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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s sunny visit to Bath.

From canal towpath looking towards the boatyard

We got up to another grey and miserable morning here although once again it was unseasonably mild.

Mrs Tootlepedal is partially recovered but by no means back to full working order.   She is very touched by the good wishes expressed by readers of the blog.

The grey morning was much improved by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee and his already excellent scones were improved in my case by adding some of Mary Jo’s gift of saskatoon jam to them.  In my view, Dropscone’s plain scones and saskatoon jam are a match made in heaven.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about getting to the bottom of whatever it was that had made our phone line go dead and our internet flicker intermittently. By using our powers of deduction and a small screwdriver, we found the problem and cured it, probably just in time for the town’s power supply to be knocked out be the coming storm Ophelia.

Ophelia has been wreaking havoc in Ireland but it was extremely calm here in the morning and early afternoon.   Our neighbour Liz popped into to ask if we had seen the sun.  We went to have a look.

It was very odd.

The camera found it hard to record the clouds and the sun both in the correct shade but this is definitely how the sun looked.

red sun

It kept changing colour as the cloud of dust passed and I had several goes….

red sun

…until finally it got too bright for both me and the camera to look at.

red sun

It was sufficiently striking to make the news later in the day and the experts say that it was either Saharan sand or Portuguese wild fire particles or both that had provided the film of rusty colour.

After lunch, I had a look round the garden.  The light had improved and the bees and hoverflies were back on duty again.

bees and hoverflyhoverfly on poppy

A late astrantia has come out to join the poppies.

astarntia and poppy

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma add a delightful feminine touch.

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to make more of the ornamental strawberry next year.

ornamental strawberry

But the most exciting thing in the garden is the new tray under the bird feeders which means I can start feeding the birds again.

feeder tray

It is a heavy duty plastic cement mixing tray and Mrs Tootlepedal drilled the neat hole in the centre of it to let the feeder pole fit through.

It was warm (66°F) and fairly still so I took the opportunity to go for a short cycle ride in my outdoor gym and stopped for pictures on my way.

It was rather gloomy as I came back to town on my first lap….

Manse Brae

…but I headed down to Skippers Bridge to take a couple of pictures because I feared that if the storm is as windy as predicted, there may be few leaves on the trees when it is gone.Skippers BridgeLangholm Distillery

On my second lap, there were a few drops of rain and then the sun came out.Glencorf burnHawthornBlochburnfootAuld Stane Brig

Nowadays, the gloomy predictions of storm and tempest are often worse than the reality so keen are the weathermen for us not to be caught unprepared for bad weather so it will be interesting to see what scenes like these will look like in a couple of day’s time.

I looked round the garden when I got back.  I found some more colour.

charles ross applesclimbing hydrangea

…and then went in to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was.  She had been well enough to do a little work in the garden while I pedalling but she is still a bit fragile.

Although the light was fading, I looked at the bird feeders through the windows.

sparrow and blue tit

A gloomy sparrow and an astonished blue tit consider the sodden pink pellets

blue tit

A blue tit sits and thinks

A sparrowhawk flashed through the garden without it catching anything or me catching it.

It astonishes me how quickly birds find out that food of one sort or another is available.  I said to Mrs Tootlepedal only yesterday that I hadn’t seen a sparrowhawk about for weeks.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive time.  He played at a practice of  our local orchestra yesterday and felt that he had been able to play quite a bit of the music.

In the evening, I went to the Camera Club meeting.  Ten members turned up and we were treated to a very interesting and varied selection of photographs from winter scenes to remind us of what is coming, through stunning local wildlife portraits and action shots and striking black and white studies to a record of a recent African safari, complete with lions, rhinos, hippos and elephants.  We were very well entertained.  One member had brought in some very beautiful large prints which led to a lot of discussion.

The flying bird of the day is having a rest.

chaffinch

It is blowing hard as I write this. Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows Puffin Island off Anglesey.   My brother took the picture on a visit to Anglesey in May.

Puffin Island

We were offered a bright and breezy morning and I took the opportunity to gird up my loins and get out on the fairly speedy bike for the first time in October.  Because it was breezy, because there was always the possibility of rain and because I couldn’t think of anything else, I did three repetitions of the nine mile round trip to Cleughfoot and back.

