Twice bitten

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who captured this raindrop in his vegetable garden on his phone.

Our hot weather continued, although the thermometer level dropped a little and it even rained at midday. But with the temperature at 75°F and the humidity at 90% at its maximum, it didn’t feel any fresher at all.

I hadn’t slept very well and it took even longer than usual to get going after breakfast and I only just made it in time to join Mrs Tootlepedal in a WhatsApp call with Matilda and her father. Matilda was in fine form and read us no less than three stories before we started playing some games on an app called Caribu.We are really missing visiting them in real life.

By the time that we had finished, a light rain was driving our neighbours Liz and Margaret indoors after their coffee morning. However, the rain proved so light that Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to go out and walk round the garden without actually getting wet.

A very smart new poppy has arrived…

…and I was very surprised to find another one growing inside the greenhouse.

In the veg garden we are getting very near to picking the blackcurrants and we did thin out enough beetroots…

…to have some on the side with an egg salad for our lunch.

I wish that WordPress provided a facility for transmitting smells so that I could convey the full beauty of our Philadelphus.

Its good looks are only half the story.

When it comes to good looks, the roses are still doing well.

I found a small corner of the hydrangea which shows what the rest of the shrub should look like.

And Mrs Tootlepedal found a tiny green thingy on a thistle.

Some research tells me that it might be a Dagbertus, but I don’t know what sort.

I know that this is the tip of my favourite lupin (and if you look closely, you will see a tiny fly visiting)…

…and that this is the first nasturtium of the year, hidden away among the leaves.

As I went back into the house, I noticed a lot of white clover growing in the drive. You could regard this as an annoying weed or a thing of beauty.

Sandy has a lot of clover in his lawn. He is taking the beauty line.

It was still raining after lunch so I sawed up some pruned branches of lilac and fuchsia to add to our log pile and then went to look at the birds.

A sparrowhawk had the same idea as me and nabbed a siskin which had unwisely stayed on the feeder when all the other birds had made their excuses and left. the hawk swooped in far too quickly for my shutter finger. Rather to my surprise, I didn’t have to wait too long before the birds came back to the sunflower seeds.

A siskin left before it got a kicking from a goldfinch…

…but a green finch was not going to be moved so easily and hung on tight.

The rain passed over without any heavy showers or thunderstorms. We were lucky, as our neighbour Kenny, who had come back from Dumfries in the course of his work, told me that he had passed through some very heavy rain indeed on his way.

We considered a walk but it was very humid and there seemed to be a good possibility of midgies, so we abandoned the idea, and I went for a cycle ride on the shopping bike instead.

You always hope to outrun any biting insects when cycling but I foolishly stopped to take a picture of a roadside orchid (not far from some ragged robin)…

…and was promptly bitten on the back of both legs by horseflies while I stood there.

For readers who don’t know them, these insects, known locally as clegs, are little savages and give you a nasty bite which often swells up and gets painfully itchy. Luckily, we have a stock of good anti-histamine ointment, and a quick application as soon as I got home got the swellings down. I am blaming my sister Susan for this mishap as I took the orchid picture because she said that she liked orchids.

It was so humid and warm that cycling along was a bit like having a bath but I enjoyed it all the same and stopped once or twice more on a shorter than usual run to Canonbie.

I like the staying power of this tree. It might be down but it is far from out….though when I think about it, it is in fact both down and out.

I didn’t see another orchid but I did see a lot of vetch.

I got back in time for the sibling Zoom. Mrs Tootlepedal, who has an official Zoom meeting for the community buy out group to organise next week, is going to host tomorrow’s meeting as a practice.

After the meeting, I followed my recent method of adding an evening ride to my afternoon outing on the shopping bike and once again, it was a lovely evening for a bike ride…

…though the wind was a lot brisker than it had been in the afternoon and my five miles out were hard work. The five miles home went by in literally half the time of the outward journey.

The ten miles to Callister and back brought my total for the week on the shopping bike to 100 miles and my total for the month on both bikes to 400 miles. This was much better than I had expected when the gear change broke at the start of the week. Mustn’t grumble.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked a really tasty dish of liver and onions while I was out cycling, and that rounded off a day which had been more enjoyable all round than the forecast had indicated that it might be.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, concentrating on making a good landing.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “Twice bitten

  1. We are all too familiar with horseflies! One old treatment from the bush was to smear goose or bear fat around the openings of your clothing to prevent the flies from getting in and biting you. A good reason for you to remove a few of those pestilent Canada Geese, Tom!

  2. Clegs, urghh. I remember being much bitten by them when I was on a pony-trekking holiday in Perthshire in my teens. Now that us a very long time ago, but I’ll never forget those evil beasties.

  3. I totally agree with you regarding the scent of the Mock Orange. It is exquisite. In the evening the humid air should heighten it’s scent.

  4. I like the new red poppy. It has a lot going on.
    We have deer flies here that sound like your horseflies. Of course we also have horseflies but I’d rather be bitten by them than the deer flies. And the orchid looks like it might have been worth a bite or two.
    We call the Philadelphus mock orange because of its wonderful citrus like fragrance. I used to have one and its house filling scent was heavenly in summer. That scent paired with the scent of Oriental lilies was amazing.

  5. Although you are all incredibly tech savvy, it will be wonderful when you can have your Friday Matilda days again. Im missing them so it must be horrendous for you. Good luck to Mrs T for hosting her first Zoom meeting; hooray for the chance to practice on a kind audience…maybe a little less kind if you blame them for the horsefly incident!

  6. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, but especially loved the roadside orchid and its pleasing patterns. I am sorry you were attacked by horseflies getting the photo. I have been bitten by them before, not in a long time, but still remember that they bite like they are drilling for oil. It hurts to think about it. 🙂

  7. Identifying insects.
    Have got the app “Picture insects”?
    While it is not free, it is a helpful accompaniment.
    As is “Picture this”, an equivalent for plants. Although I suspect that Mrs Tootlepedal obviates the need for that app.

  8. more than clegs – which are a real pita – I abhor those gnats that come buzzing by night and rob you of the shallow sleep you are able to get due to the heat (20°C here at night and ten to fourteen more by day)

  9. I winced when I read that you’d had two bites from horseflies…very painful- hope they didn’t itch and hurt too much. Love the poppy and roses photos especially those roses with all the different petal formations. I’m sure Matilda will be looking forward to seeing you both as much as you want to see her….thank goodness for WhatsApp!

  10. Great to be back and catching up on my favourite blog, I know all about horse flies! I always seem to get bitten, perhaps it is still a bit early in the season yet, because I haven’t been struck yet. That damned itching is no joke, you have my sympathy!! Cheers.

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