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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan, who while having a cup of coffee with my sister Mary beside the canal at King’s Place, was entertained by two swans.

King's Place Swans

We spent a lot of the day waiting for it to rain.  It is very rare to find Mrs Tootlepedal roaming the garden saying, “Come on, rain!”  Usually she is to be found indoors looking out of the window saying, “Please stop raining.”  It has been a very unusual spell of weather.

We started the morning by going to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre.  It was enhanced by people selling plants today and while I bought fish and meat, Mrs Tootlepedal bought a meconopsis and two geums.

Then we went home and waited for the promised rain.  We put in a lot of work while we were waiting.  Mrs Tootlepedal did planting out of her purchases and other seedlings from the greenhouse, some weeding and endless improvements to the soil.  I mowed the middle lawn and edged it too.  Then  I sieved some compost….

sieved compost

…which finally cleared out Bin D.  Then, in an exciting development, I shifted the material in Bin C into Bin D.  I must say that the weather has been kind to the compost and it doesn’t look as though I will have to wait long before starting to sieve the new intake.

Compost Bins C and D

I also took time off from these labours to wander around taking pictures.

We are not short of strong colours…

azaleas and rhodie

aquilegia

icelandic poppy

…but there are more delicate shades to be seen too.

lupin

chives

astrantia

I really feel grateful to my camera for making me look closely at flowers that might only have merited a swift glance from me not so long ago.  I would never have realised how intricate a lupin flower is and how beautiful an astrantia can be….and a bunch of chives would just have been a bunch of chives and not a carpet of jewels.

I stepped out of the front gate and went round to the dam.  A party of sparrows was enjoying a swimming outing.

sparrows on dam

A second oriental poppy has come out.  It is hard to beat for sheer impact on the eye.

oriental poppy

At the corner of the house, a fuchsia has been flowering for many years.  It got a bit sick last year and I wondered if it had come to the end of the road.  However, although it is not looking fully fit, it has got a lot of flowers on it once again.

Fuchsia

We think the the blackbirds might be starting a second family as they seem to be busy.

blackbirds

The clematis round the back door is at its peak…

back door clematis

…but splendid as it is, I am tending to appreciate the more modest front door clematis even more.

front door clematis

We are getting into the rose season and the Rosa Moyesii has been joined by Roseraie de l’Hay, newly purchased this year by the head gardener.

Rosa Moyesii and Roseraie de l'Hay

From time to time, I needed a quiet sit on the new bench and this gave me a chance to consider the curiosities of perspective.

P1100811

The green patch in the foreground on the lawn has been created by Mrs Tootlepedal who who is employing little by little stealth fertilising tactics behind my  back.

The rain finally arrived in the afternoon, starting so weakly that we thought that it would come to nothing.  But as time went by, the intensity increased and by tea time, we were enjoying exactly the steady light watering that we would have ordered.  The forecast says that it should rain gently for most of tonight and tomorrow and then we should return to fine dry weather.  The garden will be most grateful if this is true.

The rain will do no harm at all to the fruit and veg which has been enjoying the warmth..

apple, blackcurrant, gooseberry and peas

The blackcurrants are looking very perky and Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress has successfully kept the sparrows at bay.  The apples are looking good and the gooseberry hasn’t got the sawfly yet.  What could possibly go wrong?

While it was just gently drizzling, I went upstairs and took some general views of the garden as I know some readers like to see these as the seasons change.  I took the three ‘rooms’ from left to right.

Front lawn from above

Left: The front garden, home to the azaleas

Middle lawn from above

Centre: The middle garden with the new bench

Veg garden from above

Right: The vegetable garden looking busy.

Because the plum tree obscures some of the middle garden, I took a picture of the hedge that divides the two rooms from a different angle.  Ally’s Allium Alley runs along behind the back hedge past the rhododendrons.

Azaleas from above

And I looked down on the little flower garden round the chimney pot where the bird feeder is.

 

sundial garden from above

The sharp eyed will be able to spot the new bright red geum that Mrs Tootlepedal bought this morning just in front of the green box ball.

This is a good time of year.

We both had to spend some time looking at the songs for the summer concert of the Carlisle Community Choir which takes place tomorrow.  This will be the final time that we will be taken by our excellent conductor Andrew, who is moving on. As a farewell gift, he is making us do four of the songs from memory. …with gratuitous clapping in two of them.

I did find time to catch a flying bird of the day but as the light wasn’t very good by the time that I came indoors and set the camera up, it is a rather fuzzy siksin.

flying siskin

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is enjoying good weather in Aberdeenshire near the former fishing village of Collieston.