My internet acquaintance known to me as Quercus pointed out recently that cycling on a familiar route could be considered recycling so I suppose that cycling three times on a familiar route might even be rererecycling.

I had my camera in my back pocket but a brisk wind in my face inclines me to keep my head down and not notice anything and whizzing along when the wind is behind means that I have passed anything interesting before I have registered it.

I did stop, because I had to, at my turning point and couldn’t avoid noticing a brilliant display of haws on a hawthorn…

haws

…and I did notice, because I was specially looking out for them, a really fine crop of healthy sloes on the Cleughfoot road.

sloes

I don’t think that I have ever seen such a good crop before.

Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden when I got back.  She had just moved a delightful orange flowered potentilla with a view to finding a place where it will not be as crowded as it was this year.

Potentilla

I gave it a good watering in and then went to look at the poppies.  They are still very good value…

shirley poppies

…though the rather cold air seemed to have discouraged any bees from visiting today.

My favourite poppy of the day was floating above the pond.

poppy

The colours are just as they came out of the camera.  I have not improved them in any way.  Indeed, I think that it might be impossible to improve on such a lovely flower.

The dahlias were worth a look too.

dahlia

You can see that hoverflies seem to be more weatherproof than honey bees.

We went in for lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal went back out to do more gardening while I finished the crossword.   I then went out to cut back the blackcurrant bush and when I had shredded the clippings, I went to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was doing.

lawn shifting

She was cutting, shifting and stamping bits of turf at the end of the middle lawn as part of her new project for better beds, better paths, better space and better everything in this area next year.

It is a task that needs a lot of supervision so I selflessly took on the role.

Soon a round corner had become square….

new middle lawn

…and a curved edge had become straight.

new middle lawn

It will all look very neat and tidy by next spring.

(Notice that indispensable tool of the gardener, a piece of string, in action here.)

After the lawn work was finished, I sieved a bucket of compost but finding it a bit soggy after the recent rain, I stopped and wandered round taking pictures.

That great gardener Christopher Lloyd is very dismissive of Leycesteria in his garden shrub guide but I like it a lot even though it is invasive.

Leycesteria

We have two sorts of jasmine on the go at the moment.  Winter jasmine and jasmine officinale.

jasmine

The very last of the geraniums are looking pretty.

geranium

A late daisy.

daisy

And the sweet rocket has produced a second flowering.

sweet rocket

It was chilly working in the garden and there were one or two feeble efforts at rain over lunchtime but the relatively mild nights are keeping the supply of flowers going in a very satisfactory way.

We were quite ready for a cup of tea by the time that everything was cleared away.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre for a screening of La Bohème but as Puccini’s music generally leaves me cold, I stayed at home and did the washing up.

While the lawn works were going on, there were several sightings of the gardener’s friend….

earthworm

…and we were not the only ones interested.

blackbird

Robin

In spite of these two handsome birds, the flying bird of the day is not a bird at all but the sole big bumble bee that I saw today.  It was really getting stuck into the dahlia pollen.

búmble bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce, who is on the island of Arran where he visited the Blackwater Foot harbour.  A harbour, a bridge and a waterfall in one shot is very good value.

Blackwater foot

We had a lovely sunny morning.  This was a great joy after such a gloomy day yesterday but, as is the way in life, I had to spend it sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office putting data into the Archive Group newspaper database and welcoming only two visitors to the office, both of whom were locals.

As I left to walk home, a light drizzle appeared as if by magic.

Still, it was a lot better than yesterday and the drizzle soon faded away and let me mow the greenhouse grass and Mrs Tootlepedal hang the washing out.  Almost as soon as the washing was on the line, it started to rain again.  How we laughed.

Once again, it was only teasing and the washing dried in time and I was able to finish the mowing and enjoy the garden.

The ornamental strawberry has been flowering for ages.  It is very good value.

strawberry

The return of the sunshine brought a crowd of butterflies with it.

