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Archive for April, 2012

Today’s picture show’s Bruce and Lesley’s car parked in a very large puddle in Keswick last night.

puddle

The reason the car was parked in a puddle is that it had been pouring with rain as we drove down to Keswick for our concert.  It was given by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra which plays popular melodies of the twenties and thirties with six front line players (two trumpets, trombone and three saxes), a fine rhythm section and an excellent singer.  While we were enjoying this excellent concert, Mrs Tootlepedal had stayed at home to watch a ballet performance at the Buccleuch Centre, where she had looked with amazement and some concern at the painfully thin legs of the principal male dancer.

My sister Susan, who was holidaying  in the Lake District, had had the last day of her holiday spoiled by the same lashing rain that we met and which had lasted all day for her. As you will gather if you read yesterday’s rather abbreviated blog, the weather in Langholm had been very cold and very windy all day and had reduced my enthusiasm for the active life by quite a lot.

All this made the weather in Langholm today even more welcome as for the first time for ages it was both sunny and warm.

Dropscone appeared on schedule for the morning pedal and we enjoyed the warm weather, although the wind against us on the last section home was still pretty lively. Looking at my multicoloured spreadsheet, I see that I have done about half as much cycling in the first four months of this year as I did last year.  Still, I am pleased to be able to cycle at all and the joints seem none the worse for it.

When we arrived home for our coffee and scones, Gary and Ross had arrived too to put up our new fence.  They had unexpectedly encountered a large pile of builder’s rubble and were weighing up the task ahead we we saw them.

fence

As you can see from the second photograph which was taken in the afternoon, they had managed to overcome any difficulties and we hope the fence will be finished tomorrow.  The problem with the rubble was exacerbated by the unexpected appearance of a frog which Gary was unwilling to batter with a pickaxe.

While we were having our coffee, I was pleased to see a great tit at the feeder as they have been very scarce lately.

great tit

The siskins were as lively as ever.

siskins

Here they are playing tag.

After coffee, I went to get yet another blood test. These will continue until they are certain that my new medicine is not doing me any unseen damage.  As they are very painless, I don’t mind them at all and it is reassuring to have the results showing that things are fine.

After lunch, I went up to the Archive Centre to meet a man from Whitehaven who was giving the Archive Group a large collection of family photos which had been collected from the house of a relative of his wife, a Langholm woman,  who had died.  There is plenty of work for Sandy, our photo expert, to do in sifting through the collection to find the gems.  Afterwards, I went round the corner from the Centre to play a bit of music with Isobel and Mike.  This was most enjoyable and I walked home in a good mood.

This amiable mood was slightly dented by the realisation that I had taken the car up in to the town when I had gone, in case the photographs needed to be brought back to the house and  were too heavy for me to carry and now I had to walk back up to the town to drive it home again. Hm.

When I got back, the garden was a hub of activity.  The fencers were fencing, Mrs Tootlepedal was planting onions..

d planting onions

You can see the already planted potatoes on the right.

An then Guthrie brought Bruce and Leslie round.  Guthrie is very intelligent.

Guthrie

He is teaching Bruce to crawl…

crawling

…and sit.

sitting

Bruce is very intelligent too and caught a pond skater for me in a jam jar.  I put it in a bowl and tried to get a good photo of its eyes but it kept turning its back on me…

pond skater

…and as I didn’t want to torment it, I put it back in the pond.  Bruce spotted a tadpole or two as well as a frog so the heron and the ducks haven’t cleaned us out completely.

Dr Tinker came round to join the throng and as Ross and Gary had fixed his shed first thing in the morning, he was happy to see them at work on the fence.

When the visitors had left, I mowed the middle lawn and after snatching a shot of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Ballerina tulips…

ballerina tulips

…I retired inside to take pictures of birds through the window.

There were goldfinches…

goldfinches flying

…chaffinches…

chaffinches

..siskins..

siskin

…and sometimes, all three.

mixed birds

Often they got up close and personal as they say.

chaffinch and siskin

As you can see, it was a really sunny day and in contrast to recent sunny days, the temperature rose to 60° F which is a pleasant temperature to be out in the garden in springtime.  It probably won’t last but it was very nice to feel a bit of warmth on the back while mowing.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and once again showed the benefits of focussed practice.  It is a treat to teach him.

I would like to thank the readers who expressed sympathy or concern for me after my rather sombre post of yesterday and assure them that I am perfectly OK and just fell victim to a severe bout of laziness.

