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Archive for July, 2012

Today’s picture by Rachel, a friend of the family, was forwarded to me by my sister Susan from her I-Pad ( show off).  It shows the siblings at Huseyin’s recent birthday.  What is very strange is that none of us seem to have aged at all.

family 2012

Dropscone had an errand to do so I had a leisurely breakfast and set out to go round the full morning run for the first time since the 14th of May.  I went round the wrong way as this avoids the two steepest climbs.  Although it was a lovely day, the thermometer was at a measly 12° C  so I put the shorts away and reverted to the tights.  I was sorry by about three quarters of the way round as I was far too hot.

Following my policy of trying to be sensible, I not only went at a gentle pace, using a very low gear on anything remotely resembling a hill but I also stopped for frequent photo shoots.  My first stop was at the Kerr Wood, which has now completely disappeared.

Kerr wood

Dropscone was complaining to me last time he went round about how exposed to the wind this stretch of road now is.  They will be replanting it but even at the rapid rate that the trees they plant these days grow, the cover may come too late for us.

The price of timber must be good just now because a few hundred yards along the road, another wood is under the chainsaw.

nifty machine

I love to watch the clever machines with their skilful operators.

As I pedalled over the hill at Tarcoon, I stopped again to capture two contrasting cloudscapes.

Clouds: Looking south

Looking south

clouds:

Looking back at Whita Hill

I think we had the best of the weather today.
I stopped in Canonbie to pick up a schedule for the Canonbie Flower Show from the post office.  It has a good set of classes for photos and I am going to try to get some sorted out to have a go in some of them.

I was just appoaching Canonbie bridge when I met an old, gnarled figure pedalling towards me.  It was Dropscone, having finished his errands, going round the morning run the correct way.  I pedalled gently on while he whizzed into the distance.  I stopped at the Hollows to take a picture of the estate houses there, looking very neat and tidy.

The Hollows

I stopped twice more, once to add to my collection of bridges at Irvine House.  This was one of the most battered bridges when it was on the main road as it sits on a steepish downhill corner.  Hardly a week went by without a stone being taken off the parapet.  It looks very peaceful now.

Irvine House bridge

And finally a look down from the bike path at the Esk gleaming in the sunshine.

Esk at Broomholm

Then there was just time for a shower, a set of stretching exercises and a bite of lunch before it was time to go to the Kilngreen to do my stint in the tourist office.

I was amazed to have to deal with two enquiries almost before I had time to sit down.  After that, I had a steady stream of visitors but only one more tourist.  My first visitor was my archiving friend Jean, who dropped in on her way round a walk on the new Castleholm path.  She had hardly departed before Dropscone appeared.  He had given the opportunity to play a round of golf a miss as he had played 45 holes during the last three days.  His appearance was more than usually welcome as he was carrying a gift of two of his excellent scones. He had noticed that I had been complaining about sconelessness in the blog yesterday.

Then to complete my entertainment, Sandy dropped in on his way to a photographic opportunity in the good weather.  He has woodpeckers, nuthatches and a squirrel in his garden.  I am going to have to move house.

I had one more very chatty genuine tourist who came in twice so my afternoon slipped by most pleasantly.  I cycled home across the Castleholm and saw little of note, though I was given a display of low flying by an oyster catcher.

Oyster Catcher

I had washed my four seater seed feeder before I went out in the morning and had hung up a two seater in its place.  The birds seemed to take the substitution in their stride.

I enjoyed watching them while I had a cup of coffee.

sparrows

There are any amount of sparrows about.

greenfinch and sparrows

A greenfinch and two sparrows watch some event in amazement.

sparrow and chaffinch

A sparrow tells a chaffinch to move along

We welcomed a motorcycling couple for the evening. They are going from Nairn to France for a few days and have a long way still to go just to get to Dover.  They told me that the journey is part of the holiday.  That’s how I feel about trains.

When their bikes were safely stowed away, I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn.  It now has a pretty diamond pattern.

I also noticed that my favourite flower, a fuchsia which barely survived the winter, is now showing its first flower.

fuchsia

 

A red dahlia has also come out so there are touches of colour here and there in the garden, even if there is nothing like as much as there should be.

dahlia

I didn’t go to Carlisle to play recorder tonight as too many of the group were unavailable for one reason or another so I was able to get some more Olympic resting in.

Today’s chaffinch is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows my younger brother and oldest sister testing out the middle lawn at Wauchope Cottage  today

Susan and Andrew

I had to give up the chance of a morning pedal as firstly I had agreed to fill the moorland feeders again, secondly I needed to go and get food for my own feeders and thirdly I had to be ready for a welcome visit from my brother and one of my sisters for coffee.

I did the first two of these with such dispatch that I was ready for the visit early enough to have time to have a quick look at the flowers.

Two roses

Another rose ‘Wren’ has come out and the two were as bright as car headlights in the morning sun.

ly

A striking day lily

My brother and eldest sister are on a tour of Scotland involving visiting relatives in the north, visiting graveyards all over the place and running up convenient mountains (brother only).  I admire their energy.  They were off to Kilmarnock when they left us by way of the Louping Stanes and the Grey Mare’s Tail.  An interesting journey.

As we were sipping our coffee (they both complained about the lack of scones and had to make do with one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s dainty fairy cakes instead), I might have glanced out of the window.

feeder action

The sunny weather hadn’t lessened the feeder competition.

After coffee, we went out onto the  garden where I noticed a siskin in the plum tree and as my sister Susan particularly likes shots of birds in the trees, I took this picture.

siskin

It was replaced a few moments later by a blue tit finding something interesting to peck at on a twig.

blue tit

We walked around looking at what flowers the poor season has let survive.  The yellow rose, a favourite of mine caught our attention.

yellow rose

Let’s hope that the other buds get a chance to develop.

And Mrs Tootlepedal gave us an example of the unbridled and joyous Olympic enthusiasm that has swept the country.

Olympic enthusiasm

The flag came from the Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Then  it was time for them to go on their way and Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work.  Earlier on, while we had been talking to Andrew and Susan, we had been visited by our neighbour Alan, who lives at the far end of the dam, and who was wondering if we might have a spare fence post about us.  Mrs Tootlepedal was able to oblige him with one from of her collection of things that may be useful sometime.

We wanted to see if the fence post had been useful so when Mrs Tootlepedal went to work, we went along the dam on a tour of inspection.  Alan had made good use of the post indeed.

Alan's landscaping works

Alan’s landscaping works: our post is third from the left.

As we were talking to Alan, his secondary workforce appeared.  They had been removing floating grass from further down the dam.

Alan's workforce

He is lucky to have such keen and elegant people ready to obey his every command.

And they are fine musicians as well.

Then I retired to do some constructive resting and Mrs Tootlepedal went on to work.

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned at lunchtime, I roused myself and cut the middle lawn.  Like the rest of the garden, both lawns are badly in need of a period of warmth and dryness.  I also completed the clipping of the box hedges.

The Olympics then claimed my attention until I was driven to get out the speedy bike and take a little gentle exercise myself. It was fine when I started out up the Wauchope road but almost immediately it started to spit with rain and this continued for the rest of the ride.  It didn’t amount to much in spite of some threatening clouds ahead.  The patchy nature of the weather was brought out by the view back from my turning point.  I was standing in a light drizzle but the the sun was shining five miles away.

Whita in sunshine

I was told later that it had been raining very heavily at the bottom of the town earlier in the day when the top of the town was quite dry.  Annoying weather.

I stopped at Pool Corner on my way home to admire the slow worms that snooze in a convenient spot there.

slow worms

They looked like some ornate piece of Celtic jewellery.

When I arrived at the house, I found that Mrs ‘Genghis’ Tootlepedal had embarked on a programme of mass destruction in one of the borders.

Dogwood destruction

The lawn was slowly filling up with surplus dogwood and rose

After a while, she retired indoors and I tidied up the debris and got changed from my cycling gear just in time to welcome my flute pupil Luke.  Although we are deep in the school holidays, he had done some useful practice which was very pleasing and he continues to make steady progress.

Then it was another burst of heavy Olympic watching, accompanied by a plate of chicken curry.  Talking of chickens…during the day Mrs Tootlepedal had finished the trimming of her two chickens.  They look good.

chickens

I haven’t been able to get a picture of them when they are  flying so I made do with a chaffinch.

chaffinch

To give the weather its due, it almost felt like a proper summer day today.  Sadly, there was a hint of autumn in it too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture was taken by my daughter Annie on the top of Box Hill and shows the British cycle team going over the top with a modicum of help from a single German.  I don’t know which lap it was.

Box Hill

I like the Olympics.  The Olympics have given me a good reason for doing something that I usually find very hard to do and by sitting and watching the bike racing in particular for two days, I have been able to do nothing at all and not go mad.  As a result my joints are feeling very good indeed.  I should be in cracking from by the time the Olympics are over.  Of course I will probably have put on two stone and had a stroke but you can’t have everything.

