A song cycle day

mechanical vacuum cleaner

Today’s guest picture is volunteer Venetia’s current favourite exhibit at the Somerset Museum of Rural Life, a mechanical vacuum cleaner.

mechanical vacuum cleaner

I had a very traditional Sunday today, courtesy of the favourable weather.  If the weather is kind, I like to cycle along our main roads on a Sunday because they are largely lorry free and have the advantage of being the least hilly of any of our local roads.  This means that I can put my nose as near the front wheel as I can get it and pedal steadily along without interruption.

And that is what I did this morning.  It was occasionally sunny, 11°C and with a light crosswind.  I couldn’t expect better conditions in October.   Because of choir practice in Carlisle in the afternoon, I was time limited though and settled for a familiar jaunt down to Newtown on the Roman Wall and back, a distance of forty miles.

I stopped at Newtown for a breather.

Newtown bench
A bike, a bench, a banana and a bottle of water, all the ingredients of a Sunday morning ride.

I have had a bit of difficulty getting really motivated to get my bike out recently.  Once out on the bike, things are fine but getting started has been hard.  This has partly been down to the poor weather in the summer months but it occurred to me as I was pedalling along today in good conditions that the other reason is my ever decreasing average speeds.

I took up regular cycling very late in life and as a result was able to set myself targets for speed and distance as I got fitter but the reality is clicking in now and I have to come to terms with the fact that there are no more improvements to made  and I can only get slower each year.    I shall just have to learn to look at cycling a bit differently.  Still, I managed 15 mph today so I am not dead yet.

I had time for a look round the garden when I got home.  Mrs Tootlepedal was already out there having got back from singing in the church choir.

The mild weather has let a campanula have a second go…


…and the revived sweet rocket had attracted a customer.

sweer rocket and hoverfly.

The bees and hoverflies have given the poppies a good going over….


…but have ignored the Japanese anemone nearby.

Japanese anemone

Perhaps the smell is wrong.

Not all the poppies have been thoroughly trashed.


…but they almost all seem to have been visited.  That is probably why the dahlias now seem to be popular with bumble bees and honey bees alike.

bee and bumble bee

I like hoverflies because  their sharp patterns make them very visible to the camera.

hoverfly on poppy

From a photographic point of view, smaller flies, although quite interesting in close up…

fly on marigold

…can spoil the bigger picture.

Pot Marigold

Once again, I asked myself, “Can you have too many fuchsia pictures?”  Once again, the answer was, “Not as far as I am concerned.”

One of the ones which Mrs Tootlepedal transplanted this year and which have done well
A new one which she bought as a treat for me.

The clematis are surviving well.


I had time for a last look at an outstanding dahlia….


…and something in the vegetable garden that Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is Pak Choi…

Pak Choi

…before I had to go in to make some soup and have a shower.

For many years, I have been mashing up my vegetable soups through an old plastic hand powered Moulinex rotary masher which we bought on a trip to France.  Lately I had become a bit concerned that with wear and tear, I might be mashing in more plastic with the vegetables than is desirable.  With that in mind, we bought a modestly priced electric masher when we were in Edinburgh on Thursday and I gave it a test run today.  It certainly mashed the vegetables and the resulting soup was very good.  Obviously not every modern invention is the work of the devil.

After lunch, there was another moment in the garden…

dark nasturtium
The inner workings of the dark nasturtium from yesterday’s post

…and another red admiral butterfly.

red admiral butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal was listening to a program on the radio about what astonishing travellers red admiral butterflies are and they certainly fly round our garden at great speed before finding just the right flower to settle on.

The choir practice in Carlisle was a very hard working session.  Because our first two practices of the season were devoted to the pieces for the concert with the Phoenix Choir, we have less time to prepare for our Christmas concert and Andrew, our conductor, is driving us on.  More homework is needed.  Luckily the pieces are enjoyable so a bit of hard work doesn’t go amiss.

The flying bird of the day is my current favourite among the poppies.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “A song cycle day

  1. Lovely flowers …and ‘customers’! Remarkably well preserved into October. When I was in London 2 weeks ago, the weather was fantastic with blue skies and lots of sunshine.

  2. I wonder why the bees wouldn’t touch the anemone. It’s a beautiful thing but beauty probably doesn’t mean much to a bee.
    The nasturtium is even more interesting up close with its feathery bits that must tickle a bee’s belly as it crawls inside.
    I like the new fuchsia, but I also like the old ones.

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much about decreasing speeds, especially if you think about the number of people who don’t ever swing their leg over a bike frame, let alone do a forty mile ride. Is the pak choi a variation of lettuce?

  4. If the cycling brings you pleasure and exercise, what difference does your speed make? Me, I think that I would enjoy going slower and taking in more of the scenery along the way.

    Today, I liked the nasturtium and all the insects the best of a very good lot of images.

    1. The difference in the speed is significant because it is a constant reminder of decay. Still, I know that I am getting older so it isn’t a surprise just a disappointment.

  5. You have such a beautifully thriving garden, full of colour and visited by so many insects. Your flying poppy is wonderful! It appears to float up from my lap-top screen.

  6. Totally agree with you regarding modern inventions – a mixed bag at best.
    Fuchsias, I like, but I never think they look as good in photographs as they do in real life. I still remember seeing my first fuchsia when I was seven – it seemed like a miracle.
    And finally, cycling. I promise you that any speed is good. It might be frustrating, but it’s good. Honestly. Keep it up.

  7. Enjoy the ride as they say- more time to take photos. Lovely poppies and beautiful sunny dahlia just right for a sunny Sunday before a challenging choir practice.

  8. We are far slower than you are, but on we go, enjoying the ride. At least when I don’t tumble off the bike. I fear my on-road riding is done for the season. My leg is too swollen for me to ride, and when the swelling finally goes down I expect it will be too cold for biking on the road. So, as soon as I can, I’ll be on the exercise bike, that road to nowhere. Good luck with the music for your concert.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your swollen leg. That doesn’t sound like fun at all. The bike to nowhere is handy in winter. Do you listen to music while you pedal?

      1. I actually listen to podcasts of favorite shows. It helps. But nothing beats riding outside.

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