Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who is visiting the north east of England. He was able to locate a handy cafe at one of his stops by following a cryptic clue.
It rained during the night and when I woke up, there was evidence to be found.
But that was all there had been, some raindrops and not enough to register at all on my scientific rain gauge (the wheelbarrow). It was welcome all the same but I still had to do some watering.
I was delighted to see a poppy of the right sort in an intended place in a flower bed.
I hope that there will be more to come.
The Jacobite and moss roses have passed but our aristocratic roses are pressing on.
And the Ooh La la clematis is plugging away too.
I did a little gardening and then went off on a mission.
I had received an email through the Langholm Archive Group account saying:
“I am a researcher working on behalf of Acker, Merrall & Condit. We are working to acquire images for a commemorative coffee table book celebrating the company’s 200th anniversary. We have found reference to a plaque that was donated to the Thomas Hope Hospital by the founders of the business and were wondering if you could provide any information about it, or might know where it currently is being held.”
There is indeed a Thomas Hope Hospital in the town, founded by a Langholm migrant, Thomas Hope, who had made money as a grocer in New York and left a lot of it to the town to build the hospital. He also left his business to his staff when he retired. An unusually good man.
I went up to the Day Centre which has a Thomas Hope Lounge where there is a display of silver and there I was shown a fine tray ….
…which had indeed been inscribed by Acker, Merrall & Condit among others in 1858.
It was really interesting to see the tray and to know that the business of these three men is still surviving today, described on its web site as America’s oldest wine shop.
However, I don’t think that it was given by the donors to the Hospital at the time that it was inscribed as the hospital wasn’t built until the late 1890s. I noticed in passing that Thomas Hope may have been a good man but our newspaper stated in 1890 that a report from New York said that the family of Thomas Hope intended to contest his will when they discovered that he had left money to build a hospital in Langholm. They failed.
I have sent the researcher these two pictures and await her reply.
When I got home, since I had Archive Group business on my mind, I spent an hour putting another week of the newspaper index into the group’s database.
Then I mowed the middle lawn to celebrate the sprinkling of overnight rain.
Soon it was time for lunch. I have more peas and beans than I can eat so I picked some courgettes and combined them with peas and beans to create a green soup. Rather to my surprise, it tasted very good and I will certainly make some more.
I took some time out to watch the birds. There were compact flying birds coming and going today…
…and wide open flying birds too.
Inspired by the activity of the birds and fortified by the green soup, I got my new bike out after lunch and went off for a pedal.
The skies were cloudy and there was a spirited wind blowing but as the temperature was 20°C, conditions were pleasant and after a slow start into the wind, I had a good run back home with the wind mostly behind.
The government has been accused of kicking Brexit into the long grass again so I kept my eye open when I passed any long grass to see if I could spot Brexit lurking there. I saw sheep lurking..
…and cows lurking…
…but no sign of Brexit.
I also saw a patch of what might look like seed heads on reeds at first sight….
…but a close look confirmed that the ‘seed heads’ were in fact flowers of Sanguisorba officinalis or great burnet.
I don’t see them very often but the road junction at Gair seems to be a favourite place for them.
I didn’t have the opportunity for many stops as I had to be back in time to have a shower and be ready for my flute pupil Luke. I managed 27 miles in the time available which took me over 200 miles for the month. I noticed, when I looked at my spreadsheet in the evening, that I have done 1088 miles on my new bike since I got it on the 12th of May and every mile that I do on it tells me that I made a good decision when I bought it.
I had time for a quick walk round the garden.
A new euphorbia is flowering…
…and the tropaeolum is threatening to take over the world.
The hostas don’t seem to mind the hot weather and are flowering in great profusion.
I am not a good flute player but teaching Luke is making me improve my own technique as we go along and so we are both getting better as time goes by. We could both do with practising a little more.
In the evening, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike for the first time in what seems like ages and we had an enjoyable time going through some friendly and familiar pieces.
Isabel had been in the congregation when Mike and I were in the choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus on Sunday and she felt that we had done a good job so that was very heartening.
As I left Isabel’s it was raining but once again it was in a very desultory manner and I fear that watering will be needed again tomorrow. After I had written that last sentence, I went out into the garden to see if it was still raining. The rain had stopped but the garden smelled moist and delicious.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.