Today’s guest picture is another from Bruce’s stay in Northumberland and shows a colourful view from the bridge over the River Breamish which appeared in a previous post.
The strong winds of yesterday continued overnight and were still blowing this morning so I was happy to stay in and welcome Dropscone for a cup of coffee though I had time to go out into the garden and see what hadn’t been blown over first.
Dropscone arrived with a story to tell. Thanks to an accident when he was piloting a golf buggy while he was refereeing at a big golf event on the east coast last week, he had had to have an involuntary visit to hospital over the weekend. He was interested to discover that he was not the only person in his ward to have come off worse in a contest with a golf buggy as another patient had also lost an argument with one. Dangerous things these golf buggies.
Luckily for me, this had in no way diminished his ability to turn out tasty scones and as he had had to drink very indifferent coffee during his stay in hospital, we were both pleased to see each other. He was in very cheery form but still has to go back for a check up tomorrow to see that he hasn’t suffered any lasting harm.
Just as we finished our coffee, an ace reporter from our local paper appeared to ask us questions about the little white electric thingy as the paper is doing a feature on ‘green’ issues.
When she had left, I walked round the garden again.
The early lupins are nearly at their peak
…while others are just coming out.
In the vegetable garden the chives thrive…
…and the peas progress behind their anti sparrow fortifications.
The wind and the rain have taken a toll on the azaleas and there are many more petals lying in heaps on the ground than on the bushes.
I went in to make soup for lunch and watch the birds. The soup kept me busy but there was very little bird action. The artificial tree was home to three hopeful young sparrows…
…who were waiting for father to come back with some food…
…but both adult and children got fed up and flew off and no other birds came to take their place.
After lunch, I decided that my need for a bike ride was greater than my dislike of pedalling in 30 mph winds so I got my bike out and went for ride. I was helped in this decision by the appearance of some sun, so at least it was reasonably warm even if it was very hard work pedalling into the brisk breeze.
The sun brought out the colours of the red campion and wild geraniums in the verge as I cycled up the hill out of town.
…and everything was cheerfully green under blue skies.
I skulked about in the shelter of the Wauchope valley and only went four miles before turning back to get a whoosh home with the strong wind behind me. I was so encouraged by the pleasure of downwind cycling that I went back up the road and gave myself a little diversion to enjoy the views.
The local estate has been busy selling land to forestry companies so that there is a danger that all our hills may be covered by blanket forests like the one in this view but this particular farm has been given a temporary reprieve.
I cycled a little further up the road on my second lap but as I started to climb up the hill at Callister, I found myself being blown dangerously about by the strong wind so I abandoned thoughts of going to the top of the hill and turned for home after five miles.
Once more, I experienced the joy of downhill, downwind cycling. Pedalling along a flat stretch at 25 miles an hour makes an old man feel young again, at least for a moment or two until he has to clutch nervously at the brakes as a sharp corner comes up.
I did stop to take a picture of one of my favourite views, not least because it is all downhill to home from here and on this occasion, wafted by a favouring gale, the three and a bit miles back to Langholm took me ten minutes…
…not including the brief stop for a final picture of a very green corner.
When I got back to Langholm I was seized with decimal madness and cycled once round the New Town to bring my distance up to a neat 20 miles, a very reasonable distance for such a windy day in my view.
Since the sun was still shining, I took the opportunity to mow the middle lawn and then give it a neat edge with the strimmer. If it hadn’t been so windy, I might have sat down on the new bench and admired my handiwork but instead I went in and hoped to see some birds.
Once again, there weren’t many to watch. It is hard to say whether this was because of the strong winds or because the jackdaws have frightened them away.
A lone redpoll did appear and after perching anxiously on the sunflower stalk…
…it spent a little time on the seed feeder..
…but it was the only small bird that I saw.
I just had time for another look at the garden, where I saw these clematis seed heads…
…and a quizzical blackbird…
…before my flute pupil Luke came.
We had another good session and it is good to see steady progress being made.
When he left, I sieved a little compost and mowed the drying green before we had our tea.
In the absence of any opportunity to take a flying bird of the day picture, the quizzical blackbird kindly consented to have its photograph taken to act as standing bird of the day.