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A brief note

I am short of guest pictures and have had to fall back on another of the admittedly excellent pictures that my sister Mary took on her visit to the Lake District.

The next day I embarked on a fairly steep climb up from the lake

I had an enjoyable but unremarkable day today.

The weather remained good and it was a little cooler which was welcome.

I went for a 22 mile cycle ride in the morning and the wind was sufficiently noticeable to blow me  down the five miles back from the top of Callister into the town at an average of 22 mph.  This was most enjoyable as I didn’t even have to try very hard.

I stopped on the way out to look at a few things but as my Lumix refused to open at all today, once again I was reliant of my phone and several pictures, including one of a splendid orchid which had escaped the attention of Genghis, the grass cutter, didn’t come out.

These were the ones that did.

wild flowers

wild flowers

The insect in the bottom left frame was on one head of an umbellifer.  There was quite a mixed crowd on another of the heads.

umbellifer with insects

The 22 miles got me up to 300 miles for the month after a very slow start because of the high winds in the first week.  I might have derived a bit more satisfaction from this if our next door neighbour Ken, a man of my own age and the same weight, had not done 300 miles in the last three days while travelling back to Langholm from the south.   I bow to him.

I took a quick walk round the garden when I got back.

ginger syllabub

The Ginger Syllabub triggers a reflex action in my shutter finger as I walk past

rosa goldfinch

There is hardly any space on the Rosa Goldfinch for more flowers.

foxglove and lily

There are foxgloves and lilies all over the garden

allium and astrantia with insects

Plenty of insect action

philadelphus

A phlourishing philadelphus

There were no less than three blackbirds under the strawberry netting but they made themselves scarce in an apologetic manner when we approached and they had left a good number of berries for us to pick.

strawberries

We put them in a handy box and took them off with us to Edinburgh in the afternoon as a gift to Matilda and her parents.

Mrs Tootlepedal took the bus from the station to Matilda Mansions but I walked just so that I could enjoy this view on my way.

Arthurs Seat

I often take pictures of this view but then when you get a view like this, why not?

We had an enjoyable afternoon with Matilda, full of dancing, singing, snap and pelmanism and with an added jigsaw this week.

The train home was punctual and comfortable and as it was still light as we drove home from Lockerbie, the whole visit was a treat.

It is late and I am a little tired so that is all there is to say about the day.

I have ordered a new Lumix.  I hope the zoom lens lasts longer this time.

 

Ill met

Today’s guest picture shows a flowery scene from Kew Gardens which caught my sister Mary’s eye.

Coming up to the Orangerie

Coming up to the Orangerie

The forecast was full of dire warnings of heavy rain, possible thunderstorms and general mayhem.  In the event, midsummer’s day was a quiet day with some very light rain now and again, hardly a breath of wind and just a hint of menace thanks to a very clammy humidity.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Moorland feeders after breakfast as I was acting as a fill in feeder filler for friends who had gone off to some mist covered mountains.  As usual, she sat in the car and kept an eye out for hen harriers while I filled the feeders and then sat under the grass roof of the hide….

Laverrock Hide

…in the hope of interesting visitors.

She got a glimpse of a harrier and I saw many more birds than on my last visit.  There were coal tits, great tits and siskins….

siskin, coal tit and great tit

…as well as blackbirds, chaffinches and a robin.

The inevitable pheasant pushed himself forward…..

pheasant

..and there were several visits from woodpeckers and a jay.

Jay and woodpecker

The jay kept too far down the glade for a good photo op but it was was entertaining watching it as it was clearly quite peckish…

jay

…and found food wherever it could.

That great Scottish pest, the midgie, was in evidence too so I didn’t hang about long as I was getting bitten a lot and we drove down to the banks of the Tarras Water to see if the wild irises were out.

There were some but it was not the great carpet that I had hoped for…

wild irises

…so I photographed a yellow rattle….

yellow rattle

I found another one with seed pods and they really do rattle if you shake them.

