Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to the Taunton Flower show. They really know how to enjoy a good time there.
Unfortunately, Sandy’s new bike did not arrive on schedule so with nothing better to do, I set out on a solo ride, hoping that the good weather that had greeted the day would last.
There was plenty of evidence of the wet weather of the weekend to be seen as I left the town. Above the Auld Stane Bridge, trees were scattered casually around, high on the river bank…
…and a mile or two further along the road, I had to stop at a traffic light to get past this landslide.
We seem to have had the worst of the flooding though because after that the roads were dry and clear.
At least they were dry until I got caught in a rain shower which started at ten miles and lasted for the next three miles. I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t last long and was able to look back it from a sunny spot before I got too wet.
I had a good rain jacket with me and since I was wearing shorts and my legs are pretty waterproof, I was able to take a little rain without crying.
This was lucky, because after passing the ex nuclear power station at Chaplecross where the demolition continues at a snails pace (unsurprisingly)…
…I encountered another rain shower at twenty miles and this too lasted for three miles.
The rain had stopped by the time that I got to Powfoot, a little village on the shore of the Solway Firth, but another shower was hiding England from sight on the far shore.
The contrast couldn’t have been more clear; gloom in England and sunshine in Scotland.
Looking further down the firth, I could see another shower on our side but I decided to pedal on anyway.
There has been a lot of verge mowing so I didn’t see many wild flowers but I liked this one on the shore at Powfoot.
Since I had encountered rain at ten and twenty miles, I was fully expecting to meet some more at thirty miles but although I passed some large puddles in fields…
…the sun was still shining as I got to my turning point at the Brow Well, famous as a place where Robert Burns came to drink the waters shortly before his death.
I didn’t drink the waters but I did stop on the handy bench and ate an egg roll. I needed the sit down as I had been cycling into the noticeable wind for thirty miles by this time.
I had taken the back road out but took the inland road back. This involved crossing under the Annan to Dumfries railway a couple of times.
With the wind behind me and the sun shining, I whistled along the road through Annan pretty cheerfully. I stopped for a banana near Eastriggs, and some of my good cheer evaporated when I turned my head to the left and looked across the fields.
Still, the rain was on my left and the wind was coming from the right and behind so I reckoned that the clouds would be blown away safely.
However, I must have cycled too fast and the road must have changed direction a bit because when I got to Longtown, the heavens opened and in seconds the road was awash. As I was on the main road by this time, I wasn’t only getting rained on from above, but I was getting a good soaking from the passing traffic as well. I therefore decided to turn off and take the slightly longer but much quieter route through Canonbie, and in spite of having to pedal through a large puddle on my way, this was a good choice.
It became an even better choice when the next shower turned out to consist of hail stones which gave me such a good pinging that I was forced to take shelter under the trees at Byreburnfoot. I would have been very exposed on the main road.
I got going again when the hail turned to rain and rode the five miles home in a series of fitful showers which rather annoyingly stopped as soon as I got to Langholm.
My jacket stood up to the weather very well and I arrived home relatively dry and quite cheerful. Riding through the rain had been quite tiring though, so I was very glad of the cup of tea that Mrs Tootlepedal made for me.
I had a walk round the garden in the sunshine after my cuppa and enjoyed a fine sunflower in the back bed.
We both like the pure white flowers on this hosta.
There was quite racket of birds in the garden, most of it coming from starlings perched on our new electricity wires.
The loudest of them all though was a lone starling sitting on top of the holly tree. Perhaps it was complaining about the prickles.
I was standing on the lawn looking at the starlings when I was nudged out of the way by this blackbird hunting for worms.
I gave way gracefully and went in, passing a rare unnibbled dahlia on the way.
Because of the rain, my feet had got a bit cold and my legs had got a bit stiff so I retired for a hot bath before our evening meal. This was a feast of vegetarian sausages accompanied by peas, runner beans, carrots, courgette and new potatoes all from the garden.
The temperatures have dropped a lot now and there was distinctly autumnal feel about the morning and the garden is beginning to lose its summer glow.
One of the starlings on the wire rose to the occasion and is the flying bird of the day.
Curious readers may find out more about my very slow pedal by clicking on the map below.