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.
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.
A new flower has appeared next to the front lawn but I cannot name it without Mrs Tootlepedal’s help.
I can recognise this astilbe which is looking charmingly pretty in pink.
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….
…but I was still glad to have a handsome bridge to cross the river when I came to it.
There is a lot of Himalayan Balsam on the banks of the river and although it is very pretty…
…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.
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.
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…
…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…
…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.
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.
Filling the feeder led to more birds arriving in a rush…
…and occasional regrettable outbreaks of sparrow stamping.
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.
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.