Today’s guest picture comes from Sandy. His blue tit family have fledged and left the nest box. This was the last one to go.
Today saw the beginning of a change in our weather. If the forecasts are to be believed, we are going to lose about 10°C in temperature over the next day or two, but gain some very welcome rain. We will miss the warm sunshine but we will be happy to stop watering the garden for a few days.
It was just the start of the change though today as the temperature only dropped a couple of degrees and the sky clouded over. It politely let us have our street coffee morning with added sunshine before covering the sun up for the rest of the day.
To tell the truth, we were pleased with the temperature drop as we have been finding the past few days a little too hot to handle and we were able to be more active in the garden as a result.
I mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green after breakfast and the crossword but I kept an eye out for flowers too. The orange hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca), sometimes known as fox and cubs, is developing well.
And other flowers are coming out to join the show.
The panel shows a new Sweet William, Lilian Austin opening out, an orange potentilla and a rather tatty anemone which hasn’t enjoyed the dry weather very much at all.
I went in to make coffee and spent a moment watching the birds.
There were a lot of sparrows on the feeder!
Beacause I saw that the demand was high, I went out and filled the feeder. This brought goldfinches into the action…
…and caused some regrettable behaviour when a young greenfinch tried to kick a sparrow off its perch.
The sparrow was outraged but unmoved and the young greenfinch moved on, hoping to catch an older greenfinch by surprise.
It’s behind you!
While we were drinking our coffee, we couldn’t help noticing the oriental poppies. They are going over in grand style. With their petals open, they are about the size of soup plates now.
When we went back into the garden, I got my macro lens out and had a peer about. The bees have exhausted the cotoneaster and this one was back on the good old reliable dicentra again.
I looked closely at musk…
…noticed that a peony has gone to seed….
…and took a wider view of an astrantia and two roses.
Then I mowed and edged the middle lawn. If we get the promised rain over the next few days, it should start to look quite respectable.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal had cycled up to the town to get a new battery for her watch (one person in the shop at a time and social distancing observed) and on the way home, she had stopped at our travelling butcher’s van and acquired two chicken and leek pies whihc we ate for our lunch. They were very reasonably priced and very tasty too.
After lunch, I decided to go for a cycle ride. If I had stuck to my lockdown schedule, I should have gone for a walk today, but it seemed a pity not to go cycling on a day with light winds when the forecast for tomorrow has got strong winds in it.
The sun was well hidden behind the clouds and I thought that it was cool enough to go up the Wauchope road without getting stuck in sticky tar. This turned out to be correct and I was rewarded by a stunning display of the cow parsley along the road at the Bloch.
Even on a dull day, this is the sort of thing that lifts the heart.
And I always like the view from the top of the hill here across the Solway to the Lake District…
…so I was very happy with my route choice.
There was a very occasional drop of rain right from the start of the ride, but the drops were so occasional that they didn’t stop me taking a longer route than my usual Canonbie circuit. I visited Glenzier and Chapelknowe before turning down into England and arriving at the main road home. I stopped for a drink and a date at Silverhill Wood beside a hedge with some rhododendron flowers poking out of it.
When I set off back to Langholm up the A7, I was pleased to find that the traffic is still pretty light but I still turned off and took the even quieter route through Canonbie village.
This gave me the chance to nod to a group of very contented cows who were have a rest under my favourite trees at Grainstonehead…
…and acknowledge the fact that it not just people that have been affected by the lockdown. Hollows Tower…..
…must be feeling a bit lonely having had no visitors for months.
I needed to cycle through the town and up to the High Mill Bridge and back to bring my trip up to thirty miles (a round thirty seems to be much more satisfying than a twenty and a half mile trip for some inexplicable reason). I got backhome in time for a cup of tea and a shower before our evening Zoom meeting with my siblings.
The drops of rain did increase in frequency during the ride but I felt no need to put my rain jacket on until I was almost home when it started to look like proper rain. Of course, as soon as I had my jacket on, it went back to drops every now and again.
It did rain a bit more seriously in the evening but t was still nowhere near enough to make a difference. Fingers are crossed from more rain overnight.
The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch.