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Posts Tagged ‘rambler rose’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia’s visit to the Caen Hill Locks.  It looks very peaceful, but if you have to take your boat through all of the 29 locks on the staircase, it is very hard work.

Caen Hill lock

The promised end of summer was deferred for another day and we had a beautiful morning, sunny, calm and warm.  In days gone past, I would have been out on my bike like a shot on such a day as this, but times have changed and I was happy to do a little business, lounge around artistically and, of course, wander round the garden.

There were some pretty nasturtiums enjoying the sunshine by the back fence…

nasturtiums on back fence

…I was very happy to find the red astrantia having a second go at flowering and joining the poppies and mallow.

poppies, mallow and astrantia

The butterflies were back on the buddleia, and we had a full of house of red admiral, painted lady, small tortoiseshell….

three butterflies

…and a profusion of peacocks.

three peacocks

I am always impressed by how butterflies can cope with the loss of quite a lot of a wing.

tattered small tortoiseshell

Since the weather is due to change tomorrow, I thought that this might be a good moment to take another look at the garden from an upper window.

The front lawn:

front garden from above august

The middle lawn: you can see the plum tree, laden with plums, on the left of the this picture.

middle garden from aove august

And I looked across to show the hedge that runs along the road beside the garden.

looking across garden from above august

I had to go to post a letter and on my way back, I took a shot of the garden as seen from the road by passers by, assuming that they are tall enough to look over the hedge of course.

garden from road

I mowed the greenhouse grass so I didn’t waste the entire morning and then I took a look at a very late flower on the Lilian Austin rose…

lilian austin august

…before going to have lunch.  Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop so I ate by myself.  Then, before she returned, I got out my bike and set off to see where it would carry me.

There was a warning of thunderstorms and heavy rain later on so I wasn’t going to go very far but for the moment, it was still a lovely day.

I stopped for a drink after ten miles and noted the rosebay willowherb….

rosebay willowherb seed

…and the peaceful view of the rolling farmland that you meet when you leave our hills behind.

view from Gair road

My legs were in reasonable form and turning over fairly sweetly but unfortunately, my bicycle was far from well and was making miserable groaning sounds.  It has been grumbling a bit on recent trips but this was different so I decided to seek help and pedalled along this rather smartly mowed road down to Longtown….

road near corries mill

…the home of Bikeseven, the bike shop that had sold me my bike.  When I got there, the mechanic kindly came out to check the bike for me and diagnosed the cause of the grumbling.  I have a belt drive rather than a conventional chain and for some reason it had got overtight and was niggling on the rear cog.

He took it in to the workshop and had a go at fixing the problem but it wasn’t an instant fix and he needed more time.  (He was in the middle of servicing two more bikes so it was good of him to take any time out to help me.)   I was pondering how to get home and by good fortune, the friend with whom I had had a political discussion under the trees in the rain last week was in the shop and he offered me a lift home.

I would have accepted this kind offer but the shop owner then offered me a courtesy bike so that I could complete my trip by pedal power…and have a bike to ride until mine was ready.  This was an offer too good to turn down, so I thanked my debating friend and pedalled off on the borrowed bike.

The bike had flat handlebars and front suspension so it was easy enough to ride, though I had to get used to using derailleur gears again as my bike as a hub gear with one control and not four different levers.  I was pedalling along happily enough when I passed a digital traffic sign  warning of impending heavy rain.   Just then, it started to drizzle.  I hadn’t been able to transfer my pannier to the borrowed bike and I remembered rather too late that it had my rain jacket in it.

However, the drizzle didn’t get any worse and I could see blue sky beyond the Hollows Tower as I cycled past it….

hollows tower in the drizzle

…so I resisted the temptation to ring up Mrs Tootlepedal and ask for a rescue and cycled home.  I got there quite dry as the drizzle soon stopped again.

The borrowed bike was very satisfactory….

borrowed bike

….but it did make my joints very sensible of the comfort of my own bike and I hope it will not be too long until we are reunited.

