A Quiet Day in the House and Garden

After a quick visit to our local farmers’ market I was able to mow the lawn thanks to some recent rain.

lawn
All the better for a drop of rain.

The lawns have not recovered from the drought but they are looking a little better and with more rain forecast, I hope to get them in good condition soon.

pepper
An incipient pepper

A quick peer into the greenhouse revealed some progress on the tomato and pepper front after a slow start because of the very cold spring.

tomato
A burgeoning tomato

After all this early excitement, Mrs Tootlepedal returned from selling Bonnie Langholm raffle tickets at the farmers’ market and together we attacked a hedge to its severe detriment. I thinned a few apples on the apple tree and then had to go inside for a little sit down.

Pedal and tootle day

A pleasant morning ride with Dennis in spite of a strongish wind. It is never too bad when the wind is blowing you home at the end of the ride. Mrs Tootlepedal had picked some strawberries from a friend’s garden who is in Glasgow having a knee operation so I made two jars (and a bit) of strawberry jam, one for her and one for us.

Jam
The first jam of the year
This is the first jam of the season and that is a red letter day. We are still eating last year’s blackcurrant jam and gooseberry jam.

I had a peaceful interval in the afternoon, whiling away the time in the tourist information office at the Kilngreen. A few visitors but not many.

After that, it was home for tea and a glimpse of Andy Murray going downhill fast and then off to pick up Susan my tootling companion ( daughter of my cycling companion) and off to Lanercost Priory where we were playing at a Brampton Choir concert as the light relief. We had to play some Michael East trios with very little (one) practice because of medical emergencies for our fourth player but all went very well considering, although there were two tiny breakdowns.

Down Came the Rain

rain
At last a drop of rain

At last we have been blessed by a drop of rain.

This has come in the nick of time but there isn’t nearly enough to avoid a hosepipe ban in the very near future.

visitors
Family Reunion

We were visited by my brother and his wife today for a nourishing meal of chick pea hotpot (prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal) followed by a triumphant caramel custard and a tour of the garden. This was very nice and they have just gone off to spend a bargain night in the Southwaite Services Travelodge. Chacun a son gout as they say.

This afternoon I finished entering 1875 into the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser index which we are compiling. We started at 1848 and we have entered over 30,000 items so it will be a long time until we are up to date.

Busy Day

A very busy day today with no time for a pedal at all. I played golf in the morning with some unfortunate lapses of concentration mixed with some good shots, made lunch, had a meeting at three, made my tea, had another meeting at six, ate my tea, went to Brampton to practice a piece we are playing with some singers for a concert on Friday and then went to Carlisle to practice the recorder group pieces we are playing. The husband of one of our group is in hospital so we practised a few trios in case she can’t come to the concert. A full day.

Another day, another ride

Once again I set off at nine o’clock for our usual morning ride with Dennis and, owing to the mellow weather, I was once again attired in natty  shorts.

shorts
The natty shorts in question

Our time was nothing special but, thanks to the following wind, we did the last three and a bit miles in nine minutes which gave us a good deal of simple satisfaction.

While I was out a kindly postman delivered a small minidisc recorder together with a microphone which the Archive Group are going to use to develop a library of oral history. It will take a bit of getting used to so I am not expecting to be bored any time soon.

It finally rained this evening but not enough to make a significant difference to the garden.

A trip to the dump

After my habitual 20 mile morning bike ride (followed as usual by a little sit down) I got Mrs Tootlepedal’s grandfather’s electric pump out and filled several buckets of water from the dam as we are on the verge of a hosepipe ban here.

drive
The wider drive awaiting the truncating of the fence and a new gate

While I was doing this, Mrs Tootlepedal was excavating the drive so that we can widen the front gate and these works necessitated a trip to our local (Local! It’s 18 miles away) dump. When we got there with buckets of earth and stones to dump, the skip was so full that a couple who were already at the dump took pity on our elderly frailty and threw our stuff on to the top of the skip. It was very kind but possibly also motivated by their being next in line to use the skip. Looking at us struggling to put on a shovelful or two at a time, they thought a helping hand might speed thing s up a bit.

I spent the evening honing my sound editing skills on some spoken reminiscences that we are collecting. I was pleased to get an email from my eldest sister which revealed the huge progress she has made in learning to program with HTML.

Compost Day

No pedalling today as we had Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother and wife staying overnight which was a great treat and then we had a compost day at the house.

A visiting expert from Moffat brought a wormery and a raft of information, a neighbour brought his shredder and we had several different compost bins and a sieve to show. The first two hours were very good with interested visitors but the last two hours were very dull because nobody came at all.

Composted kitchen waste after sieving

The experts contemplate life
Garden compost after sieving
wormery
A wormery with a cup of worm pee
Display of shredders

Various tasks completed

After a morning spent writing, printing, laminating and distributing posters for our garden compost day on Saturday, I was able to pop out for a nice ride across the Langholm Moor to Newcastleton and then down to Canonbie and back up the old A7 (27 miles). Tonight I will make my usual expedition to the Archive Centre for a little light archiving with Sandy and Jean, followed by a visit to the pub (for research purposes only of course).

What an exciting day!

Today was another busy day what with this and that. I went out for a relaxed ride round Canonbie, Gretna, Middlebie and Callister (38 miles in total) which had the benefit of a tremendous following wind for the last 18 miles. I did the last six miles from the top of Callister Hill at well over 20mph average.

dress
Mrs Tootlepedal's excellent new dress

However while I was doing this and that, Mrs Tootlepedal, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on a magnificent bargain hunt for a dress for a forthcoming wedding. So successful was her trawl through the neighbouring retail outlets that she came home with not one but three new dresses, one of which is pictured here.

While I was pedalling, I spent a few miles chatting to a young fellow who was cycling from Meopham in Kent to Ben Nevis. I was able to say to him, “I’ve been there” with regard to both places.

In the evening, Roy and Susan came to practise a trio for two tenors and  bass which we are playing at our forthcoming concert with a singer. I just hope we get to practise with the singer before the concert. Either she’ll have to get used to singing below pitch or we’ll have to blow like anything as we are usually quite a bit flat due to playing with great taste.

When will the rains come?

Another fine day in the lowlands of Scotland. I was able to go out on my morning cycle ride with my frequent cycling companion Dennis wearing a natty pair of shorts.

Dennis still smiling after a hard morning out on his new bike

If it doesn’t rain soon, the lawn will be completely ruined and that will be only just after I have got it in good condition after the awful winter.

Spent the afternoon organising some recording of reminiscences for a CD we are producing and then went off to Carlisle for a practice for our forthcoming concert.

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