Looking back

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s East Anglian break. It shows the River Stour at Sudbury in Suffolk.

We had another grey and occasionally rainy day here today, but the wind had dropped a little. This was a relief. It was not very warm for the time of year though, and the temperature struggled to get over 14°C. Because it was likely to rain, I had to put a waterproof cycling jacket on as I pedalled up to be a volunteer with the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve team in the morning.

I stopped as I went up the Broomholm hill to record a lovely patch of wild flowers beside the road.

I still have not been able to identify the yellow flowers and would welcome help from any knowledgeable reader. Here is a closer shot of them.

When I got to the top of the hill and looked about, it seemed as though it might well rain quite soon . . .

. . . but luckily it held off until we were almost finished. I was the only volunteer today but I was enough as we weren’t planting trees. The task for today was to collect four sample leaves from each of twenty four of the many oak trees in the Longwood to send to a PHD student in Wales who is researching oak trees. As always, when you look at something closely, the oak leaves were very interesting, and the three of us spent a happy hour and a half collecting the samples.

When I got home, it was high time for a late cup of coffee, followed by lunch.

I had filled the feeder earlier and it was quiet after lunch, but I was able to find a few birds to snap.

I went out into the garden to have a look round. Not all the lupins have been browbeaten by the recent winds.

I had plenty of flowers to choose from.

There is more orange hawkweed to be seen every day. It is also known as Fox-and-cubs, or Devil’s Paintbrush . . .

. . . Fox and Cubs because as you can see it has a strong leading flower surrounded by smaller ones that arrive later on, and the Devil’s Paintbrush, I would think, because it is very invasive and spreads quite robustly.

In spite of the damp cool weather, there were a few bees about . . .

. . . and I managed to catch one of them just landing as it explored the lupins.

There are quite a lot of peonies in among the lupins but there are some in the open too.

I wanted to test the new wing mirror which I have just fitted to my electric bike, and I decided to go out in spite of the possibility of rain showers. I have got some good wet weather gear, so I really have no need to worry too much about a little light rain.

I gave the mirror a good test by cycling the 26 miles up to Bailliehill and back by Paddockhole and Callister. There were a few light rain showers but nothing to write home about.

My route took me through Bentpath, where I stopped for a clump of wild irises . . .

. . . and a look at the Thomas Telford Library.

The great engineer, who was born nearby, left £3000 in his will to buy books for the library which had been started by local antimony miners. The present building dates from 1862.

It was quite windy when I got to the open ground at the top of the hill beside the Crossdykes wind farm, and I was glad to get some assistance from my electric motor. I was also glad to see the turbines hard at work producing more electricity so that I would be able to recharge my battery when I got home.

It was pretty gloomy up there but I saw two sorts of thistle, this potential bruiser . . .

. . . and the more delicate Melancholy Thistle, so called because it was used to treat Melancholia.

The road was quite busy . . .

. . . but I got through safely, and enjoyed the run home from Paddockhole with the wind in a more friendly direction. At 26.2 miles, my trip was almost exactly the same as a marathon race, and I was pleased to complete the distance in just under two hours, happy that even the best runners in the world would not have been able to go round faster than me.

When I got home, I had a last look round the garden and took my hat off to the Queen of Denmark . . .

. . . and then went in and looked at the birds. They seemed a bit dispirited by the gloomy and wet weather and who can blame them.

The day ended with a Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters and some communication with Mrs Tootlepedal in London. All being well, I should see her in person tomorrow. I am catching the train to London myself. As a result, the next few posts will be brief phone published updates.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow having a confidential conversation with a friend.

Footnote for those interested in this sort of thing: the wing mirror passed the test with flying colours. It fits on my bar end and gave me a good view behind. It didn’t wobble about over bumps, it stayed in position, and it made me feel a lot more secure than I feel without it. I took a picture this evening to show what it looks like, but I usually had a better view than this when I looked into it this afternoon.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

15 thoughts on “Looking back

  1. I don’t have specialist knowledge, but I do still have my Keble Martin, which indicates to me that your yellow flower may (may) be Hieracium anglicum, (no common name) which is ‘widely distributed in Scotland, N England and Ireland’.

      1. (13 hours later, next day) My vocal quartet has just met here, the tenor of which is a very keen botanist. He confirms that the yellow flowers are hieracium, and thinks that my diagnosis of anglicum is probably correct because of the leaves. But, as Keble Martin says, there are 260 varieties of hieracium, so you could have fun getting a final identification!

  2. It was good to see that some of the lupines are still standing tall and straight. I’ve never seen them grow like they do there.
    Google lens says your yellow flower is common nipplewort (Lapsana communis) which is a native of Europe and which I’ve never heard of. The notched leaves and smooth seedpods are a good help with identification but I always take what Google lens says with a grain of salt.
    You got some good shots of the bees, which is something I haven’t been able to do yet this year.

  3. I like the kind of traffic jam you run into on your rides. Your wing mirror looks quite similar to the one I have, but I’m not as happy with mine as you are with yours – it vibrates quite a lot and I think I need to move it to the other hand grip because I keep on walloping it out of position. Grumble grumble . . .

  4. I don’t dare to give a name to the yellow flowers as here are a lot of this kind of composites. You need all the details of the plant for determination. The thistle you showed is calles the spear thistle in Dutch because of the sharpe spines on its leaves. Did the cows escape from behind a fence ?? Have a nice day, it will be a warm and sunny one !

  5. I enjoyed the beautiful assortment of birds and flowers. Thank you for posting the yellow one again, with leaves. It does not appear to Hypochaeris radiacata. Other than that, I am of no help.

    The yellow wild iris is beautiful. I have a patch of them here, too. The kind we have goes by the common name of “Yellow Flag” iris.

    That is a nice bike mirror. An old co-worker, many years ago, used to keep one on his computer monitor so he could be alerted to the supervisor coming in the door. 🙂

  6. The bee landing on the lupins is luscious. I have to go back and get caught up on all your cool and cloudy weather so I can dream. Have a good trip.

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