Michaelmas daisies with butterflies

Now that the buddeias are almost over, the Michaelmas daisies are the flower of choice for the discerning Red Admiral.

red admiral butterfly

Butterflies seem to be able to cope with quite a bit of damage to their wings.

The butterflies had to share the Michaelmas daisies with bees and hoverflies and the whole clump was literally buzzing.

bee on Michaelmas daisyhoverfly on Michaelmas daisy

A peacock butterfly was making the most of the very last of the buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

At the other end of the garden, different butterflies were to be found on the dahlias.

small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterfly

A small tortoiseshell joins a red admiral

That was the first small tortoiseshell I have seen since one in July and as that was the only other one to visit us this year,  this one was very welcome.

Nearby, a clump of dahlia flowers looked around for customers but only one hoverfly found them attractive..

dahlias

I moved on and admired the poppies….

poppies

…who looked grateful for the sunshine.

After a last look at the tropaeolum, looking redder than ever if that is possible…

tropaeolum

…I went inside to put some cycling gear on….

….and it started to rain.

Once again, it was a tease and by the time that I was ready to go, the rain had stopped again.  Just to make sure that it wouldn’t start up while I was out cycling, I put on a heavy rain jacket and that kept it dry while I cycled 27 miles in my ‘outdoor gym’.

It was pretty windy and I had to battle quite hard to get up the road but, of course, that meant an easy roll back down again.

When it is windy, I tend to keep my head well down to improve the aerodynamics while cycling into the wind so I didn’t see much on the way out and on the way back, I was often going too fast to stop in time when I did notice something so it was a quiet ride photographically.

I did stop to check on the sloes near Cleughfoot which I had seen looking a bit scabby early last month…

sloes

….and they were still looking scabby now….

sloe

…though there was fairly healthy looking fruit as well.

At my turning point, I was pleased to see that the farmer had his barn well stocked….

Cleughfoot

…though less pleased to see the black clouds looming up behind it.

They came to nothing though and the sun continued to do its best….

Glencorf burn

…to help me to ignore the brisk northerly wind.

In May, I had stopped to admire the hawthorn blossom on the road back to Langholm…

hawthorns

…and today, I stopped to admire the berries.

Hawthorn

When I got home, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker and then, after a shower, it was time for a visit from Luke for a flute lesson.

He has been practising so the lesson went well.

I hope to be in a better position to make use of a promised sunny morning tomorrow than I was today.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who failed to get to a windfall quickly enough.

apple with slug

In spite of a better forecast for the day,  it was raining at breakfast time.  I made good use of the time indoors by making a lamb stew for the slow cooker and by the time that I had finished, it had cleared up outside and we got out into the vegetable patch sooner than had looked likely.

We dug up the rest of our potatoes today and although we got a satisfactory crop, several slugs had got there before us and not all the potatoes will make their way to our table. Still, considering what a very soggy summer it has been, we were quite pleased to find the majority of the crop was untouched.

With the potatoes laid out to dry, there was time for a look round the garden.

poppy

Wet or dry, this is currently my favourite of the poppies

carder bumble bee

I think that this is a carder bumble bee. Its favourite flower today was a dahlia

Then it was indoors for coffee and a quick whizz through a very easy prize crossword before I got the cycling gear on and set out on the fairly speedy bike.  I had waited a bit in the hope that the temperature might rise but it was only a rather cool 14°C when I left the house.  On the plus side, the wind from the north was very gentle.

The weather map had shown rain clouds to the east, the west and the south but indicated that there might be a  channel of sunshine to the north so forsaking my usual gentle routes to the west, I set off north towards Eskdalemuir and the hills.

I am not supposed to pedal up steep hills with my tin knee and my chosen route had quite a few today.  I solved the problem by pedalling up any steep hills that I came to so slowly that my knee didn’t notice and I also took the opportunity to stop and admire the view whenever I kneeded to.

The Gates of Eden

My first stop was to admire the Gates of Eden

Whether Eden is on this side of the gates or the other depends on your point of view.  Naturally I think that it is on this side, at least on a relatively sunny day like today.

I stopped again, about an hour later to look across the Esk when I had nearly reached Eskdalemuir.

Esk valley

The fields were gleaming with fresh growth after a crop of silage had recently been taken off them.

