Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who recently walked along the Erewash canal on a sunny day.
We had a dry, cool and quite breezy day here today (although it started raining again in the evening) and this encouraged us to get out into the garden not long after breakfast. I set about turning the compost from Bin A into Bin B, and quite surprised myself and Mrs Tootlepedal by completing the whole job in one go and at a brisk pace. The secret of this was probably the care that we had taken to cut the stuff that went into the bin into as small pieces as possible. This meant that I didn’t have to shift great lumps of material at once. We had put quite a lot of cardboard into the mixture and I was very happy to see that it had all rotted down so well that it was indistinguishable from the plant material.
I took my camera round the garden while I recovered from the shock of actually doing something useful.
A row of nerines is looking promising but one has burst into flower before the rest…
…and at the other end of the garden, Lillian Austin is still producing flowers after a break where I thought that she had given up for the year.
On a rather grey day, I was able to find a lot of cheerful colour.
And in spite of the cool breeze, there were plenty of insects and signs of insect activity to be found.
Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work digging stones out of the ground where she has uprooted the hedge in front of the front lawn.This part of the garden was a yard at one time and the many stones in the soil do not help her plants to grow well.
She broke off and we had coffee. Then we went off with our wheelbarrow to collect a hydrangea from a friend who wanted to get rid of it. It is big and looks very healthy…
…so we hope that it will flower next year (if we can lift it out of the wheelbarrow and then get it out of the pot which the previous owner wants back). And dig a big enough hole to put it in!
After coffee, I started a loaf in the bread machine and went out to mow the drying green and vegetable garden grass. Then I picked a green pepper from Mrs Tootlepedal’s chilli plant in the greenhouse and went back in to make some lentil soup with added chilli.
While it was cooking, I watched the birds…
…and was pleased to see a redpoll and a goldfinch as among the more usual siskins.
Then, feeling that I had probably done enough for a while, I sat down to read the papers, do the prize crossword and eat the soup. The papers were a bit depressing, the crossword was a challenge and the soup was very tasty. I might trying adding one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s stronger red chillis to the next batch.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal cycled off to do some shopping and I had another look at the birds.
The siskins were in charge again. and full of fight.
Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her shopping trip, I got the bread out of the bread maker and plans for the rest of the afternoon were made. Mrs Tootlepedal opted for another stage of the Tour de France and I was tempted to join her but chose to go out for some fresh air and exercise instead.
I started with a Tour de Garden, where the Crown Princess Margareta was looking very regal….
…and other flowers did their best to shine too.
Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with the rose in the bottom right corner of the panel above. She cut it back severely and moved it to a new spot so she was worried about how it would take this treatment, but it is doing well and has even put out a new bud.
There were more red admiral butterflies and other insects to be seen on every side..
Then I set out to stretch my legs by walking round the pheasant hatchery…
…and up past the North Lodge onto the track into the woods. When I got to the clear felled section, I took the mountain bike track up the hill, past a single clump of rosebay willowherb…
…and paused for a moment to catch my breath and enjoy the view. Although it was warm enough to walk without a jacket, it was a gloomy day….
…but the views on my walk still gave me great pleasure even if they did not make sparkling photographs. (I took over 50 pictures on my walk on a bad day for taking pictures. Sometimes I think that I am stark staring mad.)
At the top of the clearing, I joined the track that runs along the side of the hill between the commercial planting and the natural woodland and walked to the end of the track which looks down over the valley below where the farmer has got his crop safely gathered in.
The I walked back along the track, ignoring the views and keeping my eyes down for a while.
Then I lifted my head again…
…and walked round the shoulder of the hill until I came to the track that leads up to the summit.
Heading upwards, I passed a lonely tree…
…and arrived at the top of Castle Hill.
It was very breezy up there so I didn’t go further. I took in the view of the Esk valley and the woods that I had walked through earlier…
…and turned to go back down the hill to the town.
There are no sheep or cattle on the hill at present and as a result I passed some wild flowers on my way.
When I got back to the Castleholm, I could hear the merry cries of cricketers at play, although it seemed more like a day for a rugby match than cricket.
When I got to the Kilngreen, I could look back at the top of the hill that I had just visited.
It had taken me half an hour to get from top to bottom and that demonstrated one of the great pleasures of walking round Langholm. It doesn’t take you long to get away from the town, to get up on the hills, to enjoy the views, and then to get back down in time for a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. There is plenty of back country and you can spend as long walking in the hills as you like, but you can also have a short walk as I did today and thoroughly enjoy yourself.
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t watched to the end of the stage when I got home so when she had set our evening meal to cook in a casserole pot, we watched a recording of the final 30km together.
The evening meal was delicious and that made a good end to a satisfying day.
No flying bird today as I passed and old friend on my walk and thought that he should have pride of place as standing bird of the day instead.