Flat out (and flat back)

Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent, Paul. He was cycling through Tockholes when he passed evidence that Lancashire farmers have been making silage when the sun shone too.

We had another very lovely day here, with the sun out almost all day. It was a degree or two cooler than it has been which made it into a perfect summer’s day.

We cycled to church to sing in the choir. It should have been the day of the annual Common Riding service, one of the best attended church events of the year. Indeed a wreath was laid at the war memorial, a piped lament played and the last post sounded, but there is no cornet this year, the wreath layers departed, and there was the usual threadbare attendance in the church. We sang hymns to Common Riding tunes, and ended the service with Bonnie Langholm, our town’s anthem, where the sopranos gave a rousing rendition of the descant in the third verse, but it wasn’t the same. We felt a little deflated as we cycled home.

After coffee, it was time for watering by hand again, and we chose what needed water most although the whole garden could do with a soak.

Mrs Tootlepedal wondered if she had planted too many calendulas in the front bed . . .

. . . but I think that she has got it about right. Especially when the calendulas look as good as this as they fade.

You might think that flowers naturally turn their faces to the sun but a bunch of dahlias in the next bed are quite prepared to look in every direction at once.

It makes it hard for the aspiring photographer to do them justice.

New flowers keep appearing. Today’s debutant is a coreopsis with plenty more flowers to come

There was a lot of work to do in the garden so I didn’t take as many pictures as usual before lunch. After lunch, I went off to add a few more cycling miles to my monthly total, as I am still a bit short.

Because it was Sunday and there should be few lorries about, I took the opportunity to ride down the main road to Longtown, and then go for a visit to my favourite bench at Newtown on the line of the Roman Wall.

With a helping wind, I whistled down to Longtown at an average of 16 mph, but I managed to slow down enough to look at the river Esk as I crossed the bridge. There is a lot more rock than water about at the moment.

From Longtown to Newtown, the road goes very gradually uphill, and with the wind now across me, I couldn’t keep up the same headlong speed, but I reached my bench in good time.

I was surprised to find it surrounded by cars . . .

. . . but the mystery was solved when I spotted a large tent and a notice saying “Afternoon teas £5”. This offer had drawn a good crowd . . .

. . . but I had the bit between my teeth so I left them to their fun, ate a banana, and set off back home (where afternoon tea is cheaper).

The cross wind was more helpful than not on the way back to Longtown, and I improved my average speed but could not get it back over 16 mph. I tried quite hard, and was happy to take a break by the river in Longtown to eat a Kit Kat bar and admire the handsome bridge.

As you can see, there is a bit of ragwort beside the river so I had a good look for the cinnabar moth caterpillars . . .

. . . but saw none.

A kindly old gentleman who was walking his dog nearby saw me stooping over the plant and called out, “Don’t poison yourself.” I must have looked more like an idiot than I usually do, but I assured him that I wasn’t intending to eat it.

The ten miles back to Langholm, gently uphill and straight into the wind, were the slowest of my outing, but the wind wasn’t very strong and I ended up with a satisfactory time for the forty miles, the quickest for a year or two.

The only downside of the outing was the traffic. There weren’t many lorries about, but there was a very large number of cars and the road from Langholm to Longtown road was very busy both ways. It wasn’t dangerous, but it wasn’t very restful. Holidays in Britain are obviously popular for some reason this year.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden when I got back, and we sat down under the shade of the walnut tree while I had a cup of tea and a biscuit or two . . . or three.

Above our heads, bees buzzed about the privet flowers . . .

. . . but were rather disobliging when it came to posing for me.

I had a walk round the garden before I went in and enjoyed the scent of the nicotianas . . .

. . . which have just started to flower.

The early evening sun brought out the scent in the nicotiana and the colour in other flower. I took pictures of calibrachoas. . .

. . . and nasturtiums embracing our front gate.

In the shade, I spotted a colourphul phlox . . .

. . . and a well packed clump of roses.

I have been watering the rambler rose and clematis combination on the railings just because I think they go together so well.

I went in and had a shower, and then got ready to go out again, this time on foot. I had a look at the bird feeder before we left and I noticed a young siskin pestering its parent for food. After a while the parent had had enough of this and flew off, leaving the youngster looking a bit bemused.

Our evening outing was to our neighbours, Irving and Libby, who had kindly invited us round for a drink. Among other things, they wanted us to see their lovely rambler rose. Visitors to their garden often compliment them on their skill in growing it. They have to tell them that it is in fact our rose which has grown so well that it has spilled over the fence into their garden, where they have made it very welcome. It looked just as lovely in their garden as it does in ours.

We drank some very tasty Belgian beer, enjoyed good conversation, and had a walk round their well tended garden before going home to a light meal.

All in all, a day which involved singing, sitting in two sunlit gardens, a good pedal, sociabilty and some Belgian beer is definitely one for the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying bird of the day is that siskin parent . . .

. . . and the flower of the day is a very cheerful dahlia.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Flat out (and flat back)

  1. The shot of the calendulas and other flowers is excellent. That single calendula is a pretty thing. I wish I had grown them more.
    The nicotiana flowers look huge, but it could be perspective.
    That last dahlia is a beautiful thing. I wish I had a Kit Kat bar to celebrate it.

  2. Poor old ragwort, you’d think it leapt from the verges to attack passers-by, the way people demonise it. As for calendulas – the balance looks OK to me. However, they do tend to spread, so next year could be a different matter.

      1. The ones in our garden and on the farm were all transplants from companion planting that one of the neighbours allowed to get out of hand. They gave me three square yards of calendula. 🙂

  3. I enjoy the variety of colours in your garden: the calendulas are very cheerful (wish mine would spread) and the different dahlias are pretty. I think I would have preferred tea (and a biscuit or three) at home too.

  4. The water does look quite low there.

    I agree, one can’t have too many calendulas. I enjoy looking at the variety of color and form in your gardens.

  5. Not only is your garden bursting with colour and I suspect scent too but each and every plant looks in the best of condition! It all looks wonderful. The rivers look really low. Do all the ducks and other water birds go elsewhere ? We had a 5 minute thunder storm here this afternoon- a quick but very welcome downpour! Hope you get some rain soon too.

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