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Posts Tagged ‘poppies’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s northern tour.  He visited Newcastle-on-Tyne and sent me this picture of a castle.  He doesn’t say if it is the new one or not.

Newcastle castle

It was relatively cool and cloudy when I got up and although it had rained overnight, once again the amount had failed to register on my scientific rain gauge so I did a little watering and took a walk round the garden after breakfast.

The Crown Princess looked lovely surrounded by phlox.

crown princess among phlox

A new flower has appeared next to the front lawn but I cannot name it without Mrs Tootlepedal’s help.

mystery flower

I can recognise this astilbe which is looking charmingly  pretty in pink.

pink astilbe

The wind was still about but as it was rather calmer than recent days, I set out on my new bike with hope in my heart, aiming at 50 miles or more.

Unfortunately, it turned out that I might have had hope in my heart but I didn’t have much stuffing in my legs and my hopes gradually faded as I pedalled along.

I did enjoy myself all the same.

The ragwort is at its best…

ragwort

..but I have been unable to find any with the colourful caterpillars of the cinnabar moth on it yet.  These caterpillars love ragwort so there should be some about somewhere.

My route took me across country to Annandale.  There is no more water in the Annan than there is in the Esk….

Annan Water at Hoddom

…but I was still glad to have a handsome bridge to cross the river when I came to it.

Hoddom Bridge

There is a lot of Himalayan Balsam on the banks of the river and although it is very pretty…

himalayan balsam

…it is regarded as an invasive pest now that it has escaped from gardens.

I toiled up a hill after I had crossed the bridge at Hoddom and then scooted down the other side until I came to the Bridge at Brydekirk which crosses the same river a few miles downstream.

Brydekirk Bridge

Here I paused for an egg roll and a chocolate biscuit.  (My cycling nutrition is about as scientific as my rain gauge.)

I was sitting on a low wall which was covered in interesting lichen.

Brydekirk lichen

Leaving the river behind, I headed homewards, thinking that I might make a detour into England at Gretna to bring up my fifty mile target.  It was at this point that it became finally apparent that my legs weren’t really up to much more than forty miles and when I looked around and saw that recent rarity, a rain cloud…

rain clouds

…and felt a few spots of rain on my knees, any thoughts of England evaporated and I headed for home.  I had obviously been lucky to avoid being rained on as quite a bit of the road to Canonbie was wet.

I arrived home after 42 miles to find that it hadn’t rained in Langholm at all.  Boo.

It was the first day for weeks when the clouds were thick enough to make the day seem quite gloomy even though it was quite warm enough to cycle in shorts again.

I had some green soup for a late lunch, checked out the birds…

bee passing birds on feeder

…which were ignoring passing bees…

,..and then settled down to watch a thoroughly engrossing stage of the Tour de France.

After the stage ended, Mike Tinker came round and we had a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit.  Any day with ginger biscuits is a good day.

When Mike left, I saw that the birds had been busy while I was relaxing and the feeder was getting empty.

sparrows and greenfinch

I really liked the cool attitude of this greenfinch, looking for all the world like a regular customer leaning on the bar in a pub.

cool greenfinch

Filling the feeder led to more birds arriving in a rush…

sparrows on feeder

…and occasional regrettable outbreaks of sparrow stamping.

sparrow stamping on sparrow

I did some more watering and weeding and noted that Mrs Tootlepedal will have a few poppies to greet her when she comes home tomorrow.

poppies

And a lot of cheerful phlox.

phlox

The bed beside the front door is looking quite welcoming too.

front door bed

After a shower, some tidying up and a basic evening meal, I went off to the church for a practice with the choir.  It is the Common Riding service on Sunday so we will have to be at our best as there will be a large turn out of people who do not normally come to services.

I am not entirely sure that my new asthma treatment is as good as it should be and this might account for my soggy legs when bicycling and certain lapses of concentration when singing.  It is useful to have something to blame of course.

