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Posts Tagged ‘garden flowers’

Today’s guest picture is another from a splendid set that my brother sent me after his visit to Shugborough Hall near Stafford a week ago.

shugborough bridge

We awoke to find it was still raining after a night of rain and a check on the scientific rain gauge showed two centimetres had fallen.  This is a fair amount of rain for us and it is an indication of how dry things have been that the garden wasn’t awash with puddles.

It was too wet for gardening though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef stew for the slow cooker and then watched the birds for a while.

A rather anxious looking sparrow appeared first.

worried sparrow

It was probably right to be anxious as there was quite a lot of demand for a seat at the table.

chaffinch incoming

incoming sparrow

flying chaffinch

I was pleased to see a blue tit among the sparrows and chaffinches. The sunflower seeds are too big for a blue tit to chew whole so they usually take one off and trap it under their feet on a handy tree nearby while they peck at them….but sometimes they just drop them.

bluetit dropping seed

The rain soon eased off but it was still pretty wet and when I put the camera away, I stayed inside and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

This took me up to lunchtime and after lunch, I nearly succumbed to the temptation of watching more of the European Championships on the telly but I managed to pull myself together in the nick of time and put on my cycling gear.

I was punished for saying there weren’t many insects about by being bitten by a horsefly when I had stopped for a breather on my bike ride but there are still not many of them in the garden.

I took this one by accident when I was shooting the dahlia of the day while wasting time before cycling…

dahlia

..and zoomed in for a closer look.

hoverfly

There are still geraniums about although they haven’t been at their best this year.

geranium

A close look at a rose mallow revealed a very fluffy interior.

rose mallow

The second flowering of the orange hawkweed goes from strength to strength.

orange hawkweed august

In the end, I stopped looking at flowers in my cycling gear and actually got on my bike.

It was an odd sort of day.  It looked very autumnal, gloomy and  grey and overcast but it felt rather summery with the temperature at a very pleasant 20°C so I  went off wearing shorts but with a rain jacket packed just in case.

After the overnight rain, I checked on the little cascade near Wauchope Schoolhouse and was not surprised to find quite a bit of water splashing over the rocks.

Wauchope cascade

There were a lot of wild flowers growing near the river, some familiar…

wauchope wild flowers

…and one which was quite new to me.  I have no idea what it is.

white wild flower

When I stopped after ten miles to admire the view…gair road

…and have a drink and a nibble of guava jelly, I found that my lost water bottle was back on my bike again.

two water bottles

I had had a reasonable idea of where I had lost it on my previous ride and wondered whether it would be visible today.  It was just resting quietly in the grassy verge on top of Callister.  I took it home with me and though it will have to go in the bin, at least I haven’t left litter beside the road.

There is a stretch of this striking grass beside the road near Springkell and considering how full the seed heads are, I am surprised that I don’t see more of it about.

seedy grass

I saw a bright yellow flower in the verge at one point and wondered what it was.  A closer look makes me think that it is a bird’s foot trefoil but it has come rather late in the season if that is what it is.

trefoil

The weather gods played an amusing game with me over the last ten miles of the trip.  They sent down enough light rain to make me think about stopping and putting my rain jacket on and then, just as I was about to stop, the rain stopped.  And then, of course, a mile or so later, it started again.  This went on for some time and they only got fed up when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to stop even if it rained quite hard  (which it did for a few minutes) and they went off to annoy someone else.

I managed 35 miles at a modest pace and got home in time to have a walk round the garden before tea.

There were pale pink sweet peas to be seen today.

pink sweet peas

I picked a plum from the plum tree (a good place to look for a plum)…

first plum

…and went inside for a shower.  The plum will need to ripen for a day before it is ready to eat.

With more rain forecast for every day next week, I am glad to have got some miles in this weekend.  I still have plenty of archiving work to do so perhaps it will be a case of every cloud having a silver lining, a statement with which I do not agree in general.

