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Posts Tagged ‘Bentpath’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows one of his dogs relaxing in his garden.  He tells me that he sun (almost) always shines in East Wemyss.

cof

When I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the sun was shining and my feet were not hurting.  Life was good and it got better when I went out into the garden after breakfast and found a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) sunning itself on a Sweet William.

painted lady on sweet william

Things improved even further when Dropscone arrived for coffee, bringing scones of the highest quality with him.  Add to that a passing visit from our friend Gavin who stayed for a cup of coffee and happiness was to be found all around.

In the garden, when the visitors had departed, there was plenty of cheerfulness too. We have three different astrantias and they are all doing well…

three astrantia

…and the painted lady was back showing both sides of its wings.

painted lady panel

On the feeder, a siskin stood for a moment before getting a seed.  (This is a rare siskin picture for me as it wasn’t taken through a window.)

siskin not through window

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the garden equivalent of housekeeping after the pole excitements when she found this quite unexpected but very pretty iris in the middle of a bed.  Where it has come from is a mystery, as she didn’t plant it.

new yellow iris

Long established irises should not be overlooked though.

old blue iris

Two days of warm sunshine had brought life to the garden and plants asked to be photographed, both in the form of Jacobite roses…

Jacobite rose

…and the butter and sugar iris.

butter and sugar iris

The painted lady returned to another Sweet William and let me get a close up.

painted lady on sweet william 2

The tropoaeolum has burst into flower as well.

tropaeloum flower out

In between running around snapping at flowers, I mowed the front lawn and lent a hand with the garden tidying until it was time for Mrs Tootlepedal to drive off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ lunch.

I made a pan of soup for my lunch, did the crossword and then headed out on my bike to see how my legs were feeling after yesterday’s effort.

I chose a route where the wind would be across and hoped that bends in the road would mean that it would frequently change from hostile to helpful as I went along as I didn’t fancy another long spell of battering into the brisk breeze.

I chose a more hilly route but my legs were unfazed and carried me along without complaint.  My windy plan worked well and I didn’t have any long struggles into the teeth of the breeze, but all the same, I adopted a very gentle pace and stopped to take many pictures as I went along.  Here are a sample.

A mown field and a variety of greens made a interesting picture as I cycled down the hill from Peden’s View.

mowed field

There was a pretty selection of hawkweed and daises at Bentpath village (and another painted lady which didn’t get into the picture).

wild flowers at Bentpath

The Esk looked serene when viewed from the Benty Bridge.

esk from benty bridge

The shadows on the back road past Georgefield look attractive but they are a snare for cyclists as it is hard to spot potholes among them and there are plenty of potholes on this section.

road ar Westerhall

I got through safely though and was able to admire this small prairie of buttercups near Enzieholm Bridge.

filed of buttercups enzieholm

When I looked more closely, I found that below the buttercups, the field was also full of yellow rattle.

sweet ratle in buttercup filed

There was a lot of traffic on the road on my way home…

sheep on Benty road

…but I got back in good spirits after fifteen very pleasant miles.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her lunch and was busy in the garden again so I joined her in a supervisory role and took more flower pictures from time to time.

six brilliant flowers

It was a perfect day and all the better because we have had so few good days lately.

The only fly in the ointment came in the evening with the news that Scotland had failed to hang on to a three goal lead in a crucial game in the Women’s World Cup football tournament.  I wisely hadn’t watched the game because I wasn’t in the mood for needless suffering.

I didn’t find the necessary time to catch a flying bird today as it wasn’t a good day to spend a lot of time indoors, so a sitting blackbird of the day takes the position instead.

blackbird on fence.

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Today’s guest picture shows a feature of the Sheffield Peace Gardens. They were seen by Bruce on a recent stay in the city.

sheffield peace garden

Today started very oddly when I woke up realising that I had just had a good night’s sleep.  This was so unusual that it took me until Dropscone arrived with Friday treacle scones for coffee to recover.

The scones were very good though and by the time that Dropscone left, I was back on an even keel and able to appreciate that the geums had started to flower in the garden.

geums in garden

They are droopy flowers and I had to resort to the mirror to get a good look at one from underneath.

When I went back, I looked out of the window and saw that the jackdaws were back in search of nesting material.  They have discovered where Mrs Tootlepedal has buried the rest of the woollen mulch round a rose and they were busy digging it up, under the supervision of a senior member of the group.

jackdaws panel

At the feeder, goldfinches and siskins were in charge again and a lonely chaffinch appeared.  I thought that it looked a bit wistful.

lonely chaffinch

Since the chaffinches have been the most regular customers of the feeder all winter, they must feel a bit put out by these spring interlopers, much as loyal insurance company customers feel put out when they discover that new customers are getting preferential rates offered to them.

Not that the goldfinches look happy about their end of the bargain either.

goldfinches stamping

I made some bacon and lentil soup for lunch, ate a bowlful and then got my bike out.  It was quite a lot colder than my last outing and I had leggings and a waterproof jacket on as I faced a light north wind.

I had worked quite hard last time I went out and my feet had been painful afterwards so I took things very easily today, stopping frequently to admire the view…

road to burnfoot

There were fifty shades of green

…to take in the passing bluebell woods,…

bluebells on benty road

…and to record some of the many wild flowers which have started to appear in the road side verges.

wild flowers on benty road

I crossed the Esk by the Bentpath Bridge…

river esk from benty bridge

…and admired the assistance that someone had given to nature on the other side of the bridge.

flowers at benty bridge

Then I cycled up the far bank of the river, noticing more wild flowers…

wildflowers near benty

…and finding that some work by foresters in felling trees had made it much easier to spot the old suspension bridge that allowed residents on the west bank of the river a shorter walk to the church in times gone by.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 1

I wouldn’t be inclined to walk over it now.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 2

A little further on, I noticed what I thought was a tree in full flower by a gate…

pink tree westerhall

…but a closer look showed that the colour came from buds and the flowers are not out yet.  It should be spectacular when it blooms.

It wasn’t hard to spot wild flowers as the banks were covered with them..

bank of wild flowers

…and fields were full of them.

meadow of wild flowers

When  I came to the furthest point of my short ride, I had to cross the Esk again, this time using the Enzieholm Bridge, which looks modest enough when you cross it…

enzieholm bridge from above

…but turns out to be a pretty substantial bridge when you look at it from the waterside.

enzieholm bridge from below

The wind was behind me now (good route planning for once), and I didn’t stop so much on the way home, though I did like these fine copper beeches…

copper beeches beside esk

…and yet more wild flowers…

wildflowers benty may

…which I passed before I got back to Bentpath village, where I took the obligatory picture of the church and bridge.

westerkirk church may

I did the last five or six miles with only one more stop.  This was to take a look back at the Gates of Eden…

gates if eden May

…before cascading back down the hill into Langholm, very cheerful after such an enjoyable and leisurely fifteen miles.  (The pedalling took me an hour and twenty minutes and I added another twenty five minutes to the trip by stopping to take so many pictures.)

I had a quick walk round the garden before I went in…

FOUR GARDEN FLOWERS

…to find Mrs Tootlepedal, after a busy morning, sitting quietly over her embroidery.

Although the day was still quite cool for the time of year, when the sun came out it seemed pleasantly warm and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to have a short sit out on the new bench until the sun went in again.

Then the sun came out again and I was thinking of going for a short walk but as soon as I put my walking shoes on, the sun went in and a few drops of rain fell.

I abandoned the idea of a walk and cooked a feta cheese, tomato and potato bake for our tea instead.   It was followed by some sticky toffee pudding.  It is hard to have to eat all of the sticky toffee pudding ourselves instead of sharing it with Matilda and her family but we are being brave about it.

One of the thieving jackdaws is the flying bird of the day.  It wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

flying jackdaw making off

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo from Manitoba.  From Manitoba but not in Manitoba as she has taken a break from endless winter to catch a ray or two in Antigua.  It looks like a good decision as more snow has arrived at home.

