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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He has been on a tour of the north east with my sisters Mary and Susan.  They returned home by train today and he drove back to Derby by way of Fountains Abbey.

Fountains Abbey

Mrs Tootlepedal and I also came home today, leaving Evelyn Rose with some sadness but the heat and hurly-burly of London with less regret.  Our train was punctual to the minute and as a result we were able to catch the bus home without delay.

Our first thought was for a reviving cup of tea…

…and our second was to look round the garden.

lawn on return

It had survived without us very well, though as you can see, the grass on the lawn was far too long.

The salvias are glorious and Mrs Tootlepedal is thinking of planting some more for next year (but perhaps not quite so many).

slavia

A lot of poppies needed dead heading but there were a few still in flower…

brilliant poppy

…and the hosta was in ebullient form.

hosta in full flower

There had been no heavy wind or rain to knock the delphinums over…

delphinum ligularia

…and in general, there are still plenty of things to catch the eye.

four lovely flowers

There were not a lot of new flowers about but the first dahlia of the year has appeared.

first dahlia 2019

The roses are enjoying themselves this year and Special Grandma was appropriately well lit up in its shadowy place in its bed.

special grandma lit up

At the other end of the lawn both The Wren…

Rose Wren

…and Lilian Austin were showing different stages of development.

Lilian Austin pair

At the other end of the garden, the Common Riding rose has burst into flower while we were away.

commin riding rose

The call of the lawns was too strong to be resisted so I knuckled down and got the mower out.  The recent feed that I gave the front lawn has been very effective and the grass had grown strongly in the time that we were in London.  I took a wheelbarrow full of grass off it on the first cut and then ran over it again in a different direction to get a smooth finish.

mown front lawn and barrow

Because of the lush growth, it was  hard job job on a warm afternoon, so I had one or two shady and fragrant rests on a handy bench at the end of the lawn while I toiled away.  The shade was provided by the walnut tree and the fragrance was supplied by a combination of privet and honeysuckle.

privet and hioneysuckle

Then I mowed the middle lawn.

mown middle lawn

Although it may look like a bit of a monocultural desert, the middle lawn has a good many weeds in it, including some self heal which  grows so low to the ground that the flowers duck under my mower blades and can still be clearly seen even after this trim..

Elsewhere in the garden, we have clover in the grass.

clover lawn

A good day was rounded off by the arrival of three recorder players after tea and we sat and played recorder quartets both ancient and modern with great enjoyment as the sun set  in the clear sky outside.

As they left, after a cup of tea and a biscuit, we could hear the swifts calling high above the house.

No flying bird of the day today, so one of the many sweet peas that needed picking stands in instead.

sweet pea

We would like to thank everyone who has sent us good wishes on the arrival of our new granddaughter.  We receive them with gratitude and they have been forwarded on to Annie and Joe.

Evelyn comes home

After yesterday’s bridge picture from my sister Mary, my brother Andrew has sent me another famous bridge for today’s guest picture (complete with a bungee jumper)

We did nothing all day as we waited for the world’s greatest baby to come out of hospital and go home.

Fortunately we were quite tired by the strains of metropolitan life so we were more than happy to sit google eyed through a flood of sports broadcasting until mother and baby were released in the evening.

We went down to see Evelyn Rose and her parents safely ensconced in their own home.

Everything is good.

We popped in to see Joe’s parents who live just across the road from Evelyn so it was a very heavy grandparent occasion.

A long way round

Although we are in London staying at my sisters’ establishments, my sisters are actually in the North East on a jaunt with my brother from which my sister Mary sends me this guest picture of the day.

When we had our meal with Patricia yesterday evening, she had a surprise gift for us. She had been growing apricots…

… and they were very tasty.

It has been hot and rather muggy here and as we are not used to these conditions, we were pleased to be able to have a restful morning followed by a light lunch in a sourdough pizza place.

Then we set out to visit the world’s greatest baby and her parents by a roundabout route.

We started with a four mile bus journey down to Westminster. As we were sitting in the front seats on the top deck, we were able to look down with a mixture of horror and amazement at the teeming crowds that literally filled the streets in central London.

When we got to Westminster Bridge…

… we took to the water to avoid the crowds and enjoyed a scenic boat trip to Greenwich.

We got off the boat at Greenwich and passed a more famous ship on our way to catch a Docklands Light Railway train to Lewisham.

These are fully automated driverless trains and using them feels much like being on a giant model railway.

From Lewisham we caught a more conventional train to Denmark Hill where we had a coffee in the old station building before walking to the hospital.

