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Posts Tagged ‘Pyrenean Valerian’

Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He saw deer on one of his walks with his dogs.  The deer saw him but didn’t run away at once.

Tony's deer

To say that today was another uneventful day would be rather overstating the excitement.  The recent frost has put a damper on the pleasure of walking round the garden in quite a big way, and as it was another grey morning, there was not a lot of incentive to get up and go.

In the end, I managed to finish the crossword and get up in time for a walk round the garden before coffee.  The only photograph that I took was of these ill matched Icelandic poppies, and I couldn’t get a very good shot of them as they were blowing about in the breeze.

ill matched poppies

I don’t know why some of the orange poppies have white tips this year.

After coffee, I shredded more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s uprooted box bushes and then went inside.

I watched the birds through the window for a moment or two.

A greenfinch felt that I was intruding on its privacy.

sad greenfing

A sparrow watched while another greenfinch and a chaffinch arrived simultaneously, luckily heading for different perches.

greenfinch and chaffinch arriving together

And there was room for two sparrows too.

sparrow joining sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal had suggested that I might like to try a recipe for a boiled cake.  This sounded very strange to me but on investigation it turned out that only some of the ingredients were boiled and that the cake was actually baked in a standard way, so I gave it a go.

It tuned out that it makes a small cake and the process was quite simple (which is probably why Mrs Tootlepedal suggested it).  You take butter, syrup, sugar and water, melt them together and add currants and sultanas and then boil this mixture very gently for a few minutes.  This is cooled and then added to flour and spices with a beaten egg and the whole thing is poured into a cake tin and baked.

Some time later, it comes out like this:

boiled cake

While it was baking, I made leek and potato soup for lunch and we had time to eat the soup before the cake came out of the oven.

After lunch, I had another walk round the garden and found a rhododendron flower which looks as though it might have survived the frost.

surviving rhododendron bud

The tree peony and the standard peonies in the flower beds are in a race to see which comes fully out first and at the moment, the tree peony is the slight favourite.

tree peony almost out

The alliums, unaffected by the frost, are going global.

global allium

In the absence of azaleas, I am probably going to spend more time looking at Welsh poppies than usual.  They have acquired some pinkish tinges this year, another mystery but quite pretty.

Sometimes the tinge is in the middle…

welsh poppy red middle

…sometimes in a line across the petals…

welsh poppy red stripe

…and sometimes round the edge.

welsh poppy red edge

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is damage of some sort.

She has completed her hedge cut back and you can see the more open view of the house that this provides.

hedge clipped

I will be interested to see how the planting changes to reflect the new vista.

There was a tremendous racket in the garden caused by baby sparrows demanding to be fed by their long suffering parents and this blackbird in the plum tree was joining in with gusto.

hopeful blackbird

It looks a little old to be needing to be fed but it wasn’t getting any attention and that didn’t suit it at all.

A starling had been doing some successful foraging.starling with food

I went in to change into my cycling gear and then went off for a short cycle ride.  Mrs Tootlepedal had looked at the clouds and brought the washing in ‘just in case’, but the forecast hadn’t got any rain in it so I set off with confidence of a dry trip round Canonbie.

My confidence was well founded and with the wind coming from a generally helpful direction, I enjoyed my ride and went a bit more quickly than recent efforts.

After taking far too many pictures in recent days, I resolved not to take too many today and was reasonably successful.  The theme of the ride was hedges and wild flowers.

The cow parsley is coming on well along the Tarcoon road…

cow parsely tarcoon

…and the tree over the hedge is now fully clothed.

tree tarcoon

A little further on, I was happy to find a beech hedge in very good condition.  My friend Nancy had sent me pictures yesterday of a beech hedge badly affected by the frost but this one was untouched.

beech hedge tarcoon

I stopped at Canonbie Bridge for a conversation with Simon, a Camera Club member who was out for a walk.  His normal work involves sporting events and international travel so he currently stacking shelves for supermarkets instead.   He doesn’t know when he will be able to go back to his real job.

