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Posts Tagged ‘plums’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo of Manitoba.  She was at a grand opening of a feed mill at a Hutterite colony in Alberta last week when a friend pointed out this American robin’s well stocked nest.

Mary Jo's eggs

After yesterday’s endless rain, we had endless sunshine today.  It was very welcome.  Of course the weather gods will have their little laugh, so the sunshine came on a day when we had to be indoors for a lot of the time.

All the same, after making a stew for the slow cooker and going to sing at our usual church service, there was time for a walk round the garden.

It was full of bees.

three bees

I was particularly happy to catch a bee on a lupin so that I could combine two favourite subjects in one shot…

bee on blue lupin

…but it was the chives that were scoring highest in the bee popularity stakes today.

two bees on chive

New flowers are out and the pick of the day was this iris with its petals outlined in white.

new iris 1

I liked it so much that I took pictures of it with different cameras.

new iris 2

Foxgloves are popping up all over the garden…

foxglove flower

…and a new set of blue Polemonium have appeared.

blue polemonium

I took some other pictures more because I liked the general effect of the situation than for any floral novelty.

An oriental poppy seed head beside the dam can be seen out of our back window…

poppy seed head dam

…and it looks as thought this lamium is concealing a fierce science fiction beast behind its  petals.

lamium with mask

This euphorbia is fading with added colour…

fading euphorbia

…and two tropaeolum flowers were crossing swords on the yew bush.

two tropaeolum

But my favourite of the morning was this very cool picture of potential plums.

young plums

I didn’t have long to wander about though, as it was the day of our end of term concert with the Carlisle Community Choir and we had to be at the venue for an early practice.

We picked up another choir member on the way and got to our new concert venue in a local school in plenty of time.  Ellen, our conductor, is very careful to make sure that we can enjoy our concerts so the practice was not too demanding and had a break in the middle.  As a result, I was ready for the big event and had a good time singing almost all of the notes that were required.

One of the highlights of the concert for me was the solo performance of our accompanist, Christine, who poured so many notes into semi improvised arrangements of Dream a Little Dream of Me and Somewhere over the Rainbow that it seemed that the piano might explode.  Just my cup of tea.

When we got home, the sun was still shining and I had time to mow both the lawns while the potatoes were cooking. The lawns are not big and when the ground is firm and the grass is short enough so that I don’t have to use a box, lawn mowing is a speedy business.  It is slightly surprising that the lawns are still firm, as Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge was showing five inches of rain over the past two weeks, but that shows just how dry it was in the weeks before the rain started.

After tea, I went for a walk.  To be more correct….as my feet are still perfectly alright as long as I don’t use them at all, I went for a slow cycle ride round one of my favourite evening walks.

I enjoyed the evening light and took two pictures of bridges which I didn’t cross, the suspension bridge…

view of whita june evening

…and the bridge to the church…

willows by chirch brig

…and one of the sawmill Brig,  which I did cross.

sawmill brig june evening

I saw oyster catchers before I crossed the Sawmill Brig….

one legged oyster ctatcher and pal

…and a magnificent rhododendron lurking in the shadows as I crossed it.

rhododendron from sawmill brig

Everything around us is green after the rain but the finishing straight of the race course on the Castleholm was the greenest thing of the day.

race course finishing straight

With both the Langholm and Carlisle choirs finished until September, I shall find time hanging heavy on my hands.  I am hopeful that a little fine weather may let me get out on my bike a bit more to fill up the unforgiving hours.  Looking at the forecast, it seems that this hope may not be realised.  Ah well.

The flying bird of the day is one of our regular sparrows.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Sharon, world famous as the mother of flute playing Luke, who has been spending a few days in Germany.  She didn’t tell me where she was staying.

Berlin wall

We had a grey, gloomy morning and I was very happy to put it to use with some creative lounging about, a little coffee, some computer work and the occasional look out of the window.

