Back in the groove again

Today’s guest picture(s) come from Dropscone’s holiday in Devon. He took a trip on the Babbacombe cliff railway.

We had a very familiar sort of day here now that we are back home. We rose rather late to let us recover from the journey yesterday, and then we had coffee with our neighbour Margaret. It took us two minutes to catch up with all the news from while we have been away as it seems to have been a quiet time.

After coffee, we got busy in the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal had plants to plant out in the flower garden, as well as weeding and general tidying up to do. I did some watering in the vegetable garden, some dead heading and some mowing. I thinned about 100 small plums off the plum tree which had several branches in danger of breaking if all the fruit was left on. As it was a very pleasant day, I took a picture or two in between times.

I was spoiled for choice among the roses.

There is a lot of good colour around at the moment.





Although it is not the most colourful flower, I love the stachys.

I put some of the other flowers that caught my eye into a panel. We still don’t have nearly as many bees as we should have. I was excited to see a tinge of blue on the eryngium. Peonies have an interesting interior life, and we hope for a good crop of berries on the thornless bramble on the fence.

The garden is generally quite a bit ‘wilder’ than it used to be.

Genuine cyclists know that the optimum number of bicycles to own is N + 1 where N is the number of bikes that you already own. As far as dead heading goes, the number of flowers needing dead heading is N + 3 where N equals the number that you have just dead headed and 3 is the number that you see still needing dead heading when you look again a few minutes later. The + 3 is a constant because however many more more you go back and dead head, there are always three more left undone.

Leaving three poppies to be dead headed, we went in for lunch.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went back out onto the garden to start work again. I followed on and took a few pictures of birds at the feeder from in the garden and not though the window as usual. In spite of Mrs Tootlepedal working close by, the feeder was busy.

I felt a bit tired, so leaving Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work, I went in for a sit down in front of the telly for a while. I rested so well that I felt ready to go out for a cycle ride by four o’clock. It was generally windy with some even brisker gusts, so I pocketed my pride and went out on my electric bike. It makes pedalling in brisk winds a much more enjoyable experience than having to battle with the breeze on my push bike.

Having chosen my electric bike, I thought I ought to make good use of it, so I went on a thirty mile loop with a lot of uphill work in it. (2500 feet of it, according to Strava.)

I went over Callister, through Waterbeck to Middlebie against the wind, stopping to take a picture of a cool calf at Hottsbridge on my way.

At Middlebie, I turned right and headed up to Bankshill along a single track road with good hedges . . .

. . . which did an excellent job of giving me shelter from the strong crosswind. I stopped to note the wild flowers in the unmown verges . . .

. . . a small reservoir on one side of the road . . .

. . . and on the other side, the hill at Burnswark which is the site of a bronze age burial cairn, an iron age fort and a Roman camp.

(Geologically interested readers will have seen at once that it provides succinct and prominent geological evidence of the interruption of sediment deposition by lava eruption followed by basalt flows, according to Wikipedia)

I couldn’t miss the turbines at Minsca windfarm, one of the earliest windfarms in our area.

It is quite a long hill up from Middlebie but the reward for the climb is an outstanding view from the top.

At Bankshill, I joined the Lockerbie – Langholm road and was able to pedal happily home with the strong wind now behind me. When I looked, I could see wind turbines at Crossdykes, Ewe Hill and Minsca busy turning that wind into electricity.

My route home took me past Paddockhole Bridge, and I took a picture of the bridge from the ‘wrong’ side as I almost always approach it from the other direction.

After battling hills and wind for the first fifteen miles, which took me an hour and twenty minutes, I whisked home with the wind behind me, floating electrically assisted over a couple of steep climbs on the way, covering the 15 miles back in 55 minutes. I saw four cars in the whole 30 miles.

I had time for a last walk round when I got home. I went to the back of the house to admire our neighbour Kenny’s lovely lupins on the bank of the dam . . .

. . . took another picture of one of the blue irises . . .

. . . contrasted the mown lawn with the no-mow section . . .

. . . and went back in to sit down to a delicious meal of fish pie which Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared while I was out cycling.

I didn’t spend any time today looking for flying birds out of the window, but I did see a jackdaw and a gull flying over our garden in contrasting styles, so there are joint flying birds of the day today.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Back in the groove again

  1. I enjoyed this colorful presentation of birds, blooms and views. The garden does look wildly exuberant in all its finery. The hill at Burnswark with all its associated history looks interesting. Can one walk around there, or its is off limits to exploration?

    1. You can visit it. I keep meaning to go but I have never got round to it. You can visit the reservoir too but I have never got round to that either.

  2. I like that single pink rose but Lillian Austin still takes the blue ribbon for the prettiest rose I’ve ever seen.
    The water under the Paddockhole Bridge looks low, just like it does here. Where I wonder, is all the rain falling.
    I still haven’t found a way to get that close to wind turbines.

    1. You can’t get away from them here! A new application for 22 turbines next to the Solwaybank lot is being submitted.

      We have had just enough occasional rain to keep the garden going but the rivers are exceptionally low.

  3. A lovely cycle with wonderful views over the countryside and towards that magnificent hill at Burnswark with all its history and geology. The garden looks beautiful, free and inviting so hope all the insects take note! Love the contrasting styles of your flying birds.

      1. It’s the same here- it’s very worrying. There aren’t any swallows here this year but the number of swifts making nests under our eaves seems pretty steady- just hope there are enough insects around to keep them all fed!

      2. We have some swallows but not a great many in my view. I have noticed a few more insects squashed on the front of the car today so perversely, that may be a good sign.

  4. Beautiful flowers everywhere! From Kenny’s lovely lupins to the beautiful blue iris to the interior of the peony that looks like a collection of pimento stuffed green olives – such colours. Oh my.

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