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Archive for September, 2015

My children have been looking upwards.  After my daughter’s moon shots yesterday, my older son Tony saw some aeroplanes playing noughts and crosses in the sky over Edinburgh this morning.

noughts and crossesIt was another perfect day today, still and sunny from start to finish.  I was intent on cycling but it was too cold for me to start straight after breakfast so I waited until the temperature got to a point where I would be able to go out and not have to discard cycling gear as the day warmed up.

This gave me a moment to enjoy the early sunshine in the garden.

rose and poppyThe insects were up and about too.

butterfly and bugI finally got going after a cup of coffee and a slice of toast and I set off to see how far I could go.  My route took me up to Eskdalemuir where I stopped for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake in the Old School there.  I then went over the hill to Annandale.  As I climbed the hill out of Eskdalemuir, I saw a trail of smoke across the hillside in front of me.

log lorryIt turned out to be a timber wagon turning onto the road, having come across a special track provided to keep these big vehicles out of the village of Eskdalemuir.  I was glad that it was ahead of me.  The pedal across the hills was delightful with the almost total absence of wind allowing me to keep up a good rhythm over the undulating countryside.

The state of the rosebay willowherb beside the road interested me.  Some patches were bright red and almost seed free while others had green stems and were snowy white with the seed heads still clustering on the stems.

rosebay willowherbI came out of the hills and crossed the sweeping motorway which follows the River Annan upstream.

M74The road on the right is the old dual carriageway, now reduced to a single lane, which has been bypassed by the new motorway.  I often cycle up it as it has a bike lane on both sides of the road. The big building is a wood fired power station.

I went over the motorway but before I got to the river, I followed a sign to Applegarth Church.  I have cycled past this sign several times and I thought that it was about time to see the church itself.  It was not far from the sign.

Applegarth ChurchI looked out over the kirkyard and the valley beyond.

Applegarth Church

There might be worse places to be buried.

I crossed the River Annan at Millhousebridge and turned south to Lochmaben.  The Mill Loch there was looking very placid in the sun.

Mill Loch, LochmabenI pedalled on south towards Dalton.  It was not long before I came to another sign pointing to a church; this time it was for Little Dalton Kirk.  At one and a half miles, this was a bigger detour than the visit to Applegarth but the legs were in good order and the bicycle was going smoothly so I turned off.  It was lucky that my legs were feeling cheerful becuase the route to the church involved going up a long and fairly steep hill.  This was followed by a plunge back downhill but it was shorter and the the sign to the church was at the bottom.  I had no idea what to expect and was a bit dashed to find that I would have to leave the bike and walk through a field to get to the Kirk.  Still, it was a beautiful day and the views were good…

 Little Dalton Kirk…and the track was lined with wild flowers….

persicaria…so I didn’t mind too much.  I found when I looked it up after I got home that  “The kirk is located West of the town of Dalton, between the old Carruthers estates of Fourteenacre and Butterwhat, on the road between Dormont and Mouswald.”  It is not in pristine condition.

Little Dalton KirkI walked back to my bicycle, noting that the colour of the view changed considerably when I was going in the opposite direction.

Little Dalton KirkThe seed on the willowherb shows just how light the winds have been recently.

I jumped on my bike, ready to pedal off back up the hill and as I changed gear, the gear cable sprang out of its housing and left me with no way of changing gear.  My front gear was still working but that left me with only three gears and every chance of damaging the transmission train further if I stamped up hills in an inappropriate ratio.  There was nothing for it but to ring the MTRS*.   Luckily this service was available and I managed to walk up the hill and cruise down the other side into Dalton village where she picked me up after a short wait.  The wait gave me the opportunity to take a couple of pictures in Dalton.

Dalton

Millennium wall Dalton

One of the better Millennium artefacts.  Each hand print has a child’s name under it.