A coal tit was a welcome sight.

coal tit

There were very few sparrows today and we got a good crop of goldfinches instead.  Some of them were not fully developed…

bald goldfinch

…but were quite capable of unseemly rowdiness….

goldfinches arguing

…but mostly, co-operative behaviour was the order of the day.

peaceful feeder

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to the first Embroiderers’ Guild meeting of the season and I did a little harmless gardening…and looking around.

I dead headed the dahlias…

dahlia with many petals

…and was pleasantly surprised to see a good number of red admiral butterflies on the small buddleia.

red admiral on red buddleia

The red admirals have taken over from the peacocks as our most frequent butterfly visitors.

The new bench under the kitchen window has proved very attractive to some nasturtiums needing a sit down.

bench with nasturtiums

When I checked Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge this evening, it had registered 4 cm or 1.5 inches which reflected the mixture of sunshine and showers through the week.  The garden has kept its colour and the fruit is being very fruitful.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that the first frost doesn’t come too soon.

The weather looked as though it might not be too bad and it was warm at 15° C so I put my cycling gear on and went for a pedal.  It was quite breezy and with the threat of more rain, I was prepared to skulk about in the valley bottom going up and down to Wauchope Schoolhouse three times.  However, when I got to the schoolhouse for the first time, the sky had brightened up a lot so instead of turning back, I kept on and did the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

Looking back from the top of the hill, I could see the discouraging black clouds over Whita…

clouds over whita

…but ahead of me, all was sunny.

sunny view from tarcoon

On my trip, I saw two fine toadstools…

red toadstools

…new trees coming out of tubes (landowners have to plant a few deciduous trees when they put in monoculture  coniferous plantations)….

trees in tubes

…another outstanding cow…

outstanding cow

…and much else which I didn’t photograph.

When I got home, the sun was still out and it looked like too good and evening to waste so while Mrs Tootlepedal did the accounts arising from her meeting (she is the treasurer), I went for a walk.

My intention was to go up the road past Pool Corner…

Pool Corner

…walk past Wauchope Graveyard…

Wauchope graveyard

…where the trees are winning the long term battle against the stones….

stones vs trees

…and then cross the Auld Stane Brig and walk back through the woods along Gaskell’s Walk.  For the second time today, I altered my route plan because it was such a nice evening and turned up the hill before crossing the Auld Stane Brig so that I could look back down on it….

Auld strane bridge in the evening sun

…and then I crossed the Becks Burn instead.

I walked through the wood that was felled earlier this year.

Becks wood felling

The scene in February

…but already new growth is to be seen on every side…

Becks Burn Sept 18

…and from being an airless, dark and fairly sterile wood, it is now a green and pleasant place for a walk on a sunny September evening.

Bridge oberr Becks Burn after felling

The Estate have reinstated the path and made sure that the old wooden bridge is still accessible to cross the burn.

I saw a few patches of colour in the verges and in the old wood as I walked along.

three wild flowers

Soon after I had crossed the bridge, my camera battery expired so I resorted to my phone for the last picture from my second delightful evening walk on successive days.  We can put up with gloomy mornings if we get evenings like this.

view of Whita

Some of the plums from our tree have been magicked into a plum crumble by Mrs Tootlepedal and we ate that for afters at our evening meal, garnished with custard.  It rounded off a day that ended a lot better than it began.

A different flying bird of the day picture today with a sparrow trying to get a look in among the goldfinches.

flying birds

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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 friend Bruce who was impressed by this polite message on an Edinburgh tram…especially as the delay was only for three minutes.

tram message

The jet stream is currently rushing down one side of the British Isles and up the other, trapping some quite chilly air over the top of us and bringing some brisk winds and unsettled weather with it.

Under these circumstances, today was a pretty good day, quite cool for the time of year and windy too but dry from morning till night.  As I was expecting far worse weather it took me some time to get adjusted to the reality but I managed to get going in the end and went for a cycle ride, mowed the drying green, sieved some compost, did some dead heading and shredded a lot of hedge clippings arising from the activities of Attila the Gardener so I didn’t waste the day entirely.

The first thing that I did was to take the new camera out into the garden and have a poke about with it.

