Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He was driving past the Silk Mill in Derby and thought that it might be the sort of picture that I would enjoy. On reflection, I think that he was right.
We were promised a cooler, cloudier day today but when we got up, it was as sunny as ever.
I was intending to go for a bike ride and once again found it hard to get going so I was happy to enjoy a stroll round the garden and admire the sunlit garden flowers after breakfast.
The strong light took some of the darkness away from the ‘black’ iris.
The sun didn’t last for long and by the time that I had had an early cup of coffee, the skies had clouded over. It was still pleasantly warm though and with a light wind, it looked like a perfect day for pedalling.
In the end, I ran out of excuses and got my new bike out and set off, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal toiling in the garden.
It was a perfect day for pedalling.
For some reason which is obscure to me the road verges seem to attract different wild plants in different spots even though the growing conditions look very similar. There is a section of the road just before the top of Callister that is perennially home to a very fine collection of curly dock (as always my naming of plants is open to correction).
It grows elsewhere of course, but this section of about fifty yards has the best collection by far.
I thought that you would be interested to know that.
Once over Callister, I set my course for the flatter lands of the Solway coast as my tin knee has been a bit creaky lately and I wanted to give it kindly treatment today.
I crossed the Kirtle Water for the third time as I got near Eaglesfield.
My route then took me past Chapelcross, a retired nuclear power station which is being (very) gradually dismantled. Each time that I pass it, a little more of it has disappeared.
The power station sits on a hill looking over the Solway and looking down, I thought that for once the sea might be on duty…
….and I was pleased to find when I got to Brow Houses, that I was right.
I paused and had my lunch and a little walk among the wild flowers on the grassy slope down to the water’s edge. There were plenty to enjoy.
This was my favourite.
The farms are cultivated as near to the edge of the Firth as possible and the cows were interested in what I was doing.
Refreshed by an egg roll and a banana, I pressed on to Gretna and then into England.
I had to stop and let a train go up the main line….
…before I could cross the level crossing and head down to Rockliffe and then by way of the new Carlisle by-pass start heading home through the lanes of North Cumbria.
One of the lanes had a wonderful hedge of roses….
…which were a delicate shade of pink.
As I was going up the main road from Longtown to Langholm, I took a break from the traffic and visited Kirkandrews-on_Esk, where there is a neat church and an old tower, still lived in as a family home today.
The church, as its names implies, sits on the bank of the River Esk and there is a bridge to allow the churchgoers on the other side of the river to get to the services and a sundial to tell them if they are on time.
I took the picture of the sundial at just about 3 o’clock BST which is two o’clock GMT so the sundial is still keeping pretty good time after 100 years.
It is a picturesque spot….
…and the river was looking beautiful in the little bit of sunshine which had come out to brighten the day.
The bridge is a delicate construction and sways alarmingly when you cross it.
It didn’t take me long to get home and by dint of sprinting through the town as fast as I could pedal, I just managed to keep my average speed for the 61 miles to 14 mph, a tribute to the warmth of the day, the flatness of the route and the kindness of the light winds.
Mike Tinker was taking a cup of tea in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal when I arrived home and he remarked that he and his wife had seen plenty of lightning yesterday. This was very odd as Mrs Tootlepedal and I had looked hard and seen none and he only lives about 100 yards away. Maybe we just weren’t looking in the right direction.
I had another look round the garden when Mike went and was able to admire the very neat lawn edging which Mrs Tootlepedal had done while I was out. She had done quite a lot of other things too.
I had my camera in my hand of course and was spoilt for choice.
When we went inside, we could watch a small flock of wood pigeons being disagreeable.
In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and added weight to my suspicion that he has been secretly practising. We did a lot of good work.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden is looking very healthy and she was able to pick more spinach to go with a second helping of the slow cooked sausage stew for our tea. Considering how much I disliked spinach when I was a child, it is amazing how much I like it now.
The flower of the day is the first look at my favourite peony, taken in the early evening.
Note: I received a message from our health centre while I was out cycling and I rang the doctor when I got home and was very happy to hear that my chest x-ray had come back clear of any problems.