Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She has been busy visiting National Trust properties in her neighbourhood now that such visits are allowed. She found this inviting bridge at Fyne Court, a National Trust property in Somerset.
We had another perfect summer day here today. Unfortunately just as we are getting used to this sort of thing, a glance at the weather forecast for next week suggests that such days will soon be only a memory. It was just as well that I made good use of the day.
Well, to be honest I should say that I made good use of much of the day as I wasted the gap between breakfast and coffee by sitting around taking far too long to do a crossword.
However, I made amends for the slow start by drinking coffee in my cycling gear and getting out on my bicycle before the others had finished sipping and talking.
Since it was Saturday and lorry traffic was liable to be very light, I started off going south down the main road with the wind in helpful mood pushing me along to Gretna Green at well over 15mph.
I kept an eye out for the Solwaybank windfarm and I could see that the third turbine now has its blades fitted.
The turbines in the background are on the Ewe Hill site. We are not short of windfarms round here.
I stopped at the fifteen mile mark to have snack and a drink and saw farming life on both sides of the road.
From Gretna, which seems to be getting busier every time I go through it, I headed down into England and passed a fine crop of wild flowers on a banking…
…which is a testament to the amount of work the landscapers put in when they built the new motorway here….
…and makes pedalling along beside the motorway a pleasure.
I next crossed the mainline railway at a level crossing, and cycled down to Rockcliffe, where I walked my bicycle down this track…
…which leads to the River Eden.
This was a good spot to be today. The river was lovely…
…the riverside woodland was looking delightful…
…and there were wild flowers…
…with seed heads…
…and interesting butterflies.
Research when I got home leads me to think that the butterfly might be a Wall Butterfly. If this is true, it is the first time that I have knowingly seen one.
It would have been a grand place for a picnic and a stroll but I only had time for half a ham sandwich before climbing back up the path, restarting the bike computer and heading onward, past Rockcliffe Church…
…until I came to the motorway again at Harker.
Here, the nature of the ride changed and having enjoyed a wind assisted 23 miles, I crosssed the motorway and turned into the wind. My average speed dropped sharply for the next seven miles as I headed across country towards Scaleby. Luckily there were ample distractions to take my mind off the hard work….
…and soon after passing under these fine trees…
I turned onto to the Brampton to Longtown road.
Much to my surprise, I found that the wind was now completely behind me and I whizzed up the road to Longtown at a dizzy and unexpected eighteen miles an hour.
Before I got to Longtown, I noticed this good looking crop of corn, which farmers grow as cattle feed here, through a gap in a hedge…
…and although I didn’t have an elephant to hand to help me judge, I thought that it looked quite high, and it certainly was a beautiful day. I hummed a tune as I went along.
I thought that I would be bound to meet a headwind when I got on to the road to Langholm after crossing the Esk in Longtown, because the wind had helped me on the way down. Much to my delight, it was mostly helpful and never more than across me on the way back and I kept up an excellent speed (for me) all the way into Langholm
I hadn’t quite got my distance planning right and had to go a mile up the Wauchope road and back to bring my total up to a neat 50 miles for the outing. Thanks to the perfect temperature, the lovely sunshine and the very friendly wind, I ended up averaging 14.7mph for the ride, far faster than my usual efforts. Furthermore, I arrived home without feeling tired at all. I wish all days could be like this one. It knocked about five years off my age.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a slice of tarte tatin and a cup of tea, and then I went out into the garden to sieve some compost and look at the flowers.
The white lilies are producing what can only be described as a floral fanfare.
I am dead heading the cornflowers in an effort to keep them coming.
And the dahlias are surviving and replacing themselves very well.
The seed packet for Mrs Tootlepedal’s sunflowers said that they would grow to about five or six feet. This has proved to be quite an underestimate…
…and we will need a step ladder to appreciate the flower on this one which is already miles above my head.
Once again, there were no interesting butterflies in the garden (though quite a few white ones are fluttering about) and visiting birds were scarce too. I did see a pigeon…
…but hardly anything else.
The nifty wax filled devices that lift the greenhouse ventilators had failed on one side of the greenhouse after many years of service. Mrs Tootlepedal had ordered replacements and we fitted them after tea. We will have to check tomorrow to see if they work properly.
I took a final picture of some nicotiana…
…and then we went in to watch the highlights of the day’s stage Critérium du Dauphiné bike race, the first bike racing we have watched this year. We thoroughly enjoy watching these supermen at work in lovely countryside and are looking forward to the delayed Tour de France at the end of the month (with our fingers crossed that all goes well and it does actually take place).
In the absence of a flying bird a siskin is sitting in as a substitute today.