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Archive for August, 2016

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent.  She stopped to look a new monument celebrating the world speed record for helicopter flight, set in 1986 and by chance met two of the designers of the helicopter, the Geraghty brothers, who were visiting the monument themselves.

helicopter record

Very obligingly it had rained during the night and stopped by breakfast time.  It remained rather grey so I waited around to make sure that the rain wasn’t going to come back and then went out for a 20 mile ride on my bike.  The sun even came out as I went along so I was able to ignore a brisk wind over the first three miles or so.

I couldn’t ignore a large bull beside the road.

bull

He condescended to turn his head for a portrait shot.

bull bloch

I was honoured.

I took a look at a tree across the road…

tree

…and then settled down to get home as quickly as possible because in spite of the sun overhead, there were dark clouds and signs of rain to the south.

It was still dry when I got back so I had a quick look round the garden.

two dahlias

A matched pair of dahlias

fly and bee on cornflower

Still plenty of pollen to be had

We are trying to make sure that we eat up the good crop of potatoes that Mrs Tootlepedal has grown this year so I had a baked potato for my lunch and then we went out to shred the pile of stuff that Atilla the gardener and her idle assistant Onegesias had produced.

I wheeled the petrol shredder out of the garage…..and then wheeled it straight  back in again as some heavy rain began to fall.  I went in and started to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database but I didn’t get far because the rain soon stopped…and we started again.

We managed to clog the shredder up once but it was soon  cleared and we finished the pile off.

shredder

The shredder and the pile, the resultant shreddings and the whole lot tidied away.

It is a useful machine.

Our assistant helped in a supervisory role today.

robin

After a cup of tea, I went down to the Kilngreen where I met Sandy and Mr Grumpy simultaneously.

Sandy and Mr Grumpy

Sandy and I had met by appointment and a short walk round the pheasant hatchery ensued.

There was new fungus round the bottom of one of the diseased trees on the Lodge Walks.

fungus Lodge Walks

And good views as well.

View of castleholm

The threat of rain was still about so we didn’t dawdle but there was time to look around.

buzzard and rabbit

The rabbit was on a river of a path running between green banks.

Pheasant hatchery path

As we passed the Duchess Bridge, we heard faint quacking and when we looked, we saw a duck with two very tiny ducklings at the edge of the river.  This seems to be very late for a new brood. They were too small and far away to capture on camera though.

Further on, we stopped to look at one of the trees that have been recently felled.  It had a great number of rings and might have been as old or older than me.

Tree rings

The darkest set of rings in the centre of the trunk caught our attention.

Tree rings

They had a very clearly defined border and the rings outside the border seemed to run into it in a rather arbitrary way. We had no idea how this might have come about.

We parted company at the Jubilee Bridge where Sandy walked directly home and I continued round the Castleholm and back to my car which was parked by the church.

I passed two more things which made me stop.  The first was a Noble Fir cone sticking up from a low branch just above my eye level.  I have never seen one of these cones so close before.

Noble fir cone

And the other was an oak tree covered in acorns.  We have looked in vain for many signs of acorns on the mature oaks on our walks and seen hardly any so it was a surprise to see this single tree so fruitful.

acorns

It had hundreds of acorns on it

The rain held off and it was warm enough to make the walk very enjoyable.

I disposed of a few more potatoes with a plate of stew for my tea and then sat down to watch an exciting program of highlights of the latest stage of the Vuelta in a very good mood indeed.

The flower of the day is another look at the tall lobelia.  It is a very striking flower…

lobelia

…especially in a brief moment of evening sunshine.

The flying bird of the day was seen on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a bridge across the River Rye in Yorkshire which my brother visited on a very hot day in an attempt to avoid the bank holiday crowds.

River Rye bridge

We enjoyed another dry day today here although the lightest of drizzle every now and again made sure that we didn’t take it for granted.   It was grey and windy and I was impressed that our neighbour Ken was ready to go off on a hilly 40 mile bike ride.

Ken and bike

I had decided against a ride in the morning in favour of doing some serious work.

I won’t have to tell the knowledgeable readers of this blog that the Onegesias of the title was a trusted lieutenant of Atilla the Hun.  It was my role today to act as Onegesias to Atilla the Gardener and remove a hosta that had outlived its place in the garden.

