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Posts Tagged ‘ragwort’

Today’s guest picture comes from a walk on The Edge in Derbyshire which my brother Andrew shared with his walking group….and some cows….and some very nice weather.

The Edge

Our weather improved today but it was still pretty damp in the morning. I didn’t go out to take a flower picture until nearly midday.

poppies

Oddly, many of the poppies were facing the wrong way and I had to go out into the road and look into the garden from over the hedge to see these two pairs.

poppies

Yellow crocosmia have just started to come out and they should blend with the poppies if we get some warmth.  The dahlias also need warmth but the nasturtiums are doing very well in the cool and damp.

crocosmia, nasturtium and dahlia

Along with the weather, my back was quite a lot better too and I was able to trim a box ball and prune the espalier apples…

box and apples

…which are cropping well this year.

After lunch I did a bit more work in the garden and admired a hosta and an indefatigable Icelandic poppy which will keep flowering as long as I keep dead heading it.

hosta and poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal spent as much as time in the garden as she could but I went in to give my back a rest and watched a bit of the World Athletic Championships.  I was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when it started to rain but the rain didn’t last so I went off for a walk to see how my back would hold up.

It held up well as I pottered down to Skippers Bridge and back, a distance of two miles which took me exactly an hour.

It wasn’t sunny but at least I could see the hills today.

Whita

There was plenty more to see on the way.

fruit

Fruits

flowers

Flowers present and past

Garden escapes by the river

Garden escapes by the river

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

Skippers Bridge was looking as good as ever….

skippers bridge

The recent repair is holding up well at the moment.

I thought that the trees were starting to get an autumnal tint when I looked through the bridge.

skippers bridge

There was enough water coming down the river….

River esk

…to keep me well back from the edge.

On the way back there was more to see.

swallows

I hope that it not time for the swallows to leave already

leaf problems

Problems on the leafs of trees

fly on ragwort

A ragwort with visitors

It was almost sunny as I walked back…

Castle Hill

…and it was a very pleasant evening to be out walking.

I tried a black and white shot of the walnut tree when I got back to the garden….

Walnut tree

…as I liked the pattern of the trunks.

We are promised some sunshine tomorrow and that will be very welcome.  If we get it, I will try my back out on a short bike ride.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She found a very prominent fairy ring on her brother’s lawn.

fairy ring

Mrs Tootlepedal is still away visiting her mother, whose hundred and first birthday is imminent.  This means that I am having to make up my mind for myself here with no assistance and this is quite wearing.  On top of this, I am getting rather fat because every time I wander into the kitchen to share an interesting thought with Mrs Tootlepedal, she isn’t there and I eat something instead.  Luckily she will be back next week and all will be well.

The forecast offered a dry morning and a wet afternoon so in an ideal world, I would get up promptly and go for a cycle ride and then do useful things indoors in the afternoon.

It turned out to be an ideal world.

I didn’t waste any time in the garden but got on the bike after breakfast and did thirty miles.  I stopped for one picture….

Esk at Hollows

…just to prove that I had been out.  The wind was lighter than of late but the sky was grey so it was not a day for views.

I did notice when I got home that I had a serious outbreak of helmet hair which I have decided to share.  Nervous readers should look away now.

helmet hair

I flattened my hair down and mowed the greenhouse grass, did some poppy dead heading, cut down some plants which were beyond their sell by date and had a walk round the garden.

The poppies had appreciated the dry morning.

poppies

This was my favourite poppy of the day.

poppy

The should be a mixture of poppies and cornflowers growing round the front lawn but they are both taking their time thanks to the cool weather. Still, there are a few cornflowers about.

cornflower

As I walked between the flowers and the compost bins during my tidying up, I couldn’t help but enjoy the jumble of white clematis and red rose on the arch through to the veg garden…

clematis and rose

…and the clematis growing along the fence too.

clematis

If every flower has the same number of petals, there must be three different clematis growing there as I can see flowers with six, five and four petals in the picture.

I am always interested in fruits and berries and so are the birds.  I am keeping an eye on the plums and the blackbirds are keeping an eye on the rowan berries.

plum and rowan

Those rowan berries are in a neighbour’s garden.  Ours aren’t quite as ripe yet.