Looking north up the Esk valley, I could see the big hills in the background.

Ettrick Pen

At this point, much to my surprise and disappointment, the sun disappeared and it started to rain heavily.  The wind got up and it turned very chilly but luckily I had my rain jacket with me and I soon put it on.  In addition, I was nearly at the turning point of my trip so I shortly had the added advantage of getting the rain on my back and not in my face.  All the same, I was just resigning myself to getting very wet when the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

I stopped as well, this time to look back across the river at a stone circle…

stone circle

…or rather, half a stone circle as the rest has been swept away by the river over the years.

With the wind behind and some occasional sun about again, I pedalled south cheerfully, stopping to admire a cascade of crab apples….

crab apples

….a favourite bridge over the Black Esk….

Black Esk bridge

…and a cascade in the Esk below the bridge just after the junction of the Black and White Esks.

Esk cascade

Shortly after climbing the hill away from the river, I came to the precise middle of nowhere…

Bailliehill

…and took the Lockerbie road over the hill and down the valley of the Water of Milk.

It is very pleasant for a cyclist to see windmills turning….

Ewe Hill wind farm

…because at least it lets you know that the wind which might have been holding you back is producing something useful.   I was slightly worried by the dark clouds behind the Ewe Hill Wind Farm as that was the direction that I would soon take.  However, the wind, as well as producing electricity also blew the clouds away before I got there so I felt doubly blessed.

Once I got to Paddockhole, I stopped going towards Lockerbie and headed towards Langholm.  I was on familiar territory and concentrated on pedalling.  Thanks to going at a very steady pace though, I was able to spot an inconspicuous fungus or two beside the road.

fungus

I stopped to take a view of our hills beginning to turn brown but got distracted by the top of a concrete fence post instead.

moss and lichen

Who knew concrete could be so fertile.

And I couldn’t miss a hawthorn with more berries per square inch than any other tree.

hawthorn

I finished my 34 mile journey over some rather wet roads so those clouds had obviously been moved on just in time.  My average speed was low but my tin knee was pain free so that was fair exchange.

Mrs Tootlepedal was at an Embroiderer’s Guild meeting when I got back so I spent time turning the potatoes over to help them dry out and sorting out the slugged ones and then I had a look for butterflies in the sunshine.

They were not hard to see.  The dahlias were a big attraction to them as the buddleias are almost over.

peacock on dahlia

A peacock butterfly with good colour matching skills

peacock on dahlia

It was hard to resist taking pictures of it.

red admirals

A Red Admiral tries the same dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal returned after an enjoyable meeting.  Not only was there a good turn out of regular members but a new member had arrived, having found out about the group at the stitch-in at the Buccleuch Centre last Saturday.  This was very satisfactory.

I will still full of energy after my ride so I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn.  The grass was rather long as it has not been mowed during the recent rainy spell and the going was rather soggy so by the time that I had finished, all my energy had finished too.

We went in for a cup of tea and a slice of bread.

The lamb stew turned out well.  Shoulder of lamb and a slow cooker are made for each other.

The day was rounded off by a double dose of virtual cycling as we watched highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain.  Our admiration for the bravery and fitness of professional cyclists is unbounded.

The flying bird of the day is a questioning cow.

cow

I append the map of my route today.  You can see from the elevation that it was much more hilly than my customary routes hence the slow speed but it had better views by far.

garmin route 9 Sept 2017Click on the map if you want.

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent by our daughter Annie and shows the ‘fruits’ of her labours in her allotment.  She benefits from being 300 miles south of us so she is well ahead in her growing season.

annies veg

After two days of rain, as recorded by our scientific rain gauge….

rain gauge

…we were treated to a pleasantly sunny day today which was very welcome.  Somewhat less welcome was the boisterous wind that came with the sunshine.

As I haven’t cycled at all in June so far, I would have liked to have made use of the sunshine to put a few miles in but just as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills with my new knee, it is probably not a good idea to cycle long distances into a very strong wind.  I made the sensible choice and cycled up and down the four miles to Cleuchfoot three times so that I got a break from the wind every four miles.