…and walked back to the road to see if I could find any of the horsetails which I seen growing on my last visit with Sandy a few weeks ago.

They were not hiding.

horsetails

I was impressed.

The midgies were on the go here too so we didn’t dally and went home for coffee.

It makes life difficult to plan when the forecast is not reliable.  At ten in the morning, the BBC weather map showed heavy rain covering Langholm and the surrounding area for some hours and although there was no sign of any such rain, the thought of it kept me off my bike and wasted what could have been a good cycling day.

I tested the strawberry jam  and found that it hadn’t turned out too badly at all so I tested it again.  It was still all right.

I wasted time doing the crossword and then, wondering if it was going to rain soon, I went for a wander round the garden.

The roses are gorgeous…

roses

…with new blooms coning out every day.  The first of the moss roses has joined in.

moss rose

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out poppies and protecting her vegetables from the depredations of the voracious sparrows so I had time for a look at a colourful corner….

colourful corner

…and my favourite colour combination of the day.

campanula and foxglove

Mrs Tootlepedal liked this subtle gradations on a peony.

campanula and foxglove

A few other things made the camera click.

campanula

lambs ear

wiegela

…but in spite of it being the longest day of the year, the light was very dull and I soon gave up and went in for lunch.

After lunch, the day brightened up a bit and even the weather forecast admitted that it wasn’t raining so I got my fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.

It was lucky that we had gone to see the roadside orchid yesterday because Genghis the grass cutter was out with his machine today and the verge where the orchid had been was totally flattened.

Luckily I found some more on an uncropped verge near Gair….

orchids

…but unluckily my Lumix chose this moment to stop working and I had to fall back on my phone camera for the rest of the trip.

It was a really good day for a leisurely cycle ride with a mixture of very occasional raindrops and some cheerful sunshine and I saw many interesting things which I failed to record as I find using the phone with my cycling glasses on quite tricky.   (If I take them off, I find it even trickier.)

I did see a lot of fields where the silage was being cut….

silage

…and I even noticed a fungus, the first that I have seen in a verge this year.

fungus

I pedalled here and there, keeping an eye on the weather and thinking of going a bit further while the going was good but some more persistent raindrops and a burst of slightly windier weather made me think that the promised storm might be finally on its way so I headed for home and managed  37 miles.

As you can see from the map below, it was quite warm so perhaps it was wise to stop before I got too cooked.

garmin route 21 June 2017

Those interested can click on the map for more details.

Mrs Tootlepedal had rescued a blackbird from the strawberry netting while I was out but there were still plenty of strawberries left to pick so I picked them.

I had time for a shower and a tea of baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce before I went out to our Common Riding choir practice.  I was pleased to see my cello playing friend Mike there as it would mean that I wasn’t going to be the only bass.  We had a good session in spite of very sultry conditions which were not very sympathetic to singing and it was still a fine day when I walked home.

I apologise for putting too many indifferent pictures into today’s post but it was the longest day so perhaps it needed a long post.

And I did get a rather indifferent flying bird of the day to round things off suitably.

flying jay

 

 

 

 

In a jam

Our daughter sent me today’s guest picture just to show that there are good looking bees in London too.

London bee

The wind moved round to the east today and brought a little touch of coolness with it so although the day was agreeably sunny again, it was much more pleasant to be out and about.

All the same, it looked as though it was going to be hot enough to make serious cycling hard work in the afternoon so I got up early and went for a ride in the cool of the morning.

I had an appointment at ten o’clock and this time pressure limited me to my usual twenty mile run down to  Canonbie and back.  I had my camera with me and might have had time to take a picture or two if I hadn’t realised after I had gone a mile that I had forgotten to put my helmet on.

There are those who claim that helmets make no difference to cycle safety but they are wrong so I went back and started again with my helmet clamped firmly above the space where my brains should be.

(As far as the safety argument goes, my thought is that there are no conceivable circumstances when I am in the middle of falling off my bike that I would ever say. “Thank goodness I am not wearing a helmet.”)