Mary Jo's holiday

We had a generally sunny, almost totally dry day here which was very welcome.  A nippy wind kept us from discarding many layers of outdoor clothing though.

I started the day by going to a warehouse on the banks of the Wauchope to collect some bags of potting compost for Mrs Tootlepedal and I admired one of the many little Wauchope cascades as I waited for  the compost treasure house to be opened.

Wauchope cascade

When  I got back to the garden, a song thrush was living up to its name by giving a recital from a branch of the walnut tree.

thrush

Down below a blackbird was engaged in a worm hunt.

blackbird

And in the pond, frogs were being shiny.

frog

Dropscone dropped in (with scones) for a cup of coffee and I got an update on a Scottish Golf meeting which he had attended where revolting members had gone against the wishes of the executive.  That is par for the course these days.

While we sipped and chatted, a robin flew in.

robin

After Dropscone left (to go and play golf), I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden only to be greeted by some rain.  Luckily, it didn’t last long and after this shock, the day behaved itself admirably.

All our neighbours were out in their gardens too and Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to pass a surplus rhubarb plant across a fence to Irving and Libby who are establishing their new garden.

I wandered around counting bees….

bees on crocus

…and finding that there were a lot to count.  I was trying to catch them while they were still flying with variable success…

bees on crocus

…this one seems to be flying with one wing and resting with the other.

Still, it was very encouraging to see so many bees among the crocuses.

The frogs were providing a musical background for the bee hunt and I went to visit them too.

Some were getting together….

frogs

…and some were just thinking about it.

frog

After lunch, I put on some cycling clothes, went outside and tested the wind and then went back in and put another layer on. Then I got the slow bike out and went off for a gentle pedal with pictures in mind.

I didn’t go along the Wauchope road as I usually do but went up the Esk valley towards Bentpath.  This route is very up and down and luckily gives me plenty of excuses to stop for a photo as I go along.

It was a glorious day for being out and about but in spite of the sunshine, there were still traces of snow about….

breckonwrae

Just before I reached the village of Bentpath, I passed a hare which had been run over by a car and got a bit of a shock when there was a tremendous flapping of wings and crying and mewing as two buzzards rose up and flew above my head.  Usually buzzards just fly off quietly when anyone approaches but the reason for their agitation became clear when I saw this:

buzzard on road

I take it that is a young buzzard and the cause of its parent’s excitement.  I passed it by and went on for a good few yards before looking back, expecting to see the parents swoop down and go off with the youngster but nothing happened.

There was no sign of the other two birds and the buzzard on the road stayed stock still even when a car could be heard approaching.  I waved the car down and it slowed and passed within a few feet of the bird which didn’t move an inch.

I was considering my options when another car approached.  Once again, I waved it down and its driver summed up the situation very well.  He drove up to the buzzard, stopped and sounded his car horn gently.  At this, the buzzard flew off and normal service was resumed.

I pedalled on but not before admiring a tree, wall and gate composition on the other side of the road.

Benty gate

I crossed the bridge over the Esk at Bentpath…

Benty bridge

…but couldn’t get a good view of the bridge because of the scrub beside the river.  I couldn’t get a very good view of the church beside the bridge either because the powers that be have thought it best to put as many posts, wires and road signs in front of it as possible.

Westerkirk Church with poles

It would be nice if they could all be made to disappear but the camera never lies…

Westerkirk Church without poles

…or does it?

I pedalled on and just as I was wondering if they still kept alpacas at Georgefield, I got the answer in the middle of the road.

alpaca on road

As I didn’t want to chase it along the road, I was worried about not being able to get past the animal but the alpaca took the matter into its own hands and trotted past me into its own farmyard.

Having been delayed by a bird and and an animal, I was expecting to be waylaid by a fish later in the journey but they kept themselves to themselves and I managed to get home with no more alarums and excursions.

