A pedal and a tootle

Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Libbie, who is visiting Perthshire. Knowing that I like trees, she sent me this picture of the Fortingall Yew, known for being one of the oldest trees in Britain, with modern estimates of its age being between 2,000 and 3,000 years.

We had a day of variable weather here, with showers of rain from time to time and only occasional bits of sunshine. As it was warm and not very windy, we were reasonable happy, except that Mrs Tootlepedal would have liked to have been able to hang the washing out with confidence.

The first blackbird of the day was sitting on the feeder pole taking in the sights.

Dropscone came round for coffee and related some of the bad luck which led to him not becoming the Langholm Open Golf champion this year. In spite of this, he was in a cheery mood. He left to go and give his bicycle a clean, as he is putting it in for a service next week.

Before he arrived, I had time for a walk round the garden, where I saw starlings on the very top of the walnut tree . . .

. . . and a good selection of flowers.

After he left, I went out again and saw a pair of Wren roses in a sunny moment.

I did a bit of dead heading, and planted three more wild flower plugs in the mini meadow on the drying green. Mrs Tootlepedal was very busy in the garden, and I lent a helping hand from time to time, as well as cycling round to the corner shop for supplies.

After lunch, we went out into the garden again, and I spotted another blackbird, a young one this time, looking as though it was hoping that someone might bring it a worm.

Frau Dagmar Hastrup and a Scotch rose caught my eye . . .

. . . while Special Grandma tried to hide behind her own leaves.

I filled the feeder and went back in as it started to rain very lightly.

After checking on the birds . . .

. . . I decided to rise above the dubious weather and go for a pedal. I put on waterproof trousers and jacket, and set off to go round my familiar 20 mile Canonbie route in light rain.

The rain soon faded away and I was able to stop quite soon after I had started to photograph an orchid beside the road.

The white bull at the Bloch was standing close to the fence as I cycled past. He was quite unruffled when I asked him to pose for a picture.

On the other side of the road, dark clouds provided an ominous background to the oak tree.

I was wearing a peaked cap under my helmet to keep the rain off my cycling glasses. It had done its job well in the drizzle, but it was making my head rather over hot, so as it wasn’t raining, I stopped and took it off. Literally within seconds of my starting to pedal again, it started to rain again, and within a minute or two, the rain was pelting down and my glasses were covered in raindrops.

I didn’t play the weather gods’ game and stop to replace my cap though, and I was rewarded a mile or so further on when the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

The rest of my ride was dry, although the roads were quite wet in places, showing that I had only just missed more showers.

Pedalling under my own steam today, I was not in a rush, and I was able to enjoy honeysuckle in the hedges . . .

. . . and drifts of meadowsweet in the unmown road verges.

It has a lovely soft flower head.

The threat of rain was never far away . . .

. . . but the actual rain was always somewhere else. Mrs Tootlepedal told me that it had rained hard in Langholm while I was out.

As I was going along the old road, I passed a carpet of wildflowers in the verge, with daisies, knapweed, clover, bird’s foot trefoil and crosswort all to be seen, interspersed with tiny white flowers . . .

. . .which turned out to be very small stitchwort when looked at more closely.

I had a look at the cones on the young larch tree beside the river just before I joined the main road.

I got home in time to watch a bit of the opening time trial of the Tour de France. There are three weeks of entertaining viewing to come if there are any rainy afternoons to fill in (and perhaps even some fine afternoons too).

After a Zoom with my brother, and my sisters who had met together in Chichester earlier in the day, we had a our evening meal. This was followed by a visit from Mike and Alison for the traditional Friday evening music and conversation. Alison and I played some very enjoyable duets and both of us resolved to do a little practice. That is a very novel idea. Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike talked politics and got depressed. We joined them, talked more politics and got more depressed.

The flying bird of the day is a young greenfinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “A pedal and a tootle

  1. The oak tree shot was dramatic with those dark clouds.
    I like all the roadside sights, including the orchids, the bull and the wildflowers. It’s interesting to see the wildflowers growing where they belong. We have the same flowers but here they’re considered weeds.
    A 2,000 year old tree is hard to imagine but I know there are a few out there.

  2. I had not heard of the Fortingall Yew. It is a venerable old tree.

    The unmown verges are beautifully carpeted with wildflowers, as they should be. Over here the state sprays the roadsides with herbicide and I have to apply for a permit on a yearly basis to keep our road frontage from being sprayed.

    That is a very hopeful blackbird youngster. I hope he was able to find a nice fat worm for himself. He looks a bit big to get continued parental feeding, though I can’t blame him for trying..

    1. The blackbird certainly is old enough to feed himself but it was looking very pathetic. At least our council doesn’t spray the verges, cutting them too often is bad enough.

  3. All wonderful captures! This place went two weeks without mowing and the bees loved all the clover that popped up here in my New Hampshire yard. I see mostly Bumble Bees at this point, but something pollinated my tomatoes and cukes as they are coming along nicely even though I planted them a month before they say to here, I got lucky. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Love Tommy singing above brought back memories! Lovely photos of the honeysuckle, the meadow sweet and all the other wildflowers- we are fortunate to see such delights on our verges.

  5. It was nice seeing the honeysuckle as I recently planted two and have been happy to see them starting a climb up the lattice archway. I find that even thinking about politics over this side of the ocean is enough to depress most anyone. We’re in a very sad state of affairs.

      1. Agree. It’s all very upsetting …. including all the shootings, and we don’t see an end in sight. My oldest daughter is moving this month to Berlin with her family. I envy her in some ways.

  6. What a wonderfully cooperative white bull. And, of course, I do like that oak with the marvelous clouds for backdrop. I get the impression that you have the same sort of sudden rain squalls that we get here. They can come down in a hurry and disappear just as quickly. Wishing our ‘verges’ were half as lovely as yours.

    Looks like you have a variety of knapweed in your verges. What a very different sort of situation yours grows in compared to the one I just posted! What a very versatile and determined plant it is! I would have liked a closer look at your knapweed. I’m assuming it’s the pink flower as seen before the closer look at the stitchwort.

    1. I will try to take a good wild knapweed picture when I pass one one on a walk or a ride. We are quite used to it raining all day but recently, short showers have been our standard fare.

      1. Thank you. That would be lovely to compare knapweeds. I became quite enchanted by the straggly plant ours was there amongst the bare, beached river rocks. It’s a wonder anything grows out there!
        That should encourage me to keep up with your posts, just in case! We’ve been a bit busy here, so some things have slipped by me of late.

  7. Yew trees are usually found in church yards, suggesting they are linked with Christianity up to 2000 years of age and even paganism on the same site if between 2000 and 3000 years of age. It is amazing to think such site have existed for so long and still being used. Then there is the wonderful fact that the tree has witnessed everything over such millennia. Cheers.

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