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Posts Tagged ‘roses’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who noticed Derby’s answer to the enchanted forest, a Disco Bridge.  This is St Mary’s Bridge and the ferryman is giving a foot passenger a piggy back lift across it.

St Mary's Bridge, Derby

After the excitements of the last two days and excessive image numbers, things were a lot quieter here today with grey light in the morning making taking pictures an unattractive proposition.

However light came into our social life as Sandy has just returned from a most enjoyable three week holiday in Thailand with two friends and came to tell us (and our neighbour Liz who dropped in too) all about it over coffee.  It does seem to have been a wonderful  experience, full of temples, elephants, floating markets, fine food and famous beaches.  I look forward to seeing it illustrated on his blog in the course of time.

In spite of a gloomy forecast, the day was tolerably warm and calm and I should have gone out for a pedal after coffee but I was a little tired after our break so I did the crossword and some work on the computer until it was time for a late lunch.

I had been occasionally looking at the feeders through the morning…

pair of blue tits

pigeon on wet lawn

…but it was too grey to get flying birds.

When I looked out after lunch, the sun had unexpectedly come out…

goldfinch in shadow

…though a goldfinch and a greenfinch still found shadows to lurk in.

greenfinch in shadow

Traffic at the feeders was not heavy but there were moments of activity…

vert busy feeder

…and this galvanised me into action myself and I got my new bike out and went off to see how accurate the forecast of rain showers would be.

It was pretty accurate and I pedalled up and down the Wauchope road a couple of times so that if they became too heavy, I wouldn’t be too far from home.  As it turned out, there was only one heavy shower and that was reasonably brief but I was quite happy to settle for 21 miles and getting home in a sunny interval.

I stopped only once, when my eye was caught by a rare flash of colour in the verge.

yearrow

Mrs Tootlepedal had been out in the garden, putting up with occasional showers, while I cycled but she had been driven in by the time that I got back.

There is still colour in the garden if you look hard enough.

clematis, campanula, nicotians and fuchsia

…some of it quite surprising like these weigela flowers.

weigela

The most colourful elements by far are the calendulas which are still holding their heads up proudly all over the garden.

two calendulas

The roses are doing their best too.

special grandma end of october

Lilian Austin Oct 25

We were both happy to have a quiet day though Mrs Tootlepedal got through more useful tasks than I did.

I am hoping for some sunshine tomorrow but if it does come, it will come with some colder weather too as the flow is from the Arctic for a few days.

In the meantime, the flying bird of the day is a chaffinch caught in one of the sunny spells between showers this afternoon.

sunny flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my son Tony, is a slightly fuzzy snapshot of members of his family enjoying the rock pools at East Wemyss.  They seem to be settling in well.

dogs at Wemyss

I did some settling in myself today.  I got up, had breakfast and then settled back in bed for a snooze.  It turned out that I was slightly tired for some mysterious reason.

I got up when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to church and mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass.  Although Mary Jo’s rain gauge was registering 0mm this morning, there has been enough rain recently to keep the grass growing at a great rate.

I couldn’t help noticing the butterflies on the buddleia beside the drying green.

There was the usual peacock…

four eyed peacock butterfly

…enjoying the morning sun enough to spread out its wings and show all four eyes and a painted lady posing prettily nearby.

painted lady butterfly

Beside the butterflies was the first of the Michaelmas daisies…

michaelmas daisy

…which is an uncomfortable reminder that the year is inexorably on the march towards autumn.

I had a walk round while doing a bit of dead heading.  The calendulas rise and fall with great regularity.  We have a great number in the garden and if you keep dead heading them, they keep on coming. The same applies to the poppies so we have to keep busy with the snips.

The dahlias were attracting bumble bees.

bumble bee on dahlia

And the red buddleia had a single butterfly on it.

butterfly on red buddleia

While I was wandering, I was once again struck by the glory of the new lilies.

colourful corner

More of them come out each day.

The gaura, which I thought was going over, has got a second wind and is flowering furiously.

gauraIt seemed to have been out for a long time so I checked and found that I had taken the first picture of it on June 23rd so it has been good value for money.

