Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s walk on the hottest day of the year. She captured a cool reflection to contrast with the hot weather.
We had a day of occasional light rain here, enough to be annoying without being useful. Dropscone came round for coffee, and we tested the new gooseberry jelly on his scones. Margaret and Mrs Tootlepedal joined us and they tested the jelly on some barley bannock. I was most relieved to find the the jelly came through the taste test with flying colours, with all the company agreeing that it tasted as good as it looked. This was lucky, as there are four more jars waiting in the jam cupboard.
The rain had stopped as our coffee party dispersed, and I had time for a walk round the garden.
Artificial sunshine was on hand to brighten a dull day . . .
. . . but there was plenty of evidence of the recent rain.
We are pleased to see rose hips beginning to turn red, as there are a lot of them on the bushes and they should make a good show after the flowers have faded.
Although the phacelias have been beaten to the ground, they are still attracting bumble bees.
I like the astilbe, and it is coming into its own.
I took a picture of a knapweed, and when I looked at it, I saw that I had been photobombed by a bug. I went back and gave the bug my full attention.
I thought that it was a greenfly at first, but I think that it might be a potato capsid bug.
There was another taste test going on today. The birds were delivering their verdict on the new seed.
After due consideration, they found it quite acceptable, and the level in the feeder went down at a good speed. This again was lucky. I have got 20kg more waiting in the garage.
I cut a big bunch of sweet peas, and by great good fortune, our neighbour Betty appeared at our common fence and was happy to take them off my hands. We already have two vases full in the kitchen. The sweet peas have done well this year.
After lunch, I spotted a line of birds guaranteed to annoy Mrs Tootlepedal.
She counted 32 sparrows on the front lawn yesterday. They are a real pest in the vegetable garden.
We went off to do some shopping in Carlisle in the afternoon, getting some of things that are not available in Langholm like polenta, treacle and shirts.
In between all this, Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day making ginger cake and caramel custard, as well as preparing our evening meal.
When I was out looking at a new lily . . .
. . . I met our friend Gavin, who is a local walks enthusiast, as he passed our garden gate. He suggested that I might like to try Gaskells Walk which has just been reopened. This seemed like a good idea, so after a Zoom meeting with our son Alistair and his wife Clare, I left Mrs Tootlepedal toiling over a hot stove and set off.
The first thing that I saw was that the new play park beside the church is now open for business . . .
. . . although a persistent light drizzle meant that there was not much playing going on.
I went through the park and up the steps to the Stubholm. I passed sloe and burdock . . .
. . . as I took the path in the direction of the bridge which had had to be removed because of gully erosion, shutting Gaskells Walk for many months.
The bridge has now been bypassed and if you go down the old path from the new bench you find a gaping hole where it used to be . . .
. . . and the chasm is blocked off by a fence on the other side too. Short of leaping the gap there is no way of getting to the path on the other side, unless . . .
. . . you use the fine new path which goes along the top of chasm, where the stream is still tiny, and then plunges round hairpin bends down the hill to meet the path at the other side of the fence.
Both panels above should be read clockwise from the top left to try to make sense of the new route.
I walked the rest of the way to the Auld Stane Brig along the old path, now a bit overgrown through lack of use . . .
. . . and came back along the road, enjoying ivy leaved toadflax and knapweed on my way.
I got back in time to enjoy Mrs Tootlepedal’s excellent evening meal, and after a pause, we walked up to the High Street to see what was going on there.
It was Summer Fair night in Langholm, and the Market Place was packed with townspeople enjoying an open air concert by the Langholm Town Band. For once, traffic did not have right of way, and cars and lorries had to squeeze slowly though the throng.
As the concert went on and the brass band played, the pipe band waited in the wings . . .
. . . and to end the concert, they marched into the Market Place where the united bands played a rousing version of Highland Cathedral. I have put a snippet of the performance here.
When the concert was over, we walked home and had a second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Pavlova to round the day off.
I kept an ear open for the sound of music in the air, and when I heard the beat of the big bass drum, I went out to watch the Langholm Flute band march down Henry Street.
An unusual number of the flautists were actually playing their instruments rather than waving at friends as they marched along.
Not long afterwards, the sound of another bass drum alerted me to the fact the Langholm Pipe Band was now parading round the town, and I met them marching along Eskdaill Street.
Both bands were followed by a good number of townspeople of all ages. Everyone is looking forward to the Common Riding tomorrow (and hoping that it is not going to rain in the morning).
The Common Riding is the biggest day of the year in Langholm, and as this is the first time that we have had public celebrations of the event for three years, we are all looking forward to the great day with special anticipation.
The flying birds of the day are the rooks and jackdaws who were startled into flight by the beat of the big bass drum.