Song cycle

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Sharon. She has been visiting Hadrian’s Wall country and kindly sent me a set of pictures of the wall, including the north of England’s most famous tree. I have put them into a panel.

We had another very grey and drizzly start to the day here with rain coming and going in an arbitrary manner. We did at one moment hope for coffee outside in the garden when the rain stopped. I rushed out to take some pictures of old friends while the going was good.

A pink rose is having a second flowering life and has come out to join the red rose which has never stopped.

Poppies and Japanese anemones have not been discouraged by the rain.

I assisted Lillian Austin in discarding her older worn out flowers, leaving the way clear for the next generation.

The Sarah Raven dahlia is just too good to go past without taking a picture, standing up proudly even on a dull, wet day…

…but other dahlias seemed to be hiding, worried perhaps about the weather and what has been eating their leaves.

The colour on the Clematis Jackmanii was so rich that I thought it deserved a picture on its own today.

Constant dead heading has kept a steady supply of Icelandic poppies going through the last few months…

…and they should be joined by a crowd of rudbeckia soon.

By the time that I had spent five minutes photographing the flowers, the weather had changed again and we decided to have our coffee meeting in the kitchen, as socially distanced as we could be. All parties brought their own coffee and mugs.

After coffee, I settled down to some serious practice for the virtual choir performance. Getting everything organised quite apart from the singing is a big task. Should I be sitting down (better for the video) or standing up (better for the singing)? Should I hold the music in my hand (wobbly) or put it in on a music stand (and end up looking down)? And what about the lighting? I have got three more days to perfect improve my act.

After lunch, I watched the birds. It was still raining and a goldfinch summed the day up well.

Visitors to the feeder tended to get a warm welcome.

We made some preparations for our forthcoming visitors and then I left Mrs Tootlepedal to work on the finer details, cleaning, scrubbing, hoovering, shifting furniture, that sort of thing, and went for a cycle ride.

At least, I started to go for a cycle ride because it had stopped raining, but it started raining quite hard again as soon as I got the bicycle out of the garage. I put it back in again. Minutes later it had stopped, so I started, well protected with a rain jacket just in case.

It was quite windy and I was a bit worried that my legs might go back into sulking mode after two good rides. All was well though as they pulled together and attacked the ride down to Canonbie with zest. I chose the Canonbie route as it offered a short cut home if the rain got too horrible. I need not have worried though, as it stayed dry all the way round.

By the time that I got to the Hollows Bridge after 15 miles…

… the sun had even come out, whichever way I looked.

I wasn’t really looking out for excuses to stop but a commanding bunch of knapweed caught my eye when I was on a section of the old main road…

…so I stopped for a close up portrait…

…and while I was there, had a look a the fine weather coming up behind me…

…and the dark clouds of the earlier weather disappearing over the hills ahead.

A ride that had begun in grey drizzle ended in warm sunshine.

I record my rides on a website called Strava and it told me, without me asking, that I had done this ride 152 times since April 2016. It added that today’s effort was 0.3 mph above my all time average speed so that was quite satisfactory. All the same, the amount of pointless information stored on tech companies’ servers is mind blowing (and very wasteful of electricity too).

It was nearly time for our evening meal when I got back so I had a quick shower and an equally quick walk round the garden. The verbena is trying to make me sorry for being disrespectful about it.

A thoughtful blackbird pondered on the larger questions of life while sitting on the fence…

…and I enjoyed a colourful corner…

…before going in for tea.

I have been lucky to find two dry spells for cycling over the last two days and I am going to test the weather again tomorrow as I have arranged to play another round of golf with Dropscone.

The flying bird of the day is a very stately chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Song cycle

  1. Sarah Raven is a real stunner,as is the ever reliable “Jackmanii”.
    I wish I could manage to cycle almost every day..don’t know how you do it,your what’s known as a force of nature I believe.
    My 72 yr old elder brother has just retired in April and has set a target of 5k cycling miles a year,and is ahead of his target atm.he has also lost 14 lbs weight, by a mix of diet and exercise he says.
    As I joke with him I say his are easy miles around the Cheshire plains,he should try the Darwen Rivington area 😉

    1. Having run over the fells in your area in my youth, I can only agree with your thoughts on hills. The cycling is just a matter of habit. It is what I do if the weather is kind and I am not busy. At the moment, not being busy is pretty easy.
      5k miles for a youngster of 72 should be no problem if the winter weather is reasonable. I have sometimes registered 0 miles in December.

      1. I’ve been saying for the past 6 months I’ll put the bike in the car and find somewhere a bit less hilly,but somehow I never actually do it.
        I think for some reason I don’t feel much achievement if I don’t ride the hills,and I do like the scenery and quieter roads around Belmont near Winter Hill tv I only have myself to blame.
        One of these days I’ll shock myself and put the bike in the car.

      1. I hear you on that. Nevertheless, the river view from above made me smile and I reflected on the nice river sounds you might be hearing while you took it.

  2. All of the flowers are beautiful but the Sarah Raven dahlia is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like it.
    I like the views of the river in the sunshine. It looks like it has enough room for a little more water.
    I had to look up why England’s most famous tree is so famous and found that the hollow Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire is where Robin Hood and his merry men supposedly used to hide out. Whether they did or didn’t it must be a very big tree.

    1. The tree in the panel is only the north of England’s most famous tree and far from Sherwood Forest….though it did appear incongruously in a Robin Hood film as though it was on the way from the English Channel to Sherwood. It would have required a 400 miles diversion to visit it.

  3. Your colorful flowers, wild and domesticated, are a treat in this hot weather, especially that colorful corner before tea. You can send us some of your extra rain any time now. 🙂

    1. Although we have had quite long spells of rainy weather, it has been quite light and there is less than an inch in the rain gauge so we haven’t got much to spare I am afraid.

  4. 152 times…you’ll know every pot hole and bend now! Keep going on the route though as you take fine photos along the way. Love your colourful corner photo. Enjoy your golf!

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