The flying bird of the day is a grenfinch.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from former archive group member Ken.  He very kindly sent me this portrait of an unusual animal which he encountered in Newcastle.

green rhino

We had another warm (22°C at it peak), dry day today but not as hot as poor Mrs Tootlepedal is having to get used to in the deep south.   In fact, it was pleasantly cool after breakfast so I got a bit of dead heading and watering done before Dropscone arrived with the traditional Friday treacle scones.

And I took a couple of pictures, of course.

In one of those amusing japes which the horticultural gods like to play upon innocent gardeners, the poppies that Mrs Tootlepedal has carefully planted are very reluctant to come up, while the patch which seeded itself by the new bench…

poppies beside bench

….couldn’t look better.

The gardener smiles one of those inscrutable smiles.

After the excellent treacle scones had disappeared, Dropscone departed with what is very nearly the last of the rhubarb and I did a bit more watering and dead heading….and the crossword.

Mrs Tootlepedal was showing some of my pictures of the flowers to a friend yesterday and found that because I take so many close ups, it was difficult for her to convey the bigger picture…..so here are two bigger pictures.

middle lawn view

The drought is beginning to tell on the middle lawn.  The bed at the bottom right was a sea of orange hawkeed a few weeks ago.  The trouble with the long view is that the camera can’t do justice to all the greenery and the flowers at the same time.

There is a metal fence that divides the flower garden from the vegetable garden and it is home to four sorts of roses, a clematis and a honeysuckle.

fence

The runner beans are looking promising.  I must remember to water them too.

Tucked in on the garden side of that fence is a rose that Mrs Tootlepedal had to cut back so severely that she thought that it might never bloom again.  However, the Queen of Denmark turns out to be made of tough stuff and among the surrounding leafage, a flower has appeared…

Queen of Denmark rose

…with more to come.

A second day lily has appeared.

day lily

After a lunch of a large sardine and lettuce sandwich, I got myself organised and set off for a pedal.

I waited to see how I was going before finally deciding on a route and it turned out to be a day when my legs were not in a very co-operative mood so I settled for a dull thirty mile circuit of Gair, Kirkpatrick Fleming and Glenzier.   There is a lot of dust and pollen about in our dry spell and perhaps the noticeable wind  was blowing enough about to slow me down.

Still, I took things easy and enjoyed the ride.

Gair road view

It was warm but happily for me, the sky clouded over as I pedalled along and the wind kept me comfortably cool.  I stopped for the occasional drink and tried to find a place with some wild flowers to look at as I sipped.

There was plenty of ragwort along the way…

ragwort

…but this was the only one of these little white flowers that I saw.

white wild flower

There was a lot of rosebay willowherb too.

rosebay wiilowherb

And a thistle showed what a good  source of pollen it is.

thistle

Even at the slow pace I go on my bike, it is easy to pass things without seeing them.  I was thinking that I hadn’t seen any red soldier beetles this year but when I stopped to look for some orchids, I found that there were a lot of the beetles about too.

red soldier beetles

The same observation applied to the orchids.  As I was cycling  along the Canonbie bypass, I only noticed one or two but when I stopped in a handy lay-by and had a proper look, I found several within a few yards.

canonbie orchids

I’ll obviously have to cycle even more slowly (if that is possible).

In an echo of the morning scone scene, the unusually hot weather has melted the road surface in places on the back roads and I now have to watch out for sticky patches as well as potholes.

You will doubtless be interested to know that when I got home, I did some more watering.  I could easily spend the whole day watering but carrying watering cans is hard work and my arms are getting longer every day as it is.

I did have time to notice that the phlox is coming out.

white phlox

We will soon have phlocks of flox.

I picked some peas, beans and beetroot for my tea and went in.

I took too many pictures in the sunshine again today so I have packaged some up in panels.  I am test driving a new photo editor and have not yet devised a good panel macro so I apologise for the rough and ready framing.

poppies

Two self seeded poppies and one intentional poppy

calendula and cornflower

A calendula and the first cornflower bask in the morning sunshine

roses

I could fill a whole post with rose pictures.

