A break with routine

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He tells us that Derby, where he lives, has been covered with helpful notices recently. This is a benchmark for social isolation.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that it was neither wet nor windy today. In fact, in the shelter of the garden when the sun was out, it was a perfect temperature in the opinion of the gardener.

I didn’t have much of an opinion about the temperature for gardening because after registering a new poppy…

…and some encouraging insect activity…

…I was unusually organised and got out on the shopping bike well before coffee time to see how strong the wind was.

It turned out to be quite brisk at times and I found that going up to the top of Callister into the wind was a hard way to start a ride, and I had doubts about whether this was all worth while. However, when I got over the top of the hill and turned a little more to the south, the wind was not such a bother, and when I stopped to admire the view after ten miles on what was a good day for cycling….

…I was in a much better mood.

I leaned on the bridge parapet and took a picture of some ragwort just below me.

Pedalling on down to the coast at Gretna, with the wind straight behind me for several miles, was a treat. I feared that I might have to pay for the treat when I turned for home, but luckily, except for one shortish section, the wind was more across than against, and I got back to Langholm with less effort than I had expected.

Although there were some big clouds about…

…they didn’t lead to any rain, and some useful hedges….

…provided much needed shelter from time to time.

Once again, I enjoyed the rolling view as I dropped down towards the Esk.

I had a final rest and refreshment stop after 3o miles and while I nibbled on a date and drank some water, I noticed some fresh looking ferns and an interesting collection including a red soldier beetle visiting the local umbellifers .

The shopping bike is quite hard work when it is a windy day so I didn’t have the energy to round off my distance neatly when I got back to Langholm. I happily settled for 34.3 miles rather than going for 35 for my outing.

I was more than ready for a late lunch but I had time for a quick look round before I went in. The roses caught my eye, with the rambler roses beginning to make a fine show against the fence…

…and other roses adding to the gaiety of the garden.

The lupins are nearly over but a spike or two here and there are still standing.

But the oddest thing that I saw was two butterflies flying about furiously as though tied to each other. I naturally thought that it might be mating habits but when they settled for a moment on a phlox, it appeared that they were two different sort of butterfly, a small tortoiseshell and a red admiral.

I don’t know what was going on there. They flew off, still whirling round each other, and disappeared.

After lunch, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden where she was busy doing more tidying up. I clipped another bit of the hedge and shredded the cuttings. We are just about half way along now. Mrs Tootlepedal picked almost the last of the blackcurrants, and then some raspberries which have just started to ripen.

By the time that this was done, I was quite ready to take up Mrs Tootlepedal’s offer of another cup of tea and the opportunity to watch the birds for a while.

While a goldfinch checked on me, a sparrow showed off its elegant feathers.

Generally, I thought that there was an air of “Upstairs, downstairs” about the feeder.

As usual the siskins were stirring up trouble, being rude to birds on the feeder…

…birds coming to the feeder…

…and each other.

I went back out into the garden to see if I could spot any more butterflies but there were none to be seen. I settled for a blackbird finding worms on the lawn…

…a new verbascum which has planted itself….

…and a bunch of alstroemeria leaning languidly against the plum tree.

I had just gone back in again when our neighbour Liz appeared to tell me that she had trapped an interesting beetle in her garden. I went across to look and found that it was interesting.

I think that it is a yellow and black longhorn beetle, but as always I am open to correction.

Then it was time for the sibling Zoom. It is all go in England. My two elder sisters went to church yesterday, my middle sister went to the opticians today, my youngest sister had coffee inside someone else’s house this morning and my brother bought a croissant in Greggs. I am grateful for our quiet life up here, as I don’t think that I could stand the pace of city living.

We ate the raspberries with cream for afters at our evening meal.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “A break with routine

  1. Like your ten mile view,and the the one down to the Esk. Looks like they’ve got all the hay in,and should get another cut this year.
    Good distance on the ‘shopping’ bike,when you get the faster bike back you’ll be flying 😉

  2. That is a beautiful new poppy. I especially love those flowers that seem like they come with their own light source. That yellow alstroemeria is a very striking golden yellow, too.

    I had a good chuckle at the “upstairs and downstairs” of the feeder. The birds were in fine form again today. 🙂

    You have our sun over there today. We have been in clouds all day, and may not see the sun at all. We’ll see what early evening brings.

  3. That’s a beautiful poppy. I hope it blooms for a long time.
    You got some fine shots of the insects. That black and yellow beetle is a beauty.
    You’re lucky to have that verbascum just volunteer itself in the garden. We’d call it a moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria.) They’re on the rare side here.

  4. Poppy, lupin and ragwort my favourite photos of flowers today but the rolling view of the countryside with those cotton wool clouds is one I could enjoy for a long time! Great beetle!

  5. The butterflies could have been fighting. They are fairly territorial and will try to discourage other butterflies from their patch. The beetle is a gorgeous example of a Four-banded Longhorn Beetle (Leptura quadrifasciata).

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