The MTRS took me to Bike7 in Longtown where I was able to get a new cable fitted in very quick time and while the MTRS drove home, I followed on my bike.  I have done about 30,000 miles of cycling since 2009 and this is only my second breakdown (apart from the very occasional puncture) so I can’t complain but it was lucky that it happened on a day when the MTRS was available as I was over 20 miles from home.

The sedum round the bird feeder was absolutely humming again when I arrived back.

Butterfly and beesAnd a couple of starlings were keeping a watching brief from above.

starlingsOwing to the excitement of the breakdown and recovery, I didn’t get quite as many miles in as the day deserved but the 53 miles I did manage took my total for the month to just over the 500 mile mark and that was very satisfactory.  I think I can begin with some confidence to say that my new knee is now fully functional.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to see a performance of Coriolanus by Shakespeare, screened from the National Theatre into the Buccleuch Centre, while I went off to our local choir.  I had meant to go to the play too but we have become rather short of tenors as two have left so I didn’t want to let the new conductor down.  I enjoyed the choir practice and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed Coriolanus as much as was possible for a rather stern and gloomy play.

Since the garden was so full of bees today I have got a flying bee to go with today’s flying bird.

flying beeflying chaffinch*MTRS is the acronym for the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service, a fine body of skilled person.

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Today’s guest pictures come from my daughter Annie.  She looked on the internet for advice on camera settings, used her tripod and, over the space of an hour, took much better pictures of the lunar eclipse than I did.  Click on the picture for an expanded look at it.

lunar eclipse annieWe had yet another fine, calm day today and although I couldn’t use it for cycling, we did make good use of it by going to Edinburgh to see Matilda by a new route.

Instead of going to Lockerbie and catching the train there, we went to Tweedbank and caught a train on the brand new Borders Railway service on the recently re-opened section of the Waverley Line.  The 40 mile drive up to Galashiels was a treat in itself as we set off on one of those mornings when the early mists were just lifting and the hills looked at their best.

The train was pretty full but we got seats and enjoyed going smoothly up the railway line looking at the winding main road beside it instead of going slowly up the winding main road as we have in past months and looking at the line under construction.

When we got to Edinburgh, the weather was just as fine as it was in Langholm.

Calton HillMatilda was in good form, looking shyly at her grandpa from her granny’s lap…..

Matilda…and enjoying a joke with her mother while writing to the newspapers…..

Matilda…or to be more precise, writing on my newspaper.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I took her for a short walk…

walking matilda

This is Walking Matilda….is there a hint of a song there?

…but all too soon it was time to leave to catch the train home.

We arrived back in Tweedbank on time and I took a picture from the commodious car park to show that however much money they have spent on reviving the railway line, no money has been wasted on the terminal station.

TweedbankIt consists of a platform, a bus shelter and nothing else.

The drive home was as sunny and scenic as the drive out but Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that she will return to using the Lockerbie route when she next goes to Edinburgh because it needs a lot less time spent driving as the station is only 18 miles away from us and the train goes a lot quicker so the trip takes the same time.

When we got home, there was just enough light left to catch a passing poppy….

poppy…and a cheerful phlox.

phloxThen there was time for a light meal before Susan arrived to drive me off to Carlisle and a meeting of our recorder group.  One of our group has taken up the clarinet and has joined an amateur orchestra which meets fortnightly on a Tuesday so tonight there were only four of us.  We had an excellent evening of playing with the highlight being a Bach Motet.  It is a great privilege as well as a pleasure to have friends with whom it is possible to enjoy playing such good music.

The flying bird of the day had unfortunately landed before I could press my shutter finger.

siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba and shows a rather strange extra rock under the tree in her garden.

newgarden rockOur run of really good weather continued today, although the temperatures are definitely getting chilly in the morning.

I was pleased to wake up at a reasonable time as I had set my alarm for first, three o’clock and then, half past four during the night in the hope of seeing the lunar eclipse.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I did wake up and see the eclipse but it didn’t seem to be quite as exciting as we had been promised.  This is what we saw around 3am.

Lunar eclipseThe camera saw more than we did.

