Today’s guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen. He came across this striking flower on a walk in Sydney. Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is a passion flower. I looked it up and it is a Passion Flower caerulea – Passiflora.
The original forecast for today had been for warm, calm and sunny weather but after some heavy overnight rain, the actual weather was warm, calm and wet. Meatloaf sings that, “Two out of three ain’t bad,” but that was small satisfaction to one who had been hoping for a cheerful pedal.
As I went along to the monthly producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre, I heard a passer by describe the day as ‘dreich’ and I thought that he had hit the nail on the head there.
I filled my (Canadian) shopping bag with venison, liver, fish and honey and cycled home, drying off the saddle of my slow bike before doing so.
Once home I was able to pass some time doing the prize crossword and watching the second half of a rugby game where the main tactic seemed to be to kick the ball up in the air and chase after it in the hope that the other side would make a mistake. In the end though two smart tries late in the game put a satisfactory gloss on South Africa’s well deserved win.
By the time that the game had ended and we had had a cup of coffee, the forecast had begun to look a little better and I walked round the garden noticing that we had still got colour from various sources. Because I like alliteration, I like to think of this as bloom, berry and bush.
I could have gone cycling there and then but the early gloom had knocked some of the enthusiasm out of me so I heated up some soup and had lunch instead. Then iIwas distracted by seeing six collared doves in a row along our power line. I didn’t have my six dove camera to hand so had to settle for two of them together and an individual portrait.
Down below, the feeders were busy and I was pleased to see a greenfinch…
…though a sparrow, waiting its turn on Mrs Tootlepedal’s artificial tree, seemed less pleased to see me peering at it.
The sun came properly out and lit up a dunnock…
…and a chaffinch…
…both scavenging for seed knocked out of the feeder by birds above.
Two sparrows on the plum tree tut tutted about wasteful eating habits.
I saw a blackbird on a garden chair getting ready for action…
…and taking the hint, I got my cycling gear on and set off up the Wauchope road, where the larches were being picked out by the sun.
A few days ago, I had seen the vehicle carrying the ingenious device which paints white lines down the middle of roads driving through the town and off up the Wauchope road. I hoped that this might be a sign that a very bad patch of potholed and rutted road eight miles away had been resurfaced.
Because I haven’t cycled that way for a long time as the surface has been so poor, I thought that it would be a good idea to check if this was the case.
I cycled over Callister hill and down the other side and found a transformation.
Where there had been ruts and potholes, now all was smooth and serene.
I stopped to admire the road and a tree which looks down on it from the hillside above…
..before pedalling on a mile or two, passing this ruined cottage…
…and arriving at Paddockhole Bridge, where I paused for a moment.
It was such a pleasant day by this time that I thought of crossing the bridge and taking the long way home but I had started too late and the days are getting shorter now so I turned and rather unadventurously cycled back the way I had come.
I was going to take a little diversion to Waterbeck on the way but the road was closed. I hope that this means that this road too will soon be resurfaced. I haven’t cycled along it since I fell off when I hit an unexpected icy patch on a water filled rut a couple of years ago.
Going over Callister from the west is a stiffer challenge than from the east and I am always happy to stop to admire the view up the side valley….
…so that I can have a breather before tackling the rest of the hill.
There was a nice tree on the other side of the road to admire while I was there.
The wind was very light and although it was in my face on the way home, I still managed to cover the last 6 mainly downhill miles back to Langholm at 17 mph without trying too hard. This made for a good finish to a most enjoyable outing.
I was welcomed home by a cheerful calendula. It may not last too long….
…as Mrs Tootlepedal is clearing the front beds and planting them with tulips for next year.
I did think of going for a short walk but the sun went behind a cloud and it got too dark to take pictures so I had a shower and practiced some hymns for church tomorrow instead.
We had fish from the producer’s market for our tea and then settled down to watch Strictly to round off a gently enjoyable day.
The flying bird of the day is a sparrow on its way to the feeder.