After some instruction, I got going and fairly soon the hosta leaves were on the shredding pile, the roots were laid out for drying and earth removal and a very satisfactory patch of bare ground was ready for new planting.

hosta removal

Fired up by this rare example of being useful, I set about the compost bins and shifted the contents of Bin B into the empty Bin C.   I took a break to have a cup of coffee and then finished the job.  The compost in Bin B was giving off a gentle heat and had rotted down well.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy meanwhile tidying up our utility room and then washing all the assorted bits of smelly cycling gear and woolly hats that turned up under things.

While she had a quick burst on her bike to nowhere upstairs, I made potato latkes (using polenta) for lunch and then we went back outside into the garden.

With the bit fully between my teeth, I set about shifting the contents of Bin A into Bin B to complete the whole compost cycle.

compost bins

Bin A restarted, Bin B full and covered, Bin C looking promising.

My usual assistant put in an appearance.

robin

It is always good to have a helping hand.

Then I wandered around the garden.

There were no new flowers to see but the honeysuckle, of which I have been trying to get a good shot for ages, seemed to be in a cooperative mood today.

honeysuckle

It has lasted a long time this year

Mrs Tootlepedal has three sorts of crocsomia in the garden.  She has dug out a lot of the standard red ones but left these two.

crocosmia

The Michaelmas daisies are taking over from the cornflowers in the bed beside the drying green but the cornflowers have managed to hang on at the back.

Michaelmas daisies and cornflowers

While I was in full gardening mode, I mowed the drying green, the greenhouse grass and the middle and front lawns.  Thanks to the recent dry weather, I was able to get over the ground at a good rate and didn’t need to use a box which makes the task a lot easier.

Ken had got round his bike run safely and he and Liz came over for a cup of tea and a brownie after I had finished the lawns.  The brownie had been freshly made by Mrs Tootlepedal who had discovered a forgotten packet of Brownie Cake Mix in a cupboard while putting something else away.

We were glad that she had found the packet as the brownies went down very well with a cup of tea after a hard day’s work/pedal.

I thought about a walk after the tea had been drunk but the light was poor and the wind was still  brisk so I settled for a last look at the garden.

The yellow crocosmias are mixed with poppies on both sides of the path at the end of the front lawn…

Lawn

…and behind them, a Fuchsia is dripping with flowers.

Fuchsia

It is due to move under the remodelling plans for next year so we hope that it survives.

A lone campanula was to be seen near the front door.

campanula

By this time, I was quite ready to have a sit down so I sat down and printed out a couple more pictures for the forthcoming flower show competition.

Although I may find myself being a bit creaky tomorrow, I was really pleased to have been able to do so much work (by my standards) in the garden today.  For some reason, my joints are much better than they been for ages and I intend to make the most of it while this happy state lasts.

No flying bird of the day today thanks to the poor light but a cheerful dahlia of the day to brighten things up.

dahlia

As a footnote, Mrs Tootlepedal took down her sweet pea cage today and found this tall plant  growing up the back of the cage.  She has tied it to the telegraph pole.  It is a mystery to her and she would be interested to know if anyone can suggest what it might be.strange plant

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Today’s guest picture shows a cheerfully departed couple whom my brother Andrew met in York Minster earlier this month.

This departed couple did not seem unhappy

Our very good spell of weather continued today and this meant that the steady supply of plums ripening on the tree continues.  I try to pick them just before they become fully ripe so that they don’t fall prey to plum predators but I am not always successful.

blackbird eating plum

Though if she is going to steal my plums, she might look a bit cheerier about it.

Blackbird eating plum

There are plenty left for Mrs Tootlepedal and me so I am not complaining.

As well as plums, I had some excellent scones today as Dropscone arrived for coffee.  He only had three scones instead of his usual four with him as his daughter Susan was off work because of the bank holiday and for some reason he thought that she deserved one for herself.  As he made up for this by bringing a tasty slice of cake, once again I couldn’t complain.  He was even kind enough to take some of our surplus runner beans away with him when he left.

I would have liked to have had some time in the garden in the sunshine but I needed to pick out and print some photos for the Westerkirk horticultural show at Bentpath.  This is a time consuming business, especially when your printer mysteriously starts making everything go pink and the whole system needs to be switched off and on again. I managed to get them pretty well sorted and my entry form posted by lunchtime.

After lunch, I went out to sieve some compost.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been doing heroic work in the garden, clearing old plants from a bed on which she has designs for next year. This is just part of the resulting debris…

plant heap

..and we will put it through the big shredder soon.  As compost Bin A is already pretty full and the revised bed will need a good dose of sieved compost to freshen it up, there was a pressing need for compost action.

