Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. There are fruit trees planted in his neighbourhood, with the fruit freely available for passers by to pick and eat on their walks.
We had another grey day here, but as it stayed dry and the wind was very gentle, it was pleasant enough. Mind you, it only just stayed dry, and there were moments when an uncharitably minded person might have accused it of raining. But they were only very brief moments.
I had a walk round the garden after breakfast, and I was pleased to spot a peacock butterfly on a dahlia.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out some lettuce seedlings. She hopes that they will make it to eating size before the weather turns against them.
On the fence beside the lettuce bed, the transplanted clematis continues to show off.
The dahlia of the day is a fine yellow specimen.
The dead heading routine has become a bit slack but a bee managed to find an active flower among the chaos.
In a break with routine, we went on a visit for our morning coffee today. Our hosts were Mike and Anne on the other side of the river, and we walked through the town to get to their house. As we passed the suspension bridge, we could see definite signs of progress in the repair work and soon, perhaps, we will be able to walk across it on our way to the town. Today we had to take the long way round.
We had worked up a good appetite by the time that we arrived. This was just as well. Anne had provided a small feast to go with some excellent Machu Picchu coffee. As the spread included scones with jam and whipped cream, it went down very well. Good conversation accompanied the coffee and we had a most enjoyable outing.
After lunch, I took a moment to look at the feeder. It was very quiet again today. We have had sparrowhawks as well as cats in the garden, so perhaps it is not surprising if bird traffic is light. I did see two sparrows.
I had spent most of the morning sitting, talking and eating, and now I spent most of the afternoon, sitting, pedalling and thinking.
Most of the time I was thinking about how nice it is to go out for a bike ride on a warm and windless day. After some recent hilly rides, I went for a longer but much flatter ride today, and chose the old road down to Canonbie, followed by the main road to Longtown.
Then I took the Brampton road out of Longtown as far as the River Lyne . . .
. . . where I noticed that the sandstone cliff beside the river is being engulfed by Himalayan balsam.
After crossing the river, I turned west and wiggled my way by backroads to Gretna. If I had stopped a moment earlier or waited a minute longer, I would have been able to photograph trains crossing the last bridge over the River Esk.
I ran out of time at Gretna, so instead of taking an interesting route home, I headed straight back up the main roads to Langholm.
Thanks to the flat terrain and the very light wind, I managed to keep my average speed up to 15 mph for the first 32 miles of the trip, but the final mainly uphill seven miles into Langholm were too much for me and I had dropped down to 14.7mph by the time that I got home. However, since this is a lot faster than my usual efforts, I was pretty happy.
I had enough energy left for a walk round the garden. The white dicentra has decided to produce a lot of late flowers. The bees are happy as they like dicentras but they wouldn’t pose for me today.
Mrs Tootlepedal asked me some time ago to stop dead heading the poppies. She thinks that the seed heads add structure to the garden.
And of course they should provide more poppies next year too.
It was a bit damp by this time, as some of that almost rain had been about, and I found a bee taking it easy on a dahlia.
I took the hint and went inside and rested too.
After a sibling Zoom, a good day was made even better by some semolina pudding for afters at our evening meal.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.
Footnote: We have more family visitors tomorrow. It has become a more social time after the long anti-social lockdowns but we are still rather nervous.