My neighbour Liz kindly took a surplus turnip off my hands and I picked some more carrots and beetroot. I am eating the beetroot at golf ball size and they are absolutely delicious as snacks.

After lunch, the forecasters’ predictions arrived in the form of a persistent spell of rain which lasted several hours.   I caught up on my correspondence and packed up the camera lens which I am trading in, having been offered a very fair price by the company which will sell me my new lens.  I then braved the rain and took the parcel up to the post office only to find the that post office was closed.

I brought the parcel home again and did some muttering.

Then I did some ironing …and a bit more muttering until getting a bit of advice from the ‘Call Mrs Tootlepedal Hotline’.

I had corned beef hash for my tea and was pleasantly surprised to find that our new potatoes taste very good when mashed and fried.

Recently I have had a choir to go to on a Wednesday night but that has finished now so finding that the rain had stopped, I filled in the time by wandering aimlessly about.

The bed at the end of the drive gave me a cheerful farewell as I left the garden.

pot marigolds and nasturtiums

For some reason, the rather grey light seem to suit the church so I stopped being aimless and pointed the camera at it as I passed.

Langholm Parish Church

Our usual mallards have been joined by several darker ducks with bright white breasts this summer.

darker duck

A little research tells me that they are probably mallard hybrids rather than anything more exotic.

I exchanged a few words with Mr Grumpy as I walked down to the Kilngeen…

heron

…and thought that a bunch of ragwort on the bank of the Esk just above the Meeting of the Waters added a nice touch to the scene.

ragwort

I was pleased to find that there was still a banded snail or two on the stump of one of felled trees along the Lodge Walks.

snail

Although the evening was fundamentally grey and it looked as though it might well rain, every now and again a shaft of sunshine illuminated the scene….but always a little bit away from where I was.

sunshine behind trees

Like behind a tree….

sunshine on the Esk

…or round a bend in the river…

monument

…or on top of a hill.

But I got round dry and saw a most unusual thing on my way.

ragwort

A ragwort plant with no insects on it.

It was nearly seven o’clock by this time so perhaps all the insects had gone home to bed.

My last picture was a pleasing tangle of grasses.

grasses

No flying bird of the day but there is a very badly painted blackbird and a splashy sparrow.

blackbird

sparrow splashing

There were plenty of puddles to choose from.

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No guest picture today but instead, a picture of my guests; Matilda flanked by her mother and father and outflanked by her granny and grandfather.

Eileen, Al, Matilda, Clare and Francis

In the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal, who is still visiting her mother, I was the chief cook and bottle washer of the party and as a result I was not as free as usual to flit about taking happy snaps.

I was woken at 5 o’clock by the boom, boom, boom of the big bass drum as the flute band perambulated the town, reminding the townsfolk that the hound trail would soon take place.  As it was pouring with rain, I was able to roll over and go to sleep again without feeling too bad about missing that part of the fun.

When I woke again, it had stopped raining and I made breakfast for Al and Clare and Matilda.  Then Al had to go out rescue Eileen and Francis who had got caught up in the road closures for the ceremonies and hadn’t made it to our house in time.

Matilda and her parents went off ‘to see the horses’ while I made breakfast for her grandparents.    Then we set off to join them.  By this time the youngsters had seen the procession of horses in the town and gone up the Kirkwynd to wait for the riders to ride up onto the hill.

We could see the crowd assembling there on the far side of the river as we walked along Caroline Street.

Kirk Wynd

It didn’t take us too long before we found the others and we too were part of the crowd waiting for the cornet.

Kirk Wynd

You might think that there was a good sized crowd on the hill but it is multiplied considerably when those who have waited in the Market Place for the first fair crying to finish, squeeze up the Kirk Wynd…..

Kirk Wynd

…..and annoyingly stand in front of the people who were on the hill first.

We could just see Cornet Murray over their heads as he rode past us in fine style….

Cornet Murray

…being enthusiastically cheered on by the crowd.

Kirk Wynd

About half the crowd are trying to take pictures with their phones of course.

The cornet is followed by the rest of the riders, about 150 today in number…

Kirk Wynd

…each one cheered to the echo by friends and family…

Kirk Wynd

…but there is always a head in the way.

