A little bit over the top

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who passed the (very) old school at Beardsall on one of his recent walks in the sunshine.

Our run of lovely summer days here continued today, but once again it was marginally hotter than was totally comfortable in the direct sun, so we took things quietly as we went about our business in the garden. I was able to summon up the energy to mow the middle lawn . . .

. . . and after two social coffee meetings, I mowed the front lawn too.

The first social event was the arrival of Sandy for coffee with me. He brought a lovely little bouquet of sweet peas with him as a gift to us.

Sandy told me that in spite of his sore knee, he had been able to cycle 20 miles at the weekend on his electric bicycle. They are useful machines.

While I chatted to Sandy, Mrs Tootlepedal went across the road for coffee with our neighbours Liz and Margaret in the shade of Liz’s patio. When Sandy went on his way, I joined the ladies, with a second cup of coffee in my hand.

When both coffee meets were over, we went back to gardening, and in my case, taking pictures. I am using galleries again today so you can click on a picture to see at full size if you wish.

We have three clematis growing along the fence between the flower garden and the vegetable garden.

The roses continue to delight, and after some care from the gardener, Crown Princess Margareta is back in business. It appears both early and later in the day in the gallery below. The top row are The Wren, Lilian Austin and Golden Syllabub.

The removal of the box hedges in the middle of the two front beds has unleashed a torrent of colour (if you can unleash a torrent).

At various times of the day, I looked at a selection of other flowers. The stachys has grown unusually tall this year. Another blue salvia has arrived.

Poppies were very popular with flying creatures.

On the bird front, the feeder was very quiet with only the odd siskin visiting, and one or two blackbirds scrounging seed below.

On the other hand, we are very excited by the swift nest in our roof. Mrs Tootlepedal uses a mirror out of a bedroom window to check on the nest and she saw a young bird peering out of the gap in the boards today. I took a camera outside and looked up.

There is definitely one bird there, and possibly two.

In the afternoon I took my big lens out into the garden and sat on the old bench in the hope of seeing a parent swift visiting. None came, so I took a picture of a collared dove . . .

. . . and a fallen privet flower on the bench . . .

. . . and took my camera in again.

Later on, I went back out and had another go at the snapdragons.

I couldn’t stand the heat in the garden so I went into the kitchen and prepared a sausage stew for my evening meal. I left it simmering under the eagle eye of Mrs Tootlepedal and went for a bicycle ride.

According to our local weather station, it had been 85°F (just under 30°C) at three o’clock but by the time that I left at four o’clock, it had dropped to 80°F (26.6°C). I was grateful for this, but still chose a route heading into what light wind there was in order to give myself a chance of a cooling breeze.

This route took me up the Ewes Valley on the main road on another perfect day for cycling.

The road runs up the left of the valley and I took a few pictures as I went along. To the left of the road, the hills are quite often close and steep, to the right it is hard to take a picture without a pylon in it.

This ride has a gentle start which my legs appreciated, and I got to the top of the hill at Mosspaul, ten miles away, in such a cheery mood that I decided to go down the other side for five miles before turning for home. This seemed quite suitable as many people consider that I am over the hill anyway.

I didn’t do the whole five miles on the main road, but turned off to visit Teviothead Church and Carlenrig. This is the site of the infamous meeting between Johnnie Armstrong and King James V of Scotland which led to Johnnie’s death. If you visit the gallery and double click on the picture of the information board, you should be able to enlarge it and read in the rather small print the interesting history which it records. Otherwise, there is a very good discussion of this event and its repercussions here for those interested.

The top row of pictures show the ‘no expense spared’ memorial at the site of the hanging, the Teviothead Church which houses a memorial to Johnnie Armstrong, and a rather nice but totally irrelevant gate.

I had about three quarters of a mile to do to get up to my fifteen, so I cycled past the church and up on to Carlenrig itself. This was a challenge, as the hill is extremely steep in places. It was still very warm so I wisely got off and walked at a couple of the steepest parts. I was pleased to stop for a view back down the valley here and there.

The ridge itself, which appears as today’s header picture, stretched out further than I needed (or wanted) to go, and it was with some relief that I was able to stop and head for home.

Back at the junction with the main road, I liked a combination of meadowsweet and rosebay willowherb on the banking.

My ride was plain sailing from this point, with the wind now behind me. It was no problem pedalling back up the gentle hill to Mosspaul and I hit 50 kph pedalling down the other side (it sounds more impressive in kilometres per hour).

I didn’t stop to take any more pictures, but concentrated on getting my average speed up to 14 mph for the thirty miles. I managed this just as I got back to Langholm which was good timing.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been looking after my sausage stew very well, and it was joined by some potatoes and other veg from the garden to make a satisfying evening meal, especially as it was followed by freshly picked raspberries and whipped cream for afters.

There is no flying bird of the day today and a suitably exhausted young blackbird fills the spot instead . . .

. . . and the brilliant blue stems of the sea holly are the flower of the day.

Footnote: we have been quite rightly hit by a hosepipe ban. Sunny weather is good, but we do hope for some rain soon.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “A little bit over the top

    1. The general rule for a quiet life is to try not to live in a country where there are strong family ties. They always lead to trouble and blood feuds.

  1. I’m glad to hear that Sandy is still getting around.
    The garden is looking beautiful, and so is the lawn. I hope you’ll get some rain soon, but not the kind we’ve had.
    The sea holly stems are amazing. I’m going to have to go back and see the plant I found a couple of weeks ago.

      1. That’s good. At one time we used to have them in the front garden but they never grew tall as they were under the hedge. Then they disappeared, Our front garden in like that.

      1. Did it forbid absolutely all hose watering? Usually I read of such bans here (in Western Washington or Western Oregon allowing watering during certain days, early in the morning or late at night. In drier areas, there are complete bans now, even on ranches, causing much distress.

  2. I have enjoyed all these beautiful photos. My favorite today is the view up the Ewes Valley with the purple flowers in the foreground. The air looks strikingly clear and the scene very serene and beautiful. This could be a scene for an advertisement for “Discover Scotland”.

    Wishing the swifts best of luck on their nest in the roof. Hopefully you will see young soon.

  3. Wonderful views of the countryside and interesting to read the Reiver Trail board. Good to see Sandy mentioned on the map! Funnily enough we saw a church today with the same stone pattern as your brother’s photo of a school- I’d have liked to teach there!

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