Cooler heads

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She went out very early yesterday to avoid the excessive heat in London, and was just in time to see a train passing a canal. The resulting picture takes quite a bit of deconstructing to work out what is going on.

After hitting us with 94°F (34.4°C) yesterday, the weather gods relented today and allowed us to enjoy a more usual summer day with a maximum of 78°F (25.5°C). It was, as they say, a breath of fresh air. Although there were some sunny spells in the morning and evening, most of the day was cloudy, and that allowed everything to cool down.

I walked round the back of the house before coffee and took the opportunity to take a photograph of our neighbour Kenny’s verbascum plants beside the dam. They show what a verbascum should look like.

This is what ours looked like today.

As I came in by the back gate, a fuchsia flower was hanging about.

I had a walk round the garden and dead headed the moss roses, which are continuing to flower well . . .

. . . and nipped off some old lupin stalks too. There are only a few lupins left while the nasturtiums are spreading out more and more each day.

I picked some sweet peas and gave them to Margaret when she came round at coffee time. She and Mrs Tootlepedal drank a glass of the blackcurrant cordial and declared that it was very good. Mrs Tootlepedal brought a second glass out into the garden when Margaret left.

She sipped it while we walked round the garden.

There was watering and tidying up to be done so we watered and tidied up. And I mysteriously found time to take some more pictures.

I heard a lady being interviewed about her garden on the telly last night. She was asked what she liked best in a garden. “Abundance, ” she replied. I like abundance too.

. . . but I do like striking single flowers as well.

The buddleia (bottom left above) is just coming out, and I hope that it will mean that we will start to see butterflies soon. There were a few white butterflies about today.

That one was visiting the phacelia, and the phacelia was attracting bees too today.

When I looked at it after I went in, the bird feeder was attracting sparrows.

After lunch, I nearly got sucked in by today’s stage of the Tour de France, but I managed to drag myself away in the nick of time, and go for a bicycle ride in the real world.

It was an indication of how hot it was yesterday, that at 23°C, it seemed quite cool and almost chilly when I set out to pedal round the Crossdykes Wind Farm. As I wasn’t sure how well I had recovered from feeling the heat yesterday, I took my electric bike. Once I got started, I found that I was going well, so to make up for the extra help, I pedalled as fast as I could. As a result, I managed an average speed for this route which I hadn’t achieved since 2016. The electric bike is making me feel (relatively) young again.

The cloud cover was very welcome, even if it made the views a little dull.

Although the fields are still very green, brown is beginning to creep into the landscape on the hillsides . . .

I introduced my new camera to the bridge at Paddockhole . . .

. . .and, having crossed the bridge when I came to it, I used generous amounts of electrical assistance to get me up the valley of the Water of Milk . . .

. . . to Bailiehill. From there, it was generally downhill, and with the wind behind, I had to do a lot of unassisted pedalling as the power cuts out at 15 mph.

At the Crossdykes windfarm, I stopped to look at harebells beside the road . . .

. . . and found that my new camera did not quite see the same pretty pale blue flowers that I was looking at. I will have to learn to use the settings better. The camera couldn’t fail to spot the thistles nearby.

On my way back through Bentpath, I passed a fine clump of the same sort of scabious that I had met on my recent trip to England . . .

. . . and just before I got back to Langholm, a ragwort plant caught my eye. There is a lot of it about now.

I got home in time to see the very end of the Tour de France stage. Good timing.

In the evening, I zoomed with my brother and two of my sisters, while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting at the Buccleuch Centre. It was a consultation meeting on the latest Scottish Government land reform proposals. Mrs Tootlepedal found it very interesting, and was extremely impressed by the government ministers leading the proposals, Mairi McAllan and Lorna Slater. She found them crisp, considerate, well informed and to the point.

I didn’t do very well on flying birds today and a snatched effort of a swift zipping over the garden was the best that I could manage.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Cooler heads

  1. I’m pleased to hear your enjoying the ebike. I think it has to be the way forward for as I’m finding the climbs less enjoyable and more of a struggle,so at least the ebike will ger me out,and you can make it as easy or hard as you like.
    The ragwort is poisonous to horses and my daughter and the rest of our local owners spend hours digging it up and disposing of it.
    Some great flowers I todays post,especially the harebells

    1. I take your point about being encouraged to go out by the electric bike. I have definitely been out on days when I would otherwise have stayed at home. With the best will in the world, pedal cycling gets harder as age creeps on.

  2. Mary’s picture is indeed a puzzle. What train, where? Of course, once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it, but before that it’s a fence!

  3. Abundance can make a good garden a great garden, in my opinion. You have a great garden.
    Both the clematis and the white rose photos were very good.
    The verbascum now looks like what is called a broken leader on an engineering drawing. It is used when you need to to draw attention to a specific feature. It certainly captured my attention.

  4. Your temperature sounds lovely. Ours was 90 degrees with high humidity. Yuck. I guess our old-fashioned Maine summer is on hiatus. That blackcurrant cordial sounds delicious.

  5. Politicians who are crisp, considerate, well informed and to the point are a rare commodity – Mrs. T. was lucky to meet two involved in land reform proposals.

    The cordial is a lovely colour. Have you read “Anne of Green Gables”? Mind you don’t follow her example 🙂

    1. I don’t think that I have read it but I may have seen it dramatised on TV. I don’t remember any cordial drama but then I don’t remember much these days.

      1. Anne was unaware of its alcoholic properties and shared it with her friend – they were both rather drunk!

  6. The blackcurrant cordial looks delicious!

    A fine selection of views, flowers and birds. I am glad it is cooling down where you are. I have also noted that once extreme heat has hit, “normal” temperatures can seem rather chilly. The body adapts quickly.

  7. Your Verbascum is a never ending surprise.
    Very glad Mrs T was favourably impressed when she attended the Land Reform meeting

  8. I need sunglasses on for some of your flower photos! Good to know and see that you had an enjoyable cycle ride out . Love the little harebell, the pretty view over the valley and of course the fuchsia and shadow.

  9. The land reform proposals strike me as both ambitious and sensible. Not a frequent combination (but sense should always be spiced with ambition even if ambition should sometimes be unrestrained by sense.)

    1. I am glad that you approve. Mrs T was impressed by the fact the those coming down to consult actually seemed to be listening to the questions that they were asked. I would like to see a limit on how much of Scotland any single individual can buy, which was one of the points raised at Langholm.

  10. If only I could have an electric bike make me feel (relatively) young again… but I’m not sure I could work up enough courage to tackle our roads hanging off the edge of the ocean cliffs….. not to mention some of our crazy drivers. 🤨

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