When I got nearer Langholm, I found that the Pyrenean Valerian is beginning to line the roadsides.

pyrenean valerian clump

The boiled cake went down very well with a cup of tea on my return and the normal sibling Zoom and an excellent pasta dish for our evening meal rounded off another routine day of lockdown.

Looking at the forecast, I see that things are going to warm up a bit and there may even be a bit of rain in the next day or two but the promise of very high temperatures next week seems to have faded away, for which I am grateful as I don’t like it when it gets too warm.

We will believe in the rain when we feel it actually falling on our heads.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch leaving the feeder.  It avoided the pole.

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture is a puzzle.  Is it the south of France? Is is a tropical Isle? No, it is sunny Wemyss turning up trumps yet again for the lens of our son Tony.

another wemyss view

We had a touch of frost in the very early morning but by the time that I got up the sky was as blue as the lithodora….

lithodora

…and it stayed that way all day.

In spite of coming from the south west, the wind had a distinct nip in it as I walked round the garden after breakfast.

As long as I was in the sunshine though, it was a pleasure to be out enjoying Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers.

rhododendron

The tulips look delightful when they are backlit by the morning sun.

mroning poppy

And the sun must surely encourage the advent of the age of the azalea and alliums which is reluctant to to dawn while the mornings are so cold.

allium and azalea

To be fair to them, I looked back at previous years and found it is really a bit early to expect full blown alliums and the azaleas are often later too..

The very first honeysuckle flower is trying to creep out unobserved…

first honeysuckle

…while the clematis round the garage doors is secretly adding a flower or two every day.

growing clematis

The street socially distanced coffee morning convened at the usual time and as well as our Garibaldi biscuits, Liz provided a very tasty mixed fruit cake and the general consensus was that there wouldn’t be much call for a big lunch later on.

Because of the continuing lack of rain, there was a lot of watering to be done in the garden.  While the water was spraying,  I dead headed tulips and tore up a cardboard box to add to the compost in Bin A.

While I was there, I was very happy to note that professional pollinators were on the job in the espalier apple trees.

bees on apple blossom

The sun had encouraged an Icelandic poppy to give us a smile.

first icelandic poppy

I was encouraged to go indoors for an early lunch in order to make use of the fine day by going for a good cycle ride.  I foolishly glanced at the crossword and wasted time before I finally managed to get organised enough to actually go out on my bike.  (It was an enjoyable crossword.)

The cold wind of the morning had eased off a bit, but it was still noticeably chilly for such a lovely day.  This had the good effect of keeping me cool under a cloudless sky and the breeze wasn’t strong enough to make much of a difference to my speed.  I averaged 14 mph down to the coast over the only substantial uphill section of the ride and then I managed 14 mph on the much gentler return journey.  The joy of cycling when there isn’t a strong wind is indescribably great, if only because it is so rare.

It would have been hard to find a better day for a ride.  There is still very little traffic on the road.  I met a few but not many other cyclists and they were all going in the opposite direction to me so there was no call to try to keep up with people passing me or to get depressed when they shoot off into the distance.

The verges are perking up and I saw quite a lot of crosswort today.  By dint of putting my shadow over one example, I even got a half decent picture.

crosswort

I never cease to be amazed by the design work that goes into building flowers.

We are not quite in full leaf yet as this study of clothed and naked trees staring at each other across the Kirkpatrick Fleming road shows.

bare and clothed trees

I was aiming to do 50 miles so I stopped every twelve and a half miles to rest my legs, drink some water and eat some guava jelly and a date.  At my first stop, I leaned my bike against a road sign and had a close look at the reflective surface.

road sig pattern

The signs are so bright these days that they constitute a dazzling hazard themselves for elderly night drivers.

