Archive for May, 2014

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.



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Today’s guest picture is from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal and shows Matilda in her grandly named ‘personal transport system’.

Matilda in pram

It was another quite chilly, grey and windy morning but my dental discomforts were a thing of the past and Dropscone and I set off on our own personal transport systems for the morning run to Gair with the wind behind us and in relaxed mood.  This cheerful state of things lasted for no more than two and half miles because  we came to a stretch of road which had been tarred and gravelled since we last used it.  Cycling along newly laid gravel is never much fun but there had been just enough traffic to compact the surface enough to let us go on.

After a mile of this, we decided to get off the Wauchope road at the first opportunity and go the wrong way round the traditional morning run only to find that this road had been gravelled as well.   We pressed on up the Wauchope road and found to our relief that the gravel stopped not far past the junction.  All went well after that until we got to the turn off to Gair only to find that the gravellers were actually there and the road was completely closed.

We took the road from Waterbeck to Dunnabie as an alternative and were relieved to find it untouched by the road improvers.

The brisk wind made the trip back to Langholm quite hard work and we felt that we had thoroughly earned our scone and coffee.  Dropscone had been playing golf yesterday and he regaled me with an account of a disastrous nine strokes at the final hole of the day which had ruined an otherwise reasonable card.  When golfers tell you heart rending stories like this, it is difficult to know whether to laugh 0r cry.   It depends of course on whether the narrator is looking at you as he talks.

After he left, I took a walk round the garden and looked at colour combinations.  Some cool….

allium and aquilegia

Allium and aquilegia

Allium and hosta

Allium and hosta

…and some hot.

Euphorbia and azalea

Euphorbia and azalea

Icelandic and Welsh poppies

Icelandic and Welsh poppies nodding in international unison

I have taken my seed feeder down but I have left my last few peanuts up and they attracted some house sparrow interest.



Some seemed to be wondering where the seeds had gone.


Including this collared dove.

collared dove

It was interesting to me to see how the colour of the same bird changed noticeably when it changed its position.

collared dove

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to Edinburgh to visit Clare and granddaughter Matilda.   With regard to the picture at the top of the post, she realises that it shows ‘Mat in a Hat’ and is wondering if there might be a book in this thought.

I had a lonely lunch and then went off to the Tourist Information Point at the Kilngreen.  I had plenty of time to do the crossword but I did at least have two genuine enquirers both of whom I was able to help.  I had a third visitor but he was bringing information rather than looking for it.  This was Sandy with the news that the hospital had written to him to tell him that he has got pneumonia.  No wonder he has not been feeling very well.   However he was relieved to have got a definite diagnosis and has been on the right treatment anyway so he is a bit more cheerful about things.

After I had shut up shop at the TIP, I walked down to the riverside.  Mr Grumpy did not seem to be enjoying the chilly breeze as he kept his private parking space from encroachment.


I was entertained by a low flying display as there must have been a lot of insects about.  I am not very knowledgeable about birds but I am fairly sure that these two are swallows.


But I am not sure about these.  Are they sand martins?


And these?


Identification help is always welcome.

It is quite rare to be fortunate enough to find a lot of insects and a lot of birds and a river right in front of you so it was a pity that it was such a gloomy day.  Experience has taught me though that when the sun come out, the insects and the birds take to the skies and are soon out of camera range so you can’t win.

When I got home, I mowed the front lawn and the grass round the greenhouse and finished turning the compost.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned safely from Edinburgh with many pictures of Matilda.  This one shows her reaction when she was told that she would appear on the blog today.


She is a promising child.

The flying bird of the day is one of the insect eaters from the river.










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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother-in-law’s collection and shows my sister Caroline at Hilliers Arboretum last year.

Caroline at Hilliers Arboretum_1

I had many and various plans for the day.  Dropscone was off playing golf in a tournament for old people and Sandy is still not at his peak so I had a day to fill for myself.  Unfortunately, while I was nibbling on a plate of healthy cereal for my bed time snack last night, an unexpected crunch turned out to be the greater part of a tooth so instead of cycle rides or photo excursions, the first business of the day was a visit to the dentist.

Some embarrassment was caused by my saying that I knew that by coincidence I had an appointment  for a regular check later in the day but this was an emergency and the receptionist pointing out that the appointment was in fact for yesterday.  Luckily they didn’t hold it against me and I got in to see the dentist.  Not so lucky was the fact the the tooth had already been repaired so often and was so wrecked that there was nothing for it but to take it out.

It took some doing and I spent all the rest of the morning and much of the afternoon recovering.  No one needs to feel sorry for me as I have covered that ground fairly thoroughly for myself and am now recovered

The dentist gave me strict orders not to go bicycling for the rest of the day but the grey, windy and cheerless weather wouldn’t have encouraged me much anyway.  Mrs Tootlepedal was undaunted by the wind and combined a visit to vote in the European elections with a five mile ride round Potholm.

I went to vote later on but it was a strange experience as you don’t vote for a candidate but just for a single party.  You elect an MEP who may be from  anywhere in Scotland and whom you will probably never see and you will certainly never find out what they think or what they do.  It is an unsatisfactory system which leaves much of the real power in Europe in the hands of the thousands of lobbyists for big business and vested interests who besiege Brussels….but it is hard to figure out a better one.

I had a lot of time to stare out of the window today and there was an odd assortment of birds to look at.


Small birds on the peanuts


Large birds on the peanuts


Small birds on the lawn


Large birds on the lawn

The blackbirds are very active and I don’t know whether there is another nest on the go nearby. They are busy picking up food…

blackbird..both female and male….


…and in spite of the disparity in size between them and a jackdaw…


…they chased the jackdaws out of the garden at double speed whenever one came close to them.

There were some even bigger birds about today too.


A magisterial rook


Not a bird that I would argue with

It threatened to rain almost all day and often there were a few drops to be felt but it never came to anything much so Mrs Tootlepedal got some gardening in and I recovered enough to mow the middle lawn and turn another barrow or two of compost.  The heap is almost finished.  It was as high as the fence on the right.

compost bin

There is just one of the frames to go.

I did take one walk round the garden but the strong wind and poor light meant that it wasn’t a day for flower portraits so I contented myself with a potential peony…


…some actual irises…


…and the clematis round the back door which is doing a good job of disguising some prominent plumbing.


It has pretty flowers.


During the afternoon, I put a couple of choir songs onto the computer to help me practise them and  I also put a week of the newspaper index into the database.  In the evening, I went up to the Archive Centre and put another week in there (in solitude as Jean and Sandy are hors de combat still).  I didn’t have the heart to go in  for a refreshment afterwards without them.

Because of the number of birds visiting the feeder which are obviously sick with Trichomonosis, which is a parasite born disease, I am taking advice from those who know and stopping feeding the birds in the garden for a few weeks at least.  This will obviously make finding a flying bird of the day very difficult, if not impossible on most days, so I am glad to end with quite a spectacular  jackdaw today.





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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s recent trip to Spain.  Santillana Del Mar is a Spanish village 20 kilometres from the Bay of Biscay, which has scarcely changed from Medieval times.

Santillana Del Mar

After the thunderstorm overnight, today was sunny and much brighter as the haze had been swept away by the rain.  It would have been good to have had this bright weather for our trip yesterday but we made the best of it today.

Dropscone was busy and the wind was very brisk so I took the opportunity to give my legs a rest.  After a leisurely breakfast, I went up to the town to do some business.  This would have been more useful if the shop that I was going to visit had been open and the person whom I wanted to see had been in.

I spent a lot of time walking round the garden at various times during the day.


Mrs Tootlepedal has at least four different varieties of Euphorbia in different places.

astrantia and aquilegia

I like this colour combination, probably a happy accident.

Dicentra, lilac and anemone

Dicentra, lilac and anemone all enjoying the sun

The back path

The back path, a riot of growth.

Walnut tree

The leaves are just coming out on the walnut, one of the last trees to come into leaf.

We are too far north to get a crop of walnuts but there is at least one flower  this year as you can see.

The number of visitors to the feeder has gone down sharply and if this continues, I may even stop putting food out this year though I generally feed right through the summer.  Looking out of the kitchen window is less of a full time occupation as a result but I still take the occasional peek.

two sparrows

Two sparrows

redpoll and goldfinch

Redpoll and goldfinch

I am still in the process of turning the compost heap into a new bin, doing a couple of wheelbarrow loads at a time to try to preserve my joints.  We have a small shredder which works very well and Mrs Tootlepedal and I try to shred as much of the garden waste as we can with the result that the compost rots down very quickly and takes up less space than a conventional three year system.  Mind you, we still have ten compost bins  dotted about the vegetable garden.