A red poppy stood out, the first of the year.

red poppy

I was looking straight down on it so my feet also figure in the shot

Ironically, this is not one of the many that Mrs Tootlepedal is nurturing with great care in the flower gardens but one that came up of its own accord on a path in the vegetable garden.  Such is the gardener’s life.

The ligularias are just beginning to show….

ligularia

….and Crown Princess Margareta (top left in the panel) has come to join the other roses.

roses

The philadelphus between the lawns is a great sight…

philadelphus

…but there are other varieties in bloom too.  This one is in the back bed.

philadelphus

I took a walk round the vegetable garden where there are encouraging signs that Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress is paying dividends.  I hope to be able to provide pictorial proof of this soon.  Meantime, the blackcurrants are colouring up…

blackcurrants

…and it will be a race between me and the birds to see who can get most of them as it is too much trouble to net them.

The potatoes are flowering freely….

early potatoes

These are the early potatoes

early potatoes

And this is a main crop

We have had radishes, lettuces, assorted leaves, beetroot, spinach, turnips, strawberries and gooseberries already so on spite of a cool dry spring, things are going reasonable well.  If it wasn’t for a voracious flock of sparrows, Mrs Tootlepedal’s bêtes noir, things would be even better.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair and left me looking very well groomed.

She then went off to help with the lunches at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a bowl of soup and got the fairly speedy bike out.   I had watched my neighbour Ken set off for a 30-40 mile ride in the morning but my ambitious were more modest in view of the brisk easterly wind and I settled for a run round my 20 mile Canonbie route with stops for wild flowers.

The wind was strong enough to make me hold on to the handlebars pretty firmly as I went across the exposed hilly section of the route but by good luck, the wind mostly came at me from one side or the other and I hardly had to pedal straight into it at all.  The result was a most enjoyable ride.

I saw that the orchids in the verge which Genghis the Grasscutter had missed were developing well….

wauchope roadside wild flowers

…and they had company too so I was able to take all four photos within a few yards of each other.

The wind was very favourable as I went down the Canonbie by-pass so I admired the many orchids there in passing.  I would like to have got some pictures as there were some fine flowers but stopping after you have seen a good subject when you are doing 20mph means that you have always gone too far beyond the photo to make it worth while walking back.

I waited until I got to a slower section where Genghis has not yet visited with his cutter before I stopped again.  This is what a verge should look like.

wild verge

I saw a fine thistle….

thistle

…the first rosebay willowherb….

rosebay willowherb

…and lots of both of these.

umbellifer and meadowsweet

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got back and this was when I did the mowing and sieving.

And a little more flower shooting.

delphinium, sweet william and Rosa Mundi

Delphinium, Sweet William and Rosa Mundi providing ‘Glorious Technicolour’

I had taken my old Lumix with me on the cycle ride as I thought it might rain and I didn’t want to get the new camera wet and these garden pictures were also taken with it.  It is on its best behaviour just now and I will keep using it on cycle rides until it gives up entirely, as being stuffed in a sweaty back pocket and bumping up and down on poor road surfaces is probably not the best environment for a camera.

The nectaroscordum have finished flowering and are looking a little bit like the turrets on French Chateaux now.

nectaroscordum

The plums are looking promising….

plums

…but we will need a bit of warmer weather to bring them along.

The bee population on the astrantia had changed today and there were a great number of white tailed bumble bees tucking in.

white tailed bumble bees

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to enjoy a screening of Verdi’s Otello from Covent Garden at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing at a practice for Henry’s compact Common Riding choir.

We both enjoyed ourselves very much in our own way.

Thanks to the cooler weather, the bees were less flighty today so the non flying non bird of the day is one of the bumble bees on the astrantia.  It posed for my macro lens on the Nikon.

white tailed bumble bees

I would like to thank all those who commented on yesterday’s post.  You can imagine how good is it to receive such encouraging remarks.  I will try to live up to them.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, who has temporarily deserted Somerset to visit friends in Yorkshire where she saw this traditional scene at the Shipley cricket ground.