The cow parsley is thriving and I just had to be careful not to take my eye of any potholes while I was admiring the flowers.

cow parsley and potholes

Sometimes, both verges joined in the fun.

cow parsley both sides

When it came to trees, these four near Eastriggs were my favourites of the day…

eastriggs trees

…but they were run close by this attractive newly planted avenue near Rockcliffe in Cumbria…

avenue at rockliffe

…and this specimen with an added gorse hedge at its foot near Whamtown.

leaning tree and gorse

I realised that I was going to miss the regular family Zoom meeting, so I stopped on the road below Canonbie School to check in for a moment and apologise.

When I looked around I could see some striking red campion beside the road….

red campion canonbie

…with a shady wild flower mixture nearby…

red campion and violets

…and a Pyrenean Valerian in flower on the opposite side of the road.

pyrenean valerian canonbie

So that turned out to be a good place to pause.

After that, I headed home for a much needed sit down, having covered 54 miles, my (just) longest ride of the year so far.

I sat out in the garden for a moment with Mrs Tootlepedal while our evening meal was cooking and we enjoyed the evening sun lighting up the tulips.

evening tulips

I was getting ready to sit down and write this post, regretting that I hadn’t got a flying bird of the day to finish it, when I noticed a very nearly full ‘flower’ moon out of a window.  It may not be a flying bird, but at least it is up in the sky.

moon may

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba.  She went for a little toot in her plane today, and as she flew south of Riding Mountain National Park, she saw these patterns from last year’s harvest. She said, “This is the kind of farmland that I think you’d have to be crazy, desperate, or both, to farm. You’d get dizzy driving around the sloughs.”

Mary Jo's farming picture

One day in the lockdown here is very much like another and the discerning and patient reader may have noticed a distinct similarity between one post and another recently.   There will be no change in that pattern today.

It was a day with little in the way of distinguishing features.  It was cold and windy when we got up and there was even a little annoying drizzle in the air,  annoying because it was undoubtedly wet, but also not nearly wet enough to do the garden any good at all.

The run of chilly mornings means that things are very much on hold so there was nothing new to photograph in the garden, with perhaps a slight increase in the number of flowers on the white rhododendron…

white rhododendron

…and the merest hint of a flower opening on an aquilegia.

aquilegia not coming out

But that was it.  (Sadly there were quite a few tulips to dead head.)

We did have the socially distanced street coffee morning where slices of farmhouse sultana cake were consumed without complaint, but it ended early with claims of frozen fingers.

Mrs Tootlepedal dug up a potentilla growing beside the dam behind the house.  It was past its best and I turned most of it into useful compost by putting it through the shredder.

It was still cold and both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had tasks to do indoors so the garden was left to fend for itself.

I did find time to look out of the window and was cheered up by the presence of a colourful redpoll doing some semi pro posing in the drizzle.

redpoll posing

In fact there was more than one redpoll, the first that I have seen of them for six weeks.

They were flying in all directions.

flying redpolls

They are tiny birds, very similar to siskins and not afraid to tell a siskin where to go.

redpoll shouting at siskin

We were visited by rooks too.

rook in garden

After lunch, things brightened up a bit and I went for a cycle ride.  The wind from the east was cold and occasionally gusty but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the outing.

Fresh leaves on trees lift spirits…

trees near ryehill

…and I was impressed to see this considerable growth on a tree that had been blown over.

fallen tree in leaf

I was on a well tried route through Canonbie and the relentlessly mowed verges didn’t hold much interest so I stopped at the little wood beside Hollows bridge…

hollows wood

…to see if the inhabitants were still there.

They were.

statues hollows 2

There is quite a little community of them.

statues hollows

Last time I came this way, I took a picture in bright sunlight which showed the leaves of silverweed near the bus stop well but didn’t do justice to the flowers.  Today’s light caught the flowers but took all the silver out  of the leaves.

silverweed flowers

The are a lot of bluebells dotted along the roadside and this patch beside the old road is what remains of a magnificent bluebell wood before the building of the new road changed things.

bluebells old A7

I incorrectly identified some Jack by the Hedge as Pyrenean Valerian recently so I was happy to see some real Pyrenean Valerian getting ready to come out beside the river near the end of the bike path today.

pyrenaean valerian

A little further on, I saw  this development on a young larch tree.  Cones in the making.

larch flowers

When I got back to Langholm, the weather was cheerful enough to encourage me to go another three miles north of the town where I found the Ewes valley once again with a mixture of sunshine and shadow.

ewes valley sun and shadow

I was blown back home by the kindly wind and finished my 26 miles in a better state of mind than I had been in when I had started.