After the riders had gone by, we went back home for refreshment, passing Mr Grumpy who was lurking by the river bank, probably wondering what all the commotion was about.

heron

When I got to the garden, I had a quick check to see how it had survived the overnight heavy rain.  The result was very positive.

poppy

poppy, buddleia, dahlia

The mounted procession returns from the hill and after a while, the riders cross the Ewes at the Kilngreen and assemble on the Castleholm.  Matilda had had enough outdoor activity for the morning so I took her grandparents along to see the riders crossing the water but we were a bit late and the cornet was already on the Castleholm when we arrived on the other side of the Esk…

Cornet's chase

…so we watched as he was led out to start the Cornet’s Chase where he takes the town standard round the racecourse and is pursued, at a decent distance, first by his right and left hand men (the ex cornets of the previous two years)…

Cornet's chase

…and then by the rest of the riders.

Cornet's chase

It was an impressive sight as the cavalcade thundered onto the racecourse.

We retired for lunch and then Eileen and Francis returned to their car and drove off on other business.

As Matilda has a siesta after lunch, I took the opportunity to walk over to the Castleholm to see the horse and foot racing which takes place there.

While I waited at the bottom corner for the first horse race to come round the track, I noticed that the castle ruin has sprouted some ragwort on its topmost turret.

Langholm Castle

Because the going on the racecourse was very heavy, there were only four runners in the race but it was still a stirring sight as the hurtled round the bend towards me.

Langholm Common Riding races

The small field was less impressive as it headed up the back straight.

Langholm Common Riding races

The next race also had four runners and I went to the opposite side of track to see the start.  It was a tense affair.

Langholm Common Riding races

The riders were soon up to full speed.

Langholm Common Riding races

As they came round the top corner on the way to the finish, I could clearly see the advantage of being in front of the field on such deep going.

Langholm Common Riding races

The air was full of flying mud and the rider at the back was covered in it.

On my way up the track between races, I had passed the Highland Dancing tent…

Highland dancing

..where the piper was playing and kilts were swirling.  We had hope to see Matilda’s cousin Lola dance again this year but in the end, she didn’t come down.

In the athletics field, I could see the floral crown in its place of honour.

Langholm Common Riding Crown

Our roses are in there somewhere.

Further up the track I took a picture which epitomised the fun to be had at a soggy Common Riding field.

stick in the mud

It was a wonder that the horses were able to race at all.

The ever present threat of rain had not discouraged a good crowd for the racing though.

Langholm Common Riding races

As I walked along, the sun came out and my eye was caught by a brilliant yellow ragwort beside the course.  It was a busy plant.

ragwort with bees

I took a closer look.

ragwort insects

In between watching the horse races, I watched the foot racing from both ends of the track.  Almost all the foot races are handicaps and I watched the start of one sprint event.

Common riding athletics start

On your marks….

Common riding athletics start

Get set…

Common riding athletics start

Go!!

The back markers may seem to have a lot of ground to make up but the handicapper knows what she is doing, as I could see when I went to the finish end of the track for a couple of later races.

Common riding athletics finishCommon riding athletics finish

The races often need a photo finish to see who has won.

The great beauty of events on the Castleholm is that there are always some lovely views to admire if the action gets a little slow.

Castleholm ViewCastleholm View

I stopped long enough to say hello to Sandy who was there with his family and then went back to see about making tea for my visitors.

While I was cooking, Matilda was getting on with her first novel.

Matilda

It turned into a very pleasant evening as the wind dropped and the sun came out but it was too late for us as it was soon time for Matilda to go to bed.  She may not have had the full Common Riding experience but she has certainly ‘seen the horses’ as she wanted.  I wonder if she will remember her first visit to the great day.  I will remember it.

I was very sorry to have not been able to share the day with Mrs Tootlepedal and I hope that both she and Matilda will be present next year.

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s tour with Justin.  They visited Sizergh Castle near Kendal on their way to Langholm.

Sizergh Castle

The forecast had suggested that today would be calm, dry and occasionally sunny, a perfect day for mowing grass.

Mowing the grass was was tempting but the lack of wind, a very rare thing round here this year, made cycling even more tempting.  Mrs Tootlepedal got me up promptly and provided breakfast and for once I managed to avoid any footling around and got off at about nine o’clock.  The days are still long so I had plenty of time for pedalling.

It was quite cool when I set out but it got warmer as the day went on and it turned out to be, just as the forecast had predicted, a perfect day for cycling.

