A route revised

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce. He was out on a walk when he met three donkeys who were perhaps hoping for a snack

The north wind was still blowing, though only gently, so we had another cool day. There was an occasional glimpse of sunshine, but there was also a rather surprising fall of very gentle rain from a clear sky at one point.

My back is definitely improving but I still thought it best to have a relaxing morning doing nothing. Mrs Tootlepedal on the other hand was full of energy and embarked on some serious work on improving our drive. This means lifting and laying heavy concrete slabs so I confined myself to constructive supervision.

And wandering round the garden taking flower pictures after coffee, which we had indoors by ourselves today.

The Icelandic poppy dead heading regime is still paying off and there were small but grateful visitors today…

…even when the poppies were not of the first quality.

There were a satisfying number of bees and hoverflies still about. and the big Michaelmas daisy was a draw…

…as was a nasturtium.

There are quite a few out of season shows going on and I found a bright primula…

…and a very out of season sweet rocket….

…and the single white rose, blooming months after its ‘use by’ date.

Nasturtiums are thriving against the wall of the house without the aid of much sun….

..but a little bit of sunshine lit up the Japanese anemones, which have done well without any dead heading…

…and the sunshine brought out the best in the star of the garden today, the big Michalemas daisy.

Mrs Tootlepedal points out that she planted another one of these plants a few yards away and it hasn’t done any good at all. The gardener has a lot of mysteries to cope with.

After lunch, I had a look for birds. Once again, there were very few about, perhaps because of the drive activity in the morning. I spotted a male chaffinch in the plum tree…

…and a female chaffinch on the feeder.

I had intended to go for a leisurely cycle ride in pursuit of some autumn colour but the weather got rather gloomy so I got a bit discouraged. Then I made the fatal mistake of just glancing at the Giro unfolding on Mrs Tootlepedal’s tablet. The glance lasted for an hour and a half of an enthralling stage.

By the time that the stage ended, I only had time for a short ride and I set off with the intention of dashing round my undemanding Canonbie circuit. Luckily, just before I came to the crucial turn off, I remembered that the Canonbie bridge was shut this week, so I headed on over Callister and went round the Solwaybank windfarm loop, the same length but a little more hilly.

Once again the windfarmers had been working behind my back and the new tower had a top and two blades on as I passed.

I checked to see if the third blade was hanging from the crane…

…but once again they had seen me coming and knocked off work and gone for a cup of tea

I completed the loop without stopping again as the light was poor and I saw nothing to make me get my camera out. The policy of rest in the morning and a gentle cycle in the afternoon is paying off and my back feels a lot better. With the weather’s permission, I will do it again tomorrow.

I had a look in the greenhouse when I got back and found that our tiny crop of tomatoes are staying stubbornly green.

Note: it is one of the mysteries of the Lumix that it thinks that I am more interested in getting the leaves in the background into focus than I am in the great big green tomato taking up all the foreground. This is the downside of cameras that try to be really helpful. (Mostly they succeed though, it has to be said.)

The day was rounded off with a sibling Zoom with shared pictures, and a second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s excellent slow cooked brisket of beef, with parsnips on the side.

Today’s ride took me over 250 miles for October so far. It has been a cool month but I can’t really complain about the cycling weather, especially as there have been no frosty mornings yet. I am just over 3500 miles for the year so far, and with luck, I may make my target of 4000 miles. That is still very weather dependent. In November of 2017 and 2018 I managed a grand total of 85 miles over the two years because of bad weather.

I didn’t manage to catch a flying bird of the day today, so a sitting chaffinch in the fake tree is standing in.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “A route revised

  1. Those fuzzy donkey ears are just begging to be scratched! Bravo to Mrs. T. for laying the concrete slabs in the drive – they are usually heavy enough to require “ten men and a bear”. I hope she kept her knees bent, as one bad back in the house is quite enough.

    1. Snow! Don’t mention that. As an old person now, I don’t feel so cheerful about snow as I used to. Fear of falling is never far away when snow and ice are on the ground.

  2. The donkeys are so cute! Still a lot of beautiful flowers for you to enjoy as October heads to November. Glad your back is feeling better, even if you aren’t ready to lift concrete.

  3. Very pleased to hear your back is improving, you’ve provided us all with some splendid floral pictures as usual. I know I could do with Mrs T down here to relay our patio area. Those slabs are difficult to handle, and the rest of the back garden needs the attention of a landscape gardener. Perhaps that’s another reason not to retire yet? There really is so much that needs doing. WRT the evidence of the carnage caused to bird populations by windfarms, I must admit I don’t have any solid evidence other than what I have read via the RSPB and occasionally in the papers. In Swansea the powers that be turned off a turbine next to a park lake because a swan was killed by flying into the blades. I will try a source some evidence however. On another bird related note. Whilst commuting home yesterday, I came upon a murder of magpies. Something, I have seen many times before, except this involved an extraordinary large number, must have been close to 40 of them? Further on I witnessed another similar gathering of 20 plus? I believe it demonstrates that we have far too many magpies in our countryside, much to the detriment of our songbirds. It seems strange also that these two murders of magpies came together on the same day? Just coincidence, or are they attuned to the exact time of the year for these gatherings? I saw a red kite this morning, (far too slow on the draw with my mobile phone camera) above a village called Onllwyn, which claims to have been the birthplace of St Patrick. Keep walking and pedalling. Cheers.

    1. I am sorry to hear about the swan. I saw a few magpies on a recent ride but they are very rare about Langholm. I am happy about that although they are very photogenic birds. We have red kites about 50 miles away and occasionally one is to be seen over our area. I wish that there were more as they are handsome birds.

  4. In years I have had nasturtiums, I have seen them hang on into December. They are hardy souls. We eat the leaves and blooms, but must be careful to thoroughly evict any earwigs using the blooms as homes. It is disconcerting to have one’s salad looking back at one.

    Do you know what percentage of your power comes from wind turbines? Seems you have quite a few of them, with more going up.

    1. There have been odd days I believe when all our power in Scotland came from renewable sources. Our energy supplier is 100% renewable but how much of that comes from wind, I can’t say.

      I am not tempted to eat nasturtiums though I probably should try them

  5. Bird photos in the newspaper today but yours are so much better! The chaffinches are bright eyed and chirpy and look really prepared for the winter ahead. Love those large Michaelmas daisies just right to brighten the border.

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