Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa. He tells me that this is the South African national flower, the Protea.
We had notice of a change in the weather today as the north wind died down to a whisper. By the end of the day, it was coming from the south, and if the forecast is to be believed, it will bring quite a bit of rain with it over the next few days.
Under the circumstances, I thought that I had better get out on another cycle ride while the going was good and set off before coffee time, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to have coffee with Liz and Margaret by herself. They managed quite well without me.
The light wind hadn’t made it any warmer and once again, I was well wrapped up as I headed south down the main road over Skippers Bridge.
The main road is good for cycling but not so interesting for photography. I had got my average up to 15 mph when I arrived at my turn off after ten miles but I hadn’t taken another picture.
I had hoped to find some autumn colour once I was on the back roads but it was disappointing, and I didn’t get my camera out until I saw a small and distant flock of geese in the fields at Englishtown.
They look like greylag geese to me but I am happy to be corrected.
While I was stopped, I looked behind me to see the Lake District hills looking much closer than they really are…
I pedalled on and met a flock of starlings near Glenzier. These were much more flighty…
…and flew up in a tizzy when I stopped to take their picture.
I looked back again here and this time I could see wispy cloud floating among the northern English fells.
It wasn’t warm and it wasn’t sunny but it was a very clear day.
It was a grey and the colours didn’t sing at all so my hope of taking a stunning autumn colour picture remained unfulfilled. I made a token gesture…
…and I did see one ray of sunshine as I came back down the hill to the Wauchope valley….
…but it only lasted for two minutes.
I have had a good spell of consecutive days of cycling and as a result my legs were feeling a bit tired today and after hurtling (by my standards) down the hill to Longtown, I crept back up the hill to Langholm. Even dashing down the last three miles back home as fast as I could only got my speed up to twelve and a half miles an hour. I refreshed my body and spirit with a corned beef and tomato sandwich with lettuce from the greenhouse for my lunch.
Mrs Tootlepedal had not only had coffee without me but she had laid two more of her paving slabs. She has now got six done with twenty one more to go.
After lunch I mixed watching the last part of another exciting stage in the Giro with occasionally looking at birds.
It was a goldfinch day today…
…with visits from dunnocks (I saw two at the same time today)…
…and a hard staring sparrow.
There were several failed attempts to catch an exciting flying bird of the day…
…and even the one that I did catch was hiding.
The stage of the Giro finished in perfect time for me to join the Carlisle Community Choir virtual practice. The chief lesson that I learned today was that if you don’t sing regularly, your voice really goes to pot. I will have to try to organise myself to practise singing even if there is no choir to sing with. If I don’t, I won’t be fit to join a choir when the singing finally starts again.
When I came back from my bike ride, I took a quick walk round the garden to admire the slabs and take some pictures. A little blast of sunshine appeared which made things better.
Poppies of all nations looked well…
While some things are looking a bit worse for wear…
…others look good enough to eat.
There was good colour to enjoy…
…and I finished my tour with a selection of yellows.
The forecast for the week ahead, which was predicting frost by the end of the week, is now suggesting that it will stay well above freezing so there may still be time for more flowers to appear.
As you may have guessed from the lack of moaning, my back is much better. Dr Velo has worked his magic once again.
I did get a slightly fuzzy flying chaffinch who was not hiding so it is the flying bird of the day.