Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan. She went to a concert on Saturday with my sister Mary and enjoyed the domed ceiling of the church, St Mary at Hill, where the concert was held.
It was a decidedly cool, blustery and grey morning here today. Margaret came round for coffee, and we all agreed that it wasn’t much like a summer day. However, as it looked like a good drying day if the rain held off, Mrs T did risk hanging the washing out. We were lucky. The rain held off, and the washing got dry.
I went for a walk round the garden before coffee, and noted one or two things that caught my eye.
The self heal is well hidden in the no mow lawn . . .
. . . which we have decided to leave as it is for the time being. Mrs Tootlepedal likes the effect of the rippling grass in the breeze.
I took out some of the Sweet Williams which are over, but there are still some left to go with the new iris and the very first phlox phlower.
It is a good year for fruits, although the Juneberries are out in July. The apples are thriving and the thornless bramble is showing good results from the pollinators’ work. The bumble bee was back again today.
After coffee, we got busy in the garden, and among the dead heading, planting more wild flower plugs in the mini meadow, and some general tidying up, I took a few more pictures.
The ligularia has started to come out, and seen from the other side of the fence, the delphiniums in the vegetable garden show an entirely accidental harmony with the fence.
In the ‘wild’ bed at the back of the vegetable garden, nipplewort is running riot.
I topped up the bird feeder after lunch, and a lot of customers were very excited by the prospect of seed. One siskin went as far as trying to kick another one of its perch.
It was not all mayhem though, and I was able to get some portraits of more relaxed visitors.
You can see that there was a brisk wind ruffling the feathers of the siskin, but in spite of that, I managed to persuade myself to put on my cycling clothes and go for a pedal. (Perhaps I was helped by the fact that it was a travelling day in the Tour de France, and there was no live action on the telly.)
Because it was so windy (base wind at 17 mph, and gusts of 25 mph and more), I sensibly got out my electric bike. This let me choose quite a hilly route up to Eskdalemuir and back by way of the Crossdykes wind farm, Paddockhole and Callister.
On my way up the Esk valley to Eskdalemuir, I went through the little village of Bentpath. I stopped on the bridge to admire the church . . .
. . . and then I went down to the river . . .
. . . to admire the bridge.
I took the back road past Georgefield, and stopped to take a picture of a melancholy thistle in the verge. It was by no means all alone as the verges were packed with wild flowers.
From the point where I rejoined the main road at Enziehholm Brig, there is a two and a half mile climb up the Shaw Rigg. It was into a cross headwind today, so I was particularly pleased to have the help offered by my electric bike for this section of the ride.
I was hoping that when I crossed the bridge at Eskdalemuir . . .
. . . and headed back along the other side of the river, I would find the wind much more helpful. In fact, it was still very much a cross wind, and at times, when the road twisted a bit to the right, it was in my face. I was grateful for the shelter of trees on the Castle O’er road.
I crossed the Black Esk by one of my favourite bridges (not so much for its beauty as a structure as for the way it sits so snugly in its surroundings) . . .
. . .and passed the junction of the Black and White Esk rivers.
Just after I had crossed the bridge, I was brought to a halt by the sight of a fine marsh orchid beside the road.
The day got a bit sunnier at this juncture, and that made the ride even more of a treat as I battled the cross winds across the exposed section of road between Crossdykes and Paddockhole. Still, I had the consolation of knowing that once I had got to Paddockhole and turned east, the wind would be behind me for the last ten miles of my trip.
This happily turned out to be the case, and having had a good push from the electric motor to help me up the steep side of Callister, I was able to cycle the last 6 miles home with no help from the motor at all. I hit 35 mph free wheeling down the other side of Callister, and I was having too much fun to stop for any more pictures until I was finally slowed down a couple of miles from home by the bright yellow flowers of Lady’s Bedstraw in the verge.
There is absolutely no doubt that I wouldn’t have been doing a 34 miles ride with 2500ft of climbing in 25 mph winds if I hadn’t had my electric bike, so I am pleased that we made the decision to acquire them. If the winds do not drop soon, I will be using mine again.
I got back just in time for the regular zoom with my siblings, which was followed by a second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fish pie. I rounded off the evening with some stewed rhubarb and cream, and then we had a lovely sunset, so it was a day that was entered into the credit side of the great ledger of life in spite of the unpromisingly grey start.
I didn’t get a very good flying bird of the day today, so I have made up a composite of siskins and a sparrow to fill the gap.
Footnote: I took a 6 second video of a turbine at Crossdykes. You can see the shadow of the blades on the ground beside the tower. It was so windy that I had a hard time holding my little camera steady.