finally …

After several chilly and very windy days, this afternoon was very pleasant with blue skies and warmish breezes. I managed a decent walk, rather than a hurried pavement scamper! Down to the bridge at Merrimans Hill, where I ran into Matt Jenkins for a pleasant chat. Then up the towpath to bridge 14, and up the hill to home.

All told, just under two miles – the furthest I’ve been for a week.

bridge 14 on the canal

garden bits

This morning’s opening (well, actually, it opened in the dusk last night) a white Iris in the pond. Sadly, there only seems to be one flower-spike this year: I think I need to do a sort-out of the assorted plants this autumn, as it’s all rather crowded. I’ll hack back the very vigorous mimulus before then, of course!

Also just opening this morning, the very lovely Wandflower (dierama “Blackbird”). It’s a delight to watch dancing in the breeze – a bit less of a delight trying to get it to stay still enough for a photo!

Scorchingly hot all day – well over 30C. I managed a short walk of a mile after supper, starting around 2100h, just down to the canal bridge and back again. A glorious sunset, but difficult to see through tree and building – this is over the roof of St Barnabas primary school.

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Black Lives Matter

A good attendance at the Black Lives Matter socially-distanced largely-masked peaceful and responsible rally this lunchtime. Due to distancing, the crowd was very spread out, so difficult to estimate numbers, but I think more than the 700 the organisers said they were hoping for.

The first time I’ve been on the e-bike, or into town, since 13th March – exactly three months. The tyres needed a lot of pumping up, but otherwise fine!

Back home, and in the evening the first handful of raspberries – there will be bowlsfull in a few days! Bulked out with some strawberries (I don’t grow enough strawberries to ever give a full bowl – I normally just munch the odd one when going round the garden).

Black Lives Matter on the Pitchcroft


raspberries and strawberries

swan family

Due to my unexpected trip to WRH, I hadn’t managed much in the way of walking for a week. On Tuesday, I got as far as the Bilford Road locks, and noticed that the swans nest was devoid of swans, but had been taken over by a couple of rather shifty-looking ducks. I kinda hoped that that meant a successful hatching, rather than interference.

Today’s rather longer walk (2.34 miles) took me past there again, and down to Gregorys Mill top lock, where I encountered this delightful family. I’m pretty sure it’s the same lot – I haven’t seen any other swan nests in the area. Three gorgeous little fluffy cygnets – one hiding behind a parent.

ducks on swans nest


swan family

garden bits, and a short stroll

In the garden, the first raspberries are colouring up – I should get a few to snack on shortly, and a decent bowlful by next weekend.

Out of the garden, I don’t normally do walks that are just on street pavements – I usually like to see a bit of greenery and wildlife! But taking it very easy after last week’s hospital trip, so planned a route where if things got dodgy I could stop and ring for a cab! As close to level as possible round here, and almost exactly a mile (in 22 minutes). I wouldn’t have wanted to go much further …

raspberry in close-up


map of route


Just over two mile walk this evening. The first of the yellow flags have just started opening – on the other side of the canal, so rather a struggle for the little camera! It only does 4x zoom, but it’s the one I usually take on walks ‘cos it fits in a shirt pocket, is “waterproof”, and does excellent closeups for flowers.

yellow flags (irises)

assorted flower things

The little geraniums (cranesbills, not pelargoniums) are now in full flower. The pale one is the “pencilled geranium” (g. versicolour), and I think the darker one is a cultivar of the “Bloody Cranesbill” (g. sanguineum). Excellent plants, which go on flowering for most of the summer … though they do get out of hand and need trimmed back towards the end of the season.

I spent the afternoon taking down the overgrown rosemary “Miss Jessop”, now that the flowers are over and it was no longer covered in bees. Hopefully, that will make the herb bed more useful. There’s a replacement “Miss Jessop” already installed in a half barrel, in which I’ve also planted parsley.

Not a very long walk today: 1.69 miles, – just down Merrimans Hill to the canal, and back up the footpath from Gregorys Bank top lock. I was too tired after an active afternoon gardening!

I was delighted to see the dog roses are starting to come out – they were in tight bud when I passed this way 3 or 4 days ago.

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early evening walk

After a bright start to the day, it got very cloudy and windy by 1000h, so I was mainly indoors! It did clear up around teatime, and I managed a walk of 2.53 miles – probably the longest this year. Down to the canal, via footpath to Gregorys Mill top lock, then up the towpath to Bilford Road, then over the path by the playing fields, crossing at Bridge 16, back to the Bilford Road, then along the side of the recycling centre and so to home. I don’t feel as exhausted as I did after the 2.49 mile walk yesterday.

satellite route map

fig, and evening walk

The Brown Turkey fig tree had little green marbles of figlets on it over the winter. Come spring, they’ve swollen to pullet-egg size, and are showing distinct signs of becoming fig-like.

It’s the first time I’ve grown a fig (this is its third summer here), and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.

After doing bits to the back loo project (painting doorframe, oiling doors etc) I had a glorious early-evening stroll down to the canal and along the towpath – everything looks so alive at this time of year! Honeysuckle is now out: this is between Gregory’s Mill Bottom Lock and the corrwsponding Top Lock … looks fantastic, but is rather hayfever-inducing to walk past.

three growing figs


canal in sunshine below Bridge 13


honeysuckle flowers