After lunch, we went out to make good use of the sunshine.  We started with a visit to the Langholm Moor and we were lucky to see a hen harrier fly past.  It was too far away for the camera but well in range of my new binoculars.  The were several other people out with binoculars in hand as well as us.  As an added bonus we were serenaded by larks as we sat and watched.  We moved on in search of wild goats and soon saw some not far from the road.

Wild goats

They were near some of the peat banks which locals still use to cut fuel for their fires.

peat bank

The peats are laid out to be dried after cutting.

The banks are cut and the top layer is replaced behind the cutting so that the trench advances across the moor by a metre or so each year, leaving a reinstated surface behind it.

Two peat cutters arrived while I was watching the goats and set to work.

peat cutters

After drying flat, the peats are tipped up into little pyramids to dry further.  Peat cutting is very hard work and my back is still suffering from my efforts cutting peat nearly forty years ago.

I took two pictures of the Tarras valley before we headed back to Langholm.  The hills are just beginning to ‘green up’ after the winter months.


Looking up the Tarras valley

Tarras wood

Looking across the river.

When we got back to Langholm, we went in search of a nuthatch.  We didn’t have to look hard because there was a nuthatch hanging at the entrance to the nest when we arrived. There was no shortage of photo opportunities in the next few minutes.


We didn’t stay too long as the garden was calling to Mrs Tootlepedal and walked back across the Castleholm to the car, enjoying the beautiful day as we went.

Timpen Hill

Castleholm trees

Lodge walks

The Lodge Walks

We had to watch ourselves as we crossed the race track as a sheep race was in progress.

sheep on race track

Mrs Tootlepedal kindly allowed me time to stop at the Kilngreen on the way back to the garden.  We enjoyed an ice cream from the Pelosi’s van there and I strolled along the waterside.

The heron was posing for the camera beside the car park….


… but obligingly flew off to a more photogenic spot after a while.


Beside the Ewes, a little wagtail was leaping up into the air to catch insects.  I managed to get a quick shot of it before it shot off to feed its young.


Once back in the garden, we turned our attention to mending the main compost bin which was made out of the old surrounds for small raised beds and like its owners, is showing the ravages of time.   With a bit of skilled bashing of three inch nails, it should now last for another few years.

I shifted another two barrowfuls of compost and then  retired indoors for a cup of tea and a snooze while the indefatigable Mrs Tootlepedal  worked away outside.

I am getting trigger happy on the camera these days and had to throw away a lot of pictures but even so I have put more than my daily ration into this post for which I apologise.

In the evening we went to our Langholm Sings choir practice and had to put up with an AGM for half the practice.  AGM are necessary evils but they aren’t half as much fun as singing.  Ominously, we were bitten by midges as we came out.   If there is one drawback to life in Langholm it is the midges.  Last year was very midge free after the severe winter.  This year’s mild and wet winter may make for a very midgy summer.

The flying bird of the day is a blue tit, snatching a seed and making off at speed.

blue tit












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Today’s guest picture, from my brother’s visit to Santander, shows the Royal Palace there.  He remarks that it was modelled on Balmoral which accounts for its very un-Spanish appearance.


We had yet another fine but windy day today though not as warm as yesterday.  I put on a second layer to go off with Dropscone on an early morning pedal to Gair and back.   It took me some time to get warmed up and I held Dropscone back over the first miles but we still managed a very reasonable time for a windy day.

There was no time for coffee and scones because Mrs Tootlepedal, Sandy and I had arranged to go over to Dumfries to visit our friend Jean who is in hospital there.  It is a drive of over 70 miles to get to Dumfries and back so we thought that we would make the best of the journey but combining our visit to Jean with a visit to Sweetheart Abbey which is not far from the town.

We stopped at a garden centre on our way in a fruitless search for some courgette plants as Mrs Tootlepedal’s courgette seeds have not germinated this year.  We had a coffee and and an encounter with an unusual dinosaur while we were there.

topiary dinosaur

From one of the lesser known branches of the family

Sweetheart Abbey, in the village of New Abbey, is one of the many ruined abbeys which dot the south of Scotland.  There is not much of it left to see but what there is left, is quite impressive.   It was a very dull and hazy day for photography but Pocketcam did what it could.