I had chosen a relatively dull route, a simple out and back mostly up the old Glasgow road from Gretna and so I was a bit dashed when I got to Gretna to find a “Road Closed ” sign across the Glasgow road.  They were applying gravel top dressing.  I was joined by another cyclist and we enquired whether two cyclists might sneak through and were relieved when we were given the all clear.

The other cyclist turned out to be a Norwegian, who was doing the Land’s End to John  o’ Groats route with the excellent scheme of pedalling for the morning and early afternoon and then finding a TV screen where he could watch the Tour de France.  I was able to tell him that a Norwegian cyclist, Edvald Boasson Hagen, had won a stage of the Tour of Britain a few years ago by riding at terrific speed down the very road that we were cycling up.  He was impressed.

We cycled together as far as Lockerbie, where he stopped for coffee and I pressed on.  His company had been invaluable as it kept me to a sensible speed over a hilly section of the ride and it provided a pleasant diversion during one of the duller bits of my route.

I stopped for a snack at 40 miles.  The route follows the main railway line and motorway up the Annan valley but the motorway was pretty quiet as I ate my roll.

Motorway

To be fair it was mostly a bit busier than this!

The views of Upper Annandale as I went along were very enjoyable.

Annandale

My next stop was at Beattock, home of a very pretty church….

Beattock Church

…where I visited a pub and enjoyed a half pint of good beer and my cycling staple, a plate of egg and chips.

With fuel on board, I set off to pedal up the ten mile climb to Beattock Summit.  I think that it is my favourite piece of cycling road.  The verges were filled with wild flowers (which my phone refused to photograph properly), the surface is mostly reasonable and very good in places and the gradient is so steady that once the correct gear has been selected, progress is regular and painless.

In this way I arrived at the 1000 ft summit very smoothly and took a moment to look around.  This is a world of massive windmills…

Clyde Farm windmills

…and large amounts of them too.

Clyde valley windmills

The wind was so light that most of them were stationary, a very unusual occurrence, but there was a light breeze just beginning to persuade a few to get started.  By the time that I came back on the return journey, most of them were turning.

I had come so far, that I was now in the upper Clyde valley….

Clyde

…and the River Clyde, which starts not far off, will flow through Glasgow before it gets to the sea.

My turning point at 60 miles was marked by a fine hedge of roses beside the road.

Crawford rose

I was a bit worried by the fledgling breeze but it proved more of a  help than a hindrance on my way back down to Gretna and I rattled along very comfortably.  I stopped at 80 miles to eat my second roll and my phone camera worked well enough to spot a hoverfly…

hoverfly

…on a striking ragwort plant beside my resting place.

ragwort

I had failed to pack a couple of bananas which I had bought specially for the trip so I stopped in Lockerbie to buy a large ice cream, a bottle of juice and a bar of chocolate to help get me home.  Together with regular nibbles of a guava energy bar, they did the trick and at no stage of the journey did I run out of steam.

To avoid the new top dressing on the road to Gretna, I turned off at the church in Kirkpatrick Fleming…

KPF Church

…and took a back road down to Gretna.  My satisfaction with this cunning plan was slightly dented when I ran into some newly laid top dressing at Glenzier.  I had seen the warning sign when I passed in the morning but didn’t think that they would get there when they had been busy at Gretna.  I was wrong…but it was only a short stretch and there had been sufficient car traffic to flatten the gravel  out enough to make it safe for an elderly cyclist.

The wind was not so helpful now and I was happy to see this sign…

Kerr road sign

…which showed that I was nearly home.

It didn’t tell the whole truth though as I had had a mathematical revelation as I pedalled along.  Without thinking too hard, I had roughly calculated that 120 miles would give me a distance of 200km.  This seemed like a nice round number and that was why I had turned at 60 miles.  However, a little more thought revealed that I would need 125 miles to hit the 200km mark  (125×8/5=200) so I had to cycle through the town and out of the other side to make up the missing five miles.

This was no problem though and I pleased and surprised myself in equal measure by finding that I was fit enough to do this distance, the furthest that I have ever cycled in a day, with no great trouble at all.  I felt that I could have gone quite a few miles further if needed.  The secret was taking things slowly and steadily.  That is not to say that my knees are not complaining quite a lot as I sit and write these words though.