And of course I have a chaffinch of the day for today.  It’s a goldfinch.

goldfinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Nothing doing

A bit of a contrast to yesterday: 40 mph northerly winds, no cycling:grey skies, no photographs.

Morning: did nothing.

Afternoon: had a bath.

Evening: Went to Keswick with Bruce and Lesly to see a show.  Won’t be back till midnight.

No news, no pictures, no chaffinch.

Sorry.

See you tomorrow.

 

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Today’s picture which really belongs to yesterday is a shot of the moon from my bedroom window just after midnight.  The new lens justified itself.

moon

There was no cycling today, although it was another fine, sunny day.  I might have had an hour to go out early on but it was blowing a freezing wind from the north again so I stayed tucked up indoors while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sell more raffle tickets.

I had time to take a single bird picture today.

goldfinch

Goldfinches are beautiful birds but tend to have a rather grumpy look when seen close up.

I was far from grumpy myself in spite of the lack of cycling because after picking Mrs Tootlepedal up from her raffle ticket selling, we set off in the car to go to Edinburgh.  A drive through the beautiful border country up to Edinburgh on a fine day is a real treat.  It was made better than usual by an almost complete lack of traffic until we were nearly at Edinburgh itself and a brand new by pass round Dalkeith which we used for the first time today.

We were visiting our son and his partner and their family and after a sandwich or two and a slice of cake for a late lunch we set off for a walk with them and their many dogs.  The walk was near Edinburgh airport and I was promised aeroplanes landing to photograph but sadly the wind was in the wrong direction and we could only see them taking off.

The flightpath lights were impressive

The flightpath lights were impressive

The walkers

The walkers on a nice flat path which suited me well.

The path had a railway embankment on the left and in the absence of planes landing, I had many trains to snap as they went past in all directions.  The perspective makes this look like an accident waiting to happen but they passed safely.

trains

The phantom third train is the reflection of one on the other.

The dogs had a splendid time.  They came in many shapes and sizes.

Old and slow

Old and slow like me

fast and dashing

Fast and dashing like Mrs Tootlepedal

handsome

Handsome like her owners

And above all, stupid…

dogs in puddle

We reached an industrial structure..

girders

Which turned out to be the railway bridge over the River Almond.

Almond bridge

There were really frequent trains along the line.

train on bridge

In different liveries

You may have guessed that I like trains as well as birds so I was very happy.

The whole company was busy enjoying themselves.

Dylan

Dylan was taking art photos for a college project.

Brains

The brains of the party were enjoying polite conversation (Tash, Marianne, Mrs T from l to r).

And the dogs were kindly throwing sticks for Tony to catch so he wouldn’t get bored.

dogs and sticks

You can see how hard he is concentrating. He managed to catch quite a lot of them.

I had a wonderful time hopping onto bridges to take pictures of yet more trains.

Looking north

Looking north with the Forth Road Bridge in the background

Looking south

Looking south with the Pentland hills behind.

After the walk, we went down to South Queensferry which is on the shores of the Firth of Forth.  It was packed with visitors as it is a popular sea side spot.  I was particularly taken with a train going over a very high viaduct across the village’s main street.Queensferry

It was heading for a notable landmark…

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge

To give you an idea of the scale of the bridge, here is another train just going through the arch onto the main bridge.

Forth Bridge

To our left was the new road bridge.

Forth Road Bridge

I should have said newer rather than new because it is old enough to be in need of substantial repair and they are going to build a new bridge beside it.  It is sobering to think that it was only built at the time when Mrs Tootlepedal and I first met as students in Edinburgh but that still makes it almost 50 years old.

We then went off to have a cheerful high tea at a carvery…

Carvery view

It is perched on the banks of the Forth with a wonderful view across to the Kingdom of Fife.

…near where Tony and Marianne live and followed that with a first visit to the new flat of our other son and his wife which is not far away.  They are moving in from Glasgow in about two weeks time. It is a very nice airy flat with a good view but I did get a nosebleed climbing the many, many stairs to get to it.

Then we drove home through the hills with the country in the evening sun looking even better than when we had come up the other way.  There wasn’t quite enough light to do justice to the stunning view across the Forth from the top of Soutra Hill so I made do with a picture of fraction of the huge wind farm they have built there.

soutra

You can see what a glorious day for a drive it was.

Altogether it was about as good as a day without cycling can be, if not better.  There was even a new bird to be big chaffinch of the day…

cheap flight

If I didn’t see any landing, at least I saw a lot taking off.