Sweetheart Abbey

Sweetheart Abbey

We were limited in where we could go by fences keeping us away from potential falling masonry.  The abbey is mostly built from red sandstone but there is also evidence of the local granite.

Sweetheart Abbey

The abbey is carpeted with very well maintained grass and the floor and walls have many gravestones let into them.

Most of the minor parts of the building have gone but one fine ceiling is still there.

Sweetheart Abbey

We left the abbey and walked through the village to have a look at a working corn mill.  Sadly we had just missed the morning demonstration so we didn’t go in but admired the building and the water wheel from outside.

corn mill New Abbey

We walked up to the millpond above the mill.


As a writer I struggled to find a simile to explain just how calm it was.

mill sluice

This is the sluice for the mill lade.

We walked back through the well kept village which had many details to engage our interest…

New Abbey

bottle collection

Port house new abbey

…until we came to a café where we had our lunch.

We had enough time after to lunch to take a detour to the Loch Arthur Farm Shop at Beeswing on our way back to Dumfries.  The chief interest of the shop, to me at least, is the fact that the Loch Arthur Community makes its own cheese.  I used to get them to send me a parcel of cheese every month some years ago so it was very nice to be able to buy some old friends today.

We found Jean in very good spirits and being well looked after in hospital and stayed and chatted to her for an hour and a half.  She is feeling much better and hopes to be able to join Sandy and me at one of our Thursday night archiving sessions in a week or two.

Sandy himself is still far from as well as he would like to be so we headed for home without further excitement when we left Jean.

The forecast had been for bad weather in the afternoon but it stayed dry for our journey home and although there had been some rain…

hosta leaf with rain

…it had obviously only been a short shower.

The warm weather and little bit of rain has got things looking very cheerful.

japanese azalea

The Japanese azalea is looking gorgeous


Other azaleas are coming into flower too.


Foliage is playing its part.


The alliums are bursting out all over the place.

siberian iris

The first Siberian iris has come out. There are more to come.

The are flashes of lightning and rolling thunder echoes round the town as I write this so I shall finish the post at once while I still have electricity.

I had little time to watch birds today.  I saw a perching siskin in the plum tree…


…and the flying bird of the day is a high flying pigeon.





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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Santander in Spain.  Not the usual sort of municipal statue.

Statues pop up in strange places to remind you of its nautical history

We got up to a sunny, warm day and without doing too much at any time, I made the most of it.

I started with a 22 mile  morning pedal to Gair and back with Dropscone.  We set off half an hour earlier than usual in an effort to get round before the wind got too strong for comfort.  For once, a plan worked out well and we hit an average of 15 mph for the trip which we regard as a very satisfactory speed when we can achieve it without overtaxing ourselves.

The warm weather helped a lot as it is much easier to cycle without having several layers of clothing on.

We were a scone short with our coffee as Dropscone had given one away to a hungry looking friend on his way over before the ride.  Fortunately I had made a fruity malt loaf last night so we didn’t starve.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal and I made our way up to the Moorland Bird Feeders as I had been asked to stand in for one of the regular feeder fillers.  There were not many birds about but I was pleased to see one of the regular woodpeckers.


Mrs Tootlepedal had brought her binoculars with her in the hope of seeing some interesting raptors but great swathes of bog cotton were the only things on view…

bog cotton

…though we did see these comfortable lambs on the way back.


When we returned home, Mrs Tootlepedal dived into gardening mode while I sauntered around with a camera in hand.


The contrast between the flowers and foliage on this euphorbia is marked.


A pale primula is less striking but still interesting.

Icelandic poppies

After a slow start, Icelandic poppies are brightening things up.


The very last of the tulips


And can this be yet another shot of my favourite rhododendron? Yes.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off for a cycle ride of her own and I went for a trip with Sandy to see if we could see a squirrel.

We saw the Wauchope looking very pretty…


…and a splendid gate…


…some interesting conifer developments…


..and even a passing cyclist returning from her trip…

Mrs Tootlepedal

…but we didn’t see a squirrel.

We were persuaded not to delay too long in the hope of a squirrel sighting by some very loud and ominous cracks of thunder.

