Today’s guest picture shows the interior of Selby Abbey in Yorkshire which my brother visited last week. If that is a red carpet, the Abbey carpet cleaner obviously does a very good job.
It was raining when Sandy and I went down to Canonbie early in the morning to put up our pictures for the annual Flower Show photographic competition. We were able to find space to present our pictures well and went back to Langholm for breakfast, well content to leave things in the hands of the judges.
It stopped raining for a few minutes after breakfast so I sneaked out into a rather soggy garden.
Flowers were doing their best to ignore the dampness.
The lilies are sheltered from the worst of the weather.
An exposed bunch of cosmos in an old chimney pot have to put up with everything but keep smiling.
The dahlias in the front beds seem impervious to wet weather.
At the other end of the garden, the rowan tree is laden with berries. Usually the birds make short work of the berries and they disappear pretty quickly but this year they are being left on the tree for the moment at least. Maybe they are not quite ripe yet.
Although we are not feeding the birds at present, there are plenty of blackbirds about.
I think that they are eating my autumn fruiting raspberries to keep themselves happy.
I didn’t stay out long as the rain soon began to fall again and it kept going….and going.
It was still raining when Mrs Tootlepedal, Sandy and I went back down to Canonbie to see the flowers and vegetables and check on the photo results. In spite of the rain, a very active dog agility show was being held on the football pitch outside the hall and we stopped to watch a nippy dog or two before we went inside.
There was a good entry of photos so I was modestly pleased to find a first and two seconds among my entries but Sandy was really pleased to find two firsts, two seconds and a third among his efforts. He even won a trophy.
The recent white poppy from the garden brought me my winning ticket which was no less than such a beautiful flower deserved I thought.
As usual there were some beautiful flowers on show but the vegetable classes were rather under subscribed and I hope that Mrs Tootlepedal and I might manage to put in some vegetables next year.
It was still raining when we went home but not long afterwards, it eased off and since it looked at though the worst might be past, I went for a short riverside walk in the hope of seeing some birds.
I was not disappointed. As I walked along Elizabeth Street on the banks of the Esk, I saw a goosander…
..and a dipper…
..all busily at work along the water’s edge.
I walked up to the Langholm Bridge, hoping to see some flying gulls but when I peered over the bridge, I was delighted to see a whole family of goosanders sitting on the gravel at the Meeting of the Waters.
As soon as they noticed me, they took to the water…
…and after a moment to get organised, paddled gently upstream in a perfect peloton, eight strong.
I don’t know much about goosanders but I take it that these are a family as I have never seen more than two or three goosanders together before. I am open to any comments from readers who are goosander experts.
Seeing these birds was a real treat but I left them in peace and walked over the bridge and on through Clinthead gardens towards the Kilngreen. There are always a lot of sparrows in the garden hedge but today, they were sitting on the fence and enjoying the view upstream.
This is the view that they were taking in.
Once again, the rain had obviously not fallen evenly over our area and you can see the Ewes Water flowing into the Esk from the right is running much more vigorously than the larger river.
The birds had mostly gone to rest for the evening so there was not much to see and I walked on home over the Castleholm and the Jubilee Bridge, enjoying a little burst of late sunshine as I went.
With the end of the Olympics in sight, I am looking forward to an early night or two next week and readers of this blog may hope to get slightly less incoherent posts. Watching Taekwondo and handball is strangely addictive.
The flower of the day is the Cardoon which is developing a fine punk haircut…
…and the flying bird of the day is a gull over the Esk.