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Home and away

Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal, who was away in Edinburgh visiting the WGB.  It shows Matilda in animated discussion with a duck.

Matilda with duckI stayed at home this week, partly because mother and grandmother can manage surprisingly well without my help and partly because we were promised a reasonable day with gentle winds and my cycling mileage has fallen a bit behind schedule.

I haven’t had a ride of above 22 miles all month so I thought that I would get a little further today if I could.  I offered Dropscone the chance of a longer run but he politely declined it and I met him whizzing home from his favourite morning run shortly after I had started out.  I was a bit late setting off as I had to wait for our plumber to finish a job before I went.

The weather looked a bit changeable so I was well waterproofed and was able to laugh in the face of a shower that chose exactly the same moment to start raining as I started pedalling.  It was not long though before I was out of the rain and able to enjoy the scenery….

Wauchope Road….and again not long before the clouds cleared and I had a good spell of pedalling in sunshine.  I was aiming for a three hour journey and hoping to do at least forty miles so I had to keep calm when I only managed 12 miles in the first hour.  This was due to some hills and a breeze in my face so I wasn’t unduly worried.

I stopped to take a picture of the ruined church at Hoddom Cross….

Hoddom Cross…before turning left to head down towards Annan.

Most of our autumn colour this year is coming from beech trees and hedges and I enjoyed this fine hedge on the road to Annan.

Beech hedgeI didn’t go into Annan itself but turned left to go past Chapelcross Power Station.  A substantial body of workers and considerable amounts of money are going into decommissioning this old nuclear power plant but it never seems to have changed as I go past it.   It will be a long and expensive business.

At the top of the hill above Eaglesfield, I paused to admire a rainbow…..which faded away in perfect synchronicity with my withdrawal of the camera from my pocket, leaving just a faint a Cheshire Cat smile behind it by the time that my finger hit the button.

faint rainbowMy route took my down through Kirtlebridge to Kirkpatrick Fleming and thence it was plain sailing with a following wind back home.  It had started to rain in quite a threatening manner near Chapelcross but for once, I managed to get ahead of the rain and got home dry and with time to admire a nice pair of hedges near Canonbie….

beech hedges…and the some bright colour at Knittyholm, just four miles from Langholm.

KnittyholmI arrived home bang on three hours of cycling time (with a little stationary banana eating time added on) and hit my forty mile target too.  In the first hour, hilly and into the wind, I covered 12 miles, in the second hour, less hilly and turning half way through, I covered 13 miles and in the last hour, flat and with a favouring breeze, I managed 16 miles.  I call that good route choice.

Those idly curious about the ride can click on the map for more details.

garmin 24 Oct 14I would have hoped to do more miles in the time but not only was my boiler a bit short of steam today but I can’t put full power through my bad knee any more so I have to be grateful for what I can do.

My friend Sue’s sourdough starter is behaving brilliantly and I was able to have a couple of slices of very tasty bread from the loaf that I made yesterday with home made raspberry jam for my lunch.

I had some time to spare for staring out of the kitchen window after lunch and I did what I should have done more often and put my camera on a tripod and used a wireless remote to fire it off.   I got a triple bonus.  The birds weren’t alarmed by my looming presence at the window, I was able to keep a better eye out for approaching birds than I could if I was peering through the view finder and the camera was a lot steadier than I can hold it.

The results in my opinion made the extra trouble worthwhile.   The first picture was taken while I was still hand holding the camera….

sparrows

A bunch of house sparrows appeared and left soon afterwards.

…but the rest are from the tripod.  Although the light was not very good, I was spoiled for choice of chaffinches.

perching chaffinchchaffinch arrivingchaffinch arrivingchaffinch arrivingflying chaffinchflying chaffinchI put down the remote and walked up to the High Street to pay for my next  bag of bird seed and some Ethiopian coffee.  Both come in big bags but fortunately the 25kg bag of sunflower hearts had been delivered to my door by the time that I got home.  I was able to carry my own coffee.

When I got home, I found a message on my answerphone to ring the hospital and when I did, they told me that they were just organising the theatre list for knee operations and that I should expect to get a date for my proposed new knee before the end of November.  This is both exciting and rather alarming.

In an effort to get nearer a Mediterranean diet, I made a large bowl of mushroom risotto using Arborio rice for my tea.

