Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who has obviously arrived at Brixham in Devon, where he is visiting his oldest son.
I was talking on the telephone to Mrs Tootlepedal last night when I idly remarked that I was intending to leap up at the crack of dawn and go for a cycle ride before church today. She laughed politely and I didn’t even believe it myself. However, when I woke up this morning at 6 o’clock, I said to myself, “Why not?”
Much to my surprise, I found myself on my bicycle and going up the Wauchope road by twenty to seven. I was testing out the saddle that I put on my push bike last night by going round my familiar Canonbie circuit. The wind had dropped a lot from yesterday, but it was still strong enough to make life hard work until I turned at Wauchope Schoolhouse after three miles. From then on, the wind was more across than against, and I got on not too badly.
I was anxious to get home and have some breakfast, so I only stopped for two pictures on my way. One was an old friend at Canonbie in ruminative mood . . .
. . . and the other was a fine drift of Pyrenaean Valerian lining the road near Irvine House.
My timing was nearly perfect but I did run into a little rain shower just as I got near to Langholm. It was light enough for me not to get seriously wet though, so I sat down to my plate of porridge in a very cheerful state of mind.
I had filled the feeder before I set off, and when I looked after breakfast, there was a lot of traffic and plenty of action.
At one stage, a greenfinch peeped round the corner of the feeder to see what was going on.
As you can see, the rain had cleared off and it was a fine sunny day, so when I had got changed and had my shower, I put a load of washing in the machine, hoping for a good drying day. Then I took a walk round the garden to see if yesterday’s winds had done much damage. Things had survived very well, though the lupins were looking rather battered.
The Queen of Denmark was unscathed.
I went back to get ready to go to sing in the church choir, and was quite surprised to find that it was raining when I got to the back door. I picked up a brolly and walked to church where a choir of six was outnumbered by the congregation but not by much.
Henry, our choirmaster and organist, told us that repairs to the organ have now been completed, but the different parts still need to be brought to Langholm from various parts of the country and then installed. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this will not take more than a couple of weeks.
It was raining as I walked back from church so my plan to hang out the washing was a washout. I had a cup of coffee instead.
And then the sun came out again. Having checked the revised forecast, I wasn’t tempted to take the washing out, but I did go for another walk round the garden while the going was good. It was a sparkling morning by now, with raindrops on roses, and everything else too.
There were plenty of flowers bright enough to make me stop and stare.
. . . and new flowers to add interest.
A look at the plum tree showed that thinning out will be on the schedule when we got back from London at the end of the week. (I am joining Mrs Tootlepedal on Tuesday).
The reason that I had gone cycling so early in the day was that our Carlisle choir was meeting earlier than usual, and I had to leave Langholm at one o’clock to get there on time.
In my anxiety to be punctual, I got ready to leave a few minutes too early, so I had time for a third walk round the garden before I left. Another rain shower had left its mark on a geum . . .
. . . but Lilian Austin, under the shelter of the walnut tree was unruffled.
Among the mock oranges scattered round the garden, this one with golden leaves stands out.
Underneath it, a Rodgersia has produced a flowering stalk.
In the vegetable garden the pink peony is opening up . . .
. . . and the beds are full of beans.
It started to rain again as I drove down to Carlisle, but it had stopped by the time I fortunately found one last space available in the community centre car park where we were going to audition the two candidates who wanted to be our new conductor.
Each candidate was given 45 minutes to work with the choir, and either of them would be a good choice to take us forward. The choir members got a vote on their preference, but the final decision will be made by the committee, weighing up our choice, their views, and the advice of our outgoing conductor Ellen. We have only had two conductors since the choir was founded nearly ten years ago, so this will be a big change that needs careful thought. We will soon know who has been selected as she will take the practice next week. Ellen took us through a few of her favourite songs to end the session today, and we said goodbye to her with great regret. She is going off to further her career as a solo opera singer. We wish her well.
The day kept up its variable nature by pouring with rain as we came out of the practice, but it had stopped by the time that I got back to Langholm. As the sun was shining, I did consider an evening cycle ride or walk, but gloomy clouds and loomed up, so I stayed indoors. This was probably just as well, because it rained one or twice more.
The flying bird of the day is one of those quarrelsome siskins from the early morning.