Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia’s visit to the Caen Hill Locks. It looks very peaceful, but if you have to take your boat through all of the 29 locks on the staircase, it is very hard work.
The promised end of summer was deferred for another day and we had a beautiful morning, sunny, calm and warm. In days gone past, I would have been out on my bike like a shot on such a day as this, but times have changed and I was happy to do a little business, lounge around artistically and, of course, wander round the garden.
There were some pretty nasturtiums enjoying the sunshine by the back fence…
…I was very happy to find the red astrantia having a second go at flowering and joining the poppies and mallow.
The butterflies were back on the buddleia, and we had a full of house of red admiral, painted lady, small tortoiseshell….
…and a profusion of peacocks.
I am always impressed by how butterflies can cope with the loss of quite a lot of a wing.
Since the weather is due to change tomorrow, I thought that this might be a good moment to take another look at the garden from an upper window.
The front lawn:
The middle lawn: you can see the plum tree, laden with plums, on the left of the this picture.
And I looked across to show the hedge that runs along the road beside the garden.
I had to go to post a letter and on my way back, I took a shot of the garden as seen from the road by passers by, assuming that they are tall enough to look over the hedge of course.
I mowed the greenhouse grass so I didn’t waste the entire morning and then I took a look at a very late flower on the Lilian Austin rose…
…before going to have lunch. Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop so I ate by myself. Then, before she returned, I got out my bike and set off to see where it would carry me.
There was a warning of thunderstorms and heavy rain later on so I wasn’t going to go very far but for the moment, it was still a lovely day.
I stopped for a drink after ten miles and noted the rosebay willowherb….
…and the peaceful view of the rolling farmland that you meet when you leave our hills behind.
My legs were in reasonable form and turning over fairly sweetly but unfortunately, my bicycle was far from well and was making miserable groaning sounds. It has been grumbling a bit on recent trips but this was different so I decided to seek help and pedalled along this rather smartly mowed road down to Longtown….
…the home of Bikeseven, the bike shop that had sold me my bike. When I got there, the mechanic kindly came out to check the bike for me and diagnosed the cause of the grumbling. I have a belt drive rather than a conventional chain and for some reason it had got overtight and was niggling on the rear cog.
He took it in to the workshop and had a go at fixing the problem but it wasn’t an instant fix and he needed more time. (He was in the middle of servicing two more bikes so it was good of him to take any time out to help me.) I was pondering how to get home and by good fortune, the friend with whom I had had a political discussion under the trees in the rain last week was in the shop and he offered me a lift home.
I would have accepted this kind offer but the shop owner then offered me a courtesy bike so that I could complete my trip by pedal power…and have a bike to ride until mine was ready. This was an offer too good to turn down, so I thanked my debating friend and pedalled off on the borrowed bike.
The bike had flat handlebars and front suspension so it was easy enough to ride, though I had to get used to using derailleur gears again as my bike as a hub gear with one control and not four different levers. I was pedalling along happily enough when I passed a digital traffic sign warning of impending heavy rain. Just then, it started to drizzle. I hadn’t been able to transfer my pannier to the borrowed bike and I remembered rather too late that it had my rain jacket in it.
However, the drizzle didn’t get any worse and I could see blue sky beyond the Hollows Tower as I cycled past it….
…so I resisted the temptation to ring up Mrs Tootlepedal and ask for a rescue and cycled home. I got there quite dry as the drizzle soon stopped again.
The borrowed bike was very satisfactory….
….but it did make my joints very sensible of the comfort of my own bike and I hope it will not be too long until we are reunited.
Mike Tinker had dropped in for a cup of tea and when left and Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to a meeting, I made a ‘Greek style’ potato and tomato bake from my big book of potato recipes for our evening meal, and while it was cooking, I had a last walk round the garden. It had rained again while I was inside but the rain clouds had temporarily disappeared and some pleasant evening sunshine illuminated the flowers.
The sunshine had picked out the nasturtiums by the back fence in the morning and now, to even things up, it shone on the nasturtiums against the wall of the house in the evening.
I liked this little trio by the back door.
The threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms seems to have been lifted but cooler showery weather is on the way so in spite of the need to swap bikes, I was pleased to have got my 32 miles in today, especially as it took me over 2000 miles for the year. This is much less than I had planned to do at the beginning of the year, but quite a bit more than I feared I might be able to do when my feet started playing up, so I am quite content.
The flying birds of the day are two homing pigeons at their evening exercise.