There we found everyone in good health and good spirits They are hoping to take TWGB home tomorrow which will be very satisfactory if it happens.

After an hour and a bit of being adoring grandparents, it was time to leave and we caught a train from yet another railway company back home

Where we collapsed.

I don’t know how people manage city life in the summer.

Still, combining seeing Annie, Joe and the baby with no less than five different styles of transport made for a very worthwhile day.

News

Today’s guest picture comes from regular reader Anne who has been to see Bamburgh Castle on the east coast.

We are still in London and Mrs Tootlepedal and I started the day with the very good news that we had become grandparents again as our daughter Annie and her partner Joe had become the proud parents of a lovely daughter.

It was our privilege to go to see the new baby and her parents in hospital in the afternoon. All three were amazingly well. We were amazingly proud of them.

After considering all the other possible contenders for the title, we could clearly see that the new arrival was now without question the world’s greatest baby.

That was the main and most important part of the day.

We had some time to kill in the morning before the hospital visit so we strolled through Parliament Hill Fields up to Kenwood for a coffee and scone. It was a fine morning with lots to see…

… including Mr Grumpy’s London cousin…

…a bogus bridge which is just a flat panel….

… the house itself…

… and some wildlife.

In the evening my stepmother Patricia kindly took us out for a meal and this rounded off a momentous day.

In the absence of a flying bird, this view of a canal in the heart of London will have to do.

Note; TWGB has yet to be officially named. We shall go and see her again tomorrow.

In London again

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was visiting Northallerton today where he saw this picturesque ruin.

We left our garden behind with some backwards looks as we travelled south to stay with my sisters. Mrs Tootlepedal feels that it is just going past its best so I thought that I should record a view or two of it. We will be back on Monday so I am hoping it will still be worth a look.

The journey by bus and train went well and we have arrived safely, looking forward to tomorrow.

Blog activity may be limited while we are here.

A bonus

Today’s guest picture is another from Stephen’s visit to North Queensland. As well as idyllic beaches, he and his wife visited the Kuranda aviary where amongst others, they encountered this striking pair of birds.

Australian birds

The weather gods relented today, and after sending us more overnight rain, they let up by morning and allowed us to enjoy a dry and sometimes sunny day today. This gave us the chance to do some work in the garden and let me take a few pictures while I was out there.

Well, to be honest, I took a lot of pictures but I am putting in this panel of four pale flowers to stand for them all.

four pale flowers

It was pleasantly warm and the wind was noticeable but not offensive so there was really no reason why I should not have gone out for a cycle ride after breakfast to make good use of the day. All the same, I managed to find several reasons; a crossword, coffee, dead heading, picking sweet peas and so on until I finally ran out of excuses and set off for a pedal about midday.

To tell the truth, I didn’t feel exactly enthusiastic about the idea so I started off very slowly and stopped to look at wild flowers at the earliest opportunity.

The yellow bedstraw beside the Wauchope road is very striking at the moment…

yeloow bedstraw by road

…as are the pink heads on the yarrow when they first come out.

yarrow by road

The verge trimmers have left this road alone so there are a number of orchids around…

orchid by road

…but this little tormentil flower is so low to the ground that it might well escape the mower even if it does come.

tormentil by road

As I went on, the sun came out and in spite of having to pedal into the wind, my spirits lifted and I decided to take a diversion to investigate the road along which the turbines for the new windfarm at Solwaybank will arrive.

It was a narrow and poorly surfaced road but now it has been resurfaced and a extra bit of width has been added.

solwaybank road

The arrival of the turbines has been delayed because of financial problems with the suppliers so the extra width has got many traffic cones on it to stop it getting worn out before the big lorries finally come.

It was a treat to cycle along a well surfaced back road but when the time came that a brand new windfarm road had been built across country….

solwaybank road for windfarm

…I was left pedalling up the old narrow road.

new solwaybank road

However, as it had been resurfaced not too long ago and was still in fair condition, and as there were foxgloves on the way…

foxgloves solwaybank road

…I wasn’t complaining.

The new windfarm will be the fourth in our area and as I cycled along, I passed under a power line that was built for one of the previous sites.

The people who put the poles up must had a very good piece of string as they are in a really straight line from one corner to the next.

windmill power line

Once I had got to the end of this road, I turned for home and with the wind now behind me, I found that I was going too fast to think of stopping for every wild flower that I passed and it wasn’t until my legs started complaining as I got near the end of my ride, that I stopped again.