I did get out a little today as I had promised to fill the feeders at the Moorland Feeding Station.  Sandy kindly gave me a lift up and we hung about for a bit to see if anything interesting turned up but the best we could manage was a young blackbird…

blackbird

…which didn’t rate very highly on the wow factor scale.  Sandy has a red squirrel in his garden as well as young woodpeckers. I am very envious.

We had a cup of coffee when we got home and after that, I took a moment to wander round the garden.

cosmos

I am frequently amazed by the radically different shades a single flower can go through.

Japanese anenome

The first sighting of the Japanese anemone. Benign neglect has worked its magic once more.

Rose 'Wren'

A rose ‘Wren’ has struggled through the rain and looks good in spite of damage to its outer petals.

Astrantia

The astrantia have enjoyed the wet, cool weather.

astilbe

I don’t think the astilbe will do very well

I went in and watched the birds for a short while.

goldfinch

A goldfinch heads for the feeder

nap hand

Four different types on the feeder. We run a multicultural garden here.

chaffinch landing

A delicate landing from a chaffinch

brush off

An indelicate brush off by a goldfinch.  I can’t repeat what it said

Then the armchair beckoned and we watched the women’s road cycle race.  This turned out to be a gripper and apart from an interval to eat a traditional roast Sunday dinner, kindly provided by Mrs Tootlepedal, we stuck with it to the end.  We sat in admiration at the nerve of the cyclists as they sped round sharp corners in terribly wet conditions and their courage when they leapt back on the bike after the inevitable spills.

In the late afternoon, our son and daughter-in-law left to go to a posh hotel to celebrate their second wedding anniversary in style and we welcomed a hardy cyclist for the night in their place.  He had been battered by wind and rain on his ride and his tiredness made me feel grateful that I had decided to stay indoors today.

The weather had brightened up by the time he arrived though and I got the mower out and gave the front lawn a much needed trim, leaving it with a very fetching diagonal stripe.

Mrs Tootlepedal busied herself in the garden and we see her her here in traditional pose.

The gardener

It is typical of the year that she is gardening in her coat in midsummer.

I picked a good looking bowl of broad beans.  They seem to have been unaffected by the cold and damp.

broad beans

We are eating beans almost every day but that is what you have to do if you want fresh seasonal food.

Fortunately, the beans are tasting very good so it is no hardship.

Mrs Tootlepedal sometimes feels that I concentrate too much on single flowers in my garden pictures so I took a couple of wider shots today.

Knapweed clump

Perennial wallflowers and oxeye daisies make a nice contrast

Perennial wallflowers and ox-eye daisies make a nice contrast

The stachys lanata have been hurt by the wet weather but this doesn’t seemed to have lessened their attraction to insects.

stachys

I don’t know what the visitor is.  It might be a bee but looked rather black.

stachys and bee

This does look like a bee.

There is only one clump of Sweet William this year but it is thriving.

Sweet William

Then it was back to the armchair again for more Olympic style resting.  I may well get a gold medal for resting if I go on like this.

I caught a goldfinch for the flying bird of the day today.

flying goldfinch

I am sorry about yesterday’s double post.  I will try to post this one just the once.

 

 

 

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I’m crying because I prepared today’s post and then before I could publish it, I had a rush of blood to the head and deleted it and it is late and I am not going to write the whole thing again.

Here is a digest:

Went to market to buy cheese and fish – cheesmonger and fishmonger  not there.  Didn’t buy any fish…or cheese.

Rain.  A bit of sun.  A lot of rain.  A bit of sun

Watched Cavendish and co not win the Olympic Road race for five hours.  That’s a long time to sit watching someone not winning something.  Made soup. While we were sitting there getting gloomy, my daughter Annie was actually out on the course at Box Hill having a wonderful time watching the race as it went past her nine times.  Even the police escorts were having fun.

Alistair and Clare made us gnocchi and mushrooms with poached eggs for or tea.  Delicious.

Played cards, watched more Olympics.

Here are the pictures that would have had an informative commentary with them.

Morning:

roses

Two wet roses, the only ones on each bush that were out.

knapweed

Two different types of knapweed looking reasonably cheerful.

sunflower

Sunflower being ironic

rambler rose

Rambler rose defying the weather

After coffee in the rain:

greenfinch and sparrows

A greenfinch flies away from the usual mayhem of sparrows and chaffinches.

chaffinches

A male chaffinch perches while a female looms through the drizzle

two sparrows

Two matching sparrows

greenfinch

A greenfinch in the plum tree thinking about stuff

After the race and the rain:

puddles

Puddles outside the back door.

