Posts Tagged ‘Ruthwell Church’

Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal.  She took it at the flower show in Birmingham which she went to with our daughter last month.

Gardener's World flower show

The plan for today was to leap up early, jump on the bike and get a good distance in before the forecast rain arrived and the wind got up.

It was a good plan and started well.  I leapt out of bed good and early and had breakfast but then things went a bit pear shaped.  I  footled around, finally got ready to pedal and just as I was going out, it started to rain.  I went in and did the crossword until the rain stopped and then got going.  It was still only half past nine but this was a lot later than the plan.

As a result of the late start, the wind was blowing in my face as I pedalled up the Wauchope road and although the view behind me looked sunny enough, the view ahead was ominously cloudy.

cloudy day

The sunshine lasted well though and it was still a very pleasant day for cycling as I got near to Ecclefechan…

road to Ecclefechan

…though the sky ahead looked very grey.

My route passed through fields of grass being cut for silage…

Silage field

…and I was able to laugh in the face of grey clouds ahead as I was headed for the Art Café at Dalton Pottery where I could stop for refreshment and allow any passing shower to pass.

Ah, but the best laid schemes o’ mice and men…

Art cafe sign

…Gang aft agley.

There was nothing for it but to pedal on.  The roads as I headed down to the Solway shore were damp so at least I had missed one of the showers.  Instead of the Art Café, I visited the church at Ruthwell for my lunch.

Ruthwell Church

It has an eight century Anglo-Saxon cross inside but the doors were locked so I couldn’t look at it.  Instead, I took advantage of the steps laid into the kirkyard wall, a relic of the time when the minister was allowed to graze his sheep among the graves, and sat on one of the steps to eat my tuna roll.

Ruthwell Church

The was plenty of blue sky about but plenty of damp roads too and occasional drizzle.  I managed to avoid the heavy showers until one caught me out near Half Morton Church.  This church too has steps in the wall but it also had a very fine tree under which I sheltered while heavy rain lashed down.

Half Morton Church

It was all the more annoying to see blue sky a few hundred yards away.  In the event, the rain didn’t last long so I put on my rain jacket to discourage any more showers and pedalled home.

I was a bit short of nourishment as my plan had been to pedal down to Gretna and sample the egg and chips at the Old Toll House there.  The sight of heavy showers on all sides persuaded me that the shortest route home might be the best so I missed the meal.

If I hadn’t stopped to take a picture of a fine crop of lesser knapweed beside the old A7…

lesser knapweed

…both in colour and black and white….

lesser knapweed

…I might have got home dry but as it was, I caught a sharp shower just as I came through Langholm.  Considering how many miles of damp road I had pedalled over on my way back, I had been very lucky though.

Full of sympathy at my lack of egg and chips at Gretna, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cooked me some fried eggs and fried bread when I got in.    Fortified by these, I finished the crossword and settled down to watch another exciting stage of the Tour de France.

The sun came out as the race ended so I thought that it would be a pity not to go for a short walk and set off on my favourite brief tour of the Kiln Green and the Castleholm, ideal for a day when the weather might close in.

As I walked along the Esk, I could hardly hear myself think for the raucous shrieks of oyster catchers.  There were five of them all in full voice.  I assumed that they were a family.  Two were standing quietly, perhaps parents…

oyster catcher

…and three were scooting up and down the beach, beaks agape and screeching like banshees.

oyster catchers

I thought at first that they were finding something to eat but it didn’t seem as though they were picking up anything with their beaks.  I don’t know what was going on.

Ignoring the racket, a pied wagtail skipped about the rocks.


Although the sun was out as I crossed the town bridge, everything in the garden was not exactly promising…

Black clouds

…and there were threatening clouds on all sides.

I increased my pace and only took a few pictures as I went.

Giant hogweed and noble fir cone

There was giant hogweed (taller then me) and a noble fir cone on the Castleholm

blade of grass and fungus

There was a blade of grass and tiny fungi too

The blade of grass of grass is not terribly exciting but I had plenty of time to look at it while I was sheltering beside it under a handy tree as another sharp shower passed over.

I met two occasional blog readers on my walk, one walking her dog and the other walking her sister.  The dog was very fine but the sister was even finer as she had appeared in a guest picture of the day last month, having cycled up to the top of Mount Ventoux.  It was a privilege to shake her hand.

She will have done better than the Tour de France cyclists as the wind is so strong that their stage tomorrow, which should have finished on the summit, has been curtailed.  She was not surprised though, as she told me that the wind had been so strong on her ride that she had feared that she might be blown off her bike.