Collieston

We had another day today which would have been very welcome in mid summer and it is becoming pretty clear that it will be very unlikely that summer, when it comes, could be any better than late spring has been.  It may well be all downhill from here on when this good spell ends.

Still, we are really enjoying the lovely weather while it lasts even though it does mean that quite a lot of garden watering is going on.

watering the lawn

I have given both lawns a soaking and Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy in the flower beds with hose and watering can.

I should add that we are not at all keen to get one of the torrential downpours which they have been getting in England.  A light shower would do very well.

I had an early look round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.

I couldn’t get past the best of the rhododendrons without clicking my shutter finger.

rhododendron

The Rosa Moyesii is more modest but very pretty too.

rosa moyesii

I had to admit that I was wrong and Mrs Tootlepedal was right (there’s a surprise) because when I looked really closely at the Veronica, I could see that it is blue after all and not pure white at all.  I had to look pretty hard though.

veronica

A blackbird took a good look and agreed that it was blue.

blackbird

Our walnut tree is almost fully clothed.  It is one of the last trees to get its leaves.

walnut

I didn’t have the long to enjoy the morning sunshine as I was doing my very last stint in the Welcome to Langholm Office.  After many years, I have decided to retire as a welcomer.  I had quite a few people to welcome today but I still had enough time to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive database.

While I was at work welcoming people, Mrs Tootlepedal was also doing some welcoming. A friend from the choir and her partner, Anita and Nick who live in Canonbie, had been visiting the dentist in Langholm and took the opportunity to come round and look at our garden which they had seen on this blog.  They gave the new bench a test and declared that it was as good as sitting in a National Trust garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was very pleased at such a nice compliment.  Not being a photographer though, this whole event went unrecorded.

I passed a gull as I crossed the suspension bridge on my way home at midday…

gull

…it was probably wondering where all the water has gone, The river is very low.

There was plenty to see in the garden when I got there.

Beside the front door, another clematis has just come out…

clematis front door

…and almost hidden beside it, is a tiny lily of the valley.

Lily of the Valley

Across the drive, Mrs Tootlepedal has some very vigorous variegated hostas.

hosta

After lunch, I mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and then got my cycling gear on and took the new bike out for a spin.  It was really very hot and I was wondering if I would get cooked but luckily,  a surprisingly cool and steady wind kept me at a reasonable temperature and I enjoyed a thirty mile run which brought my total on the new bike up to 250 miles.    I think that I can safely say that it is going to suit me very well.

I wasn’t the only one keeping cool.

bull keeping cool

The verges were full of interest.  I saw these flowers when I stopped for a drink after ten miles.

Gair road wildflowers

And I saw these beside the old A74 near Kirkpatrick Fleming.

Old A74 wildflowers

The dandelions may have gone over but there was ample yellow colour near Sprinkell…

Sprinkell road (2)

…and looking ahead at this point, I think anyone would have to admit that it looks like a good day and place for a pedal (even taking the vast amount of traffic into consideration).

Sprinkell road

When I got back, I had time to admire the Japanese azalea…

Japanese azalea

…before my flute pupil Luke turned up.  We are making steady progress even though wonderfully sunny weather does not make flute practice the first thing one thinks of doing.

After a really nourishing tea of mince and tatties, I went out and sat on the new bench and admired some late colour.

evening colour

Then I mowed the middle lawn and trimmed the edges which was a good way to end the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a baby thrush in the garden while I had been out cycling and when she came out to admire the lawn, she spotted it again.   I fetched my camera and found that it had flown up onto a fence and was making quite a noise.

Baby thrush

Curiously it was joined not by its mother but by a blackbird which was making a noise too.  Then a small flock of sparrows started to join in and I went over to see what the racket was all about.

It was a dratted cat, stalking about among the flowers below, seeing what little birds it could snaffle. In  my view, cat owners should feed their animals so much that they lose their appetite for birds…. or at least keep them in their own gardens.

I shooed the cat away and there were no fatalities.

The mother thrush, flew up to join her infant and she became in that moment, a quite unusual flying bird of the day.

flying thrush

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is from my sister Mary’s recent visit to the Lake District where she stopped at a cafe in Grange and enjoyed this lovely view.

cafe garden at Grange.

We stopped at a cafe today.  This one was at a garden centre near North Berwick where we had an excellent breakfast this morning as we left for home after a very enjoyable week at the sea side.  It seemed easier to eat out than have to do a lot of washing up just before we left our holiday cottage.

Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to acquire a few plants while we were there.

We then took a road that we haven’t travelled along before to get home and drove over the Lammermuir hills to Duns and Kelso, adding about 15 miles to our trip but getting some wonderful views in exchange.  Unfortunately, it was rather hazy and there weren’t a lot of handy parking spots so you will have to take the views on trust but they were good enough to make us think of going that way again.

We did stop at the Whiteadder reservoir in the heart of the hills.

P1100510

There was enough sun to give the water some sparkle.

Whiteadder Reservoir

The Lammermuir hills are treeless and heather covered as they are extensively used for grouse shooting and their spare beauty is entirely man made.  It is sad that this also means that birds of prey have a hard time here and often suffer mysterious accidental deaths.

We passed a great number of cyclists who were testing their legs against some impressive climbs on the good surfaces of the East Lothian roads.

Soon after leaving the reservoir, we crossed the River Whiteadder on this fine bridge.

Lammermuir bridge

After we had passed through Kelso, we stopped again at another garden centre (can you detect a pattern here?) for a cup of tea and a tea cake .  This one has a water garden and caters for lovers of pet fish…

Teviot fish

…and it also has a very charming garden that tumbles down the bank…

Teviot water garden

…from the centre to the river Teviot running past below.

River Teviot

It had a most spectacular aquilegia in its plants for sale section.

aquilegia

We didn’t buy one but I did get some good cheese from their smokery department.

Were were nearly home when we got caught up in a rush of traffic heading for Mosspaul to meet the rideout from Hawick, part of the Hawick Common Riding proceedings.  Luckily, we were early enough to avoid the horses and riders so we didn’t suffer too much of a delay.

After all this excitement, we got home in the early afternoon and had a look round to see how the garden had got on without us.

Very well.

blue flowersred/purple flowersyellow flowerswhite flowersazaleas and rhododendrons

I will go round again soon taking a more detailed look at what is new as I have not got all the new flowers in by a long chalk.

Things needed watering though so I got the sprinkler out and gave the vegetable garden a good soaking while I cut the grass on the middle lawn.

Then I cut the front lawn while the sprinkler sprinkled water on the middle lawn.

The sprinkler was adjusted so delicately, that Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz were able to sit on the new bench and catch up with the news as the water drops stopped a few inches away from their feet.

Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased with the way that her new bed at the end of the middle lawn is shaping up.

new bed

In the background to the picture above, the tree peony is in flower and this year, unlike last year, the flowers are not (entirely) hidden behind the leaves.

tree peony

Mrs Tootlepedal filled the pond, which had gone down a lot during a dry week, and we were relieved to see plenty of tadpoles swimming around once the water level had gone up.

tadpoles

The path along the back of the garden, familiarly known as “Ally’s allium alley” is looking good…

P1100546

…from either direction.

Ally's alley

There wasn’t a lot of time to look at birds today but I did catch a couple of siskins and a goldfinch on the feeder.

siskins

…and while I was hoping for a flying bird, my attention was diverted by this colourful corner.

colourful corner

We enjoyed our holiday a lot but we are nevertheless very pleased to be back on home territory again.  The forecast is good for the next few days so we should be able to catch up on garden tasks that need doing and perhaps get some cycling in too.

There was no flying bird of the day available so a creeping thrush is here instead.

thrush

I hope to do better tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture  comes from my brother Andrew who is working his way back south after his visit to Langholm.  He took this picture of Morecambe Bay in the distance from the wonderfully named Hutton Roof.  By the time he got down to the seaside, the tide was out.

hutton roof

Our spell of excellent weather continued and it now feels as though we have had more good days this year already than we had in the whole of last year. Long may it go on.

My throat was still strangely creaky (but with no other ill effects) so I pottered about in the morning, looking at young birds….

blackbird and baby

Dad looks a little fed up with the incessant demands of the big baby.

baby dunnock

A fluffy dunnock looked a bit unhappy….

BABY DUNNOCK

…until it found a more secure place to rest.

…as well as supervising the hard working Mrs Tootlepedal, sieving a little compost and mowing the middle lawn.

And looking at some small flowers.

Mrs Tootlepedal gave the lithodora a severe haircut the other day but it seems to be thriving on this rough treatment…

lithodora

…and along with the more showy flowers on the back path, there are some nice clumps of sweet woodruff.

sweet woodruff

There were some grown up birds in the garden too.

rook

rook

Rooks are handsome birds.

