Calm before the storm

Today’s picture, which shows the sort of fun you can have in a Munich park if you happen to have your wetsuit with you, was sent to me by my friend Nancy who has just been there on an Art Club trip.

surfer munich

The heavy rain, which had caused our end wall to leak, eased off overnight. This was a relief. The strong winds kept going through the day until the evening. However, the down side is that the weather forecast tells us that last night was nothing to what we are going to get tonight so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t wake up to find the end room under water.

I didn’t even contemplate a cycle ride this morning and I put the time to good use by entering a week and a half of the E & L into the database. I popped out from time to time to see what the birds were up to. They were very busy all day.

chaffinch going

The weather was, as they say, very variable.

greenfinches in the rain

sparrow in the wind

You can see by the angle of the feeder how strong the wind was. The birds are very good at hopping on and off the feeders, even in the worst of the conditions. From time to time the sun came out.


In one of the bright spells, Sandy came to borrow a cupful of peanuts for his woodpeckers. It’s not a request that you get very often. His garden has a regular pair of woodpecker visitors and he was keen to make sure he had enough peanuts to keep then visiting.

About lunchtime, I went out for another look.

flying chaffinch

I noticed a new flower while I was out. It is a lupin.


They are one of my favourite flowers but they do have a drawback. The bottom comes out before the top and by the time the top is fully out, some of the bottom may have started to die. That’s why I have only shown you the bottom half of the plant here.

There was stiff competition for the sunflower seeds but sometimes they were shared.

sparrow and siskin sharing
A sparrow and siskin sharing
sparrow flying chaffinch
Sometimes it was, "attack, attack, attack!"
sparrow siskin
The siskins will stop at nothing
siskin leaving
But they don't always win

I went in to have a light lunch and did some more work on the computer. Then I went to visit Dropscone to take him a card. I thought the Wauchope was looking very nice as I went past. I had expected it to be bigger than this after the rain.


I took this picture of the Esk as I crossed the suspension bridge.


The Town Hall is swathed in scaffolding as it is undergoing much needed maintenance. The clock workings seem to have been removed and there is a slightly unsettling ghost clock face appearing faintly behind the mesh.

town hall

The chief purpose of this walk was to congratulate Dropscone on reaching a significant milestone in his journey towards immortality.

Behold: Dropscone at 70

dropscone at 70

It makes a fellow proud to know him.

I did a little research in the Archive Centre on my way home and was pleased to find a reference to my great grandfather who had attended a celebration dinner for a local minister in 1879. I am looking into a tremendous row at the New Town Bowling Club. When I got back home the birds were as lively as ever.

feeder queue
The birds are very British and queue politely
flying chaffinch
A chaffinch in guided missile mode
chaffinch flying sparrow
Aerial ballet from a sparrow

The alternating sunshine and showers make the garden look literally sparkling in the sunny periods.

icelandic poppy
An icelandic poppy
A peony
white rose
A modest white rose
Until I got a camera, I didn't realise how beautiful aquilegias are

In the evening, the clouds finally cleared away and the wind dropped a bit so I got out the speedy bike and set off up the Wauchope road. It soon became clear that the the wind was still very strong and had only dropped in comparison to the near gales of earlier in the day. Under these circumstances, I prefer not to go up onto exposed hills and instead I cycled up and down to Wauchope Schoolhouse three times. If I go right along Henry Street and back along Eskdaill Street at the end of each lap, it makes up a twenty mile run. In my youth, I would have done the first lap as hard as I could and got progressively slower each lap but with the wisdom of age, I now start slower and speed up so that I do the last lap, when I am thoroughly warmed up, much more quickly than the first. I pedalled as hard as I could on the downhill, downwind section and managed to creep the average up to 16.1 mph which is as fast as I can go these days.

We are going to bed in fear and trembling of the gales and rain forecast over night.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

8 thoughts on “Calm before the storm

  1. Spectacular flower photos today… especially the Icelandic poppy. Also really enjoyed the “out and about” shots of the
    Many happy returns to Dropscone… he would seem to be a very fit septuagenarian. Must be all that pedalling!!

    1. I like the Icelandic poppies a lot. Mrs Tootlepedal has these scattered all round the garden along with the Welsh poppies so that there is always a flash of colour in unexpected places. How is your weather going? Ours has gone to pot.

      1. Our weather continues to be disappointing, it has been unseasonably cool and wet. The farmers around here are getting quite desperate as the spring planting is very delayed. I was chatting to one yesterday and he said only about 15% of the crops are in the ground. Our garden looks terrible, we can’t do anything really because it is water-logged. On the optimistic side, there will surely be a bumper crop of hay… on our property too if we can’t cut the grass soon!
        I’m sorry that the glorious weather you enjoyed in April has departed and left you all that wind and rain.

  2. Well done for cycling despite the weather. Your pictures were extra-splendid in this blog I thought. Fancy finding William Hutton in your paper. Obviously Langholm was an important place!

  3. Congratulations to Dropscone on reaching 70. It just seems like yesterday he was in his early 40s and playing me at squash every Monday night.

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