Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin who was in California recently seeing his son and grandchildren when he visited the Capitola Pier.
We had another grey morning here with the occasional threat of drizzle which didn’t come to much. It was enough though to persuade me that coffee and a tricky crossword and some light shopping at our corner shop could fill up the time satisfactorily. The wind was light and I ought to have been out making the most of a reasonable cycling day but I didn’t feel guilty enough to do more than walk round the garden.
I was hoping to see blackbirds in the rowan tree again but they were too quick for me today and flew off as soon as they saw me coming.
I looked at a shy dahlia instead.
The last of the poppies are far from shy.
And once again, the red admirals were about. This one was resting on a sedum…
…and this one on a buddleia was showing off its goggle eyes and its antennae. The antennae look as though they have LEDs on them.
At noon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop and I finally got organised and took my bike out for a pedal.
We are being threatened with the arrival of the last gasp of Storm Dorian but the rain isn’t due until the evening and although the wind was expected to speed up during the afternoon, it was still going to be pretty reasonable. I planned a route which would take advantage of the strengthening wind to blow me back home.
These things don’t often work out well but today everything went to plan. I cycled westwards into a gentle breeze as the sun came out. On one of my refreshment pauses, I looked up to see a hefty crop of beech nuts on the branches above me.
My turning point came after 20 miles when I arrived at Browhouses on the Solway coast. I took a few minutes to eat half a banana and enjoy the views.
The tide was well out and although there were some sea birds about, they were well out of range of my cycling camera.
Looking westward, I could see the English shore across the shining levels of the Solway…
…and looking eastwards, I could see the estuary of the River Esk rather than any sea.
In the distance, I could see the wind turbines at Gretna…
..and at Longtown and unlike my last ride, this time the direction of the blades showed me that I would get my wish of windy support on my ride home.
I noticed that one of the few wild flowers to be seen was attracting attention…
…and then set off to do the twenty odd miles home.
I went back by a different route to my outward journey, missing out Gretna Green which I had passed through on my way out, but going through all the other places on this neatly painted signpost which is in England in the county of Cumbria.
It still carries the name of a county council which was abolished in 1974, the year in which we came to live in Langholm….
…and it is good to see that no-one thought it necessary to go to the expense of making new signposts when the old ones were in such good shape.
In the hedge beside the post were some bright rose hips.
At Englishtown, the farmer had been busy cutting grass and there were bales on every side as far as the eye could see.
Thanks to the favouring breeze, which had strengthened noticeably after I had turned for home, I did the first 20 miles down to the seaside (net elevation loss 250ft) in 1 hr 33 mins and the slightly longer return 22 mile journey to Langholm (net elevation gain 250ft) in 1 hr 27 minutes. This is the way that well planned bike rides for the elderly should always work out. To complete the picture, I should add that I took 23 minutes of rest and refreshment stops along the way.
A map and details of the ride can be found here by anyone interested.
Mrs Tootlepedal had had a very busy day and was working hard at some business arrangements when I got home. I left her to it and walked round the garden after I had had a cup of tea.
The ornamental strawberries are having a late burst and look very good at the moment.
Crown Princess Margareta is trying her best but will need a couple of kind days if she is to come to anything.
And the blue clematis at the front door continues to produce small but quite elegant flowers.
I picked some more plums and stewed some of them and ate them as a dessert with some ice cream after our evening meal. Garmin (which records my ride on a nifty bike computer) claims that I used 2289 calories on my ride so that should have put most of them back.
No flying bird of the day today but another of the many young blackbirds in the garden stands in for it.