Pushing the envelope

Today’s guest picture is a puzzle.  Is it the south of France? Is is a tropical Isle? No, it is sunny Wemyss turning up trumps yet again for the lens of our son Tony.

another wemyss view

We had a touch of frost in the very early morning but by the time that I got up the sky was as blue as the lithodora….


…and it stayed that way all day.

In spite of coming from the south west, the wind had a distinct nip in it as I walked round the garden after breakfast.

As long as I was in the sunshine though, it was a pleasure to be out enjoying Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers.


The tulips look delightful when they are backlit by the morning sun.

mroning poppy

And the sun must surely encourage the advent of the age of the azalea and alliums which is reluctant to to dawn while the mornings are so cold.

allium and azalea

To be fair to them, I looked back at previous years and found it is really a bit early to expect full blown alliums and the azaleas are often later too..

The very first honeysuckle flower is trying to creep out unobserved…

first honeysuckle

…while the clematis round the garage doors is secretly adding a flower or two every day.

growing clematis

The street socially distanced coffee morning convened at the usual time and as well as our Garibaldi biscuits, Liz provided a very tasty mixed fruit cake and the general consensus was that there wouldn’t be much call for a big lunch later on.

Because of the continuing lack of rain, there was a lot of watering to be done in the garden.  While the water was spraying,  I dead headed tulips and tore up a cardboard box to add to the compost in Bin A.

While I was there, I was very happy to note that professional pollinators were on the job in the espalier apple trees.

bees on apple blossom

The sun had encouraged an Icelandic poppy to give us a smile.

first icelandic poppy

I was encouraged to go indoors for an early lunch in order to make use of the fine day by going for a good cycle ride.  I foolishly glanced at the crossword and wasted time before I finally managed to get organised enough to actually go out on my bike.  (It was an enjoyable crossword.)

The cold wind of the morning had eased off a bit, but it was still noticeably chilly for such a lovely day.  This had the good effect of keeping me cool under a cloudless sky and the breeze wasn’t strong enough to make much of a difference to my speed.  I averaged 14 mph down to the coast over the only substantial uphill section of the ride and then I managed 14 mph on the much gentler return journey.  The joy of cycling when there isn’t a strong wind is indescribably great, if only because it is so rare.

It would have been hard to find a better day for a ride.  There is still very little traffic on the road.  I met a few but not many other cyclists and they were all going in the opposite direction to me so there was no call to try to keep up with people passing me or to get depressed when they shoot off into the distance.

The verges are perking up and I saw quite a lot of crosswort today.  By dint of putting my shadow over one example, I even got a half decent picture.


I never cease to be amazed by the design work that goes into building flowers.

We are not quite in full leaf yet as this study of clothed and naked trees staring at each other across the Kirkpatrick Fleming road shows.

bare and clothed trees

I was aiming to do 50 miles so I stopped every twelve and a half miles to rest my legs, drink some water and eat some guava jelly and a date.  At my first stop, I leaned my bike against a road sign and had a close look at the reflective surface.

road sig pattern

The signs are so bright these days that they constitute a dazzling hazard themselves for elderly night drivers.

The cow parsley is thriving and I just had to be careful not to take my eye of any potholes while I was admiring the flowers.

cow parsley and potholes

Sometimes, both verges joined in the fun.

cow parsley both sides

When it came to trees, these four near Eastriggs were my favourites of the day…

eastriggs trees

…but they were run close by this attractive newly planted avenue near Rockcliffe in Cumbria…

avenue at rockliffe

…and this specimen with an added gorse hedge at its foot near Whamtown.

leaning tree and gorse

I realised that I was going to miss the regular family Zoom meeting, so I stopped on the road below Canonbie School to check in for a moment and apologise.

When I looked around I could see some striking red campion beside the road….

red campion canonbie

…with a shady wild flower mixture nearby…

red campion and violets

…and a Pyrenean Valerian in flower on the opposite side of the road.

pyrenean valerian canonbie

So that turned out to be a good place to pause.

After that, I headed home for a much needed sit down, having covered 54 miles, my (just) longest ride of the year so far.

I sat out in the garden for a moment with Mrs Tootlepedal while our evening meal was cooking and we enjoyed the evening sun lighting up the tulips.

evening tulips

I was getting ready to sit down and write this post, regretting that I hadn’t got a flying bird of the day to finish it, when I noticed a very nearly full ‘flower’ moon out of a window.  It may not be a flying bird, but at least it is up in the sky.

moon may

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

41 thoughts on “Pushing the envelope

  1. Your four trees at Eastriggs make a superb picture,(one for the archives)👍
    You must have been in the right mood for cycling today clocking up 54 miles,excellent effort.
    As you say the light winds make a massive difference,greatly appreciated by cyclists,but not sailors I expect.

