Today’s guest picture is another from a splendid set that my brother sent me after his visit to Shugborough Hall near Stafford a week ago.
We awoke to find it was still raining after a night of rain and a check on the scientific rain gauge showed two centimetres had fallen. This is a fair amount of rain for us and it is an indication of how dry things have been that the garden wasn’t awash with puddles.
It was too wet for gardening though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef stew for the slow cooker and then watched the birds for a while.
A rather anxious looking sparrow appeared first.
It was probably right to be anxious as there was quite a lot of demand for a seat at the table.
I was pleased to see a blue tit among the sparrows and chaffinches. The sunflower seeds are too big for a blue tit to chew whole so they usually take one off and trap it under their feet on a handy tree nearby while they peck at them….but sometimes they just drop them.
The rain soon eased off but it was still pretty wet and when I put the camera away, I stayed inside and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.
This took me up to lunchtime and after lunch, I nearly succumbed to the temptation of watching more of the European Championships on the telly but I managed to pull myself together in the nick of time and put on my cycling gear.
I was punished for saying there weren’t many insects about by being bitten by a horsefly when I had stopped for a breather on my bike ride but there are still not many of them in the garden.
I took this one by accident when I was shooting the dahlia of the day while wasting time before cycling…
..and zoomed in for a closer look.
There are still geraniums about although they haven’t been at their best this year.
A close look at a rose mallow revealed a very fluffy interior.
The second flowering of the orange hawkweed goes from strength to strength.
In the end, I stopped looking at flowers in my cycling gear and actually got on my bike.
It was an odd sort of day. It looked very autumnal, gloomy and grey and overcast but it felt rather summery with the temperature at a very pleasant 20°C so I went off wearing shorts but with a rain jacket packed just in case.
After the overnight rain, I checked on the little cascade near Wauchope Schoolhouse and was not surprised to find quite a bit of water splashing over the rocks.
There were a lot of wild flowers growing near the river, some familiar…
…and one which was quite new to me. I have no idea what it is.
When I stopped after ten miles to admire the view…
…and have a drink and a nibble of guava jelly, I found that my lost water bottle was back on my bike again.
I had had a reasonable idea of where I had lost it on my previous ride and wondered whether it would be visible today. It was just resting quietly in the grassy verge on top of Callister. I took it home with me and though it will have to go in the bin, at least I haven’t left litter beside the road.
There is a stretch of this striking grass beside the road near Springkell and considering how full the seed heads are, I am surprised that I don’t see more of it about.
I saw a bright yellow flower in the verge at one point and wondered what it was. A closer look makes me think that it is a bird’s foot trefoil but it has come rather late in the season if that is what it is.
The weather gods played an amusing game with me over the last ten miles of the trip. They sent down enough light rain to make me think about stopping and putting my rain jacket on and then, just as I was about to stop, the rain stopped. And then, of course, a mile or so later, it started again. This went on for some time and they only got fed up when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to stop even if it rained quite hard (which it did for a few minutes) and they went off to annoy someone else.
I managed 35 miles at a modest pace and got home in time to have a walk round the garden before tea.
There were pale pink sweet peas to be seen today.
I picked a plum from the plum tree (a good place to look for a plum)…
…and went inside for a shower. The plum will need to ripen for a day before it is ready to eat.
With more rain forecast for every day next week, I am glad to have got some miles in this weekend. I still have plenty of archiving work to do so perhaps it will be a case of every cloud having a silver lining, a statement with which I do not agree in general.
I was spoiled for choice as far as flying birds went but the poor light didn’t let me get a very good picture.