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Today’s picture shows a range of tulips from the garden.

tulips

While other parts of  the country to the north, east and south of us continue to have rain, in some cases torrential, we are still being protected by our surrounding hills as the wind stays in the north.  As a result Dropscone and I went round the morning run in glorious sunshine accompanied by a chilly breeze.   Because I haven’t been out on my own much lately, there have been few views from my cycle outings so with Dropscone’s kind permission I took the little camera with me today and stopped for a couple of photo opportunities.

The first came near Canonbie where the church at Kirkandrews-on-Esk stood out in the early sunshine. You can just make out the Lake District hills in the background.

Kirkandrews-on-Esk

Although I was in Scotland when I took the picture, the church is in England.

The second opportunity came at the hill at Tarcoon.  Dropscone waited half way up the hill while I went ahead and this let me take this photograph of him climbing the hill.

Dropscone at Tarcoon

He kindly pointed out how long he had to wait while I went up in front of him.

While I was waiting for him to arrive, I looked over towards Langholm.

View of Whita Hill

I liked the colour changes in the view.

We got home safely in what has become our new standard time of one hour twenty four minutes for the 20.6 mile journey and enjoyed a Friday treat in the shape of some treacle scones with our coffee.

After coffee, I went out to look for some flowers and found these fritillaries looking strong.

Fritillaries

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy near where the new fence will be, clearing away stubborn brambles.  The pickaxe moved so swiftly in her hands that the camera could not freeze it.

Pickaxe queen

I kept a prudent distance away and then went inside to look at birds through the window in safety.

The bright sunshine gave me a chance to get a crisp picture of a siskin.

siskin

A minute later, the scene was not so peaceful.

goldfinch and siskin

I then set up the new lens and tried to get an equally crisp picture of a chaffinch.

chaffinch

I struggle to get focus and exposure both right with the new lens at the moment.

A few moments later, back with the old lens, I noticed a brambling among the crew of chaffinches picking up seeds under the feeder.  I don’t know where he came from as we haven’t seen any others for some weeks.

brambling

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sell raffle tickets on behalf of the hanging basket scheme and in her absence I did a little amateur hoovering.  Then Arthur came round and I ordered some disks on his behalf for the newspaper for the blind scheme which he masterminds.

I had a light lunch and when Mrs Tootlepedal returned, I went off for a walk along the river with my camera.  I was hoping to catch some swallows in flight but after several failed attempts, I had to settle for an easy shot of a group on a telephone wire.

swallows beside the Esk

I was surprised to see the heron copying them on the other side of the river.

heron

I was even more surprised by the fact that by the time I had walked along to the Kilngreen, the heron had miraculously appeared there too.

heron at Kilngreen

Some birds will do anything to get in the blog.

On my way there, I though that I had captured a swallow in flight…

house martin

…but Alison Tinker told me later in the day that it was a house martin.  You can tell by the short tail.

I waited to see if the dipper would come and  sit on rock near me at the Sawmill Bridge but it insisted on lurking in a dark spot on the opposite bank so I walked onto the Castleholm and took a picture of a more co-operative tree.

Tree

The beech trees that line the Lodge walks are not in leaf yet and they have a rather ghostly appearance at present.

house martin

They almost look frozen.

Just as I was nearing the end of my walk, the sun, which had been hidden behind clouds, came out for a brief moment.  These new leaves looked striking in the bright light against the grey clouds behind.

leaves

I went back to the river to see if I could find any swallows to snap but they had gone and I had to resort to taking an arty shot of the suspension bridge and Mission Hall from under the Town bridge instead.

suspension bridge

The poplars at the Buccleuch Park beyond the bridge are outstanding.

The wildflowers on the river bank were lovely too.

wild flowers

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was clearing  moss off the paving stones in front of the house with a strimmer.  Then, while she went off to collect the raffle money from the sellers who had followed her, I sat in the garden with the long lens on a tripod and looked at the birds from a different angle.

sparrow

A sparrow, an infrequent visitor at present.

chaffinch

A goldfinch talks to a chaffinch even though its mouth is full. Bad manners.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal continued her busy day by going off to Canonbie with our neighbour Liz to view a fashion show in aid of charity.  In her absence Mike and Alison came for their customary Friday night visit and I had a good time playing sonatas with Alison while, in an age contrast, Mike watched the Young Musician of the Year on the telly in the next room.  After playing, we chatted until Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Canonbie having enjoyed the show very much.

When they left, I went to write this blog and Mrs Tootlepedal, ever busy, turned to her quilting hoop.