Mike Tinker had dropped in for a cup of tea and when left  and Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to a meeting, I made a ‘Greek style’ potato and tomato bake from my big book of potato recipes for our evening meal, and while it was cooking, I had a last walk round the garden.  It had rained again while I was inside but the rain clouds had temporarily disappeared and some pleasant evening sunshine illuminated the flowers.

rambler rose evening

The sunshine had picked out the nasturtiums by the back fence in the morning and now, to even things up, it shone on the nasturtiums against the wall of the house in the evening.

nasturtiums on front wall

I liked this little trio by the back door.

three nasturtiums

The threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms seems to have been lifted but cooler showery weather is on the way so in spite of the need to swap bikes, I was pleased to have got my 32 miles in today, especially as it took me over 2000 miles for the year.  This is much less than I had planned to do at the beginning of the year, but quite a bit more than I feared I might be able to do when my feet started playing up, so I am quite content.

The flying birds of the day are two homing pigeons at their evening exercise.

two pigeons

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Today’s guest picture is another from the camera club visit to Beamish late last month.  Peter took this charming shot.

Peter's Beamish

There was heavy rain overnight but the garden seemed strangely dry when we went out for a look.  Some strong winds had done damage though, and Mrs Tootlepedal had a good deal of propping up and clearing away to do.

I took the opportunity to put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive group database and found the first entry regarding a motor car in Langholm that I had come across.  This was 1900 so it must have been an early model.

I went out into the garden to give Mrs Tootlepedal some moral support and the occasional helping hand too.  We picked some peas, beans, turnips and potatoes to make a summer soup and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted this moth among the potatoes.

potato moth

She found a home for it and just hoped that it isn’t a dangerous potato eating insect.

I had a look around before going in to cook the soup.  It was rather a dull day and the very brisk wind made getting flower pictures a bit tricky so I was pleased to catch not just one poppy in mid sway…

red poppy grey insides

…but another one as well.

open poppy

I like the different centres that the poppies have just as much as I like the different colours and textures of their petals.

The clematis at the front door is more sheltered and offered less of a problem.  It has come on very well after a slow start and I like its multi coloured petals.

front door clematis lots

While I was in the garden,  I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and got a different angle on the bird feeder.

The siskins were keeping a sharp eye out for competition and a sparrow thought better of trying to get some seed.

siskins keeping eye out

In general, it was a busy scene.

busy feeder from outside

I went down to the river to see if the rain had put some water into it.  It was far from full but there was a lot more flow than we have had recently…

river up

…and all three arches of the Langholm Bridge had been called into action.

three arches Langholm Bridge

The vegetable soup (with added barley) turned out well, with a nice fresh taste.  It went well with some new bread and a selection of cheeses.

I was so perked up by the soup, that after lunch I decided to brave the wind and go off for a cycle ride.  It was tough going into the teeth of a breeze gusting at over 30 mph so I stuck to doing two laps of the seven miles trip to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, hiding from the wind in the bottom of the valley.  This gave me the chance to visit the little cascade near the schoolhouse…

wauchope schoolhouse cascade

…and to stop and check for riverside birds when I went along the Esk on my way through the town.  There was a small collection of oyster catchers…

Three oyster catchers

…one of whom posed nicely for me…

oyster catcher on rock

…and a dipper living up to its name.

dipper dipping

My legs were quite cheerful so I added a short three mile trip over the bridge and out of the other side of the town after my two laps and ended up with 17 miles more than I had expected to ride when I had read the forecast yesterday.

The seventeen miles were accomplished at a steady pace but they took me up to 270 miles for the month, so although I still can’t walk any distance without upsetting my feet, at least I can keep going on my bike.  Mustn’t grumble.

I  sat down for a cup of tea when I got home and we were joined by Mike Tinker.  Like Mrs Tootlepedal, he had spent quite a bit of time in  his garden repairing the ravages of wind and rain and cutting back excessive growth so we were all pleased to rest a while for refreshment and conversation.

When Mike left, I mowed the two lawns, sieved a bit of compost and had another look round the garden.

I like nasturtiums.

nasturtiums's mouth

This is the very last of the flowers on the rosa complicata.

last rosa complicata

Although some of our heavily petalled roses survived the wind and the rain, like this Wren…

rose Wren

….many were looking rather soggy.  Mrs Tootlepedal gets a bit sad when these roses show the effects of our damp climate and ‘ball up’, so she is thinking of planting more of the simple roses, which are perhaps better suited to our garden.

