Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. There are caves near his house in East Wemyss which have a rich history dating back to the Picts and some archaeologists are currently having a dig around to find out more.
It has been getting steadily warmer here, although nothing like the heatwaves in the USA and mainland Europe and although the morning was grey, it was quite warm enough to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to put on her wellies and do some heavy clearing of old plants from the dam behind our house.
I was so busy wheeling barrow loads of soggy stuff round to our compost bins that I forgot to take any pictures of the activity, though when were finishing, I did spot a duck swimming in the part of the dam that our neighbour had previously cleared on the other side of the bridge.
When that task was finished, we had a cup of coffee and then Mrs Tootlepedal set about other garden business while I took a few pictures.
The poppies had perked up after being battered by the wind yesterday…
…and I was pleased to find a lot of the taller flowers were still upstanding.
A hosta flower stuck out its tongue for me…
…and the St John’s Wort berries positively gleamed.
I was going to sit down on our new bench for a rest when I noticed that a verbena had sneaked though from behind the seat.
The privet is a hive of activity. Not only is it filling the garden with its scent, it has a continuous hum as you approach it, so full of bees is it. I managed to spot a few today (and a butterfly out of the corner of my eye).
The individual flowers are very fancy with their rolled back petals and they cover the ground below the branches like snow when they fall.
Above the privet, the walnut tree is full of nuts again this year. Whether the weather will be fine enough to ripen them is another question, but they are looking good at the moment.
I noted the first crocosmia in the garden…
…and then went in for lunch, having picked masses more sweet peas and some garden peas to add to our summer soup.
As Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out, we could just keep the soup pot going for quite a time by adding more fresh veg every day, but we probably won’t.
I noted a couple of greenfinches had come to join the crowds on the feeder…
..but once again, the chief seed eaters were siskins.
By the time that lunch was over, the wind had calmed down a lot and there was the promise of sun for the rest of the day. I was almost waylaid by a stage of the Tour de France but as it was a flat stage with all the excitement in the last twenty seconds and still some hours away, I pulled myself together and went off to do some pedalling myself.
I did have a choice, since it was such a pleasant day, of a more hilly scenic ride or a slightly more boring and flat ride. Luckily I chose the boring flat ride as it turned out that while my legs were very happy to co-operate while the going was easy, as soon as I hit a rise, they started to grumble tremendously.
There were no interesting views so I stopped occasionally if I saw something interesting in the verge…
…like this great burnet or sanguisorba officinalis. There is a lot of grass about and I had a bit of trouble in finding a burnet flower without some grass in front of it.
The grass and its many seeds may be part of the reason that my legs were a bit unhelpful as grass pollen doesn’t help my breathing.
Still, as my route was largely flat after the first eleven miles, I plodded on down into England where I saw just about the most silver silver birch that I have ever seen.
Still in England, I stopped beside the River Esk in Longtown to have a honey sandwich and admire the handsome bridge over the river.
After the recent rain, there was enough water in the river to to tempt a fisherman to put on his waders and have a go.
Thanks to adopting a very sensible speed, I managed to do fifty miles exactly before sinking into a chair in the kitchen and having a reviving cup of tea. At a bit over 20°C (70°F), and with the sun beating down, it was as hot as I can cope with these days so I was pleased to find that the house was quite cool.
When I had finished my tea, I went out into the garden in pursuit of butterflies. I had seen quite a lot of them on my ride, so I thought that there were bound to be some in the garden.
I was disappointed.
The fancy roses are trying to prove that Mrs Tootlepedal is wrong to think of replacing with them with simpler varieties…
…though these little red charmers which live very close to the ground would probably survive a cull anyway.
The astilbes were beautifully back lit.
I went in to enjoy a tasty evening meal, cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal, and then rather collapsed for the rest of the evening for some incalculable reason.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin. It must have been feeling the heat too as it needed a friend to blow strongly just to keep it in the air.