Today’s picture shows a potentilla which joins the frost survivors club in the garden


Dropscone was away on a jaunt to London and my get and go seemed to have gone with him because, although the day was very reasonable, I couldn’t summon up the energy to get a bike out.  I told myself that I had a cold but that was probably only an excuse.

The morning mail brought an enquiry from a stranger for information from the Langholm Archive Group.  This was not unusual.  What was unusual was that it also contained a very generous cheque for several hundred pounds towards the funding of the group.  When I picked myself off the floor, I bustled about to find the answers to his queries and then, unable to not to look a gift horse in the mouth on this occasion, I rang him up to ask if he was serious about the donation.   He turned out to be a charming chap who was impressed by the amount of work that the website represents and who knew very well how much money it takes to run even a small group like ours.

We get a steady stream of enquiries to the Group and we answer them all.  Sometimes people thank us nicely for our work, sometimes they slip us a fiver and, surprisingly frequently, they do not even bother to acknowledge our replies to them.  This was a splendid piece of encouragement for the volunteers and should see us financially settled for another year.  We are also in the process of dealing with an enquiry from the BBC for material so we are feeling good about our work.

I am not feeling so good about the new feeder I bought on the recent excursion with granny.  It looks nice, it is full of food and all it lacks is any bird visiting it at all.  A goldfinch came to the garden and ignored it completely, going to the other feeder and eating peanuts.  This is quite odd.

goldfinch on peanuts

Later in the day, I stood and watched as another goldfinch eyed up the new feeder.

goldfinch on tree trunk
On the trunk of the tree with the feeder on
goldfinch on twig
On a twig on the trunk of the tree with the feeder on
goldfinch on feeder
Actually on the top of the feeder itself

But it wouldn’t go to the seed.  Twice it touched the tray but both times flew off rapidly.  We suspect that the shiny nature of the undertray may be showing a reflection of the approaching bird that scares it off.  I have covered it with greaseproof paper to see what will happen.  When you feed nyger seed to birds, they always discard a lot.  I used to think that this was inedible husks or seed that had gone off in some way but in the name of a tidier garden, I have recently collected the discarded seed and put it in a handy bucket.  To my surprise, when I looked at it today to see if I could put some back in the feeder, most of it had germinated.  I am going to have a word with the goldfinches about their picky table manners.

In the afternoon Mrs Tootlepedal went off to have her hair done (this is called gilding the lily) and I mowed the new sown part of the lawn  It is progressing reasonably well but considering how much time we spent stamping the earth down flat before we sowed it, it is very uneven.

Then I took the slow bike out for another photocycle.  I had looked at the north end of town yesterday so I headed south today.  I cycled along the banks of the Esk past the Waverley Mills.

Fisherman in Esk
A fisherman making use of the last few days of the season

I parked my bike at Skippers Bridge….

…and took a quick look up river…

The distillery building

..and down..

River Esk

The autumn colours are coming along well.  I continued down the side of the Esk towards Broomholm and climbed up the hill towards Broomholmshiels, stopping on the hill to take a couple of pictures.

Broomholm hill
Looking back down the road
Broomholm Bridge
Broomholm Bridge

I continued up the hill past Broomholmshiels to have a look at Dr Cat Barlow’s bird feeding station.  I was fortunate enough to encounter Cat and her dog at the station.

Dr Barlow and friend
Dr Barlow and friend

She was getting ready to put out some nets for bird ringing but waited for me to have a chance to see what birds were about.


As well as this handsome greenfinch, there was a woodpecker or two in evidence.  Unfortunately the feeder they were visiting was on the wrong side of the station to be easily visible from the new bird hide so Cat shifted the peanut feeders to the other side of the station and we settled down to see if the woodpeckers would follow the nuts.

They did. First a female came who suspiciously waited on a nearby tree to see what was going on.

female woodpecker

I was distracted by this tailless pheasant wandering about.

tailless pheasant

Then the male came fearlessly straight to the feeder and started tucking into the peanuts.

male woodpecker
The red flash on the head shows that it is a male

male woodpecker 2

This second shot was taken with the gadget for extending the zoom fitted and the resulting picture is much less cropped than the one above.  I still have work to do in getting the focus bang on but it is getting better.  I think I will bring a tripod next time I come up.  I am hoping that by then Cat will have built a proper hide with seats for old people and a kettle for a nice cup of tea.

In the evening, I put another week of the E & L into the database and answered another query, this time by e-mail.

I leave you with a look at the clematis on the philadelphus which is defying any thought of ending its flowering season.

clematis on philadelphus

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

3 thoughts on “Absent

  1. I loved spending the day with you. 🙂 And so wonderful on the donation. I hope that your new bird feeder starts to attract some birds too. Lovely photos also. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting. It is much appreciated. The greaseproof paper seems to have done the trick as the goldfinches were back today.

  2. Very pleased to read about the generous donor to the work of the archivists in Langholm, how nice to be properly appreciated! I get informtion from sites which always plead for an acknowledgement and sometimes for money.

    What a thrill to have the woodpecker pictures, you must be pleased.

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