Plum crazy

Today’s guest picture shows Devonport,  near Auckland in New Zealand. My brother travelled there last week.Devonport Aug 2014 - 4It was a good day today in many ways.  The sun shone, I got in a cycle ride and a walk, my hip was much improved and best of all, there were many ripe plums from our tree to be eaten.

This last was perhaps the most amazing because the thermometer could only manage a niggardly 11C as I set out for my cycle ride after breakfast.  In spite of the big drop in temperatures, the plums are ripening at a steady rate and not only did I get several to eat but Mrs Tootlepedal has cooked a batch for freezing as pulp for endless plum crumbles in the depth of winter.

In spite of the low temperature for the time of year, the sun was out for my cycle ride and conditions were very pleasant as the strong winds of recent days have calmed down.  I am still taking the cycling easily and limited myself to a gentle eighteen mile run with no steep hills to test my joints and no photographs to make me jump off and on the bike.

This careful approach paid off and I was able to walk freely when I got off the bike.  The extensive resting over the past few weeks mixed with some light exercise seems to be a good recipe and although I am not back to normal, I am certainly a lot cheerier than I have been lately.

I had a walk round the garden when I got back.

The Shirley poppies are just sensational and I took yet another picture to prove it.

Shirley poppiesLater in the day I took a picture of a pair of them which were parked in a bed in the veg garden when Mrs Tootlepedal discovered that she had grown more than she needed.

Shirley poppiesI like the contrast between their pretty heads and their hairy legs.

More rudbeckias are coming out every day.  I think that they may be the most disorganised flower I know.

The petals sprout in every direction.

After a brief moment of staring out of the kitchen window….

sparrow…I made myself up a couple of tomato rolls using a tomato from the greenhouse and then went up to the golf club where Dropscone was organising the Langholm Seniors Open Golf Tournament.   It sounds a bit grander than it actually is, as it is a rather informal event with only 19 entrants this year. 

Dropscone had to take his wife to Dumfries during the day so he had asked me to go up and act as official starter for the afternoon draw.  I was happy to oblige. 

When I got there, I discovered that I hadn’t needed to  make up my rolls as Drospcone’s sister had volunteered to help with the catering and made a great pile of filled rolls, more than enough for everybody. 

The view from the first tee was as glorious as ever and one of the consolations of playing golf at Langholm is that no matter if your score is poor, the view will always be good.

Langholm Golf ClubThe course looked to be in fine condition…

Langholm Golf Club…and the players teed off in cheerful mood.   I didn’t stay to see their rounds come to a conclusion but I learned that it was a family affair this year and Dropscone’s brother-in-law carried off the trophy.

The reason that I didn’t stay at the golf club was that I had been asked by Cat Barlow, who is in charge of the moorland education project, to take some pictures to show the excellent condition of some of the heather on the hill.  In spite of the heather beetle, there are considerable patches of good growth which she wanted to be highlighted. 

Although I was by no means sure that walking over the hill would be possible, I went off with Mrs Tootlepedal to the moorland bird feeder site and armed with two walking poles, started to walk along the quad bike track up Whita Hill.   Mrs Tootlepdal had walked this track last week so I was pleased to have her to show me the way to go.

Mrs Tootlepdal on the hillThe weather was glorious and the views splendid.

view from WhitaAlthough the sun was not in the best place for photography, there was plenty of heather to see.

heather on Whita heather on Whita heather on Whita

heather on WhitaAnd there were other points of interest along the way too.

bog asphodel
The red seed heads of bog asphodel
fungus in a bog
Tiny fungi in a moss filled bog.
fungi on whita
More fungi on the track

Mrs Tootlepedal kept her eye out for raptors…..

Mrs Tootlepedal on Whita…but we only saw a single hen harrier and it was too far away for me to catch on camera.

We were very pleased to see a patch of lucky white heather among the purple when we were on our way back to the car.

white heather on WhitaThe themed subject for next year’s Canonbie Show is clouds so I took the opportunity to get a few shots in the bag as early as possible.

clouds over WhitaApart from the beautiful day and the great views, the walk was especially pleasing for the fact that I could do it at all.  It wasn’t far but the going was rough underfoot and there was a fair bit of uphill work involved.  I felt well enough when I got home to give the front lawn a much needed mow but I was quite pleased to sit down after that.

Cat came round after tea and I gave her a memory stick with all the eighty moorland photos that I had taken and left her with the task of sorting out the most suitable shots for her purpose.   I hope that she can make a decision.  I would have found it very hard.

I didn’t have much time in a busy day to watch the bird feeder but I did catch one of the blue tits with its feet just off the perch as the (blurred) flying bird of the day.

blue tit





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

20 thoughts on “Plum crazy

  1. In spite of your bad hip, you still pack more into a day than most people do in a week. Cycle ride, starter at a gold outing, photo assignment to shoot the heather, mowing a lawn, with a few other small things thrown in for good measure.

    I’d love to play that course, the scenery looks splendid, as does the heather on the hills! I’d better not forget to mention Mrs. T’s poppies or your superb photos of them either.

    1. You have to be used to stances with the ball above or below your feet at Langholm as the course runs along the side of a hill and there are very few flat lies.

  2. I’m pleased to hear you’re feeling so much better and that you had a nice walk. The heather photos are lovely. Nothing like a mass of purple heather to make me smile. I really must get out in the forest to see how ours is getting on. The clouds should provide a wealth of opportunities.

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