Discouraging drizzle

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s northern tour.  He visited Newcastle-on-Tyne and sent me this picture of a castle.  He doesn’t say if it is the new one or not.

Newcastle castle

It was relatively cool and cloudy when I got up and although it had rained overnight, once again the amount had failed to register on my scientific rain gauge so I did a little watering and took a walk round the garden after breakfast.

The Crown Princess looked lovely surrounded by phlox.

crown princess among phlox

A new flower has appeared next to the front lawn but I cannot name it without Mrs Tootlepedal’s help.

mystery flower

I can recognise this astilbe which is looking charmingly  pretty in pink.

pink astilbe

The wind was still about but as it was rather calmer than recent days, I set out on my new bike with hope in my heart, aiming at 50 miles or more.

Unfortunately, it turned out that I might have had hope in my heart but I didn’t have much stuffing in my legs and my hopes gradually faded as I pedalled along.

I did enjoy myself all the same.

The ragwort is at its best…


..but I have been unable to find any with the colourful caterpillars of the cinnabar moth on it yet.  These caterpillars love ragwort so there should be some about somewhere.

My route took me across country to Annandale.  There is no more water in the Annan than there is in the Esk….

Annan Water at Hoddom

…but I was still glad to have a handsome bridge to cross the river when I came to it.

Hoddom Bridge

There is a lot of Himalayan Balsam on the banks of the river and although it is very pretty…

himalayan balsam

…it is regarded as an invasive pest now that it has escaped from gardens.

I toiled up a hill after I had crossed the bridge at Hoddom and then scooted down the other side until I came to the Bridge at Brydekirk which crosses the same river a few miles downstream.

Brydekirk Bridge

Here I paused for an egg roll and a chocolate biscuit.  (My cycling nutrition is about as scientific as my rain gauge.)

I was sitting on a low wall which was covered in interesting lichen.

Brydekirk lichen

Leaving the river behind, I headed homewards, thinking that I might make a detour into England at Gretna to bring up my fifty mile target.  It was at this point that it became finally apparent that my legs weren’t really up to much more than forty miles and when I looked around and saw that recent rarity, a rain cloud…

rain clouds

…and felt a few spots of rain on my knees, any thoughts of England evaporated and I headed for home.  I had obviously been lucky to avoid being rained on as quite a bit of the road to Canonbie was wet.

I arrived home after 42 miles to find that it hadn’t rained in Langholm at all.  Boo.

It was the first day for weeks when the clouds were thick enough to make the day seem quite gloomy even though it was quite warm enough to cycle in shorts again.

I had some green soup for a late lunch, checked out the birds…

bee passing birds on feeder

…which were ignoring passing bees…

,..and then settled down to watch a thoroughly engrossing stage of the Tour de France.

After the stage ended, Mike Tinker came round and we had a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit.  Any day with ginger biscuits is a good day.

When Mike left, I saw that the birds had been busy while I was relaxing and the feeder was getting empty.

sparrows and greenfinch

I really liked the cool attitude of this greenfinch, looking for all the world like a regular customer leaning on the bar in a pub.

cool greenfinch

Filling the feeder led to more birds arriving in a rush…

sparrows on feeder

…and occasional regrettable outbreaks of sparrow stamping.

sparrow stamping on sparrow

I did some more watering and weeding and noted that Mrs Tootlepedal will have a few poppies to greet her when she comes home tomorrow.


And a lot of cheerful phlox.


The bed beside the front door is looking quite welcoming too.

front door bed

After a shower, some tidying up and a basic evening meal, I went off to the church for a practice with the choir.  It is the Common Riding service on Sunday so we will have to be at our best as there will be a large turn out of people who do not normally come to services.

I am not entirely sure that my new asthma treatment is as good as it should be and this might account for my soggy legs when bicycling and certain lapses of concentration when singing.  It is useful to have something to blame of course.

The flying bird of the day is a grenfinch.

flying greenfinch






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Discouraging drizzle

  1. Have you had any rain yet in all this time…? I hope so, or hope you get it right now if needed. We did get some this weekend fortunately after a couple-few completely dry weeks, a good night and a good day of it. The lightning was a bit aggressive though.

    I hope you find the best asthma treatment for you, especially if you are having humidity.

    It’s good to see phlox, since this year has not been good for them so far where I am.

    1. The phlox hasn’t minded the dry weather at all. We are promised rain but I hope not to get too much and I also hope that we avoid thunder and lightning.

      1. I liked the way we used to have it, just enough every few days, and that kept it all well. I hope it is like that again, and also that the thunder and lightning stay away.

  2. I took a short (by your standards) walk alomg the, sadly much canalised, River Brue near me this morning, amd likewise noted with very mixed feelings far too much Indian balsam.

  3. Thank you for showing al that colour in your garden, a very cheering sight. I loved the reflective bridge too. Sorry to read that your new asthma treatment is not the greatest, hope something can be done. Hurray for the return of your wife tomorrow, we look forward to seeing her on her way at lunchtime.

  4. I don’t recognize your unknown flower but the ragwort is outdoing itself and is very pretty.
    I like this year’s crop of poppies, especially that pink one on the left.
    It’s nice to have a gloomy day now and then to break up the monotony of the same weather day after day. We had one yesterday.
    I hope they can get you a better inhaler. It’s nice to be able to breathe normally and very annoying when you can’t.

  5. AWESOME post as always. 50 miles seems like a long way to cycle. Well, I haven’t been on a bicycle for a very long time. I need to buy a feeder like yours. What type of seed do you feed? The flowers and scenery look great!

  6. Brilliant bridge photos and plenty of phlox flowers to brighten any day. This hot weather can be quite debilitating so hope you recover well in the rain that is forecasted for you. A pleasant welcome home to Mrs T…you can both relax and have a cup of tea instead of watering! ( Hope the forecast is correct!)

  7. The news that your new asthma inhaler isn’t working well for you is sad, maybe your body needs time to get used to it before it will work well.

    I loved the phlox in your photos today, and I’m not usually a fan of them. Mrs. T knows how to select the right varieties!

  8. Have you checked the battery in your scientific rain gauge? Sorry to hear about the asthma medicine not helping as much as needed. As they say: getting older isn’t for sissies! But sometimes it’s better than the alternative. 😉

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