Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Ribbit, Ribbit. Admiring the flowers

I was reading Brookend Cottage’s blog about her garden, and her daughter’s sunflowers, and it reminded me of this little story.

We’d been to a ‘pick-your-own’ sunflower field near us.  It was amazing to walk through a whole field of taller-than-me flowers.  We picked a bunch for my mum’s birthday.  As it was quite warm, I left them on the back doorstep overnight.  In the morning, I had a surprise…

frog on sunflower

On our back doorstep – a frog sitting on a sunflower!

Well, that was three years ago, but it seemed a pity not to share the picture.

Today’s flowers are some late sweet-peas – I thought they’d all finished a while ago, but these are still hanging on and smelling divine. Our Gertrude Jekyll rose is having a second flush of flowers too – another good flower for sniffing.

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas and an aster

Gertrude Jekyll rose

Gertrude Jekyll rose – she has a bit of black spot, but smells wonderful


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Watching a half-marathon with a hosepipe

Two posts today as I’ve lapsed a bit.  [Or maybe not – the first one, about blue potatoes, has disappeared twice – and has now reappeared – maybe I had too many windows open at once and confused it?]

Today a half-marathon went right past my front door, so I went out to cheer them on. We’re about 3/4 of the way round, just before a big hill towards the end. It was hot, hot, hot, and I was very glad I wasn’t involved in it (though a teensy-weensy bit of me did think maybe, one day – if it wasn’t so hot…) Even a 5k would have been really tough.  I had to keep moving into the shade just standing watching.

When about half of them had gone past, a neighbour commented that someone further through the village had a hosepipe out, so the runners could run through the spray. I’d been thinking about doing that anyway, as I remembered reading about a 5k run in America that some friends on the NHS couch to 5k site had done, and how they’d found it really helpful.  (I’d put a link to NHS c25k, but the site has just had an ‘upgrade’ and has been very temperamental and today appears to not be working at all.)

So, out came the hosepipe, and the runners seemed very happy to see it.  Several slowed down to savour it all the more!  The garden got well watered in gaps between runners. I was a bit wary about distracting motorists, or distracting runners into the path of vehicles, so was very careful (I had my H&S head on all the time!) One driver in a very shiny posh red car clearly didn’t want his car to have water droplets on it, and slowed down pointedly, with a very grumpy expression. Tempting to soak him, but I resisted it. 😀

The roses are wonderful at the moment, so here are a few of them, in the ‘meadow’ corner of the garden (hence long messy grass…)

Rambling roses

Rambling roses


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Riverside walk

Really summery day today, so I went for a walk in the nature reserve near where I work. It’s on the edge of a town, but feels really rural. I was moving very slowly, stopping to look at things and take photos, and really enjoyed myself. I probably walked a couple of miles – haven’t downloaded the Garmin route yet, and maybe I won’t bother, as I’m not all that concerned how far I went. I was on my feet and moving for over two hours, so even it if wasn’t very energetic, it was good activity.

Here’s a beautiful beetle – maybe it’ll convert some beetle-haters? 🙂

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle on Cow Parsley

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle, Pyrochroa serraticornis

I spent a long time trying to get decent photos of a pair of birds that I’d seen earlier in the week.  They were birds of prey, flying over the reed pools, but not easy to catch them in motion!  I put the earlier pictures online, and several people said they thought they were probably Hobbies, which I’ve never seen before, so I really wanted to see them better, to check that’s what they were.  Well, I did see them again, which was fortunate, and I took my binoculars, and could see the reddish ‘trousers’ and the face markings, but didn’t manage to get a clear photo.  This was about the best I got (I must have taken fifty or more!)  It’s been zoomed in from a larger picture.

Hobby flying over reedbed pools

Hobby flying over reedbed pools

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Bird’s-foot Trefoil, or Bacon and Eggs, Lotus corniculatus

Mute Swan with five babies

Mute Swan with five babies

Baby Coot

Not such a cute Coot – I know all mums love their babies, but maybe a bit of a challenge to adore this!

thorns on wild rose

Thorns on wild rose

Some day soon, maybe, I’ll figure out how to lay out the photos the way I want them. It’s really annoying when they jump all over the place, especially as I spent several years as a publishing specialist, doing page layout for a computer company… But I don’t want to waste time on it at the moment, so it will just have to do. Grrrrrrrrrr!

Edit- missed my damselfly.

Azure Damselfly

Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella


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Cycling along country lanes

Another day of garden bioblitz.  Seven frogs seen in our tiny pond all at once.  Here’s one peeping out under a lily pad.

Frog under water-lily

I decided to cycle today, as my foot still feels a bit bruised from all the jumping in the Jillian Michaels shred!  About 40 minutes along country lanes, seeing hawthorn, cow parsley, buttercups and red campion in flower, and I spotted an Orange-tip and two Brimstone butterflies too.  Lovely.  I didn’t have my camera with me though.  Cycled just over 10 km in 40 minutes.  It was lovely in the sunshine.

This Burnet Rose (Rosa spinosissima or Rosa pimpinellifolia) is in full flower in our garden and is beautifully scented.   Later on it has black hips.

Burnet Rose