As has become customary, I had a Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters and then I sat down to eat a tasty evening meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal.

It wasn’t an a exciting day but it wasn’t wasted as there was cake to eat, I got started on a process of changing one of my email addresses, and I packed up a camera to be sent away for repair.

Also our helpful corner shop included currants in our delivery so I am going to attempt a Garibaldi biscuit in a day or two.  Lockdown is increasing my limited repertoire.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch in a determined mood.

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from one of my Somerset correspondent Venetia’s recent permitted walks.  She thought I might enjoy it as it has a gate and a sort of bridge in it.  She was right.

venetia's gate

Today’s post will be short and may be a bit garbled as I have had a busy day, didn’t take many pictures and then, just when I was going to sit down to write the post at my leisure, I got waylaid by a very good streaming of Twelfth Night from the National Theatre’s on line archive.

I wasn’t intending to watch it but the production was most original and very effective and I couldn’t let it go.

Back to today.

It was warmer than it has been and the wind was calmer so although the sun didn’t shine a lot, it was a very good day to be in the garden or on the bicycle.

In the morning, I went to the chemist to pick up prescriptions and this was the first time that I had been in a shop, other than our corner food shop, since the lockdown started.  I was impressed by the dividing marks on the floor and the screen for the assistants.

When I got back, I joined the street coffee morning for a while and then went off to water in some buck-u-uppo for the front lawn After that, there was time for a garden wander.

This flower may not look very impressive but it is the first clematis flower of the year and should soon be followed by many more,

first clematis flower

The tulips continue to delight the eye…

tulip panel

…and the little group in the bottom right corner of the panel are growing on the drying green.  Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it needed brightening up.

I have been waiting for a sympathetic light to do justice to the trout lilies which are in very good form.

trout lilies

I was pleased to spot a bee getting into the dicentras through the front door and not by boring holes in the sides.

bee on dicentra with nose

I would love to tell you what this promising looking stalk is but I can’t remember.  (A kind reader has pointed out that it a lilac.)

new buds

We went in for lunch and then I embarked on a culinary adventure as I tried making fig rolls.  To be precises, they were date rolls as the pips from the figs get into my teeth and spoil the enjoyment of eating them.

I have hardly ever make pastry and the process of rubbing the butter into the flour is one that I find both tedious and difficult so I approached the task with some apprehension.  The results didn’t look particularly attractive but they were the right shape and taste fine so I will have another go soon and see if I can make some which are a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

After admiring a sparrow on the feeder…

sparrow on feeder

…I went off for a cycle ride.

At 60 degrees F and with a light wind, it was a day for cycling shorts and my knees saw the light of day for the first time for many months.

The cooking had left me a little late so I just pottered round my usual Canonbie run.

view over bloch

One of the morning coffee drinkers told us that it has been the driest April on record so far and this has left the hills looking a lot browner than they ought to be at this time of year.

In spite of the savage verge mowing, a few wild flowers are to be seen.

These are garlic mustard and they showing up in more places this year.

pyrenean valerian

I caught a flash of bluebells over a hedge as I got near Canonbie.

bluebell wood north lodge

And just before the village the road was lined with dandelions under a greening hedge.

green hedge with dandelions

Although we have a few weeks to go before ‘full leaf’, things are definitely looking up.

greening up at hollows

Rather to my surprise, I saw a partridge walking along a wall at Irvine House.

quail on wall

When I got home, I had time to spot a blackbird on an electricity pole….

balckbird on pole

….before going in to enjoy a date roll or two and a chat with my brother and sisters courtesy of Zoom.  They are all using the technology to do language classes so I feel a bit idle.