    1. I do like those trees at Eastriggs and I think that they may have appeared on the blog before. I was hoping for a longer ride but just couldn’t get myself going until the day warmed up.

  2. Never having heard of crosswort before, I looked it up, and found it is also known as smooth bedstraw – and that it belongs to the coffee family!

  3. I enjoyed all the photos from your day. Sun backlighting flowers gives them a whole new dimension for photography.

    It was a busy cloud day here, and cold, too. I saw several storm blow through the valley.

  4. I smiled at your reference to the “advent the age of the azalea …” and have enjoyed all the beautiful flowers and interesting trees you saw on your ride.

  5. “Zoom from the roadside”. The brief remark masks an extraordinary technology. In our early teaching days, high-tech meant black-and-white Gestetner and colour Banda copiers.

  6. As always, an interesting tour of both the garden, and the countryside around you. I noticed that bright moon last night, wonderful picture.

  7. Hi tootlepedal, Really lovely photos, I particularly enjoyed those of the trees. You say you only saw a few cyclists on your 50 miler, the story is far different down here in the Neath area. The B4242 old road between Neath and Glynneath has always been popular with the lycra brigade, but nowadays with the lockdown, I see 15 maybe 20 on the 10 mile trip. These days, as you know I only cycle halfway to my signal box, parking my Yaris in Neath, then taking the cyclepath/towpath to Port Talbot. Again loads of cyclists, but on mountain bikes, only interested in speed, when the path is for pedestrians as well. Can be quite dangerous on bends, and under the low over bridges on the canal, Why the need for speed I don’t understand, perhaps because I’ve always been a slow coach. Though I did have my moments yesterday on my homeward stretch. I decided to forego the towpath and took the road through the Neath part of my commute. My relief was late coming in so I wanted to get home asap. Well, I put my foot down, and unusually for me, I had quite a burst of energy. It helped that there was little traffic, and the traffic lights were favourable, so I flew back to the Yaris, and felt very pleased with myself. What’s more nobody passed me. That’s extremely unusual. Yesterday on my way in along the towpath, I passed a gent stood by a very large sit up and beg type bike, it was an electric bike. I cycled on and after a couple of miles he sailed past me, leisurely pedalling away, as I huffed and puffed into the headwind. I wander how his knees feel in the mornings going down the stairs? Her indoors is always telling me to get an electric bike, but I, currently, it may change, rather like the feeling of achievement I get at getting here and there under my own steam. By the way it is hard not to be somewhat downcast when one of those mamils pass, then I really wish I was on an electric bike lol. Sorry for bending your ear. Cheers

    1. Sorry, but it’s me again. I was off today, so I decided to install the Tannus insert armour in my back tyre, in the hope of stemming the tide of punctures I am suffering. I looked at a couple of videos on YouTube first, one fellow did it in 1 minute 40 seconds???? It took me well over an hour….phew. I think I’ll save the front installation until, dare I say it, I get another puncture…..doah! That’s torn it! Cheers.

      1. I can share your feelings about that. My hands are so feeble now that I can’t even attempt things like that so I give you great credit for getting the job done. I have very mixed feelings about cycling along canal towpaths. In theory, it should be brilliant but in practice I find it hard work because of the traffic and the feeling that I am going to fall in the canal at one of the bridges. Keep safe and don’t have a puncture!

      2. Have you ever thought of going tubeless.
        I have them on my mtb and punctures are a thing of the past.
        My road dt Swiss road bike wheels are tubeless ready but I would have to by tubeless specific tyres.
        After saying that the continental go 4 seasons clinchers I presently ride are brilliant and (touch wood) I haven’t had a single puncture in around 2k mls.
        When they eventually need replacing I will definitely go tubeless.

    2. I have definitely got an electric bike in mind for when I need one. There will be no false pride about that. I was passed by an old chap on one while toiling up a hill and at least he had the decency to mutter, “Sorry!” as he flew past.

  8. Another lovely cycle ride with all those great photos from the countryside. Love the cow parsley verges, the stand and avenue of trees and the final flying moon…thank you.

  9. Some usual humorous touches in your writing, with lots of dazzling alliteration; and getting crossword and crosswort into the same post was a stroke of genius 🙂

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