I was spoiled for choice as far as flying birds went but the poor light didn’t let me get a very good picture.

flying sparrow

 

 

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I am deluged with potential guest pictures at the moment so apologies to anyone who has missed out in the rush.  I am very grateful and I will try to use lots of them in time. 

Today’s comes from my brother who paid a visit to Shugborough Hall and was impressed to discover that they have two differently coloured Chinese bridges in the grounds.

shugborough bridges

I had rather an unexciting morning as it was grey and occasionally very lightly drizzling.  On top of that, I had to wait in for the possible delivery of a parcel as Mrs Tootlepedal had to go out to visit the dentist and the Buccleuch Hall.

I looked at some damp flowers…

wet flowers

…and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  An entertaining crossword helped to pass the time and I looked at the brods whoihc had returned to the feeder.

It took them a bit to arrive and the first visitor was a siskin who posed very soulfully…

siskin posing

..before flying off without feeding.

Others did not hold back.

feeder traffic

I was just taking a studio portrait of a greenfinch enjoying a light snack….

unwitting greenfinch

…when I (and it) was rudely interrupted.

unwitting greenfinch shoved

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back, I had an early lunch and set off for a pedal.

It was grey but warm and dry and I even saw a wild flower which had escaped the mowers.

wild flower

A roar of noise while i was looking at the flower made me look up and a convoy of motor cyclists passed me by at speed.

bikes on callister

Mrs Tootlepedal often observes that we very rarely see a lone motor cyclist.  They seem to like to cling together in little social groups.  As a cyclist, I am not very fond of them as they tend to approach from behind without giving an aural hint that they are coming and then roar past me, giving me a nasty turn.

My route took me over Callister and down into the flat lands of the Solway Plain along one road where the verges had been so tightly mowed that they looked as good as a lawn.

View from Chapelknowe road

Somewhere along the way, presumably on one of the many bumpy bits of road, my water bottle must have bounced out of its cage and disappeared without me noticing.  I was probably hanging on for dear life and hoping to avoid hitting a pothole at the time.

It was a water bottle that had been discarded beside the road by a professional cyclist as the peleton passed by on an occasion when the Tour of Britain came through Langholm so it was a good age and had cost me nothing.  I had been thinking of replacing it on health grounds so I didn’t go back to look for it and headed for Longtown and the bike shop there instead…

 

Bike7

…where I bought a new one.  In fact it was so cheap that I bought two.  The new one looks quite smart on my bike…

new bottle

…and picks up the colour of the maker’s name.

A bonus of going to Longtown was the keen following wind that blew me home up the hill at comfortably over 15mph.  Good route choice again.

I had intended to do a few more miles than the 32 that I managed but I didn’t want to go too far when I discovered that I had lost my water bottle and the wind behind me was too tempting not to use straight away once I had a new bottle.

This left me with enough energy to mow the front lawn when I got back and take a view of it from an upstairs window.

front lawn with flowers

After a slow time during the drought, it is much better supplied with flowers round it now.

Some late sunshine had brought both bees and butterflies out.

bee and butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal kindly stood under the very tall sunflower to give a sense of scale.

tall sunflower with Mrs T

Did I mention that it was big?

It was a day for finding flowers in a circle…

flower circles

…and a flower with deep, deep colour…

red dahlia

…and another with virtually no colour at all.  The hosta has the whitest flower in the garden at the moment.

white hosta

In the late afternoon, my neighbour Ken came across and borrowed my slow bike as his is in the bike shop at Longtown not being repaired because they can’t find the correct tool for the job.  In spite of the solid back tyre and the unfamiliar belt drive, he quite enjoyed a leisurely twenty miles on it.

Mrs Tootlepedal made good use of the largest courgette by calling it a marrow, cutting  it into cylindrical sections, stuffing them with cooked mince, topping them off with breadcrumbs and baking them in the oven.  It made a tasty dish.

