Today’s guest picture comes from another visit to Regents Park by my sister Mary. She would like to be playing tennis there, but that is not possible yet so she enjoys the flowers instead.
We had another unpromising morning and light drizzle put paid to a garden coffee meeting. Luckily a rather annoying crossword kept me busy indoors and I had to test out a new input page for the Archive Group’s newspaper index on its website. Our son Alistair has made the new page, designed to replace a Flash page which will not be supported after this year, and he has done a good job. As always, there were small bugs to be ironed out but when the data miners are able to get back to work, entering their data will be more pleasurable than before.
We did get out into the garden about noon and it was easy to see that it had been raining.
The rain had been light though, and no plants had suffered any damage.
Even the delicate ones seemed to be okay.
We have some white foxgloves coming to go with the more standard colours….
…but a bee stuck to its old fashioned tastes.
Luckily, it was wearing a head cam so we could see what had attracted it. “Follow the dotted line.”
We had more healthy soup for lunch and then I had a moment to watch the birds where I saw a matching sparrow on a stalk…
…before taking advantage of the better weather by going for a cycle ride. The day had got warmer as it went along and for the first time this week, it actually felt like summer.
There was still a northeast wind blowing, and though it wasn’t very strong, I wasn’t feeling very adventurous so I settled for a dull ride down main roads to Newtown on Hadrian’s Wall and back. When I say dull, I refer to the scenic value of the ride because I enjoy this flattish forty mile ride a lot as an exercise in steady pedalling. I realise that mathematical pedants, looking at the heading for this post, will have been saying to themselves that a ride can’t have four halves by definition, but this ride did.
There was the first half of the way out, slightly downhill with the wind across and behind, the second half of the way out, slightly uphill with the wind across and in my face, and then the return journey with the first half slightly downhill with the wind across and behind and the second half with the wind across and in my face. I make that four halves.
My turning point as usual on this ride was the bench at Newtown where my bicycle enjoyed the opportunity to have a little rest.
…and I took a short break before the second half of the second half on the way home in a lay-by beside a gentle curve in the River Esk.
I was much more concerned with cycling steadily than taking pictures today, though this view of daisies on the banking beside the Canonbie by-pass called out for a picture.
The wind was so evenly distributed that it took me one hour and twenty two minutes to get to Newtown and one hour and twenty three minutes to get back, very satisfactory.
I got home to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had been out collecting more horse manure for the garden while I was away, so once again, we had both had a good time.
The drizzle of the morning was a distant memory by this time, and it was a lovely summer day when I went for a walk round the garden before having my shower.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden is looking quite healthy in spite of the continuing depredations of the rotten sparrows.
We had had to put up more protective netting in the morning and to add insult to injury, Mrs Tootlepedal found an evil sparrow trapped inside the netting this afternoon and had to let it out.
I enjoyed a backlit lupin…
…and went inside.
I had put a wholemeal loaf into the breadmaker earlier in the day and it was ready to come out as I went in. It takes five hours to bake but the results are good…
…and we hope that it is better for us than plain white bread.
After a shower and a sibling zoom, I watched the birds for a moment. Goldfinches circled the feeder….
…while a rather part worn dunnock looked on from a hedge.
I left the birds to it and took another walk round the garden while Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking the tea. The early evening light was a treat.
And so was our evening meal. Mrs Tootlepedal had found a recipe for mince and custard in a cookbook provided by a community group in Lymington in the New Forest many years ago. It didn’t on the face of it sound very promising but if you think of it as a meat quiche without the irritating pastry, it makes more sense. We approached it with some trepidation but it turned out to be delicious, especially with a light fresh salad on the side. As a way of making some mince go a long way, it is brilliant.
The forecast holds out the prospect of a warm week ahead, with light winds and occasional rain so both the gardener and the cyclist are looking forward to the immediate future.
The only downside of the day was a failure to capture a good flying bird of the day but I do have a very nice anemone to take its place.