An up and down day

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair in Edinburgh. On a family outing to their local park, they came across a family of swans with added geese.

Here, it was a day with little to recommend it from a meteorological point of view. Although it was comfortably above freezing at 5°C, when I cycled round to the corner shop after breakfast, it felt very chilly, and there was a thin drizzle in the air which didn’t help.

For once there were a fair number of birds at the feeder, but the birds have developed an annoying habit lately of coming into the garden when Margaret and Mrs Tootlepedal and I are having coffee, and then leaving again when Margaret goes and I have time to spare to watch them.

The light was so dim that it wouldn’t have mattered much if they had all stayed and not just these few.

With plenty to read in the Saturday papers, which come with endless magazine sections, the morning passed by almost unnoticed, and it was time for the last plate of parsnip soup before we knew it.

After a couple of days of gentle and painless walks, I thought that I ought to test my surprisingly recovered knee with a bicycle ride. I intended to do a dull route directly along the Wauchope road for ten miles to Paddockhole and then back again, but by the time that I had gone a couple of miles straight into a chilly wind and with persistent drizzle threatening to turn into rain, I revised my itinerary.

Cycling ten miles into wet wind at one go had lost its attraction, so I turned round at Wauchope Schoolhouse and did three up and down seven mile laps instead. As the rain stopped shortly after I had made this decision, I felt quite happy, and did the second and third sets of seven miles each slightly faster than the one before.

It was too grey for pictures but I stopped twice at the turning point just to have something to show for the outing. I disturbed a lunch gathering on my first stop . . .

. . . and on my second stop, I noted the sharp right angled bend where the Logan Water goes under a bridge . . .

. . . and at the stroke of a pen, becomes the mighty Wauchope Water.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden, having dug over another two rows of the potential potato bed. We had a walk round the garden and she showed me the underside of a leaf on one our rhododendron bushes. I was intrigued by the colour.

I expected it to be green like most rhododendrons, She told me that this is called indumentum. It appears on the undersides of the leaves, is usually cinnamon brown in colour and resembles felt. It is a covering of fine hairs or sometimes scales that help to store water and protect the plant from cold and heat. I have passed that bush many times without ever noticing the underside of the leaf.

She also pointed out some potential tulips . . .

. . . while I spotted some very hopeful rosebuds . . .

. . . and a nice variety of lichen . . .

. . . on the plum tree.

I should have dug over a row or two of the potato bed myself, but I decided to give my knee a rest while I was winning, and went in and made some ginger biscuits instead.

I never fail to wonder at the miracle which turns attractive lumps into delicious discs.

I gather that I should be grateful to mediaeval German monks for the idea of a ginger biscuit.

After a busy and social day yesterday, we were happy to have a quiet evening today.

I couldn’t find a decent flying bird in the gloom at all, so today’s virtual flying bird of the day is a greyscale tree from my greyscale cycle ride.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “An up and down day

  1. It’s nice to think of tulips and roses already.
    You’re lucky to have such a beautiful lichen garden right there in the yard.
    Interesting that the cattle stopped eating when they saw you. I didn’t think anything would stop them, but I don’t know much about them.

    1. They are curious animals. There were some black cattle eating at the other end of the ride, but they moved off before I could add them to the post.

  2. Your garden is definitely waking up now while ours is charging full steam ahead…Im not ready for it to slow down yet but guess it rude to want to put your Northern Hemisphere brakes on a little longer to prolong our summer 😊

  3. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, and found the greyscale tree very artistic. It is a very nice composition.

    It is exciting come this time of year to see so many green shoot and swelling buds. Thank you both for the information on the rhododendron leaves. I have learned something new.

  4. Hoped you hadn’t had a fall after reading your title so reassured after reading post to find you are hale and hearty and enjoyed a safe damp cycle ride. The lovely lichen on your tree reminded me of a lichen transplanted onto a tree in the Botanic Garden of Wales: Tree lungwort Lobaria pulmonaria. Love the final tree.

  5. Nice indumentum on that leaf. Adds so much to the appeal of a rhododendron. I am also partial to the ones whose leaves look frosted white on the top, which I think, from memory of this non expert, is called tomentosum.

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