Today’s guest picture comes from one of my brother Andrew’s Heart Walking Group’s outings. They found themselves near Robin Hood’s Stride, a spectacular tor of gritstone rocks perched on a ridge in the Peak District. My brother thought that he might nip up to the top of it but was thwarted by its steepness and waved at the camera as he came down. He didn’t tell me who took the picture.
I started the day with a visit to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre with Mrs Tootlepedal. I bought fish, meat and honey but was thwarted in my desire to buy cheese as the cheese man was not present. I fear he may have deserted us. This is a tragedy as a good cheese is a hard to find locally.
Mrs Tootlepedal left me to do the purchasing and set up a table where she and several members of her embroiderers’ group sat and stitched and chatted to shoppers for several hours.
While they were busy, I mowed the front and middle lawns and, though I say it myself, I am quite pleased with the state of the middle lawn after some good weather and a lot of mowing.
Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased by the border on the right hand side of the lawn so we are two happy people when we take in this view of the garden.
The stachys is out and as furry as ever.
And a large ornamental clover is peeping out from underneath the big rose bush.
Among the new arrivals are thousands of flowers on a variegated euonymous.
Meanwhile new poppies keep popping up…
…and day lilies appear every day.
Sometimes we have too much of a good thing and the luxuriant tropaeolum is going to make it very hard to clip the yew underneath…
…and a profusion of plums is threatening to break branches on the plum tree. We have already thinned out many more than a hundred plums but there are still big bunches hanging on high branches which we cannot reach.
Roses are thriving and today I saw that lurking in the shade of other plants, the very first Special Grandma is just about to come out….
…while up above, the Rosa Complicata which has been magnificent this year is reaching the end of its run.
Other roses are still at their peak. The moss roses have loved the weather this year…
…and even though Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is not doing well where it is, Frau Dagmar Hastrup keeps trying to prove her wrong.
And the salvia sclarea Turkestanica continues to astound me every day. I am going to have to try to stop taking endless pictures of it but in the meantime, I took another today. I thought that this one looked like a baroque fountain in an Italian city.
I had planned an adventurous cycle ride but mowing the lawns and taking garden pictures left me feeling a little tired so I dawdled over a very tricky prize crossword and waited until Mrs Tootlepedal came home from her stitching fest to have lunch with her.
Then I got organised and went off for a rather dull, flat pedal down the main roads to Newtown on Hadrians Wall and back. The advantage of this ride is that it has generally good road surfaces and no significant hills, except for a very short one as you leave Langholm.
This means that on a day like today, when there is not much wind, I can just put my nose to the wheel and pedal along with a very steady rhythm, not looking out for views and wild flowers as I go.
I still stopped after every ten miles to stretch my legs as my joints are not at their best and this gave me the chance to note how low the river Esk was at Longtown where there were more rocks than river.
I stopped again after twenty miles when I got to my favourite bench at Newtown on Hadrian’s Wall.
To my horror, there were people sitting on it. However it turned out that they were two very affable Americans, now resident in Panama, who were ‘walking the wall’ and they kindly squashed up and made room for me to sit down too.
They had taken the wise step of summoning a taxi to take them to their overnight stop in Brampton which was off their direct route as they didn’t fancy being harassed by traffic on the narrow road down to the town.
When their taxi came, I set off for home. I stopped again at the thirty mile mark and had a look at this peaceful stretch of the Esk just above Longtown.
I noted from a nearby hedge, that it looks as though we should be in for a good display of haws shortly.
I made an unscheduled stop at the top of the little hill before Langholm partly to record the lushness of the wild flowers beside this section of the road…
…and partly to have a breather as I had pedalled as hard as I could to get up the hill.
As an exercise in steady pedalling, the ride was very successful and I was at an average of 15 mph at each of my ten mile stops, a much faster speed than I usually manage these days and I actually managed the return journey a whisker faster than the outward leg.
Luckily, Mrs Tootlepedal was watching a catch up recording of the first day of the Tour de France when I got home so that gave me a very good excuse to sit down quietly and not do anything energetic. These boys were doing 50 mph as they came towards the finish which put my modest efforts into perspective.
I took several quite brilliant pictures of flying birds today but unhappily they were all totally out of focus when I looked at the results so a static blue tit going nuts is the best that I can do for a flying bird of the day.