The flying bird of the day was resting.

chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  I walked past the canal at Paddington on my way home from Marlow without taking a picture so she sent me this one taken further along the canal a few days earlier.  I don’t think that she sampled the rum.

canal

In the end, a combination of the heat, an appointment and things to do persuaded me to put off going to see Matilda for a week.  I had planned for a very leisurely day but I kept pottering about for pretty well the whole time and it was just as well that I didn’t try to fit in a  trip to Edinburgh as well.

I had to do quite a lot of dead heading and some watering too and as this involves carrying heavy watering cans about  (we have been asked not to use garden hoses until it rains again), it also involved quite a bit of resting between trips.  I used the breaks to take some pictures of bees.

I was spoiled for choice.

bee visiting red poppy

Every colour was in demand.

bee visiting blue allium

And every size and sort of flower.

bee visiting foxglove

A new pale astrantia has come out and the bees like it as much as the darker ones.

bee on astrantia

The poppies had benefited from the dead heading and replacements had arrived.

poppy

My appointment was to get my three monthly vitamin B12 top up at the health centre and that passed as painlessly as it always does.  Young people won’t realise what a wonderful improvement there has been in needle technology.  Getting injections of any sort when I was a boy was a nightmare and I still have enough needlephobia not to be able to watch an injection when I get one or see one on the telly but actually having an injection nowadays is a breeze and the nurse and I chatted happily about golf while the procedure was performed.

I had a light lunch when I got back and then went out to do some more watering and picture taking.

I think that these are the famous doddering dillies that were on sale at the Church fete.

doddering dillies

They are very pretty but because they dodder about in the lightest breeze, they are not easy to photograph.

There are several sunflowers out in the garden…

small sunflower

…and this is one of the small ones.  I will need a step ladder to take a picture of one of the tall ones.  They are miles above my head now.

We saw a fine example of the Common Riding rose (Excelsa) at the Hampton Court Flower Show but I think that ours is looking every bit as good.

CR rose

CR rose close

Although it only has one flower at the moment, I like one of the new roses that Mrs Tootlepedal planted this year.

Fru Dagmar Hustrup rose

It is called Fru Dagmar Hastrup and I think it is very charming.  Mrs Tootlepedal wishes it was a bit more robust.

I went inside to work on the computer to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon and then Mike arrived and I went round to have a cup of tea in his shady garden.  Alison provided the tea and an excellent ginger biscuit and I was so perked up by this that after finishing my computer work and potting out some plants for Mrs Tootlepedal, I went out for a short cycle ride in the relative cool of the evening.

It was a perfect cycling evening and I wished that I had been able to get out for a longer ride.

View from wauchope school brae

I saw a big bunch of bright yellow flowers in the verge so I stopped for a look.  They looked a bit like crosswort at first but it was something different.

yellow verge flowers

I took a close up as best I could while holding up my bike….

yellow wild flower close

…and a shot of a single plant.

yellow wild flower whole

Any help with identification would be welcome.  (My wildflower expert, Mike says that it is Lady’s Bedstraw)

There was plenty of purple around too in the form of thistles….

thistles

…and the first rosebay willowherb of the summer.

rosebay willowherb

I only went twelve miles as it was past my tea time already but I hadn’t quite finished the day yet.

When I got home, I mowed the front lawn.  There will be those who think that it is folly to mow a lawn when the weather is so dry and they may be right but it was a light cut and it made the lawn look better.

front lawn dry

Two beautiful roses lurk behind the box balls at the far end of the lawn but most of the colour was right behind me as I took the picture so I turned round.

colourful corner

On the other side of the garden a new flower has come out.

new red flower

As I am trying to improve the rust content in my diet, I had a good meal of liver with peas, beans, spinach, turnips and potatoes from the garden.

