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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Venice working.  She caught La Serenissima in a less than serene mood.

Venice storm

A bright start to the day here soon faded to grey but at least it didn’t rain.  It was decidedly chilly for the time of year and I was pleased to have a visit to the dentist after breakfast to keep me off my bike.

When I got back, I watched blackbirds for a bit.  A small group were eating our plums but were not grateful enough to pose properly while actually pecking the plums.

blackbirds on plums

In a neighbouring back yard, another set were devouring rowan berries but I got my camera settings wrong and messed up a couple of ‘beak and berry’ chances.

blackbirds

There are plenty of berries left….

blackbirds

…so I hope to get another chance.

I looked at two good clumps of flowers at the back of the garden before I went back in.

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

Japanese anemones

After coffee and a slice or two of bread and marmalade, the lack of rain made even a chilly day too good to resist and I got my fairly speedy bike and set off.  It was cold and grey, I was cycling into the breeze and the distant hills were so shrouded in mist that it looked as though I was heading into a rain shower.

My spirit was very weak and I nearly turned for home.

Luckily my spirit may have been weak but my legs were surprisingly strong and drove me on regardless.  In the end, I had a dry and enjoyable 43 mile ride, though it was so grey that I didn’t stop for any pictures of wild flowers or views.

I did stop at Gretna Green for a snack though and noticed a mound next to the car park which I hadn’t seen before.  It had been spiralised…

Gretna Green mound

…so I followed the spiral until I attained the summit and looked at the view.

Gretna Green view

Not very inspiring.

On the other side, inventive entrepreneurs had constructed a courtship maze…

Gretna Green maze

…though why they think that anyone should want to come to a car park in a rather dull and  flat corner of Scotland to do their courting is a mystery to me.  They probably know best though.

Of more interest to me was a small flock of birds on wires nearby.

birds at Gretna Green

Normally if I see birds like this, I assume that they are starlings but on this occasion there are clearly two different sizes of perchers perching.  I have decided that the larger ones are starlings and the smaller ones, sparrows.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden and I had a wander round there too.  She has been using a bit of compost to improve the soil here and there so I sieved a couple of buckets to top up the supply.

I checked out the new clematis…

white clematis

…and a late burst of flowers from Lilian Austin.

Lilian Austin

There are three in the picture although you can hardly see the two behind.

We have had an excellent crop of plums….

plum

Almost the last of the crop

…and for once we got exactly the right amount.  Usually with plums it is glut or starvation but this year we got a steady supply of sweet ripe plums to eat every day for a couple of weeks, with just enough surplus for a plum crumble last week and today’s special, an oat, ginger and plum bake.  It was delicious.

Cosmos, dahlia and poppies are doing their best to cheer us up….

poppy, dahlia , cosmos

The dahlia is sensational

…and I even saw the very last lupin and some late astrantia too.

lupin and astrantia

I dead headed the poppies and cornflowers and anything else that I could get my snippers on  and took a final look round before going in for a cup of tea and a slice or three of the oat and plum bake.

There are still more flowers to come.

sedum

The sedum is waiting for a bit of sunshine.

Salvia

A salvia looking promising

It was time for a shower after the cup of tea and cake and then, as things still looked rather gloomy outside, we sat and looked at the telly in amazed horror at the amount of rain that has fallen on Texas.   It made our month of August, the coldest for thirty years, look positively benign.

We are getting quite excited here as we are promised some sun tomorrow.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who has been enjoying café society in the sunshine on the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park.

Cafe overlooking the Serpentine, Hyde Park

In a surprise but very welcome move, Mrs Tootlepedal invited me out to lunch today.  The Buccleuch Centre, where she often helps out, is having an Italian week and she thought that I might enjoy a lasagne.

The weather was better today and this kind invitation gave me a big decision to make.  Should I go cycling before or after lunch?  The question turned out to be too difficult for me altogether and in the end I couldn’t choose and didn’t go cycling at all.  Choice is very overrated in my view.

The plus side was that I had a relaxing morning, had a good lunch and then did some useful work and had a walk in the afternoon.

Mrs Tootlepedal decided that it was time to lift the first of the early potatoes and the results were very satisfactory.

first new potatoes

We got a good crop of clean potatoes from the first row of plants and Mrs Tootlepedal soon had the space replanted with spinach (well protected from the marauding sparrows).

