Feeling the heat

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia who visited the very impressive flight of locks at Caen Hill on the Kennet and Avon canal.

Caen Hill Locks

We had another fine and sunny day today, with the temperatures well up into the mid twenties (80F) so it was quite pleasant to go into the cool of the church to sing with the choir in the morning.  The service was led a Langholm man who has led a remarkable life both in Britain and America.  He gave an interesting address and chose excellent hymns, so I enjoyed the whole thing.

When  we got home, the garden was awash with butterflies.  We could count about forty on a buddleia at one point but curiously, they all sat and sipped with their wings tightly closed as you can see in the shot below.

four butterflies

What was most surprising, as we are used to seeing the butterflies with their wings spread out, was the unanimity with which all the butterflies behaved.  I couldn’t get a decent open wing shot at all.  It doesn’t matter so much for the painted ladies who look quite nice with the wing shut or open….

painted lady wings shut

…but the other butterflies are very dull when closed.  Luckily, there were other insects to watch, like this moth on the red buddleia…

moth on buddleia

…and the mint was covered with small flies of a colourful nature.

flies on mint 1

I wish that I had a steadier hand to do these little charmers justice.

flies on mint 2

There was a good variety.

flies on mint 3

I didn’t do a lot of gardening, just some quiet dead heading and wandering around looking at sunny flowers.

sunflower heart

It was just too hot to do much and like this dahlia, I often went in to get a bit of shade.

secret dahlia

The dead heading is worthwhile though and if you dead head the Icelandic poppies, they keep coming for the whole summer and beyond…

icelandic poppy in sun

…and the calendula repay a bit of attention too.

bright calendula

There are still some flowers to come and I liked this low hanging spray of fuchsia showing promise…

fuchis hanging about

…and the sedum is warming up too.

sedum coming

Late in the afternoon, when the sun was getting lower in the sky, I finally got out on my bicycle for a short ride.

I was very pleased to see a metaphor come to life as I passed a farmer making hay while the sun shone.  (In fact he was making silage but I shall ignore that.)

making hay Bloch

I like the way that this bull, in a field covered with grass, chooses to stand in a muddy patch.  It is a creature of habit, I suppose.

bull at wauchope SH

I cycled up to the far end of Callister and when I stopped and turned, I recorded the new road surface which makes cycling so much more of a pleasure than bumping along worn and potholed roads.

new surface on callister road

I had a friend with me as I cycled back.

shadowy cyclist

When I got to Langholm, I took the road along the river bank.  Birds were standing on either two legs or one leg as the mood took them.

gull and mallard by Esk

I clocked up a modest 17 miles but as it took me over 300 miles for the month with a few days still in hand, I wasn’t unhappy….and I was quite hot enough as it was.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gardened sparingly through the day but she had attacked a patch of wild growth and brought another metaphor to life as she had firmly grasped the nettle.  In fact, quite a lot of nettles.

dead nettles

She also cooked a delicious meal of pasta alla norma for our tea.

We were able to watch the totally unexpected highlights of a dramatic cricket test match  in the evening and this rounded off a pleasantly warm and gentle day.   Looking at the forecast, this might well have been the last day of summer.

I spent quite a lot of it wrestling with the intractable prize crossword and in the end I had to ring up my sister Mary for help.  She was very helpful and between us we have got down to the last clue.  It will have to wait.

I did find a single peacock butterfly kind enough to open its wings and pose for a moment…

peacock butterlfy on buddleia tip

…and the flying bird of the day, a young starling,  is ruminating on life among the rowan berries before taking to the air again.

young starling in rowan

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Feeling the heat

  1. I enjoyed seeing all the different flies you discovered in your garden today. With regard to the butterflies wings being shut, they use their wings to regulate their temperature to absorb or deflect heat. Yours were quite warm enough and wished to present as little surface area as possible to the sun; they only open their wings fully to warm up.

    1. Than you, Clare. I have never seen that behaviour so universal before. It was very hot by our standards and as we are not usually so warm when the butterflies are about, that would explain it.

  2. I thought the shots of the flies were quite good. They aren’t easy subjects.
    I’ve heard that cows will stand in mud to cool their hooves, but I don’t know how true it is.
    I saw several buddleia in a local park today and there wasn’t a single insect on any of them even though there were butterflies flying about, so yours must be especially enticing.

    1. That is an interesting idea about the mud. It ought to be true, even if it isn’t.
      Perhaps your park had more interesting plants than the buddleia to attract the butterflies. They are certainly the chief attraction in our garden though we do see occasional butterflies on other flowers.

  3. What a metaphorically lovely day. I am interested in Clare’s comment about the closed wings of the butterflies too.

    1. I stopped following it on my phone because every time I looked, they had lost another wicket. I checked in again just as they scored the winning runs.

  4. As a dedicated crossword puzzler myself I can feel with you for unsolvable clues. To improve my English I also do puzzles in your language (not always successful)

    1. That is impressive indeed. The Guardian bank holiday special that we were trying was very complicated but we almost got there in the end. Still one to do but we are both baffled.

  5. Butterflies are few and far between in these parts I am afraid and greatly missed. I should be seeing them in droves as I commute back and forth the canal towpath. Thanks for another enjoyable post. Cheers

    1. After a slow start, we have got clouds of them, especially today when the garden was swirling with them. I hope that you got some good cycling in when the weather was good in July.

  6. Orange flowers, iridescent flies and all those butterflies- a very colourful garden indeed!Like the shadow cast by that pretty fuchsia but the shadow of that cyclist needs watching!

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