Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce. He was impressed by the size of this nail brush. Its owner must have very big hands.
I was awoken by a loud cry from Mrs Tootlepedal. “There’s a partridge in the garden,” she said. I had hoped that by the time that I had got organised with a camera, the partridge would have flown up into our pear tree, which would have been a great gift. No such luck though as the partridge had walked out of the front gate and down the road.
It will do well to stick around in the town and take the risk of being run over. It it goes back out into the country, it is likely to get shot.
The forecast had been for another cloudy day but we were lucky and the clouds had passed over us and gone on their way and it was sunny all day.
The elder tree feeder lived up to its promise this morning and attracted interesting small birds to the garden.
It was a little chilly after breakfast so I took my time getting ready to pedal and made some apple jelly after breakfast. Sadly, I might have rushed the job a bit and although the result tastes quite nice, it hasn’t set properly and may need reboiling.
Then, even when I had pumped up the tyres and filled my water bottle, I took more time to admire the poppies…
…and salute the butterflies on the buddleia.
The wind was coming from the north east so instead of heading south as usual and then having to face the wind coming home, I headed north out of the town.
The trouble with starting in this direction is that there is a steep hill almost as soon as you leave the town. I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills with my tin knee but I adopted a very low gear and eased up the hill so gently that my knee did’t even notice.
It was a good day for a pedal as the wind was light and even when it was in my face, it didn’t make me cry. The hills were looking good with bracken and grasses making a patchwork of greens and browns.
I had to stop to take my favourite view, The Gates of Eden. It really was that green today.
I was cycling up the Esk towards its source and this is the peaceful view of the valley at Bentpath.
You can see that the farmers have been busy getting silage cut and bagged.
The Black Esk and the White Esk join forces about ten miles north of Langholm and this is the bridge over the Black Esk just before the junction.
I crossed the bridge and followed the White Esk for the rest of my outward journey, stopping in this delightful wood beside the King Pool for my first snack of the day.
The valley of the White Esk is a perfect example of the ‘sunlit uplands’ on a day like today…
It may not be so welcoming in the winter though.
I pedalled past the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery without taking a picture (which took a lot of restraint) but was stopped in my tracks a little further on by a beautiful rose and some impressive hips in a bush beside a bridge.
The bridge looked interesting so I followed a steep path down to the river and was most alarmed when I heard an almighty splash as I got near to the water. What had fallen in, I wondered.
It turned out that nothing had fallen in, but a large family of goosanders had been disturbed by my arrival and had taken off from under the bridge in a great hurry. I caught a glimpse of them as they disappeared downstream.
Not a great picture but it was just to record that ten or eleven goosanders taking flight can sound like a boulder falling into a river.
The bridge itself was worth a look.
Although it looked like a traditional stone bridge, the arch had been strengthened by concrete. This was doubtless to withstand the battering it gets from the many timber wagons which roll over it. I am not entirely sure but I think the stream is Garwaldwater.
I pushed on, climbing gently but steadily until I could see the start of the White Esk where the Glendearg Burn comes down from the hills to join another little stream and turns in to the Esk.
When I got to my turning point, the regional boundary between Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders….
…I could hardly recognise it as the timber farmers had been hard at work here and cut down all the trees that used to mark the border. It looks rather nondescript now.
Nevertheless at 1100 feet above sea level, it seemed like a good spot to rest and munch an egg roll before rolling down the 22 miles back to Langholm. I say ‘rolling back’ but in spite of losing 850 feet overall, there is a never ending amount of undulation on the way so it was still hard work. As the route back was exactly the same as the route out, I have not illustrated it.
I was extremely pleased to find that my knee stood up well to this hilly ride and might try to do some more adventurous rides if time and weather permit.
When I got home, I mowed the middle and front lawns.
When i say that I mowed them, of course it was the wonderful Webb Witch which did the work…
…I just walked along behind it saying encouraging things. They don’t seem to sell push mowers like this any more.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy sowing some field beans for green manure in the now empty potato bed and we took time out to watch the many flights of bees and butterflies on the buddleia and Michaelmas daisies. I actually saw a bee push a small tortoiseshell off a daisy flower. The butterfly came back sharply and knocked the bee off in turn.
The same three varieties that I had seen in the morning were still about ….
…but they were joined by a couple of beautiful painted ladies in the afternoon.
One posed for me on a daisy.
The garden was full of insects.
I finished my camera tour with an Icelandic poppy.
Then we uprooted the gooseberry bush as part of the vegetable garden remodelling. We are going to try to do a little work on this scheme every day that the weather allows so that the work doesn’t overwhelm us.
We were spoiled in the evening with the highlights of both the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Britain bicycle races to watch.
The flying bird of the day is another sparrow. Birds do keep their heads still when they are flying.