The flying bird of the day is sensibly resting.

blackbird

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is obviously enjoying a stay in the north east of Scotland.  He visited a famous collapsed sea cave called Bullers of Buchan.  It must have been spectacular when the roof fell in.

Bullers of Buchan

There is no question but that summer is going to be a disappointment this year as it can’t possibly be better than the spell of glorious weather we are enjoying at the moment.  We had another really warm and sunny day today (25°C in the afternoon) and with little or no wind, it was almost too warm for comfort at times.  This is nearly 10°C above the seasonal average.   From a gardening point of view, we could do with some rain and the forecast is offering us a cooler, wet day tomorrow which should be quite welcome.

Mind you, it offered us terrible thunderstorms with torrential rain and big hailstones today and none of that arrived so we are not raising our hopes and we did a lot of watering of thirsty plants in the garden today.

I had an early look around for interest after breakfast.

We are not short of colour.

Some from familiar plants….

Welsh poppies

Welsh Poppies

perennial wallflower

Perennial wallflower with a wonderful array of tints

dicentra

Dicentra which has lasted for weeks.

…and some from new arrivals.

goura pink

Pink Gaura, new this year in our garden with its friend…..

gaura white

…the White Gaura.  They are also called Wandflowers.

orange hawkweed

The first of many, many orange hawkweed

oriental poppy

And our first oriental poppy on the back wall of the house beside the dam.

While we were talking to a garden visitor, a bright orange tip male butterfly fluttered past us but by the time that I had got my camera out, it had fluttered off leaving only the less colourful female to pose.

orange tip butterfly female

I didn’t just look at flowers.  Mrs Tootlepedal collected a pocketful of stout and healthy looking acorns in the autumn of 2016 and with careful attention, she now has a small oak forest growing in one of the raised beds…

Little oaks

…proving conclusively that little oaks from great acorns grow.

She is going to transplant the saplings out into the wild wood when they are strong enough.

She also noticed a small clump of fungus growing from a patch of farmyard manure behind our new bench.  By the time that I got to them, they had faded away.

tiny mushrooms

Dropscone, who has been up near North Berwick, refereeing at a junior golf tournament, came round for coffee.  He told us that the haar had been so bad in North Berwick that one of the rounds of the tournament had been cancelled on the golf course there because players couldn’t see far enough ahead to hit safely.  We were very lucky with our holiday weather.  He hadn’t lost his skill at making treacle scones while he had been away.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I got a drill out and finished fixing two new bolts through the metal post holding up the honeysuckle archway at the back of the garden.

arch bolts

This was one of those jobs which have been needed to done for about ten years so there was quiet satisfaction at its final completion.

Our neighbour Betty was clipping the hedge between our gardens so I thought that I should take the hint and clipped our side of the hedge too.  Then Mrs Tootlepedal took the hedge trimmer and tried to cut down a big clump of comfrey…

compost plant

…but found that the stems were too tough and awkward for the hedge trimmer.

I found it too hot to stay out so went in to do the crossword while Mrs Tootlepedal toiled on.  After lunch the positions were reversed and Mrs Tootlepedal took a well deserved siesta while I went out and mowed the front lawn and sieved a barrow load of compost.

I noticed the first flowers on a Scotch rose called Harison’s Yellow.

Scotch rose

Then I was just contemplating the willow beside the hedge…

willow

…and looking at it closely…

willow close up

…when two even more interesting specimens appeared over the hedge.

Liz and Mike

As they used to say in the society papers, this was Liz and Mike enjoying a joke while pausing at Langholm’s premier garden watching venue.

We all agreed that the weather was quite unnatural and as we spoke, a drop or two of rain looked as though it might herald the forecast thunderstorm.  But Liz and Mike went on their ways and the rain went on its way and the rest of the day was as fine and warm as it had been all the time.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down from her siesta and immediately started work in the garden again, watering and planting out.  I took a picture of a musk flower that had come out during the day…

musk

…and then went off to buy some food for my evening meal and then cook the meal as I was going off to sing with Langholm Sings at a concert in the evening.