I sieved the last material out of Bin D….

Bin C and D

And then turned the contents of Bin C into Bin D.  Now all that remains is to turn Bin B into Bin C and Bin A into Bin B and all will be well.  Mrs Tootlepedal sometimes gently points out that if I just left the compost to itself instead of bothering it endlessly, it would all decompose in its own good time.  This may be true but then I wouldn’t be having any fun.

Our friend took an interest in the composting.

robin

I spotted a lone peacock butterfly on the buddleia….

peacock butterfly

…but mostly the garden was full of fluttering white butterflies today, sometimes alone…

white butterfly

…but often in pairs probably making sure that there will be a good supply of white butterflies next year too.

white butterflies

I checked to see if any new flowers were to be seen but Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that we are at the end of the road as far as novelty goes so I went in and got changed.  Then I got the fairly speedy bike out of the garage, cleaned the chain and pumped up the tyres and set off for a short ride.

The temperature was perfect and the sun was warm but not burning so everything would have been perfect of there hadn’t been a brisk wind straight into my face for the first three miles.  As I climbed up past Bloch Farm…

Bloch Farm

….I stopped to admire the view (and take a breather).

Wauchope valley

The Wauchope valley

From this point on, the wind was more often helping than hindering and I whizzed along at a good speed.

I stopped on the old main road before I got to Canonbie to admire these very leafy trees…

Leafy trees at Woodhouselees

…and once again on the Skippers Bridge to take the obligatory picture of the old distillery.

Old distillery from Skippers

I got home in time to take a picture of a small lobelia….

lobelia

…and have a shower before my flute pupil Luke arrived.    We puffed and blew but we were both a bit tired so it wasn’t the most progressive lesson that we have ever had.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and although I wasn’t playing at my best, we had an enjoyable time, perhaps hearing what we would like to have had the music sounding like rather than what it actually did sound like.  Selective listening is an art in itself.

The flower of the day is a collection from the pink, purple and red bed which continues to look really good on a sunny day…

pink, purple and red flowers

…and the flying bird of the day is a butterfly butterflying.

flying butterfly

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Today’s guest picture shows one of the ponds in Parliament Hill Fields.  It was taken by my sister Mary who knows a good pond when she sees one.

One of the ponds in Parliament Hill Fields

There was rain in the night but we woke to a quiet, grey and dry day.  After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in church and I retired back to bed for some additional snoozing.  I got up again in time for her return and we had a cup of coffee.  That was the most exciting moment of the morning.

As I was looking for a quiet time, it was lucky that I had a large and extremely complicated Bank Holiday prize crossword to occupy me and I spent many hours during the day looking at it and not putting any answers in.

As far as I can remember, I didn’t do anything requiring actual physical endeavour until I went out into the garden to do a little dead heading and snapping just before four o’clock.

There were no coloured butterflies to be seen but the subdued light made a white butterfly easier to photograph.

white butterfly

While I  was out, the sun broke through and one of our blackbirds warmed up its behind on the roof of our neighbour’s shed.

blackbird on shed roof

The weather got to be so nice that I went for a walk.  I asked Mrs Tootlepedal if she would like to come to but she had been very busy wielding a pick axe in the process of uprooting a large fern so she was more ready for a sit down than a stroll.

The Esk looked very pretty in the sunshine when I walked along Elizabeth Street…

River esk and Town Bridge

…and once again, there were wagtails on every side.

wagtails

I walked on over the bridge and sat down on a bench to enjoy a nougat wafer from Pelosi’s ice cream van on the Kilngreen.  I was hoping to see some duck or gull action but they were not in a co-operative mood so I walked up the road, stopping to admire a  good looking St John’s Wort …

St John's Wort

…and then took the track up the hill from Whitshiels.

I kept an eye out for fungi as I walked through the woods…

fungi

…and looked at the view when I got out on the hillside.

Ewes valley

It is a view that I never tire of looking at.

As well as the hills, there was a big sky to look at too.

Ewes sky

I went up the hill past my favourite three trees.

Hollow tree

They are hollow, they have holes underneath them, they look old and rickety and they have healthy branches and leaves.  They are a model to old people just to keep going in spite of everything.

I kept going.

The open hill was sprinkled with tiny yellow flowers.

tiny yellow flowers

In spite of the overnight rain, the going was very good underfoot and when I reached the Newcastleton road, I went straight across and followed a track leading onto Whita.   I thought of climbing up to the monument but it seemed a step too far so I contoured round the hill and joined another  track leading down to the top of the golf course.