It was brighter now than it had been earlier in the day, but the sun had not quite come out so I had another go at the white astilbe with better results.

white astilbe

Nearby, a yellow potentilla flower winked at me.

yellow potemtilla

It is impossible to miss the rambler roses which are sensational this year.  We hope that some of them will appear in the rose crown at the Common Riding on Friday but if ours are anything to go by, there should be so many about that the crown builders may not need to come to us at all.

red rambler roses

Later in the evening, I leaned out up of an upstairs window to greet the sun which had finally appeared, and enjoyed a general look over the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been clipping the hedges.

the garden in the evening

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow using every limb available to persuade a siskin to give up its seat at the table.

flying sparrow flailing

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Fountains Abbey.  As well as some impressive ruins, it has a lovely garden.

Fountains Abbey garden

We had a very nice summer day here today, warm and calm and often sunny.  It might well have been a good day for a pedal but the recent travelling about and some  emotional expense around the arrival of a new granddaughter led me to think that a quiet day at home might be the thing.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busier than me with the business of the proposed community buy out of our local moor giving her a lot to do, but I had a quiet day.  I started with a walk round the garden to see if the dead heading of poppies yesterday had encouraged growth today.

It had, and this was my pick as poppy of the day.

poppy of the day

New flowers have appeared including the first phlox (the phirst flox?)…

phlox

…and a pollen laden lily.

lily pollen

In the shade behind the greenhouse, a hosta dangled flowers like jewels from a necklace…

hosta jewels

…and nearby, the orange hawkweed looked as though it might be reaching the end of the line.

ornge hawkweed seed

In fact, when Mrs Tootlepedal started some gardening later in the day, the orange hawkweed did indeed meet the end of the line.

cut orange hawkweed

Meanwhile, I sat outside the kitchen window on a handy bench and watched the birds.

The siskins were are disagreeable as ever…

sparrow shouted at by siskin

…with this one actually taking to the air in mid nibble to make its point to a slightly shattered sparrow.

flying siskins

Another siskin used the old sunflower stalk as a staging post on its way to the seed…

siskin on sunflower stalk

…and I am happy to say that Mrs Tootlepedal has a new one growing nearby for next year.

new sunflower

I was happy to welcome another visitor to the garden when Sandy came for coffee.

sandy arriving

He told me that his feet were still stopping him from going for walks but he is hoping that an operation in October will sort his problem out.  I hope so too as I have missed our walks this year.  On the other hand, he has tried out a friend’s electric bicycle and was so taken by the experience that he is thinking of getting one himself.  That would mean that we might substitute cycle outings for walks which would be fun….though he would have to learn to wait for me at the top of every hill of course.

When he left, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and did some light work.  This included more dead heading and picking the enormous number of sweet peas that had appeared overnight.

I also kept an eye on a family of young blackbirds which were lurking near the compost bins…

two young blackbirds

…while trying to catch a swirling flock of swifts circling over head.

two swifts

Two of our buddleias have come out and I kept an eye on them to see if any butterflies were attracted by their flowers.

Several small tortoiseshells arrived on cue.

small tortoiseshell butterfly 1

The two different plants were both in the butterfly magnet business.

small tortoiseshell butterfly 2`

We dug up another of our early potatoes and were very pleased to find that it had produced 17 new potatoes, a very good return  we thought.  We ate several of them, along with some lettuce from the garden for our lunchtime salad.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off for a meeting and I didn’t go for a cycle ride.  I thought about it quite a lot, but that was as far as  got.  I did do some compost sieving and greenhouse grass mowing instead but I did quite a lot of sitting down as well.

I admired the roses on the fence…

rambler rose on fance

…and the berries that have appeared on the tropaeolum flowers…

tropaeolum berries

…and I had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when she got back from her meeting and then, finally, I got so embarrassed about wasting such a glorious day that I did get my bike out at last and cycled 14 miles.

By this time the wind had got a bit frisky and I did the first five miles up the gentle hill and into the wind at 9 miles an hour and then did the second five miles down the gentle hill and with the wind behind me at 19 miles an hour.  I might have gone a little faster if a lad driving a tractor while talking on his mobile phone hadn’t driven out of a side road in front of me and forced me to a halt.  He gave me a cheery wave though.

My route took me out of the town past some hawkweed rich verges…

hawkweed beside road

…with a lot of bird’s foot trefoil about…

bird's foot trefoil

…until I got to the top of the first straight on Callister after five miles…

callister with verges

…where I turned round and cycled back through the town and then went for two miles out of the other side…

ewes valley in evening

It was tempting to go further on such a lovely evening, but the evening meal was waiting

…before heading for home.