The conditions were just about perfect – warm, sunny and with a light cooling wind – and I got round in good order and at a brisk pace for me and was showered and ready for my appointment in good time.

I even had time to check on some of the blue-ish flowers in the garden before I went.

blue flowers

delphinium

The heart of a delphinium

dutch iris

A Dutch iris

The bees were so noisy that I went to have a look at what was attracting them.

cotoneaster

It was the cotoneaster. It does look inviting.

bee on cotoneaster

Getting stuck in

I got back from my appointment and had another walk round the garden.  This time, I had a mower and not a camera with me and I mowed the drying green and then adjourned for a cup of coffee.

It wasn’t long before I was out again.

There were roses to look at….

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the bottom right rose is a Ginger Syllabub and not a Golden Syllabub as I have been calling it……but a rose by another name looks just as good in my view.

Mrs Tootlepedal was helping to serve lunches at the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar and while she was away, I picked some strawberries, sieved some compost, trimmed a hedge and mowed the middle lawn.  You can tell that the weather was a lot kinder today.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back, she had a little work to do in the garden and while she toiled, I admired the flowers.

Sweet William

I love the contrasting delicate pale purple of the stamens compared with the zing of the petals

I thought that I had seen an orchid or two beside the road a mile or so out of town  on my morning pedal so we decided to go out on our bikes to check if my eyesight had deceived me or not.

It turned out that I had seen literally only two orchids and not fully out at that….

wauchope orchid

…so the orchid hunt was less than exciting.

So we pedalled on a bit and left the bikes while we took a short walk through woods and fields along the Wauchope.

We were serenaded by a buzzard circling high above us, emitting its characteristic plaintive cry.

buzzard

We walked.

manure mountain path

It was a good choice.  The path through the woods is delightful and we paused beside the river…

Wauchope water

…in the vain hope of seeing kingfishers, otters and deer.  Even without exotic wild life, the scene was a balm to the soul.  Mrs Tootlepedal blended in with the scenery…

Mrs T in the woods

…while I roamed around looking for things to photograph.

I found a gate.

Gate beside wauchope

Leaving the wildlife to laugh at us behind our back when we  were gone, we used the gate and walked back to the bikes through the field.

If you like meadows full of wild flowers and grasses….

wauchope field

I would welcome a name for the tiny flower on the left.

…fringed with interesting trees…..

conifer

conifer

…this was the place to be.

We cycled gently home, grateful for the cool breeze in our faces and enjoying the warm sun on our backs.

The garden had not been idle while were out.

Lilies were on the move.

martagon lily

A Martagon lily was showing the first Turk’s Caps of the year.

Day lily

And a day lily had decided that this was the day

Both had come out while we were walking. It is amazing what some sunshine will do.

After tea, I set my hand to making a couple of jars of strawberry jam.  Time will tell but I fear I may have overboiled the jam a bit.  It was not entirely my fault.  I was keeping a careful eye on it when I was summoned outside by Mrs Tootlepdal to look at a kite in the sky.  A sharp eyed neighbour had spotted the bird upsetting the oyster catchers in the park and come to tell us.

By the time that I had fetched my camera, the kite was high above us in the evening  sky but although the resultant picture was poor, it does show the characteristic shape of the red kite.  I hope that we will see many more as time goes by.

Here then is the rather distant flying bird of the day.

red kite

It was worth spoiling the jam a bit to see such a glorious bird.

Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s visit to Knightshayes.  There were animals everywhere.

knightshayes

Yesterday had left my legs feeling rather elderly so I was quite pleased to spend most of the morning sitting quietly in the Welcome to Langholm office.

I took a picture of the two roses beside the path from the front lawn before I went up to the town.

Lilian Austin

Lilian Austin

Rosa Wren

Rosa Wren

I was working away at the Langholm Archive Group newspaper index, largely untroubled by having to welcome any visitors in the office. The only downside of this quiet spell was that it was extremely warm so just sitting there felt like quite hard work.  It did give my legs a break though so I mustn’t grumble.