Mrs Tootlepedal edged the lawn after I had mowed it and I took a picture in the late afternoon to show the effect that all this care had.

lawn with edges

I made some carrot and lentil soup for lunch and then, after a restful moment or two, I got the new bike out and went round my standard 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I did stop for photos today and after taking a picture of the road that climbs out of the Wauchope valley…

bloch road

…a pattern developed:

tree at Bloch

A tree

cows

Some cows posing

trees at grainstonehead

Some trees

highland cow

A cow posing

trees on esk at Hollows

Lots of trees.  The Esk is fully clothed at the Hollows now.

The pattern was interrupted when I stopped off at Irvine House in an effort to capture some orange tip butterfly pictures.  I succeeded after a fashion…

orange tip butterfly

Female on left, male on right

…but I would have needed to spend a lot more time to get good shots as the butterflies were in a flighty mood.

There was time for another walk round the garden when I got home.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s greenhouse is full of plants waiting to go out….

greenhouse

…but there are quite a lot already in place in the vegetable garden with individual greenhouses.

bottle greenhouses

You may have heard of bottle green.  These are green bottles.

The drumstick primula in front of the pond was looking lovely.

candlestick primula

…and it is hard to pass the rhododendrons without the shutter finger twitching.

rhododendron

In the evening, Susan arrived and gave me a lift to Carlisle where we enjoyed a very entertaining evening of recorder playing with our group.  As an added bonus, we were treated to a very elegant new moon in the sky as we drove back.  Sadly, it was behind the hill by the time that we got home.

Although not a flying bird, the most interesting animal we saw all day was this amazing pig  in our neighbour Liz’s garden.

pig

It was having a rest on a journey from Corby to Aberdeen.

The actual flying bird of the day is a greenfinch leaving the feeder in a hurry when Mrs Tootlepedal went out to shut up the greenhouse for the night.

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s visit to Kew Gardens.  The sedentary minded can view the gardens from this land train.

Kew Gardens 6 May 2018 006

We had a fair day here today with very occasional sun, a good breeze and some late rain.  It meant that Mrs Tootlepedal could garden until she was exhausted and I could do some lawn care and go for a walk.

I had hoped to have my new bicycle by now but an enquiry to the bike shop revealed that it might not even be ready for tomorrow.  I hope that it will be but I have steeled myself for more delay.

Anyway, in the absence of cycling, I scarified the front lawn and collected up huge quantities of moss to the great interest of our resident blackbird who followed behind me pecking up food for his family.

baby blackbirds

I got a better picture of one of the youngsters later in the morning.

baby blackbird

They seem to be bigger than their parents so it is no wonder that the parents have to keep busy to feed them.

The dead heading of daffodils goes on (Mrs Tootlepedal must have hundreds of daffs in the garden) and the dead heading of the tulips has just started (she has hundreds of these too)  I counted over eighty of the red tulips in the narrow bed at the end of the drive and as Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that she only planted twenty, they have done remarkably well.

There is other colour about.

lithodora and primula

But still some daffodils and lots of tulips….

daff and cowslips

…and the long lasting cowslips too.

tulips

I sieved a little compost which Mrs Tootlepedal promptly used for planting out a recent purchase and then it seemed to be lunchtime.  Time flies when you are having fun.

After lunch, I went for a walk in the hope of seeing bluebells.

I saw fine blossom in the park as I walked though…

park shrub

…and many unfolding ferns along the way…

fern unfolding

…but best all, I saw the bluebells.

bluebells

I had time on my hands so I followed a track that the local mountain cyclists use through the woods.  At times it looked very inviting…

cycle track through wood

…and at times it looked truly terrifying.  I wouldn’t be able to tackle a track over bumpy roots and  fallen trees, through small streams and up and down steep banks so I take my hat off to those who do.

I am more interested in looking at things as I walk along.

There was a lot to look at.  As I took too many pictures, I am going to add only the barest number of words.

ajuga

Ajuga

larch cones

Larch keeping its cones over the winter.

view

A view at the end of the track down the hill

lichen

Lichen on a wall

blossom

Blossom

blossom

And more blossom

bluebells

I went to another bluebell wood but it wasn’t quite ready yet.

moss

There was interesting moss to make up for the lack of blue

hairy moss

Very interesting moss

dandelion

The dandelions were in good condition

distillery

Spring comes to the old Langholm Distillery

river esk

Looking down the river Esk from beside Skippers Bridge

skippers Bridge

And looking back at the briodge

wildflower

Wild flowers beside the river

heron

An old friend getting his feet wet

cherry blossom river esk

Blossom between the bridges

It was a delightful stroll and only needed a drop or two of golden sun to make it perfect.  I got a little splash of sunlight near the end of the walk but it only lasted a moment or two.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been working hard in the garden while I was out and by the time that I got back from my walk, we were both quite tired enough to make going inside and having a cup of tea seem like a really good idea.