A bit later in some  early evening sunshine:

dam side

The back of the house is surprisingly colourful

hosta

A magnificent hosta

minnow hunters

Two hopeful minnow hunters tempted out by the evening sunshine.

And finally…the chaffinch of the day..

chaffinch

Sorry about the full post.  Old age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s photograph is  from my son Alistair’s phone and shows an Edinburgh swan.

swan

The day after the Common Riding is always a rather flat occasion after the excitements of the day before and today was made doubly flat by the frequent rain showers and the failure of Cav to win his coveted gold medal in the cycling road race.  In fact we spent nearly five hours getting disappointed by that.

We were just sitting in front of the telly but my daughter Annie was actually out on the course near the top of Box Hill and, regardless of the result, had a wonderful time in the midst of a large and enthusiastic crowd while the race went past her nine times.  She said everyone, including the police escorts were in high good humour and feels that London has got a severe case of Olympic fever.

I didn’t quite spend all day as a couch potato as I had to walk up to the town to get some prescriptions in the morning and then Alistair, Clare and I went to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Hall.  It didn’t add to the fun quotient of the day when I found that neither the fishmonger nor the cheesemonger were there.  As I had gone specially to buy cheese and fish, it was not a successful outing.

It was nice enough when  we got back to tempt me out among the wet flowers in the garden with the camera.

knapweed

Two different types of knapweed looking reasonably cheerful.

roses

Two wet roses, the only ones on each bush that were properly out.

By contrast, the rambler on the new fence goes from strength to strength.  These are the sort of roses that the Common Riding crown is built from.  Perhaps next year we will have some of our roses in it if they do as well again.

rambler rose

Another rather ironical bright spot is the row of sunflowers near the fence.  They are growing well and have obviously enjoyed the wet.

sunflower

This is the first one out.

It started to rain so I went in and we enjoyed a cup of coffee (no scones though) and I had to stare out of the back door in variable weather.

chaffinches

A male chaffinch perches while a female looms through the drizzle

greenfinch and sparrows

A greenfinch flies away from the usual mayhem of sparrows and chaffinches. A lone siskin gets on with the business of seed nibbling.

two sparrows

Two matching sparrows

greenfinch

A greenfinch thinking about stuff in the plum tree.

The road race had started by now and while we were watching it, I made a pan of lentil soup which we had for lunch.  Then we sat down for some serious couch potatoing while it alternated sunshine and heavy showers outside. By the end of the race, our hopes were dashed and the garden was sodden once again.

puddles

Puddles outside the back door.

This blackbird found plenty of worms on the new bit of lawn.

blackbird

After the race, Alistair and Clare offered to make our evening meal for us and made one of those simple peasant dishes that seem to take forever to prepare.  The wait was well worth it though and we enjoyed  their potato gnocchi with mushrooms and poached eggs a lot.  This was the first time I have ever eaten gnocchi but I might well do so again, as long as someone else cooks them for me.

While the cooking was going on, the sun came out belatedly and I wandered out.  The back of the house looked rather brighter than some of the garden at the front.

dam side

The hosta at the end is wonderful.

hosta

The evening sun had tempted out two small minnow hunters.

minnow hunters

For those who don’t know the house, I should explain that the back door of our house is at the front and the door that you can see at the back of the house is not the back door.  It’s the dam door.  We don’t use it to go in and out because, of course, if we did, we would fall in the dam.

We whiled away the evening by playing cards and watching bits of the Olympics on the wall to wall TV coverage.   Two weeks of the Olympics will not do our exercise quotient much good.  Still it is all in the name of sport.

I did find a flying bird today.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows the Langholm Flag which the cornet carries round the marches during the common riding.

standard

It was Langholm’s Great Day today so no place for birds or flowers in the post I am afraid.  I had great plans for rushing in every direction to get photographs of every possible facet of the Common Riding but good sense intervened and rather than collapsing after two hours, I paced myself gently through the day.  This meant that I gave the flute band and it’s five a.m. start a miss but from a photographic point of view this was no great loss as it was very misty at that time.  I continued in idle fashion by missing the handing out of the flag and the start of the procession.

My day started with an excellent bacon and egg breakfast and then, at our leisure, Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked up to the town to see the first Fair Crying.  The crowds were already assembling on the Kirk Wynd.

kirk wynd

08.59

The Market Place was full of people taking care where they put their feet.