The other Mike, my cello playing and singing colleague came round and we drove off to Waterbeck, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to go the Buccleuch Centre where she was doing the front of house duty for a Dougie MacLean concert.

We got a good audience at Waterbeck and I enjoyed croaking my way through the songs, though there were one or two that could have done with a little more preparation time, especially as I had missed the last concert owing to being in North Berwick.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed the Dougie MacLean concert a lot.  (Here is a link to another concert of his for anyone who would like to get to know this engaging folk singer. most famous for his song ‘Caledonia’)

It was a busy day so I didn’t get a moment to look at any flying birds at all.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who encountered this elegant pedal powered equipage in Malton.

Malton tricycle

The morning dawned, as is customary, with grey skies and a persistent drizzle which sometimes veered into downright rain.

Under these circumstances, to linger over breakfast and the newspapers for long enough to slide imperceptibly into coffee and scones with Dropscone was the best policy and I followed it.

Dropscone’s scones were masterpieces of the baker’s art and went well with the last of Mary Jo’s saskatoon jam.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre’s coffee shop over lunch and I was left by myself to stare out of the kitchen window.  As usual, there was quite a bit to stare at.

Flying chaffinches were ten a penny.

flying chaffinches

And fighting sparrows weren’t hard to find.  I liked the way this incoming lady casually one handedly brushed off the male who stood in her way.

fighting sparrows

Siskins watched from above, waiting for a perch.

siskins

And a dunnock gleaned fallen seed below.

dunnock

The highlight of the day was this tousled blue tit who defied appearances by being able to fly and land very nimbly.

ruffled blue tit

I had a slice of melon and a sardine sandwich for my lunch and by the time that I had finished these, it had stopped raining.  As it was quite warm (14°C) for the time of year and the forecast was optimistic about the rain having passed over, I got the fairly speedy bike out and ventured off on a ride.

I had a think about the brisk wind that was blowing and chose a route which I hoped would make the best of it.  Instead of heading west as usual, I headed off north on a roughly rectangular route, hoping for sheltered crosswinds on legs one and three, an even more sheltered headwind leg two and a fine run downwind leg four to finish the trip.

I was mightily surprised when things worked out according to plan.

My route took me up the Esk valley where I stopped for my favourite view….

gates of Eden

… the Gates of Eden, which look lovely whatever the weather.

A look down the road from the same spot gives a better idea of the time of year and the weather.

Craig road

I think that the autumn colour is a write off this year and I didn’t see much better than this view near Hopsrig.

Autumn colour

Bentpath looked very subdued under the clouds.Bentpath in October

My leg two into the wind was uphill but I was well sheltered for most of it by the fine line of trees beside the road you can see in the picture below..

Esk from bailliehill

I was more exposed to the crosswind as I cycled across the moor and down to Paddockhole…

Paddockhole bridge

….but by using a sensibly low gear and imagining that I was going at 20mph into a 10mph wind rather than going at 10mph into a 20mph wind (exactly the same amount of effort being required) which I was, the miles passed quite kindly.

Once I had crossed the bridge at Paddockhole, the wind was behind me for the final ten miles and when I had got to the top of Callister, the combination of wind and gravity let me do the last six miles home at an average of 20mph.

And to make things even better, the sun came out.

Craig windmills from Wauchope road

The road home looked inviting.

Wauchope road

This route is 26 miles, roughly the same distance as a marathon and has well over 1000ft of climbing in it.  I was therefore pleased to complete it in 1 hour 59 minutes and 58 seconds.  As the fastest marathon runners in the world, in a set up event in a sheltered stadium, with pacemakers, wearing fancy springy shoes and with top class nutritionists and sports trainers at their beck and call couldn’t manage to run a marathon in under two hours this year, it is a fantastic tribute to the bicycle that an old man of 75 can give them a run for their money.  In fact it calls the whole idea of running into question.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden and I had a look around.

october flowers

Hellenium and campanula join the poppies today

dahlias

Dahlias glowing in the sun.

it was very good to see the sun and we had a quick cup of tea and drove up to the Moorland bird feeders so that Mrs Tootlepedal could look for hen harriers on the moor and I could look at smaller birds from the hide.