Some more of our home grown potatoes went into one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fine fish pies for our tea.  It was garnished with turnips from the garden and followed by rhubarb and custard for a pudding.

As we also had picked, cooked and eaten some beetroot, it was a good garden-to-mouth day.

The weather looks as though it might be a bit more changeable over the next few days  so I might regret my poor cycling efforts today but it can’t be helped, I just didn’t have the get up and go.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.

frog

The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier

It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus

hen harrier

I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.

Skiddaw

Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.

heather

And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.

Whita

Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses

The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch

sweet pea

A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young

two cosmos

The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….

dahlia

…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

 

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Today’s picture from our London Trip shows the sign for a long forgotten shop on Brixton Road.  By coincidence, the American senator, Bernie Sanders, a diamond geezer if ever there was one,  spoke in front of a crowd of 5000 people at a Brixton venue nearby only last month.

Sanders in Brixton

I have been doing a bit of washing of clothes lately and as some of my readers will know, this leads to ironing and so I started the day with the ironing board in play.  I am not a skilful iron handler and I never cease to be amazed (and put out) by how much more easy it is to iron a crease into a garment than it is to iron it out again.  It just doesn’t seem right.  Still, it is a great lesson for life – careful preparation is almost always better than just breenging in regardless.  I am going to learn that lesson one day…..but not yet.

I had just got the board folded and the evidence of rather rumpled clothes tucked away upstairs when first Dropscone and then Sandy arrived to share a pot of coffee.  Because it will be a busy day for all of us tomorrow, Dropscone kindly brought forward the traditional Friday treacle scones and we ate them on a Thursday instead.

It was a wet and fairly miserable morning outside and it got a lot worse and fairly bucketed down when I went off to do some shopping for Matilda and her parents (and her other grandparents too) who are visiting me over the Common Riding.  We seem to be in the middle of a spell of occasional sunshine and many really heavy showers.  It doesn’t make for restful days.

Some of the flowers are looking a bit depressed…

poppy

…and who can blame them.

I can blame the sparrows though for pecking holes in my lawn.

sparrow holes in lawn

A water lily seemed quite at home, sheltering from the elements under a leaf in the pond.

water lily

The dampness hadn’t discouraged the bees though and there were quite a few about as soon as it actually stopped raining.

bee on lambs ear

In the afternoon, when it had stopped raining for a bit, I had a visit from my friend Gavin, with his daughter, my Newcastle correspondent and her two children.  Leo was hoping to see a frog in the pond but there was not a frog to be seen and a few tadpoles were scant consolation.  Hannah helped me pick some peas and kindly only ate enough of them to leave me a few for tea.

When they had gone, I picked some beans….

P1010220

… and admired the other fruit in the garden, some for me….

Charles Ross apple

Charles Ross apple

….and some for the birds.

rowan berries

Rowan berries

I noticed that once Leo had left, a frog appeared.

frog

…but by the time that Matilda arrived, it had gone again.

While I waited for Matilda to arrive, I looked around the garden while it was dry.

The privet blossom is falling like snow but there is still masses to come.

privet

And it still looks very curious when you see it lying on the ground.

privet

Rather than dwell on the depressed poppies, I looked at the ever cheerful phlox….

phlox

…and a very flowery hosta.

hosta

Hostas are mostly grown for their foliage but they pack a lovely flower too.

hosta

During the day, an emissary of the Crown builder turned up to pick a few of our rambler roses….

rambler roses

…and I shall feel proud when I see them in the Crown as it is carried through the streets tomorrow.  I shall take a picture of it, weather permitting.  The forecast is not very good for the morning but things look better for the afternoon.  Fingers crossed.

Al and Clare arrived with Matilda on schedule.  The garden was too soggy to play in so we had a pleasant time indoors with a construction set which lets you build marble runs.  Al and I let Matilda play with it too from time to time.

After tea, while Matilda got ready for her bath, I nipped up to the Market Place to hear a snatch of the Town Band’s open air concert.

Langholm Town Band summer fair 2107

Henry, who trained and accompanied our choir last night, can be seen blowing fit to bust on the trombone on the extreme right of the picture.  He is a talented chap.

We had a very quiet evening in as the strange surroundings kept Matilda awake long after she should have been fast asleep but I sneaked out to see the Flute Band lead a procession through the streets.

flute band 2017

They were followed by the biggest procession I have seen on Summer Fair night, it nearly filled the whole of Caroline Street.

flute band 2017

The flautists will wake us up tomorrow morning at 5 o’clock to announce the starting of the Common Riding, Langholm’s great day.

