Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She is visiting the Netherlands for singing purposes, and saw this fine selection of bridges crossing the river Waal at Nijmegen through the tinted windows of her coach. The Waal is a distributary* of the Rhine.
We had a fine day here today. Indeed, we are promised a week of fine weather. This will be very welcome after our recent very changeable conditions. The temperature is due to rise steadily until Sunday when it will start to rain again.
A bit of warmth will be very welcome as it was definitely felt autumnal as I cycled about the town on various errands after breakfast. I almost felt as though I should have been wearing gloves. However, it soon warmed up and Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough from her cold to have a wander round the garden and do some light work.
I did some dead heading and clearing up of fallen plums and, of course, looked around as I did so.
After a very slow start, the fuchsias in the garden are beginning to make a better effort…
…and together with the second flowering of the red astrantia….
…they are bringing some late colour to the garden.
An Icelandic poppy and a cosmos were doing a grand job of providing for insects.
The most striking thing about the garden though was not the flowers, but the butterflies on them. There were red admirals…
on buddleia and sedum…
…and peacocks on both blue…
…and red buddleia.
They were joined by the usual collection of white butterflies too.
Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a very curious white butterfly with odd yellow wings fluttering about. It was so unusual that we tracked it carefully as it flitted from plant to plant. Finally, it rested long enough to be caught on camera and it turned out to be not one butterfly but two butterflies engaged in the business of producing more butterflies.
We politely left them to it and went off to a admire a lone small tortoiseshell completing our butterfly collection for the day.
I went back indoors and spent some time getting things ready for the first camera club meeting of the season, testing the projector and making sure that the laptop that we use wasn’t suddenly going to demand an update at an inconvenient time.
After lunch, I was finally ready to go for a cycle ride. The wind was supposed to be quite light but turned out to be quite brisk and gusty at times so I had a battle over the first eleven miles to get to the top of a hill on this little used road at Kennedy’s Corner.
From then on though, it was almost all downhill with good views over the Solway to the Lake District Hills 25 miles to the south
…and looking back I could see Burnswark Hill just behind me where forts have guarded the route north from iron age and then Roman times.
To the west, I could just make out Criffel on the far bank of the Nith Estuary, 20 miles away.
It is an airy spot and I enjoyed the swoop down the hill to Chapelknowe, with the now helpful wind giving me an extra push.
Some time ago, I had been sent a guest picture of some Korean pine cones at Half Morton church and I remembered to have a look for them as I passed the churchyard today. There are none so blind as those who will not see and I was quite impressed that I had managed to cycle within a few yards of these wonderful trees…
… many, many times without ever noticing them especially or the astonishing crop of cones right under my nose.
The fact that the church lies at the top of a small hill and I am always slightly puffed when I get there might explain it.
While I was there today, I also noted the the stone steps laid into the wall which enabled people to approach the church without opening the gate and letting the minister’s sheep, which grazed the grave yard, out onto the road.
I stopped for a drink of water just before the final little hill on my route and can tell you that there is a stone wall under this jungle of ferns.
I got home after 27 miles in time to have a cup of tea and a slice of bead with plum jam followed by a shower, before my flute pupil Luke arrived. Our hard work on improving our breathing is beginning to pay off and we are progressing steadily.
When Luke left, I enjoyed an excellent evening meal cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal and then went off to set up for the camera club meeting.
We had rather a thin attendance and I would have been disappointed except for the fact that the members who came produced such an interesting selection of images that the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile.
The meeting was short though and we didn’t need a half time break for tea and biscuits. This left me with an unopened packet of bourbon biscuits and a temptation….into which I have happily fallen while writing this post. I don’t know how many calories my cycle ride used up but I am perfectly sure that they have all been replaced now.
The flying bird(s) of the day are a small bunch of swallows. They were sitting on a wire as I passed on my bicycle and I stopped, meaning to take picture showing swallows getting ready to depart when they suddenly departed.
* A distributary is a river which, instead of joining like a tributary, has split from the main river as it enters the delta at an estuary.