A buzzard circled high above my head…

buzzard

…and the town lay tucked in among the hills below me.

Langholm from Whita

It was a good day to be out walking, warm but not too hot and nearly windless.

When I got to the golf course, I walked down the Kirk Wynd, hoping to find interesting things to look at and brambles to pick.  There was plenty to see but the brambles were far from ripe.

bee and bramble

Kirk Wynd

I had a look at the golf course, as I always enjoy the sight of so much carefully mown grass.

Langholm Golf Club

The short ninth hole

There were a couple of golfers about to play the hole so I didn’t linger and pausing for one last look at the view…

Timpen from the Kirk Wynd

…I walked down into the town and made my way home.

Without looking at it very closely, I had bought a fillet of smoked fish yesterday when we were in Carlisle.  It was described as River Cobbler and seemed very cheap.  When I looked at the label properly today, I found to my amazement that it was a piece of farmed fish imported from Vietnam.   I had never heard of this fish before but I find that it is a species of catfish and has been the subject of trade wars between Vietnam and the USA. It has been been passed off as cod in certain fish and chip shops in the UK.  Sometimes I feel that the world is passing me by.

I used it in a kedgeree which I made for my tea and while it was edible, it wasn’t something that I will look for again.

The flower of the day is one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s many dahlias….

dahlia

…and the (just) flying bird is one of the many riverside wagtails.

wagtail

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a gardener hard at work in Queen Mary’s garden in Regent’s Park.  He was spotted by my sister Mary.

Gardener hard at work in Queen Mary's garden

We had another beautiful day today and the present weather has certainly made up for the gloomy spell last week.  Owing to failing to go to bed at a sensible time yesterday, we were both a little tired and took the morning very gently.

I had a chance to look at some pairs of things in the garden, both winged….

bees and butterflies

…and petalled.

poppies and dahlias

There were insects everywhere and especially on the red astrantia.

astrantia

Mrs Tootlepedal is very happy about the Michaelmas daisies coming out as the cornflowers begin to fade in the bed on the edge of the drying green…..

cornflowers and daisies

…although this was almost by chance rather than deeply planned.

I was very happy to see a blackbird thinking about rowan berries….

blackbird

..and finally taking a nibble.

blackbird

Pity about the twig that got in the way of the shot.

Still, another blackbird gave me a second chance.

blackbird with rowan berry

We gathered ourselves together about midday and drove off to Carlisle to do some shopping for things that cannot be found in Langholm.  I packed the fairly speedy bike in the boot and after we had filled the shopping bags, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to drive home via a garden centre and set off to cycle home.  It was a treat not to have to cycle round in a circle as I do when I set off from home.

To make the ride more interesting, I started off by going to the south,  taking the bike path beside the river  down to Dalston.  It is a very pleasant path to ride, with a good surface for almost all of the way.  I feared that it might be a slow business with pedestrians, other cyclists and dog walkers to negotiate but in the event, there were not too many other users and such dogs as I encountered were very well behaved.

From Dalston, I travelled across country, passing the 11th century church of St Giles on my way…

St Giles

… to the Carlisle by-pass.  My eye was caught by some brilliant rose hips at one of the roundabouts.

rose hips

The by-pass has an excellent cycle path alongside it and with the wind mostly behind me, I was soon at the village of Rockcliffe, where I stopped for a moment to walk across a grassy patch to the banks of the River Eden just before it flows into the Solway Firth.

River Eden at Rockliffe

The gap in the trees along the right bank has been made to allow the owners of the house on the bank an uninterrupted view of the river.

This was my view straight across the river.

River Eden at Rockliffe

Looking around me, I could see that the church at Rockliffe has been sensibly placed up on a bank to avoid the possibility of being flooded…

Rockliffe

….and the road edge has been marked off with prettily decorated blocks to discourage motorists from driving on to what might be very soggy grass at some times of the year.

This is a spot well used to floods.

I pedalled on to Gretna where I paused for a banana and a look at what wild flowers were still about.

wild flowers near Gretna

As I cycled up the back roads from Longtown to Langholm, I was able to enjoy the early autumnal views of golden fields near Englishtown…

Fields near Englishtown

…and a fine view of a heathery Whita seen from Tarcoon.