The wind was gusting at well over 30 mph and I was grateful for the shelter offered by the Wauchope valley but I still had to pay attention, as once or twice I was buffeted by an unexpected gust that threatened to tip me into the gutter.  All the same, it was good to be out on the bike and there were plenty of excuses to stop and take a picture.

Wauchope Water cascade

The Wauchope was in an ebullient mood

Logan water

Its tributary, the Logan Water, was more peaceful

I saw a crop of fungus by a rotten tree branch…

fungus

…and the first signs of wild irises and hedge roses.  There are a lot of thistles around.

iris, rose and thistles

An old friend was once again standing on the sluice for the dam at Pool Corner.

heron

The road to Cleuchfoot is a picture on a day like today.

road to Cleuchfoot

Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden when I got back and I walked around to see what there was to see.  The rain and wind had done remarkably little damage but I was grateful for a lost petal on a poppy that gave me a good view of the internal workings of the flower.

poppy

There were quite a lot more bees and hoverflies about today and I spent some time chasing them but the strong wind blowing the flowers about made finding a bee still enough to photograph almost impossible.

There were several tree bumble bees about and I think this is the first year that we have seen them in our garden so I have put them in in spite of being a bit fuzzy.

tree bumble bees

Tree bumble bees in the centre and right hand pictures

I had more luck after lunch with a frog in the pond. (With apologies to my Blackpool reader who really doesn’t like frogs at all.)

frog

I mowed the front and middle lawns and then enjoyed the sight of the orange hawkweeds turning their faces to the sun…

orange hawkweed

…before waving Mrs Tootlepedal goodbye as she went off with an armful of books to visit a friend recovering from  a badly broken leg.

Once she had gone, I got my walking poles out and headed off for a walk to summit of Warbla (275m).

I was walking up the track through the fields at the Stubholm when I was confronted by a small animal standing firmly in the middle of the road giving me  a hard stare.  I got my camera out, fully expecting that it would run away before I could focus and was greatly surprised when it headed straight towards me.

brown hare

It paused for a moment a few yards in front of me to get a proper picture taken and then plopped gently into the bushes beside the track.  I am not an expert on wildlife but I think it was  a young brown hare.

I passed a number of hawthorn bushes on my way to the open hill.  The glorious blossom of a week or so ago has gone but they are still interesting to look at….

hawthorn

…to me at any rate.

I plodded on up the track, greatly aided by my walking poles, and was soon able to look back on some splendid views.  I took a panorama from the summit and those who wish can click on the picture to get a better view.

Warbla panorama

I had a bit of difficulty using the camera as the wind was so brisk that my eyes were perpetually full of tears but I took a more conventional shot as well.

Langholm from Warbla

(I  might have used a filter on that picture.)

I could also make out the oldest graveyard in the town, lying beside the Kirk Wynd (up which the horsemen gallop on Common Riding day).

Auld Kirk Yard

The church (now demolished)  that stood beside the graveyard had no flooring and parishioners who wanted to keep their feet dry on muddy days had to bring their own plank to rest their feet on.

I couldn’t get a very sharp picture of it because although the churchyard wasn’t moving, the strong wind meant that the slightly tottery photographer on the top of the hill was waving about a lot.

The ridge leading from the summit to the west was covered in bog cotton to the extent that it almost looked as though it had snowed.

bog cotton

On my way down, I took a view of the monument on Whita Hill where I had walked last week.

Monument from Warbla

I have ‘disappeared’ the unsightly police mast further along the summit.

I got back just after Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her sick visit so we had a cup of tea and I finished the crossword.

After our evening meal, we went up to the town to sing with a small choir that has been formed to sing three songs in the Common Riding concert.  Various commitments meant that many prospective members weren’t there but there were enough of us there to have a go and I had the pleasure of singing the bass line for change, as there were no other basses present.  Luckily, it was quite an easy line and didn’t go too low.

The flying bird of the day is a bee leaving a philadelphus.

bee

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Today’s guest picture is another from the treasure trove of lovely pictures that my sister Mary took on her Lake District holiday.  This one was taken while she was having elevenses in Grange.

