Today’s guest picture comes from Natasha, Marianne’s daughter. It speaks for itself.
We had a dry day, mostly sunny, fairly warm and very welcome.
After my customary leisurely start to the day, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to have a sunny cup of coffee with Margaret in the garden, and went off to make the most of the good weather and light winds by looking for things to photograph while cycling.
I made a honey sandwich and then started my ride by visiting the shop to get two bananas and a KitKat biscuit bar. Armed with these and a few dates, I took the Solwaybank road to get me going, a wise choice when it looks like this…
…and there was a peacock butterfly waiting to be photographed by the side of the road as a bonus.
After such a good start, the ride could only go downhill. I was very grateful for this as the Solwaybank road is quite undulating. The local lady who told me that they were only going to build nine turbines at the new windfarm seems to have got her information wrong as I counted ten as I went past with at least one more tower to complete. I have spared the patient reader yet another turbine picture as it has to be admitted that one turbine looks very like another.
Once I had gone downhill as far as Gretna, I crossed into England and took the road to Rockcliffe. Once again, this proved to be a good choice because at the corner near Rockliffe Cross there was a fine display of autumn colour.
Another elderly cyclist had stopped and was snapping away with his phone camera but we managed to keep out of each other’s shots.
There were many possible shots to choose from.
It was hard to tear myself away. Indeed I met the other cyclist, who had left before me, coming back to take a few more shots.
I had a last look round, including a very fine yellow wild flower in the verge…
…and rather reluctantly pedalled onward. As the sun was behind clouds while I was there, I was tempted to wait until the sun came out, but I had miles to cover and other things to see.
I had thought of going down to the seaside on the English shore of the Solway but a look round at Gretna had showed that once again the tide was so far out that i could probably have walked to Ireland. Instead, I made a circle round inland and followed a route that took me past three English churches.
I stopped for a snack at Blackford Church (built in 1870) as it has a handy wall, just right for leaning on, paused for a glance at Scaleby Church (possibly 13th century, major restoration in 1861) and got off my bike for a look around at Kirkandrews-on-Esk (built in 1776).
They appear in reverse order in the panel below.
Kirkandrews is one of my favourite churches, sitting in a park beside the river and overlooked by a old peel tower.
I met a lady who was painting the gate to the churchyard and she told me the she and her brother used to cycle to the church from Gretna in the 1950s, crossing the suspension bridge over the river on their way there.
The church is very plain and rectangular but attractive all the same.
The sun clock on the tower was put there in gratitude for the survival of two sons who returned safely from World War 1. The inscription on the face says: After darkness light, and and around the perimeter: For our two dear sons FFG & RPG who lived to come home from the great war. Thanks be to God alone.
And remarkably, after 100 years, the clock is still working and telling the correct time. I took the picture at 2.40 and allowing for BST, the correct time was 1.40.
I pedalled home up the main road and arrived back after 53 miles feeling that I had had a good day out.
Mrs Tootlepedal was away doing some shopping, so I had a wander round the garden before she got back.
The first thing that caught my eye was a red admiral butterfly on the sedum outside the back door.
And when I looked around some more, I discovered two more on the new tall Michaelmas daisy which was very satisfactory.
Dahlias are still going well, although the more elaborate ones have lost a bit of their colour. One was even attracting a bee.
The Crown Princess Margareta and Lillian Austin are still showing that when it comes to roses, ladies are tough customers…
…and the little red poppies and the orange hawkweed continue to delight.
More colour was supplied by elderly hostas and Icelandic poppies.
Mrs Tootlepedal arrived back and we had a cup of tea. I had the last of a batch of Garibaldi biscuits which I made a few days ago with mine.
There was time to watch the birds for a while.
It was a peaceful scene at the feeder, with goldfinch, greenfinch and sparrow nibbling in harmony…
…until the siskins arrived and the shouting started.
It was a day when the action was often going on behind the feeder just to annoy the photographer.
But I did get a good view of a coal tit and a great tit.
I went off for a shower and then it was time for tea. Mrs Tootlepedal produced a tasty ‘spag bol’ which provided a satisfactory end for an enjoyable day.
The flying, or rather diving bird of the day is a siskin which got such a shock that it dropped its supper.