Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She passed this striking passion flower in a front garden on her walk today.
Reliable information tells me that there was a brilliantly sunny dawn here today, but by the time that I got up, it was grey and cloudy. After breakfast and the crossword, I walked up the hill to have coffee with Sandy, and found him in a very cheerful mood. He showed me a multimedia presentation of part of a holiday that he spent with two friends in Thailand before the lockdowns struck. He had put a lot of care and skill into creating it.
Before I left, we arranged to go for an afternoon cycle ride.
As there wasn’t much of view over the town because of the grey weather, I looked at my feet instead as I walked down Jimmy’s Brae.
I found that Scott, our ex minister, had called in for a cup of coffee in my absence, and he was chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal when I got in. He is always an interesting chap to talk to so in the end, the whole of my morning was spent in good quality social interaction.
When he went on his way, I wandered around the garden while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to post a birthday present to our granddaughter Evie.
The verbascaum’s contortion is amazing. It seems to twist a different way very day. Today it was a crook.
The vegetable garden is soon going to be full of beans.
The highlight of the garden tour was finding a red soldier beetle on the eryngium . . .
. . . but the subdued light was quite good for taking pictures of colourful flowers . . .
. . . so . . .
. . . I . . .
. . . I took some.
I was dead heading a rose when I noticed a couple of less flamboyant flowers that had crept up on me, a perennial wallflower . . .
. . . and an unusually pale opium poppy.
The day, which had been very good so far, went downhill a bit from this point on.
It started to rain, and Sandy and I deferred our cycle ride until the weather was better. It did dry up a bit later on, and I decided to go for a pedal by myself in my wet weather gear. However, before I had got my gear on, I inadvertently turned on the telly coverage of today’s stage of the Tour de France. Inevitably, I was totally seduced by its siren call, and crashed heavily into the sofa where I remained immobile for several hours.
I roused myself to look at the birds from time to time . . .
. . . and found that they were a lot more active than I was.
In the end, I thought that I too should take a little exercise, so I went for a walk round the Pheasant Hatchery, an extension of my three bridges walk.
There were no interesting waterside birds to be seen, but the giant hogweed on the river bank at the Meeting of the Waters looked quite threatening . . .
. . . and a black headed gull seemed quite angry as it marched towards me.
I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, so I strode out as briskly as I could. I did stop for a few wild flowers and looks up at what was going on in the trees . . .
. . . and in spite of the grey weather and a hint of drizzle, there was plenty to look at, including orchids, Himalayan balsam and toxic laurel berries.
Once again, the star of the show was a red soldier beetle, this time perched on top of an orchid.
The general prospects were lush.
I got home in time for the regular Zoom with my brother and sisters, which was followed by the final appearance of the slow cooked beef stew (with new potatoes).
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round, and while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal mused over the political situation, Alison and I played recorder and keyboard duets. We were both a little tired tonight, and we have had nights when there has been a greater proportion of correct to incorrect notes than there was this evening. But it was still enjoyable. Playing music with other people is always a great treat.
I didn’t get a decent flying bird of the day today and this camera shy couple of siskins was the best that I could do.