Once again, I took sufficient care of my eating and drinking that I weighed exactly the same at the end of the ride as I did at the start.

I had enough energy to walk round the garden in delightful evening sunshine when I got home.

ligularia

There is a new knautia out…

knautia

…and pink phlox have come to join the white.

phlox

What I call marigolds but what I should call calendula I am told are popping up all over the place.

calendula

The rambler roses are doing wonderfully well…

rambler rose

…but they have probably bloomed too early to be any use to the maker of the crown of roses which is carried round the town on Common Riding day on the last Friday of this month.

I retired for a meal of sardines, garnished with new potatoes, turnips and broad beans from the garden and this drew a very satisfactory day to a close.  The grass looked as though it needed cutting badly though.

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

Garmin route 11 July 2017

A thousand foot climb doesn’t look much when it is spread over forty miles!

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Alistair and shows what Attila the Gardener can do when she visits her granddaughter with a pair of shears in her handbag.

Al and Clare's hedge

We had another grey and generally rainy morning today and I was happy to stay inside and prepare a lamb stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.  What made me even happier was that I was able to use the first onion of the year from the garden and one of the little white turnips in the cooking.

The gloomy weather made me think that an indoor picture might be good insurance in case going out was not going to be suitable for flower shots.

sweet pea in kitchen

The sweet pea was in the kitchen and outside the window, the feeder aerial ballet was relentless…

siskins

…and the sparrows and siskins had emptied the feeder before Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from church.

Happily, the rain eased off and I was able to go out.  The packets of dahlia seeds have produced a good variety of shape and colour in their flowers.

dahlias

Various lilies are doing well in spite of the cool damp weather.

lilies

I visited the vegetable garden and admired the flourishing main crop potato plants.

potatoes

The trouble with potatoes of course is that you never know how good they are, no matter how good they look, until you dig them up.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.  (Not that we use potatoes in puddings.)

As it stayed dry, I shifted a bit more compost from Bin C into Bin D and might have completed the job if Mrs Tootlepedal, back from church and needing coffee, and a heavy shower of rain hadn’t arrived at the same time.

I went in and prepared the bread maker to make a dozen rolls.

After lunch I had intended to go across to the Castleholm and watch some horse racing there but a persistent drizzle and a severe lack of light for action shots persuaded me that watching another potentially exciting stage of the Tour de France followed (hopefully) by the end of Andy Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon might be a better bet.

This was a good decision.

The cyclists had an interesting day of weather starting with searing heat at 30°C and ending up pedalling up a mountain at 10° in a torrential hailstorm.  They seemed very cheerful afterwards in spite of it all.

Andy Murray won without giving his supporters a heart attack, a very rare event.

After the tennis was over, I looked out of the window and seeing that the rain had stopped, I went off for a short walk.

The Sweet Williams made a gloomy day look very cheerful as I left the house.

Sweet William

There was plenty of water in the Wauchope as I went past the caul at Pool Corner….

Pool Corner

…and plenty to look at as I went round Gaskell’s Walk.

capillaris smooth hawksbeard

If I had paid more attention on our recent wild flower field day, I might know what this is.  There was a lot of it about and I am going to plump for Crepis  capillaris or smooth hawks-beard.  Our lecturer at Maryport told us that he had once given a well attended whole day class purely on ‘little yellow flowers that look like dandelions’ so I don’t feel too bad about not being certain.

As usual, it paid to give the flowers a close look.

insects on flowers

The Umbellifer on the left has a tiny insect on nearly every other flower when you look carefully.  The flower on the right is meadowsweet.

The umbellifer below had more than tiny insects on it.

umbellifer with hoverfly and red soldier beetles

I was pleased to see that there should be plenty more red beetles for me to photograph in the future.

Some things were easier to spot.

Thistle

And I could even see the Monument today as the clouds lifted.

Monument

The weather seemed to be quite good for the moment so I dawdled along taking anything that caught my eye…

stubholm gate

…until I got back down to the Esk at the park.

Esk

The wet weather after the warm and sunny month before has ensured that everything is growing at full belt.

I disturbed a family of ducks who paddled off rather crossly…

ducks on Esk

…before getting home just in time to take a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal’s latest poppy….

poppy

Yes, it is a poppy and not a peony. Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like it much. I had to hold its head up.

