Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair. He, Clare and Matilda visited a well known landmark on their way back from a dance competition this afternoon. (Matilda was doing the dancing and did very well.) The scale of the Kelpies can be judged from the people walking round them.
We had another genuine summer day here, but unlike parts of the country further south, our temperatures stayed at a very tolerable level, reaching 24°C at midday and cooling down gently after that. We spent some very pleasant time in the garden, including having coffee with Margaret under the shade of the walnut tree.
The first task of the day was to check what the verbascum was up to. It was in a quizzical mood.
I finished the pruning of the espalier apples, but this was only the rough stuff. I leave the detailed and careful final work to Attila the Gardener and her secateurs of doom. We dug up our early potatoes, and found them very clean which was good, but a bit little lacking in quantity, perhaps because we were a bit too early ourselves. Unlike the potato farmer at Denholm, we haven’t been watering our potatoes lately, and the plants were looking a bit tired as a result.
While we were sorting the potatoes, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed an interesting spider on her hand. I didn’t get a clear picture of it, but I have put it in because I think it is a common candy striped spider . . .
. . . which, in spite of its name, I have never seen before.
I did quite a bit of dead heading, and took some pictures as I went round. I looked for quantity and found feverfew.
I looked for quality and found blue salvia.
I looked for novelty and found a new day lily . . .
. . . and a new dahlia . . .
. . .and a flower on the ginger syllabub rose.
I had a close look at the verbascum . . .
When she was not in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy writing up minutes of a Langholm Initiative meeting. When I went in for lunch, I checked the birds and found that a bunch of starlings had joined the pigeons in the clean up squad under the feeder.
Through the day, I took a few bird portraits, a siskin . . .
. . . two shots of a chaffinch, one from an upstairs window . . .
. . .and a goldfinch.
I was pleased to see the seed going to a good home.
After lunch (and a bit more gardening), Mrs Tootlepedal returned to her minutes, and I went out for a leg powered bicycle ride.
I chose a route that zig zagged around on its way out so that I didn’t have to cycle straight into the wind for any great length of time. I visited Solwaybank, Cadgegill Burn, Corries Mill, Batenbush, and Canonbie in a 26 mile circular tour with no big hills in it. I was happy to stop for wild flowers and logged the first harebell of the year among more familiar umbellifers, vetch and thistles.
A light covering of cloud made for poor light for landscape pictures, so after the first burst of verge pictures, I kept my camera in my pocket except for more wild flowers, willowherb, thistle, ragwort, and a carpet of stitchwort . . .
. . . until I got to the point where a short bike path joins the old A7 at Hagg-on-Es. Here I took a wider view. The road was lined with meadowsweet today.
The next couple of miles are wildflower central . . .
. . .with a lot to choose from.
I got home to find Mrs Tootlepedal back at work in the garden and with just enough time to take a few more flower pictures before I went in to have a cup of tea before the sibling Zoom.
Once again I looked for quantity . . .
. . . and quality.
The pinky-purple poppy is actually growing in a crack in the pavement just outside our gate but I am going to claim it as ours.
The sibling Zoom was full of tales of over heated weather in the south, though my sister Caroline had the benefit of a sea breeze in Portsmouth, so I was pleased with our relatively cool evening temperature. It should be a very nice temperature here again tomorrow, and if we are lucky, we might even get a little rain in the evening.
The flying bird of the day is another bumble bee.