It was still breezy.

coal tit

great tit and blue tit

The feeders were mostly empty but I enjoyed watching a busy set of coal tits, great tits and blue tits for a while.  There are always pheasants about too but they were looking a bit gloomy today at the lack of fallen seeds to pick at.

pheasant

Sadly, the sun didn’t last and almost as soon as we got to the hide, it was overtaken by clouds so we didn’t stay long but Mrs Tootlepedal was quite content as she had had a couple of hen harrier sightings.

By coincidence, just as we got home we met fellow camera club member Andy at our gate.  It was not his skill with the shutter than we needed but his expertise as a forester.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been worried about damage to our walnut tree and Andy kindly agreed to have a look at it and give an opinion.

Andy and Mrs T

They emerged from the inspection in good humour as Andy’s view was that the damage seemed to have been long standing and not recent and the tree was in no danger of imminent collapse.

Andy took a tour round the garden while he was here and was impressed by the appetite of some caterpillars which were eating our turnip leaves.

caterpillars

I am no caterpillar expert…that is an understatement….but a little research on the internet suggested that these might possibly be Red Admiral butterfly caterpillars.  This would be very unusual so I would welcome an identification from knowledgeable readers.

In the evening, we went the Buccleuch Centre where we enjoyed a fine performance by four young singers from Scottish Opera who were on a tour to bring culture to far flung corners of Scotland.

Rather than just singing popular arias in turn, they put together a miscellany of solos, duets, trios and quartets within a specially created dramatic framework of love and jealously among the performers themselves.  I found this very satisfactory as it added some real emotional vigour to the singing but Mrs Tootlepedal could take it or leave it alone.

The singing was splendid however, particularly by the baritone, and the musical selection ranged from Monteverdi to Benjamin Britten with many stops in between so it was a very satisfactory evening for us both.

The flying bird of the day is a double look at great tits in the garden.

great tit

For those interested, further details of the bike ride can be found by clicking on the map below.

Garmin route 23 Oct 2017

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who has recently been playing golf in Girona in Spain.  Clearly, there was no rain in Spain while he was there.

Spain

There was no rain here today either but not quite as much sun as Dropscone has been enjoying.

I had to take the car to the garage early in the morning to get its brakes fixed.  The view from the suspension bridge as I walked back was a marked contrast with yesterday’s mist.

View from suspension bridge in autumn

It was a little chilly when I got home so I dawdled about and had a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal before finally setting off to make the most of a good day.

I had a bit of a moan after my ride on Sunday about losing speed on my cycle runs thanks to increasing age.   Many well intentioned readers advised me to stop moaning, live with the years and just enjoy cycling and taking pictures without bothering about average speeds.

I always take good advice so I pottered about today for the first twenty five miles and took many pictures on my ride.  Of course, it may have been the brisk wind in my face rather than the sheer enjoyment of going slowly that made me take so long but I was very content to stop and take pictures as I went.

I should say that I had a bit of time on my hands in the evening and some of the photographs from the ride may have been enhanced by the use of filters.   I don’t usually do much of this but the light was rather flat today and the pictures came out as less attractive than they were in real life.  I may have gone a bit further than real life with some of them.

Churches were my first subjects.

Johnstone Church

The Johnstone UP Church, Ecclefechan

This very fine set of hinges caught my eye as I turned onto the road to Hoddom in Ecclefechan.

Not far away, I came to the ruins of the church at Hoddom Cross.

Hoddom Cross

The church was destroyed by fire in 1975 and stands as a picturesque ruin in a graveyard that is still in use.  In the old part of the kirkyard, I found an ivy covered mausoleum.

