Gentle activity

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s recent visit to Spain and shows a very flowery house in Santillana del Mar.

A close up of the flowery house

It was another dry but grey and windy day today but we managed to fill it with undemanding activities so we didn’t miss the sun too much.

We rose late and after a belated breakfast went along to the Buccleuch Centre where a number of growers were holding a spring plant sale.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s firmly stated plan was to buy nothing at all but just to look.  Her garden is too full already and she has nowhere to put any more plants.  She stuck to this plan most admirably, only purchasing a Heuchera, some French beans and an Ammi Majus.  I was impressed by her self restraint.

When we got back, it was time for coffee and a garden wander.

black iris
A strikingly dark iris has appeared
The more conventional blue ones are doing well.
The first peony is out
A yellow potentilla blushes charmingly

Meanwhile Mrs Tootlepedal busied herself with putting a coat of preservative on the wooden frames for the compost heap.  We had got up so late that coffee time and lunch time were almost simultaneous and after a very light lunch, I set out on my fairly speedy bike to do a few miles.  The brisk wind persuaded me that twelve miles would be quite enough.

I had another garden wander when I got back.  It looks like a good year for eating as well as looking.

pots, gooseberries and plums
Potential potatoes, gooseberries and plums

We just hope that we can avoid the potato blight, the gooseberry sawfly and the July drop.

The azaleas are offering eye watering colour in every corner of the front garden.


I am indebted to the New Hampshire Gardener for encouraging me to look more closely at things.   Before I read his excellent blog, I would never have noticed this twig which had fallen from our walnut tree.  Now I know that it holds a world of fascination in its few centimetres.

walnut twig

Other people with good lenses have encouraged me to peer at flowers.  I would have regarded a plain green euphorbia as rather dull a few years ago.


Now it seems weirdly exotic.

A blue lupin, one of my favourite plants, is joining the garden fun.


When we were at the plant sale in the morning, a neighbour had told us of a short walk that she had recently enjoyed and as it was a new walk to us, we decided to try it out for ourselves.   As the weather didn’t look too promising, we drove to the bottom of the town before starting the walk.

We took the track to the Roundhouse and then struck up onto the side of Whita.   We had plenty of flowers to look at as we went.  Here is a sample.

wild flowers

There were also a plethora of power lines which were literally going in every direction.

power lines

We had been promised bluebells on the open hillside and there were plenty to see. We particularly liked this little stream of them flowing down the hill towards the path.


One of the joys of living in Langholm is how soon you can be out of the town and up on the hills and enjoying the views, even on a grey day like today.

Looking back to the town
Esk valley
Looking south down the Esk valley

Our track took us along the side of the hill above the woods…

woods on Whita

…and we were grateful that the trees were close at hand when it started to rain and we could walk under c0ver of the foliage on our way home.

oak wood

The treescapes were as good as the landscapes had been

We joined the track past Longwood…


…and walked back along the road beside the river to Skippers Bridge.

Even when we got to the edge of the town, we were able to enjoy the sights….

A clematis shielding the sewage works from view and a fine rhododendron beside the A7
A clematis tastefully shielding the sewage works from view and a fine rhododendron beside the A7

…and as we came out of the shelter of the trees, the rain obligingly stopped.

We did a little shopping at the Co-op and then drove home delighted to have found a new walk.  We met another cyclist outside the Co-op.  He had just encountered the gravelled section of the Lockerbie road and it was fair to say that he was incandescent with rage.  I had to agree that it did seem like madness to take the only smooth surfaced section of road for miles and cover it with gravel.  I imagine the road men sitting in their office and chortling with glee at our discomfiture.

Unfortunately, the various activities of the day left me little time to watch birds and in the absence of the seed feeder to make things easy for me, I was unable to find a flying bird of the day today.  This may be the first of many such days and I will have to think of a substitute for flying birds for the final picture of the post.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Gentle activity

    1. I have learned to look very closely. My lichen book says that I should have a microscope if I am going to take lichen seriously but I haven’t gone that far.

    1. It is a knockout but sadly it has appeared in the wrong part of the garden and the one that should be in the right place hasn’t flowered. Such is life.

  1. Delighted Mrs T couldn’t resist buying a Heuchera, we need that name said as often as possible. They are also gorgeous plants. Can never get enough of Euphorbias either, thanks.

  2. An incredible dark velvet iris in your garden; love these stunning landscapes, and the amazing trees in your post. Year of the bluebell, I reckon. I’m already missing ‘flying bird of the day.’ Haste away this bird sickness, and I’m looking forward to the feeders returning as soon as it’s gone.

  3. Thank you for the mention. I’m glad you looked at that fallen limb because those are great looking lichens.
    I also loved the landscapes as always and that dark iris is really amazing. I’m going to have to see if I can find one.

  4. What a lovely new walk you now have. I also love that almost black iris in your picture, and I definitely love those gorgeous azaleas. Such a delightful display 🙂

  5. Always amazed and standing in admiration of your pictures. Those garden/flower/lichen shots are great. Today I loved most the picture of a little town snuggling into the green between gently rolling hills. Of course the black Iris is a beauty. What about a flower of the day in place of the bird?

  6. I enjoyed those views of the Muckle Toon, home of my great-great-great grandfather. Spring has truly sprung in your part of the world, while autumn leaves are falling in my patch.

  7. That dark iris is amazing! What a lovely walk you had. I thoroughly enjoyed the view from above your town. I love how it’s nestled beside the river in the valley. All your photos and descriptions make it appear a fabulous place to live.

    1. The very fact that it is physically a bit cut off from the outside world has always made it feel bit special to its inhabitants and thus they tend to think of themselves as a bit special too.

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