When Mrs Tootlepedal got home in the evening, she told me that she had met the World’s Greatest Uncle  (our older son Tony) while she was in Edinburgh.  He told her that he had just done four days of jury service in a very distressing case and moreover, that he had been foreman of the jury.  He was pleased that he had been excused further jury service for at least five years as he had not enjoyed doing his duty very much, though he was proud that he had done it.  He couldn’t stop long as he was scurrying around trying to catch up with all the jobs he had missed during the week.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, a female this time, in one of the very few brighter moments of the afternoon.

flying chaffinch

Eyes down

Today’s guest picture shows Queentown’s harbour taken in the evening by my brother Andrew when he visited the town earlier this month..

Queenstown Another windy day discouraged me from going cycling and I was secretly quite pleased as I am going through one of those periods when I am feeling a bit tired.  Doing nothing more strenuous in the morning than entertaining Sandy to a cup of coffee, making some sourdough bread and doing the crossword was just what the doctor ordered.

After lunch though, Sandy and I agreed to go for a short walk as the weather looked a little brighter.  No sooner did we put the phone down than it started to rain so Sandy came down and we put a week of the newspaper index into the database while we waited for the rain to stop.

It did stop and we went to Whitshiels in his car so that we could do one of my favourite short walks.  We were determined to try to use our eyes as much as possible as we pottered up the the hill.

Waterfall

It wasn’t too hard to see this little cascade at the start of our walk.

wild flower

A tiny pink wild flower stood out against the green background.

Moss with raindrops

This spiky moss was sparkling with raindrops.  It is amazing how such small spikes can such large drops of water.

I knew in advance that I might find some interesting lichen and moss on a gate beside the track and I wasn’t disappointed.

gateMy real target were these striking but tiny red dots.  I needed the camera to bring them up to a size that let me see them properly.

lichen

British soldier lichen

There were other items on interest (to me at least) on the way up the track.

fern spores

The underside of a fern

nettle leaf

And a nettle leaf

We went only as far as the top of the track as the fields were soggy and we weren’t wearing heavy boots but when we were there, relentless detective work was rewarded by some fine birch polypores of all ages.

birch polyporesJust how hard they were to find is illustrated by this picture of Sandy searching in vain for them.

Sandy and the polyporesWe were intrigued by a strange growth on some old trees nearby.  Is it a fungus, a lichen, a slime mold?  Surely some knowledgeable reader can help us out here.

Tree growthIt was quite large,  The central coloured section is as a large as a hand.

It wasn’t really a day for taking landscape pictures but I was quite taken by two views which I thought showed the characteristic colours of the hills at this time of year.

Across the EskTimpenWe normally do a circuit and return by the hill road when we do this route but today, in honour of my dicky knee,  we simply retraced our steps back down the track.

We rejoined the track at this leafy corner.

We rejoined the track at this leafy corner.

 Rather soberingly, we saw quite a few interesting things on the way back that we had missed on the way up.

toadstool

How could we have missed this?  Sandy spotted it on the way back.

fungi

And these?  I saw some of these and Sandy saw the others.

The track itself looked more interesting when seen on the way down.

Whitshiels trackAt the bottom, I paused to take a picture of a leaf which the nature writer in my morning paper today had described as ‘unattractive’.

leafPerhaps it is when found in great heaps but it looked very nice to me, lying in solitary splendour.

We were soon back at the main road with half a mile or so to go to get home.

A7I cooked a pan of roast vegetables for my tea.  My daughter, who rang up while I was getting things ready, asked if I was using a Mediterranean vegetable selection.  Sadly, I don’t think that swedes, turnips, carrots and potatoes are Mediterranean but I did put half half a red pepper in it.  And once again, I used very expressive hand gestures while I ate it so I tried my best and I was at least eating a lot of things from our own garden which must be a good thing.

In the evening, Sandy came round again and we went up to the Archive Centre.  We put in an hour and a half of solid work and rewarded ourselves with a glass of wine afterwards.  Interestingly, in light of the current Ebola alarms, the Langholm local authority in 1888 was meeting to discuss the best ways of preventing a smallpox outbreak spreading.