Hoddom Cross church

The ivy is covered in flowers and will be of great interest to bees when the flowers come out.

My interest turned from churches to bridges and I went under an unusual one as I cycled on towards the River Annan….

Tree Bridge near Hoddom

…followed by something more traditional when I got to the river.

Hoddom Bridge

I cannot find out when this bridge was built but it is obviously of some age and has lasted very well considering that….

Hoddom Bridge

…things like this go over it every day.

I crossed the Annan using the bridge myself  and cycled down towards Brydekirk, where I crossed back over the river.

River Annan bridge at Brydekirk

This bridge was built in about 1800 and is one of several fine bridges that cross the River Annan.

Not far from the bridge, I came across a splendid gateway to a fine house.

Near Brydekirk

No filters were used on this picture. It really did look like this.

I turned off the road from the bridge onto a side road.  I had hoped that a beech hedge along this road would be worth a look but it was disappointingly green still…

Brydekirk road

…but the hedge did serve the useful purpose of sheltering me from the brisk cross wind along this stretch.

Once I had turned left when I met the road from Annan to Eaglesfield, I had the wind behind me and I did the next fifteen miles in 55 minutes of cycling time without having to try very hard at all.

I did stop on the way to admire a different kind of bridge though.

Kirtlebridge Viaduct

The viaduct carrying the West Coast main line crosses the valley of the Kirtle water….

Kirtlebridge Viaduct

…which I crossed on a more modest bridge.

Kirtle bridge

I had crossed the Kirtle Water near its source much earlier in my trip and I had now crossed both the Kirtle Water and the River Annan twice.

I felt the need for some refuelling so I headed down the old main road from Kirtlebridge to Gretna where I stopped for egg and chips at the Old Toll Bar.   A couple of raindrops landed on my head as I left the cafe and nearly made me regret my stop there but it was only a couple and the rest of my ride was dry and easy with the encouraging wind giving me a friendly push and keeping me going.

I went home by way of Longtown and Canonbie, meaning that I was following the course of the River Esk now and before I got home, I had crossed the Esk no less than six times.

The Esk was looking quite autumnal when I stopped at Byreburnfoot.

Byreburnfoot River Esk

And at my feet as I took the picture was a good crop of fungus which grows out of a patch of grass beside the road.

fungus at Byreburnfoot

I stopped as I crossed Skippers Bridge to note the contrast with yesterday’s misty shots.

Langholm Distillery in autumn

When I got to the town centre, I found that I had done 47 miles and I was seized with decimal fever and pedalled on through Langholm and out the other side, crossing the High Mill bridge and going half a mile up the road beyond it.

There I turned for home and having crossed the Canonbie, Hollows, Skippers and High Mill Bridges already, I crossed the High Mill bridge again and finished by crossing the Langholm Bridge which joins the Old and New Towns of Langholm.

While I was crossing rivers. Mrs Tootlepedal had been immersed in canals as she had been in the Buccleuch Centre at a screening of a film of the current Canaletto exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

It was hard to say which of us had had the better time.

There was enough time left in the day for Mrs Tootlepedal to do some gardening and for me to collect the car, mow the middle lawn and take a flower picture or two.

October daisies

Mrs Tootlepedal has borrowed one or two of the thousands of October daisies from the river bank which appeared in yesterday’s post and they have settled in very well in our garden.

perennial nasturtium

The perennial nasturtium or tropaeolum is still flowering

Japanese anemone

The bees seem to have discovered the Japanese anemone

red admiral butterfly

The red admiral butterflies keep coming.

Before the screening, Mrs Tootlepedal had been helping in the cafe in Buccleuch Centre over a very busy lunch time so we didn’t spend too long in the garden and retired inside for a well earned rest and a nourishing evening meal.

The good weather is not going to last and we are promised heavy rain overnight and tomorrow morning so I am glad to have got some miles in while the going was good.  My moaning and the subsequent good advice which I received seems to have purged my cycling melancholy and I really enjoyed today’s pedal.

