Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s trip to Sweden and shows the Stockholm’s Gröna Lund amusement park as seen from the water. With my head for heights, there would be little amusement there for me.
We had another fine and sunny day today with light winds, just perfect for cycling. The day had been provided by those amusing weather gods as they knew perfectly well that I had arranged to take my good bike into the bike shop for its annual service this morning. I could hear them chuckling as I drove down the road to drop the bike off.
However, I had other things to do in the absence of cycling and having put the bike in for its service, I drove further south and enjoyed an informative and useful singing lesson from Mary, the now ex-musical director of our Langholm choir as she has retired from the post. She is an excellent teacher and if I keep going, I may even become a singer. I live in hope.
I got home about lunch time and would have gone to the Buccleuch Centre for lunch with Mrs Tootlepedal if we hadn’t remembered that it is shut on a Monday. Instead we brought an egg roll from our corner shop and lunched modestly at home.
After lunch, I suggested that Mrs Tootlepedal might enjoy a ten mile cycle ride using the newly repaired Tarras road and was delighted when she agreed. We set off for a gentle excursion with wild flowers in mind.
It is an undulating route with plenty of slow sections were there is time to scan the verges…
The hawkweed was very prolific at one point and as it was on the longest of the hills, I was happy to stop and take a picture while Mrs Tootlepedal headed ever upwards.
I caught up with her in time to catch her enjoying the smooth surface on the newly repaired road…
..and she rolled on down the hill and took a moment to admire the view from the bridge at the bottom.
This was the view that she was admiring.
As we went up out of the valley on the other side of the bridge, we were going slowly enough to note tightly wound thistle buds, cheerful daisies, baleful horsetail and a fine grass, possibly Yorkshire Fog.
And it was here that we saw the best treat of the day, a lone orchid.
When we got to Claygate, we headed on down the hill….
…and did a little gentle off road cycling along the track beside the Byre Burn.
Normally it is illegal for a man with a camera to pass the Fairy Loup waterfall, which is beside this track, without stopping to take a picture, but the leaves on the trees are so lush at the moment that I could hear the waterfall but I couldn’t see it at all today.
We got down to the Esk at Hollows and took the old A7 bike route home. We had passed many wild geraniums on our way and I took this picture to represent them all.
Before we set out, I had asked Mrs Tootlepedal to keep a special eye out for ragged robin as I thought it was about the right time to see this pretty plant, and she duly spotted a clump near Irvine House.
I was keeping my special eye out for yellow rattle and not far from the ragged robin, I was rewarded with a sighting.
I looked it up when I got home and can tell you that Rhinanthus minor, the yellow rattle, little yellow rattle, hayrattle or cockscomb, is a flowering plant in the genus Rhinanthus in the family Orobanchaceae, native to Europe, northern North America, and Western Asia. I thought that you might like to know that. There is obviously a lot of it about.
Nearby, a clump of vetch was playing host to a large number of bees.
My final picture from the outing was this set of developing larch cones….
…taken just before we joined the main road for the last couple of miles home when we were too busy thinking about passing cars to worry about wild flowers.
Luckily from the point of view of taking pictures of flowers in the verges and not getting too hot while cycling, the sun had retired behind some handy clouds for most of our trip, but it was out and shining again when we got home. As a result, after I had had a cup of tea, i went out into the garden and scarified the front lawn.
I was rather dashed to find that there were three full wheelbarrows of moss to be cleared when the scarifier had finished its work. I had hoped that I was winning in the battle against the moss, but it is more like a stalemate at the moment.
Then my flute pupil Luke came and we practised a simple arrangement of a Scott Joplin tune which I had acquired from the internet at a modest price. It is a wonderful world where I can think that I might like to play a piece by Joplin, look on the internet, find a piece, buy it, print it out and be playing it within five minutes of having had the idea.
After Luke went, I had a walk round the garden in the evening sun and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s French rose…
…and a glowing Icelandic poppy (the dead header needs to work harder)….
…and the argyranthemums which Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.
A new clematis has come out near the pond.
Then it was time for tea, a second helping of yesterday’s slow cooked beef stew.
Since it was still a lovely evening after tea, I improved the shining hour by mowing the middle lawn. I am definitely winning the battle against the moss there.
In all this activity, I didn’t have any time to spend watching the birds, so there is no flying bird of the day today. A flower of the day appears in its place, a case of going from the sublime sparrow to the ranunculus.