Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. While she was on a shopping trip, she passed this family of swans sitting quite happily a few metres away from a very busy road.
After a series of warm but wet days, we finally awoke to a chillier but sunny morning today. It was very welcome.
After breakfast, I went out into the garden to chat to survivors. If I looked carefully, I could find quite a few.
Among all the bright colours, I was struck by this nasturtium skeleton on the bench outside the kitchen window.
I got the wheelbarrow out and sieved another load of compost from Bin D. It has rotted down well and is easy to sieve, a reward for trying to have a varied selection of material going into Bin A, and some regular turning.
I just finished the compost task in time to make a pot of coffee to drink with Sandy, who dropped in for a chat. He told me that he had had his booster vaccination in Canonbie yesterday, and that he had seen me pedalling through the village. He remarked that I hadn’t seen him because I had had my firmly head down in the rain.
When he left, I watched the birds for a while . . .
. . . and was pleased to see a couple of dunnocks about among the finches. This one posed on the hedge for me.
Mrs Tootlepedal had gone to have her coffee with our neighbour Liz. I went across to join them and found Margaret and Liz’s daughter Jane there too. As we left, Liz pointed out some good fungus on her lawn.
When I go back in, I had another look at the bird feeder. Sometimes there is more going on at the feeder than the human mind can take in.
A coal tit and a blue tit provided a couple of quieter moments.
Although the sun went behind clouds at lunchtime, it remained a very reasonable day, and I considered the relative merits of a walk or a cycle ride. The fact that my walking boots were only slightly damp after my wet walk of two days ago, while my cycling shoes were still soaking from yesterday’s rainy ride, swung the vote in favour of a walk, and I set off to climb up Meikleholm and Timpen hills.
I passed a good selection of fungi on my way . . .
. . . and a bit of colour was provided by golden grasses, red hawthorn berries and dappled bracken.
It was wasn’t as windy as I had expected when I got to the top of Timpen, so I walked along the ridge before I circled back down to the road, enjoying the slightly misty views of ridges and valleys as I went, and a distant view of the Solway Firth gleaming in the west. (Click on a gallery frame to get the bigger picture.)
It was drier under foot than I had expected, although there was more water about than on my last walk along here in June.
Among the general views, a few details stood out.
And I could look down on the enormous greenhouse that will become a medicinal cannabis growing facility when official clearance is granted.
I liked the mosaic of colours on the Potholm Hill ridge across the river.
I had chosen a route that gave me a fairly gentle walk back off the ridge towards the road home . . .
. . . and fortunately the road down the hill is not as steep as it seems in this picture . . .
. . . though it does seem quite steep when I cycle up it in the other direction.
As I had my walking poles with me, instead of going all the way back along the road, I took the narrow and fallen leaf covered path along the hillside above the river. . .
. . . which leads down to the Duchess Bridge.
I had hoped to end my walk with a feast of fungus among the woods, but I only saw a handful.
After five and a half miles of quite strenuous walking, I was more than ready to have a cup of a tea and a slice of freshly made bread and raspberry jam when I got in. Mrs Tootlepedal had had a busy afternoon too, with Langholm Initiative business and gardening keeping her occupied all the time that I was out, so she joined me.
We are promised another good day tomorrow. If it turns out to be true, I will go cycling this time.
The flying bird of the day, caught in the nick of time, is a greenfinch stretching out for a landing.