Having elevenses sitting outside a cafe in Grange

I have gone well over my self imposed picture limit today for which I apologise as I realise that readers are busy people with lives to lead but on this occasion I was overtaken by sunshine and couldn’t help it.

The morning was cool and breezy so I was happy to get up quite early (for me) and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before breakfast.  After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to weed the Kirk bridge with our friend Nancy.

I had a look round the garden after she had gone and spent quite a bit of time trying to get pictures of a bee on the comfrey.

bees

Although it was a rather subdued morning, some plants still managed to produce a bit of  zing.

japanese azalea and rhododendron

candelabra primula

Others were more refined.

lupin

Looking deep into a lupin.

But my favourite shot was this droplet bespangled web between two plants.

raindrops on web

I went down to watch the weeders at work and wielded a hoe myself for a while.  Then it was time to cycle home via the corner shop and make a cup of coffee for Mrs Tootlepedal who soon went off to Hawick for an Embroiderers’ Guild committee meeting.  She knows how to have fun.

After she had gone, I had another look round the garden.

New flowers are arriving and these two show that Mrs Tootlepedal likes flowers that others might keep out of their gardens as weeds.

hawkweed and foxglove

I had my lunch and settled down to some serious music practice.  I must say that trying to get everything sorted for two concerts at the end of the week is making my head hurt a bit but I am sticking in and hope to be reasonably ready when the time comes.

As a break from singing and tootling, I went back into the garden and did some therapeutic mowing, getting the drying green, the greenhouse grass and the front lawn done in one go.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back from Hawick, it was time for a cup of tea and a biscuit and as we drank and nibbled, we were very entertained by family life outside the kitchen window.

A blackbird was having a really hard time trying to feed a worm to a very large youngster.

blackbird feeding young

The youngster kept dropping the worm and after several fruitless attempts, the mother got fed up and flew off, leaving the youngster looking very disgruntled.

young blackbird

There were families of starlings about too.  Some posing prettily in the elder….

starlings

…and others making a mess of my lawn again.

starlings

I liked the sight of the youngster in the middle getting sound pecking advice from its mother.

After a grey day with occasional rain, things had now brightened up to such an extent that I was compelled to go out for a walk up a hill and as you can’t go for a walk up a hill without taking pictures, this accounts for today’s glut of photos.

Mrs Tootlepedal kindly drove along the road to Whitshiels and from there I walked three and a bit miles to the top of Whita Hill and back down to the town.  The first part of the route took me up a track and across fields with a lot to see as I went….

lichen, bugle, tormentil and an a pretty pick flower

The hillside was speckled with tormentil.

I would have stopped and taken some views at this point had it not been for the looming presence of a herd of cows…..

cows

…who looked curiously at me as I skulked round the edge of their pasture but decided that I was not worth a closer look. Phew.

I got much closer to another local resident.

sheep

Once up the track and across the fields, I joined the road and decided not to take advantage of this bench….

Copshaw road bench

…but pressed on to the White Yett and then up the track to the monument.

Monument

From the top of the hill, I phoned Mrs Tootlepedal to let her know that I had reached that point safely and although she was a mile away in the middle of the town….

Langholm

…I jumped about so vigorously that she could pick me out with the naked eye.

It was a good clear day by now and the view from the top is one of my favourites.

Ewes valley

Looking in the other direction, the view down to the Solway is now interrupted by the new windmills at Gretna.

Gretna Windmills

They were earning their keep in the brisk breeze today.

I had my walking poles with me and they were certainly very helpful in pushing me up the hill but they were even more helpful in stopping me falling down the hill. The track down the front of the hill is quite steep in places.

By the time that I had got down  to the golf course, I was back in hawthorn country…

hawthorns

hawthorns

…and they lined the track back to the town.

Kirk Wynd

A little patch of rhododendrons near the second green on the golf course provided a colourful contrast to the hawthorns.

Golf course rhododendrons

I took a picture of the weed free Kirk Bridge as I passed….

Kirk Bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal and Nancy had done good work this morning.

…and arrived home feeling less tired and a lot more cheerful than I had been when i set out.

I did think about going out again after tea because the evening was so lovely….

Walnut tree

The walnut tree in the garden catching the evening sun

…but the call of music and photo editing kept me at home.

