At last a tootle and a pedal

Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent, Paul. He has been having a holiday in the Lake District and enjoyed a scented azalea garden with an enormous pieris.

I had a full day today and some lovely summer weather to go with it. At the moment we getting very friendly temperatures, warm but not too hot, and often with a cooling breeze on hand. We could do with some rain for the garden but, as they say, you can’t have everything.

The day started with a disappointment. The overnight camera showed that cats had once again managed to evade Mrs Tootlepedal’s security system and entered the garage overnight. When Mrs Tootlepedal checked, there was no sign of the hedgehog or any young in the garage at all. Whether they have just moved out because the intrusions of the cats or whether the babies have fallen victim to the predators is not clear, but it is clear that hopes of seeing a hedgehog family in the garage are over.

Things could only get better after that.

I had a look round the garden before coffee.

A young blackbird was looking as though it was time that someone turned up with something for it to eat.

The red peony is lovely . . .

. . . and a choisya has come out in the bed at the top of the middle lawn. Mrs Tootlepedal is not happy with the state of its leaves but it is flowering well.

I was relieved to find that there were more bees about today, poking about . . .

. . . and getting stuck in.

We had coffee in the garden with Sandy today as Margaret had gone to Carlisle. Sandy is going off on a holiday in England at the end of this week and he was looking forward to it a lot. We are still trying to make up our minds as to whether we should go to London to see Evie, our granddaughter.

In the garden, the care of youngsters was very much to the fore with sparrows and blackbirds getting looked after. I enjoyed a little cameo on the feeder pole by a pair of starlings. It is to be read clockwise from the top left corner.

I had time for another wander round the garden before going to the shop for supplies.

Colourful corners are well established . . .

. . . and the alliums are now nearly all spherical.

On the drying green, the yellow rattle is breaking into flower…

…which is part of Mrs Tootlepedal’s plan for a mini wild flower meadow. Yellow rattle is a parasite which should weaken the grass and give space for other wild flowers to grow.

Lupins are getting bigger and better very day, both the blue . . .

. . . and the white.

I cycled round to the shop past the church, and saw that work on repairing the bell tower has begun.

The metalwork in the tower is in poor shape but the right people seem to have been hired to get the repairers up to the job.

I checked on the birds in the vegetable garden and on the feeder when I got back.

The good weather has been causing me to take far too many pictures and I took far too many again today, so I apologise for an extended post. It is hard to throw them all away.

After lunch, a cheese sandwich with a dressing of Mrs Tootlepedal’s home made vintage green tomato chutney, I went out for a pedal.

After yesterday’s trip with Mrs Tootlepedal, I decided to start in the same direction, but instead of turning left at the top of the first hill, I kept going and pedalled on to Claygate and then went to Harelaw. The verges were full of wild flowers . . .

…and the fields were full of hawthorns.

When I got to Harelaw, I looked over into England across the valley of the Liddle Water . . .

. . . and then plunged down the hill to the bridge that marks the border.

I had hoped to wander around taking pictures but quite a number of people had got there before me so I took some quick shots and got on my bike and puffed my way up the steep hill on the English side.

At the top of the hill, and some way from the actual bridge, is the Bridge Inn, and this had a handy sign showing me what I had missed.

Instead of going straight down the road to Longtown from the Inn, I tacked across country on some very minor back roads, enjoying the scenery and the peace and quiet.

I had stopped to check on the map when I saw a strange looking flower on a stalk. I thought that it was some sort of grass but research tells me that it is Common Bistort.

Common Bistort, P. bistorta, is a vigorous rhizomatous perennial growing to 1m tall. I knew that you would want to know that. It is very pretty.

I enjoyed the north Cumbrian roads on both sides of Longtown and I add some illustrations without further comment.

I was just back across border near Milltown of Sark, when I saw this fine meadow of buttercups.

I came back to Wauchope Schoolhouse across the hill so that I could get three miles of downhill, downwind riding to end my trip and at the same time check to see how the local hawthorns are doing.

Quite well, was the answer.

I got back after thirty two slow, hilly but enjoyable miles in time for a cup of tea and a shower before the regular sibling zoom.

An already good day was then made even better by an hour of playing flute, cello and piano trios with my friends Isabel and Mike. I have been practising a bit, and while far from perfect, I played a bit better than I did at our first go last week.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin…

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “At last a tootle and a pedal

  1. The bistort comes with many names. There must be nearly thirty. I think my favorite is pink pokers.
    The landscapes with hawthorns are beautiful.
    My favorite shot though, is the single tree and roadsides lined with cow parsley. It should score high marks at a competition.

    1. I looked at the list of names in disbelief.

      The hawthorns have done very well this year which is a relief after they did so badly in the late frost last year.

  2. I hope the hedgehog family moved, but I know the food chain is merciless. Sad news, if that’s the case.

    Is yellow rattle invasive? I hope it doesn’t affect your other lawns.

  3. Lots of wonderful pictures today. I particularly enjoyed the opening picture of the young blackbird.

    I wonder if hedgehogs are safer out in the wild, away from people (and their cats and dogs). My backyard quails seem to avoid the cats successfully. I guess being able to fly helps them escape. They look quite helpless running along the ground, though.

    I’ve only been reading your blog this year, so I’d sort of assumed that Scotland was the place of beauty I needed to visit. Now I see that with the right photographer, England can also be beautiful.

  4. Those hawthorns look magnificent from near and far. What a pleasure to cycle through beautiful scenery. Your garden is a corner of paradise.

  5. I have thoroughly enjoyed all these photos from the day, though my favorite today is the field of buttercups. That must be the proverbial gold that is found at the end of rainbows, when one can find the end.

    I hope the hedgehog has just moved her babies. If there is no blood, fur or sign of struggle, they are probably OK, just elsewhere.

    I discovered new wildflower here at the edge of the patch of woods, with large yellow orchid -like flowers speckled with brown in the center, on tall stems. Tomorrow I will photograph it, and attempt to identify.

  6. Great shame about the hedgehogs. They’re wary of cats and hopefully have made their way to a quieter environment. Cats don’t generally hunt them though.

  7. The odds that poor hedgehogs have stacked against them these days are very high. No wonder we now see them so rarely, I hope it was the case that the sow (if that is the right name for the mother hedgehog) was able to move her nestlings before the cats got too interested. Another top notch post today full of colour and adventure. I had my pre op covid test today, and now am in self isolation before my operation on Friday, but I won’t know the test result for 48 hours yet? Still no SwytchBike kit yet, I would dearly like it to arrive before Friday, to give me some extra encouragement. My trip to and from Swansea, for the covid test, saw me take the old road as far as Neath, it is my most used bicycle route and was looking so green in perfect sunshine, just made me feel so out of touch. Especially seeing so many solo cyclists out enjoying both weather and route. Which reminds me, I have to set up my bike to nowhere in our outside/inside space that is our gazebo, I have to do my daily 20 minutes. Cheers.

    1. It must be a pain seeing people enjoying themselves on bicycles when you can’t but I hope that pedalling to nowhere in your new gazebo is some consolation. It must be better than staring at an inside wall.

  8. Green and pleasant land…comes to mind seeing your beautiful photos. My favourite is the road with the verges over flowing with cow parsley and the solitary tree but there are so many others that are just wonderful compositions too. I love the sequence of photos of the starling family and the young blackbird anticipating its next meal.

    1. The young starlings are so noisy at times that it is hard to hear yourself think in the garden. Mind you, it is pretty hard to hear me thinking at any time.

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