I took  time to wander round the flowers.  Yesterday’s rain hadn’t done any damage and even the sodden poppy looked quite perky.

poppy, lily, nasturtium and clematis

There is colour all around….

sweet william potentilla, orange hawkweed

…although the orange hawkweed is going over.

The paler astrantia is pulling in the bees.

astrantia and bee

The star of the morning was a rose once again.

rose

The lasagne at the Buccleuch Centre was absolutely excellent and as it was washed down by a glass or two of red wine and followed by coffee and cake, I was more than happy to sit down when we got home and watch the final kilometres of an enthralling stage of the Tour de France.

When it had finished, I went out for a short walk, just to work off the lunch.  I chose a route along the river to the Kilngreen, then over the Sawmill Brig, across the Castleholm and home by way of the Jubilee Bridge and the Scholars Field.

I saw a large number of ducks on the Kilngreen and among the usual mallards there was a unusual white duck.

ducks

It was sitting peacefully with the regulars but I have no idea where it has come from.

I got another surprise when I got to the far end of the Kilngreen and saw these two very large fungi.

kilngreen fungi

As I often pass this way and have never knowingly seen them before, either they have grown very quickly or I am not paying  as much attention while I walk along as I should be.

While crossing the Castleholm, I took a look at the horse racing track which is being prepared for a race meeting this weekend.

Castleholm racetrack

On the outside of the neatly mowed track, all is long grass and clover.

grass and clover

After leaving the racetrack, I passed through a gate with a rotten top to one of its gateposts.

A rotten gatepost is always worth looking into.

fungus on gatepost

It’s a different world in there.

I passed many trees with things hanging from them….

tree seeds and fruits

…and noticed that the sheep were keeping a very low profile today.

sheep

I liked this….

haw

…and I liked this even more.

umbellifer

On my way home, I peeped over the hedge into a couple of gardens….

hydrangea and lupin

…and then I peeped over our own hedge to show the view of the garden that passers by see.

garden view

We had some of the new potatoes with our tea and they tasted very good.  I hope the next rows turn out as well as the first one has.

During the day, Mrs Tootlepedal and I were busy with our bow saw and we cleared a literal backlog of logs by sawing them up ready for the stove.  In addition, I mowed the middle lawn which is looking better for its dose of weed and feed and sieved the last of the compost in Bin D.

I know readers will be feeling that they haven’t seen enough compost pictures recently so here is Bin C and Bin D with half the compost removed from Bin C into Bin D.

compost bins C and D

I will shift the other half later. Exciting times.

In the evening, I went off to practise with Henry’s Common Riding choir.  We now have three basses and we are doing our best to provide a sound foundation for the rest of the singers.  The songs are relatively easy and I am finding it most enjoyable to have a sing without any pressure to master tricky parts and memorise large numbers of words.

The flying bird of the day was one of the many young blackbirds in the garden.  It was flying a few moments after I took its picture.

Blackbird

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was rather surprised to find a police box figuring in the entrance to the distillery at Annan.

Annan distillery

As it was Sunday and the main roads are lorry free, I thought that the traditional pedal down to Newtown on the line of Hadrians Wall and back would be just the thing.  The forecast held a slight possibility of light rain and the certainty of a noticeable wind so I wrapped up well and set off not long after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing with the church choir.

Newtown is twenty miles from home and Longtown is about halfway there so I broke up the forty miles with a  stop at Longtown on the way out…..

Longtown

The archways in the buildings gave access for a cart to allotments behind the houses when they were first built.

…for a drink of water and a bite of a guava energy bar.  Then I stopped at Newtown for a banana with a second stop at Longtown on the way back  (it looked just the same so I didn’t take another picture).

My only other stops were to admire the orchids on the Canonbie by-pass on the way out….

by-pass orchids

They were not hard to spot

…and again on the other side of the road on the way back.

by-pass orchids

If orchids are what you like, the Canonbie by-pass is the place to be.

While I was taking the pictures of the orchids on the way back, I saw a lot of fluttering going on.  There were several brown butterflies flitting about.

ringlet butterflies

These are ringlet butterflies and I read that the white trim round the wings of the one on the right means that it is newly emerged.

It did try to rain on me once or twice in a half hearted way on the return journey but it got bored and stopped after a mile or so I got home dry.

