Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. A friend, a fellow allotmenteer, brought her round some dahlias from Annie’s plot. They are doing a lot better than ours are.
We had another unsettled and unsettling day. It is difficult to have a plan of action when the weather (and the forecast) is so changeable. In the forecast yesterday morning, we had been promised a calm and sunny day today so I was looking for a good cycle ride, staring early.
By the time that I got up today, there was no sign of sun and the forecast was now promising showers in the morning and a sunny afternoon. I settled down to coffee and the crossword, thinking of an early lunch and an afternoon pedal.
There was rain.
Having finished the coffee and the crossword, I ventured out into the garden.
There were no butterflies to be seen but we were not short of other insects.
I saw a hoverfly vising an Icelandic poppy
…and a bee well into a poppy…
,,,while another hoverfly had caused a small pollen storm.
Another bee took a more refined approach to a geranium.
Not every small creature was so welcome though. Our turnips have taken a bit of a bashing.
Mrs Tootlepedal hasn’t planted as many cosmos as usual because the plants have tended to suffer from disease in recent years, but there she has some and they are just coming out.
Although the bird feeders are not out at present, there are still plenty of birds about, particularly starlings…
I looked at the forecast just before noon. The sunny afternoon had disappeared and rain showers were back in. I did put my cycling clothes on but cycling was once again postponed and we were busy out in the garden, looking at some ominous clouds, when a pair of strangers appeared at the front gate.
Were we the owners of Wauchope Cottage, they asked. We confessed that we were and the man said that he had come especially to see the house as his name was Wauchope too and he had often seen pictures of our garden when he researched Wauchope on Google.
We invited him and his partner Cassandra in to tour the garden in real life. They turned out to come from New Orleans and were in Scotland to find as many Wauchope connections as they could. They had been to a Wauchope family mausoleum in an Edinburgh churchyard and now they had come to visit the mighty Wauchope Water and Wauchopedale in all its glory.
After their garden tour, they sat our bench for a moment’s rest before continuing their adventure.
When they left, I took a picture of the work that Mrs Tootlepedal, in the guise of Attila the Gardener, had been doing in the garden when the visitors came. The age of the salvias is ended and they are no more.
However, I shredded them all and they are now serving a useful purpose as either garden mulch or an addition to the compost bin.
As the weather continued to look gloomy, I went back indoors and did some work on the computer until finally a good forecast and some fine weather actually coincided and I went out for a cycle ride.
Nothing is perfect though, and a stiff breeze made cycling into it more of a duty than a pleasure so I cut my intended distance down and settled for a comfortable 20 miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.
In spite of the wind, it was warm enough to make being out and about enjoyable, and as I pedalled along, the clouds were being blown away and the sun shone for the whole of my trip.
The River Esk drains well and there was little sign of the recent rain as I looked over the bridge at The Hollows.
I stopped when I got to the old A7 just before getting back to Langholm and enjoyed the view across the valley.
Beside the road, an umbellifer was playing host to a crowd of insects. I can count seven but there may be more.
The amiable sunshine made even a very ordinary dock look rather gorgeous…
…and I was able to find some refreshment before getting back on my bike again.
The blackberries were delicious.
When I arrived back, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy cutting down potentillas at the back of the house along the dam while i had been away. After the recent flood had put water through the ventilators under our floor, she thought that clearing away the vegetation in front of the ventilators would allow more flow of air which could only be a good thing.
This provided me with an opportunity to do a lot more shredding and more beds were mulched and the compost bin was once again enhanced.
I just had time to some black and white photography of nicotiana..
…and our strikingly dark pansies…
…before going in to cook baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce for our tea.
In the evening, we were visited by Mairi, the camera club member whose pictures I had printed. She had framed them, and she brought them back so that they could be part of our next camera club exhibition. She stayed on for a while to chat to Mrs Tootlepedal and we soon had the world put to rights.
The flying bird of the day is a gull which I caught when it was passing over the garden near midday.