Step two

Today’s guest picture is another one of Regent’s Park on a glorious day early in this month.  It was taken by my sister Mary when she was either on her way to or back from a game of tennis there.

Regent's Park 01.11.14 013We had a bright but slightly hazy day for my second trip to Dumfries Infirmary in two days.  This time I was accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal.  The hospital had asked participants in their joint school to bring a friend or family member with them and I was lucky to be able to bring both in the one package.

The school started at ten o’clock so we had no time to meander about on the way there and took the direct route.  Apart from a tendency on the part of the ward nurse to rather harp on about how painful the operation would be, the joint school was informative and at times entertaining.  We went home armed with crutches to practise with and special drinks to take before we come back in again.  They were very thorough.

The school lasted a couple of hours so we did have time to meander about on our way home and drove back by the long way along the banks of the Nith estuary.  We stopped at Glencaple to enjoy the rather mysterious light on the water.

GlencapleIt was odd.  It was sunny but cloudy at the same time.  Looking straight across the river, I couldn’t see Criffel at all today though I did see a small flock of lapwings making their way down river.


Old ship
An elderly vessel seems to be permanently moored there.

We drove on past Caerlaverock castle and turned down to the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust visitor centre where we enjoyed a light lunch..  After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal, who is still coughing a bit, retired to read the paper in the car while I walked down the avenue…..

avenue at caerlaverock…stopping off at the swan pond….

swan pondswan pond….and peering at fungus and lichen as I went along….

fungus and lichen

lichen….until I got to the tower at the end of the avenue….tower…and was able to watch the thousands of barnacle geese spread over the ponds and fields.  I only had Pocketcam with me so photographic opportunities were very limited….

geese…but the geese weren’t hard to spot with the naked eye.

lapwingsAnd I think that the picture above shows another flock of lapwings taking flight.  I was really sorry that I hadn’t brought my long lens with me.

There are many ponds on both sides of the avenue with little hides to lurk in.

caerlaverock pondsYou can see what an odd day it was with a blue reflection in the pond from the sky straight above but an absolutely grey day behind it.

caerlaverock pondsIt really was very hazy at eye level.

The marsh fields are grazed by long horned cattle….

caerlaverock cattle…but they were taking a break when I passed them.

I stopped at the swan pond again on my way back and found a little bird spotting scope there for the use of visitors.   As there was no one else there, I had a go to see if Pocketcam could manage a little digiscoping….

The swans would keep moving after I had just got them in focus but I was quite pleased with this result for a first go.

I must make an effort to come back on a clearer day with the long lens while the geese are still here.

We stopped off at Gretna on the way home, not to watch starlings as we were too early in the day, but to got to the shopping vlllage and buy some suitable slippers and loose trousers for a man with a new knee to wander about the house in.

We got home just in time to catch a little garden colour….

poppy, wallflower and daisy…before the light faded away entirely.  The wallflower in the centre of the triptych has no right to be flowering at all as it is two and a bit years old and should have given up the ghost long ago let alone not be flowering in November ever.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a play performed by our local dramatic group and I went up to the Archive Centre with Sandy in a vain attempt to catch up with the mound of data produced by our eager data miners.  At least I will have plenty to do while I am waiting to get back on the bike again after the operation.

Talking of cycling, the nurse at the joint school said this morning that those of us who wanted to cycle with our new knees should keep a keen look out for potholes and take care not to fall off and wreck our expensive replacements.  As I had hit a pothole and fallen off earlier this year, I thought that this was a good moment to nod my head silently but sagaciously and try to look sensible.

There was not enough light at the garden feeders before we left or after we got home today so the flying bird of the day is the third from the right in this final picture from Caerlaverock.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Step two

  1. You did have some strange light going on there but got some excellent photos nonetheless. You’re finding quite a few orange peel fungi.
    it looks like the big shield lichen after the orange peel fungus is getting ready to reproduce. The granular looking bits are called soralia and will eventually fall of and make new lichens.
    I wondered if you would be able to get around on crutches after the operation. At least you won’t be completely immobile.

    1. Thank you for the lichen information. I thought it looked quite active. I hope to be hopping around within a few days of the operation if all goes well and back on the bike in three months or so.

  2. They’re certainly organized about getting you ready for the new knee – crutch practice, indeed! It sounds a though your op could be any day now – is that right?

      1. Yikes! No doubt simultaneously exiting and a bit alarming. But I have no doubt you will be an exemplary patient (i.e. Mrs. T. will ensure it) and will astound everyone with your rapid recovery.

      2. I will try to do things gently but continuously as there have been local examples of trying to do things too quickly with bad results and not doing enough with bad results too.

  3. My guess is you would have worked out the whole “not falling off in pot holes while cycling” thing all on your own. I can see why you chose that particular flying bird; style and individuality 🙂

    1. It stood out. The fact is that if you are going to do a lot of cycling, you will almost certainly fall off a few times. The trick will be to fall on the good knee side.

  4. Sweet: “The hospital had asked participants in their joint school to bring a friend or family member with them and I was lucky to be able to bring both in the one package.” And very funny (but a little scary to think about the pothole problem!): “I thought that this was a good moment to nod my head silently but sagaciously and try to look sensible.” I love all the photos of that strange light, especially the one on that quiet shoreline. Good show with the boat in black and white.

    1. Their view is that knee operations are expensive so it is a good idea to make the patients realise this and not behave in a way that wastes the money. That is a good idea.

  5. Interesting to read about your experience at the hospital, I hope it was helpful and that you get your operation soon. Loved that weird light picture, keep it for a competition entry, The swan closeup was very clever too.

  6. I love lapwings. Gorgeous colouring, cheeky crests, and a characteristic flight, which makes me call them ‘Flapwings’.
    Do you take ‘BBC Wildlife?’. The current issue features the ‘best’ places to see starling murmurations, which include your ‘Near Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway’, and my ‘Shapwick Heath/RSPB Ham Wall, Somerset’. And on the previous page there’s an identification chart for a dozen lichens.

    1. I don’t take any nature magazines. I am not really a naturalist at all although I am learning a bit as I go along. I just potter about taking pictures of things that please my eye. I only started looking at things carefully three years ago when I got a good camera. It slightly annoys my wife who says that for forty years she couldn’t get me interested in looking at anything.

    1. Jack of all trades and master of none. I have always been like that. Fear of missing out somewhere else if I concentrate on one thing or possibly fear of trying hard at just one thing and still finding I wasn’t any good at it

  7. Very glad the school for knees was helpful and that Mrs T was there to make sure you remember everything.
    Lovely picture at Glencaple, and very striking one of the swan’s head.

  8. You live in an almost magical world, or so it seems at times, so it’s no wonder that there would be magical light at times to allow you to catch some excellent mood images. Good luck with the new knee!

  9. What a strange day weather wise. The swan pond is lovely as is your up close and personal swan shot. It sounds like the new knee is getting very near now.

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