Today’s unusual guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen. He
is currently in Melbourne. Last night he attended an opera performance in the Melbourne Arts Centre – the blue-lit building on the left of his picture. He took the shot while walking back to his hotel after the performance. The shot takes in the Yarra River, and the central city area.
We woke to a grey and drizzly morning and darkness fell on a grey and drizzly evening. In between, it was grey and drizzly.
We were not discouraged though and spent most of the morning in the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work and I helped out when I could.
There is no doubt that the garden is past its best, but there is still a lot of colour to be found. This fine plant was bought as low growing but it must like it here as it has got very tall.
The verbena behind the bench is rather sparse with well spread out flower heads on spindly stalks so it doesn’t offer much to a photographer as a whole plant, but each head is very attractive.
And I managed to find another dahlia that hasn’t been nibbled to death.
This poppy is the reddest flower in the garden and I was pleased to see that it had a little friend in the damp conditions.
The delicate honeysuckle on the fence has survived the heavy showers very well…
…and the perennial wallflower is living up to its name and providing an endless steam of flowers on the end of ever lengthening stalks.
Mrs Tootlepedal recently bought a new phlox and has found a home for it. It looks quite happy there.
A variety of colours is available in the bed beside the front lawn.
I checked on the dam just in case, but it was still in a very calm mood.
While Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed hedges, I trimmed the second box ball at the far end of the front lawn. In a perfect world, both balls would be the same size and shape but this was the best that I could do.
As it happens, the slight imperfection doesn’t matter too much as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to savagely cut them both back later in the year. They will be reduced to short and stubby twigs, but if the ones at the other end of the lawn are anything to go by, they will soon start growing again.
These will need clipping quite soon.
I took a picture of the perennial nasturtium that grows on our yew….
…which was just as well as the yew was next in line for clipping and the nasturtium got short shrift.
The yew is not yet quite in the shape that we would like it to be but considering that it too got a savage clip a couple of years ago and looked like this….
…it hasn’t done too badly.
There is a clump of poppies beside the bridge over the pond and they looked very dainty and fragile today…
…but in fact, they are very resilient and are holding up well.
We dug up some more potatoes and found some that were so large that it was obvious that baked potatoes were just the thing to have for our lunch.
After lunch, Sandy rang up to say that his new electric bike had been delivered. In spite of the light drizzle, he was keen to give it a go, so not long afterwards he appeared at our house…
…and obligingly posed for a picture before we set off. Because the weather wasn’t very welcoming, we agreed that a three mile jaunt up the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse would be a good test run and off we went.
My worst fears were realised and as we went up the first hill on leaving the town, Sandy sailed up it serenely and had to wait for some time until I came puffing up to join him. It is gently uphill to Wauchope Schoolhouse, and pedal as hard as I could, Sandy rolled away from me every time we hit one of the shallow slopes.
Considering that he is not currently able to walk any distance and he hasn’t cycled for quite a long time, it is obvious that an electric bike is a brilliant solution to getting out and about and taking as much as exercise as he wants while he is doing it.
In fact, he enjoyed the outing so much that when we got the Schoolhouse, he suggested going up a couple more hills to the top of Callister. He gave me a good start and cruised past me on the lower slopes of Callister. He kindly waited for me at the top.
Now I was in my element as his bike is limited to about 15 mph while using power assistance and I had gravity and a gentle wind to help my legs for the six mile return journey. Going back down to the town, I had to wait for him a couple of times. Honour was satisfied.
We had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when we got back and then Sandy left to see how well his bike would get him up the steep hill back to his house.
I settled down to put another parish magazine onto the Langholm Archive Group’s website and then had a last look round the garden.
Mrs Tootlepedal has a very fine mint growing beside the greenhouse.
Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a very tasty lamb and lentil dal for our tea and that rounded off a day which had been much more enjoyable than the weather.
There is no flying bird today but to take its place, here is Sandy, flying up the Galaside on his way home, as his new bike (and quite a lot of pedalling) whisked him up the hill.