The chaffinches find it hard to get a seat at the table when the greenfinches are around so by way of an apology, I have made one the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is on the Isle of Arran, enjoying the views.

Arran view

It was a gloomy and windy day today and a bit chillier than of late so there wasn’t much motivation to do useful gardening.  As a result, I had a very leisurely breakfast and set the camera up to watch the birds when I had finished.

Once again, there were plenty of birds to watch.  I don’t think that we have had so many regular greenfinches ever before and it is good to see them as there were worries about their numbers not so long ago.

busy feeder greenfinches

Together with sparrows, they are making up most of our visitors.

busy feeder greenfinches 2

And once again they were showing that they are quite competitive.

warring greenfinches

One of the sparrows was looking decidedly off colour.

speckled sparrow

And a lone blue tit did its best to avoid being caught on camera.

gymnastic blue tit

The grey conditions and brisk wind made taking pictures in the garden slightly unrewarding but I walked about doing a little dead heading and took a picture or two as I went round.

I think that this is definitely a colourful corner…

colourful corner front lawn top

…with achillea, mallow, calendula, cosmos and phlox all doing their bit and crocosmia waiting to join in.

Mrs Tootlepedal likes the combination of calendula and cornflower in another corner of the front lawn.

calendula and cornflower

As always, I like a poppy and there are more of them appearing each day.

poppy pinkish

I watered the dahlias a lot during the last weeks of the drought and they are repaying this care by falling over themselves to come out.

dahlias together

And I know that they have appeared a lot but the little yellow roses which were given to us in a presentation pot for our golden wedding and which Mrs Tootlepedal planted out quite a bit later, are the gift that keeps on giving and giving.

golden wedding rose

Thanks are due to Marion for such a special present

Another pair of reliable flower producers are the perennial wallflowers.

perennial wallflowers

I went in and printed out some pictures for people who had seen them on-line and wanted a copy.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some organising at the Buccleuch Centre where she is a volunteer and I pulled myself together and got my new bike out and prepared to defy the brisk wind (gusts of 25 mph).

Luckily the wind was in the best possible direction and after a battle to get up the first three miles, which are uphill and straight into the breeze,  it was mostly either across or sometimes helping for the next seventeen miles and I managed to get round my customary Canonbie circuit slowly but cheerfully.

It was too grey for views and too windy for wild flowers so my camera stayed firmly in my back pocket.  The prospects for seeing wild flowers weren’t helped by the savage verge mowing over the past few days.

I had another walk round the garden when I got back.

The Californian poppies are going to be a ornament to the garden…

Californian poppy

…and just behind them one of the fuchsias is secretly flourishing.

fuchsia

The rose mallows have done very well but it turns out that they don’t like wind and rain very much and have a tendency to shrug their shoulders and hang their heads when the going gets tough.  But if the rains stays away, they perk up a bit.

rose mallow

Then it was time for lunch and a shower.

Feeling refreshed, I sat down at my computer and set about printing some 6in x 4in cards for various purposes.  At this point the day went really down hill.  For some completely unfathomable reason, the printer refused to print 6 x 4 cards properly.   It would print a 6 x 4 picture quite correctly in the middle of a larger sheet but give it a 6 x 4 card and it dug its heels in and produced a mess.

I did all the things that technical wizards do – turned off the printer, turned on the printer – turned off the computer, turned on the computer – turned off the printer and the computer and turned on the printer and the computer – but nothing had any effect.  I reinstalled the printer, a tedious business, and tried again with hope in my heart and got exactly the same mess.

I retired from the fray and sulked for the rest of the afternoon.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a splendid meal for our tea which cheered me up and a steady shower of rain in the late afternoon and evening made things even better as it gave me the chance to check Mary Jo’s really  scientific rain gauge.

Mary Jo's rain gauge

Two millimetres of rain!

We are going to Edinburgh tomorrow to help our older son move house so there may not be a proper post.