Lunar eclipseMy second view at 4.30am was not much more exciting.

Lunar eclipseMrs Tootlepedal saw some much better shots on the TV news.

The cold morning kept me hanging about for an hour after breakfast before I set off on the fairly speedy bike to make the best of the sunshine.  The temperature was still in single figures C but the sunny weather kept me warm.  I was a bit pressed for time so I stuck to an easy route and a modest distance of thirty miles.  I took a couple of pictures of the quiet roads that I followed. One in Scotland….

Scotland…and one in England.

EnglandAnd a river too.

esk

The River Esk at Irvine House

I hardly saw any traffic, either motorised or on four legs, so I had a very tranquil spin round the low country.

I had time for a shower, lunch and a quick look at the sedum before going off to do my stint in the Information Hub on the High Street.  The sedum was busier than ever.  I counted over a hundred insects on it today.

sedum and insectsAmong the bees and hoverflies, a lone butterfly appeared again.

butterflyMy two hours at the IH were far from boring today as I had several customers visiting the art exhibition there.  I even sold one of them a painting.  I also sold a copy of the Langholm Walks to a local resident who told us that he had had an excellent view of the eclipse last nigh from his house which is up on the hill above the town.  I was also entertained by a visit from Dropscone who had returned from  golf lesson in Carlisle so the time passed very pleasantly.

When I got home, I turned down an offer of a cup of tea with Mike Tinker and whisked Mrs Tootlepedal off to visit the scabious on the hill which I had seen a few days ago.

The fungus on the tree stump on the track up to the open hill had lasted very well….

fungus…but sadly most of the scabious had gone over and I wasn’t able to show Mrs Tootlepedal the full display.

scabiousWhat scabious there was still in flower was very attractive to insects and almost every flower had a friend.

scabious and insectsI was a bit disappointed but Mrs Tootlepedal was very amiable and the walk was a delight in itself.  There was plenty to see.

scabious and seeds

tortoiseshell butterfly

A tortoiseshell butterfly among the flowers

hawthorn

The hawthorns seem either to have hardly any berries or a great profusion.

It is always a pleasure to look down at the town tucked neatly among the hills.

LangholmI had another look at the tree stump with fungus as we passed it on the way back and saw that it had a different crop at the very top.

fungusWe got back in time for me to have a cup of tea before my flute pupil Luke came for his regular practice.  He is playing in a school concert this week so we ran through his piece for that and then we played some duets.

Once again, time was a bit short but I had time for my tea before going out to play trios with Isabel and Mike.  They had both got up to see the eclipse but had not been very impressed.  We had a good play though, in spite of the lack of sleep and there is a fair chance that several of the composers might even have recognised the pieces that we were playing.

In all the rushing about, I didn’t have time to get a good flying bird shot and this was my best effort.

flying bird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona.  She took the family to the seaside at Cullercoats on the east coast.  Sharp eyed readers will notice some sea bathers who can be counted as pretty hardy folk.

CullercoatsIt was a blue sky treat of a day today, cool and dewy in the morning but pleasantly warm as the day went on.

I would have gone cycling after I had put a lamb stew in the slow cooker but I had an important appointment instead.  Mike Tinker’s son-in-law, Lorne had promised to come and spike my lawn and he made good on his promise today.  He is a fit young fellow and with my knew nee new knee letting me spike the odd hole or two myself, the job was finished in an hour.  The task of sweeping some sand into the holes was undertaken by William and Sara, Lorne’s children who arrived at an opportune moment.

The result may not look spectacular….

lawn spiking…but it will mean a better looking lawn next year.

Once Lorne and the children had left, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had come back from singing in the church choir, got busy gardening and I wandered about with a camera in hand.

The poppies had perked up…

poppies…and one had acquired a friend.

poppiesEven with the sun well out, there was a lot of the morning dew still to be seen on the flowers.

clematis and dahlia

Clematis and dahlia

The nasturtiums have been adding a lot of colour to the garden lately.

nasturtiumsI admired a couple of colour combinations.

poppies, cosmos and crocosmia

Poppies, cosmos and crocosmia

rudbeckia and nasturtium

Rudbeckia and nasturtium – poppies and cosmos too.

