Today’s guest picture comes from my eldest sister Susan. She has been visiting my younger brother Andrew for a couple of days, and came across these striking pansies when they stopped for a coffee on an outing.
We had a fine day here, made all the better by reports from my sisters of a very rainy day down south.
I had a walk round the garden after breakfast, and enjoyed the latest addition to the stock of blue poppies.
The first peony is doing its best to come out but it is taking its time.
At coffee time, it was rather breezy and a bit cloudy, As it was only 15°C , Dropscone brought his traditional Friday treacle scones into the kitchen, where we ate them in comfort while we drank some Nicaraguan coffee.
When he left (with some rhubarb as he loves a rhubarb crumble), I set about mowing the drying green and the greenhouse grass. I am trying to strike a balance between keeping it neat and letting the daisies grow and I felt a bit guilty as I beheaded a good crop of wild flowers. They will grow back soon enough though.
I sieved a bit more compost and then had another stroll round the garden. The sun was out again by this point and it was a beautiful morning, and not too hot.
The first rose is almost out . . .
. . . but lots of other flowers are in rude health.
I was checking the plum tree for potential plums (quite a few), when I noticed this outbreak of resin on a branch. It is probably not a good thing to see on a tree but it looked very pretty.
Then I had to go in and do some more work on the newsletter for the Initiative. I produced a provisional version and sent it off to the boss for approval and amendment if necessary.
After lunch, I (just) managed to avoid being tempted to watch the cycle racing with Mrs Tootlepedal and went for a cycle ride of my own instead.
It won’t be long until the hawthorns on the bank a couple of miles from the town are out. They make a grand sight and it was very disappointing when the late frost killed off all the blossoms last year.
Like yesterday, a stiffish breeze was blowing in my face as I pedalled up the Wauchope road, but this time I kept to my plan and pedalled on into the wind towards Paddockhole. The lovely weather as I looked back when I had passed the turn off that I took yesterday . . .
. . . may have played a part in my decision. It was no hardship to be out on a day like this.
Two bulls watched me go slowly up the hill.
I stopped after ten miles for half a banana and a rest. It had taken me very nearly an hour to get there. There was plenty to see as I looked around…
. . . and I added the clump of stitchwort in the long grass beside the road a bit further on as an excuse to have a breather on the way up the steep hill from Paddockhole Bridge.
From Paddockhole, I took the road that follows the Water of Milk to its source. It is a green and pleasant valley.
I was going steadily uphill but I received help from the wind for this part of my more or less circular trip. As you can see, the turbines at the Crossdykes windfarm were pointing straight behind me, always a welcome sight.
The windfarm is right at the head of the valley . . .
. . . and the nest step is over the little col and down into Eskdale.
My way was made easier by a group of workmen patching the worst potholes in the road. Building the windfarm has led to quite a bit of damage and the repairs are very welcome . . .
. . . thugh a complete resurfacing job would have been more welcome still.
The wind was still helping a bit as I sped (relatively speaking) down the road from Bailliehill to Enzieholm and I enjoyed the pungent aroma of the wild garlic before getting to the bridge at Enzieholm and the bright patches of clover after it.
Looking across the river as I got near to Bentpath, I was struck by the neat work in a field among the trees on the opposite hillside.
It is hard to resist the temptation to take yet another picture of Westerkirk Church and the bridge over the river at Bentpath, especially when the sun is shining.
Not so long ago, when commercial forestry trees were felled, the foresters stripped all the branches off the trees and left the brashings in place as the trunks went off to be processed. These days absolutely everything is cleared off.
It will be replanted I am sure, but it makes for a brutal landscape in the meantime. What the long term effect on the soils of the hillsides will be is anyone’s guess.
The scene was more peaceful when I got nearer to Langholm and looked down to the river . . .
. . . and enjoyed the sight of the may blossom on this side of town finally out now that June is here.
I only managed a very moderate average speed for my trip, thanks to the slow start into the wind, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 26 mile outing all the same.
When I got back, I phoned our friend Alison Tinker and her husband Mike very kindly brought round a book on hedgehog behaviour. While Mrs Tootlepedal showed him things of interest in the garden, I had a last look round.
I love the middle lawn in the shadow of the walnut tree on an early summer evening.
. . . and the patch of wild buttercups in the vegetable garden back bed glowed in the sunshine.
I would have liked to go for a walk down to the river, but there was a family Zoom and more work on updating the subscriber list for the newsletter top be done instead. You can’t have everything.
The flying bird of the day is a busy starling responding to the incessant demands of its young . .
. . . and the flower of the day is a fine rhododendron growing old and losing its colour gracefully.
Footnote: the trail camera caught the hedgehog roaming around the garage last night . . .
. . . and as a result of reading the book from Alison, we have left the garage door open tonight so that it can go out and forage. We have also put food and water down in the garage. We await developments.