I didn’t spend much time looking at the birds on account of the gloomy weather but by dint of putting the ISO up to a heady 4000, I was (just) able to catch a flying goldfinch of the day.

flying goldfinch

On song

It was a grey and gloomy day today and I needed a very cheerful guest picture.  Matilda kindly assisted by sending me this picture of her teaching her dad how to swim.  He seems to be enjoying it.  She takes her teaching task seriously.

matilda swimmingThe forecast offered Dropscone and me a window of opportunity for a dry cycle ride after breakfast but in the event it was more like a arrow slit than a window and it started raining lightly on us after eleven miles.  Luckily we had just turned and put the wind behind us at this point and light rain is much less of a nuisance if the wind is following you rather than in your face.  The rain was a bit half hearted anyway so we got back dry enough to enjoy our coffee and scones without having to change.

The rest of the day remained mainly dry but very grey and photography was not really among the recommended pastimes.  I did go out into the garden to try to take as many of the remaining flowers as I could. To have such a big choice was a delight this late in the year and is a tribute to the continuing mild weather….though some of the pictured flowers are the very last of the crop.  The list starts with some that are just hanging on.

sweet peas

Sweet peas

Icelandic poppy

Icelandic poppy

Japanese anemone

Japanese anemone

Lamium

Lamium

Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster, not a flower but very colourful

honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

sunflower

Sunflower

Nicotiana

Nicotiana

And continues with the ones doing well.

Sedum

Sedum

Marigold

Marigold

Special Grandma

Special Grandma

Astrantia

Astrantia

FuchsiaAnd ends with a cheat.

Winter Jasmine

Winter Jasmine

I failed to take a decent picture of one of the many nasturtiums that are still out and one or two other flowers defeated me as well.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a walk but I had given my bad knee a bit if a twist, ironically while walking back from a visit to the Heath Centre after coffee, so I stayed in while she went out.  I put the time to good use though by updating the Langholm Walks website which has been a bit neglected.  The Walks Group have produced a very snazzy new pack for their walks with a separate card for each walk and an OS map extract printed on the back of each card.

The walks are well used by people who come to the town especially to try them and must have brought quite a bit of business to the High Street over the years since they were started.  I noticed that the photo page of the website was rather outdated and needs to be redesigned.  The pictures are quite old too and  when I get my new knee, I hope that I will be able to get about some of the walks and take some fresh photos.  If any local reader has some good ones taken recently, I would welcome a contribution to the page.

It was really too grey to take pictures of the birds and they weren’t very co-operative either.

chaffinch

Either turning their backs to the camera…

Goldfinch

…or arriving too early for me.

If I did get one in the right place, it was raining and gloomy.

chaffinchIn the evening, we went off to a practice for our local choir, Langholm Sings.  It was better organised than usual and we did a lot of work on a new medley of well known Great War songs.  As with anything new though, there was a lot to learn and we were far from having mastered it by the end of the evening. Home study is required.

At the end of the practice, our choirmaster, who has not been at all well lately, announced that he was giving up his post.  It was quite a relief to us in a way, as it was obvious that trying to get us to sing properly was getting to be too much for him and we were fearing for his health.  Happily, he is still going to come and sing with us which will be a bonus.

The flying bird of the day was another one that was too quick for me.  It was only still flying because some avian hooligan had knocked one of the perches off the feeder but it was the best that I could do.

goldfinch

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone, who took it with his phone while going along a local bike path.  It reflects exactly how much care and respect our council has for this path.

bike pathI surpassed myself today by doing absolutely nothing before lunch except a little flute practice.  In my defence, there was a very stiff breeze blowing outside which would have made cycling hard work if not actually hazardous and as it was coming from the north, it was decidedly chilly as well.   On the plus side, it was cheerfully sunny so it was very pleasant to be able to watch the birds.

The wind made life hard for them too.  Check out the bird landing on the top left feeder perch.

busy feeder crash landingOuch.  You don’t often see a complete missed landing like that.

Not all our goldfinches were well turned out.

scruffy goldfinchNow the leaves are beginning to come of the plum tree, I can see the chaffinches perching there more clearly.

chaffinches perching in plum treeI did take a walk round the garden.  It really was windy….

grass…but I managed to find a few survivors in sheltered spots.

daisy, pansy and petuniaAfter lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was in a mood for action and I thought that the sunshine was too good to waste, so we muffled up well and went for a walk.

Our route took us up on to the lower slopes of Meikleholm Hill.  Once we had passed through the tunnel…

Meikleholm tunnel…we could look back.  We had just avoided a rain shower.

rain showerOr rather, it had just missed us.

I scanned the golf course but there was no sign of Dropscone.

golf courseAs we walked further up the hill, the town began to sink below the hills.

