Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my brother Andrew. He is a great walker and recently walked with his walking group through a wood. The substantial size of the trees can be gauged by noting the size of the walkers who can just be seen at the bottom of the frame.
I had another poor night’s sleep and it was raining again when we got up so I was doubly happy to have a quiet morning in. For want of anything better to do, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping in the car, but it had stopped raining by the time that Dropscone arrived to brighten my morning coffee break with conversation and the traditional Friday treacle scones.
He told me that there are signs of toadstools appearing on the golf course. I will have to go up and investigate.
In the meantime, I went out into the garden after coffee to see what I could find there..
The temperatures, both day and night, are remaining very constant at the moment so flowers are quite happy to keep flowering.
This calendula was the brightest star this morning.
There are no feeders out at the moment but there is no shortage of birds in the garden.
The starlings love the top branch of the holly tree and take it in turns to perch there. The rowan tree is popular too, in spite of the fact that all the berries were eaten long ago. The sparrows peck busily at the branches so there must be insects to be found.
When the sun comes out, the sparrow families like to rest on the felt roof of our neighbour’s sheds, though the youngsters find the slope a little challenging.
Mrs Tootlepedal got back in time for lunch and scattered a few crumbs from our bread tray on the lawn. This immediately attracted a gang of jackdaws, but most unusually they were joined by a black headed gull as they strutted round the crumbs today.
We very rarely see a gull in the garden.
It rained lightly over lunch but soon cleared up and as it was a calm day, I got my bicycle out and went for a pedal.
My bike camera is old and tired and it found it hard to pick out the red haws against the brown background of the hillside along the Wauchope road, but there were plenty of haws about…
…even though some of the hawthorns were almost totally bare. It has been a very uneven year for the hawthorns as they were all well covered in blossom in the spring.
When I got to a point where the was route choice, I considered the weather. The rain clouds were behind as I looked back towards Langholm….
…and a safe distance away as I looked north…
…so, as it looked potentially sunny to the south,…
…I headed that way and went round my Canonbie route.
The wind was very light and for once I didn’t have to start a ride by battling up hill and into the wind so I enjoyed myself and kept pedalling as fast as I could for as long as I could without stopping.
In the end, a monkey puzzle tree at Canonbie looked so inviting that I stopped…
…and I stopped again a few hundred yards later to check on the autumn colour beside the Esk. I fear that it is going to be a disappointing season as the colour is just not developing and trees seem to be going straight to brown on the whole.
There was more colour in a garden on the other side of the road.
While the sun was out, which was most of the time, it was warm and pleasant, but in shady spots when the sun went in and the roads were still damp, it felt quite autumnal.
I like the way that the roadside vegetation is slowly reclaiming the old main road here where very few cars use it. It won’t take too long until it is only wide enough for a cyclist.
The sun came out again and I propped the bike up against a fence and walked down to the river bank to enjoy the view of Broomholm Island.
It was a delightful place to spend a few contemplative moments.
When I got back to the road, I took a picture of the mixed broad-leaved and conifer planting that the road builders put in when the built the new road…
…and pedalled home as fast as I could.
That is not very fast these days but the near windless conditions let me get round the twenty miles at over 14 mph, a heady speed for me and nearly seven minutes faster than my last effort on Wednesday. I would ask for more windless days but our electricity supplier uses a lot of wind generated power so I had better just put up with the breeze when it comes and keep my head down.
One of the things that Mrs Tootlepedal bought this morning was a supply of builders’ sand and while I was out cycling, she cleaned and refreshed her cold frame and we put the sand into it to make a clean base when I got back.
While we were out in the garden I picked a couple of the Charles Ross apples…
…and we ate them baked and stuffed with sultanas and brown sugar for afters at our evening meal.
I had another look round and was pleased to find a new daisy out, together with a flourishing Sweet William, some yew berries and a very out of season foxglove.
But once again, the star of the afternoon floral display was Crown Princess Margareta.
Whenever we are out in the garden, we try to pick up more walnuts. They are falling from the tree in a steady stream and Mrs Tootlepedal is making a jolly good effort to eat them all. They are mostly in good condition this year.
According to the Norwegian weather forecasters, the present spell of reasonably warm but changeable weather now seems set to extend to the end of the month, so be warned that there may be a lot of flowers pictures still to come in future posts.
I don’t suppose that I will be able to find many more gulls to be the flying bird of the day though.