Mysterious things

Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbours Libbie and Irving. It shows their view of the rambler rose on the fence between us. Irving says he modestly takes the credit when visitors compliment him on his lovely rose.

There was rain during the night and the soil in the garden seemed very wet when we went out in the morning, but the scientific rain gauge showed that it had hardly rained at all. It was a bit of a mystery. I had got up more promptly than usual to put the wheelie bin out for collection. It turned out that I could have had a lie in as our bin, along with the others in our street, wasn’t emptied at all. The bin lorry was in the town so that was another mystery.

It was a rather gloomy morning and we didn’t meet for coffee in the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal was busy on community buy out business and I quite easily filled the morning by doing nothing much until I went out to look at the garden just before lunch.

It was damp out there but the flowers didn’t seem to mind.

The dahlia is still developing…

…and I spotted tiny insects visiting a melancholy thistle…

…and a calendula.

The privet is flowering freely…

…which means that the ground underneath it will soon be covered with these curious little flower heads. This one landed on the new bench and you can get an idea of its size by comparing it to the screw head nearby.

My phavourite phlox phlower showed remarkable surface tension in hanging on to raindrops even though it was pretty perpendicular.

I am much struck by the fancy new flowers that Mrs Tootlepedal bought at the garden centre on our recent visit. She has used some of them to give her something interesting to look at out of the kitchen window. I rate this one as ‘very interesting’.

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that the ox eye daisies that she grows tend to be too tall and floppy. She recently cut back a bunch after it had flowered (and flopped) and she was very pleased to see that a second flowering has appeared on a much shorter stalk.

I walked under the plum tree on my way into lunch, and while ducking my head to avoid a low branch, I reflected that I don’t have to go for a walk to see some interesting lichen.

After lunch, I watched the birds. A harassed sparrow was busy feeding two demanding youngsters.

A goldfinch stood up very straight for a portrait.

And I was happy to see a fully integrated selection of different birds at the feeder.

While Mrs Tootlepedal got ready to go out for a moorland buy out meeting, I got ready to go for a cycle ride. I wasn’t too surprised to find that it started to rain exactly at the moment that I first put foot to pedal as I am well accustomed to the weather gods’ little jokes. Having had their laugh, they relented, and I set off after a short pause in dry and reasonably warm conditions.

It was windy, not quite as windy as yesterday. Thanks to the late start, caused by bird watching and rain, I didn’t have a lot of time to to dawdle and my first stop was after six miles when I saw something interesting in the long grass. It turned out to be several Belted Galloway cattle.

My next stop was on the Canonbie bypass to admire an orchid. It is the only one with this darker colour that I see on the bypass and I have meant to stop to record it before, but usually I am past it before I can stop. I was ready for it today though.

I thought that it was well worth stopping for.

After a tough four miles into the wind at the start of the ride, I was happy to find the wind helping me speed down the hill to the bottom of the bypass. I was naturally expecting to have a bit of a battle with the wind on the way home but it turned out to be more across than against and although my average speed dropped a little, it didn’t sag disastrously.

All the same, I was happy to stop at the Hollows Tower for a breather and a photo opportunity. The tower had a notice saying that they are hoping to open it to visitors again in September. It has been a tough time for visitor attractions. I have given the Tower a bit of a photo editor’s boost to cheer it up.

There was a mixed bag of sheep in the field beside the tower.

My last stop was to look at the seed head of a Pyrenean valerian. This shows why I am seeing more and more of them each year.

I got back to Langholm just in time to have a shower, create a slice of toast and honey, make a pot of tea, and switch on the computer for a sibling Zoom. To entertain ourselves we had challenged each other to prepare a limerick on the subject of bison, recently in the news as some are going to be released into a wood in Kent. The results were entertaining so we are going for a Haiku on Wednesday.

We went out into the garden after the meeting to dig up a potato and pick peas and beans for our evening meal. I took a couple of ‘evening sunshine’ shots while we were out there.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch with its eye on the prize.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “Mysterious things

  1. I have a beautiful ceanothus which flourishes… in my neighbour’s garden. In my own it is a poorly thing, but I have to leave it there of course.

  2. What – no limerick samples? It’s especially galling as the topic was bison – one of my favourite beasts. Sheesh!

    1. This was my sister Caroline’s second effort:
      There was a young bison from Crewe
      Who expertly escaped from the zoo.
      He purchased a basin
      to wash his whole face in,
      But I still wouldnt kiss him – would you?

  3. I don’t know if it’s the season
    to make limericks on a bison.
    But if that’s your wish,
    I could do one on fish
    I would do it for every reason.

  4. Favourite photos are the evening view of your garden with those beautiful poppies and the pretty orchid. I like your neighbour’s garden too…it’s just that I like being nosy peeping over fences to see what people have in their gardens! Good to see Mrs T giving the daisies a late Chelsea Chop …it really works!

    1. You can’t beat evening light in my opinion. But then I am never up early enough to appreciate the first light of dawn so it may be better but I wouldn’t know.

  5. Awesome captures, Tom! Outstanding bird shots, love the feeding action. On your Belted Galloway, we have a farm nearby our home that raises Belted Galloways. Kids here call them Oreo cows. 🙂 (do you know that cookie?)

  6. Really enjoyed your post on my catch up mission, again this morning, which, sadly, must come to a close for now. But can I ask you for some advice or knowledge of the pedalling kind? I wear a Fitbit watch which provides me all kinds of exercise information, heart rate, calories burned (not enough!) etc.. It also records what exercise zone I have been in. Previously, it always recorded that I was 100% in the fat burning zone, nowadays it records the ride as being as low as 53% in that zone. I am having trouble figuring out why. The only factors that have changed, I think, is a new crank arm and the under armour insert puncture protection installed in my tyres? Pedalling does seem to have got harder, perhaps there is an increased drag, or rolling resistance, as I pedal, because of the under armour? Have you found such with your shopping bike? Or could it be these old knees of mine need replacing asap? Cheers.

    1. Maybe you are working too hard to be in the peak fat burning zone or perhaps the software on the fitbit has been updated and is taking a different view of things. I have never had that sort of technical assistance though I used to sue a heart monitor in my orienteering days.

      You can never burn off enough calories in my experience. The only answer is to eat less!

      1. How dare you! Lol. Signalmen like myself eat too much, I know, and my wife constantly tells me so, but it’s very hard to be strict with my food. Shift work messes about with one’s body clock. As usual you’ve hit the nail right on the head! I bet you were a great teacher Cheers.

      2. No necessarily but the only real way to lose weight is to eat less. I learned that from experience. I was cycling 5000 miles a year and losing no weight.

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