And a lot of different colours from one plant.

Virginia creeperAs well as flowers, there was other colour in the garden today.

red admiral butterfly

A red admiral butterfly posed for me…..

red admiral butterfly

…and also gave me a chance of a portrait.

I was a bit unsure as to how my legs would respond to the spiking efforts but it was too good a day not to have at least a short pedal so, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal  to her delving, I went off on the slow bike.

I went along cautiously enough to have time to check out the verges.  There were some expected things and other surprises.

campion and rose hips

The red campion is not normally a September flower but the rose hips on the other side of the road are bang on cue.

webs

A shady stretch provided a wealth of jewelled webs

The fireweed or rosebay willowherb is over but these bare stems were so colourful that I thought they were late flowers at first.

fireweedI only went as far as Westwater at four and a half miles before turning for home.  I stopped and looked over the new bridge there and marvelled at how quickly the banks of the streams have recovered from being completely stripped during the renovations.

This is the scene today….

Collin bridge…and this was taken in April last year.

stream at Westwater

Quite a contrast.

I stopped on the way back to see how good the new phone would be at capturing my favourite lichens on a concrete fence post beside the road.

lichensPretty good.

Once home, there was time for lunch and a sit down before we went off to try a newly opened discount supermarket just a few hundred yards from the church where our Carlisle choir meets.   This happy circumstance helped us to metaphorically hit two targets with one arrow as first we shopped and then we sang.

Our conductor and accompanist were delayed by the vagaries of our railway system so I got the chance, with the assistance of another choir member on piano, to practise my warm up and conducting skills while we waited for their arrival.  To say that our conductor was ragingly angry when he finally arrived would be a bit of an understatement but our excellent singing and close attention to his instructions soon restored his good humour.  I just hope that their train home was on time.

The slow cooked stew turned out well and later in the evening, we went out to a concert by our local amateur orchestra at the Buccleuch Centre.

Warning: This part of the post may contain references to sax and violins

There was a good turnout of musicians, including about a dozen string players, two saxophonists, one each of clarinet, flute, oboe and bassoon as well as two horns, two trumpets and two trombones so when they were all playing, the orchestra made a rich sound.They were playing a selection of pieces by composers of musicals and after a shaky start, they hit their stride well and a local girl, Zoe, obliged with some excellent vocal solos to add variety to the evening.  The concert featured some very jolly and competently played solos from members of the brass section and the whole thing was good fun.

We are promised a lunar eclipse and a big red moon tonight but as it requires me to be up and out of the house at three in the morning if I want to see it, I took a shot of the moon when I came back from the concert just in case I don’t make it.

moonThe sun is getting low in the sky at this time of the year and if it is out in the morning, it casts a big shadow on the bird feeder with the result that taking satisfactory pictures of flying birds in the shade is nearly impossible….

flying chaffinch

This one needed a lot of work in the editor even to get it to this stage

…so it is lucky that I  have a flying insect of the day in the sunshine instead.

flying insect

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who is hanging around in Brazil focussing on jaguars.  She made a very good job of focussing her camera on this one.

JaguarWe were focussed on the Eskdale Agricultural Show, commonly known as the Cattle Show, for most of the day today.  I started off by cycling up to the field with Sandy’s and my entries for the photographic classes.

Things both great and small had already started on the show field with ponies being led out to be shown to critical judges and shiny new tractors parked to be shown off to prospective purchasers.

pony and tractorsThen I cycled home again and not long afterwards, cycled back with Mrs Tootlepedal do some judging of children’s classes.  There are always a lot of children’s entries and I was a bit worried about the workload ahead.  It turned out though that several judges were being employed and Mrs Tootlepedal and I had just a small section of the whole thing to do.  Across the table, our friends Bob and Nancy were judging some edible entries.

