Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who visited a Book Cafe but found that reading one of their books might be tricky. He tells me that he didn’t bolt his coffee and cake though.
This morning couldn’t have offered a greater contrast to yesterday’s summer weather. The clouds were clamped down on the hills, the town was engulfed by gloom and there was a persistent drizzle. The drizzle did fizzle out though and I was able to walk up to the town after breakfast to do some archive group and camera club business.
I had hoped to have a cup of coffee with Dropscone when I got back, but he had a golfing engagement so I went out to check the garden.
It was warm enough, but the results of the drizzle could be seen hanging about on dahlias….
…and in a hundred neat pockets along the front hedge.
I had several goes at capturing the beauty of the water filled webs…
…and this was my favourite as I thought that it caught their jewelled nature best.
Since it wasn’t a gardening moment, I went in and made half a dozen pots of plum jam, using early plums which we had picked that were not suitable to eat yet. Our jam thermometer is a bit like the jam maker himself, old and unreliable, and I may have overcooked the jam a bit, but I had a test helping on some new bread in the evening and it wasn’t too bad. We are researching digital jam thermometers and if any reader has had a good experience with one, we would be pleased to learn about it.
After the jam making was finished, I went out into the garden and was happy to find that the clouds had lifted and the rain had cleared away altogether.
I had a walk round to admire the late colour.
…and noted that sometimes, one plant gets overtaken by another as these two clematis flowers, peeking out through alien foliage, show.
Elsewhere, clematis has a clear run.
I made some soup for lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal headed off to collect embroidery exhibits, the work of her local group, which have been on display in Hawick. I went back out into the garden where the sun was now shining and found myself ducking to avoid being mowed down by hordes of butterflies and sparrows which were circling the garden.
Although it was pleasantly warm in the sun, it was not as hot as yesterday and the butterflies all had their wings wide open.
Once again, there were far more peacocks about than any other sort…
…though the whites came a close second.
The large family of blackbirds are still around at various stages of development…
…and they and the resident starlings and sparrows were joined by a tuneful thrush today.
There were so many butterflies about that I had to persuade them to shift over to give me a bit of room on the bench to sit….
…and enjoy a small plum snack.
It had dried up enough to let me mow the middle lawn and then I got my bike out and pedalled round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit. It was a good day for a cycle ride…
…with the country looking at its most benign.
Farmers had been busy cutting grass in every corner of their fields.
All new deciduous trees seem to be planted in plastic tubes these days and this view as I climbed the hill over the Kerr seems to show that it is a good idea, with a flourishing little forest well under way.
As I came back home along the Esk valley, there was more evidence of grass cutting to be seen.
I would have liked to have had time to have gone a bit further but there was the front lawn to cut and my flute pupil Luke to welcome.
I did find time when i got home to watch a blackbird in the rowan tree. It was eyeing up the berries and bending to check on them, but the big question was, would it pose for the ‘money shot’?
Mrs Tootlepedal arrived safely back from Hawick, and while my flute pupil Luke and I practised, she made a delicious cauliflower cheese, garnished with beans and courgettes from the garden for tea. We ate it with a side dish of beetroot which our friend Nancy had given us and i had cooked earlier. She has grown so much beetroot on her allotment this year that she can hardly face eating any more.
We rounded off the day by watching the highlights of the Vuelta, the cycling tour of Spain. It took our minds off the political situation.
The flying bird of the day is a bee visiting one of the last big poppies.