I recrossed the Esk by the Enzieholm bridge and headed back down the valley.  I got a better view of the Benty bridge…

Benty bridge

…and spotted a pair of oyster catchers beside the river nearby.

oyster catchers Benty
I have cycled over the bridge across the Boyken Burn at Old Hopsrig many times but never stopped to take its picture before.

Boyken Burn bridge

As usual, I had a look at the bridge parapet to see if there was any interesting lichen or moss there and was very surprised to find a tiny but perfectly formed tree growing in a gap between stones.

Boyken Burn bridge tree

The route I was taking has been used for many hundreds of years and I could see the site of a hill top iron age fort at Craig.

Iron age fort

When I got home, needless to say I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  She had planted out her primroses but hadn’t been able to put them all where she had planned because, rather unexpectedly, some winter aconites had poked their heads above the soil.

winter aconite and primrose

Still, that is welcome problem to have and she found a home for the primroses elsewhere.

By this time, even on a fine day, the light was beginning to fade and the temperature drop so we went in for a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

We are expecting a light frost tonight but we are keeping our fingers crossed that it is light enough to do no harm.  It is the price to pay for a bit of fine weather at this time of year.  (A quick look at our local weather station tells me that it is zero degrees C  as I write this.)

In spite of the fine weather, I didn’t manage to get a picture of a flying bird today so I have had to make do with this big bird scraping the roof tiles of our neighbour.

low flying plane

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Anna, a former B&B guest of ours.  She was visiting Costa Rica when she met this unusual towel rabbit.

Costa Rica rabbit from Anna

We had another lovely sunny day today and with the temperature just above freezing, I was happy to welcome Dropscone for coffee until the day got warm enough for cycling.

As it was Friday, I was expecting treacle scones but owing to a slight failure of his milk purchasing department, Dropscone arrived with a packet of biscuits instead.  They went down very well.   His car has still not been fixed so instead of golfing, he went for a walk yesterday and I hope to show a picture from his walk tomorrow.

Bright sun in winter is not always the most helpful thing when looking at birds on the feeder so I got a lot of shots of chaffinches like this…

chaffinch

…but even more like this.

chaffinch

I did see some greenfinches in the shade.,…

goldfinch

…and one in the sun later on.

goldfinch

I don’t know where the goldfinches and siskins were today but they weren’t in our garden.

I had an early lunch not long after Dropscone left and as the the thermometer had hit 5 degrees, I set out on the fairly speedy bike.

The sun is now high enough in the sky to give a bit of warmth so I had a very pleasant time as I cycled up the Esk Valley to Bentpath…

|Benty

…and on to Bailiehill, passing fine individual trees….

tree at Craig

…and strips of commercial forestry up the Meggat valley.

Meggat valley

The trees on our hills are almost all commercial planting, the results of government grants to encourage home grown timber.  It has led to some odd patches among the fields.

forestry

I feel that there is no call for this signpost to make insulting remarks about the age of cyclists using the Cycle By-way.

prehistoric trail sign

I passed more planting as I headed cheerfully up the hill to Bailiehill….

forestry

…but the frozen pond at the junction at the top made me take a bit of care as I went over the hill and down to Paddockhole.

pond at bailliehill

There were plenty of still frozen puddles beside the road….

frozen puddle

…but the road itself, warmed but the sun, was dry enough and I pottered on carefully but safely.

Bailliehill road

This is one of my favourite routes as the road winds along beside the Water of Milk…

Water of MIlk

…though the appearance of a strengthy looking cloud over the hill made me wonder if bad things might happen before the end of the ride.

cloud

The road passes the new Ewe Hill wind farm and a  closer look showed….

Ewe Hill windfarm

…that I wasn’t very far from the snow line.

Ewe Hill windfarm

Still, the clouds stayed away, the sun warmed my back and I was enjoying myself so much that I decided to add a few more miles to my ride by taking a diversion to Waterbeck.   This was a step too far and I should have remembered that I was still recovering and I had climbed a hill or two already.