Shipley, West Yorkshire

At least it stopped raining here today for the most part but it remained grey and windy which was a disappointment.  I had foolishly stayed up into the wee small hours of the morning to watch Mo Farrah win his second gold medal so I was even greyer than the weather.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and since cleanliness is next to godliness, I tidied up the kitchen in a leisurely but thorough manner while she was out.
When she came home, we had a stroll round the garden, catching up on the dead heading that we had missed in the rain.

Non gardeners may be baffled about the repeated references to dead heading but plants grow flowers to produce seeds and if the seeds are left, the plants think that their job is done and stop producing new blooms.  With flowers like poppies and cosmos, taking off the heads of the flowers that are over before the seeds are set, encourages the plants to produce new blooms and keeps the colour in the garden going.  Tough on the poor hard working plants but great for us.

The proof of the pudding….

poppies

It works for cornflowers too…

cornflowers

…though they are more fiddly to dead head properly.  That is why, the gardener and I try to start each day with a walk round the garden, snippers and a bucket in hand.

The dahlias are others that benefit from dead heading.

dahlias

A light drizzle started so Mrs Tootlepedal went inside to put a few miles in on her bike to nowhere upstairs and I made some potato latkes for our lunch.  Since we have a good crop of potatoes and onions from the garden to get through, potato latkes may appear quite frequently on our menu over the coming weeks.

After lunch we foolishly turned on the telly and two hours later were still sitting there as the Olympic men’s marathon finished.  Luckily this is the last day of the great event so we may get our lives back.

Overwhelmed with a sense of guilt about our idleness, we leapt up when the race finished and while Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden, I got the fairly speedy bike out and went for a briskish pedal round my standard 20 mile loop.

When I got back, I found a large heap of evidence of gardening activity.

Crocosmia

Some crocosmia which has outstayed its welcome.

Mrs Tootlepedal is full of ideas for next year’s garden.  She likes the way this bed at the end of the front lawn has turned out…

front lawn bed

…and is intending to have a similar bed on the other side of the centre path.  This will entail digging up and shifting a very large and ancient azalea but she is not daunted.  She never is.

I had a good walk round while she continued her tidying up activities.  I have been too gloomy about the plum crop.   It looks as though it will be very fruitful….

plum tree with plums

…if we can just get enough sunshine to ripen the fruit.  I have sampled the first few to ripen and they are tasting delicious.

In the vegetable garden there is lots to look at as well.

Beans, courgette, turnip and potato.

The fruits in the bottom right frame are potato apples and are not for consumption as they are poisonous.

My current favourite flowers have survived the rainy days very well and are looking better than ever.

cardoon and lily

The cardoon flower is the only one of several heads to have come out.  If the rest actually flower, it should be a great sight.

The poor old Golden Syllabub on the other hand is really not enjoying the weather at all and I had to hold the flower up in one hand to get a picture at all.

Golden Syllabub

This is a pity as it is a very pretty flower in good conditions.

I like clematis a lot and Mrs Tootlepedal has a good selection out at the moment…

Clematis

…but they too could do with some better weather to bring out the best in them.

While we were in the garden, we were disturbed by the clatter of hooves as several horses and riders passed the end of our road.

horses in Henry Street

We didn’t know what the riders were up to but we were glad that we were not still living in reiving times when the clatter of hooves in this area might signal the loss of your cattle and the burning of your house.

I was hoping to go for a bird watching walk after I had changed out of my cycling gear but the clouds overhead were thickening all the time and by the time that I had looked at the perennial nasturtium…

perennial nasturtium

It is having a second flush at the moment

…it had become too dark for the zoom lens so I retired indoors and stayed there.

Although the Olympics are over, we will have the daily highlights of the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) cycle stage race to keep us entertained over the next three weeks.  If you could get fit by watching sport, we would be the fittest people in the world.

No flying bird of the day then but a fine flower to make up for that.

poppy

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was visiting the Botanical Gardens in Oxford.  She could see Magdalen College in the distance.

