Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin. He visited the Linlithgow canal basin with a group of walking friends today.
In a moment of madness yesterday evening, I said that I would sleep in the tent overnight, and being too ashamed to back out, I did just that. Rather against my expectations, I had a reasonable night tucked into a sleeping bag, helped by the fact that there was no wind and it didn’t rain. This must have been my first night “under canvas” for more than twenty years, and I was quite impressed by the fact that I was able to get out of the tent in the morning without falling over.
As it has been a very wet day today, no one else has been rushing to give the outdoor life a try tonight.
It was dry when I got up, so I went out for twenty miles on my bike round the Solwaybank windfarm before breakfast. The tent experience had left me feeling a little stiff, and as it was by no means warm when I set out, I recorded my slowest ever time for the ride. To add insult to injury, it started to rain when I was just three miles from home.
Stopping to look back towards England where the weather looked better, I took this picture of blooming heather just before the rain came on.
It rained on and off for most of the rest of the day, but there was time to play catch in the garden and look at the flowers.
We have a wide variety of dahlias out and this shy one is baffling. What benefit does the plant get from concealing its many flowers under thick foliage? I noticed that one flower, low down on the left of the plant, had escaped from prison today.
This dahlia, on the other hand, does not scruple to advertise its charms.
Some of the roses have developed hips, and they come in various forms, large but dull . . .
. . . and small and attractive.
I didn’t hear the fellow at the back who said, “Just like you and Mrs Tootlepedal.”
Mrs Tootlepedal’s recently transplanted helianthus continues to thrive and is producing lovely flowers.
Like many flowers, there is a lot going on when you look closely.
I filled the bird feeder and a pair of greenfinches, adult and youngster, appeared,
After lunch, Matilda took advantage of a kind offer from our neighbour Charlotte (and of a break in the rain) to have tremendous fun bouncing around on Charlotte’s garden trampoline. Very luckily, it is just on the other side of the dam behind our house If the weather permits, she will have another go tomorrow most probably.
Then Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to get a breath of damp air. We were well equipped, which was lucky as it started to rain just as we set out.
We walked down to Skippers Bridge and the views were limited.
Although farmers may not be so happy about them, Mrs Tootlepedal likes the deep browns of docks in fields.
At Skippers Bridge we paused for a moment to enjoy the toadflax and a fledging birch tree growing on the parapet of the bridge.
The view upriver was not very exciting, but at least there was a bit more water coming down the river.
Going back towards the town, we passed large clumps of the invasive Himalayan balsam beside the river, and we could see the seed pods that make this pretty flower such a pest.
A lime tree further along the path was well supplied with seeds but is not a pest at all.
We had time to admire some lovely willows beside the river . . .
. . . before we turned off to visit Angela and Jenny, the two ladies who have taken on the heavy responsibility of managing the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve on behalf of the community. I hope to have interviews with both them in the next Langholm Initiative newsletter to give those people who have contributed to the buy out of the moor a fuller picture of what is going on.
As we neared home, the rain stopped for a while and the clouds lifted from the hills.
After crossing the town bridge, we walked back along the river and heard the loud cries of a young lesser black backed gull, who was obviously wanting his ma.
I took a picture of two flowers when we got in, just to brighten up a dull afternoon.
However the afternoon was made much brighter still by the combined efforts of Matilda and Mrs Tootlepedal in the manufacture of several superb drop scones or pancakes. You may talk about the Taj Mahal, or rave about the Great Barrier Reef, but in my opinion there can be few finer sights in the world than this.
Home made raspberry jam with fruit from the garden too.
Alistair made us another delicious evening meal and that rounded off a day that had been much better than the miserable weather deserved.
The flying bird of the day is that young greenfinch.