Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair in Edinburgh. He found a lonely poppy.
The forecasters were right and we got a summer day today.
After breakfast, I went out in to the garden. My focus was on peonies.
We cycled off to church in sunshine and a cheerful mood. We had an adventurous time singing in the choir as the minister put a surprise extra verse into the middle of one hymn and chose another which wasn’t in either of the hymn-books which we use. All the same, I enjoyed the singing and went home as cheerfully as I had come.
We had coffee when we got back, and then we walked round the garden, enjoying the roses . . .
. . . and other flowers too.
We were excited to see the first flowers on the delphiniums and hope that we don’t get any wet and windy weather before they have had a chance to shine.
I went in for lunch and took the opportunity to look at the birds while things were cooking.
The chaffinch and dunnock were back again . . .
. . . and a couple of redpolls came and went along with the usual siskins, goldfinches and sparrows.
After lunch, I just avoided being sucked into watching the Tour de France stage (it was a close run thing), and got my own bike out and went off for a pedal instead. The winds were light and the temperature was warm but not too hot, so I had ambitions for a fifty mile or more spin.
I set off over Callister with a view to exploring the back of beyond.
I stopped on my way when this view at the Bigholms caught my eye. .
I pedalled through Waterbeck and took the road to Middlebie. This road crosses the grain of the country and is an undulating affair with little streams to cross, involving ups and downs, at what seems like very frequent intervals. On one of the ups, I looked over some big barns down towards the Solway and the Lake District hills beyond it.
Middlebie is in the middle of nowhere as its name suggests, and once through it, you are in the back of beyond. I stopped at the handy bench opposite the church and had a chat with my legs. It had taken us quite a long time to get this far, so my legs and I came to a mutual understanding that a few miles less than fifty might be a good idea.
Instead of going on to the west, I turned south and crossed the Mein Water. I was getting ready to take a picture of this railway viaduct over the Water . . .
. . .when the train that you can see in today’s header picture crossed over it.
Leaving the Mein Water behind me, I crossed the railway and the motorway and ended up in Brydekirk on the River Annan.
They have given a lot of thought to their street names in Brydekirk . . .
. . . and I stood on River Street and photographed the river . . .
. . . and then I stood on River Street and photographed the bridge.
I had taken a picture of the church in Middlebie when I was talking to my legs, so I took one of Brydekirk Kirk to go with it.
From Brydekirk, I headed down towards Annan. When I got there, I took a small diversion down to the millennium pedestrian and cycle bridge across the river Annan, completed in 2002 . . .
. . . and from the middle of the bridge, I could see the handsome road bridge which I had just crossed in one direction . . .
. . . and another railway viaduct (on a different line) in the other direction.
Looking through one of the viaduct arches, I could see the river heading for the sea.
Attentive readers, remembering that I have been saying how dry it has been here, may well be wondering about the amount of water in the river. I checked on the map and the land here is 2 feet above sea level. The river here is tidal.
I was heading into the light wind as I left Annan and cycled along the coast to Gretna, so there was no increase in my average speed. From Gretna, I took the Longtown road, and after I had turned onto the main road to Langholm, I finally got a little help from the wind for the first time on my trip.
I ended up doing a modest 45 miles, and even though it was less than half my outing of last Tuesday, my average speed was slower and I was more tired when I finished. It was just as well that I had listened to my legs in Middlebie.
I stopped to look at wild flowers as I went round, and was pleased to see another fine orchid on the Canonbie by-pass.
I looked at trees, hills and streams too.
I was much struck by the mini tree growing out of the big tree in the top left picture in the panel above.
Mrs Tootlepedal was in the garden when I got back, and she showed me a Sweet William that she has just transplanted. It had been a bit overshadowed in its previous position.
After our evening meal, I watched the highlights of today’s stage of the Tour de France and my legs felt tired all over again as a strong man shot up a steep hill at extraordinary speed to win the stage.
We have our fingers crossed that people in the town will take care not to spread the virus any further, but with the good weather set to continue for several day, at least we will be able to enjoy the garden as well as cycling and walking, even if any group activity may be on hold for a while. (There were five of us in the church choir today.)
The flying bird of the day is a redpoll . . .
. . . and the flower of the day is our first moss rose of the year.