Jam today

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She has an uninvited visitor in her garden and wondered what it is. Some research suggests that it is stonecrop, a type of sedum. Where it came from is a mystery.

We were woken several times in the night by the sound of heavy rain showers, so it was no surprise to find that Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge had recorded well over an inch of rain when I looked at it after breakfast. This was very welcome as we needed the rain, but it did knock over a lot of lupins and not many stalks remained standing.

Our neighbour Margaret has recovered from Covid, and she came round to join us at coffee time. Covid has temporarily destroyed her taste for coffee, so she drank water while we enjoyed our traditional brew.

After she left, we visited the garden to see how things were after the heavy rain. Apart from the lupins, most things seemed to have survived well, and roses and the latest philadelphus were fine.

The pond had been filled up to above the level of the plants, and insects skated about on the surface.

I was pleased to find plenty of undamaged colour about.

I went round to the corner shop for supplies, and checked on the Wauchope Water on my way. There was plenty of water going under the bridge today compared with the trickle of recent weeks . . .

. . . and the wild flower that had been beside the Esk yesterday, was in the middle of the river today.

The shopping trip would have been more of a success if the shop had been open for business, and I cycled home empty handed, pausing to note more water than usual going down the dam behind our house.

We had to drive down to the Co-op to get the supplies that we needed.

When we got home, I took a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fancy buttercup in the garden.

I had filled the feeder earlier in the day, and a siskin looked rather indignant to find that almost all the seed had already gone by lunchtime.

It was sunny and dry, but very windy, and two pigeons perched rather precariously on the power line above the feeder.

One gave up and flew back to the comparative stability of the walnut tree.

We have got a steady supply of good lettuce from the garden at the moment, so we are enjoying healthy lunches.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal had to go to Carlisle to buy some millinery material for a song and dance costume she is making for our granddaughter Matilda. As the weather seemed set fair, I decided to go for a bicycle ride.

It was very windy and I am not proud, so I went on my electric bike. This turned out to be a good choice, as when I headed out westwards, the gusts were strong enough to have brought me nearly to a halt if I had been pedalling under my own steam. As it was, I pedalled very vigorously and used plenty of electrical help to keep my speed above 10 mph uphill and into the wind.

I had gone as far as Eaglesfield before I took my camera out. I had a distant view of Burnswark, the hill fort that I had pedalled past on a recent ride . . .

. . . before I turned south down the old main road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming. It is a dull road from a cycling point of view, but it has plenty of wild flowers beside it to add interest. In spite of some mowing, I spotted a good number of spotted orchids on a wide verge not far from Eaglesfield . . .

. . . and further south, the verges were covered with daisies.

When I got to Kirkpatrick Fleming, I turned east and had the full force of the wind behind me. My e-bike is not allowed by law to give me assistance when my speed exceeds 15 mph. As my average speed for the next ten miles was over 15 mph, my battery use was very sparing!

I stopped at the churchyard at Half Morton to check on the Korean pine cones. Some of them are a pretty blue colour . . .

. . .and the more mature ones give the impression of being covered in flocks of small birds.

There is very little to match the pleasure of cycling along at 20 mph with a 20 mph wind behind you as your progress is virtually silent and seems effortless. I didn’t really slow down until I had to call on substantial electrical assistance to get up the steep hill at Tarcoon. I stopped at the top to take the view across to Whita Hill . . .

. . . and the road down the other side of the hill.

The verges are not as colourful as they have been at the moment, but there are frequent splashes of purple/blue from patches of vetch.

As I got near to Langholm, I took a view over Wauchopedale . . .

. . . before stopping for a final picture to show some of the overnight rain going over the little cascade below Wauchope Schoolhouse.

The 34 mile trip took me over 500 miles for the month. I have done 225 miles on my road bike, 225 miles on my e-bike by myself, and 55 miles on e-bikes with Mrs Tootlepedal. That seems like quite a sensible split for an old man during a windy month.

After the regular Zoom with my brother and sisters, we had new potatoes from the garden with our evening meal. Mrs Tootlepedal’s hard work is paying off.

The day was rounded off by the making of five jars of strawberry jam with some Scottish strawberries that had crept almost unnoticed into my shopping bag while we were in the supermarket yesterday.

Then just as I was writing this post, Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to a burst of noise in the sky outside the house. It was the flying birds of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Jam today

  1. I enjoyed the virtual trip through your countryside. The Korean pine cone scales do look like a flock of birds. Thank you for showing readers the mature cones.

    Another hot day here topping about 90. Tomorrow should be better, according to the forecast.

  2. That was quite a lot of water from that storm, according to the rivers and streams.
    I didn’t know the plant breeders were working on buttercups. That one is unusual.
    The Korean pine cones make me want a Korean pine. I’m going to have to ask my son if he saw any while he was in Korea.

  3. The Korean pine cones are stunning – both the colour and the shape. Lovely close-up shots.

    Interesting point about the law limiting electric assistance – but it makes sense when you think about it. I checked and in MB e-bikes are limited to 500 W output and a maximum speed of 32 km/hr (20 mph).

  4. Another really enjoyable cycle ride with super views. Must check out the ‘flying birds’ on our cones! I like the way you keep records of mileage done- gosh you are organised!

  5. The Korean planes certainly are quite impressive, and still plenty of wild flowers about.
    We had some rain last night too,but only enough to half fill my water butts,but more on the way tomorrow.
    Your ebike/road bike rides should encourage me to get out on mine,I’ve only used it twice since getting it a month ago.
    With one thing or another I never seem to get the time,and my breathing isn’t the best atm…no excuse to not use the ebike though to be honest.
    I’m up in Kendal this weekend so must make a determined effort to get out and pedal.

    1. There is a lot of pollen about at the moment so the e-bike assistance was very welcome. I hope that you get some decent weather if you do go for a ride at Kendal.

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