Inevitably, a greenfinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying greenfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Anne, my cello playing friend Mike’s wife, who came across a very odd looking bird at her daughter’s bird feeder.  I would like to see red squirrels in our garden.

squirrel on birdfeeder

It was one of those days when it was hard to get some satisfactory organisation into my outdoor life thanks to a very indifferent weather forecast.  One thing the forecast did get right was the strong wind which, with frequent  gusts at 30 mph, was quite enough to stop me cycling.

But it couldn’t work out when it was going to rain and in the end, it didn’t rain at all.

This was a bit disappointing in two ways.

Firstly because if you don’t do something because it is going to rain and then it doesn’t rain, then it means that you feel a little foolish.

Secondly, because the post brought me a great treat in the shape of a gift from Mary Jo from Manitoba…

MJ's scientific rain gauge

 

….a genuinely scientific rain gauge which  was no use to me on a day when it didn’t rain.

However, I am reasonably sure that it will come into its own quite soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day in the garden, determined to do as much as possible before it rained and as it didn’t rain, she did a lot.

I did a bit.  I mowed two lawns during the day and picked beans, an onion, spinach and courgettes to make some more green soup.

I took some pictures too.

flowers

We had some sunny spells and it was warm enough to make being out in the garden a pleasure.

There is a lot of yellow crocosmia waiting to come out round the garden and the first flowers have just appeared.

yellow crocosmia

The French marigolds which are protecting the carrots from carrot root fly are worth having just for themselves.

French marigolds

There is plenty of productivity to be seen among the doddering dillies and the rowan berries.

rowan and doddering dillies

Among the tasks that Mrs Tootlepedal accomplished was the first clipping of the remodelled chicken.

new chicken

It has been a patient process.  It looked this in 2016…

topiary chicken

…and then like this after some drastic surgery in April 2017. …

thin chicken

…and then like this in August 2017.

topiary chicken

Mrs Tootlepedal plays a long game.

She also trimmed this year’s growth on some of the espalier apples, revealing a good crop of fruit.

espalier apples

This led to a lot of shredding and we had to put an extra couple of sections onto compost Bin A to stop it overflowing.

While I was making the soup, I watched the birds.  They seem to be fully recovered from the soaking they got a day or two ago…

greenfinch and siskin

…but this hasn’t improved their behaviour.  After chaffinches kicking greenfinches and greenfinches kicking chaffinches, we got greenfinch versus greenfinch today.

kicking greenfinches

When the rain held off after lunch, I went for a walk.

Even after the rain showers that we have had since the weekend, there is still very little water in our rivers….

auld stane brig

…though the water has turned a little browner than usual.

I walked up the road to the the Auld Stane Brig and then went back home by way of Gaskell’s and Easton’s walk.

There was not much moss and lichen to see after the dry spell but there was plenty to catch the eye as I went along.

furry plant

And if I got peckish, I could find wild raspberries to keep me going.

wild raspberry

They were delicious.

I know enough now to expect to find different patterns on the back of ferns.

fern backs

It looks as though there will be a good crop of sloes and acorns this year.

sloe and acorn

It wasn’t hard to spot insects on the flowers beside the tracks.

insects

There were quite a few wasps about.

insect on umbellifer

When I got near the end of my stroll, I went down to the Esk to see of the family of oyster catchers was still about.  They had morphed into two gulls.

gulls on esk

They look like two juvenile lesser black backed gulls to me but I may need correcting by knowledgeable readers.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still hard at work in the garden when I got back so I did a bit of hedge clipping to help.  Mrs Tootlepedal is gradually reducing both the width and the height of the box hedges round the front lawn and this is a very labour intensive job.  The hedges recover remarkably well from this rough treatment.

I hope for more sun and less wind soon as I need to get some cycling miles in.

I did a little work updating the Langholm Walks website.  Langholm has been officially accredited (by an official accreditor) as a walking friendly town and I have added a note of this to the website.