Once inside, we got planted and didn’t go out again.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Mike I enjoyed a small glass of Old Speckled Hen, a quality bitter beer, and then, while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal caught up on all the news that was fit to hear, Alison and I enjoyed some good music, ending with a Partita in G by Telemann .  This was a really good way to end an enjoyable day.

If only my new bike would appear all would be well with the world.

I have put out some fat balls at the feeder and they attracted the attention of a sparrow today.  It is the perching bird of the day.

_DSC3957

 

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My sister Mary has been visiting Kew Gardens and with a guest picture like this, who can blame her?

kew gardens

Our spell of good weather is rapidly receding in the memory and we are back to ‘business as usual’ –  grey skies, brisk winds and occasional rain.

Still, the first part of the day was forecast to be the least windiest so I got out on my bike after an early breakfast and did twenty miles and was home in time for coffee.  It was quite strenuous as I did nearly as much climbing in my twenty miles today as I did in Monday’s fifty miles.  I creaked alarmingly but got home safely.

I stopped beside a violet at ten miles…

wild flower

…and the camera played its usual trick of focussing on the dull background more clearly that the colourful  intended subject.  I should have taken more pictures just in case this happened.

On my way home, I passed a superb bank of wild garlic near Waterbeck….

wild garlic

…and several examples of Jack by the Hedge or garlic mustard a bit further along the road.

garlic mustard

I have passed this little glen at Falford many times but I don’t think that I have ever seen it looking better than today in spite of the grey weather.

Kirtle water

As forecast, the wind got a little stronger as time went by and thanks to sound route choice, I got blown home in  a very helpful way.

When I got back, I shifted a little of Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure heap and put some buck-u-uppo on the middle lawn in an effort to encourage more grass among the moss.

I had a look round too.

We have dead headed the vast majority of the daffodils now and only a few remain.  This one was my daffodil of the day today.

daffodil

There are ferns springing up all round the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s current favourites are the ostrich feather ferns…

ostrich feather fern

..which are gently unfurling in the back border.

There is a smaller fern growing between the stones behind the pond.

fern

There are other things going on.

We are getting very excited by the development of the azaleas.

azalea

A bergenia is hiding its light under a bushel.

bergenia

An alpine clematis is flowering modestly.

alpine clematis

And the river of grape hyacinths is still flowing.

grape hyacinth

I didn’t have much time to watch birds today but I was pleased to get my first sighting of a baby blackbird today before I went out cycling.

blackbird baby

Ironically the baby is the larger looking of the two birds.

I saw the mother again later.

blackbird

The birds are making a mess of the lawns.  Both blackbirds and jackdaws are busy digging things up.

A jackdaw sat on Mrs Tootlepdal’s bean frame and tried to look not guilty…

jackdaw

…but I caught one at it later in the day.

jackdaw

There was plenty of seed eating on the feeder today, perhaps because there wasn’t so much gardening being done on account of the gloomy weather.

flying goldfinch

The birds didn’t look very grateful though.

redpoll and goldfinch

I made some soup for lunch and then a persistent rain started which lasted on and off for the rest of the day.

I found a dry moment to walk up to the garage to collect the car.  Mrs Tootlepedal had dropped it off there while I was cycling as we have decided that it is time to take the winter tyres off and have the summer ones put on.  Surely it can’t snow at this time of year……can it?

We put the afternoon to good use by doing the sort of tasks that need a wet day to get done and then we were cheered up by a visit for a cup of tea of not just Mike Tinker but by Scott, the minister too.

In the evening, I walked through the rain for the weekly practice of Langholm Sings where I sang several notes that were in the right place and at the right time.  Some of my other notes were not quite so accurate.  Home practice needed.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch supervising traffic at the feeder.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture from my brother Andrew’s visit to Spain shows the cathedral at Santiago.  It seems to defy the laws of gravity a bit but that might be lens distortion.

Santiago cathedral

We had the promised lovely day today, with light winds, gentle sunshine and genuine warmth, ten degrees C above the seasonal average.

I laid aside thoughts of the new bike and slight worries about a sore hand and got the slow bike out for the first time this month and went off for a pedal.