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Today’s guest picture shows that Bruce was not just looking at trams on the Great Orme. He was looking at the view of Llandudno too.

Great Orme

After yesterday’s miserable day, we had a very pleasant, warm and often sunny day today.

I didn’t make the most of it but I didn’t entirely waste it.

The better weather certainly encouraged my trigger finger and when I downloaded my camera card onto the computer in the evening, I found that I had taken a lot of pictures.  I ruthlessly pruned them down and discovered that I still had 54 so in the end, the number that appear on this post are just a shadow of the ones that I took.

While Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef and mushroom stew for the slow cooker and mowed the greenhouse grass.  No speed records were broken during this process.

I did have time to admire the rambler roses on the arch…

rambler roses

…and to reflect on the downside of a camera which sees the greenhouse, the whirlygig and the houses beyond while the human eye just sees the roses and ignores the rest.

I walked round to the back of the house to admire the excellent display of flowers along the dam.

Dam flowers

In the garden, the privet is attracting bees and it was quite hard to get a shot without a bee in it.

privet

The sparrows stopped eating Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetables for a moment or two and started pecking my lawn.

sparrows

There are so many berries on our blackcurrant bush that our neighbour Liz came in and picked a colander full…

blackcurrants

…and then passed them on to another neighbour and came back and picked the same amount again, all without making a serious dent in the number still on the bush.  I will have to make more jelly.

After lunch, we settled down to watch the Tour but I felt a bit guilty about wasting such a good day so I put it on to record and went for a walk.

I went along the Kilngreen seeing sparrow and gull….

sparrow and gull

…and thought that the sparrow will enjoy the blackberries when they ripen.

I walked along the road to Whitshiels and then took the track up through the woods.

The track was covered in self heal and occasionally decorated with ragged robin.

self heal and ragged robin

At the top of the track, I took a picture of a remarkable tree.

Tree with hole in trunk

It is one of a row of three which defy the odds and flourish in spite of having only half a trunk and a tenuous connection to the earth.

tree

I walked onto the rough pasture and and saw a good selection of interesting (to me) things.

meadow pipit, cyclist, pylon

The bird is a meadow pipit which was trying to hide from me, the energetic cyclist was in the process of doing five repetitions of the climb to the White Yett and back down again and the pylon was doing nothing much at all.

I enjoyed the views of course…

Ewes valley

Ewes valley

…and took a panorama to show the extent of them.

ewes panorama

Click to enlarge

You can see why I like being up here on a sunny day.

I walked back across Whita Hill, passing these pretty pink flowers on the way….

pink flowers

…which may be lousewort (I am open to correction of course).

I came back to the town by way of the Kirk Wynd.  I was very distracted by the large number of red soldier beetles doing their best to contribute to the survival of the species.  There seemed to be several on every flower I passed at one point.

red soldier beetles

The Kirk Wynd was very flowery.

trefoil, daisy and bedstraw

rosebay willowherb

At the bottom of the Wynd, I passed the old graveyard wall which is hidden by a metal fence while repairs are being done.  I peeped through a gap.

The wall is supposed to be fully repaired by next week.  This seems like one of those targets which may be missed.

Old Kirkyard wall

I will doff my chapeau to the wall builders if the job is finished on time.

At the bottom of the Wynd, I stepped into the Market place and noticed that the Common Riding bunting is up at the Town Hall.

Town Hall bunting.

The Common Riding will take place on the last Friday in July so we are getting very excited already.

I walked down to the river….

River esk

On the gravel bank below the suspension bridge, a man was making a circular bench out of the river stones.

stone bench on Esk bank

This is a real labour of love as it is very likely that it will either be covered up or swept away by the next flood to come down  the river.

I got home and sat and watched the end of a very exciting stage of the Tour and followed that by eating the beef stew with peas and potatoes from the garden for our tea.  The presence of peas in the meal was a tribute to the fine pea fortress erected by Mrs Tootlepedal.  The sparrows’ frustration was our treat.

After tea, I got out the fairly speedy bike and had a fairly speedy trip down to Canonbie and back by my usual route but in the opposite direction.  It was a lovely evening but the brisk wind made the return part of the journey quite hard work.  Fortunately, I didn’t take my camera with me!