There was no flying bird today but a rather fuzzy flying bee takes its place.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my sister Susan on a visit to Reading.  It shows the Maiwand Lion, commemorating the dead of the Berkshire Regiment of Foot at Girishk Maiwand and Kandahar in 1880. The British were defeated at Girishk Maiwand by the Afghan army at a high cost to both sides during the 2nd Afghan war. reading lion

As the astute reader will gather from the the title of this post, it actually rained today but as this didn’t happen until the early evening and as it didn’t last long, it didn’t make much of a dent in our spell of excellent weather.

We had a sunny morning and made the most of it.  I had to pay an early visit to the health centre for a blood test and was happy to find that I still had some but I wasted no time when I got back in getting to work on the front lawn.  It lives in cold shadows over the winter and gets very mossy and the poor weather of the first four months of the year hasn’t helped it so I gave it a scarifying with our electric scarifier.  I followed this with a rake and a mow and then I topped off the treatment with a dose of seaweed buck-u-uppo.  Did it look grateful after all this? No, it still looked mossy.  Still, I enjoy the challenge.

In between the scarifying and the seaweed, Sandy came round for a cup of coffee and a news catchup.

As Mrs Tootlepedal is busy planting stuff out, she is using the sieved compost as fast as I can produce it so I sieved another batch and the contents of Bin D are decreasing rapidly.

I found time to wander around with the camera.

I often concentrate on single flowers so today for a change,  I went for quantity over quality.

potentilla

Potentilla

peony

Peony

poached egg plant

Limnanthes douglasii or the poached egg flower.  A bit of ‘egg white’ is developing on some of the flowers.

geraniums

Geraniums

geums

Geums

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal – no sign of sawfly larva yet.

I did take one shot a single flower.  This was the clematis at the front door and I took the single flower shot to show the contrast between the clematis at the front door (two flowers) ….

front door clematis

…and the clematis at the back door (hundreds).

back door clematis

I try to keep an eye out for the new arrivals and today a nectaroscordum had developed enough to get a personal portrait.

nectaroscordum

It was very breezy but I am still a bit short of cycling miles so I got my new bike out after lunch and decided to test the conditions.  It was warm but the skies had clouded over so the temperature was perfect and I set off with hopes of 30 miles or more.

However, after a few miles at a crisp speed and with not a whisper of wind in my face, it became apparent that the wind was going to make it very hard work pedalling home if I cycled too far out and I lowered my ambitions and went round the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

This was a good decision as there was plenty to see…

field of buttercups

A field of buttercups near Langholm

bog cotton

Bog cotton at the Kerr

tarcoon verge

Beautiful verges near Tarcoon

wild geraniums

Wild geraniums on the old A7…

Pyrenean valerian

…and Pyrenean Valerian nearby.

… and the route choice turned out well as I got a good deal more help from the wind than I expected and managed to get my average over 14 mph.  This is very good for me these days.

As I cycled down the road along our garden hedge at the end of my ride, I was detained by the old Rosa Moyesii…

Rosa Moyesii

…and the honeysuckle.

honeysuckle

I hadn’t seen these earlier as they can only be seen when you are not in the garden.

The rain started not long after I got home so I had a good excuse to spend some time watching the birds at the feeder.

It was quite busy with siskins and goldfinches…

siskins

…with the siskins demonstrating why the seed level goes down so quickly when they are there.  They drop at least half of their food as the seeds are just too big for their beaks.

We have had regular visits from a small group of pigeons recently and they were back again today…

pigeon

…keeping an eye out for fallen seed.

I am hoping for a less windy day tomorrow to get a last minute addition to my mileage for the month of May but there is a hint of more rain in the forecast so time will tell.

The flying bird(s) of the day is a collection of airborne siskins.

flying siskins

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who is not too old to take a walk along the track above the town.

View from Stubholm

A very brisk wind greeted me when I got up this morning and this provided a convenient excuse for a morning of not cycling after yesterday’s efforts.  Instead, I had coffee with Sandy, mowed two lawns and wandered about looking at flowers.