…before dashing indoors as another heavy shower of rain arrived.

The weather is set to look up in the week ahead so a couple of quiet days won’t do me any harm as long as I can get out on my bike again soon.

The (wild) flower of the day is a ragwort which I met on my walk.

ragwort

And the flying bird is one of the seed demolishing siskins in the light drizzle.

flying siskin

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The guest picture of the day was taken in Hyde park by my sister Mary a week or so ago. It shows the Italian Garden there.

Italian garden, HydeParkMrs Tootlepedal had had a very successful day watching her brother fly a Spitfire (he’s a pilot and he really did fly it, not just fly in it) and she is now staying with her mother for a few days so I have only myself to look after for the present.

I did a good job and got myself up promptly for breakfast and after hardly any time footling about, I got out on my bike.  When I say hardly any time, I am paltering with the truth a bit as it was well after ten by the time that I had got organised.  My knees are creaking a bit so I didn’t set off with a route in mind, just a general direction.  I certainly wasn’t looking for any big hills so once I had got over the hill at Callister, I headed down to the flat lands of the Solway shore.

I was wearing my stylish cycling shorts and it had been cloudy and a bit chilly when I set off but the sun soon came out and I was soon rather sorry that I hadn’t put any sun block on my legs.

I passed quite a few orchids all the way round the trip and I took this picture near Kennedy’s Corner, before I went down to the coast.

orchidOnce you have got your orchid eye in, they jump out at you from the grassy verges.

Once down the hill, I crossed the border into England.  Looking behind me, I was very aware that this might not be the most impressive border crossing in the world.

Scotland borderIt has been overtaken by new roads and is sadly neglected now.  Nor is the River Sark, which marks the border, very imposing either.

River sarkIt looked very cheerful in the sunshine though.

I stopped on the M6 service road near Gretna for a banana and had a look around while I was munching.

Ragwort has begun to appear.

RagwortI wasn’t surprised to see ragwort but I was bowled over by a burst of very pretty pick flowers on the bank beside the road.

pink flowersLooking at the banking….

M6 banking…it is hard to imagine that the motorway is only a few yards over the top.  The landscape experts have certainly got the hang of planting up new roadsides.

The flowers made cycling a real pleasure and I resolved to ignore any creaking and go for a fifty mile circle.

I pedalled on down until I was a few miles from Carlisle and then turned for home.  The hedges on the back roads were full of honeysuckle.  These are near Justicetown…

honeysuckle…but I couldn’t take a picture that I thought did them justice.

I have never taken a really good honeysuckle picture.  I tried yesterday in the garden but this was the result.

honeysuckleYou can see why I wouldn’t put a picture like that on the blog.

Anyway, I pedalled on into Longtown and had a toasted tea cake and a cup of tea in the Sycamore Cafe there and fortified by that, made my way home via Glenzier and the A7.

The wind was noticeable all the way round and got stronger as I  made my way home.  Luckily, it was across or behind me by then but even so, my gentle average speed was a tribute to how well I was looking after creaky knees.  The curious can find the details here.

I got home in time to watch the end of today’s mountain stage of the Tour. My knees ached just watching it.  I was joined  by Sandy who had been for a walk to test out a small camera which a member of our camera club is selling.  He liked the camera but it is too big to fit in his pocket so he will look elsewhere.

When the stage was finished, I took a walk round the garden.  My focus was on purple and blue things today.  Although it was sunny, the brisk wind made finding sheltered subjects quite tricky.

knapweed

Knapweed

iris

Almost the last iris of the year

little blue flower

Mrs Tootlepedal is not here to tell me names so this is a ‘little blue flower’

Campanula

The Campanulas have been seriously battered by wind and rain

Campanula

Even these smaller ones.

geraniums

The geraniums are hardier

In spite of the breeze, it was a beautiful day.

clematis

A fairly traditional clematis

Along the back of the iron fence that separates the flower garden from the vegetable patch, a number of flowers peep through the bars, unseen to the casual passer by.  They are worth a look even if they are not blue or purple.

ginger syllabub

Ginger syllabub, a tasty name for a beautiful rose

clematis

The cheerful centre of a flashy clematis

My favourite shot of the day though was an unassuming plant in the back border.  It is not often that you see a flower sticking its tongue out with this amount of determination.

lamium

Why it is called a dead nettle, I don’t know. It looks very perky to me.

