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.