Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s visit to Regents park last week, She was impressed by this fine floral display. I was too.
We woke to a wet and miserable morning so it was fortunate that there was a testing crossword to help me waste some time. For want of anything more exciting, I turned my hand to having another go at making a date, raisin and walnut tea bread. Because it has no eggs in it, it doesn’t last wel,l so I reduced the contents and made a small one.
It went down well with some butter on it later in the day.
Then I made some lentil and carrot soup for lunch with one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s chilli peppers from the greenhouse to add a bit of zing.
I was just going to start making the soup when some movement on the lawn caught my eye through the kitchen window. I quickly went to get my camera and took this shot of a visiting sparrowhawk diminishing the number of small bird visitors to the garden by one.
It took its time over its lunch and checked from time to time to see if I was still taking pictures. Of course I was.
Not unnaturally, it took some time after the hawk had gone for the small birds to return, but they did come back after lunch.
In fact, there was no shortage of goldfinches …
…who just kept coming (and going).
There were plenty of puddles in the drive after the morning rain, and I spotted a dunnock having a good shake out in the sunshine after a dip in one of them.
Having shaken itself dry, it promptly jumped back into the puddle and got wet again.
And then, not satisfied with that, really threw itself back into the water again.
That’s what I call proper wild swimming.
I was distracted by a chaffinch on the feeder above…
….before going back to watch the dunnock having a final flourish.
…and one last dip and dive.
I couldn’t stop any longer because I had planned to go for an afternoon cycle ride when the sun came out and, as you can see, the sun was out.
I managed to avoid the temptations of watching the Giro, helped by the fact the the weather in Italy was poor and it was a flat stage.
Once again, I passed the new windfarm as I went over Callister without seeing any sign of work, so I didn’t stop until I came upon the first gorse flowers of autumn beside the road to Gair.
Looking round after I had taken the gorse picture, I could see that a lot of the trees have now shed their leaves….
…but there was still some nice colour on my way from Kirkpatrick Fleming to Chapelknowe.
I made a diversion at Chapelknowe to take me down to Corries Mill and back up to Millltown of Sark in the hope of seeing migratory geese feeding in the fields there.
There was not a goose to be seen.
I did stop a little bit further on to record the very short rainbow that appears ion today’s header picture and while I was stopped, I was able to look over towards the windfarm and see that those bits and bobs are still lying around.
Considering that the turbine towers are made of separate pieces, it is very hard to see the joins when they are up.
I realised that I was standing right next to the well defended border between England and Scotland (I was just in England). There is increasing support for Scottish independence but much like the Irish border and Brexit, no-one is very keen to talk about what might happen to this unassuming spot.
I was a bit worried that the rainbow might mean that I was going to get wet, but the weather gods were kind and I stayed in the sunshine as I pedalled gently home.
Whita looked very welcoming as I got near Irvine House…
…and there was a colourful tree in the field behind the house.
I got home to find the sun streaming through the Michaelmas daisies…
…and Mrs Tootlepedal laying the groundwork for shifting her next slab. I offered to lend a hand but she had done enough and we went inside to drink tea and eat cake.
I had a quick walk round the garden before I went in.
New nerines and rambler roses are still coming out but they are not looking very convincing. Heavy rain and strong winds over the weekend may well persuade them that it would have been better to have kept their heads down.
I certainly intend to keep mine down. I was rather tired on my cycle outing today and a little rest might be a good thing. My Garmin bike device kindly presents with me a gaudily coloured-coded map of the route when I put the data from a ride on to my computer. Red is for moments when I am going at my fastest, green and yellow are for intermediate efforts, and blue is for my slowest speeds. Today’s route map was almost entirely blue! But I enjoyed the ride anyway.
We had a cheery sibling Zoom meeting as the light faded to darkness at the end of the day. The clocks go back this weekend and we are going to have the meeting earlier as a result. My brother claims that he is going to ignore the change and still get up at the same time regardless. Mrs Tootlepedal and I are considering doing the same thing. It would stop us wasting a good hour of daylight in the morning, and as we will not have a diary full of exciting things to do in the foreseeable future, it might be worth trying. Time will tell.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in full braking mode as it approaches the feeder.