Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She took a trip down to the south bank of the Thames this morning, and then nipped home again before it got too hot.
It was another bright sunny day here, with temperatures set to rise to 27°C in the afternoon. I had a wild scheme in my head involving getting up very early and going for a cycle ride before the heat of the day set in.
That went the way of most of my wild schemes, and I had a sedate morning pottering abut the garden doing useful things very slowly, and taking pictures from time to time.
My pottering was accompanied by the steady sound of bees buzzing, and it was good to see a reasonable number back in the garden even if we still don’t have as many as we should.
I think that these are white tailed bumble bees, and they were our most frequent visitors. We are seeing very few honey bees.
I did quite a bit of moss rose dead heading and took a picture of one of the surviving flowers.
The Queen of Denmark needed no assistance from me and continues to do very well this year.
Mrs Tootlepedal has never grown snapdragons before but she has given them a good go this year and they are doing well. Creamy white ones have arrived, giving me an uncertain smile.
I have found that although they look very good in real life, they are not easy to photograph. I will keep trying to do them justice.
The front beds continue to be a riot of colour . . .
. . . with the Sweet Williams packing quite a punch.
Among the vivid colours, the salvia seems quite restrained . . .
. . . and a new dahlia faces stiff competition.
Mini forests of ligularia are springing up . . .
. . . and they are providing a good contrast to the elegant simplicity of the sea holly.
We paused for coffee with Margaret under the shade of the walnut tree. Our other neighbour Liz dropped in to chat too, so we had a sociable time. Overhead, a jackdaw kept an eye on the proceedings.
After coffee, we went back to slow motion gardening. There was watering to be done, and polemoniums and calendulas which had passed their best, found new homes in the compost bin. I picked the last of the blackcurrants and some unripe gooseberries for stewing.
I took a picture of the latest lupin . . .
. . . filled the bird feeder, and went in to do the crossword in the relative cool of the house.
There was modest demand for bird seed, and when I looked after lunch, a few siskins were about and a young blackbird was scavenging for the fallen seeds which siskins throw on the ground.
Talking of blackbirds, we saw a butterfly fly down onto the lawn while we were drinking our coffee and got quite excited. I got my camera out, and as I did so, a blackbird swooped down from the hedge, pecked the butterfly up and made off with it. There are a lot of young blackbirds about in the garden needing to be fed, but it was still annoying to see a rare butterfly visitor disappear like that.
I made a couple of pots of blackcurrant jam with the currants I had picked in the morning. Considering that it is a new bush and has only started to produce fruit this year, it has done very well.
In mid afternoon, with the sun blazing down out of a cloudless sky, it was too hot for cycling, so we combined watching the penultimate stage of the Tour de France with occasional excursions into the garden to do more watering and other tasks. We dead headed the white Jacobite rose which is going over. There are a few blossoms left . .
. . . while on the other side of the garden, Bobbie James is putting out more flowers every day.
By half past four, I judged that although it was still very hot, the sun would be low enough in the sky to let me have a pedal in relative comfort. There was a brisk wind which would help cool me down too.
I set off round my familiar Canonbie route, intending to take things very gently. The brisk wind was straight into my face for the first few miles, and that made sure that I didn’t go rushing around.
However, once I had turned at Wauchope Schoolhouse to go over the hill, the wind was mostly across or occasionally helping for the rest of the ride, and I had a very pleasant outing.
I like to see metaphorical phrases come to life so I was happy to find a farmer making hay while the sun shone.
To be absolutely accurate, he was probably making silage and not hay.
Did I mention that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky?
I had to stop to let a car pass me on a single track road and I took the picture above while I was waiting.
A little further along, I saw a cow with a crow standing on its back, an image very reminiscent of shots of wildlife in Africa. Sadly the crow flew off before I could get my camera out and the cow looked mildly surprised to find that it had gone.
On my way back up to Canonbie, I took a picture of my favourite three trees . . .
. . . and Canonbie church . . .
. . . just to prove to myself that I had been out for a cycle ride.
When I got home, I need a cooling shower, and while I was busy with that, Mrs Tootlepedal made me a hard boiled egg to have with a corned beef salad for my evening meal.
I did get a sort of shot of a flying bird today. If you look carefully you can see it in the background.