I waved good bye to the  poppies tulips in the garden as I left.

tulips

It really was a perfect day for cycling….

Skippers Bridge

…as I crossed the Skippers Bridge and headed for England.  As it was a bank holiday and lorries were few and far between, I cycled south on main roads until I got to Gretna.  Dandelions decorated the verges in great numbers.

dandelions

I didn’t see many other wild flowers as I went towards Carlisle’s northern by-pass which has a fine cycle path beside it but this ‘bluebell and pinkbell’ combination near Hespin Woods caught my eye.

bluebells

The day was so ideal for cycling and my hand was giving me so little bother that I continued along the southern shore of the Solway until I came to this splendid place…

Drovers Rest

…where I stopped for an early lunch of egg and chips, my staple cycling diet. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to sample their many fine cask ales and had a cup of coffee instead.

Leaving the pub, I turned inland on a road new to me and was very surprised to see this old windmill tower, now converted into a private house.

Monks hill windmill

The name of the road, Vallum Close, reminded me that I was cycling across the line of Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle to the coast.

I head back round the by-pass and then meandered up the delightful back roads of North Cumbria…

Cumbrian back road

..until I came to a bike path, described by a local author as the narrowest bike path he had ever seen.  I hadn’t used this track for some time and didn’t think of it as narrow but when I got onto it, I saw what he meant.

Cycle track 7

The path runs along the route of the old Carlisle to Longtown railway for a miles or two and enables a cyclist to cross the river Lyne in peace and quiet.

River Lyne

The views from the bridge

A new bridge has been constructed on the piers of the old railway bridge.

River Lyne

In a perfect world, the whole of the old railway trackbed would have been preserved for cyclists but that would have required good sense and forethought, never qualities readily associated with the Ministry of Transport.

Still, leaving the railway took me past Arthuret Church…

Arthuret Church

…one of my favourite buildings so I shouldn’t complain.  The view across the road from the church could hardly offer more of a contrast  between the ancient and the modern.

Arthuret Church

There is a fine copper beech  opposite the church.

P1090760

During the ride, I made  regular stops to make sure that I was keeping my hydration well topped up and to take in a little snack or two and I enjoyed this pastoral scene not far north of Longtown.

Near Kirkandrews on Esk

Nearby two trees seemed rather oddly shaped.

P1090764

Had a blot of lightning passed between them, I wondered or perhaps they had been deliberately trimmed to provide a view for a local bigwig.

Although dandelions were the pervasive wild flower of the day, other flowers were available if I happened to be going slow enough to notice them.

wild flowers canonbie

I passed a good number of butterflies including orange tips and peacocks but they were too nippy for me to record them.

Trees were easier to catch.

These were beside the bike path as it meets the A7 just south of Langholm.

conifers A7

conifers A7

When I got home after 52 miles of unalloyed pleasure, I was welcomed by the tulips with open petals.

tulips

It is not often that I am grateful for a little wind that is not helping me from behind but the light cross wind on the way home kept me just cool enough to be comfortable.  On the few occasions when it was straight behind me, it was too hot for pleasant pedalling.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden the whole time that I was out  so I was moved to scarify  and mow the middle lawn to show willing…

scarified lawn

It turned out well.  It was just a light scarifying.

…before we sat down to a cup of tea on our new bench.  Mrs Tootlepedal brought the tea out on a seasonally correct tea tray.

Tea tray

While we were sipping and chatting, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that my new helmet was well co-ordinated as  far as colour went with the tulips  across the lawn.

tulips and helmet

She also remarked that she was pleased with combination of tall orange tulips with the small darker red ones on the end bed.

tulips

She wished that time would freeze so that she could enjoy the warmth, the colour and sense of order in the garden for many weeks.

On the other hand, I am pleased that time progresses, though I wouldn’t mind keeping the heat for a bit longer, otherwise I would never get to eat the apples that should follow from this first apple blossom of the year.

apple blossom

The day was rounded off by a little music when Luke came for his lesson, which went well.

Following our evening meal, we both felt inexplicably tired and we didn’t go back out into the garden.

In the midst of all this activity, very few birds came to the feeder today so there is no flying bird of the day  and I have had to make do with an indifferent shot of a pair of floating  ducks on the pond at Longtown.

ducks

Those interested can click on the map below for more details of the bike ride.

garmin route 7 may 2108

It was a lot hotter than that by the time that I finished and the wind was coming up the Solway Firth from the west not the south.

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