I spent the afternoon pottering about in the garden watching Mrs Tootlepedal work.  I sieved a bucket or two of compost and was pleased to find that it was in good condition.  It has been so warm that I set the sprinkler onto both the front and the middle lawn.

In between times, I tried to turn the bright sunlight into a photographic bonus rather than a hindrance.  The roses drew me to them.

Rosa Wren

Rosa Wren at lunch time

golden syllabub

A young Golden Syllabub

golden syllabub

And a grown up

We have been visited by royalty.

Queen of Denmark

Queen of Denmark

Queen of Denmark

She leads a complex inner life

Things caught my eye as I passed them…

allium

geranium

…on my way between roses.

A new clematis has joined the party.

clematis

The butter and sugar iris is doing well…

butter and sugar iris

…which Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased about this as she transplanted them and that is always a risky business.

The Rosa Complicata is bursting with flowers.

Rosa complicata

The new petunia is in the greenhouse waiting for a home…

petunia

…and you can probably see why it attracted Mrs Tootlepedal’s attention.

The peonies are in various states of dress and  undress.

peony

peony

The white ones offer bees every chance of a profitable visit.

In the evening, Luke came for his flute lesson and we battled away in the heat without making much progress but as always, it was enjoyable to play a duet with him. He had been playing for the old folk yesterday and told me that his performance had been received well.

I was hoping to go for a pedal in the evening again but couldn’t summon up the energy as it was still pretty warm and my legs, when consulted,  were against unnecessary exercise.  They are much improved after a day of rest though.

The flying bird of the day is a bee which is definitely not flying any more as it has fallen victim to a spider lurking among the astrantia.

spider and bee

 

 

A long day

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to Kew and shows the Japanese garden there.

Japanese garden Kew

Japanese garden

We got up at six o’clock, greatly to our own amazement, and were  at the Rugby Club where we were volunteering with the Muckletoon Adventure Festival by ten to seven.  We were not being very adventurous ourselves, as we were only helping with the car parking and the marshalling of the ins and outs to and from the rugby ground where the event is based.

I took the earliest photo of astrantias that I have ever taken before we cycled up to start work.

astrantias

Mrs Tootlepedal lasted three hours before going off to a 150th anniversary service at Ewes Church but I lasted for five hours, standing at the roadside and waving my arms about in a vaguely directional way.  It was a long stand and when the sun got up in the sky, it was a hot one too but there was quite a lot going on to take my mind off my troubles.

There was a mass start of 120 cyclists for the cycle sportives…..

cycle sportive MTAF

…though owing to the narrowness of the bridge that they had to cross before getting to me, it was more of a mass trickle.  There were three rides of  30, 60 and 100 miles and as there was a bit of a wind as well as the hot day to contend with, I was quite happy to wave them on and not take part myself.

After the cyclists had gone, a party of walkers assembled to do three and five summit challenges.

summit challengers MTAF

Red shirts doing five and green shirts three, I think.

They crossed the road and set off up the same road that I had followed yesterday.

summit challengers MTAF

The final event of the morning was a 5km run and this time the massed start was quite massive.

5km run MTAF

Youth to the fore

5km run MTAF

The toiling masses behind

I was very happy to leave them to it and when my relief arrived a few minutes later, I headed home and collapsed on the sofa.

Readers of a certain age will know that standing around is probably more tiring than walking or cycling by a long way, especially if it is hot so it took me some time to recover but I made a few forays into the garden when I had got my legs back in working order and my brain had cooled down a bit.

The sunshine had done the flowers no harm at all.

viola

rosa goldfinch

And the Golden Syllabub rose was looking very fine.

golden syllabub

There is a new iris getting ready to spread its wings.

iris

I mowed the middle lawn and watered some buck–u-uppo into the front lawn and then sat for a while and looked at my best friend.

lawn mower

A Webb Witch which has seen a lot of service.