Whita

It was a grand day to be out but the downside of having the wind mostly behind me was that I wasn’t getting much cooling from the breeze and with the temperature in the sun being in the high 20s, I was well cooked by the time that I got home after 40 miles.

I didn’t have long to recover before it was time for tea.  We have quite a lot of courgettes in the vegetable garden and Mrs Tootlepedal had been able to buy some polenta in Carlisle so she made some courgette fritters with polenta and feta to go with a beef stew which I had made for the slow cooker before we went to Carlisle.  If you have a glut of courgettes, I can thoroughly recommend fritters with polenta and feta as a way of using them up.  They were delicious.

In the evening, we went to see our local youth theatre group perform Bugsy Malone at the Buccleuch Centre.   We are very fortunate that this group has worked hard at producing a steady stream of local youngster who can sing and act remarkably well and they made a very good effort at trying to make us forget the film.

The flower of the day is the lobelia which looks better all the time….

Lobelia

…and I even found a rather fuzzy flying bird in the garden when a sparrow flew off a compost bin to join the rest of its family on a nearby shed roof.

flying sparrow

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is on an elephant hunt in Sheffield.

Sheffield elephant

We had another lovely day today, with wall to wall sunshine accompanied by gentle temperatures ideal for those who don’t do too well in the heat.  The only fly in the ointment was a brisk and bullying wind  which put any thoughts of cycling out of my mind.

I was quite happy about this in one way, as it let me sample the traditional Friday treacle scone couriered in by Dropscone on his bike while taking a short break from his incessant golfing activity.  He joined me for coffee while we disposed of the scones. They were very good.

When he left, I went out into the garden and enjoyed the sight of butterflies hanging on to wildly waving buddleias for dear life.

peacock and red admiral butterflies

I was amazed that they had the strength to hold on.

After the usual dead heading, I set about compost Bin D with a view to sieving as much of it as I could over today and tomorrow because the constant activity of Attila the Gardener over the past weeks has meant that Bin A is full to overflowing and a transfer process needs to be put into motion very soon.

Luckily, the compost is in good condition and sieves well so I made good progress both before and after lunch.  Our robin took a close interest in the garden activities.

robin

Mrs Tootlepedal dug up a couple of potato plants and the robin took advantage of this…

robin

…checking to see if we had any objection to worm hunting.

After I had done enough sieving, I had a wander round the garden clipping off all the hosta flowers which are now over, leaving just a set of new white ones under the plum tree.

hosta

The plums are looking very good and supplying us with a steady stream of ripe fruit to eat….

plums and golden syllabub rose

…and Mrs Tootlepedal has been cosseting the Golden Syllabub rose with good results.

At the other end of the garden the curiously named lobelia is also doing very well.

lobelia siphilitica

The warm sunshine had encouraged enough grass to grow to make it worth mowing the front and middle lawns for the second day running.  Mrs Tootlepedal was impressed by the amount of grass that came off as she thought that perhaps I was wasting my time. Regular mowing works wonders though and both the lawns are looking good.

We sat for a while on a bench in the garden, enjoying the sunshine and feeling that life wasn’t too bad at all and then after a cup of tea and a biscuit, I went off for a short walk.

I took a familiar route down by the river and enjoyed the large number of wagtails that were flitting about over the water or standing on rocks on the shore.

wagtails

I crossed the Town Bridge and came upon bigger birds flying along the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen.

herring gull

A herring gull going

Black headed gull

A black headed gull arriving

I looked in vain for any oyster catchers but they seem to have moved on, probably fed up by being harassed by paparazzi.

I walked over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks, keeping an eye out for fungus.  One of the conifers that is being felled had many fungi growing in its cracks and crevices.

fungus on Lodge Walks conifer

I think that perhaps the number of trees that blew over in last winter’s gales have made the estate keep a close eye on the health of their woodlands.  The Lodge Walks are much used by both cars and walkers and although only the Sawmill Bridge got slightly damaged by falling trees last winter, there might easily have been a worse outcome.

Felled tree on castleholm

In the picture above you can see the remains of another felled tree on the Castleholm but there are also several little fenced enclosures where new trees have been planted to replace the ones that are gone.  The enclosure will protect the trees from grazing sheep.

As I strolled on, I stopped to take pictures of the three different heads on a single umbellifer…

umbellifer

…a selection of berries….

snowberry and hawthorn

…and another set of aged fungus high in a tree.

fungus at the Lodge

It was a beautiful evening and the wind had begun to calm down a bit so it was a great pleasure to be out and about.