LangholmI could see the impressive old mill building at the far edge of town in which my recorder playing friend Susan slaves away daily to earn a crust of bread.

waveley millsAhead of us, the ridge of Castle Hill stretched out.

Castle HillAnd soon we were looking up the Esk valley towards Potholm.

PotholmOnce again, I was blown away by how quickly the hills round Langholm let you get up amongst the good views and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed our walk along the hill before we dropped back down onto the road to walk home.

As we went down the hill, Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some very traditional toadstools on a bank beside the track.

There were other varieties nearby but I was struggling to keep my footing on the steep bank and hold the camera steady at the same time so you will just have to take my word for that.

toadstools

There was another set a little further down the track.  I shot these with a longer lens from a level surface below!

toadstools

The Amanita muscaria are obviously popular with some local animal as they were well nibbled.

When we got to Holmwood, Mrs Tootlepedal opted for the direct route home while I took a little diversion across the Castleholm.   I thought that the sunny weather might be the last for a few days.   I walked down through the woods…

Holmwood…crossed the river and got to the Lodge Walks.  It is compulsory to take an autumn picture of the Lodge Walks if you are carrying a camera.

Lodge walksI walked on across the Kilngreen and got a cheerful wave from Mr Grumpy but left him unshot on this occasion as I wanted space for some views.

Looking up the esk

Looking up the Esk

Langholm Bridge

Langholm Bridge, looking into the late afternoon sun…

Langholm Bridge

…and looking back from the other side.

I was quite ready for a cup of tea and two biscuits when I got home.

Already the sun is quite low in the sky by four o’clock and by next week it will be even lower, as the clocks go back this weekend.  I will have to get organised and look sharp, if I want to take pictures after lunch then.

In the evening, Susan took me to Carlisle and we enjoyed a good evening of recorder playing with our group.  In various forms the members of the group have been playing together for the best part of thirty five years now and we are hoping to get the hang of it soon.  Tonight was one of the nights when we think it might be possible.  The biscuits were first class too.

I managed to duck round the many chaffinches to find a goldfinch as flying bird of the day today.

flying goldfinch

Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent who met these fearsome beasts on a trip to Wallington, a National Trust property near Morpeth.

WallingtonI didn’t take the opportunity to go for a morning pedal with Dropscone today and I am very happy about this as he tells me that he had a ride that can best be described as interesting.  He went round his preferred route for a morning run.  He had to get off and carry his bike over fallen branches, get off his bike and hide in a hedge as a log lorry came past on a single track road, do the same thing again for a milk tanker on the same road, clamp on his brakes in hurry when he met an unexpected car and dodge half a mile of hedge clippings.  It is hard for me to say why he prefers that route.

I took a different line and had a lie in, a late breakfast and a gentle run up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back three times.  This gave me the same distance as Dropscone but a lot less harassment.  It suits me on a windy day as there is little climb, a good deal of shelter and plenty of room for me and any passing traffic. Chacun à son goût as they say.

Although it rained for some of the time that I was out, it was reasonably warm and I was dressed for inclement weather so I didn’t mind.  It stopped about halfway through my trip and I was dry by the time that I got home.

I did have to apply my brakes once when I was getting close to the auld stane brig while homeward bound  on my second lap.  I was delighted to see a deer leap the fence and cross the road a few yards in front of me but surprised when it was followed by another.  I slowed down just in case there was a third and saw two young deer waiting to jump.  Seeing me, they held back and were still munching away beside the fence when I came back on my third lap.  They had disappeared by the time I came past again.  I have occasionally seen a single deer at this point on the road as I think they may cross the road to drink from the river but I have never seen a family before.

The garden was inviting when I got home.

While Crown Princess Margarita was  able to withstand the wind and rain, the late flowering delphinium had been snapped off and lay on the bare soil in a depressed way.

rose and delphiniumWe are getting ever nearer the last poppy but the nasturtiums don’t mind the weather.

poppy and nasturtiumSpecial Grandma positively loves these conditions and is putting out more flowers every day.  In a more modest way, a blue clematis is also thriving.

special grandma clematisThe light was not at all bad by the time that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had had a cup of coffee so after my shower, I went back up the Wauchope road in the car with my cameras.  I had seen some autumn colour when I was biking but I hadn’t taken a camera with me because of the rain.