Market Place

9.02

We immersed ourselves in the crowd and heard Rae, perched precariously on the back of a horse, cry the fair.  (His father and grandfather cried the fair before him.)

Crying the fair

09.04

As he criesd the fair, the cornet waited for perhaps the biggest moment of his day.

The cornet in the market place

09.06

I should say that although it is a trunk road, the A7 through the town is closed to traffic for the whole of the morning.  The Common Riding doesn’t give way to anything.

Somewhere hidden in the crowd, the Langholm Town Band lurks.  They provide a musical accompaniment for the procession throughout the morning.

After the fair crying, the square is cleared and the cornet leads the mounted procession up the Kirk Wynd and onto the hill.  He is cheered the whole way up the Kirk Wynd by hundreds, if not thousands of townsfolk and visitors alike.

The cornet going up the Kirk Wynd

09.16

He is followed by the rest of the horsemen.

Up the Wynd

09.17

 

Last year, I followed the horses up the hill to the monument but this year, I returned home after the gallop up the Wynd and relied on the long lens to do the walking for me.

horses on the hill seen from my bedroom window

09.30 horses on the hill seen from my bedroom window

Clare told me later that she counted over 160 horses in the procession.

horses on the hill

09.31 the cornet is well over the hill while the tail of the procession still winds up the track.

Then there was time for a cup of coffee before the cornet reappearsed on the skyline leading the cavalcade to the monument.

monument

10.10

There a ceremonial sod is cut and the monument circled before the horses carefully pick their way down the hill.

coming down Whita

10.19

Normally, I would go back to the town to hear the second crying of the fair but today I let that pass and later on went to the Town Bridge to watch the procession come down from Drove Road.  The pipe band leads the way.

pipe band

11.36

They are leading a procession of children carrying heather besoms, or more properly these days,  a procession of some children walking and many adults pushing or carrying little children carrying heather besoms.

The heather besom parade

11.37 Not much blooming heather in evidence this year after the poor weather

The emblem bearers are the next to appear.  They carry the thistle, the crown and the barley banna and salt herring. The origin of the emblems is obscure.

The emblems

11.45

Next the Town Band leads the cornet and his mounted followers.

Town band and cornet

11.46

Once the procession reaches the Kilngreen, the emblems wait on the Sawmill Brig…

sawmill brig

11.50

..while another ceremonial sod is cut on the Kilngreen and the mounted procession circle it.  This picture shows the informal self regulating atmosphere of the day.  In spite of the close proximity of 160 horses and thousands of people, no tape or marshals are required.

On the Kilngreen

11.51

Then  the spade carrier and his assistants cross the Ewes Water, which had luckily gone down just enough to make this possible.

 

spade carriers cross the Esk

11.53

They are followed by the cornet and the rest of the mounted procession.

 

cornet crossing Esk

11.53

A final sod is cut on the Castleholm and the procession circles this before the riding of the common concludes with the cornet’s chase.

Castleholm

Mrs Tootlepedal and I then walked up to the Jubilee Bridge where we waited to see if the racecourse had dried out enough to allow the cornet’s chase to take place.  We passed the Tinker family on our way, looking very cheerful.

Tinker family

We got to the bridge and after a pause, the cornet appeared taking things carefully as he crossed the boggy ground in the back straight.

cornet

12.14 Cornet Andrew Elliot

right, left and semi jubilee

12.15 right, left and semi jubilee take it even more cautiously

We were waiting  for the rest of the riders to appear up the track when they surprisingly emerged from a path beside the river.

The cornet's chase

12.18 Still not quite sure where to go

They made a strange sight walking calmly through the trees rather than galloping up the racetrack.

cornet's chase on path

12.16

 

Once past the bridge, they were directed back onto the racecourse and cantered away.

On track again

12.20 On track again

Mrs Tootlepedal was an interested spectator of these unusual goings on.

Mrs T

Then it was time for a light lunch and  a quick trip to fill the bird feeders.  I may or may not have taken a bird picture while we were up there.

great tit

I don’t know how that one sneaked in here.

In the afternoon, I went back to the Castleholm to have a look at the athletics, dancing and horse racing that go on there.

dancing

14.15

ready steady go

14.17 Ready, steady, go! A 90m handicap heat

6 furlong race

14.36 Early leader in the 6 furlong race

close finish

14.37 A close finish

The  3 o'clock race in the back straight

15.03 Crossing the soggy bit of the track safely in the next race

closely contested

15.03 closely contested

Then it was time to go home for a rest and to gather strength to mow the middle lawn because the grass didn’t know it was Common Riding day and was growing furiously.

