Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He had a lovely day for a visit to King’s Lynn where he took this stunning photograph of the customs house.
We had a fine day here but nothing like as sunny as that. It was warm and dry when we cycled to church. The choir is officially on holiday at the moment, but four of us turned up, one to each part, so we gave the hymns our best effort.
We had a cup of coffee at home after the service, and then Mrs Tootlepedal suggested that we should cycle over the hill to Newcastleton, and have lunch there before cycling back over the hill to Langholm. This seemed like a very good idea, so we got out our electric bicycles and set off.
It is a ten mile trip to Newcastleton across the hill, and as twenty miles is about the limit for Mrs Tootlepedal’s battery life on a hilly ride, she did as much pedalling as she could with little or no assistance. When it came to the really steep bits, we both took as much help as we could get.
The road to Newcastleton took us across the moor, pedalling mostly uphill for half the way as far as the county boundary . . .
. . . and then mostly down hill from the county boundary . . .
. . . to Newcastleton.
There were a few wild flowers to brighten the way. The orchids are over now, but we passed wild thyme, harebells and bog asphodel . . .
. . . and we were very pleased to come across a flock of wild goats near the road.
This was a group of mothers . . .
. . . and children.
They took exception to me peering at them, and wandered off.
We had lunch, or rather an all day breakfast, at the Olive Tree cafe in Newcastleton, and then to give our meal some time to settle down, we went along to the new bridge over the Liddel Water and sat on a bench beside the river, taking in knapweed, clover and a pair of grey wagtails.
Refreshed and rested, we attacked the very steep hill out of the village with zest (and plenty of electrical assistance) and were soon back up on the moor again.
On our return journey, we saw a gang of four billy goats, well away from the family group, and wandering about in a moody fashion. They have impressive horns.
. . . and beady eyes.
They are not at all aggressive, and walked calmly away as we stopped to look at them.
We found that we hadn’t disturbed the family group on our way out, because they were still sitting peacefully in the long grass in the same place when we came back.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s battery lasted for the whole trip. It did claim that it had run out just before we got home, but it was still supplying power when needed. We wouldn’t want to try to go much further unless the route was quite a lot flatter. We did 2,333 feet of climbing in our 21 miles today.
After a rest when we got home, I went out into the garden to try to find something useful to do. There were hedges which needed trimming, so I trimmed them.
There were flowers that needed photographing so I shot them.
I like the way that the berries on the tropaeolum change colour.
There are more bees about than there were, and the lamb’s ear was a popular spot, as was the lamium.
And although there were no butterflies to be seen, at least a few bees were taking advantage of the big flower spikes on the buddleias.
Looking up, I could see that we are going to get some walnuts this year, if the weather stays warm enough for long enough to ripen them.
Also above my head, I could see busy starlings and a collared dove looking on.
I refilled the feeder, which had been emptied while we were off singing and cycling, and watched to see if any birds turned up. After staring at flowers through the window for a while, a very pleasing prospect . . .
. . . I did see a goldfinch surveying the situation, and a matched pair of sparrows.
I went back out for a last look at the flowers and found a very late rosa complicata and the first of the Japanese anemones.
After our evening meal, we indulged in an orgy of TV watching, switching between the Commonwealth Games, the European football (well done England), and finishing with Countryfile, which was very interesting this week.
I left Mrs Tootlepedal watching yet more sport, while I settled down to dash off this post. All in all, it was a very satisfactory day.
The flying bird of the day is one of those restless starlings.