A drop of the soft stuff

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  It shows the Houses of Parliament which is nominally the seat of our government.  Sadly, we are currently not being governed at all.

View from Lambeth Bridge

In a shocking challenge to the established order, it rained today…

wet poppy

…but as it only rained for about five minutes and not very hard at that, it didn’t make any difference and I still had to potter about watering anything I thought might benefit from it.

I also managed some weeding and a little strimming of the paths in the vegeatble garden and I edged the middle lawn.

It was cloudy and definitely a bit cooler than it has been so that was very welcome.  Encouraged by this, I got my bike out after coffee and the crossword and set out to see how my legs were feeling.

They were feeling fine so I did a 32 mile circle of familiar roads at a gentle pace (I was trying hard but the pace was gentle), keeping an eye out for anything interesting.  Once again, I found that if I stopped and looked around, there was usually something to look at.

My first stop was not far from the town.


There are orchids and red soldier beetles all over the place.

red soldier beetles

I stopped about 2o miles further on to check out a verge.

wild flowers 1

There was a good variety of flowers to be seen.

On my next stop, about 4 miles from home, there was an even greater variety.

There were all these…

wild flowers 3wild flowers 2wild flowers 4

…and many more.

wild flowers 5

Looking at the hedges and verges certainly keeps me occupied while I am pedalling along….and give me a good excuse for stops for a breather.

The light wind and cooler temperature made for very agreeable cycling conditions and I had worked up an appetite for a sardine, lettuce and potato salad for a late lunch when I got home.

I watched the bird feeder while I was in the kitchen.

Two sparrows posed artistically for me.


An interesting time trial in the Tour de France gave me a good excuse for a rest after lunch and then a visit from Mike Tinker caused me to stir my stumps and get back out into the garden.

The sun had come out by this time and it was a lovely afternoon.

I mixed a little more watering with some flower watching.

The new iris is adding to its charm…


…and the tall sunflowers are reaching ever higher into the sky.


The calendulas don’t seem to mind the dry conditions…

calendula 1

…and have a nice assortment of styles.

calendula 2

Then I had to go in and have a shower and get ready for my flute pupil Luke to arrive.  As I hadn’t done any practice for a fortnight, I couldn’t complain too much about his lack of practice.  He has just started his first job so I suppose he has other things to think about at the moment.

I picked some peas and beans for my tea and enjoyed them with some fish cakes and then I had a selection from the cheese board to round off the meal.

One last expedition to the garden for watering followed, where I noticed that a leycesteria has flowered underneath the apple tree….


…checked out another of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new nicotianas…


…and discussed the political situation with a couple of blackbirds.


The flying bird of the day picture is provided by the aerial ballet department.

flying siskin and flying sparrow

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “A drop of the soft stuff

  1. Our verges aren’t quite so splendid yet but it shouldn’t be much longer.
    I like the calendulas and the nicotiana. I’ve never seen one that color.
    I’m glad the legs held up. You saw some beautiful things on the ride, especially the orchids.

  2. Your garden has so many flowers that I haven’t seen before in my life. All so beautiful! 🙂

  3. That spot your sister took a picture of Parliament from-we have that same one..that Lambeth side seems to be the best for those photos. I hear you..we aren’t being governed either. Sad state of things.

  4. Lovely varieties of colour in the verges and of course in your garden too. Glad you were able to enjoy a ride in slightly cooler conditions.

  5. Flowers, an aerial ballet, and caledulas, which I normally don’t care for, but yours (Mrs. Ts) were so pretty! Especially the first one. When I grow them they just look mundane.

    Back to that aerial ballet. I have installed a new bird feeder. I have attracted about four bird species, but only know the Scarlett and the Gold finches by name. I am feeding them black seed sunflower. Is there another seed I should use instead or in addition to the BSSs? Thanks, Tom!

    1. I use sunflower hearts as they make a lot less mess than the black seeds. If you can find a bag designed for bakers they tend to cost a lot less than bags sold to bird feeders. All sorts of things such as suet balls and and dried mealworms are available over here and popular with different birds.

      1. I have seen most of those here too. I will have to see if I can find those hulled sunflowers. Mealworms are favorite of the eastern bluebirds that frequent my bluebird houses! Thanks, Tom! May have to wait on the suet types as temps here are nearly 100 degrees at the moment. ;P

  6. Great variety of flowers to see in those verges despite the lack of rain. Those calendulas are rather special and the nicotiana too, no wonder the blackbirds are discussing the merits of living in such a pretty garden. Love the ballet birds photo.

    1. Yes, where things have got plenty of foliage to cover the ground, they seem to be able to ignore the lack of rain. Mind you, the grass on our lawns is still growing which is a surprise.

  7. I suppose that any rain is welcome as dry as it’s been, but a good soaking rain is what’s really needed. One that doesn’t have much wind with it would be nice, possibly too much to wish for. The plethora of flowers, from both the verges and the garden were all a treat to see, but I really like the aerial ballet! nice timing on that one.

    1. A good soaking with no wind and then back to sunshine is our plan but it is all too likely that once the rain starts, it won’t let up until Christmas.

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