Bon and Nancy judging the cakesMrs Tootlepedal and I managed to agree on the prizewinners in our classes and we had time to look around the tent.  Experts were rating the adult baking classes and Bob and Nancy seemed to be weighing up a bit of broccoli.

judging at the showOur job done, we went for a bit of a wander around.

There were pretty  flowers in the tent and big beasts outside.

flowers and cowThere were sheep of all sorts…

sheep at the showAnd this brightly coloured one was a champion…..

champion sheep…which would be worth a bit of money if properly handled, the judge told us in a confidential aside.

There were lots of horses too.

horse and ponyThere were old hands at one end of the ground and pony club members at the other.

horse and pony clubThere were veteran cars and tractors on show.

morris minor and tractorAnd a bunch of crooks in the tent.

crooksBeing judges, we were treated to a free lunch which was very welcome and then we went home for a sit down.  The secretary had asked me whether I had returned the trophy from last year and after some discussion, we agreed that I had and that she probably had somewhere about.  All the same, I got a bit uneasy and a search through the house when I got back, uncovered the trophy lurking in a corner so I whizzed back up to the show ground with it and arrived just in time to miss the prize giving.  I was rather embarrassed.

There was still quite a bit of time before the tent closed and I could retrieve my photos so I bicycled back home once more and looked around the garden.

The poppies are very battered…

poppies…but a bit of brighter weather had brought a cloud of insects out on the sedum and Michaelmas daisies.  There was so much buzzing that I could hardly hear myself think.

sedumThe sedum was covered in bumble bees, mostly white tailed ones I think.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I counted well over forty on the flowers beside the bird feeders.

There were a few other sorts of bees about.

beesThe Michaelmas daisies were very busy too but they had more hoverflies and flies than bees.

Michaelmas Daisy with bugsThough they did have a pretty butterfly too (but only one).

butterflySome birds looked on.

great tit and robin

A glossy great tit and an untidy robin

And some birds were too busy to notice us.

chaffinchesThen I made my final visit to the field to pick up my pictures.  They hadn’t attracted much attention from the judge with a second place and a highly commended being all I had to show for my efforts.  Sandy had done better with a first in one class and lesser tickets in others..

By the time that I came out of the tent, the top of the field was deserted….

Castleholm…and only a few ropes remained as a memento of a great day’s entertainment.

Everyone was very grateful for the recent spell of good weather becuase the show had been within a whisker of being cancelled if the summer rain had continued for much longer.

I met Mike Tinker on the field with his daughter, her husband and their children clutching several prizes between them and was delighted to find out that his son-in-law Lorne is going to come round tomorrow and spike my lawn for me.  This is kindness far beyond the call of duty and I mowed the  lawn when I got home so that it will show up the spike holes well.

Amidst all the excitement of the day, I managed to find a flying bird in a sunny moment.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from a visit to Staffordshire by my brother, where he passed Castern Hall, a privately owned 18th-century country house in the Manifold Valley, near Ilam.  It has often been used as a film set and I see from its web site that you can buy it if you want, as it is for sale.

Castern HallOur weather has got noticeably colder around the equinox but it has stayed mainly fine for several weeks so we are not complaining too much.  It is a race against time for fruit to ripen after the generally cool weather and the blackberries are losing the race, although one or two ripe ones can be seen.  Our autumn fruiting raspberries, after a promising start, look to have given up the battle and I am watching sadly as a lot of fruit stays green and hard.  I think the apples will be all right though and we will start picking one tree soon.

I had to turn down the chance of Friday treacle scones today as I had pictures to print for the cattle Show tomorrow and a visitor to meet with whom to discuss the Moorland Project Website.  These activities kept me busy for most of the morning (picking and printing pictures is a lengthy business) but I did pop out into the garden for a moment or two.

The poppies were still hanging their heads so I looked to a marigold and Lilian Austin for some colour today.

calendula and roseThe rose, Lilian Austin, seems to like the colder weather and has several blooms on the go.