There were plenty to see. The azaleas and rhododendrons are progressing well…

azaleas and rhododendron

…with more still to come as you can see.

The white rhodies deserved a shot of their own, I thought.

rhododendron

Other flowers were available in charming clumps.

euphorbia, chive, allium and potentilla

(from top left clockwise) Euphorbia, Allium, Potentilla and Chive

The flowers may have been colourful but the bird colour of the day in the garden was black.

jackdaw and blackbird

While I was sipping coffee with Sandy in the morning, we agreed to have a walk after lunch so I made a nourishing pot of soup for my midday meal to keep my strength up and went off with him in the afternoon.

Incidentally, keen grammarians will have spotted the transferred epithet in that sentence about the soup.  It isn’t the pot that is nourishing but the soup of course.  The government thinks that children in primary schools in England will be improved by knowing things like that but it has never done me much practical good. A bit of basic horticultural knowledge would have been more useful.

Sandy drove us down to below Irvine House and we walked back up the fishermen’s path beside the River Esk.  It was not sunny, apart from one or two tiny breaks in the cloud but it was quiet and warm enough in the shelter of the steep river banks.

River Esk

We were hoping to see some river birds and we did catch glimpses of a heron, goosanders, mallards and dippers but they were in flighty mood and we couldn’t catch them on camera.

We did see pied and grey wagtails, who were a bit more co-operative…

wagtails

…but they tended to dart away when we got close.

We walked up towards Irvine House…

Irvine House

…keeping our eye out for anything interesting.

It was not hard to spot a wild flower or two, both colourful….

wild flowers beside Esk

… and pale.

wild flowers beside Esk

When we got Irvine House, we disturbed a pair of oyster catchers.  One was most indignant.

Oyster catcher

We must have been near their nest.

The river was looking good and the walk, as ever, was balm for the soul.

River Esk

River Esk

We didn’t have as long as we would have liked to hang about taking pictures…

Sandy on banks of Esk

…because we were both due to attend a meeting of volunteers at the Information Hub so we had to hasten back down the path to the car. We passed a lot of the Pyrenean Valerian on the way.

pyrenean valerian

Fortunately, my part in the meeting was very brief and I was soon at home looking through the 150 pictures that I  had taken in the garden and along the river.  When will I ever learn?

I even went upstairs and took another one to show how the garden is looking at the moment.  Mrs Tootlepedal has edged the lawns.

garden view

I had to sift through the mound of photos quite quickly because we had the second of our Langholm Choir concerts to go to in the evening.  This one was at Kirkandrews-on-Esk…

Kirkandrews-on-Esk church

…which is quite a small church so that the singers were a bit squashed up when it came to performing.  Still the concert went well and although the choir beat the audience by one when it came to quantity, the audience was well pleased with the quality of the choir and they hope to see us back to sing again soon.

The only down side of the evening was the discovery, when we came out of the church, that it was pouring with rain.  After a pleasant day, we hadn’t thought that it was necessary to take a coat so there was a hurried scamper for the car.

We have only one more practice and one more concert with the Carlisle choir and then the spring singing season will be over and serious gardening and cycling will be on the menu.

My thumb has benefited from a couples of weeks of rest so I picked up the big camera today and the result is not one but two flying birds of the day, one from the garden in the morning…

flying jackdaw

…and one from the river in the afternoon.

Oyster catcher

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Today’s guest picture comes from my visitors of yesterday, Nancy and Phil.  Before they came to Langholm they had spent some time on the Langollen canal and this picture shows the famous Pontcysyllte aqueduct.

Pontcysyllte aqueduct

It was a lovely day with the forecast set fair when I finally dragged myself out of bed for a late breakfast.  Mrs Tootlepedal was already hard at work in the garden but I took my time, eating a little toast, doing the crossword and generally idling about until it was time for a cup of coffee.  Only then did I get the fairly speedy bike out, pump up the tyres and set out into the wider world.

I chose a route that would avoid newly spread gravel and which would take me down into England and along the southern shore of the Solway for a bit.  A nice flat ride.