View from the Lodge

At one stage, I thought that the path I was following was covered by a thick carpet of fallen leaves.  This seemed strange as the trees round about still had leaves on them but a close look revealed that they were not leaves at all but probably the wings of lime trees carrying the seeds to the ground.

lime tree wings

I got home to be greeted by a trio of starlings sitting on the wires above the garden.

starlings

Considering that they were within a few feet of each other and I stood in the same place to take all three pictures, it is odd how different the sky looks in each portrait.

Mrs Tootlepedal made good use of the plum tree’s bounty for tea and we enjoyed a pudding of baked plums on toast, glazed with sugar and butter, made in the oven and topped off with some custard.  Delicious.

In the evening, we were joined by Mike and Alison and Alison and I enjoyed ourselves playing flute and keyboard pieces in a somewhat haphazard but always enjoyable manner.

The flower of the day is a very fine small fuchsia which Mrs Tootlepedal bought for me at the Gardener’s World show in Birmingham earlier this summer…

Fuchsia

…and the flying bird is a black headed gull.

black headed gull

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Today’s guest picture is another from the Menger family’s Highland meander.  It shows the daughter of the house holding a cushion starfish which they met on on a fishing trip they took from Islonia, an island kingdom near Gairloch.

cushion starfish

For the second day running, I was acting as a relief feeder filler for the Moorland Feeders as for the second day running, the designated feeder filler had made a break for Edinburgh. The astute reader may notice a pattern here and it is probably connected with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Mrs Tootlepedal came up with me today and for the second day running, the bird hide was occupied when I got here. Fortunately on this occasion, the family left the hide shortly after I had finished filling the feeders and I was able to settle down to watch the birds while Mrs Tootlepedal scanned the skies for raptors from the comfort of the car.

She saw one bird of prey briefly but I saw a lot of small birds.  Among them were…

chaffinch

A chaffinch

four siskins

Four siskins

Great tit and robin

A great tit and a robin

blue tit

A blue tit (which came and went at speed)

tits on feeder

Two great tits and a coal tit

pheasant

A pheasant

woodpecker

And a woodpecker

In fact for almost the whole time that we were there, there was at least one woodpecker on each side of the clearing.

woodpeckers

The only time when I wasn’t watching birds was when Mrs Tootlepedal’s raptor flew over the clearing and the small birds cleared off.  They soon came back though.

We got home just in time for coffee but the rest of the morning was wasted on the phone as a result of an email from my internet provider telling me that they were “upgrading my service by removing my email provision”.  Some one should be arrested for this act of violence against the English language.

However, several phone calls later, I got my email account reinstated for a price which means that I will reluctantly after many years as a loyal customer move to another provider.  The nice lady on the phone assured me that the decision to remove my email facility without notice had been a commercial one.  What a surprise.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents and I made and ate some potato soup for my lunch.  Then I settled down to some work in the garden.

I started with a little compost sieving to warm up and followed up by mowing the drying green, the greenhouse grass, the middle lawn and the front lawn in that order.  In actual mowing time, this is not a long job but once getting out the different mowers required, pausing for heavy breathing, sitting down for a rest and just standing at the end of a row and looking around vacantly have been factored in, the job took most of the afternoon.

I did find time for a shopping trip to the High Street to acquire more coffee beans and two nectarines.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had considered the poppies in the garden during the day and we were struck by how various they are in colour and design.

poppies

poppies

poppies

Although they may look superficially alike, a closer look reveals all sorts of subtle differences.

The Rosa Wren is doing very well and comes up with a fresh replacement as each bloom fades.  It is hard to believe that these two flowers are from the same stem.

Rosa Wren

I made a visit to our corner shop after I had finished the mowing and purchased a smoked sausage, a pepper and some mushrooms and then with the help of an onion from the garden made them into a risotto for my tea.  It went down well.

In the evening, Susan appeared and gave me a lift to our recorder group in Carlisle for our first play for several weeks.  Considering that we were all a bit rusty, we played well and enjoyed a varied selection of music from Hindemith and Gershwin to Palestrina and Farnaby with others in between.

Susan got us back to Langholm at exactly the same time as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Edinburgh and as she had enjoyed her visit a lot, we sat down to watch the highlights of another interesting stage of the Vuelta in a very good mood.

The light in the morning wasn’t good enough to let me catch a flying bird at the Moorland feeders so once again, a flower of the day is all I have to offer.  But what a flower it is.

pink poppy

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