Breathing in a little sand

Banwell castle Gatehouse

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who recently visited Banwell Castle and sent me this picture of the gatehouse.  I am glad to see that they festoon potential photographic subjects with telephone wires down there as well as up here.

Banwell castle Gatehouse

The best weather of the day today was in the morning when it was calm and sunny so it was unfortunate that I had agreed to act as a substitute welcomer in the Welcome to Langholm office from 10am to 12 noon.

Still, I got a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and welcomed several visitors and both supplied them with information and extracted a little money for booklets from them so it wasn’t time wasted.

When I got home, I looked out through the kitchen window to see if the goldfinches had come back to the feeder.

They had…


…in numbers…


…and in squabbling mood.


They looked even better when the sun came out.


They were joined by sparrows…

sparrow and goldfinch

…and chaffinches, this one wearing a bird ringer’s ring on his leg…


…and blue tits.

blue tit

This is a very satisfactory start for the new feeder season.

After lunch, we went out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal is not quite back to 100% yet but she was able to do some good work in the garden today.  I had a look round.

The poppies are continuing to do well and to attract insects.

hoverfly on poppy

I didn’t see the bee creeping up on this one when I took the picture.

bee approaching poppy

Recently there have been several pictures of fuchsias with a pot marigold in the background.  I reversed that today.

pot marigold

I didn’t hang around in the garden though as I wanted to make use of a good afternoon for cycling.

After a few outings on wet roads, my fairly speedy bike needed a wash and lubrication so I was a while before I got going but I got out in plenty of time to do thirty miles or even a bit more.

In the event, perhaps because of the dust from the Sahara which Ophelia brought up with her, thirty miles was quite enough and cycling was a rather weird experience with my brain in turmoil as I tried to sort out what I was actually thinking from snippets of dreams and imagination that confused me as I pedalled along.   There are days when being an asthmatic cyclist is not the best thing to be.  A say with Saharan dust in the air is one of those.

Luckily, my cycling reflexes were in good order and as I went at a very modest average speed, I was able to get along quite safely although my concentration was anywhere but on the road ahead.

I must have been aware of my surroundings a bit though, as I stopped to take a few pictures as I went round.

There were various shades of autumn as I went along.

View of windmills

It was a good day for a pedal although it was one of those days when the wind seemed to be against for an awful lot of the journey.

autumn colour

Hedges have been clipped but the frequent rain showers have swept the roads clean so there were no thorny problems for me to avoid.

clipped hedges

The roads were quiet which was perhaps lucky as I was pedalling in a bit of a dwam.

KPF road

Gilnockie Tower was looking quite crisp as I passed.

Hollows Tower

And the distillery looked very cosy tucked in among the autumn leaves.

Langholm Distillery from skippers bridge

I fear that we are not going to get a really colourful show of autumn colour this year but perhaps there is still time.  I think we need a few cooler mornings to set thing off.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal showed me the work that she had been doing in the garden in my absence.  She has great plans for the autumn and winter so that she will be ready for a bright new gardening year.  I will try to record developments as they happen.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir and as there were four tenors and only one bass, I jumped ship and went off to sing bass (with variable success).  It was probably quite a good idea as my voice was suffering a bit from the dusty bike ride.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch one while the sun was out.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “Breathing in a little sand

  1. Dwam – another new word for me. And more absolutely beautiful places to walk and bike (insert emoji for jealousy here). Winds currently 60, gusting to 77, apparently up to 90 later. Lovely. No cycling here!

  2. I’m glad all of the birds made it back. I wonder where they hide in such strong winds as Ophelia brought.
    I like the multi colored hedges along the roadside. That’s something you wouldn’t see here.
    I like the tree tunnel and the rest of the landscape shots. I hope you get a few cool nights to get the colors popping. It did work here.

    1. I don’t know where the birds were hanging out at all. I was amazed that they appeared so quickly. I thought that it might take them a day or two at least to find the feeder again.

  3. I like the tree and hedge colours though a little muted, and there are plenty of flowers and birds here to admire. My asthma is greatly troubled by the dusty atmosphere too.

  4. I don’t like when my brain feels all mixed up with dreams and reality. I find it kind of scary. Good on you for persevering with your ride.

    I look forward to seeing what Mrs T did or will do with those river rocks she went to collect the other day.

  5. it is indeed a fine start to the bird season, coming on the heels of a fabulous flower season! As always, your photos shot while out for a ride were terrific as well, especially the tunnel of trees. I hope that both you and Mrs. T are fully recovered today.

  6. The farmers make a good job of cutting those hedges correctly and keep your countryside looking so spruce. The birds all look very tidy and smart too. I always have a million and one things buzzing round in my brain, so I know how you feel!

  7. Beautiful photos from the feeders, garden and your ride, as always. Dwam is a new word for me, too. That does sound a bit dangerous cycling in that state. I am sure all the dust in the air does not help.

  8. Nice to learn a new word, though I’m not sure I’ll ever get to use it here in the south. Hope you are feeling more alert now, and that Mrs T is not over-exerting herself.

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