The vigorous wind turned out not to be a big problem as it was mostly coming from the side and the road south of Longtown has good hedges to hide behind.  Taking my cue from Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France time trial yesterday, I achieved a negative split and came back slightly faster than I went out.  All in all, it was a very satisfactory ride as I managed an average speed above 15 mph, a very rare thing for me these days.

Alaric the Goth gardener was hard at work in the garden when I got home.  (The gardener tells me that she feels more spiritually in tune with Alaric than Attila these days and who am I to argue.)

She took a break from heaping up piles of material for the shredder and we had a walk round.

The roses are looking wonderful….

Mundi, Crown Princess Margareta and Moss roses

Crown Princess Margareta in the middle of the panel is Alaric’s current favourite.

Rosa Wren

This is Rosa Wren, my current choice…

rambler roses

…though the rambler roses may take over soon

The palest of the astrantias is looking better every day and is now taking over as the chief bee magnet.

astrantia with bee

I think that the bee must be an old friend of the blog from the way he is waving at me.

Below the astrantia, a mass of campanula is also looking attractive.

campanula

There is a clematis on the metal fence next to the vegetable garden.  I took shots from both sides of the fence.

clematis

It raises a question.  Is this two flowers from the same plant but with different numbers of petals or are there in fact two identically coloured plants growing in the same space?  Mrs Tootlepedal has no answer to the question.

I love complex flowers so I took another picture of the spirea.

spirea

After lunch, we sat down to watch the second stage of the Tour de France but as there were still 84 km to go and the broadcast is often interrupted by advertisements, we decided to record it and come back to watch it again when we could skip through the ads at lightening speed, thanks to the wonders of technology.

In the meantime, I went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill to see if there were orchids there too.

There are no sheep or cattle on the hill at the moment and the result is that the hillside is a carpet of wild flowers…

Meikleholm Hill

…of many different sorts.

Meikleholm wild flowers

The hill was carpeted with tormentil, lady’s bedstraw (?) and hawkbit, in various different places…

Meikleholm hill wild flowers

…and the orchids which were there in good numbers were a bit of a sideshow.

meikleholm orchids

The spotted leaves tell me that these are marsh orchids.

I followed the flowery path round the side of the hill….

Meikleholm Hill

…meeting various objects of interest…

meikleholm fungus

…along the way.

Horse and rider meikleholm Hill

The horsewoman kindly paused to let me take her picture.

When I got to the gate at the col between Meikleholm and Timpen, I weighed up the weather, decided that it was friendly and struck out for the summit of Timpen with its fine views….

View from Timpen

The lightest fields are ones where the grass has been cut for silage.

…and obsolete trigonometrical point.

Timpen trig point

This part of the hill hill did have sheep on it so instead of wild flowers I saw bog cotton, sphagnum moss and reed tussocks.

bog cotton, moss, reed

It started to look as though it might rain so I didn’t linger and popped back down the hill as fast as good sense and a stout pair of walking poles would let me.

The Tour de France stage was worth waiting for and turned out to be more exciting than expected.

I rounded off the day with a visit to the shops where I was ambushed by a pot of clotted cream (Mrs Tootlepedal had been making scones.  It wasn’t my fault)  followed by a visit to the front lawn where I applied a generous measure of buck-u-uppo.   It has been a a generally cool summer and the grass is not growing fast enough to discourage the moss..  It was well under 60 degrees F when I was cycling in the morning.  We need a bit of heat.

The flying bird of the day is a very strange creature which Mrs Tootlepedal spotted.  It looked like a cross when it settled on a leaf but it flew all round the borders of the middle lawn before finally giving me an opportunity to shoot it.  I have no idea what it is and would welcome enlightenment.

curious creature

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who met these sea creatures while on a walking holiday in the west.

sea creatures

According to the forecast, the weather for the rest of the week and beyond is going to be cold, wet and windy so we tried to make good use of a very pleasant day today.

After breakfast I had a little business to do on the computer and then I went up to the Archive Centre to pick some more of the sheets that the industrious data miners had piled up ready for entering into the database.

After that, I spent as much time out of doors as I could.  Mrs Tootlepedal spent all day out in the garden, planting, trimming, tidying and generally providing me with as many beautiful things to photograph over the next few months as is humanly possible in our climate.

I spent time shredding hedge clippings, trimming the clematis over the back door so it doesn’t get into the gutter….

clematis

…sieving compost and mowing lawns.

