Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is on the Isle of Arran. Unlike me, he saw a squirrel at breakfast time.
Our spell of good weather continued with a pleasantly warm and often sunny day. At the moment we are getting some sunny days without it getting too hot for comfort and the only thing lacking to make things perfect is a few overnight showers to save the need for watering the vegetables.
I had time before going to sing in church to have a quick walk round the garden. It was worth it.
Perhaps the biggest and most flamboyant flower in the garden at the moment is in the vegetable patch but the courgette (bottom left in the panel above) looks quite at home.
We have got some very nice white foxgloves on the go among all the colour.
The hostas are covered with flowers, They are doing well this year.
Our church organist has been elected cornet so he has been very busy attending common ridings in neighbouring towns lately, but he found time to come and play for us today and it was good to have him at the organ.
After church, there was time for another garden wander and some dead heading. I noticed the last of our lupins…
..and took a general view of the borders on the front lawn.
The front lawn is much better than it was, but it is still a bit patchy. I did think about photoshopping the brown patches out but restrained myself.
Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys a bright red perlagonium which she rescued from a ‘past its best’ tray at a garden centre last year. It has repaid her care. I like it too, but it is so bright that it frightens the camera.
I went inside to have coffee and had a look at the birds.
There is a lot of blackbird activity in the garden and this looks like a growing youngster.
A siskin looked as though it was being distracted by an arriving sparrow from the threat from another siskin behind it.
Later on, two siskins got very up close and personal.
After lunch, we went off for a cycle ride.
During the ‘sit and stitch’ session at the producers’ market yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal had been reminded by one of her embroidering friends that members of the Waterbeck village hall committee serve cream teas every Sunday afternoon in July. Waterbeck is ten miles away from Langholm so a ten mile bike ride seemed a good way to work up an appetite and the ten miles back seemed like a good way to work off the calories acquired.
We went at a leisurely pace and kept an eye out for orchids. Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some on the way out and some more on the way back…
…and in the end, she saw so many that she stopped pointing them out.
As well as wild flowers, we saw animals pondering on life…
…and a busy sand martins’ nesting site…
…though my pocket camera couldn’t capture any of the sand martins which were flitting in and out of the nest holes.
The verges have not been mown recently and are very lush with waving grasses.
We encountered a small stream of old cars on a group outing but I only managed to get my camera out of my pocket by the time that they had almost all passed us. This was the last in the queue (with a modern car behind it).
We arrived safely at the hall and enjoyed an excellent cup of tea, a cream and strawberry scone and a delightful plate of cakes as well. I would have shown you the scones but they had all mysteriously disappeared in no time at all.
There was a light breeze in our faces on the way home and the hills are steeper going towards Langholm than on the way out, so we didn’t rush back in spite of being well fuelled with scones and cake. We had time to stop and look at more flowers.
The vetch and the yellow bedstraw were very striking…
…but the more subdued meadowsweet and two active red soldier beetles also provided photo opportunities.
The most surprising stop of the trip was to photograph a hare on the top of Callister. It thought that the best way of hiding from me was to stand very still in full view.
More animals should adopt this scheme.
We made a judicious pause half way up the steepest hill to admire the view.
Mrs Tootlepedal did the trip on her shopping bike. It is the one that has been recently serviced and now has a fully functioning ‘granny gear’ on it. The hills gave it a good test and it passed well.
An evening meal consisting of a fry-up of liver, bacon, egg and mushroom rounded off a very satisfactory day and we sat down to watch a recording of the team time trial stage of the Tour de France after we had had one last walk round the garden.
The evening light was delightful.
Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that one of the many Iceland poppies which spring up in the garden had developed some rather fancy petals.
I liked the steely gaze of the delphiniums.
According to the forecast, we have one more good day to go before the weather changes and it starts to rain for several days, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to cycle a few miles and have had so many pretty flowers to look at during this past week.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch heading up to the feeder.