Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She took it a week ago at the height of the hot weather in London and it shows a fine crop of green algae on the canal.
The mornings are getting chillier now and I had to wait for a bit until the thermometer hit 10°C, which I thought was warm enough to start cycling.
It was an excellent day for a pedal with sunshine and clouds giving a perfect temperature and with a only a light wind which wasn’t a nuisance at all.
It might have been a day for a long ride if I hadn’t had something to do in the early afternoon. With that in mind, I stuck to the main roads and cycled down to my favourite bench in Newtown and back again. I was going to go on a more interesting route but I found that the Cumbria Highway Authority had just spent a lot of money resurfacing some of the bumpiest bits of the road south of Longtown so I thought that it would be rude not to go and try the new surfaces out.
They were very smooth and any cyclists will know just what a treat it is to cycle on a really smooth surface.
I was concentrating really hard on pedalling and forgot to take any pictures until I reached the thirty mile mark on my way home. This is the broad sweep of the Esk…
…but the real reason that I stopped was to take a picture of this fine bunch of machines in a lay-by.
They are going to smooth out another bumpy section of the main road next week, this time to the north of Longtown.
With light traffic and winds and lots of good surfaces, I was able to average over 15 mph for my 40 miles, a very rare thing these days. My new bike, although admirable in every way, is a little heavier than my old bike and thus a little slower. I have done 1500 miles on it now and have no complaints about the extra weight as this comes with increased stability and comfort, important elements for the older cyclist.
I had time for a very quick look round the garden….
Mrs Tootlepedal occasionally buys gardening magazines and sometimes they have free packets of seed taped to the cover. She has done very well out of two of these lately as the lilies were free…
…and so were the zinnias.
After a quick lunch and a shower, I was ready for the next item on the calendar, an organ recital in the Parish Church in aid of the organ restoration fund.
As we got to the church, I looked back and saw the Kirk Brig looking decidedly overgrown.
The Wauchope Water is down there somewhere.
Once inside the church, I admired the bright colours in the stained glass windows…
…in front of which a former congregation in their wisdom erected a large sounding board above the pulpit. This ruins the view of the window from the body of the church and I am told that there are plans to remove it but to place it elsewhere in the church as many parishioners like its ornamental carving a lot. The minister is ‘miked up’ these days so the need for a sounding board has gone anyway.
The organ recital, given by Dr John Kitchen, a very competent organist from Edinburgh, was excellent. He had a delightful touch and was able to make the organ sound very musical to my ears, not something that every organist can manage.
Dr Kitchen is the official Edinburgh City Organist and gives many recitals in the Usher Hall there so he had no difficulty in preparing a varied and interesting programme for us.
It was a still a fine day when we got home and Mrs Tootlepedal sat on the new bench with a fellow soprano from the church choir who had been at the recital and considered the joys of gardening.
They couldn’t help noticing a pair of butterflies making sure that there would more butterflies available in times to come.
I had a look on the buddleia….
…but there was a disappointing turn out of coloured butterflies with just a couple of peacocks, with no small tortoiseshell, painted ladies or red admirals to be seen. It is looking as though it is going to be a very poor year for coloured butterflies after all.
And although there are quite a few bees about…
…other insects are in very short supply with many less hoverflies about than I would expect and no clouds of small flying insects in the sunny evenings.
I thought that I ought to take a bit of action after a slow day yesterday so I mowed and edged the middle lawn, then did the same to the front lawn and while I was in the mood, I trimmed a couple of the box balls on the edge of the front lawn as well.
After a short sit down, I went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.
I paused long enough to admire the clematis on the fence…
…and then went inside to enjoy a delicious meal made by Mrs Tootlepedal.
Luckily, there was a great deal of interesting athletics on the television in the evening so I refrained from any more activity.
There was no opportunity amid all this fun to set up the camera to watch the birds so the flying bird of the day is a close look at the Ooh La La clematis.