Lilian Austin roseI had a moment for watching birds too.

blue tit

A neat and  perky blue tit visited the new feeder

goldfinch

And a rather dishevelled goldfinch visited the old feeder

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did a little work in the garden and then we got ready to go out for a bike ride.  It was windy and rather grey by this time and there were even a few spots of rain but we trusted a forecast of a dry afternoon and set out regardless.  Our faith was well rewarded, as the sun came out almost as soon as we started and stayed with us for the whole ride.

Our route took us along quiet roads….

Kerr wood…up into the gentle hills to the west of the town and we enjoyed the early autumn scenery as we cycled through it.

Barnglieshead roadBarnglieshead roadWe were held up at one point as a rush of traffic coming the other way forced us into the verge.

sheep on roadWe had hoped to see some fungus beside the road as we went along but for many miles we saw nothing.  Then we came to a section where a row of mature beech trees lines the road and all of a sudden, there was more fungus than you could shake a stick at.

Some was quite dull…

fungus at barnglieshfungus at barngliesh…and some was more interesting.

fungus at barngliesh

fungus at barngliesh

Other fungus lovers had obviously got there before us.

Barngleish fungus

This fungus was trying to hide

Barngliesh fungus

And I have no idea what this is.

Barngliesh fungus

This was the last that we passed

All these were growing within 100 yards of each other and we saw nothing like them in the whole of the rest of the 14 mile trip.

The brisk wind had been against us or across until we got to Barnglieshead, just past the fungus, so we were pleased to turn for home there with the wind at our backs.  This was not just because it made for easier pedalling but also because it made the day feel pleasantly warm when the wind wasn’t niggling away at us.

Bloch

There are two of the things I like most in this picture, a nice bit of downhill and Mrs Tootlepedal

The way home down the valley looked very inviting.

WauchopeI once produced some text and pictures for a cycling leaflet which the council was proposing to publish and I heard that there had been a great deal of amusement in the design office when they went through my pictures.  Someone told me later that they had been dismissed as ‘just a lot of pictures of roads’.  I noticed when I looked through my pictures today that there are ‘quite a lot of roads’  in them but I think now, as I thought then, that scenery is all very well but what a cyclists want to know is what sort of roads they will meet so I hope readers will forgive me if that is what I have shown today.

What with all the stopping to take pictures and the brisk wind, we took a fair bit of time to go round our fourteen mile loop but I had enough time left to add another half mile by going up to the High Street to get some pills, pay a bill and (most importantly of all) order fresh supplies of coffee and buy some local honey.

Mike and Alison Tinker have family visitors so there was no Friday tootle tonight and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a quiet night in.

This may be my last post as Mrs Tootlepedal and I have been invited to judge the children’s classes at the Cattle Show tomorrow and may not get out alive.

I did find a flying chaffinch today.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture, sent by her mother, shows Matilda cleaning a fork at the sink.

MatildaI had a day which didn’t go precisely to plan but which was mostly very enjoyable anyway.  It started well enough with a week of the newspaper index being dispatched into the Archive Group database, followed by a quick scout round the garden….

rudbeckia and sunflower

Sunflower and rudbeckia with friends

…and the pouring of a cup of coffee for Sandy who had returned from filling the Moorland bird feeders.

After that, things drifted off.  Sandy asked me if I had received my entry tickets for the Cattle Show photo classes this Saturday.  I told him that I had but when I began to look for them, they were nowhere to be found.  This was distressing enough in a mild way but Sandy compounded my confusion by asking whether I had the Archive Group sound recorder to hand as he wanted to use it.  I was sure that I hadn’t got it but he was equally sure that I had.

After he left, I looked everywhere in vain.  I was getting slightly more than mildly distressed by all this evidence of functional incompetence when Sandy rang up to say that he had found the recorder tucked away in a cupboard at home and in a moment of inspiration, I took a look among yesterday’s discarded newspapers in the bin and there was the envelope with my show tickets.  Oh rapture.