The flying bird of the day is two of our more delicate poppies.

two poppies

Anyone interested in the details of the ride can click on the map below.

Garmin route 10 Oct 2107

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  She has been volunteering at the Somerset Rural Life Museum and was struck by the enormous crop of windfalls from the apple trees there.  The sheep seems rather disappointed with them.

Somerset apples

After the brilliantly clear moon when we went to bed last night, we weren’t surprised to wake up to a chilly morning.  There was no frost by the time that we looked out but early risers tell us that there had been some, although the temperature did not drop to zero.

At 5°C (40°F) it was a bit too chilly for cycling after breakfast so I lazed about doing the crossword while Mrs Tootlepedal went off for coffee with her ex work colleagues.  I stirred my stumps in the end and went out to see whether the cold had done any harm in the garden.

All was well.

It was a beautifully sunny morning and the poppies looked at their best.

poppyP1030718poppy

A nasturtium leaf caught my eye too.

nasturtium with droplet

Droplets of all sizes.

I put on my walking shoes and went for a walk.

A goosander showed off her elegant orange feet as I walked along the river bank.

goosander

I left the riverside and walked up to the Lamb Hill  from where I could see the other hills above the trees…

View of Timpen from Lamb Hill

…and then I walked down the road to Whitshiels.  I had enough time to take a short diversion up the track through the woods before setting off back home.

There was fungi to be seen by the road and track…

fungi

…and colour was provided by a late rosebay willowherb flower and a bramble leaf…

bramble and willowherb

…and there were other things of interest too.

British soldier lichen

The red coats of British soldiers lichen, Cladonia cristatella

oak galls

Perfectly formed oak apples or galls

On my way home, I stopped at the Sawmill Brig, which I thought was looking at its best….

Sawmill Brig

…and enjoyed the very varied life on the wall on the other side of the bridge…

spleenwort, moss and algae

…and then walked round the Castleholm, passing the castle on my way.

Langholm Castle

There is not much of the castle remaining but what is left is getting engulfed by vegetation.

If I looked carefully, I could see some autumn colour here and there….

autumn colour

…and there was a patch of moss on a gate post which pleased me.

moss on gatepost

When I got home, I had time to admire a clematis in the garden….

clematis

It was laughing at the morning frost.

…before Mrs Tootlepedal and I got into the car and drove off to have lunch at The Hub in Eskdalemuir.  This had been arranged earlier in the day on a bit of a whim but the drive was delightful and the lunch and the company we met there were very enjoyable so we felt that this had been a whim well worth whimming.

I even got the bridge beside The Hub to add to my collection.

Eskdalemuir Bridge

Because of the good conversation over lunch and a visit to the art exhibition there, we spent more time in The Hub than we had expected and we drove back with no time to stop and admire the views.

Mrs Tootlepedal was anxious to get out and do some guddling in the garden and I was anxious to get my bike washed and cleaned and then put a few miles in while it wasn’t raining.

Sadly, the sun had disappeared by this time but it was warm enough at 11° for cycling and gardening with appropriate clothing.

Because of the late start caused by the time spent cleaning my bike, I kept my head down and did 30 miles without stopping for pictures on the way.  It was so grey by now that I wasn’t much tempted to stop anyway, other than for a nibble of guava and half a date every now and again.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was out and she had made a start on the path to go with the new square corner on the lawn.

new path

Only people who have laid paving stones on earth will know how much skill and effort goes into making them straight and flat.

Even on a grey evening, the last of the fuchsias to come out this year was looking superb.

fuchsia

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for a short visit.  They are getting ready to go on holiday tomorrow but I was pleased that they found time to come as Alison and I had a very enjoyable time playing sonatas with  a burst of Greensleeves to a Ground to round things off.

This has been the second day running without rain.  We are being spoiled.

 

 

 

 

 

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