When I came in, I put a week of the newspaper index into the database and then cooked my tea.

After tea, Sandy and I went to the Archive Centre where he put a new set of pictures into the display window and I put another week into the database.

Afterwards we went for a refreshment in the Eskdale Hotel and found fellow archivists Niall and Elspeth there.  They have recently purchased electric bicycles and were telling us how much they had enjoyed their first serious outing on them.  Niall is a photographer and they are hoping to use the bikes to cycle up to the Hub and see the exhibition.

Among all this excitement, I didn’t get a chance to catch a flying bird so a perching greenfinch in the evening sunshine will have to do.

perching greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture, sent to Mrs Tootlepedal by an ex work colleague Anne, shows a hummingbird hawkmoth in her garden. It is not a fantastic picture and you can just make out the moth visiting a flower but it was fantastic for Anne to see such a rare moth.

hummingbird hawkmoth

I was in a cycling mood again today as the forecast was good and it would have been a pity not to make use of such a fine opportunity.  A certain amount of early morning stiffness afetr yesterday’s 60 miles meant that I didn’t get off very early and as a result it was quite warm before I started.  Not wishing to boil what little brain I have left, I opted for a gentle pedal along  quiet back roads away from any long hills.

quiet back road

A typical road on my journey today.  Quiet and flat.

I was cycling through farmland for most of the journey and the views were very easy on the eye.

farmland view

One of the features of our back roads, on both sides of the border, is the occasional large tree growing in a hedge.  Here’s one in Scotland…

tree in hedge

…and here’s one in England.

tree in hedge

I had my first refreshment stop at Rigg in the shade of the village hall there.  It has a very decorative window.

Mansfield Hall

From Rigg, I headed south into England.

I passed a number of small churches during the day.  This one is at Blackford where I stopped to eat another of John’s  excellent filled rolls which were my basic fuel for the day.

Blackford Church

I was eating my roll outside the church because I had intended to enjoy a bowl of soup and a coffee inside the pub in Rockcliffe and made a special diversion to get there only to find that it was closed on a Monday.

After my roll, I crossed the A7 and reached the Longtown to Brampton road. On a whim I took another short diversion to visit Kirklinton Hall.  This was advertised on a sign as having a house and garden to visit.  The house is handsome…..

Kirklinton Hall

…undoubtedly handsome…..

Kirklinton Hall

….but a ruin and you can get into it.  The garden will perhaps look very nice in about three years.  It did have a decorative pigsty with a decorative pig (if you are a pig fancier)…

pigsty

…but the best thing about it was that you could purchase a cup of tea and a slice of cake if you wished.  I wished.

I was thinking of putting a few hills into the ride on my way home from the Hall but my legs broke out into mutinous muttering -“It’s all right for him but it’s us that has to do the work.” – so I listened to them and passing a goose….

goose

…and a charming bridge…

bridge

…I headed back to the main road to Longtown and then pedalled home through Canonbie and the bike path along the A7.

There were plenty of flowers in the verge all the way round the ride.

Delicate pink blossom near Gretna…

Near Gretna

This vibrant ragwort was growing on the banking of the M6 motorway…

ragwort

These were at Hagg-on-Esk.

Wild flowers

The bike path is in need of TLC…

A7 bike path

…but I was pleased to use it as it meant that I was near the end of the ride.

I had covered 53 miles by the time that I had got home and after a day in the hot sunshine, I was pleased to get inside and have a drink of water.

I was back out again to mow the front lawn before too long and I  had a look round the garden while I was there.

marigolds

Mrs Tootlepedal’s mixed packet of marigold seeds is proving to be very good value.

The day lilies continue to delight….

day lily

…and a siskin sat on the feeder quite unperturbed as I walked past.

siskin

It was soon time for Luke’s flute lesson.  When I was preparing for the lesson, my music reading software worked very well and I was able to scan the piano part in and get the computer to play an accompaniment for a Gavotte by Handel after about five minutes work.  Luke sight read his part well.

After a nourishing tea of macaroni cheese cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel to round off a good day of pedalling and tootling.

The flying bird of the day is a well fed chaffinch.

chaffinch

 

 

 

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