In the course of the afternoon, I spent some time watching the numerous bees in the garden.  Once again the cotoneaster was a popular resort.

cotoneaster with bee

But with so much choice, the bees flitted about a lot and were hard to catch.

cotoneaster with bee

The visitors  to the astrantria were more placid.

bee on astrantia

bee on astrantia

I took a picture of a frog in the pond but my Blackpool reader, who doesn’t like frogs at all,  will be very pleased to know that it didn’t come out well so will not appear here.  There are still plenty of tadpoles about.

As the shadow of the walnut tree lengthened over the garden, I took a picture of a pink….

pink

…and went in to have a nourishing evening meal of mince and tatties cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal.  Fortified by this, I waited until the temperature had dropped a bit and went out for a gentle 20 mile cycle ride to round the day off.

A cow was surprised to see me out so late….

cow

…and I cycled up a gentle hill purely for the pleasure of cycling straight back down it with the wind behind me.

Callister

A simple pleasure but hard to beat all the same.

The flying bird of the day is an iris, Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite. called ‘Butter and Sugar’

butter and sugar iris

Note:  Langholm is commonly known as the Muckle Toon because at its peak as a centre of wollen weaving , it was a big or muckle town.

Adventures

The guest picture of the day comes from my daughter’s recent visit to Knightshayes garden where she encountered this interesting animal.

Knightshayes

It is the Muckletoon* Adventure Festival weekend and we were blessed with good weather today as I went off in the morning to help with one of the guided summit walks.  There was a set of walks taking in five, three or one of the summits round the town and fortunately, my walk was the ‘one summit’ effort.

It was a family affair and we stopped for a picture when we got to the McDiarmid memorial…

Summit walk MTAF

…and then Billy, our leader, gave a short historical talk appropriate to our location.

Summit walk MTAF

With gestures

Our next stop was at the summit of Whita Hill where we paused for refreshment….

Summit walk MTAF

…and another short talk.

We were often passed by mountain bikers as we walked up the track to the summit.

mountain bikers

Our final stop was at Whita Well on the way down the hill…

Summit walk MTAF

…where we could enjoy the view and another short talk….

MTAF summit walk

…and a refreshing drink of spring water from the well.

Fortunately, at least as far as I was concerned,  the sun continued to shine on the town…

Ewes valley

…and up the Ewes valley but the hill that we were on had its own cloud and as a result, we walked in a very comfortable warmth rather than a searing heat.

All around us, the hill was alive with mountain bikers enjoying, if that is the right word, the many trails across the hill as part of a thirty mile cross-country ride.

mountain bikers

The sections  of the cycle route were well signposted but not all of them were sympathetically titled.

MTAF

We finished our three mile walk in the centre of the town and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Some of the walkers were going on to do a 5km run in the afternoon but I preferred to spend some time relaxing at home where the sunshine made everything in the garden look lovely.

garden flowers

That is a new clematis beside the front door on the right

The roses are thriving.

roses

Lilian Austin, Golden Syllabub and Special Grandma

New flowers had been encouraged by the sunshine.

lily

A very secret lily

delphinium

A conspicuous delphinium

The sun had encouraged the white peonies to open up…

white peony

…which made life easier for visitors.

There was colour everywhere.

geranium and rose

I mowed both the middle and front lawns and the combination of recent rain and a good day today has left them looking much more like  lawns and less like ploughed fields and marshes so I am very happy.

We went off in the car to do a little food shopping and then to buy some necessities at a DIY store (some paint, a petunia and some lawn feed. The petunia jumped into Mrs Tootlepedal’s hands without even being asked.  It was amazing.)

We finished out trip by a visit to a farm where the farmer, the  husband of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s ex work colleagues, had kindly bagged up some farmyard manure for our garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was very happy.

Ryehills Farm

When we got back, I had another look round the garden….

lambs ear and a moth

There are always interesting things to see.

…and then went in to cook bacon and eggs for my tea.

After tea, the wind had dropped and so had the temperature so I got the fairly speedy bike out and gave it a through wash and brush up and then set off to do 23 miles in the cool of the evening.