I got home dry in the end, much to Mrs Tootlepedal’s disbelief as she had noticed a couple of showers while I was out and we walked round the garden.

poppy, hosta, geraniums and daisies

I was just making a cup of tea when we were visited by Mike and Alison and their grandchildren.  The children are spending some time with their grandparents while their mother is off playing with her local wind band in Germany. They were delighted to spot a tadpole or two in our pond.

When they left, I picked enough strawberries and gooseberries to make a light supper and then went back in.

The flower of the day is a pink poppy.  It was a bit battered by the showers but at least it wasn’t another red one.

pink poppy

And the flying bird of the day is a distant gull at the Kilngreen, catching the sun against a grey and cloudy sky.


Details of the bike ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 13 July 2016

I see on the news that Mrs May, our new UK prime minister, has made Boris Johnson foreign secretary (or minister of foreign affairs as my unkind younger son pointed out) and so once again political satire is dead as nothing could possibly be more absurd than this.

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Today’s guest picture comes from the world’s greatest baby’s other grandfather.  Matilda is requesting some more demanding mental arithmetic and her mother is trying to think of a suitable question.

matildaI didn’t have to think what to do today as it was perfect for cycling and I had nothing on my calendar to do instead.  I should have thought a bit more carefully before setting out though as I forgot to take my asthma puffers and as a result found my pedal a bit harder than it should have been.  I realised after about two miles that I hadn’t taken them but I was too lazy to go back so the harder work served me right.

garmin route 29 Sept 14Still, it was a good day out, with light winds and a well chosen easy 55 mile ride.  I even managed to find a short section of back road near Clarencefield that I hadn’t cycled down before so that was a bonus.

I had Pocketcam with me and stopped to take the occasional picture as I went round but my legs were in a recalcitrant mood and started arguing if I got off and on the bike too often so I didn’t take as many as I would have liked.  I even managed to cross the river Annan at Hoddom without taking a picture of the bridge there, which I think is a first for me.

Here are some that I took.

trees near Hoddom

I had to pass through an autumnal tunnel of trees near Hoddom

Hoddom Castle

I visited Hoddom castle

Hoddom Castle

It has a tea room attached where I had an indifferent cup of coffee.

Hoddom Castle

It also has some very curiously shaped cabins

I had stopped for coffee at Hoddom because I didn’t know whether the pottery and art cafe at Dalton, which has good coffee,  would be open.  It was but I passed by, pausing to wave at their picturesque cow.

art cafe DaltonI stopped at the church at Ruthwell….

ruthwell church…where I was hoping to go in and look at the 8th century Anglo-Saxon Ruthwell Cross  but the door was locked and I didn’t have the energy to go and ask for the key so I cycled on.

I stopped for my lunch on a handy bridge parapet near Cummertrees.

lunchThe holly bush beside the bridge looks as though it may be in demand around Christmas time.


…if it hasn’t come too early.

My final stop was too admire a touch of autumn beside the A7 a few miles from home.

autumn on the A7When I got home, I was surprised to find Mrs Tootlepedal busy in the garden.

To lend her a hand, I sieved a barrowful of compost after I had had my shower.  Sieving compost is even more fun than turning it.

I should have mowed a lawn or two but I wasn’t up to it mentally or physically and had a wander round the garden with my camera instead.

shirley poppy

Attila the gardener is rooting up the poppies as they fade but there are still some good ones left.

And plenty of bees and hoverflies too

insectsThe rambler rose came out today to join the Wren.


virginia creeper

The virginia creeper is nearly at its peak.


Two sorts of pink

The birds are very scarce at the moment so I took a perching chaffinch just in case I couldn’t catch one in flight.

perching chaffinchI did manage to catch a flying bee near the delphinium.

flying beeIn the evening, I added some tootling to my earlier pedalling.  First my flute pupil Luke came and we had a good lesson and then I took my new flute up to play with Mike and Isabel after tea.  It is so much easier to blow than my old flute that I was able to play for much longer before falling off my chair.  This was very was gratifying.   I am really motivated to practise seriously but being motivated and actually doing it are not quite the same. We shall see.

After playing, we had some discussion about the absence of birds.  Isabel has also noticed the drop off at her feeder and she puts it down to raptors disturbing the small birds.  This is one possibility that I had thought of too.

I did get a flying chaffinch after a fashion today.


You wait ages for one and then two come along at the same time.

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