The golden wedding roses have done so well in our warm summer…

many golden wedding roses

…that Mrs Tootlepedal purchased a couple more roses of a similar type but different colours a couple of days ago to add a bit of variety to our view from the kitchen window.

new roses

The test will come when they have to put up with our winter.

New poppies appear daily at the moment.

pink and white poppy

Some with added insect.

red poppy with hoverfly

And a second flush of orange hawkweed has replaced the first flowering which was trimmed off when it went over.  It has been a very good summer.

orange hawkweed

I had intended to go bicycling in the morning but having failed to do that, I made the mistake of sitting down after lunch and didn’t get up again until four o’clock when Mrs Tootlepedal summoned me out to help drive in a stake to support a really tall sunflower.

very tall sunflower

It really is really tall.

The drying green buddleia was awash with peacocks…

four peacock butterflies

…and it was tempting to hang around to try to take the definite peacock picture but now that I was up and active, I thought that I ought to make something at least of a really good summer’s day.  Our temperatures recently have been perfect for me, hovering around 20°C.

I rolled round my customary 20 mile Canonobie circuit, trying quite hard but not going very fast and only stopped for a picture when I crossed Skippers Bridge on my way back into Langholm.

Langholm distillery

I looked both ways.

River Esk from Skippers Bridge

When I got home, I took a self indulgent picture of the middle lawn which has survived a miserable winter and a drought not too badly.

middle lawn

You can see the very tall sunflower in the background.

A gentle and enjoyable day was rounded of with an excellent meal of roast chicken with vegetables from the garden all provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.

I didn’t find the time or the energy to take any bird pictures so the flowers of the day are the phlox which continue to dazzle.

phlox

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was obviously near or on  Tower Bridge when she took it.  It demonstrates the complete disregard for the London skyline exhibited by planners and developers.  What a mess.

south bank of Thames

The forecast rain arrived on cue and by 2pm after a morning of more or less continual rain, the scientific rain gauge looked like this.

scientific rain gauge 2pm

And by 6.30 in the evening after an afternoon of rain, it looked like this.

scientific rain gauge 6.30pm

I have never seen more feeble or useless rain.  It was simply annoying, making it uncomfortable to be out working in the garden but doing no good.  When Mrs Tootlepedal went out in the evening to plant out the seedlings that I had potted on in  her absence, the soil was still dry as dust.

Back to watering again tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal went out to have an early look at the garden too and did some weeding and edging which left her new bed by the middle lawn looking very smart.

neat new bed

I had a look for flowers to snap but the general feeling was of droopiness…

drooping roses

…so I was very happy to go and  have a cup of coffee and treacle scones with Dropscone.  The manse scone radar was on full alert and we were soon joined by Scott the minister.

He has found that his chickens like coconuts so he took the bag of nuts away with him when he went. Both Dropscone and the minister also kindly helped us out with our board bean surplus and took some beans away with them.

Because of the rain, I at least got another week of the newspaper index put into the Archive database so some good came out of the day…and I had time to watch the birds who were in good form.

A redpoll arrived looking as though it had had an accident in a  tomato ketchup factory.

lesser redpoll

Every seat was hotly contested….

busy feeder

…which once again led to bad behaviour…

sparrow stamping chaffinch

..and general rowdiness.

chaffinches arguing

This led to some head banging.

caffinch arriving at feeder

There was enough moisture about to make some of the birds look a little soggy.

soggy greenfinch

I used the green vegetables that I picked yesterday to make another pot of green soup and it turned out to be more appetising that then pile of ingredients might have suggested.

Mrs Tootlepedal went out for lunch with her ex work colleagues and when she returned we sat and watched quite a lot of a relatively dull stage of the Tour.  We might even have snoozed gently while nothing much happened for a hundred kilometres.

Refreshed by this, Mrs Tootlepedal went out and planted out her seedlings in the drizzle while I had a walk round the garden.

The hostas are doing very well…

hosta

…and the potentillas along the dam are finally getting covered in flowers.

dam potentillas

I am always surprised by how much some flowers change colour as they develop.

clematis

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I enjoyed some music making.  We have played together for so long now that we automatically adjust for any little errors that may creep into our playing without even noticing.