I kept an eye for orchids but only saw this….

wild flower

…which was pretty but a disappointment.

The conditions were perfect for cycling so I enjoyed myself a lot more than I have recently when I have been battling strong winds and the 23 miles brought up 200 miles for the month so far.  Satisfactory all round.

We have to get up at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to help with the Adventure Festival again so it is going to be an early night tonight.

Two flying birds for the price of one today.

oyster catchers

 

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited Kew Gardens yesterday with my sister Susan.  They went to the water lily house.

Inside the water lily house

I had had a look at the weather forecast last night and as a result I had thought that an early start would be best for cycling.  These sort of plans often turn out to be more theoretical than actual but today I managed to achieve my object and was off on my bicycle while Mrs Tootlepedal was still in the land of dreams.

I had an appointment with some coffee and treacle scones later on so I stuck to my standard 20 mile round trip to Canonbie and back.  The wind was brisk but in a helpful direction, the sun was shining and my legs were in a good mood so I stuck to pedalling and didn’t stop for any pictures.

This left me with time for a walk round the garden before Dropscone arrived for coffee.  It was a good morning to be out among the flowers, with plenty of gently sparkling colour….

geranium and potentillas

A geranium and two potentillas

…and some ‘in your face’ wow factor.

geranium

Hard to ignore

peony

Very hard to ignore

The peonies were at their best…

peonies

…and the Sweet Williams were dazzling.

sweet williams

The orange hawkweed was attracting insects….

orange hawkweed

…and the pond was rich in frogs.

frogs

I enjoyed the the effect of the surface tension of the water.

A young Rosa Goldfinch flower was almost perfect…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed the waterfall of tropaeolum down the side of the yew.

Rosa Goldfinch

I just had time to admire a white campanula….

campanula

…before Dropscone arrived for coffee.

He had been playing golf at Kelso yesterday but he had been afflicted by an appalling outbreak of shanking which had spoiled his day.  (Shanking would spoil any golfer’s day to be fair.)  As one who was been afflicted with the same disease in my playing days, I was able to offer a sympathetic ear to his troubles…..and enjoy his treacle scones at the same time.  This eased the pain.

By the time that he left, the sun had gone too but it was still dry so I mowed the middle lawn, thinned out the abundant gooseberries on the gooseberry bush with Mrs Tootlepedal’s help and had another look at the flowers.

Even without the sun, they were still looking good.

The clematis at the back door is over but fortunately the climbing hydrangea is stepping to fill the gap.

Hydrangea

I saw a little stem of Rosa Goldfinch which. showed neatly how the flowers turn from yellow to white as they mature.

Rosa Goldfinch

A cotoneaster in the back bed was buzzing with bees but they were rushing around in such an excited fashion that I couldn’t get a picture of them so I settled for the flowers themselves.

cotoneaster

An overview with bee

cotoneaster

A close up

I looked at three old friends….

iris, clematis and peony

…checked out the blue lupin which has reached the opening up stage…

lupin

…and went in to stew the gooseberries and make some soup for lunch.

And that was that.

I arranged to go for a walk with Sandy in the afternoon but shortly after lunch it began to rain and didn’t let up for ages so I did the crossword, put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised being a bass and in this way, managed to fill in the rest of the afternoon.

Without the sunshine, it turned into a rather cold and miserable day and Mrs Tootlepedal, who would have liked to be out in the garden doing useful things, got rather gloomy too.  It didn’t feel like June at all.

Earlier in the morning, we had thought of going on an outing but it was just as well that we couldn’t think of anywhere to go.

On the plus side, the rock hard gooseberry thinnings turned out to be quite eatable when stewed…..and with a good splash of sugar added.

The forecast is for a much better day tomorrow and I hope that they have got that right as I am helping out on a guided walk and it won’t be much fun if it is raining.

The flying bird of the day is a single cotoneaster flower taken in the morning sunshine.

cotoneaster