The front lawn is still very mossy so I got the scarifier out and scarified it for the third time this year.  I am anxious not to have to re-seed the lawn so I have the scarifier on a gentle setting but Mrs Tootlepedal was still impressed by how much moss came out.   I was rather de-pressed.  We shall see in a week or two whether the work was worthwhile or not.

I had plenty of time between tasks to appreciate the fruits of Mrs Tootlepedal’s labours.

philadelphus

The philadelphus between the two lawns is superb this year.

philadelphus

There are other varieties around the garden.

The white Scotch roses are looking well too.

scotch roses

I trimmed one side of the yew before the perennial nasturtium crept round the corner….

tropaeolum

…but I can’t trim this side at the moment.  The nasturtium is growing furiously.

tropaeolum

Today Wauchope Cottage, tomorrow, the world.

The Rosa Goldfinch is also thriving and makes a grand sight from a distance….

rosa goldfinch

…and from close up.

rosa goldfinch

As well as the usual crowd on the astrantia there were visitors elsewhere in the garden…

rose and insect

hawkweed and bee

…and there was a very satisfactory buzz about the place.

The violas and ox eye daisies in the bed round the bird feeder are doing exceptionally well this year and they continue to provide a feast of colour…

violas and daisies

…with the help of some geums and Welsh poppies.

For added colour, more coral peonies are coming into flower.

peony

I was anxious not to waste what might turn out to be the last decent cycling day of the month so I got the fairly speedy bike out and pedalled gently up and down the Wauchope road for 22 miles.  This brought my monthly total to 400 miles.  This means that even if I don’t get out again before July comes, I have covered enough miles to hit my target for the month of June.

I stopped on my way up the road to admire a spiky yellow wild flower….

spiky yellow wild flower

…which Mike Tinker tells me is agrimony.

Nearby, an umbellifer had the inevitable visitor.

umbellifer with insect

If you find one of these on a dry day without a friend or two, it is most unusual.

And there was also this to catch the eye.

thistle

Three flowers for the price of one stop was very good value.

I made a second stop when I was pedalling along the banks of the Esk in the town to have a look at two oyster catchers beside the river.

oyster catchers

I wonder if this is mother and child

I did stop again on my third lap when, out of the corner of my eye,  I saw that Genghis the grass cutter had failed in his attempt to slaughter every orchid beside the road.

orchid

I hope that this one will survive.

I got home in time to pick a few strawberries to make some more jam as the last batch has proved very popular and is disappearing rapidly.

My flute pupil Luke came and we did some more work on our Haydn trio.  Working out the timing for a slow movement with a good mixture of demi-semi quavers, semi-quavers, quavers and crotchets (with the occasional triplet thrown in) requires a lot of hard work and concentration but we are progressing.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and playing works by Telemann, Boismortier and Mozart gave us great pleasure.

If this does prove to be the last day of good weather for some time, at least we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

The flying bird of the day hasn’t quite taken off yet.

oyster catcher

The third oyster catcher beside the river this afternoon

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our older son Tony.  He was working at Anstruther, on the north coast of the Firth of Forth today and took time off to admire the coastal rocks.

Anstruther rocks

Mrs Tootlepedal spent a lot of the day visiting the Woolfest at Cockermouth with friends.  The Woolfest is what it says on the tin, a festival of wool….and sheep and lambs and alpacas and anything that you can think of to do with wool.  She had a good time.

I had a good time in her absence as Dropscone came round with treacle scones and a cheery mood because he had played a very good round of golf at Galashiels yesterday.

Before he arrived, I went up to the town to pay a bill and then walked round the garden.  It had rained earlier on and everything was wet.

A day lily had unwisely decided that this was the day to come out.

day lily
It was wet.

In fact several day lilies had decided this was their day….

day lily

…and they were wet too.

The butter and sugar iris was wet….

butter and sugar iris

…and so was the rose Wren.

rosa wren

But in spite of the damp, they all looked pretty cheerful.

After Dropscone left, the weather didn’t look very promising so I made a pan of potato soup for lunch and hoped that the weather would improve.

I was just getting ready to go out after lunch when it started to rain very heavily so I stayed in and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  Rain is very good for motivating me to do the archive work.