The flying bird of the day is one of our many greenfinch visitors.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an interesting robin, seen in Nottingham by my brother Andrew.

robin from nottingham

After many weeks absence, we saw a robin in our garden today….

robin in July

…but it was a rather more modest bird than the Nottingham one..

Alert readers will have noted the absence of Sandy from the blog in recent weeks.  The reason for this is that he has been very busy building a shed in his garden with the help of a friend who is knowledgeable about such things.  The shed is finally finished and he was able to come for a coffee today.  It was good to see him and catch up on his news.  I hope to go for a visit to the shed soon and get a picture of it.

The forecast was as unreliable as the weather today and we had a mixture of sunshine and showers.  Some unexpected sunshine  in the morning allowed time for gardening and while Mrs Tootlepedal did what she called ‘editing’, I did a little mowing, some hedge shortening (vertically rather than horizontally), dead heading, shredding and wandering about with my camera in my hand.

The first focus was on white things.

A set of hostas are producing very pretty white flowers….

white hosta flower

…and I like this paper white poppy.

white poppy

Although there is an occasional peacock butterfly about, I haven’t been able to get a good shot of them so I had to make do with a white butterfly on the buddleia again.

white butterfly on buddleia

More colourful flowers were to be seen.

yellow flowers

red flowers

I like sweet peas a lot so I am pleased to see them doing well this year.

sweet peas

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this flower is a California poppy or eschscholzia californica…

californian poppy

…but she is at a loss as to how it came to be where it is.  She had a packet of seeds at some time but she didn’t sow them there.

A lot of the tall sunflowers have fallen victim to the wind and the rain but happily, some have survived.

sunflowers

And Mrs Tootlepedal is particularly pleased that the zinnias have come through too.  She was giving them some extra support today.

zinnia survived

I liked the cheerful colours of her new berberis.

berberis

During the morning,  chief data miner Nancy called in with another pile of weeks of the newspaper index ready for entering in the database.  I shouldn’t complain as it gives me something useful to do on rainy days.

Having checked the forecast, which offered ‘rain later’, I had an early lunch and went out for a bike ride.  It was a day for skulking in the valley bottom with heavy clouds and a noticeable wind blowing.

“Rain later’ turned into ‘rain now’ when I got about four miles from town so I turned back with a view to considering my options when I got home.  Fortunately the rain stopped after about nine miles and I pottered back up the road again to the gate on Callister…

callister gate

…which is getting ever more overgrown.

The weather was set fair for a while…Callister view

…and with the wind now behind me, I whizzed back down the hill.  After four day with no cycling, the twenty miles just kept me ahead of my schedule for the year.  My timing was good as it started to rain soon after I got back.

I went upstairs to have a shower and took the opportunity to look down on the bird feeder from above for a change.

A chaffinch perched on the feeder pole…

chaffinch

…which was probably the safest place to be as down below a greenfinch was taking revenge for the kicking one of the family got from a chaffinch yesterday.

greenfinch kicking chaffinch

The unfortunate kickee made off at speed.

chaffinch departing

I had a closer look at the sparrow on the feeder…

bald sparrow

..and noticed that it has a bald patch.  The siskin on the right has been trapped and released by the bird ringers.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea and was not allowed to leave without taking some courgettes.

Then my flute pupil Luke came and I had a useful idea which led to an improvement in his playing.  It is always helpful for a teacher to remember that if a pupil isn’t learning something, then the teacher not the pupil is probably almost certainly at fault.

In the evening, I went to play Telemann trios with Mike and Isabel.  I was a bit short of puff by the time that we got to the end of the third sonata but it was very enjoyable all the same.

The unsettled weather is set to continue and with strong winds and rain showers about tomorrow, I may have already completed my cycling for July!

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to Kew.  As well as dragons, she saw this interesting creature.  It is called Gnomus (but I don’t gnow why).

kew creature

The joiners having finished their work, the painter came today and the front of the house is on its way to looking well cared for.  A spanner was cast into the smooth running of the refurbishment when the painter discovered a wasps’ nest in one of the dormers that he was about to paint.