BlochburnfootThere was a mixture of trees, some already bare, some still green and some turning yellow.

autumn colour up Wauchope

…and coniferous trees as a backdrop

Bull

I won a prize with a picture of this bull at a summer show so I went to congratulate him today.  He was very happy.

bracken

A feeble  sun came out just in time to highlight this river of bracken flowing down the hillside.

blochburnfoot

My favourite ruined cottage is getting ever more dilapidated.

bramble leaf

A bramble leaf offering the most vivid touch of colour that I saw all day.

autumn colour up wauchope

Nearly home.

In between these excursions, I started off a sourdough loaf with my friend Sue’s excellent starter and as that takes some time to appear, I made a fruity malt loaf in the bread machine as well.  While half a loaf is better than no bread, two loaves are definitely better still.

As the weather was holding up well, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took the car a mile or so out of town and went for a short circular walk via Jenny Noble’s Gill and Broomholmshiels.  I snapped away as we went round.

Longwood

Longwood

Oak tree

One of the old oak trees in the wood we walked through.

bracken

The bracken is over for the year

Broomholmshiels

Looking back at the wood when we had left it.

fungus

We kept an eye out for fungus but these were the only ones we saw.

We saw a late thistle and the groundwork being laid for next year's crop beside it/

We saw a very late thistle and the groundwork being laid for next year’s crop beside it.

tup

This magnificent tup gave us a hard stare as we passed.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it might be a Texel and I agree.

cow parsley

We noticed more late flowers, cow parsley in this case,  as we came back down the road.

fern and moss

And my favourite wall was as full of life as ever.

With impeccable timing we arrived home bang on four o’clock. just in time for a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

I had time to look out of the window from time to time during the day.  The feeders were busy and offered a constantly changing cast of characters.

feeder

I very much like the greenfinch auditioning for the part of Homer Simpson in the left hand frame.

A chaffinch and a greenfinch bring a very different attitude to posing.

chaffinch and greenfinchWe are promised strong winds tomorrow as part of the second hand hurricane Gonzalo which the Americans have kindly posted on to us so it was extra pleasing to have got a good day today.   That accounts for the above ration numbers of pictures today for which I apologise. I know that readers are busy people.

I had a visit from my flute pupil Luke in the evening and we are still battling to install that mental metronome in his head while he plays.  He has started practising some grade three pieces which will be well within his capability.

To round off a good day, the sourdough loaf, made using a banneton, came out of the oven almost perfectly.

Once again, a chaffinch has pipped all others to the coveted title of flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Doing even less

My brother Andrew visited Queenstown and Kinloch in the South Island of NZ earlier in the month.  This picture shows the famous paddle steamer Earnslaw, returning from Walter Peak farm, viewed from his motel balcony.

The famous paddlesteamer Earnslaw, returning from Walter Peak farm, viewed from my motel balconyIf yesterday’s activity could be described as slow, today’s was glacial, although it did contain some cooking.  Appropriately enough, the main dish of the day was made using the slow cooker, ideal for a Sunday when we come back from our Carlisle choir practice ready for a meal but happy not to have to cook it there and then.

This was another go at a lamb tagine and I moved up a class by adding some saffron tails to the mix, something that I have never used in cooking before.  I couldn’t recognise them when it came to eating the stew as I don’t know what they taste like but just knowing that they were there made the whole thing a superior gastronomic experience.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone to church to sing in the choir while I was cooking and I was still in my dressing gown when Dropscone dropped in.  He had gone up to play golf in the Winter Competition.  He is an enthusiast and had been rather surprised that gales and rain had discouraged anyone else from coming to play with him.  I consoled him with a cup of coffee and scanned in and printed out a picture of him in a rugby team in the 1960s which he had brought round.  He looks not too bad nowadays but he definitely looked tall and handsome then.

After he left,  I took a look out of the kitchen window for a short while.

goldfinch

A goldfinch and greenfinch look on in shocked disapproval at the bad behaviour on the lower perches.

goldfinch

A chaffinch is made of sterner stuff and doesn’t respond to provocation.

Then  I retired for a relaxing bath.  I emerged in time for lunch and  a quick walk round the garden as the rain had stopped.

The marigolds cheered up a gloomy day.

marigold _DSC4059The other plants had their heads bowed under the twin onslaught of wind and rain so I soon went back inside.