The back road to Waterbeck is used by quarry lorries and has a very poor surface in places.  Although I knew this very well, I rather vainly thought that having dodged the ice coming over the hill, I could easily dodge the potholes in the valley.

This proved to be mistaken.

crash test dummy

I misjudged my line through a little maze of potholes and was tipped slowly but thoroughly onto the tarmac.   My cycling glasses banged into the side of my face and i found myself dripping with blood.  By happy coincidence, a quarry lorry came round the corner just as I had got to my feet and cleared myself and my bike off the road.  He stopped to see how I was and I discovered that quarry lorry drivers carry round the softest, strongest, most absorbent paper towels that I have ever met.  The driver kindly gave me a couple to mop myself up.  I weighed up this kindness against the fact that it is the quarry lorries that make the potholes. That is not the driver’s fault so the kindness won.

Anyway both the bike and I were sound enough for me to cycle the eight miles home (I didn’t go to Waterbeck) surprisingly happily and I even stopped for one more picture on the way.

Winterhope

Mrs Tootlepedal inspected the damage when I got home and took me off to the health centre where they patched me up in quick time.  After consultation with a doctor, it was felt that a visit to the A&E in Carlisle would be a good idea in case I had fractured my cheek bone which had taken a fair old dunt.

Mrs Tootlepedal drove me down and in spite of a lot of stories about delays in A&E, I was seen, x-rayed, tidied up a bit more and sent home with a clean bill of health in under three hours.  For my American readers, I should add that I had to fill in no forms and will receive no bills.

I might claim from British Cycling for a new pair of glasses though.  I have just renewed my sub fortunately.

To cheer ourselves up and because we were a bit behind schedule, we visited the chip shop in Langholm for a carry out on our way home so the day ended a great deal better than it might have.  I was going at a cautiously slow speed and wearing many layers of clothing when I hit the pothole which helped.  Also, I fell on the opposite side to my tin knee and previously broken elbow so that was another blessing.

There may be a few aches and pains to come and Mrs Tootlepedal took a portrait shot of me which is standing (sitting) in for the flying bird of the day.

It shows a crash test dummy.

Crash test dummy

Bang goes my Mr Universe entry money

I shall use it to remind me not to be so careless again.

Three cheers for the National Health Service which takes all the worry out of being an idiot.  And Mrs Tootlepedal too of course, still a vital resource after all these years.

 

 

 

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The second of the ‘trip to London’ pictures shows “Topaz”, one of the elegant Pullman coaches pulled by the steam engine which we saw at Carlisle station.  I like the little lamps with shades at every table.

Pullman coach

We had a rare outbreak of summer today with plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze from the north in case it got too hot.

I started the day off by going up to check on the Camera Club exhibition and making arrangements for visitors to purchase prints if the mood comes upon them.  While I was there, the volunteer custodian and I got our pictures taken by the local paper which was publicising the event for us.

I then went home and promptly had to come back up to the town again as I had forgotten to buy a Common Riding tie to wear when our little choir songs at the concert on Wednesday.  It is a quirk of the Langholm Common Riding that it has different colours each year, taken from the colour of the silks worn by the jockey of the winner of the Derby.  This means that there is a different tie every year.

All this excitement and a bit of shopping thrown in, meant that I needed a sit down and a cup of coffee when I finally got home.  Then I needed a lettuce and marmite sandwich to provide fuel so it was not until after midday that I managed to get going on the fairly speedy bike.

I took a few garden pictures before I left.

sunny flowers

Once on the bike, I soon discovered that my legs were in go slow mode so I didn’t push them and I was happy to stop for pictures as I went along.

There was plenty to see in the verges….

umbellifer with red soldier beetles

Every umbellifer seemed to have at least one red soldier beetle on it.   I saw a stem hosting nineteen insects of various sorts on its flower heads later in my ride.

The road side verges are recovering after the mowing and I liked this display of hawkbits on the road up Callister.

hawkbits on Callister

Whether they are ‘lesser, ‘autumn, ‘rough’ or some other hawbits I cannot tell but they were good to look at as I puffed up the hill.  I have no idea what the little birds in the middle of the road further up the hill were doing.