The verges are really coming into their own and if I had stopped to capture every good moment, I wouldn’t have got very far.

Springfield road

Springfield road

When I got down to the main road into Gretna, I pointed the Lumix zoom at the Lake District hills, 24 miles away.

Skiddaw

This is Skiddaw, the highest of the northern fells at 3054ft

I had stopped at a field gate to take that picture and took off my cycling glasses and looked around at the wild flowers beside the gate.

plantain dandelion and wild flower

A little further down the road. the brilliant yellow of fresh broom flowers made the fading gorse nearby look quite subdued.

broom

You can see the gorse in the background

I was pedalling happily along, deeper into England, when a tear in my eye made it obvious that although I had taken my cycling glasses off to look at the wild flowers, I had omitted to put them back on.  This omission added three miles to my trip but luckily the glasses were still sitting on the gatepost where I had left them.

The return journey gave me the chance to stop for two more bursts of blossom which I had missed on the first pass, both large….

hawthorn

…and small.

umbellifera

I used the excellent bike path which runs alongside the new northern Carlisle bypass to get myself onto the southern Solway shore and after thirty miles of sublime downwind cycling on a sunny day in May, I stopped for lunch in a pub near Burgh by Sands.  It was proudly displaying a ‘Pub of the Year 2015’ award from the Campaign for Real Ale and the beer I got with my brunch was indeed delicious…

beer

It was a pint of dark mild (not made by Jennings incidentally), sweet and very refreshing

…and it disappeared in short order.  Although the pub may have won awards for its beer, it probably hasn’t won any for hospitality as neither the pub staff or either of the two  customers exchanged a word with me while I ate my food and drank my beer, other than to ask for my order.   That is not the treatment that a wayfaring stranger should get.  Still, the beer was so good that I might go back the next time I pass.

I might have gone further along the coast but I was very aware that the pleasure of the first thirty miles had been greatly enhanced by a favourable breeze and every mile that I went on made for another mile back into the wind. With that in mind,  I made a little loop through Burgh by Sands, stopping to take a picture of St Michael’s Church in the village…

St Michael's Church

A 12th century church with a fortified tower

…and going through Great Orton, where I stopped for another church.

The church of St Giles at Great Orton

The church of St Giles at Great Orton was built in 1098

The church of St Giles at Great Orton

A couple of details. The porch looks a bit more recent.

I used the bypass bike path again on my return journey (it has a superb surface) and then passed  under a splendid collection of overhead power cables near the Harker substation, a major meeting point for cross country power lines.

power cables

Anyone for noughts and crosses?

My way took in  Longtown…

Longtown Bridge

…where I paused to make an eye appointment at the opticians and to eat the last of my food beside the river Esk while enjoying the view of one of my favourite bridges.

I needed the food because I was finding the going quite tough against the wind.  It had strengthened a bit since the outward journey.

I was happy to stop at the Hollows Bridge again with five miles to go for a breather and a photo op.

Hollows Bridge

The trees were at their spring best

As I got near Canonbie, I was checked out by a curious cow.

Canonbie cow

And my last picture on the trip was a Pyrenean Valerian beside the old A7.

Pyrenean Valerian

This is a recent arrival from Spain and is doing very well around Langholm. It likes a cool damp climate!

I had clocked up 63 miles by the time that I arrived home.  Mrs Tootlepedal was still working hard in the garden.

Those with time hanging heavy on their hands can click on the map for details of the outing.

garmin 24 May 16

I bookended my cycling tour with a visit to the garden in the morning and another when I got back.

Azalea and poppy

A brilliant azalea and the first Icelandic poppy of the season in the morning sunshine

pink strawberry and aquilegia

A pink ornamental strawberry and an aquilegia, both newly out in the evening

What with starting late, stopping for lunch, taking pictures and battling the breeze, the ride had taken most of the day and I was very happy to spend a quiet evening recovering.

Although there is still no flying bird, I did catch a fleeing bird today.

blackbird

 

 

 

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