When I finished the week, I did a bit of dead heading and was thinking of going out for a walk but the weather looked alternately quite promising and very threatening and the muggy conditions weren’t making me feel very active so I abandoned thoughts of a walk and mowed the front and middle lawns as quickly as I could, took a few more pictures and went in.

I saw a lot of white.

sweet william

A bit surprisingly to me, this turned out to be a Sweet William and not a pink  Mrs Tootlepedal says that they are closely related.

Things were still a bit wet.

Philadephus

This is another Philadelphus

Rose Bobbie James

The first of many blooms on the rose Bobbie James

rose goldfinch

I was wrong to say that the Goldfinch couldn’t get any more blooms on a stem

Feverfew

Feverfew

Hydrangea

The Hydrangea against the wall of the house. The outside flowers are sterile. The bit in the middle is the working part.

And a bit of red.

The first flower on a newly planted Fuchsia.

Fuchsia

And I hope to get better weather to have another look at this spirea.

Spirea

I was still thinking about – but not going on – a walk when Mrs Tootlepedal arrived back so I had a cup of tea with her instead.

After that, the midgies came out so being outside was less attractive and I only went out for long enough to pick a few strawberries and take two final pictures.

coral peony

The last coral peony

dutch iris

The Dutch irises are enjoying the weather.

I kept on thinking that I might do something active but I never quite managed it and in the end it was lucky that we had a concert at the Buccleuch Centre to go to or I might have let the day collapse into nothingness.

The concert was very enjoyable. It was given by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and they provided a very cheery programme for us.  It started with Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and this was followed by two charming ‘Sentimental Romances’ by a Swedish  composer called Stenhammer where the conductor acted as violin soloist as well as leading the strings of the orchestra.

In the second half, the orchestra leader, Benjamin Marquise Gilmore and one of the double bass players,  Nikita Naumov gave us the Gran Duo Concertante for violin and double bass by Bottesini.  This piece was an opportunity for showing off some virtuoso skills by both the soloists.  If you get the chance to hear Nikita Naumov play the double bass, take it.

The concert finished with the Haffner Symphony by Mozart and that rounded off a most delightful evening.

The flying bird of the day is a young blackbird sitting on the fence after I surprised it when it was trying to get at the strawberries.  It wasn’t happy.

blackbird

 

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I am short of guest pictures and have had to fall back on another of the admittedly excellent pictures that my sister Mary took on her visit to the Lake District.

The next day I embarked on a fairly steep climb up from the lake

I had an enjoyable but unremarkable day today.

The weather remained good and it was a little cooler which was welcome.

I went for a 22 mile cycle ride in the morning and the wind was sufficiently noticeable to blow me  down the five miles back from the top of Callister into the town at an average of 22 mph.  This was most enjoyable as I didn’t even have to try very hard.

I stopped on the way out to look at a few things but as my Lumix refused to open at all today, once again I was reliant of my phone and several pictures, including one of a splendid orchid which had escaped the attention of Genghis, the grass cutter, didn’t come out.

These were the ones that did.

wild flowers

wild flowers

The insect in the bottom left frame was on one head of an umbellifer.  There was quite a mixed crowd on another of the heads.

umbellifer with insects

The 22 miles got me up to 300 miles for the month after a very slow start because of the high winds in the first week.  I might have derived a bit more satisfaction from this if our next door neighbour Ken, a man of my own age and the same weight, had not done 300 miles in the last three days while travelling back to Langholm from the south.   I bow to him.

I took a quick walk round the garden when I got back.

ginger syllabub

The Ginger Syllabub triggers a reflex action in my shutter finger as I walk past

rosa goldfinch

There is hardly any space on the Rosa Goldfinch for more flowers.

foxglove and lily

There are foxgloves and lilies all over the garden

allium and astrantia with insects

Plenty of insect action

philadelphus

A phlourishing philadelphus

There were no less than three blackbirds under the strawberry netting but they made themselves scarce in an apologetic manner when we approached and they had left a good number of berries for us to pick.

strawberries

We put them in a handy box and took them off with us to Edinburgh in the afternoon as a gift to Matilda and her parents.

Mrs Tootlepedal took the bus from the station to Matilda Mansions but I walked just so that I could enjoy this view on my way.

Arthurs Seat

I often take pictures of this view but then when you get a view like this, why not?

We had an enjoyable afternoon with Matilda, full of dancing, singing, snap and pelmanism and with an added jigsaw this week.