I have tried to vary the photographic fare today but there is still a chaffinch of the day.  This one has ruffled feathers as it flies into the wind.

chaffinch

 

 

 

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A lovely picture of NZ Maisie came my way today.  I pass it on to brighten your day.

Maisie

Dropscone was away so I had a day without cycling which I spent in serious resting. I was helped in this by some very uninviting weather – patchy rain and strong north winds.   Mrs Tootlepedal went out to supervise a bit of litter picking by some children from the local school and I sat down to a cup of coffee and crossword solving.  Luckily it was quite a tough one and I was able to while away a good part of the morning in doing nothing in particular  (but doing it very well, of course).

Naturally I spent some time looking out of the window in a desultory sort of way.  Another of the many mysteries of birds is the way that some of them can look totally unaffected by bad weather while others look very wet.

wet and dry goldfinches

How does the one on the left look so dry?

Has the one on the right travelled further in the rain to get to the garden?  Has it lost its umbrella? So many questions and so few answers.

I caught a flash of pink out of the corner of my eye.

redpoll

It was a rather damp looking redpoll.

redpoll pink chest

It certainly was strikingly pink. I don't know if the rain brings this out or not.

We had our usual collection of siskins, goldfinches and chaffinches and they didn’t slack off when it came to eating.

mixed bag

The chaffinch has her wings out because she has missed her footing landing downwind in the strong breeze. She is hanging on by a toe nail.

siskin shouting at a chaffinch

The siskins varied from the ferocious defender...

siskin going

...to the discreet exit.

I would have walked round the garden snapping flowers but a howling gale was doing it for me.  I managed a quick shot of a white dicentra later in the day.

white dicentra

The goldfinches were very busy all day.  They are a delight to watch.

goldfinch aerobatics

goldfinch shout

And here is one with an insufferable air of condescension as two chaffinches miss their chance of a seed.

goldfinch sneering.

When I went to get more seed earlier in the week, I called in at the bike shop and I am getting quite excited by the prospect of my order for a belt driven bike being fulfilled in the next few weeks.  The matter is complicated by the fact that I want to use as many parts from my current slow bike as I can, including the Rohloff hub, and this takes a lot of thinking about.  Levi says the Germans are being very slow to reply to his queries.

I saw a very smart looking electric bike while I was in the shop and have filed that away in my mind for the years to come.  Levi says that the batteries are getting lighter and more durable all the time.  As a counterweight to that, Dropscone says that this is also true of the batteries used for golf trolleys but that at the same time, the price is going up at a tremendous rate.

In the afternoon, the tedium was broken by the arrival of a lorry with the concrete posts for out new back fence.  They came with a huge bag of sand and gravel.

lorry

In spite of Mrs Tootlepedal's new generous gate, the lorry wouldn't drive in.

This meant that Ross and Gary had to double handle all the sand and posts by wheelbarrow.

barrowing

They have made a neat job of stacking everything ready for construction next week.

fencing

We were very excited to get some computer realisations from our kitchen suppliers of what our revamped kitchen might look like.  We would have been even more excited if the measurements of one wall hadn’t been a metre out.  We await the mark two plans eagerly.

I spent a large part of an already dull afternoon trying to translate some instructions from the help desk into useful action to make my new video editing program work.  I slaved away but it still didn’t work.  It may turn out that although my laptop has plenty of RAM, it doesn’t have a good enough graphics card to cope with the requirements of the program.  I have another laptop which may have a better video card so I went to see what spec it has but I couldn’t find the power lead anywhere to turn it on.  I spent a lot of time looking for it and at least found six printed photos which I have been looking for for some months….but no lead.

I ordered another lead from the internet (fortunately at a very modest price) and I retailed this saga of frustration to Sandy at the Archive Centre later in the evening.  He laughed when he heard it and said, “You lent it to me!”  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Incidentally, we bought two copies of the video editing program and his copy works perfectly well.  Hm.  I’m pleased for him.

Jean was away on holiday so Sandy and I got on with our work without her and lifted a glass to her health in the Douglas afterwards.  I had enjoyed a good play on my recorder with Mike Taudevin and his cello before going to the Archive Centre.  We are trying to do a bit of Beethoven justice but we have some way to go.

Today’s chaffinch was at least functioning well.  It is a chaffinch.

chaffinch flying

 

 

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Today’s picture is another from my siblings’ Welsh jaunt.  It is from Susan and shows what an open cast copper mine leaves behind.

Wow!