I had to cross a couple of recently gravelled sections of road on my journey but there has been sufficient traffic to make them quite safe for cycling which was a relief.

I went as far west as Paddockhole and then turned north, uphill and into the wind to get to Eskdalemuir via Bailliehill and Castle O’er.  This took me past the new windfarm at Ewe Hill and I tried to get a picture that took in all the 22 turbines…..

Ewe Hill wind farm

…and failed.  The turbines are so stretched out and alternately low and high that my camera couldn’t cope at all.

There are now so many wind turbines in Scotland that on a day of good wind and low demand, they can provide just about all the energy that is needed for the whole country.  What is required now is serious work on developing storage for renewable energy and it does seem that people are paying attention to this.  I live in hope.

I pedalled on up the valley of the Water of Milk, crossing bridges when I came to them.

little bridge on Bailliehill road

When I arrived at Bailliehill, I had crossed the col between the water of Milk and the Esk Valley….

Esk valley at Bailliehill

One of my favourite views of the Esk

…and I was soon passing the spot where the Black Esk meets the White Esk….

Black Esk meets White Esk

…and I had to cross the Black Esk…..

Black Esk bridge

…to continue up the west bank of the White Esk to Eskdalemuir.

When I got there, the northernmost point of the trip, I crossed yet another bridge…

Eskdalemuir bridge

Electricity and phone wires are everywhere I go.

…to continue my journey back to Langholm down the east bank of the river.

After pedalling the last ten miles uphill and into the wind, I was hoping for a good push from the breeze to get me back to Langholm but it was fitful and flighty and often seemed to come from the side and even into my face a bit instead of wafting me home.

Still, it was a glorious day to be out in the country so I didn’t mind too much and just pedalled along in a very stately manner admiring the views.

There are prehistoric monuments along the way.  This is a stone circle, The Girdle Stanes, half of which has been swept away by the river.

Girdle Stanes

The fields really were those colours.  The whole outing was a visual treat.

I had to pause on the Crurie Brae to let my tin knee rest as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills.  While I paused,  I looked north.  I could see the road that I had come up on the other side of the valley.

Looking back from Crurie Brae

Soon afterwards, I got my reward for the climbing I had done…..

Shaw Rigg

…as I whistled down the long straight road of the Shaw Rig.

I was soon pedalling along the back road past Georgefield, through banks of wild flowers….

Georgefield road

…until I crossed the Esk again at Bentpath by the bridge below the church….

Bentpath bridge and church

…which I see has got the builders in.

Westerkirk Church

Although the road from Eskdalemuir is theoretically downhill as it follows the river, it never seems that way when I am cycling along it. It undulates a lot and I was grateful to get to the last climb of the day.  I stopped for a breather and a final view from my ride.

View of Esk valley at Potholm

I would have taken a picture of the good crop of raspberries at the top of the hill but I inadvertently ate them before I thought of getting the camera out.  Wild raspberries are delicious.

I did 34 miles which is not far but as you can see from the elevation profile below, it was an up and down sort of ride with long uphill and short downhill sections so not very restful.  It was the slowest ride I have done for ages but also one of the most enjoyable.

Garmin route 24 July 2107

Click on the map for more details of the ride if you wish

 

When I got home, I had another wander round the garden….

poppy and roses

…edged the lawn and picked some beetroot which I then cooked.  I made a loaf of bread (with water) and went upstairs to have shower.  The front lawn looked so good from the bathroom window that I went back downstairs and got a camera.  I often say to Mrs Tootlepedal that all the work that I do on the lawn through autumn, spring and early summer is to make it look good for at least one day later in the summer.

I think that this might have been that day.

the front lawn looking good

When I came down a little later, there were forty sparrows pecking the lawn to bits.  Ah well.

