Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline from Southsea on the south coast. She attended a coffee morning in a well sheltered garden where a small group of carefully separated friends were able to meet and chat.
Our garden coffee gathering here was more open to the elements…
…but fortunately, kind temperatures and light winds made it very tolerable and once again Margaret and Liz went off with some plants from the garden which Mrs Tootlepedal was happy to spread around the neighbourhood.
It is apparent from the picture above that the grass was badly in need of cutting, so after the coffee had been drunk and the chat had been chatted, I mowed the lawn. Some spots looked in need of a little care so I scattered some buck-u-uppo on them and used the sprinkler to water the fertiliser in. I still have two weeks or so in my lawn care schedule to get the lawns looking as well kept as possible for the year.
I had time before coffee for a garden wander. I started among the veg where the beetroot caught my eye.
As beetroot is my favourite vegetable by far, I am happy to see that Mrs Tootlepedal had several rows of seedlings growing in various beds and at different stages of development. I foresee a continuing feast of beetroot.
In the flower beds, yellow/orange was today’s conspicuous colour…
…but white got a look in too, with new lupin, pink and philadelphus flowers coming on while the Veronica is getting ready to say goodbye.
Like Venetia, we have plenty of daisies on the go.
The discovery of the day was that there were several flowers out on the clematis beside the front door. They had escaped notice so far by lying more or less flat on the ground under the foliage. I got some string out and tied them up.
After I had mowed the lawn, I went straight in to have a coupe of slices of bread and marmalade for my lunch as I was anxious to make good use of a day of light wind by going for a decent pedal. I managed to waste quite a lot of time with some professional grade dithering but finally got going with a banana and a honey sandwich in my pannier just after one o’clock.
Although the forecast claimed that the day would get gloomier as it went on, in fact the day got brighter if anything and it turned out to be an excellent day for cycling. I chose an undemanding route and stopped from time to time to have a drink and a snack, and sometimes to just to enjoy the wild flowers.
This geranium was at my first stop.
…while across the road, some sheep were taking life easy.
My next stop was unscheduled but I couldn’t go past some lovely wild roses in a hedge without welcoming the first wild roses of summer.
Scenically, I had chosen a dull route and the old main roads, now overtaken by motorways, are not visually very exciting, so it was lucky that there were other things to see.
This display of buttercups in front of the lodge at Wyseby on the old A75 for a start.
And a little further on some hawkbit (possibly rough hawkbit but there are many hawkbits about).
And then, just before Kirpatrick Fleming, a positive meadow of daisies and red campion between the old and new roads.
I stopped at Gretna for a snack and a chat with two other cyclists who were taking a break before the last part of their ride. Gretna is still closed to the world so there was nothing to see there and I headed on down into England.
A mile or so south of Gretna, while on the new service road beside the M6, there was a good show of daisies, planted when the new motorway was built.
But they were nothing to what I saw next.
What light wind there was had been helping me so far, but when I got to the end of the daisies, I turned to start the journey home and wondered if it was going to be hard work.
I hadn’t needed to worry though as the wind was so light that it hardly made any difference and I was in flat country too and I was able to potter on at much the same speed, or even a little faster than I had been going before.
I like the back roads of North Cumbria, and when they look like this…
…and you meet kniphofia by the roadside like this…
…with fine trees in the fields like this…
…you can forgive the lack of hills and valley quite easily.
After cutting across country on the back roads, I took main roads back to Longtown and then towards Langholm. There was enough traffic after Longtown to persuade me to take the quieter route through Canonbie and along the old A7 rather than the more direct new road and I was rewarded with the view from the bridge at the Hollows….
…showing the Esk reduced to a trickle between the wooded banks.
And my final stop was to admire the first sightings for me this year of ragged robin and knapweed.
Owing to being rather casual in my route choice, I arrived back at Langholm having done 46 miles, but my legs were in a very cheerful mood, so I cycled through the town and out of the other side for two miles before getting home after fifty stress free and enjoyable miles.
As an added bonus, I got back in perfect time to enjoy a cup of tea and a Garibaldi biscuit while Mrs Tootlepedal and I Zoomed with my sisters. Then we finished the day off with hard boiled eggs with spinach and turnips from the garden followed by Scottish strawberries and cream.
As Mrs Tootlepedal had popped out to collect some horse manure while I was cycling, we both felt that we had had a good day.
With little time for bird watching, a nearly flying greenfinch was the best I could do for the flying bird of the day.
Those interested may click on the map of my cycle route for more details.