though as it was muddy underfoot in the woods and there were many opportunities to put a foot wrong and end in an undignified position.
As I walked down the hill towards the Wauchope road, the Auld Stane Brig caught the last of the sunshine.
I was very surprised to see an umbellifer in flower as I walked along the road, but bearing in mind the hunger of the bees, I was less surprised to see that they had spotted it too.
The bee keeping lady told me that the bees are waiting for the ivy flowers to come out to provide them with a last big feed before shutting down for winter.
Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t really approve of garden owners who let their plants impinge on the public highway but there can’t be any objection when it is a magnificent fuchsia like this one.
There was just enough light left when I got home to let me enjoy a last look at the spiky dahlias.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to volunteer at a concert in the Buccleuch Centre and I sat down and watched Strictly Come Dancing and admired the relentless energy of the professional dancers.
I am hoping that the weather is kind and that it will let me out for a morning ride tomorrow. A ride tomorrow would make this a good week for cycling and go some way to making up for my poor efforts in September.