Some elf or fairy, or possibly a passing cyclist, had left a little bouquet of wild flowers on the car when we got back to it.

wild flowers on car

And as we and Mrs Tootlepedal arrived home, there was a heavy but quite short shower of rain.  The sun came out when it had gone and shone for the rest of the day.

While I was waiting for Sandy to arrive, I had scarified the front lawn and when he had departed after a cup of tea, I finished off the process by mowing it.  Among the biggest fans of lawn care are the blackbirds who hop around after me, pecking up worms.


This one was almost literally under my feet.

I took a few more pictures in the garden.


A flourishing azalea in spite of the leaves indicating a lack of some nourishment


A recently purchased rhododendron doing well

The rain shower had freshened everything up on what was the hottest day of the year so far.

Even the frogs had come out from under the lilies and were sunbathing.


The evening was filled with music.

First my flute pupil Luke came and played very well.  It will not be long before he is a better player than me.  Then, after tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and as always we had an enjoyable time.  This rounded off a very good day.

I found a redpoll as flying bird of the day with some difficulty as the feeders are very quiet at the moment.





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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s recent visit to Richmond Park.

Inside the Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

The Isabella Plantation

The road cycling sportive today didn’t offer much in the way of a photographic opportunity as it has a staggered start and the cyclists are soon well spread out so I went out for a short pedal of my own.

I started on the return section of the short sportive route but left it as soon as I could and had a gentle meander among the potholes along the Kerr road.  These have been left by the road menders who dug out all the potholes on the route before they started to fill them in from one end.  It will be a few days before they finish.

I wasn’t in a hurry though so I was able to wiggle my way through them without much difficulty. I was coming up to Barnglieshead Farm when I noticed that the roadside verges were hotching with little butterflies.  I stopped to dig out Pocketcam and expected that they would fly away before I could focus but on this occasion they behaved very well and paused to take in a few rays while I stooped over them.

white butterflies

There were quite a few orange wing tips about too but they were more flighty and wouldn’t wait for me.

I rejoined the sportive route for my last three miles but only saw one cyclist.  I wasn’t too surprised because a very strong wind meant that the participants would have had a hard time coming along the stretch from Bailliehill.  I was quite very glad not to be killing myself on the 60 mile circuit.

On my return, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had just got back from the church choir and we enjoyed a cup of coffee before going out into the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal has used a bin of last year’s compost as mulch so I have started turning this year’s stuff into the vacant space.  I am doing this by degrees having learnt a lesson about doing too much with a sore hip.

I took a look at the flower beds after I had done my ration of compost turning.

Azaleas at their peak

Although some of the azaleas have been disappointing, others are great value.


Aquilegias pop up all over the garden.


The Alliums are beginning to fill out.

Not all the flowers in the garden begin with the letter A (although there are some very nice Astrantias coming along as well.)


A large comfrey is growing among the fruit and veg.

New flowers have appeared on two separate Potentillas, each with a delightful red tinge to the petals.


The mild winter has really got the plants looking well in general.  This little willow bush is just bursting with life.


The frogs too look as though they are happy enough.


Lurking under a traditional lily pad. I have never seen a frog actually on one of our lily leaves.

The garden is full of the noise of demanding sparrow chicks calling for food.


One parent was working very hard.

sparrow feeding

sparrow feeding

And getting no thanks

sparrow feeding

No manners

sparrow feeding

Silenced for a moment at least.

In the afternoon, we went off to our Carlisle choir, taking our friend Bob with us.  He is a fine singer and had decided to see whether our praise for the musical director was justified.  We had another really useful, hard working practice and Bob decided that the choir would be worth joining.  This was very good because we have enjoyed going a lot and it is always nice to share one’s pleasures with others.

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that I had missed a new flower so I went out to remedy this.  It is a Rosa Moyesii and unlike the late manager of Manchester United has lasted for many years.

Rosa Moyesii

We are having a very reasonable spell of weather at the moment after quite a lot of rain recently  and although the meteorological future is a bit doubtful, everything is drying out well and we are making the most of it while it lasts.   I put this in just to show that we are not always complaining about the weather in Langholm.  Often but not always.

In the good weather, I am spending less time staring out of the kitchen window and there are not so many birds visiting the feeder at the moment anyway so finding a flying bird of the day is quite difficult.  The hard working sparrow was my only effort today.



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