Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She went to see a 70 year old friend abseiling down Wells Cathedral to raise £700 for the charity Sosafrica. I can only say that it takes all sorts and rather her than me..
We had a dry day today with occasional sunshine. This was very welcome after some wet and gloomy days but it would have been even more welcome if there hadn’t been a stiff and chilly breeze blowing.
I have been feeling a bit tired lately so it took me some time to get organised and make use of the good weather but I finally got out on my bike and pedalled up the hill to the Moorland Feeders.
I am told that the little wood where the hide and feeders are situated is going to be cut down as the larch trees are suffering from disease. This will be a great pity as many people have come to the hide and enjoyed watching the birds. Today, I saw a handsome work of art leaning against the hide but only about ten birds so it wasn’t the best day to be a bird watcher.
There are many pylons passing along our valley and there is a great amount of maintenance work going on at the moment. Just near the bird hide, a new road has been made across the fields so that workmen can get to the pylons there.
As there are hundreds of pylons, there is a lot of work going on all up and down the valley. It is interesting to see that something which we largely take for granted is being looked after on our behalf. Co-incidentally, I read an article today saying that there are going to be big precautionary power cuts in northern California because their pylon infrastructure has not been maintained well enough to withstand strong winds.
The ride up the hill to the bird hide had gone well enough to encourage me to pedal on to Canonbie before turning for home.
I passed a couple of glowing trees.
The Cross Keys Hotel in Canonbie is an old coaching inn and looks very much the same today as it did a hundred years ago. I didn’t stop for refreshment or a change of horses though…
…but headed down the old main road to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass, battling into the breeze.
I decided that the wind might be helpful enough on the way back for me to take the road past Glenzierfoot and Fauldie farms. In days gone by Dropscone and I used to cycle along this road on many a morning before having coffee at Wauchope Cottage. I had forgotten how steadily uphill it was though, and even with a generally helpful breeze, I found it was a lot harder work now than it was then.
The sun went in too and it was a bit bleak pedalling over the hill, past leafless trees…
…until I got to a point, nearly at the top of the hill. The little green structure houses some water board equipment and looking at the signpost, I realised that this literally was a half way house. I love it when a figure of speech comes to life.
The final four miles, downhill and with the stiff breeze now straight behind me, soon made me forget the toil of the uphill section and I got home after 22 miles, tired but happy.
I had a late lunch and went out to look at the garden.
The holly tree perch was host to two starlings today, working in close harmony.
There were 15 more starlings sitting on the power line.
When the sun came out, Rosy Cheeks and Princess Margareta looked wonderful…
…and when the sun went in, nerines and sunflowers provided quite of cheerful colour anyway.
This is the most colourful bed in the garden at the moment, with nerines, calendula, nicotiana and some crocosmia peeping over the hedge behind.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to get her hair cut and I had a final look round the garden….
…while picking up walnuts which the breeze had dislodged from the tree.
I spotted a robin in the lilac tree…
…and some slightly worn but still pretty flowers…
…before going in for a shave and a shower.
I needed the shave and shower as I had an appointment with the doctor to get the results of a recent blood test. Rather to my surprise, it turned out that I was perfectly well in every way. Even my cholesterol, which had been concerning the doctor a bit, had mysteriously fallen to very satisfactory levels. The downside is that there is now no excuse for feeling tired and I will have to pull myself together. Ah well, you can’t have everything.
When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was in the mood to collect some more bracken for the vegetable beds so we drove up to the bracken mine, and while she wielded her shears, I had another look at the fungus in the wood.
I wondered if it would still be there or if it would disappear as quickly as it had come.
It was still there.
In great quantities and many different varieties.
It is mostly in in one short section of the wood…
…though I did see this lone toadstool as I walked further along.
When we got back, Mrs Tootlepedal laid the bracken on two beds and we had a walk round the garden, enjoying the bright phlox…
…and picking up more walnuts…
…before we went inside.
In a break with precedent, Scotland played really really well today in a rugby match in the world cup in Japan and we are now in a situation in which either a passing tropical storm or a gallant but not quite good enough win in the last match will return us to normality.
The flying bird of the day is a jackdaw heading for the power line and a rest.