After tea, we went back to the Castleholm to hear the Town band play for the evening dance.

The cornet, right and left with their partners in the traditional polka that starts the dancing

19.36 The cornet, right and left with their partners in the traditional polka that starts the dancing

19.41: The band plays a waltz

19.41: The band plays a waltz

I left the camera in the hands of my son and took Mrs Tootlepedal out onto the grass for a gentle waltz.

 

Dancing

19.43: Dancing

Then it was time to wave goodbye to the midges…

midges

19.47 midges caught in a shaft of evening sunshine

..and to get off home to watch the Olympic opening ceremony, the only one in history to contain a thoroughly good joke.

I did manage to get one picture of a flying bird when I was on the Town Bridge so the day wasn’t completely wasted.

gull

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows my daughter-in-law Clare in front of a very big hedge in the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.  My son’s phone takes rather blue pictures.

big hedge

It was a mild, grey day with light winds and I should have been cycling but Dropscone was away on business and I had promised to fill the feeders at the Moorland Feeder Station so I drove up there instead.  The midges weren’t too bad and I waited to see what birds would come to the feeders once they were full.

chaffinch and nuthatch

A chaffinch and a nuthatch eye the peanuts

Nuthatch

The nuthatch got there first

woodpecker

A ringed young woodpecker put in a brief appearance

tit and siskin

A tit and a siskin share

I didn’t stay too long because Mrs Tootlepedal wanted the car to do some shopping. When I got home, I walked round the garden to see what was new.

Marigold and rose

A marigold and a rose were adding a lot of brightness to a dull day.

crocosmia

A crocosmia looking like the head of a fantastic prehistoric bird

phlox

The first flower on a purple phlox

I also mowed the back lawn and the washing green.  While we had been away the washing green had grown so long that I had to get the hover mower out as my little push mower couldn’t cope.

A check round the back of the house showed that three different sorts of potentilla were out along the dam.

potentilla

They are great value and flower for weeks and even months on end.

Then stage two of the day started and it began to rain gently and I retreated indoors and watched the birds.

chaffinch, sparrow and greenfinch

A sample of our most frequent visitors

We were expecting human visitors so before it rained I had picked a pound of gooseberries.  Now I cooked them up in a little syrup and added custard to make the first stage of a gooseberry fool.  The addition of a little whipped cream later will  make a delicious pudding.
After lunch I booked some train tickets for our holiday in France in September.  I thought that I was in plenty of time but I was surprised at how high the prices were that I could find on line.  I rang the rail office and found out that most of the seats on the train we wanted had already gone and I would indeed have to pay for being late.  Still, I am looking forward to the journey as I love train travel as much as the holiday itself.

Mike Tinker came round for a cup of tea and we realised that the rain had stopped.  Soon afterwards, Alistair, our younger son, and his wife Clare arrived and we had a cup of tea with them as well.   As both these cups of tea were accompanied by some dainty iced cakes that Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked earlier, this was a good part of the day.

We had an excellent spag bog for our tea and after it, since the rain had disappeared, I got the slow bike out and worked a few calories off by cycling up to Wauchope School.  Mrs Tootlepedal had been held up yesterday on her way back from Hoddom by a lorry which had gone off the road  there and I wanted to see what the aftermath looked like.  It was rather disappointing.  They had even mended the fence.

Wauchope road

You can see that it is so wet that a wheel just off the tarmac would cause an accident.

When I got back to the town, an ominous cloud was shrouding the monument.

monument in cloud

Well, it looked ominous enough but half an hour later, when Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out, it looked like this.

monument in sun

We were not the only ones about.  My friend Jean was waiting outside Gavin’s house with his granddaughter Hannah.

We were all waiting to hear the flute band march up Henry Street.

Flute Band

The last Thursday and Friday in July are the only days this motley collection plays.

A few minute later they were followed down the street by the pipe band.

Pipe band

These ceremonies on what is known as Summer Fair Night mark the start of the Common Riding.  The flute band will be back round the town at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning to wake us all up.

A grand sunset showed over the roof of the house as we went home.

sunset

Red sky at night should give us fine weather for tomorrow.

A moment or two later, a mist started to rise.  We are keeping our fingers crossed.

rising mist

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch glimpsed during the morning rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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