I have heard back from the researcher from America who is interested in the Thomas Hope tray and Mike was able to give me some useful information which may come in handy if the conversation continues.  The researcher is speaking to her principals in the meantime.

In the interests of gender equality, I have a male chaffinch as flying bird of the day…

flying chaffinch

…in conjunction with a female chaffinch flying bird of the day.

flying chaffing female

I am hoping for a more interesting day tomorrow.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who is visiting the north east of England.  He was able to locate a handy cafe at one of his stops by following a cryptic clue.

ornamental teapot

It rained  during the night and when I woke up, there was evidence to be found.

wet lupin leaves

But that was all there had been, some raindrops and not enough to register at all on my scientific rain gauge (the wheelbarrow).  It was welcome all the same but I still had to do some watering.

I was delighted to see a poppy of the right sort in an intended place in a flower bed.

shirley poppy

I hope that there will be more to come.

The Jacobite and moss roses have passed but our aristocratic roses are pressing on.

double queen of denmark

Two Queens

Crown Princess margareta

And a Crown Princess

And the Ooh La la clematis is plugging away too.

Ooh la la clematis wet

I did a little gardening and then went off on a mission.

I had received an email through the Langholm Archive Group account saying:

 “I am a researcher working on behalf of Acker, Merrall & Condit. We are working to acquire images for a commemorative coffee table book celebrating the company’s 200th anniversary. We have found reference to a plaque that was donated to the Thomas Hope Hospital by the founders of the business and were wondering if you could provide any information about it, or might know where it currently is being held.”

There is indeed a Thomas Hope Hospital in the town, founded by a Langholm migrant, Thomas Hope, who had made money as a grocer in New York and left a lot of it to the town to build the hospital.  He also left his business to his staff when he retired.  An unusually good man.

I went up to the Day Centre which has a Thomas Hope Lounge where there is a display of silver and there I was shown a fine tray ….

Thomas Hope Tray

…which had indeed been inscribed by Acker, Merrall & Condit among others in 1858.

Thomas Hope Tray inscription

It was really interesting to see the tray and to know that the business of these three men is still surviving today, described on its web site as America’s oldest wine shop.

However, I don’t think that it was given by the donors to the Hospital at the time that it was inscribed as the hospital wasn’t built until the late 1890s.  I noticed in passing that Thomas Hope may have been a good man but our newspaper stated in 1890 that a report from New York said that the family of Thomas Hope intended to contest his will when they discovered that he had left money to build a hospital in Langholm.  They failed.

I have sent the researcher these two pictures and await her reply.

When I got home, since I had Archive Group business on my mind, I spent an hour putting  another week of the newspaper index into the group’s database.

Then I mowed the middle lawn to celebrate the sprinkling of overnight rain.

Soon it was time for lunch.  I have more peas and beans than I can eat so I picked some courgettes and combined them with peas and beans to create a green soup.  Rather to my surprise, it tasted very good and I will certainly make some more.

I took some time out to watch the birds.  There were compact flying birds coming and going today…

flying siskin compactflyinch chaffinch compact

…and wide open flying birds too.

busy feeder

Inspired by the activity of the birds and fortified by the green soup, I got my new bike out after lunch and went off for a pedal.

The skies were cloudy and there was a spirited wind blowing but as the temperature was 20°C, conditions were pleasant and after a slow start into the wind, I had a good run back home with the wind mostly behind.

The government has been accused of kicking Brexit into the long grass again so I kept my eye open when I passed any long grass to see if I could spot Brexit lurking there.  I saw sheep lurking..

sheep in long grass

…and cows lurking…

cow in long grass

…but no sign of Brexit.

I also saw a patch of what might look like seed heads on reeds at first sight….

great burnet in verge

…but a close look confirmed that the ‘seed heads’ were in fact flowers of Sanguisorba officinalis or great burnet.

great burnet flower

I don’t see them very often but the road junction at Gair seems to be a favourite place for them.