We did consider shinning up two ladders on to the roof in the quiet of the twilight and doing what needed to be done but due consideration of the age of the potential ladder climbers led us to calling out an expert from Carlisle who will come tomorrow.

While the painter was painting, I was wandering around the garden and my attention was directed to this flower….

cosmos

…by Mrs Tootlepedal.  It may not look much but if all goes well it is just the first of dozens and dozens of cosmos which will brighten the August garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal also pointed out that there are in fact five zinnias.  Here is the fifth columnist.

fifth zinnia

The verbascum flowers have nearly climbed to the top of their spires…

verbascum spike

…and I will miss them when they are gone.

moth mullein flower

New dahlias are appearing at the rate of one a day and this was today’s arrival.

dahlia

It was a beautiful day, sunny nearly all day but oddly enough, not too hot.

Almost as cheerful as the sunshine was a clump of nasturtiums…

nasturtiums

…and another bright sunflower.

cheerful sunflower

The sunflowers are being a bit contrary and instead of turning their faces to the sun and our garden, they are mostly turning their backs on us and peering over our neighbour’s fence.

There were more white butterflies all over the place.

white butterfly on flower

And bees too.

bumble bees

I went in for coffee and then did a little shopping.

When I got back, I took the opportunity to mow both the middle and front lawns which are confounding me by growing more grass and if anything, getting greener in spite of the lack of meaningful rain.  We are getting a light dew in the morning which may be helping.

And of course, I had another look round when I had finished.

The melancholy thistle shouldn’t be lonely next year.

melancholy thistle seed ead

And the hostas were playing host to yet more bees.

bee on hosta

The new buddleia had attracted a butterfly but sadly it was just another white one.

white butterfly on buddleia

I made some green soup for lunch with courgettes, spinach and broad beans (with a good quantity of garlic too) and it turned out very well.  I am determined to eat as much of our own veg as I can this year.

After lunch, we were detained by a very exciting stage of the Tour de France and then, inspired by the heroes of the Pyrenees, I put on my cycling gear…

…but not until I had had another walk round the garden.

This time there was a peacock butterfly on the buddleia….

peacock butterfly

…but it stuck to sunning itself on a leaf and wouldn’t come onto a flower.

I turned my attention to a very decorative dicentra which Mrs Tootlepedal recently purchased in Dumfries.

dicentra

In the end, I got my bike out and went round my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  It was still sunny but still not too hot and with a light wind, conditions were delightful.

Kerr

It was quite late on the day and we had some singing to do at the Common Riding Concert so I didn’t stop too often but I couldn’t resist being looked down upon by two cows.

cows on a hill

When I got back, the verbascum was showing that even when it has finished flowering, it will still be catching the evening sunlight and adding interest to the back bed.

verbascum in evening

We went off to sing a couple of songs for the finale of the concert in the Buccleuch Centre. As our church organist Henry had arranged the programme, it was not surprising that he had found a place for his choir in it.  A good number of members turned up and we sang well.

That will be our last choir singing until the next sessions start in September.  It was a good way to finish.

No flying bird of the day today as the painter proved a deterrent to visiting the feeder.  A flying visit from the sparrowhawk may not have encouraged the small birds either.

As a result, I have turned to flowers of the day and these are they:

cornflower and calendula

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, who left the rural delights of Somerset and visited Kew Gardens in the company of my sister Mary.  She found that it was a place where, as they say, “Here be dragons.”

kew dragon

I didn’t do much today, another cloudy,  warm and dry day, but what I did do took me  a bit of time.

I went cycling and once again, I managed to footle around for a long time, eating slices of toast, drinking coffee and doing the crossword, before I finally got going.

The weather forecast had suggested that if I got the timing right, I might be able to use a gentle north westerly wind to help me pedal down into England and then catch it as it came round to the south west and strengthened and find it helping me to get home again.