I was looking to admire a fine spread of knapweed on the old A7 near Hagg-on-Esk and I was lucky to find a hoverfly with same idea.

hoverfly

The knapweed and daisies are in good form along the road here,

verge irvine house road

When I got back to Langholm after 36 miles, I was seized with decimal mania and cycled through the town and out of the other side for two miles. The verge cutters had been slaughtering wild flowers here.

mowed verge A7 terrona

The extra four miles brought my trip up to 40 miles and my mileage for the first ten days of the month of July up to 200, the most that I have cycled in such a short spell this year.

If I stick to cycling, and don’t try to do any walking, my feet are not too bad and in recent days I have found myself feeling quite a bit happier about taking exercise. This is a tribute to the healing skills of Dr Velo.

I had enough energy left when I got home to get the mower out and mow the two lawns. We are going down to London again for a few days on family business tomorrow so they needed a cut before we went.

While I was out, I checked on the new fuchsia in the chimney pot. It is settling in well.

fuchsia chimney

The hostas are bursting onto flower…

hosta flowers

…but they can’t compare with the magnificence of our neighbour Liz’s filipendula.

liz's astilbe

When I went in, I spent a little time checking on the birds.

A reader suggested that the collective term for our siskins should be ‘squabble of siskins’ but he pointed out that it has already been taken by seagulls. This is a pity as it really fits the feisty little things.

siskins sparring

If they are not squabbling over the seed, they are kicking one another.

a squabble of siskins

Some more sensible siskins prefer to nibble the nuts in peace.

siskin on nuts

Watching the recording of today’s stage Tour de France once again provided an opportunity for some relaxing sofa testing in the evening.

With some potentially heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, we are keeping our fingers crossed that our transport all works smoothly for out journey south.

A goldfinch, leaving the siskins to fight it out among themselves, is the flying bird of the day.

goldfinch leaving

A slow day

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan’s old friend Stephen who has been spending a week with his wife in Port Douglas, in Far North Queensland. He tells me that it is mid-winter there, and so the temperature is down to a chilly 25-26 degrees.  He sent me this suitably wintry illustration.

queensland beach

It is summer here of course and it rained all day and the temperature barely crept up to 18 degrees.  As a result, I spent a very quiet day indeed doing nothing more interesting than a little data entering into the Archive Group database and a short shopping trip with Mrs Tootlepedal.

She spent the morning at a meeting regarding the possible community purchase of the Langholm Moor and I sat at my computer.  It was sorry about its bad behaviour last night and worked very competently and quickly today.

I did take time to look out of the window.

siskins in rain 1

…and it is easy to see why I preferred to stay indoors.

The siskins were out in force….

siskins in rain 2

…and spent a lot of time squabbling rather than getting on and eating seed.

siskins beak to beak rain

A sparrow looked disgusted but whether it was because of the weather or the siskins’ behaviour, it is hard to say.

siskins in rain 3

The rain eased off and a blue tit appeared.  The tits prefer the nuts to the seeds…

blur tit on nuts 1

…which ever way they look at it.

blue tit on nuts

We must have a small family of blue tits nearby because several appeared at the same time…

two blue tits

…and unfortunately seemed to have learned from the siskins’ bad habits.

two blue tits arguing

I made some celery and stilton soup for lunch and I enjoyed it in company with Mrs Tootlepedal who had returned from her meeting.

After lunch I took a quick walk round the garden at a moment when the drizzle had slackened off.

The overnight rain had not been heavy enough to beat down the flowers…

wet red poppy

…but there was a soggy feel about the garden….

wet pick foxgloves

…although some of the effects were quite decorative on leaf…

spirea with raindrop

…and petal.

sweet pea with droplets

Yellow lilies are appearing…

wet yellow lily

…and the ligularia is coming on…

ligularia in flower

…so things were still cheerful in places.

I like the sweet peas that Mrs Tootlepedal has grown this year.

sweet pea with droplet

Then, for the want of anything better to do, we drove down to Gretna to do a little shopping.

Then we drove back again.

That ended any excitement for the day as the Tour de France and Wimbledon combined to provide a lengthy excuse for testing the comfort of the sofa.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a meal of chicken and asparagus for our evening meal and we tried very hard not to think of the political situation as it is even more depressing than the weather.

I had hoped that I had captured one of the blue tits for the flying bird of the day…

flying blue tit

…but it was just too quick for me so a sparrow kindly offered to stand in, beating off a siskin who was trying to get the job.

flying sparrow in rain