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Posts Tagged ‘clover’

Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  Looking through my files I see that I didn’t use this one from his highland holiday earlier in the year.  I thought that it should have gone in then so I have put it in now. It shows keen canoeists in Plockton.

oznor

We had a pleasant and mostly sunny day and it was filled with interesting things to do.  Fortunately they came at a leisurely pace and well spread out.

I started the day with a conversation with a neighbour over the garden fence.  As we chatted, blackbirds flew into the rowan tree and munched away on the berries, quite unconcerned about our presence.

blackbird in rowan

After we finished our conversation, I went in and got my other camera out and spent some time recording blackbirds wondering where the berries had gone, checking out the berries that were there…

birds berry

…and then eating them.   It will not be long until they are all gone.

Our neighbour has a rowan with yellow berries and he pointed out that they  have not been touched yet.  I wonder if the birds just don’t think that they are ripe.  Maybe they are not so tasty.

Then it was time for coffee and excellent treacle scones with Dropscone.  He has been busy playing golf and visiting his new granddaughter so I hadn’t seen him for some time.  It was good to catch up with his news.

When he left, I wandered round the garden doing some dead heading and looking at flowers, both individually…

four single flowers

There was plenty of evidence of yesterday’s rain

…and in clumps.

four flower bunches

Then, thinking that I had better do something useful while Mrs Tootlepedal was busy at a meeting, I trimmed one of the garden hedges and the hedge along the road.

clipped hedge

This should be the last time this year that the hedges need trimming I hope.

On my way back inside, I noticed that a nerine had come out…

nerine

…and I watched a sparrow watching a passing insect.

sparrow on stalk

I don’t know if anyone was watching me.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting and we had a light lunch.

After lunch, I got my bike out and pedalled quietly round my customary 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  Yesterday’s visit to the physiotherapist confirmed previous advice that I shouldn’t cycle up steep hills so I shall continue to pedal along tried and trusted familiar  flattish routes.  This means that cycling photos will continue to be on the dull side.

I was pleased to finally get a reasonably sharp photo of some clover today.  I have been trying and failing all summer so it was only right that the clover should be going over when I finally caught it.

old clover

Looking over the Hollows Bridge, there was just the faintest suggestion that leaves are beginning to turn.

hollows esk

Following a previous picture of beech nuts, I took two more shots of beech trees, one on each side of the bridge at the Hollows just to show that almost all our beech trees are heavily laden this year.

beech nuts hollows

I have passed the laughing poodle tree many times this year on my bike rides so I thought that I might record it once again as it always amuses me as I see it.

poodle tree

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal relaxing after some hard gardening while I had been out.

I had a quick butterfly hunt after I had had a cup of tea and was pleased to find three different kinds on the go, red admiral, painted lady and peacock.  I had hoped for a small tortoiseshell as well but had to make up the panel with a plain fly on the sedum.

three butterflies and a fly

Crown Princess Margareta has flowered but she has turned her back on her public and I had to wade into the border to get this shot.

crown princess margareta rose sept

I went in and had a shower, and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking our evening meal, I went out for a short walk.  The physiotherapist has said that I should walk as much as I can.

Some dog tooth peltigera lichen appeared on a wall shortly after I set out…

peltigera lichen

…and my next stop was to look at the bridge over the Becks Burn.

becks brodge

I stopped again at the Auld Stane Brig, the next bridge along, to admire a small garden on the bridge parapet and a lichen jungle on the fence post at the end of the bridge.

auld stane brisge flower and lichen

I walked back to the town along Gaskells Walk.  There were plenty of fine ferns to admire as I walked along.  I looked at the front of some…

fern gaskells

…and the back of others.  This is a buckler fern.

fern spores gaskells

There were fruits as well as ferns.

three fruits gaskells

I finished by walking along the path beside the park wall.  I was hoping for more lichen but it hasn’t developed yet or I wasn’t paying enough attention.

park wall sept

I will look again soon.

The day was rounded off by a visit from Mike and Alison and Alison and I played old and new favourites including Telemann, Vivaldi, Marcello and Finger while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike once again set the world to rights.  We may have to check on their methods as things have not improved much as I hoped since they set the world to rights last week.

Among the many blackbirds visiting the ‘birdberry’ tree was this one, who just managed to qualify as the flying bird of the day.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Highland correspondent Jennifer and shows her lovely garden, proving that they have had good weather up there too.

IMG_0168

After the brief interlude with rain here, we are back to dry, warm weather.  New flowers are appearing in the garden.

euphorbia, wiegela, philadelphus

The new euphorbia in full flow, the weigela and the first philadelphus

It was cloudy today but warm enough for me to go out for a bicycle ride exposing my knees to the grateful public.  From a cycling point of view, the fact that it was cloudy was a bonus as it meant I didn’t get cooked as I pedalled but from a photographic point of view,  it meant my eyes were more often turned to the verges than the views.

There was plenty to see in the verges.

The umbellifers are out in force and no plant is so reliable in my experience at attracting insects for photo opportunities.

insects on umbelliferhoverfly on umbellifer

The grasses are also at their peak in many and various forms.

grasses

grasses (2)

I cycled down to Gretna and then took the service road beside the new motorway.  The road makers have given the new road very decorative bankings.

motorway daisies

There was red and white clover all along the way.

clovers

And I saw my first hedge rose today.

hedge rose

The hawthorns are beginning to go over and fading to a delicate pink as they go.  This one was at the bridge over the river Lyne near Longtown.

hawthorn

There is no shortage of food for sheep or cattle.

sheep in meadow

And no shortage of wild flowers  for me to enjoy.  This is the old A7, now by-passed by the Auchenrivock diversion.

Old A7 verge

Not long before I got back to Langholm, I stopped at Hollows Tower for a cup of coffee and a Tunnock’s Tea Cake at their new little ground floor cafe.  The tower celebrates the Armstrong reiving family…

 

Hollows Tower

…so I was relieved that no one stole my bicycle while I was drinking my coffee.  I prudently parked it round the back.

When I got home, after a very enjoyable 50 mile excursion into the flatlands of England, I had enough energy left to mow the front lawn and take a few pictures in the garden.

The sun had come out by this time and it was a pleasure to be out in the garden with leisure to sit down from time to time and enjoy the views.

My eye was drawn towards pink.

Fru Dagmar Hustrup rose

Fru Dagmar Hastrup, new in the garden this year,

aquilegia

A pink aquilegia which Mrs Tootlepdal likes

astrantia

And the wonderful astrantia, a whole garden in a single plant

Newly out was this excellent iris….

iris with lining

…and Mrs Tootlepedal’s geum garden is a riot of colour.

geums

I took a moment to check on the birds.  Sparrows are coming to the feeder in style.

landing sparrow

And we still have redpolls, though not quite as bright red as before.

redpolls

Later on, Mrs Tootlepedal was doing some weeding when she saw this frog.

frog in garden

She thinks that the frogs in the garden may well account for her slug free hostas.

My flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive time.  Rather to my surprise, it turns out that he has been coming to play for so many years that he has now finally left school.  Time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some lemon curd ice cream from a recipe card that she had come across and we ate it for our pudding after a second go at the slow cooked beef stew. This came with a side order of fresh spinach from the garden and we had an excellent meal to round off a  very enjoyable day.

I made an effort at a flying bird of the day and caught a sparrow checking to see who was about.

flying sparrow

Those interested may see more detail on the bike ride by clicking on the map below.  You can see that it was a very flat route.

garmin route 4 June 2018

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker who is on holiday in Wales.  He tells me , “I came across this interesting ancient monument while walking here in New Radnor -it is strangely called Four Stones.”  I think that I have worked out how it got its title.

Four Stones Radnor

We had a really pleasant day today – warm and dry, not too windy and with some occasional sunny spells.  I should have been out on my bike all day as I am still short of miles for June but a combination of mild asthma and sore feet kept me off the bike in the morning.

This gave me the chance to go bee hunting again.

bee on geranium

This one was exploring a chive

bee on geranium

This one was getting really stuck into a geranium.

We are getting a good variety of bees which is pleasing.

There are plenty of  bright flowers for the bees to visit.

iceland poppy and iris

And lots of detail for the bees to admire when they make their visits.

flower hearts

I was very pleased to see some flowers on the potatoes…

potato flowers

…and I am looking forward to some new potatoes from the garden in the not too distant future.

After a look at the tropaeolum….

tropaeolum

…which I see has had to be tied down to stop it flying off, I got the hover mower out and gave the greenhouse grass and the drying green a haircut.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy with the strimmer so although these areas are in the working part of the garden, they look very neat.

I was just thinking about going for a cycle ride after lunch when a knock on the back door heralded the arrival of Dropscone at a very non standard time.  He had purchased four brioche rolls at such an advantageous price (10p for all four) when passing through Hawick just before the supermarket closed for the night that he felt he had to share them with me.  This was very kind of him and we enjoyed two each over a cup of tea.

After he left, I finally got kitted up and went off on the fairly speedy bike.  I pottered round the 20  mile trip down to Canonbie and back with plenty of stops for photos.  They haven’t got round to mowing the verges immediately out of the town so I was able to enjoy a colourful mixture of buttercups and clover….

buttercups and clover

…with an attendant bee…

bee on clover

This bee really is in clover.

..before pedalling on wondering how they could bring themselves to cut verges when they look like this.

There was a different sort of growth beside the road at the top of the hill on the Kerr road.

new trees

These tubes all contain broad leaved saplings as the landowners can’t get permission to plant conifers unless they provide a fringe of native trees round the new plantations.  On the other side of this little summit are rows of identical conifers.

I am looking for views taken in Canonbie Parish to enter into the Canonbie Flower Show in August so I tested out a few possibilities as I went from Langholm Parish into Canonbie and then back out again.

Chapelhill

A typical scene

baling the silage Canonbie

Baling the silage

The natives were interested in what I was doing.

Canonbie cows

In between taking those two views, my route took me down the main Canonbie by-pass. This is quite a busy road with fast traffic  and and I don’t usually stop for picture opportunities while I am on it but some bright colour caught my eye today and I applied the brakes.

orchid

More orchids

orchid

Lots more orchids

For a short section of the road, the verge was full of orchids.  They must bloom there every year but I have never noticed them before.  I couldn’t miss them today.

I stopped for my three favourite trees in full summer rig out….

Canonbie trees

…before cycling through the village and back up the Esk to Langholm.

The verges on the old road hadn’t been cut and I stopped twice for things that got my attention.

ragged robin

Ragged Robin

an umbellifer and friend

An umbellifer and friend

I was going to take a picture of a yellow rose in the garden when I had a walk round after I got home but on closer inspection, I decided that it might not be quite what the readers would want to see…

rose with flies

The downside of a warm and calm day

…so I didn’t take it.

After tea, another excellent fish pie from Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to sing with the small choir that is practising to sing three songs in a concert in the town in July.  There were nine sopranos and trebles, four altos and three tenors.  I modestly took my place as the one  and only bass but I certainly didn’t oompah up and down the square.

We had a most enjoyable practice and I have got a month to try and get a bit of tone quality into my unused low notes.

No flying birds or bees today.

 

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Today’s guest picture shows the west face of Hereford Cathedral.  My brother likes imposing church buildings.

Hereford cathedral West face

Having had their little bit of fun yesterday, the weather gods were in a cheerier mood today and helped me out.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window when she thought that she saw a most unusual bird visiting the fatballs.  A second look showed that it didn’t have feathers but fur.

mouse

I went out to see of I could get a close up but it scurried off so I looked for new flowers instead.  I found a relatively new purchase and an old friend.

a ranunculus and astrantia

A lone high class buttercup and the first of many astrantias

There were many pleasures to be seen but the current star of the show is this rhododendron which is at its peak.

rhododendron

It sits in a colourful corner.

rhodedendrons

I had to sit for a couple of hours in the Welcome to Langholm office this morning, receiving tourists at the exact rate of one per hour.  I wasn’t bored though as I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Database and as it was raining outside for quite a bit of the time, I felt very content.

When I got home, the rain had relented and I was able to walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

It was genuinely warm and for the first time this year, there was no nip in the air at all, just a balmy breeze.  The plants are enjoying themselves.

I took a picture of a not very impressive flower…

first rose of summer

…but it is a significant arrival as it the first rose of summer.

I took another picture of that colourful corner.

rhododendrons

I often take close ups of flowers but there are some nice clusters of colour to be enjoyed too.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

Clematis, iris and welsh poppy

After lunch, the weather was warm and the rain had gone away so we hung the washing out and then  I went off for a short pedal down to Canonbie and back.

I had hardly got started before I had to stop when I saw an old friend at Pool Corner.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

There were plenty of wild flowers to distract me as I pedalled along…

wild flowers

…and many small butterflies flitting about too but none of them would stay still long enough for me to get my camera out so I stopped trying to catch one of them and stuck to the flowers.

crosswort and clover

The verges are rich in cow parsley at the  moment…

cow parsley

…and some of the fields are full of buttercups…

buttercups

…so my trip was very easy on the eye.

It was pleasantly warm and I was able to get my vitamin D dose through my knees. This was a treat for me but maybe a bit of a shock for any passers by.  Cycling is so much easier when it is warm and even the wind doesn’t seem to bother you so much.  It was quite breezy out in the country and I was able to cycle uphill back home from the bottom of Canonbie much faster than I had cycled down there into the wind.

I stopped to look at the church at Canonbie….

Canonbie Church

…and then I stopped again while I was in the village to visit a friend from our choir who has recently had a bad fall and is currently laid up with a broken leg.  She was remarkably cheery under the circumstances and even seeing me in my cycling shorts couldn’t dent her good humour.

There were one or two dark clouds in the offing so I didn’t dawdle on the way back from Canonbie and I got home in time for another walk round the garden…

aquilegia

The aquilegia of the day

the first bean of the year

The first bean flower of the year

…while Mrs Tootlepedal got the washing in and then with perfect timing it started to rain just as we sat down for a cup of tea.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and when he showed marked improvement in playing quietly in a sustained manner, I accused him of practising at home, an accusation which he didn’t deny.  He is an excellent pupil.

We played all four movements of a trio sonata for treble recorder and flute by Loeillet with only one hiccup.  While we played, we were accompanied by my computer on the harpsichord, one of the wonders of technology for which I am very grateful.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike and had another enjoyable musical time.

Before I went home, I popped into the Archive Centre to print out some more sheets for the eager data miners who are happily piling up work for me.  Sandy, who enters data too,  is on holiday in Greece so I will have to pull my socks up when it comes to entering the data in the database and try to do his share as well as mine.

The non flying bird of the day is Mr Grumpy who quietly sat by the water and let me get quite close.

heron

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an array of Mr Grumpy’s London cousins lining up on the banks of the Serpentine.  It was taken yesterday by my sister Mary. There is a flourishing herony in the park there.

Hyde park heronsIt didn’t matter what the weather was like here today as I wasn’t going anywhere so I was secretly pleased that it was another chilly and grey day until the late afternoon.  I wouldn’t have been happy to sit with my leg up if it had been a fine cycling day.

I was determined to give my knee a thorough rest and apart from going out to open the greenhouse and water the tomato plant and taking a picture of a new flower….

Alstroemeria

It is an Alstroemeria

…and some plums….

plums

We have plenty of plums but will they ever ripen?

…I managed some pro resting for most of the day.  I limited my standing up and looking out of the kitchen window to a very brief spell but it did include a visit from a crow.

crowIt hung about until it was sure that I had taken a good picture and then flew off without further ado.  The goldfinches have found a better place to go as there are none in the garden at all just now and our feeders are visited by sparrows, siskins and chaffinches with the occasional greenfinch and blue tit for variety.

sparrowsI was fortunate to have chosen a day of rest which was well supplied with mindless sport to watch on the telly with the Tour de France, the Davis Cup and the Open Golf meaning that the only thing that got any exercise today was my channel changing finger.

The brighter weather in the afternoon did tempt me out into the garden just to stretch my legs a little and I took the opportunity to pick some gooseberries and make myself some stewed gooseberries for my tea.  They were delicious.

Our neighbours Liz and Ken came in for a stroll round the garden while I was outside.  I hope she will come and pick some gooseberries too as the bush is loaded down with far more than I can eat and it would be a pity to waste them.

We were looking at the ornamental clover when a bee interrupted us.

bee in cloverThis picture is therefore a visual demonstration of what “being in clover” might be like.

When they left, I stayed out long enough to catch a moss rose glowing gently…

moss rose…and the jungle lily reflecting back the sun.

lily

The sun shone through a geranium.

geranium

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are called Cranesbills because of the seed heads whihc you can see in the picture.

A lot of the hostas are in flower now.

hosta

Their flowers look better in a little low sunshine

I think that the garden looks at its best in a summer evening so I ventured out while I was in the middle of cooking my tea to try to show why.  I couldn’t do it justice but here’s a couple of views.

garden in eveninggarden in eveningFor all the flowers that are about, it is the restful greens of the shrubs, hedges and lawns that give it its tone.

The only bad thing about this very restful Sunday is that my knee was no better at the end of the day than it was at the start.  (For joint pain enthusiasts, I can report that it isn’t swollen, it isn’t hot and I can bend and straighten my leg freely without pain.  It is just mysteriously sore, especially when I walk but even when I am resting it.  I may have to seek medical advice if it doesn’t go away soon.)

I did get one flying bird but it was no better than my knee.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s sister Liz and shows the beach at Cromer in Norfolk which she visited last month while on a walking holiday.

Cromer June 2015 Pier and Huts 092 (12)Very stiff winds put all thoughts of an early morning pedal out of my mind and I did a little shopping instead and then had the pleasure of eating some of Dropscone’s scones while we chatted over our coffee.  We also had a tasty slice or two of cake.  This had been a gift to Dropscone but it had currants in it and he tells me that his children won’t eat cake with currants, apparently in case it poisons them.  They are otherwise quite intelligent people but their loss was my gain.

After Dropscone left to get ready to play golf, I did a little light mowing and a touch of dead heading before going back inside.  My good (unoperated on) knee was a bit sore so I didn’t want to tax it too much.

I set the camera up on a tripod at the kitchen window and took a few bird pictures.  It is certainly easier to have the camera on a tripod as my shoulders are a bit sore at the moment too and holding the camera with the zoom lens on steady for any length of time is a trial.  Even with the tripod though, the light wasn’t very good as we have lost all vestige of summer weather except for very brief moments.

sparrrow and chaffinch

If I was that chaffinch, I might make an excuse and leave.

siskin and sparrow

The siskins were being as rude as ever. There were plenty of spare perches.

There are a number of golden box balls in the garden…

box balls..and as we are at the time when they need clipping, I went out again and clipped a couple.  This one ended looking quite spherical which was pleasing as I don’t have the best eye for getting them right.

Today was the day of the first ride out of the year, the start of the two week build up to our Common Riding.  I had planned to walk  up a hill after lunch and see the horseman galloping across the countryside but by this time my knee was really sore and I had quite a bit of difficulty just walking the half mile up the road to the Auld Stane Brig.  Still, it was worth the effort.  Watching a ride out is a bit like watching a bicycle race.  First you get marshals and then you get the police…

Benty ride out…and only then do you get the main event.

Benty ride outSoon the whole road is full of horsemen….

Benty ride out…but no horsewomen, as even in this day and age, this ride out is an all male affair.

Benty ride out

This is Jamie, the cornet, who will carry the town’s flag round the marches on our great day.   A great responsibility.

Like a bike race, the horsey equivalent of the peleton soon passes by and disappears into the distance.

Benty ride outI was left to limp home, my dicky knee giving me plenty of excuses to stop and admire the verges on the way (without falling into any holes, I’m glad to say).

There were spikes….

sorrel and nettle…and more spikes and feathery things too.

umbellierfa and nettleI have had a lot of trouble trying to get sharp pictures of wild nettles but I have come to the conclusion that this is not just incompetence but chiefly because the nettles themselves are so fuzzy that the camera just can’t cope.

I was just about to pass another wild flower of no special interest when some odd colour caught my eye.

Wild flower with insects

It was certainly of interest to a variety of insects

One of which posed for a close up.

bluebottleThese insects are like mallards’ heads and look blue or green depending on how the light strikes them.  You can see one looking green on the right in the first picture.

I stopped at Pool Corner to look at the slow worms dancing and a rosebay willow herb looking delicate.

slow worm and rose bay willow herbAlthough it had rained on me while I was waiting for the riders to arrive, the sun had come out when I got back to the garden so I took a moment to look around.

Red flowers

I don’ know what the one on the left is but the one on the right is our first nasturtium

I need Mrs Tootlepedal to be on hand to help me name the flowers.  She is still staying with her mother for a few days.

poppy and honeysuckle

A rather elaborate poppy and the honeysuckle problem solved – catch it before it comes out.

The ornamental clover is looking wonderful and a close up reveals once again that things are more complex than they may seem on the surface.

cloverThere were other white flowers about.

The very last peony and Bobbie James just cutting loose.

The very last peony and Bobbie James just cutting loose.

My knee was quite sore enough to put paid to any scheme which didn’t involve sitting down when I finally got inside so I sat down and stayed there until it was time to cook my tea.  I don’t know whether the sore knee is a delayed result of falling down the hole two weeks ago or whether it a side effect of the pills which I have recently started taking.  We will see what a little rest does and that should give me a clue.

After tea, I went out with my neighbour Margaret to the Buccleuch Centre.  The Centre has recently become part of the live screening scheme which beams plays, operas, ballets and concerts into cinemas all round the country.  Tonight was their first screening so we were all a bit nervous about whether the satellite technology would work well but everything went like clockwork.

The show we saw was André Rieu’s live 2015 concert in Maastrict.  His billing describes him as “The King Of Waltz” and his concerts are a feast of light classical music laced with operatic arias, sentimental choruses and interesting guests (70 Romanian pan pipers and dancers and a 1920s style close harmony Germany singing group tonight).

The effect is akin to sitting in a warm bubble bath, drinking wine and being pelted with marshmallows and it was altogether delightful.  Everything is done to make you feel happy.  The ladies in his orchestra are dressed in elegantly puffy ball gowns in pastel shades, all the players are allowed to show that they are enjoying their playing by smiling and interacting, the audience are encouraged to join in, the staging is brilliantly colourful and André Rieu himself is a charming and witty host.   It would take a heart of stone not to enjoy the performance.  I don’t have a heart of stone so this was right up my street and tears of joy and laughter coursed down my cheeks at many moments during the evening.

As some of you will know, I usually regard any concert of more than and hour and a half as an affront to people’s patience but this one lasted three hours and was not a moment too long.

A chaffinch is flying bird of the day

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows the elegant ceiling of Bath Abbey.  Venetia took the picture when she was there with my sister Mary recently. I always think that these places must take a lot of dusting to keep them clean.

Bath AbbeyIt was a day of questions.

Would I do anything useful after breakfast?  Yes, a little dusting and cleaning.

Would Dropscone come round for coffee?  Yes.  Hooray.

Did he bring any scones?  No.  Boo hoo.

Was there anything new to see in the garden?  Yes.

Berberis and peony

Berberis and peony flowering

Were there any other plants worth a look?  I thought so.

rhododendron

Mrs Tootlepedal’s new rhododendron is as red as red can be.

Nectaroscordum

Allium bulgaricum also known as Nectaroscordum siculum var. bulgaricum.

Are we going to get anything to eat?  Yes.

apple, bean and plumAny interesting birds about?  Not many, just a dunnock.

dunnockThis questioning mood was brought on by having to prepare a quiz for the choir social in the evening.  It is amazing how much time writing sevehty questions takes.  It is not just thinking up (or stealing) questions and answers, there is worrying about whether they are too hard or too easy and considering whether the questions are interesting in themselves.  And then there are the questions to which you think you know the answer but because it is a quiz, you have to double check,

Still, it got done in time for me to sieve a little compost, shred some prunings and go out with Mrs Tootlepedal for a bicycle ride after lunch.  It was only eleven miles long but it is probably the most interesting short ride round here.  There was one question left.  Was it going to rain?  The forecast said that there was a 50% probability of rain but luckily we got the other half and it stayed dry.

The route starts by going up to Wauchope School but then it veers off up a little valley.  The last time we cycled this, the road to the farm at Cleuchfoot was in terrible condition and full of enormous potholes.  Today we found that the council have been busy and it is now as smooth as a baby’s bottom…

The road to Cleuchfoot

The road to Cleuchfoot with a perfect surface.

…and a pleasure to ride on.

Once through the farm, the valley gets narrower and the road rougher….

Arrisgill…but it too has been repaired so there were no potholes….and there were floral consolations.

ArrisgillThen the route turns and leaves the valley floor, following a timber lorry trail over the shoulder of the hill.

The timber trailThis road was also in good repair and we were soon able to look back to the road that we had come along.

CleuchfootWith one last push…

Timber trail…Mrs Tootlepedal floated over the summit and we looked down the long (and bumpy) straight on the other side.

Timber trailThere were floral delights here too.

clover

One of a very bright bunch of red clover that caught my eye.

We got back to the Wauchope road and stopped for a moment at the new bridge at Westwater.  It seems no time at all since it was built but already the bare banks of the burn below are getting blanketed by a meadow…

Collin Bridge…and on the bridge itself, the shiny new sandstone parapet is covered in a ghostly pattern of lichen.

lichenThe journey home was aided by a brisk following wind and as a result of the new and improved surfaces and the push home, we were very pleased by the whole outing.

The hawthorns are just turning a little pink along the road side.

hawthornThere wasn’t a lot of time after we got home before we were on the go again, this time off to the Cricket Club for the choir social.  There was a smaller than hoped for turnout of members but there were enough to make for a convivial evening.  The quiz was received in a good spirit and the scores were very close.  There was a good spread to follow (Mrs Tootlepedal’s contribution was a tasty flapjack)  and then we had a little singsong to round the evening off.

Now we wait for September to start another  choral year all over again.

The final question of the day: could we get home without getting bitten by midges?  Just.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

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