The weather forecast is a notoriously fickle affair these days but on this occasion it was perfectly correct and after 14 miles into a gentle breeze, the rest of the ride could hardly have worked out better.

Because my knees are a bit creaky, I had chosen a route with not a hill in sight once I had crossed Callister so I had nothing to do except enjoy myself.

It was a dull route from the point of view of scenic delights and the vandals had been out mowing every verge in the district so I didn’t stop much for pictures.

I passed a plant which I took to be a rosebay willowherb…

rosebay willowherb

…but it doesn’t look quite right so if any knowledgeable reader can suggest an alternative, I would be grateful.

I was going to cross the level crossing on the main line and go onto the new Carlisle by-pass but the gates were closed…

level crossing

…and remained closed for so long as we waited for a second train to pass, that I got fed up, turned back and took a different route.  This turned out well as I was able to stop at one of those roadside catering vans that live in lay-bys and have a delicious bacon roll and a cup of hot chocolate for my lunch.

I was pedalling along the road to Scaleby when my eye was caught be a fine display of bulrushes.  These are not a thing that I see often so i stopped for a look.

bullrushes at scaleby

They are striking plants.

bullrushes

The tar was melting on this section of the road when I last came along it on a hot and sunny day but at a mere 20°C today and with good cloud cover, the surface was solid enough.

As I was about to join the main Brampton to Longtown road, a surprised kestrel flew out of the hedge in front of me.  It got even more surprised when another cyclist turned off the main road towards me and it flitted about between us until it got organised and flew over a hedge and away.  I wish I could have got my camera out of my back pocket in time to catch it as it was the most beautiful brown colour.

I stopped at the bridge over the Lyne to see if it was still playing host to a large pile of driftwood.  It was.

Lyne bridge

The original bridge must have been a narrow and elegant affair.  The present mash up of two bridges is a lot less attractive.  A patch of Himalayan balsam on the bank of the river made up for this and added charm to the scene.

Lyne balsam

I stopped at my favourite three trees near Canonbie to report on my progress to Mrs Tootlepedal.  She was watching real cyclists going up big hills so I set off again, hoping to get home in time to watch the finish of the stage.

Grainstonehead trees

I needed a drink and a breather at 50 miles and I paused for a moment on the Hollows Bridge.  The Esk is a mere trickle.

hollows esk view

I got home in time to see the end of the stage, having covered 55 miles in just under four hours of pedalling time.

Those interested can see details of the route by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 24 July 2018

By the time that the Tour de France stage finished, the sun had come out and I took a walk round the garden with Mike Tinker, who had dropped in with perfect timing and then we had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.

Another buddleia has come out.  Mike said that he had seen two butterflies on his buddleia today so we are hopeful that we might get a visit  soon.

buddleia

The doddering dillies are doing tremendously well.

doddering dillies

As are the hostas.

hosta flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with her four zinnias.  They came in a free packet of seeds on the front of a gardening magazine and shoudln’t really be growing well as far as north as this so they are an absolute bonus.

I liked one of them in this plant combination…

phlox, zinnia, rose

…and this more subdued one too.

clematis at front door

After we had had our cup of tea, I went out to sit on our newest bench in the hope of seeing some birds.

There weren’t many to see…

siskin peering

…so I looked at roses…

common riding rose on arch

…and noticed the profusion of rowan berries on the tree behind the roses.

rowan berries

I noted the last of the polemoniums…

polemonium

…and enjoyed the evening sun on the flowers at the end of the front lawn.

phlox etc in front bed

We had more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s delicious courgette fritters with scrambled eggs and  a side helping of beetroot for tea and that brought the active part of the day to an end.

For the first time I am now a few miles ahead of my cycling mileage target for the year.  If the good weather continues, I should be able to bank a few more miles against some unfriendly weather later in the year.

The flying bird of the day buzzed about over my head while I was on the Lyne bridge.

microlight

 

 

 

 

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