The sitting bird of the day is a blackbird which was keeping an eye on Liz as she picked the blackcurrants.

blackbird on fence

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is the town hall of Ripon.  My brother, who was visiting,  was much taken with the inscription.

Ripon

We had a day of pleasantly cool but sunny weather today and if I hadn’t had quite a strenuous pedal yesterday, I would have been out on my bike.  As it was, I spent a quiet morning in the garden checking out insects.

The bees have been joined by hoverflies.

astrantia

Mrs Tootlepedal has some very pretty sunflowers coming out…

sunflowers

…and they are real insect magnets.

sunflowers

I was busy with a little dead heading when the garden was suddenly invaded by a team of expert rose clippers.

rose pickers

They attacked our ramblers with ready secateurs and in no time they had a crate filled with blooms.  When they left, I followed them on my bike and trailed them to their lair.  They were part of a gang which was hard at work in a shed.

The crown

The object of all this activity is the ceremonial crown which will be carried through the town among the other emblems as part of our Common Riding procession on Friday.  It is an honour for our roses to be part of it.

Once the roses are trimmed and prepared, the crown maker Les binds each one individually to the framework which has been precovered with moist sphagnum moss to keep the roses fresh.

Les making the Crown

This is the most painstaking work, taking many man and woman hours and I shall look at the crown with new respect when it is paraded  round the town on Friday.

When I got back home, Attila the gardener was starting the job of taking down a small tree which is steadily dying and I helped out by shredding the branches.

After lunch, I printed out some more pictures to go on cards which will go on sale in the town. They raise funds for the Archive Group and the last lot sold quickly which was pleasing.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal headed off to Carlisle for some shopping and I took advantage of the continuing sunshine to go for a walk.

My plan was to walk along the ridge between Castle Hill and Potholm Hill and then descend to the road for the return journey.

It had rained quite a lot last night and I wondered whether the going might be a bit too soggy for fun but the hill was in very good condition and I followed my plan to the letter (well almost).

Kilngreen

There was no chance of waving at Mr Grumpy on my way as the Kilngreen is given over to the shows for the next few days so I went straight up the hill.

Castle Hill

The hill was covered with wild flowers…

Castle Hill

…and the walking was delightful.

The views weren’t bad either.

Panorama from Castle Hill

You can click on this panorama to get the bigger picture.

I soon got to the summit of Castle Hill and the ridge stretched out in front of me.

Castle Hill

I walked along the ridge…

Ridge from castle hill

…looking to the left….

Esk valley

The Esk valley

…and the right…

Ewes valley

The Ewes valley

…and sticking to the wall as I went.

Castle Hill ridge

As well as the views, there were things of interest closer to hand.

fungus and heart's ease

Fungus making use of a handy drop of dung and Heart’s Ease sheltered against the wall.

I got to the end of the wall and there was a handy stile to get me onto the next part of my route.

stile on Potholm Hill

All was going well until I got to the top of the next summit and  spotted a group of cattle grazing further along on my route.  I don’t like to get too close to hill cattle so I cunningly dropped down the side of the hill and contoured along with a view to reaching the fence and then walking up it to the next gate, having bypassed the cattle.

My plan was not very successful.  I dropped down out of sight of the cattle quite successfully but the cunning beasts knew what I was up to and when I looked up the hill, they were cantering along the ridge and soon formed up in front of the gate I was hoping to get to unobserved.

I wasn’t going to argue with them so I changed tack and followed the fence downhill until I came to a second gate which gave me access to the track which I would have joined in the first place so all was well.  I took a look at the very picturesque cottage at Henwell…

Henwell

…and then went down to Potholm Bridge and walked home along the road.

I ate wild raspberries from the hedgerows and clicked away as I went but there have been too many pictures already so I will just put in a sign of the times that I passed.

crop

Crops starting to ripen in the fields

…and a chaffinch that was hopefully looking for seed in the garden when I got home…

chaffinch

…and that will wrap up the day nicely.

It was a walk of just under 6 miles and it is a tribute to both my new knee and the exercises which the physio gave me for my troublesome hip that I could do it at all.  Two or three years ago I was quite certain that I would never be able to walk over the hills again so I count this a great blessing.

The chaffinch wouldn’t fly to order so there is no flying bird of the day but Rosa Wren more than makes up for this deficiency in my opinion as it appears as flower of the day.

Rosa Wren

 

 

 

 

 

 

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