Once again we beat the rain today and although it threatened and even spat from time to time, it didn’t really rain until after nine o’clock at night.  This meant that Dropscone and I enjoyed another dry outing round the morning run.  Sadly, a vigorous and chilly easterly wind made parts of the journey hard work but at least we got home without any bike failure which was a relief. After three days running on the bike, my joints have begun to complain a bit so it is lucky that Dropscone is off on family business tomorrow and I will have a day of rest.  The forecast doesn’t offer me much hope of a walk to try out my new lens though.

It didn’t get an outing today either because although it was dry, it was overcast and windy and I had to rely on the old lens to keep me going.

In the absence of exciting new flowers, I fell back on the finches again though there was some variety.

Blue tit and chaffinch

The blue tit returned today.

But mostly it was the regulars at work nibbling the seeds.

chaffinches exchanging words

A hard stare

siskins exchanging words

The siskin at the bottom is so alarmed that it has turned itself into a heaving blob.

chaffinch and siskin

A chaffinch and a siskin contemplate life while a female chaffinch tip toes away.

I was just turning a little compost when I heard a strange knocking.  Further investigation revealed Gary and Ross hard at work on the replacement of our neighbour’s boundary fence.  I hope Dr Tinker doesn’t read this because they were supposed to be roofing his shed before they started on our fence.

fencing

I name the guilty men.

While I was outside, I took a picture of this dicentra snuggled into the bottom of a yew.

dicentra

Across the lawn is another dicentra with an attractive darker flower.  It has been a bit battered by the weather.

darker dicentra

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off for the annual introduction for those who are going to help at the pony driving for the disabled at Hoddom.  She had a very cold day out in the fields over there.  Meanwhile, after lunch  I was going to go for a walk with the camera but it seemed just too chilly and windy here too to make it fun so I went up to the High Street to get some photographs mounted.  This was another of those special trips that I have perfected because I hadn’t remembered that the framer shuts on a Wednesday afternoon and I had to come home with the pictures still unmounted.

It was not a complete waste of time though  because as I was crossing the river, I thought I saw a dipper flying about.  Then I saw several more little dark birds flashing up and down under the suspension bridge and I realised that the swallows had come back to Langholm.  I went home and got the camera and wondered whether I would be able to get any sort of pictures considering the gloomy weather and the speed at which swallows fly.  In the end, the wind was a bit of a help as they paused slightly as they turned back into the wind to go upriver.  These are the first pictures of swallows that I have taken and I hope to get better weather soon to take better pictures.

swallow on Esk

Like dippers, they turned out to more colourful than I thought.

Swallow on Esk 2

You don't see the red head when they are flying at all (or I don't at least).

Swallow on Esk 3

They have more wingspan than appears when they are flying about.

Swallow on Esk 4

This is more like what you see.

That was a great excitement and I feel it more than made up for the wasted journey with the pictures.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to the community choir where we had to work hard because the choir leader had left his keyboard in Dumfries so we had to sing unaccompanied.  Everyone found it difficult but it probably did us good.  He is trying to teach us a little bit of technique each week and I am hoping that in time I will be able to produce my voice better and make a nicer sound than I do at present.  This will be a definite bonus for the people who stand next to me.

I noticed another sparrow on the peanuts during the day and was interested to see how it approached nut nibbling.

sparrow nibbling nuts

It too got the wire between its beak. It looks very odd but it must work.

Today’s chaffinch is a female chaffinch with brakes on and landing gear down

chaffinch

 

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Today’s picture is another from the sibling’s Welsh trip, this time from the camera of my sister Susan.

View of Snowdonia from Plas Newydd across the Menai Strait

Anther forecast of rain led to another fine day in Langholm, thanks again to the northerly wind.  Dropscone and I would have set off for the morning run in good spirits if Drop’s gears had not malfunctioned once again leaving him marooned in a low gear in our drive.  A call to his house to pick up his second best bike was accomplished without much delay and we set off again with the merest hint of a rain drop here and there.  These sporadic droplets persisted until Canonbie, where they gave up entirely and we cycled home in fine weather and without further incident until two hundred yards from the house when Dropscone hit a bump and punctured.  He is not enjoying the best of luck in regards to his bicycle stock at the moment.

Good coffee and scones cheered us up and I took him and his bike back to his house in the Kangoo.