The train home was punctual and comfortable and as it was still light as we drove home from Lockerbie, the whole visit was a treat.

It is late and I am a little tired so that is all there is to say about the day.

I have ordered a new Lumix.  I hope the zoom lens lasts longer this time.

 

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Today’s guest picture is possibly the last from our daughter’s Devon jaunt.  She visited the celebrated garden at Knightshayes and thought that I might enjoy a view of some handsome grass.  I did.

Knightshayes

I had no commitments so I was able to ease through the day at a gentle pace.  It was fortunate that it was a day of better weather, still breezy but almost entirely dry and occasionally even sunny in the afternoon.

I mowed the middle and front lawns in the morning and that was the most energetic thing on my programme.  For the rest of the time, I enjoyed the garden, a cup of coffee and a crossword until it was time to make some lentil soup for lunch.

Before coffee, I took a camera out with me.  The peonies were at their best today.

peony

peony

The tropaeolum tadpoles are turning into flowers.

tropaeolum

There is no shortage of colour.

sweet william, campanula and Lilian Austin

After coffee, bees became the focus.  For the first day this year, there were really a lot of bees about and it wasn’t a matter of finding one to photograph so much as not being able to choose which one to shoot.

The pale blue lupin was a popular spot.

lupin with bee

But lots of other flowers had their admirers.

allium, iris and weigela

The peonies and lupin in the vegetable garden joined in.

lupin and peony with bee

It was very cheering to see so much activity.

I took a couple of pictures of a more general nature….

orange hawkweed

We like the orange hawkweed a lot

kitchen window colour

Mrs Tootlepedal has provided a rich tapestry of colour to enjoy when looking out of the kitchen window.

…and went in to cook the soup.

After lunch (the soup turned out well and there was a good selection of cheese to go with it), I got the fairly speedy bike out and went out to face the wind again.  Although there were some very heavy gusts as I started which nearly tempted me into hugging the valley bottom, I stuck to the task and took to the open country and was rewarded when the gusts calmed down and later in the ride, the sun came out.

The downside of the trip was that the council had been very busy mowing the verges so there were no wild flowers for me to see.   This blatant pandering to the supposed needs of motorists is reprehensible and I had to find other things to use as an excuse to pause and catch my breath from time to time.

Middlebie Church

Middlebie Church

A virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water

A Virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water near Middlebie

Mein Water Bridge

This is the road bridge that I crossed. In spite of the recent rain the water is very low.

When I got to the old A74, I was so cross about the verge cutting that I got off my high horse and stopped to take a picture of it…

A74 and orchid

…and was glad that I  did so because right on the edge of the long grass was an orchid, the first that I have seen this year.

Now that I had my eye in,  as I went on down the road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming, I saw dozens more orchids in the long grass.

orchids

This was the moment that the sun chose to make its appearance and as I was no longer cycling into the wind, I stopped muttering grumpily and started to really enjoy the outing.

Once I had the wind behind me, I was going too fast to look at the verges carefully, whether they were  mown or un-mown and it needed something bigger to attract my attention.

Gretna Windmills

As you can see, two of the newly installed Gretna wind turbines were not going round.  This is disappointing when there was plenty of wind to be harvested.  The dark clouds soon passed over.

I stopped one last time to admire a neatly scalloped roadside fringe of bird’s foot trefoil on the old A7 near Irving House.

bird's foot trefoils

Fortunately the council had not got to this verge with their mower yet.

My trip came to 36 miles and although it took me a long time, thanks to the wind in my face for the first and most hilly 12 miles, I enjoyed the outing.  After not cycling at all for the first six days of the month thanks to unhelpful weather, I have managed six outings in the last eight days which is a bit better.  If only the wind would drop, I would be very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been trimming a Forsythia while I was out and she wondered if any knowledgeable reader can tell her what this curious growth is.

forsythia growth

It was on many of the branches.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fish pie for our tea and then went off to watch a live screening from the Royal Ballet, leaving me to have a restful time at home.  I admire the skills employed in ballet but the fact that it takes ten minutes to say something as simple as “Ooh, you look nice,”  taxes my patience beyond its admittedly small limits.  Also my joints hurt when I look at the performers.  I feel their pain.

The flying bird of the day is visiting the peonies and is not a bird.

flying bee

 

 

 

 

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