I caught a glimpse of a robin in a bush….

robin…and after a quick word with its agent, it agreed to pop out for a pose.

robinThen it was time to go to Carlisle for our choir.  The forecast was miserable and the weather was horrible so I didn’t bother to put a camera in the car which I often do “just in case”.

The practice was very good as the musical director worked us hard in preparation for forthcoming concerts.  The tenors have got two new recruits who can sing well and the musical director said at one point that he had never heard us sound so good.  The rest of the choir broke out in spontaneous applause and we blushed modestly.

There had been a very heavy rainstorm during the practice but by the time we came out, the skies had cleared.  Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a small flock of starlings as we drove through Carlisle and suggested a diversion to Gretna on the way to see if there was any sign of the famous starling murmuration yet.

starlings at Gretna

A shot from last year’s murmaration

There were a few small groups of starlings but not enough to make a murmuration yet. Nevertheless, we weren’t disappointed as there was possibly the best sunset that we had ever seen to be enjoyed instead.  It was a close run thing at one time as to whether I was more delighted by the sunset than I was annoyed that I hadn’t got a camera to hand but on balance, I was just pleased to have seen such a magnificent sight.

The stew turned out fairly well and I rounded off my cooking day by making a dish of baked semolina for our pudding.  My friend Sue had kindly brought a new container of sourdough starter to the choir practice for me, as I had carelessly let mine die and I hope to make some sourdough bread soon.

The rather fuzzy flying bird of a grey day is a goldfinch.

goldfinch

Relaxing

By coincidence, both of my London based sisters sent me pictures of the same art work, ‘The Small Lie’, from the Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park and I was faced with the invidious task of choosing between them for the guest picture of the day.  It felt a bit like the judgement of Paris.  This was my sister Susan’s take.

Frieze show sculptureI had that very rare thing, a good night’s sleep last night and the feeling of relaxed drowsiness with which I woke up coloured my whole day.  My idleness was encouraged by grey skies and a very brisk wind which were combined with a tendencyof the clouds to provide a light drizzle if I ventured out any distance.

As a result, I confined myself mostly to the house with a single walk round the garden in the morning and two quick visits to the town in the afternoon.

The wind has changed from the cool easterlies which have been keeping us mainly dry recently to an unseasonably warm (16°C) and boisterous westerly with the promise of rain.  It was pleasant enough to walk in the garden and the flowers were certainly enjoying the warmth but the brisk wind made taking pictures a bit of a lottery and I had to find flowers in sheltered corners.  There are still a lot of clematis out but they are looking rather part worn now.

clematisclematisSpecial Grandma loves the weather…

Special Grandma…but it too is showing sings of wear.

Special GrandmaThe rose Lilian Austin on the other hand looks as good as it did in mid summer….

Lilian Austin….although this is its only flower.

I was able to take a poppy picture because this plant had completely fallen over and the flower was an inch from the ground.

poppyThere are a few phragments of phlox still hanging on…

phlox…and the honeysuckle is providing some unexpected late colour.

honeysuckleI was so surprised to see a bee on our remaining rambler roses that I took a picture of it although the rose was rocking about….

rambler rose with bee…but the bee was so motionless that I don’t think that it was enjoying life much, if at all.

The flowers in the best condition are the Fuchsias.  This is a successful  cutting from the big bush on the back wall of the house.

fuchsiaMrs Tootlepedal went out after lunch to give a lecture on stumpwork to the local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild as the booked speaker had been unable to come.  She told me that there had been a very good attendance and that she had received kind comments which I could quite believe as her stumpwork is most enjoyable to look at.

While she was out, I walked up to the town (in a shower of rain which started 300 yards after I left the house)  to buy some locally made soap. The soap maker asked if I could supply her shop with some more of our postcards which we sell to raise funds for the Archive Group.  I walked home and then after a decent pause to let the rain go away, I cycled back up with a supply of postcards and combined this with a short shopping trip.  I then cycled home (in some light drizzle) and decided not to go out a again as I was obviously making it rain.

The strong wind and poor light didn’t make for good bird shots so I didn’t spend long looking out of the window.  It was a goldfinch morning…

goldfinchgoldfinches…and a greenfinch afternoon.

greenfinchAfter a week of cycling every day from Sunday to Thursday followed by a good walk in Edinburgh yesterday, my body was very grateful for the quiet day today and even enjoyed being slumped in front of the telly in the evening.

A chaffinch appears as the flying bird of the day,

flying chaffinch

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