Mrs Tootlepedal has mildly expressed the opinion that as far as my blog went, she might have seen almost as many shots of chaffinches as she really needed to see in order to have a good idea of what a chaffinch looked like.  She went on to suggest that the occasional flower shot might make a pleasant change.  I am well known to be very sensitive to the views and feelings of others so today’s blog will have many flowers and no goldfinches, siskins or chaffinches.

wallflowers

The wallflowers are progressing towards their full glory.   A few warm days would be welcome to speed the process up.

blue tit

This is not a goldfinch, siskin or a chaffinch. I am always pleased to see a member of the tit family in the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal also asked if I could take more pictures where the birds looked at the camera.  I am always happy to oblige.

blue tit facing front

Other more infrequent visitors appeared today.

sparrow

A sparrow added a touch of variety to our bird population.

It is interesting to me to see how they deal with the wire when pecking at the peanuts.  Somehow, I always imagined that they would peck between the wires but the camera shows that the sparrows don’t.  I am not quite sure how they actually manage to eat the nuts.

Other birds did appear in the garden but being publicity shy, they sneaked away before I could snap them properly.

shy rook

A rook sneaking off

After I had taken a few pictures, I went up to the High Street and this time managed to take both the donations and the pay-in book to the RBS at the same time and successfully added a couple of donations to the Archive Group’s bank account.  This was a triumph.  I got some more medicine from the chemist at the same time, thus killing two birds with one stone….although that is a very unfortunate phrase for me to use.

When I got home, I noticed that the shy rook was back.

rook

You didn't see me, right?

The tulips were looking good again today.

tulip

colourful  tulip

small tulips

There are some miniature ones coming up next to the front lawn.

The tulips are in their prime but the daffodils, which have lasted very well, are coming to the end of the road.

daffodil

I looked in the pond for signs of life after the recent visit of the heron but could see no frogs or tadpoles.  The pond skaters seem to be thriving in their absence.

pond skater

I’ll have to catch one in a jam jar one of these days to get a good photograph of those bulbous eyes.

The garden is full of dogtooth violets.  I haven’t really noticed them before but this year, they have really caught my eye.

dogtooth violets

They don't seem to need much warmth to do well.

I turned a bit more of the compost heap and then went in to make celery and Stilton soup for lunch.  This is one of my favourites.  Someone has recommended that I try broccoli and Stilton as a variant and I keep meaning to make it but then I forget and make celery soup again.

If Mrs Tootlepedal has read this far, I hope she appreciates the lack of chaffinches today.  I did succumb to the temptation of these goldfinches on one of the box balls.

goldfinches having a ball

I couldn’t ignore the chaffinches altogether so I snapped a group having a quiet tea party away from the hurly burly on the hanging feeders.

chaffinches

We were sitting around after eating the soup and wondering what to do when Mike Tinker rang up and suggested a visit to another nearby Roman Camp not far from Gilnockie station.  I was going to let Mrs Tootlepedal go without me because vestigial remains of old camps don’t enthrall me but then I  thought that it might offer me some good photo opportunities so I packed the camera up and joined them.  Sadly, as Mike parked the car, it started to rain quite heavily and, not wanting to find out whether the camera bag was waterproof or not, I chose to leave it in the car.

The visible remains of the Roman marching camp were slight but happily they were mostly in the middle of an absolutely lovely wood and we enjoyed an interesting stroll through this wood, walking along the bank that marked the edge of the fort, the old railway line and a variety of tracks and paths.  It  had stopped raining after about ten minutes and I spent the rest of the walk taking in the beautiful scenery and regretting that I had not been bolder and taken the camera with me.  I hope to come back with Mrs Tootlepedal when the bluebells are fully out in a week or two and take another walk with the camera in hand.

We had a cup of tea and a slice of cake when we got home and while the tea was brewing, I went out to fill the feeders yet again and took a picture of some plum blossom at the same time…

plum blossom

..and a nice patch of colour as well.

patch of colour

In the evening I went with Susan to Carlisle to play recorders.  The sky, as we approached the city, was spectacularly black and we feared that we might be washed away before we could get to Heather’s.  In the end we got their before the rain and enjoyed a hard working practice session for our forthcoming concert.  It is amazing how much practice you have to do for fifteen minutes playing.  On the plus side, it is very satisfactory to put in some hard work and see the group improve a piece as a result.  Next week, we intend to record part of the practice and that might give us a bit of a shock when we hear the playback.  By the time Susan and I got back to Langholm, it was raining  steadily, continuing the good policy the weather has had pursued of late  of only raining when it is dark.

Psst! If Mrs Tootlepedal isn’t looking, here are some bird shots from earlier in the day.  They may include, a chaffinch, a goldfinch and a siskin.

chaffinch

A chaffinch

A goldfinch

A goldfinch

a siskin

and a siskin

 

 

 

 

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