A stroll and a song

View from Stubholm

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who is not too old to take a walk along the track above the town.

View from Stubholm

A very brisk wind greeted me when I got up this morning and this provided a convenient excuse for a morning of not cycling after yesterday’s efforts.  Instead, I had coffee with Sandy, mowed two lawns and wandered about looking at flowers.

There were plenty to see. The azaleas and rhododendrons are progressing well…

azaleas and rhododendron

…with more still to come as you can see.

The white rhodies deserved a shot of their own, I thought.


Other flowers were available in charming clumps.

euphorbia, chive, allium and potentilla
(from top left clockwise) Euphorbia, Allium, Potentilla and Chive

The flowers may have been colourful but the bird colour of the day in the garden was black.

jackdaw and blackbird

While I was sipping coffee with Sandy in the morning, we agreed to have a walk after lunch so I made a nourishing pot of soup for my midday meal to keep my strength up and went off with him in the afternoon.

Incidentally, keen grammarians will have spotted the transferred epithet in that sentence about the soup.  It isn’t the pot that is nourishing but the soup of course.  The government thinks that children in primary schools in England will be improved by knowing things like that but it has never done me much practical good. A bit of basic horticultural knowledge would have been more useful.

Sandy drove us down to below Irvine House and we walked back up the fishermen’s path beside the River Esk.  It was not sunny, apart from one or two tiny breaks in the cloud but it was quiet and warm enough in the shelter of the steep river banks.

River Esk

We were hoping to see some river birds and we did catch glimpses of a heron, goosanders, mallards and dippers but they were in flighty mood and we couldn’t catch them on camera.

We did see pied and grey wagtails, who were a bit more co-operative…


…but they tended to dart away when we got close.

We walked up towards Irvine House…

Irvine House

…keeping our eye out for anything interesting.

It was not hard to spot a wild flower or two, both colourful….

wild flowers beside Esk

… and pale.

wild flowers beside Esk

When we got Irvine House, we disturbed a pair of oyster catchers.  One was most indignant.

Oyster catcher

We must have been near their nest.

The river was looking good and the walk, as ever, was balm for the soul.

River Esk

River Esk

We didn’t have as long as we would have liked to hang about taking pictures…

Sandy on banks of Esk

…because we were both due to attend a meeting of volunteers at the Information Hub so we had to hasten back down the path to the car. We passed a lot of the Pyrenean Valerian on the way.

pyrenean valerian

Fortunately, my part in the meeting was very brief and I was soon at home looking through the 150 pictures that I  had taken in the garden and along the river.  When will I ever learn?

I even went upstairs and took another one to show how the garden is looking at the moment.  Mrs Tootlepedal has edged the lawns.

garden view

I had to sift through the mound of photos quite quickly because we had the second of our Langholm Choir concerts to go to in the evening.  This one was at Kirkandrews-on-Esk…

Kirkandrews-on-Esk church

…which is quite a small church so that the singers were a bit squashed up when it came to performing.  Still the concert went well and although the choir beat the audience by one when it came to quantity, the audience was well pleased with the quality of the choir and they hope to see us back to sing again soon.

The only down side of the evening was the discovery, when we came out of the church, that it was pouring with rain.  After a pleasant day, we hadn’t thought that it was necessary to take a coat so there was a hurried scamper for the car.

We have only one more practice and one more concert with the Carlisle choir and then the spring singing season will be over and serious gardening and cycling will be on the menu.

My thumb has benefited from a couples of weeks of rest so I picked up the big camera today and the result is not one but two flying birds of the day, one from the garden in the morning…

flying jackdaw

…and one from the river in the afternoon.

Oyster catcher

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “A stroll and a song

  1. The garden is as beautiful from above as it is from any other angle. Mrs. T. did a professional looking job on the edging. It’s very hard to find someone who knows how to edge well.
    The river views that you take usually look quite different than our river but today your photos look just like the views I see regularly.
    The oyster catcher looks like it’s laughing.

  2. I for one hope that you never learn not to shoot so many photos, because the ones that you post are always wonderful! I loved the view of the garden from above, and the church were the choir sang, but they’re all great.

  3. All those shots of the river, so beautiful. Totally agreed with your grammar comment and loved the closeup of the white rhodies, so much easier to appreciate through your camera lens.

  4. I do love that last gliding through the air bird.

    It would take a very keen grammarian to catch that it should be a pot of nourishing soup. I didn’t notice that at all till you pointed it out.

  5. Your photos are lovely as always. I like the view of the gardens from the upstairs window. Those gardens are a lot of work, and quite beautiful.

    Good to hear the choir did well and will be returning to sing there again. It is not the quantity of the audience that matters so much as the quality of the evening for all.

    I think the smallest audience I ever played for was at a coffee house on the east coast, long, long ago. The person doing the booking forgot to tell the owners and staff we were coming. They were busy roasting coffee beans, and there were only a couple of patrons hanging about. Since we had come a long way, they allowed us to play. The core audience that evening was comprised of 2 people and a barking one-eyed dog. One of the two patrons was a drunken truck driver who commented through the whole performance. I’m not sure about the barking one-eyed dog, but the two people there liked what we did.

  6. Splendid view of the garden. It all looks so loved ,cared for and organised and such a great deal of hard work to keep the high standards Mrs T has set! Beautiful photos of all the flowers and the landscapes. Since I’ve retired grammar has been like your last photo- flown away!

    1. I like to think that I write reasonably grammatically but I wouldn’t let a rule stand in the way of what I thought was a good way of expressing things.

  7. The amount of colourful wild flowers you have photographed is evidence of your warm and bright weather. I never thought I’d read that you were surprised by rain! I hope you and Mrs T didn’t get too wet.

  8. It’s wonderful what a little walk along a riverbank can do for a person. This particular person loves words and grammar and thinks a nourishing pot of soup is just what the language ordered.

    1. I love a transferred epithet. The one we were taught at school as an example was “the shining levels of the lake” from Morte d’Arthur by Tennyson. Some things stay with you for life whether you want them to or not.

  9. I’m with you, I think “nourishing pot of soup” sounds much better than “a pot of nourishing soup.” There’s as much to the sound of a phrase as its meaning, if sometimes not more. Absolutely stunning river shots and the birds you did capture are some of my favorites.

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