I didn’t have the opportunity for many stops as I had to be back in time to have a shower and be ready for my flute pupil Luke.   I managed 27 miles in the time available which took me over 200 miles for the month.  I noticed, when I looked at my spreadsheet in the evening, that I have done 1088 miles on my new bike since I got it on the 12th of May and every mile that I do on it tells me that I made a good decision when I bought it.

I had time for a quick walk round the garden.

A new euphorbia is flowering…

late euphorbia

…and the tropaeolum is  threatening to take over the world.

tropaeolum profusion

The hostas don’t seem to mind the hot weather and are flowering in great profusion.

hosta flowers

I am not a good flute player but teaching Luke is making me improve my own technique as we go along and so we are both getting better as time goes by.  We could both do with practising a little more.

In the evening, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike for the first time in what seems like ages and we had an enjoyable time going through some friendly and familiar pieces.

Isabel had been in the congregation when Mike and I were in the choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus on Sunday and she felt that we had done a good job so that was very heartening.

As I left Isabel’s it was raining but once again it was in a very desultory manner and I fear that watering will be needed again tomorrow. After I had written that last sentence, I went out into the garden to see if it was still raining.  The rain had stopped but the garden smelled moist and delicious.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch at feeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my eldest sister Susan, an inveterate traveller, who has just come back from Italy.  She saw this handsome church door in Ortesi in the Dolomites.

ortesi door

Like King Lear, I was going to do such things today but also like the King, I didn’t know what they were so in the end, I didn’t do them.  Instead, I took a leaf out of Brer Terrapin’s book and did a lot of lounging about and suffering.

The lounging was serious but the suffering was very slight and was greatly alleviated by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee bearing the traditional Friday treacle scones.

I had done some watering and weeding before he arrived and I did some more afterwards and as always looked at the flowers as I went along.

The first sweet peas are out…

sweet peas

…and ever more lilies appear each day.

lily

Mrs Tootlepedal planted two new roses this year and I saw that one was looking rather dry and droopy a day or two ago so I have watered it carefully and it was looking much more cheerful today.

rose Fru Dagmar Hastrup

The Queen of Denmark has responded to some water too.

Queen of Denmark

And the Common Riding rose is just sensational without any water at all.

rose excelsa

The camera simply can’t do its luxuriant growth justice at all.

While I was having coffee with Dropscone, the phone rang and a mystery voice asked if I was Tom.  I admitted to this and the voice said my wife was having trouble with her mobile phone and since I was the account  holder, he wanted to ask me a few security questions.   This was so obviously a scam that I put the phone down without saying any more.

A moment or two later, Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say it wasn’t a scam and she was having trouble with her phone and I was the account holder for it.  I checked for a reputable number for the phone company, rang it, got a really helpful human on the line with minimum delay, talked the problem through and solved it within minutes.   The shock of getting a sensible and prompt  corporate response was so great that I had to have a sit down to recover.

Then  I watched birds for a bit.

A greenfinch arrived to take advantage of the sunflower seeds.

greenfinch

Greenfinches are a lot bigger than siskins but don’t always get their own way.

siskin and greenfinch

On the ground below the feeder, a blackbird with an elegant grey feather was finding its own food.

blackbird with grey

I had lunch and thought of a walk or a bike ride but actually did some more lounging instead and had to suffer by sitting through much of a Tour de France stage and two simultaneously  never ending tennis matches from Wimbledon.

Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say that although her phone was working, now she was having trouble reading her emails on her tablet although she was properly connected to her brother’s internet router.  This was a puzzle.

I popped out from time to time to do more watering and weeding and dead heading too.

The melancholy thistle is looking more  cheerful every day…

melancholy thistle

..and looming over it, is the prettiest sunflower that I have ever seen.

tall sunflower

In the vegetable garden Mrs Tootlepedal has planted many small sunflowers and they are blooming freely with a great heap of honeysuckle on the fence behind them.

sunflowers and honeysuckle

Also in the veg garden, the French marigolds are thriving and time will tell whether they have helped to keep the carrot root flies of the carrots.  I thinned out a test carrot the other day and it looked straight, clean and promising…

french marigold

…but it was rather small still.

