Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who knowing my taste for bridges, sent me this handsome example from the Kennet and Avon Canal at the Caen Hill locks.
We had a very pleasant day today, and when the sun shone, which it did quite a lot, it felt much like summer again.
My day started with an early visit to the physiotherapist for my long awaited appointment. It turned out to be very worthwhile and I left with some sound advice, a list of exercises and a referral to the podiatrist in the near future.
Just in case the exercises don’t work out as well as hoped, I also have another visit to the physio booked for next month, so I am well covered. The view is that my back is a cause for concern and is affecting a lot of the rest of me. This is not news as I have had a back problem since 1978 or thereabouts, but the exercises are aimed at strengthening things where they need to be strengthened and I am optimistic.
One of the really good bits of advice was to start walking again on a regular basis, making sure not to get ahead of myself by walking too far. As a result, after a chat with Mrs Tootlepedal and a cup of coffee, I armed myself with my walking poles and put the advice into action.
I started off by checking out the state of the sluice at Pool Corner.
A repair has been made which should keep all but the most exceptional floods at bay.
Old machinery is still in place though.
Walking along the road, I marvelled at how much growth has appeared on the top of a memorial in the Wauchope graveyard.
I was keeping an eye out for interest on my walk.
Although I complain about cutting the road verges, I was grateful to the person who had been along the path on Gaskells Walk with a strimmer as otherwise it would have been a soggy experience.
As it was, I was able to walk with confidence and look about as I went.
Fungus is beginning to appear and I was pleased to see a tiny oak sapling growing as they are quite unusual.
The rosebay willowherb is coming to an end and the recent heavy rains have knocked almost all the seed heads off, This little patch was an exception.
There was any amount of ferns to enjoy…
…and the recent wet weather has brought along the moss which had been discouraged by the previous dry spell.
The best wild flowers that I saw were in this mini forest of yellow.
When I got up to the Stubholm fields, I found a single sheep on its feet while all the rest were enjoying a lie down.
An oak tree had an insect, an acorn and some mildew all on the same set of branches.
I could find sloes and haws…
…and wild flowers both fierce and and gentle….
…but the most striking thing was this pattern, looking for all the world like a snake, but in fact turning out to be a fallen branch.
When I got back to the garden after my short but enjoyable walk, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work.
Since the forecast was for more showery days to come, and I was due to spend the afternoon sitting down in car and train as we went to visit Matilda, I took the opportunity to mow both the lawns and edged them too.
I also walked round the garden with my camera in hand.
I love a bit of symmetry.
These are the very last flowers on the salvias.
There were shades of purple on all sides…
…and it was very satisfying to see a painted lady butterfly back in the garden after a few days absence.
There are still plenty of peacocks about.
After lunch, we drove to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh. It was late as usual but on this occasion it was not only late but full to bursting as well, and we had to stand for the hour long journey to Edinburgh. Luckily we were on what must be the smoothest running train in the rail company’s fleet, so standing was not quite the trial it might have been if the train was rocking about.
Our natural good humour was perhaps slightly strained by the sight of four much younger people happily sitting in the seats reserved for the frail and elderly and ignoring us. It was a tribute to our youthful good looks of course, but the fact that they studiously avoided catching our eye at any time tells another story.
Our visit to Matilda went well. She had just spent her first morning at school and had survived very well, so well in fact that she beat me and Mrs Tootlepedal at Go Fish, and won the Pelmanism by miles. Needless to say, I was thoroughly beggared once again when we played Beggar my Neighbour.
Alistair provided us with another good evening meal, and as we had popped into a nearby supermarket on the way and stocked up on coffee and cheese, it was a very satisfactory visit all round. Then the train back home was on time, and there was wonderfully large and deep red moon on the horizon as we drove home, so it was a very satisfactory day all round. Definitely one that could be registered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.
The flying jackdaw of the day was resting on the park wall when I passed it.