Cheered up, I watched the birds for a moment…

chaffinches

A disgraceful display of male chaffinch chauvinism

…before setting off for a walk.

I had two aims in mind.  One of my correspondents has recently urged my to lay off the endless poppies and chaffinches and throw in a few more landscapes and my friend Nancy had told me that there were carpets of scabious to be seen on a hill above the town.  “Go to where you saw the orchids, ” she said.  I was off to kill two birds with one stone.  (Awards will be given out to anyone suggesting a better metaphor than this inappropriate anti-bird one.)

It was a bright day so landscapes were definitely possible.

View from MeikleholmView from MeikleholmI could look down on the Castleholm and see the tents ready for the cattle show on Saturday.

Cattle show tentsI found a scabious too.

scabiousIn fact I found quite a few, many with insects attached.

scabiousBut although I went to the spot where Mrs Tootlepedal and I had seen lots of orchids, I didn’t find a carpet of them.  I was mildly disappointed and thought that yesterday’s rain must have had a bad effect.  Still, there were plenty of other things growing on the hillside to enjoy.

foxglove and haw

harebell and white thing….and I mean plenty.

wild flowers on meikleholmOn my way back down the hill, I saw a good crop of translucent fungus on an old tree stump…

fungus…and some sturdy older stuff on another stump.

fungus…so instead of going straight back down to the town, I took a diversion along the Becks track to see if there were any more fungi about.

The woods, when I got to them, were full of fungus but the light was awful and I hadn’t packed a torch so taking pictures was not very satisfactory.

Becks fungiAfter I left the woods, the walk home was free from fungus but delightful all the same.

colour by the wauchope road

I saw these on the way.

When I got back, I rang up Nancy and questioned her politely about the lack of scabious carpet and it turned out that we had been suffering from a failure of communication.  She had told us at orchid time to follow the track from the water tank to find the orchids.  We had followed the track and found orchids.  However, this was pure luck as we had followed the wrong track, going right rather than left and finding the orchids was just a happy chance. I would have to go back and turn left next time.

I had a rest, ate some lunch and grappled with a recalcitrant crossword and was thinking of trying again when a very heavy rain shower came on and I thought that my walking day was done.  Once again though, things took a quick turn for the better and the rain passed and the sun came out.  I came out too.

rainbow

The passing rain

Seeing a good gap in the clouds, I climbed the hill again and this time turned left.  There was a carpet.

carpet of scabiousIn fact there were several good patches and I followed the path until they ran out.  This gave me the chance of a couple more views.

Warbla

Looking back

Craig windmills

Looking forward

Meikleholm gate

The gate was my limit.

It is amazing what a difference to the general colour of the country that pointing the camera in different directions makes.  Well, it is amazing to me at least.

This time, I went straight back down the hill with no diversions but I did stop to take many, many scabious pictures….

pink scabious

They come in pink as well as blue

…so many in fact that when I looked at my Pocketcam card, I found that I had taken 106 pictures on my two short walks.  My thanks go to Nancy for pointing the way to the scabious.

The number of pictures that I took gives you some idea of how delightful it was to be out on the hill in sunny weather and surrounded by beautiful flowers.  I nearly burst into, “The hills are alive…” but restrained myself.

It was lucky that I went straight home because just as I got there, it started to rain again.

Mrs Tootlepedal had spend the day visiting our granddaughter Matilda in Edinburgh and we didn’t have much time after she got home, before it was time to go out.  Once again, we were bound for the Buccleuch Centre, this time for a concert by Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, the incomparable accordion and fiddle  duo.  Not only are these two men very fine musicians but they have the knack of making the audience feel absolutely at home with them.  It comes as a shock when you see a DVD of a performance elsewhere and you find that they have done the same show to other people and it wasn’t all just for you.

In all the excitement of the day, I didn’t have the time or energy to get a decent flying bird shot so in deference to the call for more landscapes, I end with a panorama.

panorama from Meikleholm

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