View of Magdalen College from the gardens

View of Magdalen College from the gardens

We had the third day in a row of welcome sunshine today and flowers and insects greeted it with the same enthusiasm that we did.

poppy and bee

I am suffering from a little saddle soreness at the moment so I was quite happy that Mrs Tootlepedal had a joint task for us to do in the garden and I gave the bicycle and my posterior a rest.

Before we started on the task, I had a walk round the garden to do some dead heading and have a look at what was going on.

The first Michaelmas daisy and a pair of ripening plums made sure we remembered that in spite of the sunny day, autumn is creeping ever closer.

Michaelmas daisy and plums

The garden was full of buzzing noises and I enjoyed watching insects approach a poppy in their own way.  The hoverfly dances in daintily while the bee hurls itself in sideways and squirms round in circles battering the middle of the flower to bits.

poppy and insects

Then it was time for the task.

A  prunus tree on the hedge with our neighbour was in poor condition and needed to be cut down before it fell over.  This involved stepladders, long loppers, a stout rope and a bow saw but with the assistance of our other neighbour Liz and her grandson, who fortunately dropped in to see what all the fun was about, we got the tree cut down in quick time and with no injuries to the participants.

Shortly afterwards, the branches had been trimmed for sawing up, the twigs stacked for disposal and it was time for coffee.  All this might have been the subject of a photo story if I had remembered to photograph any of it but I didn’t so it isn’t.

After coffee, I took some Archive Group postcards up to the new base of the tourist information volunteers.  It is bang in the middle of the Market Place and as a result, there have been more visitors and more sales of cards.  While I was on the High Street, I ordered some more supplies of coffee.

When I got home, I had another look round.

The buddleia is still drawing butterflies…

rred admiral and peacock butterflies

…though they didn’t always pose prettily for me.

butterflies

I never thought of butterflies as being whiskery until I got a camera.

red admirtal and tortoiseshell butterflies

Then I mowed the middle lawn before it got too warm to work.

I was quite happy to have a reason to go into the cool house after that.  It is the Canonbie Flower Show on Saturday and it has a well supported photography section so I sat down to pick out and print thirteen pictures to enter in some of the many classes it offers.

This simple sounding process literally takes hours.  I have far too many pictures in my files to sift through quickly and my printer, like the wheels of justice, grinds extremely slowly.  Still, I got it done in the end and, for once, I am pretty pleased with my choices.  This probably means that I won’t catch the eye of the judge at all this year but it is taking part and not winning that is the important thing….so they tell me.

I went out into the garden and saw the young robin again so I popped back inside and took my first ‘through the kitchen window’ shot for some time.

.robin

It was such a lovely evening that when we had had a cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal joined me on a walk.

We are not the only ones having trouble with sick trees.  We saw this one beside the river with  no leaves left on it….

sick tree

…and with the tell tale fungus at its roots.  Not long for this world.

We crossed the Kilngreen where the gulls resolutely refused to take wing and walked ver the Sawmill Bridge and onto the Lodge walks.  More poorly trees were to be seen there.  Two of the signature beech trees which line the walks have been condemned to be felled and have been trimmed off in preparation and several conifers in the woods beside the road are for the chop as well.  They are all big trees…

trees for fellin

…and the beeches in particular will be sadly missed.

Several trees blew down in the winter gales this year and the estate must have been rightly worried about the chances of more sick trees falling on passers by if the gales return this winter.

We walked across the Castleholm and kept an eye out for signs of the season.  They were to be seen both on a large scale…

Leaves turning

The first hints of leaves turning

…and in smaller things.

oak, hazel and lime

These are oak, hazel and lime

I was intrigued by what seemed to me to be an unusual spider’s web on the Jubilee Bridge.

Spiders web

They looked liked two little baskets prepared to catch things rather than the standard network.  Perhaps they were not made by a spider.  A knowledgeable reader may be able to help me out here.

We saw what we took for crab apples in the Clinthead Garden on our way out and some snow berries beside the Esk as we passed the school on our way home.

crab apple and snow berry

When we got home, in another sign of the times, the starlings were back on our electricity wires.

starlings

There was no flying bird on our walk so a stationary butterfly will have to do instead.

butterfly

They say that we have one more day of good weather to go before the rain returns and the temperature drops.  It was good while it lasted.  I hope the butterflies survive.

