An up and down sort of day


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…

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.

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.

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

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “An up and down sort of day

  1. Superb photos. They really make me wish I was home and able to go for a walk in the hills. What a wonderful assortment of wild flowers you saw, absolutely beautiful. Good luck with the photo competition, I’m glad you found your tickets.

  2. Beautiful landscapes, enjoyed the wild flowers a lot too. Glad you located the tickets and that it wasn’t you who had the recorder, all very stressful.

  3. The landscapes are beautiful and I can understand why someone would want to see more of them.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen fungi like those last ones on the left. I wonder if they might be young birch polypores.
    I’m glad you found the flowers. They were worth searching for.

  4. I’m a little behind with reading your blog as I’ve been a little poorly. I enjoyed the poppies and chaffinches from past posts, Tom, but I am equally as delighted by these very pretty landscapes, the sharp insect close-ups, the interesting fungi and of course, your adorable grand-daughter! What a scrumptious poppet she is! And she looks like she’s a wonderful help around the house already… 😉

  5. If any one needed to be convinced that the Langholm area be a must stop on any tour of Scotland, I would show them this post. The countryside is absolutely beautiful, and you threw in so many wildflowers and other interesting subjects that I don’t see how any one would be able to resist breaking into song if following your footsteps on this day.

    You’ve done a good many magnificent posts, but this one has to rank at the top of the list!

  6. Lovely post! Your flowers are wonderful – I especially liked the close-up of the ivy-leaved toadflax. The markings on the yellow leaves are so strange!

    1. I don’t know what was going on with the leaves. The toadflax is very pretty and there is a lot of it along the top of the wall beside Pool Corner for some reason.

  7. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been looking for things and eventually found them in the strangest places. The bin features quite large usually. Looks like you had two really lovely walks. The scenery would keep me out indefinitely I think, although the weather might have other ideas,

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