A new potentilla has come out.

new potentilla

In the course of time, I dug up another potato, picked lettuce, peas, beans and gooseberries and a large turnip for my evening meal.

broad beans

There are many more beanfeasts in store

The turnip was so large that I cut it in two and gave half to Mike and Alison when they came round in the evening for their customary Friday night visit.  Alison and I enjoyed some good playing of sonatas by old English masters while Mike, in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal to talk to, watched the tennis.

I had further talk with Mrs Tootlepedal on the matter of her internet connection and suggested that although she was connected to the router, maybe the router was not connected to the internet.  This turned out to be the case and the problem was solved by the time honoured method of turning the router off and then on again.  I wish all problems were as simply solved as Mrs Tootlepedal’s technical glitches were today.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Friday night orchestra, Alison, who recently visited Caerlaverock Castle with her granddaughter (and got served in the cafe).

caerlaverock castle Alison

I was mugged by the weather today.  It was generally cloudy but still very warm and with no wind about, it felt very airless and close.  I noticed that as I sat down to write this post in what should have been the cool of the evening, our local weather station was saying the the temperature was 70°F and was feeling like 78°F.  That summed up the day well.

I filled the feeder at breakfast time and watched the birds for a while.  There was a steady demand for seed.

flying sparrow

Later in the day, we were visited by a collared dove looking quite smart…

collared dove

…and a blue tit, looking decidedly scruffy.

blue tit

I did a little early watering after breakfast and also took a look at the flowers.

The Wren and Lilian Austin roses have been hanging in very delightful bunches this year…

rose Wren

…and it dawned on me that this is a by product of having had no rain.

rose Lilian Austin

Usually by now, any fragile heads would have been pummelled to the ground by our standard summer rain showers.

Some roses are always clumpy and Bobbie James is one of those.

rose Bobbie James

The Ginger Syllabub rose doesn’t look very ginger but it does have pretty pink fringes.

ginger syllabub

The poppies are thriving and were working in pairs today.

white and red poppies

pink poppies

I had to work hard to find a poppy which didn’t have a bee on it.

These tiny little white flowers don’t seem to mind the dry conditions…

little white flower

…but in Mrs Tootlepedal’s absence, I can’t tell your their name.

 

I put down the camera and the watering can and went off to sing with the church choir but as there were only six of us there (there were road closures in the town which made getting to church tricky), we didn’t add a lot to the service.

When I got home, I spent an hour pottering around the garden doing useful tasks and taking a couple of pictures.  I picked all the blackcurrants left on our bush but it only came to a very small pile.

The Martagon lilies have gone over but fortunately other lilies are available…

lily

…and the hostas are flowering furiously.

hosta flower

This burst of activity pretty well finished me for the day as I had to go in and sit in a darkened room.   Because the house has got pretty warm too, this was not as much help as it might have been.

I picked some beetroot and a lettuce and dug up a potato and had a very healthy home grown vegetarian lunch before collapsing and watching almost the whole of a Tour de France stage, falling asleep from time to time.

When it was over, I staggered out into the garden and did some more watering and mowed the middle lawn.

The growth of grass on the lawn was very variable but in places it had defied the dry weather and grown vigorously and in other places weeds were shooting up too so the lawn needed trimming just to stop it getting out of hand.

I was very interested to see this little burst of colour…

flowers in lawn

…in the middle of the lawn after I had mowed it.  Talk about lying low. I try not to use weedkiller on the lawn as it means that you always have to use the box while cutting and composting the mowings is a problem.

I checked on the Queen of Denmark and found that she is well….

rose Queen of Denmark

…and while I was passing the cotoneaster, I noticed a young blackbird lurking on a branch deep within the bush.

young blackbird

I was watering the carrots when I saw this handsome flower beside the carrot bed.  I wondered if it had arrived by chance…

french marigold

…but talking to Mrs Tootlepedal on the phone later in the evening, I learned that it is a French marigold and it was planted on purpose as it is supposed to deter the carrot root fly.

I found a silver pear on my little pear tree…

silver pear

…but I haven’t been visited by the Queen of  Spain’s daughter.

I took another wider view.  This is one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new beds this year, made by remodelling the lawn a bit.