Still the evening sunshine lit up a poppy very nicely so that soothed my ire.

poppy in sunshine

And a very cheery clematis at the front door completely restored my good humour.

front door clematis

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we played through our trio and that rounded off a very good day indeed.

After tea, I picked the very last of the blackcurrants and I hope to find time to make a pot or two of jelly tomorrow.

The flying birds of the day can’t make up their minds and are sitting on the fence for the time being.

blackbirds

Oh all right, it’s a hedge and not a fence.  Perhaps they are hedging their bets.

 

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Today was another very grey day here so I looked back for a sunny picture from my sister Mary’s portfolio to brighten things up by way of the guest picture of the day.  It shows the Victoria and Albert Museum with a paddling pool.

The Victoria and Albert Museum inner courtyard with paddling pool

The Victoria and Albert Museum inner courtyard with paddling pool

The forecast was very gloomy for the day but when Sandy and I drove up to Bentpath early in the morning to put our pictures for the show into the tent, it was at least dry.  It started to rain as we drove back home and things looked rather ominous for the show.

After breakfast, I had to go and get petrol as the car had been beeping at me to fill up as we drove down from Bentpath and then I visited the producers’ market to stock up on fish, cheese, honey and venison.  It was lucky that I was in the car as rain lashed down just as it was time for me to go home.

A few minutes later it had stopped and Sandy joined us for a cup of coffee.

This was the pattern for the day as the rain came and went and I got a moment to look round the garden in a dry spell after Sandy had gone home. Unsurprisingly it was still wet out there.

wet poppy

A soggy poppy

sunflowers

Depressed sunflowers

There were bright spots though.

Virginia creeper

Japanese anemones

And there were still plums waiting to be picked.

plum

After lunch, I stayed inside, out of the weather and did a tricky crossword until it was time to put on waterproof trousers and wellies and go back up to the flower show to see how we had done.

I picked Sandy up and we were pleased to see that the weather was looking a tiny bit brighter as we went up the road and for the moment at least there was no sign of rain.

We were greeted at the show field by a fine set of scarecrows….

Benty scarecrows

…one of whom was particularly pleased to see us.

Benty scarecrow

In spite of the gloomy weather the show was in full swing and there were a fair few people in the tents.  We joined them and Sandy was very pleased to see that he had won the cup for most points in the photographic section.  As he had claimed two firsts, four seconds and a third, he had won the cup by an ample margin.

I had a first, a second and a third so I was reasonably pleased too but very conscious that having been walloped by Sandy at two shows running, I will have to up my game a bit.  Mind you, Sandy is a good photographer so it is no shame to lag a bit behind him.

The afternoon stayed dry but it was still very dark and gloomy so it was not a day for happy show snaps.  There were only two terriers in the terrier race…

terrier race benty show

…and one was much better at jumping than running so that contest was exactly thrilling.

I had hoped to get some exciting pictures of the trail hounds leaping fences, fording the river and racing to the finish in the show field but the bad weather on the hill tops had obviously put them off severely because they didn’t come down the hill and into the field to complete the trail at all and the owners went off to try to find out where they had got to.

I had to make do with a distant shot of the leading two runners in the fell race reaching the select crowd at the summit before coming back down.

Benty Fell race

A bright spot was the success of one of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s cardoons in gaining a first prize for a friend who had used it in a flower set piece.

cardoon at Benty

I looked at some machinery that had been lined up for people to guess what the original use was….

machinery at Benty

Your guess is as good as mine

…enjoyed an unusual angle when viewing at the church across the river…

Westerkirk church

…and tried not to slip over in the mud.

All that was left to do was to wait for Sandy to collect his well earned trophy….

Sandy at Benty Show

…and then drive home.  As we left the field, it started to rain again so we felt that we and the show’s organisers had been very lucky with the weather, all things considered.

I had some fish for my tea and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some delicious courgette fritters to go with it so a quiet day ended well.

No flying bird on such a gloomy day but a the brightest bloom I could find in the garden, a rudbeckia, as flower of the day.

Rudbeckia

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The guest picture of day comes from my brother Andrew, who looked up when he was visiting York Minster.

York Minster

Once again, we woke to a gloomy, damp day but it had the goodness to stop raining while I visited the dentist for a check up.   It was pleasantly warm as I walked home having been given the all clear but the garden was still looking fairly damp when I got there.

nasturtiums

However, it was still and dry enough to tempt some insects out…

bees and butterflies

…and if you look closely, you can see three beasties collecting pollen from the poppy above at the same time.

insect on dahlia

I can’t make up my mind whether these rather fluffy yellow things are bumble bees or not.  I don’t think that the ones on the poppy are but I am less sure about the one on the dahlia.  Once again, I hoped to be helped out by knowledgeable readers.

My daughter has been in Portugal for a short break and very kindly sent me a tin of genuine Portuguese sardines so we had some very tasty sardine pâté for our lunch.  She knows that my brain needs all the help it can get from oily fish.

After lunch, the weather brightened up a lot and we walked to our church in glorious sunshine to celebrate the life of Charlie Edgar, a member of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Church Choir who died recently.  Mrs Tootlepedal  has had a long association with Charlie, both through the choir and the local amateur operatic society of which he was a mainstay for many years.   We sang two cheerful hymns and heard a very fine eulogy written and read by a friend so although memorial services are by their nature not something that you look forward to going to, this one was a very fitting tribute to a good man.

In spite of the sunshine, it was still a bit too soggy to contemplate some mowing when we got home so after a pause to catch up on the highlights of yesterday’s stage of the Vuelta on the telly, I got the fairly speedy bike out and did a very modest vuelta of my own.

It was perfect cycling weather – warm, sunny but not too hot and with a light wind to provide a little cooling when needed.

I went out of town up the Esk Valley and enjoyed the views as I went.

Gates of Eden

The ‘Gates of Eden’

Bentpath

Bentpath

Telford Library

The Telford Library at Bentpath founded to provide local antimony miners with books to read

As I pedalled up the road towards Bailliehill, I stopped to admire the heather..

Heather

…and looked back at the Esk in the valley below.

Esk at bailliehill

Soon, I had climbed out of the Esk valley and had dropped gently down to the start of the Water of Milk…

Water of Milk

Whereas farmers get very basic bridges, I got a fine stone bridge to cross a small tributary a bit further along.

Bridge near water of Milk

The road rose up from beside the stream and as I pedalled along, I could look across and see the tops of all six of the new windmills on Ewe Hill on the other side of the valley.

Ewe Hill Windmills

I was very pleased to see that they were indicating that I would have what wind there was at my back for the last ten miles of my journey.

As I rode up the hill at Callister, I passed some birds who are planning a trip of their own quite soon.

swallows

While I pedalled along, I reflected that the bicycle really is a wonderful invention.  A day or two ago, we watched the finest runners in the world run the Olympic marathon on flat roads.  Today, I went about the same distance over much hillier terrain and under my own steam in a time some ten minutes quicker than they had managed.   Running is a very pedestrian way of getting about, as they say.

Those interested in the route can click on the map below.

Garmin Route 23 Aug 2016

I was hoping to go for a little flying bird walk when I got back but the clouds had returned and the light was not promising enough to make it worthwhile so I wandered round the garden instead for a few minutes….

rudbeckia and nicotiana

Rudbeckia and Nicotiana are adding to our pleasure with colour and scent respectively

cardoon

A second cardoon has flowered

sweet peas

The better weather had brought out more sweet peas

…and then went in to have a shower and make baked eggs in spinach with a cheese sauce for our tea.    I had some very tasty cheese to hand so this rounded off the day very well.

After tea, we watched the highlights of today’s stage of the Vuelta so we had a double helping of cycling to enjoy.  It looks as though it will be an interesting race.

We are promised a day of sunshine tomorrow.  We are very much looking forward to that.

The flower of the day is another in the long line of poppies.  I find them very hard to resist.

pink poppy

 

 

 

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