Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia’s Highland holiday where she saw two curlews in a field. I am envious because although I quite often hear curlews, I very rarely see one, let alone two.
Today’s post opens with a picture from yesterday, taken after the blog had been put to bed.
We had another cool, grey morning, but the wind was less boisterous than it has been, so I contemplated a morning cycle ride.
In the end, as I couldn’t decide on an optimum route, I did a lot of contemplating and not much cycling for a considerable amount if time. While I was pondering, I put out some mealworms and watched the young sparrows give them a try . . .
. . . noted a young blackbird looking rather put out about being left to find its own food . . .
. . . wandered around the garden and got excited by a new iris . . .
. . . and the developing orange hawkweed mini meadow . . .
. . . and some leaning lupins.
Then I breathed in the scent of two mock oranges . . .
. . . and went back inside to have a slice of bread and marmalade. It was now quite a time since breakfast.
I made a final check on the birds and found that there had been an invasion of jackdaws . . .
. . . with two discussing the declining quality of bird food these days . . .
. . . and finally I made up my mind on a route and set off just before coffee time.
The forecast had suggested a south west wind, getting stronger as they day went on, so my plan was to head south west for a time and then come back with this stronger wind now behind me.
I went off down the main road but there was a lot of traffic, some of it not too fussy about leaving a safe distance when passing a cyclist, so I took the bike path and the old road through Canonbie and joined the main road again at the bottom of the by-pass.
The flow of traffic had not reduced and the manners of the drivers had not, so I turned off the main road at the first opportunity and took to quieter back roads instead.
This gave me the chance to stop and look at the verges.
A garden escape caught my eye . . .
. . . and the grass has been growing vigorously.
There is a lot of red clover about. (The yellow flowers in the background are probably meadow vetchling.)
I wiggled my way across country until I found myself at the border with England on the old road from Gretna Green. I was not very impressed by the new Welcome to Scotland structure there. It looked somewhat cheap, especially with a unwelcoming message beside it. Still there was a fine bush of wild roses beside it.
The old bridge is now blocked off and I took a picture of it from the new and unattractive bridge which has been built beside it.
I headed down into England on the relief road beside the motorway. This is quite a new road and when they constructed it, they did not stint on the provision of shrubs and flowers. The road was lined with daisies . . .
. . . and there were lots more roses too.
I stopped when I got to the River Eden near Rockcliffe to have a honey sandwich and half a banana.
It was very peaceful beside the river, sheltered from the wind.
I could see, swans, ducks and goosanders.
I liked the way that the swans were trying not to get their feet wet.
I noticed a very pretty pink flower on the bank of the river. It may be sea thrift.
I got back on track and turned to go across country to the west, with the wind now helping me. I got to the Brampton-Longtown road without stopping for any more pictures and then checked my mileage. It appeared that if I went straight up the main roads, I would get back to Langholm exactly on 50 miles. This seemed like a good distance for a ride so I did that.
Stopping to take interesting pictures on fairly busy main roads is not easy and the only one that I took in my last 15 miles was of the buttercups lining the Canonbie by-pass.
My calculations proved to be pretty accurate and the bike computer rolled over the fifty mile mark just before I arrived at our house. And the wind had indeed helped me on my way back. This was very satisfactory all round.
Mrs Tootlepedal was working in the garden so I had a walk round.
We have pretty roses of our own out . . .
. . . and there is no shortage of bright red flowers.
I found two more hostas to add to the ones that I took yesterday . . .
. . . and reckoned that we are pretty lucky that the slugs are leaving them alone at the moment.
I filled the bird feeder and checked for visitors.
A greenfinch was one of the first to arrive.
We watched some entertaining horse racing from Ascot, and between races, I cooked a lamb stew.
The racing went for a long time and when it was finished, it was time to put a few potatoes on to go with the stew.
As thinking about cycling, actual cycling and recovering from cycling took up such a large part of the day, I didn’t have time to get a good flying bird and this evening sparrow was the best that I could manage.