P1120130

The bright red flowers that you can see are miniature nicotiana.

nicotiana

Our local council, instead of mending potholes, sometimes puts white lines round them.  I wonder if they got the idea from these flowers.

I picked some peas and beans and dug another potato as a gift for our neighbour Irving and then went in to have home made fish and chips (with beans) for my tea.  Irving rang up later to say that Libby and he had had some of the potatoes for their tea and found them very good.

With Mrs Tootlepedal away at the moment, we definitely have more veg than I can eat on my own so it was good to find an appreciative home for some of the surplus.

We are promised a cooler day or two before the temperatures rise again and there is some wild talk of a millimetre or two of rain later in the week.  It will be most welcome if it actually arrives.

I did find a genuine flying bird of the day today as a chaffinch squeezed between the feeder and the pole.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a bit belated as Venetia has been back from Madeira for some time but I found that I had overlooked this picture she took of a slightly strange statue in Funchal, possibly Madeira’s answer to King Knut.

madeira King Knut

There was a lot of excitement here today as enormous machines threatened the well being of our new bridge…

digging out the dam 2

…but negotiated the narrow gap beside the bridge successfully in the end.

The tractor and trailer were there to collect the mud that was being scraped away from the banks of the dam by a skilled digger  operator…

digging out the dam

…as the dam was being cleared of years of neglect.

Our bit of the dam was untouched as it has been well looked after by Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Kenny who has done a power of work to keep it clean and clear.

I crossed over the bridge while the tractor was at work and went to the monthly producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre where I was able to procure five different sorts of cheese together with some fish and meat.

Back home again, I did some watering and some weeding.  It is becoming apparent to me how much weeding Mrs Tootlepedal does as she goes about the garden.  I have to be careful as I can’t always tell the difference between a weed and a valuable plant  but I am pulling up the weeds I recognise.

I did find time to take a picture or two.

The clematis at the front door is not showy but it persistent and new flowers keep coming out.

front door clematis

I promised you phlocks of flox and here they are.

white phloxpink phloxpurple phlox

They will add some welcome colour to the garden.

Not that there isn’t some colour there already.  New poppies keep popping up…

poppy

…and the tropaeolum is running riot in the yew.

tropaeolum

For sheer numbers of flowers, the spirea are probably in the lead at the moment both in very dense clusters on one bush…

spirea 1

…and slightly more spread out on another.

spirea 2

I took some wider shots as well.

This is the bottom arch in the fence between the veg garden and the middle lawn

bottom arch

You can see white philadelphus, pink Sweet Williams and purple foxglove through the arch…and just a glimpse of the Oooh La la clematis on the right.

The Common Riding rose grows over the arch and on the fence behind the drying green.

rose excelsa

This is the fence seen from the lawn side.  The first white rose is Goldfinch and the one further along is Bobbie James.

bench area

It was very warm again so I had a quiet morning and after lunch, I watched a bit of the first stage of the Tour de France.

Inspired by this, I got out my new bike and set off down the main road to the south.  My belief was that most of the world would be watching football on the telly and so the roads might be pretty quiet.

My faith was not misplaced.

brampton road….and after twenty quiet and flat miles, my new bike had a rest on a well used bench..

newtown bench

…while I had a drink of water and a date or two.

I found of shot of the fairly speedy bike at the same bench in 2013.

bike at Newtown

It was December and the sun was shining then too

It was quite windy which was a bonus as it kept me relatively cool but it did make bicycling a bit of a battle and for one reason or another, possibly the heat, my legs gave out on the way home and I had to settle for a slow ride back with a rest break to enjoy the bridge at Longtown on the way.

Longtown bridge

Even with soggy legs, I enjoyed the ride and I had enough energy left to do some more watering and pick some peas and beans  for my tea.

I had hoped to get home without finding out the score in the big football match but a helpful fellow having a smoke outside the pub in Smithfield told me that England were two nil up as I went past and a cheery gang of drinkers outside the pub on my way back indicated that they had held on to win.

Everyone is pleasantly surprised.

The flower of the day is a rose mallow, new to the garden this year and a very striking plant.

rose mallow

It offers an optical conundrum: are the green bits in front of or behind the petals?

 

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