Trying (and failing) to find a gap in the weather

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent., She did not have to go far to find some interesting wild life, as this Jersey Tiger Moth was on the outside of her bedroom window.

We were correctly promised frequent showers for today by the forecasters, and the trick was to try to avoid them and still get the occasional breath of fresh air. I surprised myself a great deal when I found that I was pedalling up the A7 north of Langholm before breakfast in an attempt to cycle the 10 miles to Mosspaul and then get back again before the next shower came. It wasn’t a day for hanging about taking pretty landscape shots . . .

. . . as it was hard to see any hills behind the low clouds.

A friendly wind pushed me up the hill at a good speed, but then of course, it slowed me down on my way back, and I wasn’t quick enough to avoid the rain. It wasn’t a heavy shower though, and it didn’t last too long so there was nothing that a bacon butty and a cup of tea couldn’t cure when I got home.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal and I cycled to church in pleasantly dry conditions. Owing no doubt to a bit of a rush to find out what new hymns the minister had chosen for us to sing, the choir started the introit on two different verses of the hymn at the same time. I wasn’t sure whether to keep singing the correct verse with Mrs Tootlepedal or join the strongest voice in the choir who was singing the wrong verse. In the end I compromised, and sang the the first four lines with Mrs Tootlepedal and then switched to the variant for rest of the verse. I don’t suppose that the congregation noticed anything amiss.

When we left the church, the rain was pouring down, but although we got soggy bottoms from sitting on wet saddles, once again the rain didn’t last, and it had nearly stopped by the time that we got home.

The weather gods were having a feast of fun.

Alistair and Clare told us that it had been brilliantly sunny while we were in church. They had just been getting ready to go for a walk when the rain had started.

After we had had a cup of coffee, and I had had a walk round the garden . . .

. . . we went to do a bit of shopping, passing this nasturtium at the front gate as we left.

It started to rain again as we came out of the shop. However, as we had prudently taken the car, we got home dry enough.

Just before lunch, I found another dry moment to have look round the garden. We have got a set of dahlias which are a bit short in the petal department for some reason, but a late flower on the Lilian Austin is fully formed.

It started to rain again after lunch and we were resigned to an afternoon in when the rain unexpectedly stopped and I suggested an outing. The suggestion was received with surprising enthusiasm and the younger members got dressed for a visit to the park in typical Langholm summer weather . .

. . . while Mrs Tootlepedal and I, armed with large umbrellas, went off to go round Gaskell’s Walk.

Even on a gloomy day, there was a lot to be seen as we walked round Pool Corner and up the road to the Auld Stane Brig, including a lichen, a slow worm and hoverfly . . .

. . . and a ripe and tasty bramble, out much earlier than any other bush that we passed on our way.

As we got on to the path through the wood back to Langholm, the weather took a turn for the worse . . .

. . . and it got so bad at times that this was the full extent of my view.

It started to really pelt down and we sheltered under a tree for a while. I did manage to peer out from time to time when we got going and the rain eased off.

The most unusual flower that we saw was near the end of the walk. We found that the Impatiens Noli-tangere (touch me not balsam) near the park had got a flower or two out already.

This is quite a rare flower and I will try to get a better picture on a better day.

In the park we saw two crows with white feathers. They looked to be part of a family group and I have put them in here in spite of the poor quality of the photos as they too are quite unusual.

When we got back to the garden, the topiary chicken seemed to be drowning in flowers rather than rain.

As far as birds went, I saw a jackdaw on the lawn on my garden outing before lunch . . .

. . . and siskins on the feeder when I went back indoors.

Later in the day, a greenfinch visited in the rain.

It kept raining, sometimes heavily, on and off, and I see that we now have two inches of rain in our rain gauge, collected since our dry spell ended at the beginning of this month.

We were alright indoors though, because Mrs Tootlepedal cooked us a delicious evening meal including sticky toffee pudding.

The (just) flying bird of the day is a very soggy goldfinch. Of all our garden visitors, they always seem to be the most bedraggled in heavy rain.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Trying (and failing) to find a gap in the weather

  1. Our resident goldfinches disappeared during the recent hot weather,but with the change to cooler,wetter conditions have strangely reappeared in abundance.
    All I can surmise is they found a supply of wild flower seeds,or were resting up in the shade ?.
    Like your topiary chicken.
    Whilst walking our dog this evening our local resident barn owl which nests in a disused farmhouse flew about 10ft above my head,what a great sight.
    Just wish I was quick enough to get a shot of it..but I’ll keep trying.

    1. I had a barn owl fly alongside and just above me when I was out on my bike recently. It kept up with me at 20 mph for about 100 yards and then flew off. It was a slightly surreal experience.

  2. Your choir (mis)adventures made me laugh!

    It sounds as though you spent the day outrunning the rain. We are promised some tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when it makes me look like your soggy goldfinch.

      1. Very decent – there’s 1 1/4″ in the gauge so far and the weather radar shows that it should rain for at least another hour. I’m pleasantly surprised and very grateful.

  3. As always, a fascinating post. Your Touch-Me-Knot got me to look up ours, which is impatiens capensis and also called Jewelweed. It has an orange flower about the same shape as your yellow one and attracts hummingbirds. It also is a remedy for poison ivy. I love the Jackdaw photo and all the somewhat soggy-looking birds. The view of all the flowers surrounding the topiary chicken is amazing.
    I can only imagine what our beginning choir performances will be like after all this time. I am sure I will be reminded of your quick verse maneuver at some point.

    1. Our large Carlisle choir is sending out questionnaires to see what we think about starting to sing again. The regulations will allow it but members may be very cautious.

      1. It’s so hard to imagine. Our full choir barely fits inside the sanctuary. I’m thinking of how we altos were practically on top of each other for our last concert. It seems very far away yet. Good luck.

  4. Great guest photo- fascinating to see the underside! Quite a nature walk in the rain with all those interesting finds then getting back home and seeing your beautiful garden, knowing you don’t need to get the watering can out! Happy days!

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