Today guest picture comes from our younger son Alistair. He is on the west coast of Scotland at the moment and finds that the sun shines there too.
The sun shone here all day. After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went up to help staff a stall which the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve was running at the monthly market in the Market Place. They were answering questions from the public and enrolling new members to support the project. I went up to the market a bit later on, and bought fish, honey and soap.
On my way home, I stopped to admire the splendid set of lupins which Kenny grows on his side of the dam opposite our flamboyant poppies.
Back in the garden, I found roses and bees . . .
. . . some lovely lupins of our own . . .
. . . and the first foxgloves of the season.
After my usual delaying tactics (coffee, crossword, toast), I got my electric bike out and went for a ride. I chose to go electric for three reasons; one, it was quite windy; two, I wanted to see how good the battery would be over a longer distance; and three, I was a bit tired.
I looked back after a few miles to see if I could truly say that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky . . .
. . .and found that it was almost true.
My plan was to cycle down to the coast at Browhouses with the wind behind me, and then make generous use of electrical assistance as I cycled back into the wind and uphill on my way back.
I chose a circuitous route on the way down and ended up doing 30 miles to get to Browhouses, which is 17 miles away by the most direct route. I had used less than a quarter of my battery to get there, so I chose another circuitous 30 mile route to get home, and that used almost half my battery. The battery is supposed to last 100km at best, and as I had done 97km and still had a quarter left, I felt pretty satisfied that it would meet my cycling needs very well.
On my way, I passed cows sitting quietly in the sunshine . . .
. . . cycled down leafy roads, past ruined buildings, and over bridges . . .
. . . and made a diversion to see the Korean pines at the Half Morton churchyard. They were worth a look.
Each tree develops at its own pace and the cones are a slightly different colour. I have put two general pictures in, one to show how unassuming the pines look from a little distance, and one to show just how many cones there are on the trees when you look.
They are a constant source of wonder to me.
When I got to the sea side, the sea was out . . .
. . .and all that I could see were the outgoing waters of the River Esk running between sandbanks.
At this point, the Solway is more of an estuary for the Esk and the Eden than a firth.
The only birds that I could see were some gulls far out on the sandbanks.
I had some flat country to cross on the way home and as it was into the wind, I varied the route to add interest. I took the motorway service road south from Gretna in the hope of seeing wild roses in the embankment.
Then I followed National Cycle Route 7 north . . .
. . . crossing the River Lyne by way of an old railway bridge now repurposed for cyclists . . .
. . . with a lovely view from it as you cross.
The narrow cycle path can be slippery on wet days . . .
. . . but it was perfect today.
The path only follows the railway for a short while, and cyclist are decanted back onto roads, while the railway track, now used for farm traffic, can be seen from time to time from the road.
At least the road takes you past Arthuret Church . . .
. . . which was looking at its best today.
I didn’t stop for many wild flowers, but I did take a picture of big daisies which are beginning to show up everywhere. It was too windy and sunny for a good daisy picture . . .
. . .and I will hope to get better shots on later bike rides. I also saw clover, red and white, dazzling birdsfoot trefoil, and the developing pine cones at the Kerr Wood.
I was very pleased to have taken my electric bike on this outing, as its upright riding position and kindly assistance gave me the chance to look about a lot more than I would have done if I had been battling into the wind, head down on my road bike. Also, there is no doubt that it makes cycling uphill a positive pleasure for an old man.
When I got home, I had a cup of tea and the last of the ginger biscuits with Mrs Tootlepedal. She had had a satisfactory morning at the market and had signed up new members.
I checked on the garden birds and spotted a different flying creature over the garden as well.
The blackbird was very cross with me because I had disturbed her when she was visiting the pond.
We had fish for supper, and followed that up with stewed rhubarb and custard, so it was generally a very good day. While supper was cooking, I went out and discovered that the poppy which grows in the greenhouse had produced its first flower while I was out cycling.
And I noticed that a stray ray of sunlight had picked out the Wren in the shadows under the walnut tree.
The flying bird of the day is that jackdaw from the chimney trying to sneak off undetected.
For those interested, I include a map of today’s route and if you click on it, further details of the ride may be found.