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I was going to use pictures from our break as guest pictures of the day this week but I couldn’t resist this picture, taken by ‘Uncle Joe’, of Matilda, who is still in the south,  wondering when her parents and aunt will stop with the cheesy smiles and let her get on with her meal.

Matilda and family

This is the picture that I was going to use.  It shows Gold Hill in Shaftesbury.

Gold Hill in Shaftesbury

We woke to a wonderfully sunny day with the winds thankfully a bit lighter than yesterday.  Outside the kitchen window, a new poppy looked attractive….

poppy with hoverflies

…not just to me but to hoverflies as well.

I did a little dead heading and took the camera for a stroll among the flowers.  The pink poppies have some subtle differences when you look at them closely.

pink poppies

A frog was taking in the rays on a lily pad.

frog

The hostas have flowered profusely this year and are a  real ornament to the garden.

hostas

I was just thinking of mowing the lawn when Dropscone appeared on his bicycle…

Dropscone

…looking very cheerful.  I was cheerful too when I saw that he was bringing a bag of his scones to go with out coffee.  He had been playing a lot of golf while I was a way so we had much to mull over (cruel fate, unfortunate bounces, unnecessary trees etc.)

After coffee, I had a quick look at the plum tree…

unripe plums

…which has quite a few more good looking plums on it than we feared after a late frost threatened the crop earlier in the year and then I mowed the front lawn.  Luckily it wasn’t very warm in the town while we were away so the grass was manageable and looked quite good after its haircut.

Once the mower was put away, I had time to wander round the garden again.

Although most of the orange hawkweed has long gone over, there was a single cluster in almost full flower today.

orange hawkweed

We are entering the season of berries and the first few raspberries are ripening.  I would have shown you a picture but they seem to have disappeared suddenly and mysteriously.

Instead here are berries of the perennial nasturtium which have turned from green to blue and red, together with a cluster of rowan berries on their way to ripening.

berries

After lunch, I went out to have a look at the last of the early potatoes which Mrs Tootlepedal had just dug up.  For some reason the weather this year has produced relatively few potatoes per plant but to make up for this, they are unusually large for earlies.

early potatoes

They turn out to taste very good when baked.  This is not something that you would normally do with earlies.

The weather stayed fine so I got the fairly speedy bike out and tried out my legs after their week of rest.  They worked well so I battled into the breeze for ten and a half miles up the Lockerbie road and then cruised back home at 17 mph, an unusually brisk speed for me these days.  I didn’t stop for many pictures as I was concentrating hard on the pedalling but I did record this colourful verge near Westwater.

not dandelions

Definitely not dandelions

When I got back, I thought that the middle lawn was looking a bit peely-wally so I got out the watering can and put some pep-u-uppo on it.  I was just on the last can-ful when a looming presence over my left shoulder turned out to be Scott, the minister, paying me a visit.

He had arrived in perfect time to join us for a cup of tea (who would have thought it) and he told us about his adventures in the big London 100 mile bike ride at the end of last month.  For the second year running, accidents among riders ahead of him had caused long hold-ups and as a result the course had had to be shortened to a mere 90 miles.  This had been disappointing although not entirely unexpected with 26,000 riders taking part and some narrow roads involved.  He is hoping to do an uninterrupted 100 mile event elsewhere soon.

When he had gone, I went off on my slow bike to see if I could find any waterside birds.  I didn’t have to look far to find a herring gull.

herring gull

There was another gull near and I think that this may be a young herring gull but I am, as always, open to correction.

gull

As there were some very black looking clouds threatening to bring a fine day to a wet close, I didn’t dawdle and was soon home.

The Olympic Games are going to be a severe test of my ability to get things done over the next few days as there is wall to wall coverage available but I am going to try to ration myself so it doesn’t take over my whole life.

The flower of the day is a dahlia….

dahlia

And the flying bird is that herring gull.

flying herring gull

 

 

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