Well timed

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s outing to East Anglia. He visited the handsome church at Swaffham today.

As far as the weather went, the day started well and gradually got worse as time went by. I took advantage of the sunny weather in the morning to mow the front lawn, edge both lawns neatly, and do some much needed dead heading of Icelandic poppies. And all this was before coffee. I surprised myself.

I had my camera in my pocket and took it out from time to time.

The top left poppy was in the shadow of the house and looked rather mysterious. It caught the eye of our friend Gavin as he passed by on his morning walk.

We have several big buddleia bushes in the garden and Mrs Tootlepedal is encouraging more to grow. I am still waiting to catch a butterfly on one this year, but there were a couple of bees about today.

Margaret came round at coffee time and noticed that we had a good number of sparrows visiting the feeder.

There were greenfinches too and they looked as though they might be looking at Margaret as she looked at them.

I cut a small bunch of sweet peas for her when she went home. Then I mowed the greenhouse grass, strimmed round the edges of some of the vegetable beds, and only gave up when the strimmer ran out of charge. I still had my camera to hand.

I took a picture of the rose arch. It will soon be over. I will miss it, as it has done very well this year.

Near the arch, the first Stargazer lily has appeared.

There are good clumps of flowers about, calendulas, hostas and nasturtiums. Among them I spotted a very small sunflower with an even smaller fly on it.

I went inside to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was getting on. She is writing an article on the community buy out at the request of a magazine, and was finding the three hundred word limit very difficult to cope with. It is hard to be succinct and informative at the same time. I looked out at the birds while I was inside.

There were not many about, so I went out to see if I could find any of the many blackbirds in the garden to photograph. I only found one willing to pose, so I made an excursion along the dam at the back of the house and found a late flowering oriental poppy and a fine alchemilla hanging over the dam. I added the elegant grass as I came back into the garden by the back gate. . . .

As I was going in, a noise in the sky made me look up.

A gyrocopter was buzzing along over the town. (At first sight, it looked as though someone had taken a bite out of a helicopter.)

After lunch, the sun had disappeared and the wind had got up quite a bit, so I took my electric bike out for a spin. It makes pedalling into a brisk wind a pleasure.

I went out along the Wauchope road for thirteen miles, getting as far as the little village of Bankshill. The road to Bankshill goes along the side of the hill above the valley of the Water of Milk, and, looking across the river, I could see both typical farmland . . .

. . . and commercial forestry . . .

. . . which is likely to cover more and more of the hills round us as government grants to landowners make forestry more attractive than sheep farming.

At Bankshill, I turned left and headed up a hill that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had cycled down in the opposite direction on a recent ride. I was very pleased to have had electric help to get up high enough to enjoy the view when I looked back. It is a steep climb.

The run down the other side of the hill to Middlebie gave me expansive views over the Solway plain as I was on the very edge of the hills now. I could have done with some of that morning sunshine.

I whistled down the hill and went straight through Middlebie until I reached the Mein Water. It is crossed by a small railway viaduct . . .

. . . sadly devoid of any trains crossing it while I was watching. I took a picture of the road bridge too.

When I came to Eaglesfield, I finally got the wind behind me, and the rest of the journey was greatly boosted by a combination of wind and electric power. I fairly flew along the back roads to Chapelknowe, and only stopped to note a very fine patch of reeds in a roadside ditch at Sprinkell.

I couldn’t pass the churchyard at Hal Morton without a check on the Korean Pines. The trees are smothered in cones but they blend in well, and it is only when you take a closer look that you see them clearly . . .

They are a source of endless fascination for me.

The combination of the strong wind and the judicious use of electricity to smooth out the occasional rises, meant that I got home after thirty seven miles at an average speed of just over 15 miles an hour, probably four miles an hour faster than I could have managed on my push bike.

It was just as well as I was able to keep up a good speed as it started to rain when I was not far from home.

The rain eased off later in the afternoon, and I was able to get out into the garden to take a few final pictures. Mrs Tootlepedal planted a mixed cover crop in the potato bed after we lifted our early potatoes and it is growing well. It has got phacelia, clover, annual lupin and ryegrass in it.

The fencing wire is to keep cats off.

I also noted the good crop of broad beans which we are currently enjoying eating, and the nice colour combination around and in the chimney pot.

Whether the chimney pot will survive another winter is a good question.

I was able to pick some more beetroot today so we had home grown beetroot, potatoes, broad and runner beans with our evening meal.

It started to rain quite hard in the evening. I felt that I had got the best out of the day as far as gardening and cycling went, especially as the forecast for tomorrow is not good at all.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the morning sunshine.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Well timed

  1. It’s nice to see Lillian Austin still shining her light. It was nice to see the stargazer lily too. I wish I could smell one.
    I love the Korean pines as well. The cones are as beautiful as flowers.
    The scenery was as attractive as ever. I hope it doesn’t all become forested. There aren’t many places I know of to see un-forested hills like yours.

  2. If the damp soil in your chimney pot freezes it could expand that crack – perhaps emptying it of soil in the autumn might make it last longer.

    The cones on the Korean pines are amazing – they look almost like felt in the closeup shot!

    1. Sound advice about the chimney pot. The pine cones are interesting. I will check them again to see how they develop in winter. They don’t fall off the tree.

  3. My favourite pictures were that stargazer lily and the little road bridge. Well done the gardener for producing all those homegrown vegetables.

  4. The rose arch is a fine sight, and so are the Korean pines. Glad you were able to enjoy your scenic bicycle ride without getting soaked.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: