Posts Tagged ‘cycling outings’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who recently visited Banwell Castle and sent me this picture of the gatehouse.  I am glad to see that they festoon potential photographic subjects with telephone wires down there as well as up here.

Banwell castle Gatehouse

The best weather of the day today was in the morning when it was calm and sunny so it was unfortunate that I had agreed to act as a substitute welcomer in the Welcome to Langholm office from 10am to 12 noon.

Still, I got a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and welcomed several visitors and both supplied them with information and extracted a little money for booklets from them so it wasn’t time wasted.

When I got home, I looked out through the kitchen window to see if the goldfinches had come back to the feeder.

They had…


…in numbers…


…and in squabbling mood.


They looked even better when the sun came out.


They were joined by sparrows…

sparrow and goldfinch

…and chaffinches, this one wearing a bird ringer’s ring on his leg…


…and blue tits.

blue tit

This is a very satisfactory start for the new feeder season.

After lunch, we went out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal is not quite back to 100% yet but she was able to do some good work in the garden today.  I had a look round.

The poppies are continuing to do well and to attract insects.

hoverfly on poppy

I didn’t see the bee creeping up on this one when I took the picture.

bee approaching poppy

Recently there have been several pictures of fuchsias with a pot marigold in the background.  I reversed that today.

pot marigold

I didn’t hang around in the garden though as I wanted to make use of a good afternoon for cycling.

After a few outings on wet roads, my fairly speedy bike needed a wash and lubrication so I was a while before I got going but I got out in plenty of time to do thirty miles or even a bit more.

In the event, perhaps because of the dust from the Sahara which Ophelia brought up with her, thirty miles was quite enough and cycling was a rather weird experience with my brain in turmoil as I tried to sort out what I was actually thinking from snippets of dreams and imagination that confused me as I pedalled along.   There are days when being an asthmatic cyclist is not the best thing to be.  A say with Saharan dust in the air is one of those.

Luckily, my cycling reflexes were in good order and as I went at a very modest average speed, I was able to get along quite safely although my concentration was anywhere but on the road ahead.

I must have been aware of my surroundings a bit though, as I stopped to take a few pictures as I went round.

There were various shades of autumn as I went along.

View of windmills

It was a good day for a pedal although it was one of those days when the wind seemed to be against for an awful lot of the journey.

autumn colour

Hedges have been clipped but the frequent rain showers have swept the roads clean so there were no thorny problems for me to avoid.

clipped hedges

The roads were quiet which was perhaps lucky as I was pedalling in a bit of a dwam.

KPF road

Gilnockie Tower was looking quite crisp as I passed.

Hollows Tower

And the distillery looked very cosy tucked in among the autumn leaves.

Langholm Distillery from skippers bridge

I fear that we are not going to get a really colourful show of autumn colour this year but perhaps there is still time.  I think we need a few cooler mornings to set thing off.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal showed me the work that she had been doing in the garden in my absence.  She has great plans for the autumn and winter so that she will be ready for a bright new gardening year.  I will try to record developments as they happen.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir and as there were four tenors and only one bass, I jumped ship and went off to sing bass (with variable success).  It was probably quite a good idea as my voice was suffering a bit from the dusty bike ride.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch one while the sun was out.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by their father, shows two more children of a Langholm exile.  William and Sara, grandchildren of Mike Tinker, are standing in front of the monument to the 29th chieftain of  Clan Macdougall in Oban where they are on holiday.  A nice contrast in posing styles here.

William and Sara

It was another good day today, warm and dry and not too hot for a change.  There was just a light wind blowing when I went off for a pedal up to Mosspaul and back and this allowed me to keep up a good pace.  I didn’t g0 as far as I might have done on such a good day as I had an outing with Mrs Tootlepedal pencilled in for the afternoon.

I only had one stop which was when a large buzzing insect flew through one of the ventilation slots on my helmet and got stuck.  I screeched to a halt and let it out post haste and was relieved when I found that it was just a buzzing insect and not a stinging or biting one.

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished singing with the church choir and was busy in the garden by the time that I got back.  I was in the garden too but just looking rather than doing anything useful.

There were new flowers….



…and old flowers…

lupin and eryngium

long serving lupin and eryngium

…and flowers that signify future meals for us….

runner bean and courgette

Runner bean and courgette

…and berries for the birds.

rowan berries

Rowan berries

One picture baffled me a bit when I looked at it later.  I couldn’t remember try to shoot the sky.


I worked out that I had been trying to catch a pond insect and had caught both it and my reflected camera…

pond insect

…which had the insect again.

pond insect

I am not quite sure what happened here. Is this a reflection in a reflection?

There are two clumps of astilbes coming on with more waiting in the wings.


The rambler roses are doing amazingly well considering that they have been absolutely covered with mildew all season and didn’t look as though they were going to come out at all.

rambler roses

And I took another look at my favourite astrantias.


After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out on our bikes with the intention of visiting Waterbeck, ten miles away over the hill, where they offer a cream tea every Sunday in July. However, things did not go to plan.  The weather was still fine but the wind had got up a lot and was blowing straight in our faces as we pedalled up the Wauchope road towards the hill at Callister.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been very busy in the garden lately and has been also looking after our many recent welcome guests so she has not been out for any long rides for quite a time.  As a result, she wisely thought, when we had battled to the top of Callister into the teeth of the wind, that enough was enough…especially as there are still two cream tea opportunities to go in July.

We turned for home and enjoyed the reward for our hard work as we whizzed back down the hill in style.

We were also able to watch the last miles of a very interesting stage of the Tour de France while we recovered which was a bonus.

It wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal was out in the garden again though.  I followed and mowed the drying green and came out again with my camera to take advantage of the evening light to capture some pale flowers..

The phlox are beginning to arrive.



Our hostas are flowering furiously


The ligularia are standing tall but are dying from the bottom before the top is out.


A pretty euphorbia fading in style

I found a bee in clover.

bee in clover

…and then went in to rest.  I was much less tired today than yesterday and I was relieved to find that the strawberry jam wasn’t as bad as I feared, although it is not as good as it should be.

I didn’t have much time to watch the birds during the day but I was entertained by our young blue tit.

blue tit

It also appears as flying bird of the day although I must admit that I didn’t know it was in the picture when I pressed the shutter button.

flying blue tit




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