Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, who got the chance of a ride in a hot air balloon.  Her picture shows how far I would have gone on the journey before finding something else to do.  I don’t like heights.  She was very brave and has put lots of pictures from her flight on her blog.

filling the balloon

It rained again here….

wet philadelphus

…but once again only very lightly and not enough to register on the scientific rain gauge.

I had time to put in a load of washing and  do a little gardening after breakfast before a visitor arrived.  It was Murray, an old university friend .  His wife was working for the day in Carlisle so he took the opportunity to come up for a coffee.   He brought some very nice biscuits with him and Scott the minister’s finely tuned biscuit radar must have been working well because he  arrived not long afterwards.  As Murray is an ex church organist and from a family of ministers, he and Scott and plenty to talk about.

Scott says that his chickens are enjoying the coconuts and as our birds don’t seem to like them, I think that the coconuts will soon  be returning to the manse.

Murray, who has spent most of his working lifetime in the theatre, went off to inspect the Buccleuch Centre before going back to Carlisle, promising to come again soon when he and his wife return to the area.

I had the bird watching camera up both before and after the visit (but not during it, of course).

The birds got stuck in early today…

chaffinch and siskins

…and were still at it when the evening came…

siskin, greenfinch, sparrow

…though some wasted time in shouting…

siskin shouting

…when they could have been eating.

A sparrow concentrated on the important thing in life.

sparrow on feeder

There were plenty of insects about in the garden, some more welcome than others.

greenfly on cornflower

The stachys is going over but it still has enough flowers to make it attractive…

bee on stachys flower

…to all and sundry.

bee on stachys

There are still no coloured butterflies about but I did catch a moth, which obligingly stopped right in front of me.

moth on hairy leaf

(The general whiskeriness of plants when you look at them closely continues to delight me.)

For a cloudy day, there was plenty of sunshine about…

tall sunflowers

…and the zinnias would brighten any day.


After another bowl of nourishing green soup for my lunch, I went to hang out the washing before going cycling and, of course, it started to rain.

However this was another false alarm and it soon stopped and I got the washing hung up and my new bike out.

It was windy again.  The new cooler weather pattern is bringing winds from the Atlantic across the country and while the relative coolness (18°C) was most welcome to me, the wind was less so.

It was strong enough to make me concentrate on cycling so I didn’t stop for many pictures but the mass of meadowsweet near Wauchope Schoolhouse did stop me in my tracks.

meadowsweet at wauchope Schoolhouse

And I like the little carpet of birds foot trefoil beside the cycle track at Hagg on Esk.

birds foot trefoil

I stopped for a breather, a drink and a wildflower check at Irvine House before the final push back to Langholm.

I have passed a lot of these over the past few weeks without recording them.

wild geranium

And I managed to find an umbellifer without a red soldier beetle on it.

hoverfly on umbellifer

We have had another new bench delivered from our local benchmaker and it provided a handy place to sit down and rest when I got back after 32 miles.

post cycling selfie

In  spite of several hundred miles in the sunshine, my legs refuse to acquire a cyclist’s tan and remain as peely-wally as ever.  It is embarrassing.

As the sun had come out by this time and there is still no rain in the forecast, I set about doing as much watering as I could bear before going in to make my tea.

The usual beans were accompanied by fresh carrots today.

carrots and beans


I think Mrs Tootlepedal may have won this year’s battle in the eternal war against carrot root fly. (Fingers crossed)

Mrs Tootlepedal returns later this week so some serious time will have to be spent tidying up before she comes, both indoors and in the garden.  You just don’t realise just how fast weeds grow until you are personally responsible for them….and the same applies to piles of dust.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

flying sparrow








Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

20 thoughts on “Visitors

  1. The veggies look good enough to eat. 🙂 Nothing like fresh carrots straight from the garden.

    Maybe you’ll luck out and get a day with more rain that will give you an excuse to stay indoors to tidy up, and give you a break from watering for a day before Mrs. T arrives home again.

  2. D’you know, I was rather surprised, but I didn’t feel a single moment of apprehension over that balloon flight. It was all so gentle and calm, and even the bursts of burner fire didn’t interrupt the blissful – yes really – sensation of floating through the air.
    Bet you’re looking forward to having Mrs Tootlepedal back, despite all the tidying to be done.

      1. I asked the driver (?) whether he has ever had anyone panicking. His reply was that he had, just once, and he sat her down, told her he’d land as soon as possible, and continued for the full hour. No further problem!

  3. We finally had a day of real rain, just in time. I hope you’ll see the same.
    That zinnia is amazing. I’ve never seen one with bicolor petals.
    Taking care of a garden is indeed a lot of work so I’m sure having Mrs. T back to help will lighten the load considerably. From what I’ve seen she can do as much as two grown men.

  4. From the show of flowers you have done a grand job of keeping the garden watered. How good those carrots and beans look compared to those in the local supermarket.

  5. Your carrots are much further ahead than ours, despite all our heat and the well at the garden. Won’t it be lovely to have Mrs. Toot home???

  6. I’m with you. I’d just as soon stay on the ground and shoot pictures of the balloons overhead. I’ve fallen behind again. Had some doctor visits to make sure I was fit to have my cataracts cut out. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the operation, but I’ve been told by many that my vision should improve! May it be so! O_o

  7. Too funny! My husband’s legs are exactly the same as yours. As his ancestors are from England/Scotland, it is no surprise.

      1. No, but it’s his look, and apparently yours too. That description sure gave us a good giggle.

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