The forecast for tomorrow is for a fine, calm day.  I hope that it is right because it is the last day of the month and I would like to add a few miles to my monthly total for May.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She has just spent a week in the Lake District and enjoyed some good weather.  On this occasion, she was returning to Grasmere when the sun came out.

Returning to Grasmere as the sun comes out

We were actually quite grateful this morning here when the sun went in as it was still very warm.  I set off for a short cycle ride after breakfast and with a brisk wind blowing and the sun behind thin clouds, the conditions were very tolerable, even if the temperature was still over 20 degrees C.

Verges near Tarcoon

The cow parsley in the verges was blending in with a fresh outbreak of buttercups so in spite of the grey sky, my ride was quite colourful.

I didn’t take my camera with me as the forecast threatened us with thunder and rain and I didn’t want to be caught out in those conditions.  As it happened, the sun came out before the end of my ride and I was pleased to get home before being thoroughly cooked.

The twenty miles took me up to my monthly target of 350 miles and with a few days still left, I may be able to put a few miles in the bank against my annual target.

When I got back, I spent the rest of the morning in the garden watching Mrs Tootlepedal at work planting stuff out.  I looked at flowers, taking in one of my favourites….

aquilegia

….and enjoying the roses which are coming along nicely.

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal likes the candelabra primulas by the pond….

candelabra primulas

…..and I like them too.

I did some butterfly chasing…

sweet rocket and orange tip butterfly

The sweet rocket is a magnet to the orange tip butterfly

…and was yet again amazed by how active butterflies are.  They must fly great distances in a day.

Two strongly coloured flowers caught my eye…

astrantia and geranium

Astrantia and geranium

…but the most eye catching thing in the garden at the moment is probably the white clematis over the back door.

clematis

I think that it is fair to say that it is doing well this year.

I had a quick check on the fruit, both hard…..

plums and apples

The plums are doing quite well but the apples are verily flourishing

…and soft.

strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants

Strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants

Considering that we nearly cut the blackcurrant bush down earlier this spring because it had a bad attack of big bud, it is doing amazingly well as you can see.

After a last look around…

lupin and polemonium

It is surprising how many different shades of white there are in a garden

…we went in.  We had a light lunch and then we came out again as the promised rain had not materialised (except for two or three heavy raindrops) and it was still a very pleasant day.

I mowed the middle lawn and sieved some more compost for Mrs Tootlepedal.  Her first sowing of poppies and cornflowers has suffered badly from unfavourable weather conditions or slugs (or possibly both) and she is having to start again.

I looked closely at a couple of flowers…

allium and iris

Allium and iris

…and then we got into the car and drove a mile or two up the road to let me take  pictures of interesting things that I had passed on my cycle ride in the morning but hadn’t been able to photograph as I hadn’t got a camera with me.

There were plenty of roadside wild flowers….

silverweed and birdsfoot trefoil

Silverweed and birdsfoot trefoil

crosswort and an unidentified pink flower

Crosswort and an unidentified pink flower (with added beetle)

pine flowers and red campion

Pine flowers and red campion

…and a very nice river of bluebells flowing down the hill…

river of bluebells

…but what I had really come to see was the hawthorns.  Mrs Tootlepedal had been impressed by them when she had driven past on Thursday and you can see why, both from close up….

hawthorns

…and from further away.

hawthorns

The bank beside the road is covered with them.

hawthorns

We were only just in time.  As I got back into the car, it started to rain and by the time that we got back to the town is was raining heavily.  Shortly afterwards we were treated to a steady roll of thunder lasting many minutes.  Occasional rather vague flashes of lightning came and went but the thunder stayed rolling for an unusually long time.  I think that the explanation for this would be that the actual storm was some way away from us.

The thunder was accompanied by a really heavy rain and hail storm but it soon ended and all is quiet as I write this later in the evening.

As far as the hawthorns go, I think we can safely say that ‘May is out’ but as far as ‘casting a clout’ goes, the forecast is for temperatures to drop back into much cooler regions next week so I am not packing away my jumper just yet.

A sitting bird of the day today.

blackbird

 

 

 

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