Birds, bugs, a bike and a box


Today’s dramatic guest picture comes from my friend Sue who is on holiday in Greece.  She visited the island of Hydra, just off the coast of the Peloponnese.


We had a not dissimilar day here today, the difference being about 10°C as it was decidedly autumnal in temperature in Langholm.  I heard on the radio that this September has been one of the warmest on record which I can well believe but it is making our present more normal temperatures seem quite chilly.

On the plus side, the sun was out more or less all the time and there was only the smallest rain shower to upset the equilibrium later in the day.

I went out into the garden in  the morning to enjoy the sunshine.

Lillian Austin
Lillian Austin was enjoying it too
The Fuschia is still in full swing

I watched the sparrows having fun at the feeder…


..and noticed one or two more chaffinches around.  Perhaps they will start to come back now that I am filling the feeder again.  Watch this space.

I had seen quite a lot of flying things on my first walk round the garden….


…so I when I had come back from getting my flu jab at the health centre, I put on the macro lens and went out again.

bee on dahlia

hoverfly on cornflower

sunflower with hoverfly
The world’s smallest sunflower with friend

I took a look at the very last of the rowan berries.  They should be gone by tomorrow.


I also enjoyed some moss and lichen on the elder tree by the feeder.

lichen and moss on elder

For some reason, Mrs Tootlepedal prefers trees with leaves on rather than moss and lichen so this may be the last year that I can enjoy this sight.

Mrs Tootlepedal borrowed my track pump and blew up the tyres on her town bike and went off shopping.  She was rather a long time in coming back and it turned out that one of her tyres had actually blown up with a loud explosion on her way and she had had to walk a lot of the way home.  On inspection, the tyre was rather worn out and had split.

After having lunch and checking that my arm was showing no reaction to the flu jab, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to go up to the town and buy a new tyre and tube and I went off for a pedal on the fairly speedy bike.  I pumped my tyres up carefully before I left.

It was a good day for a pedal, even though there was quite a breeze blowing.

The hills are turning brown and the bracken is dying or dead.

My legs were in a more co-operative mood than on my last outing so I went for a 27 mile circular ride, though still at a pretty leisurely pace.

I stopped for a look down the Esk when I got near Langholm on my way back.


Not much sign of autumn here yet.

When I got home, I put Mrs Tootlepedal’s new tyre and tube on her bike.  The front tyre looks about as worn as her back tyre was so it may not be long before another replacement is due.

Before I had my shower, I had a look out of the kitchen window….

coal tit and blue tit
A coal tit and blue tit share the pink pellet feeder.

…and then I took another walk round the garden.

A sunny evening is perhaps my favourite time in the garden.

The rudbeckias are nearly over
But the poppies keep on coming
And there are still quite a few cornflowers

Mrs Tootlepedal is hard at it in the garden, taking out flowers that are over and preparing the ground for next year’s display.  It makes me quite tired just watching her work.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre for the second time this week for another concert.  This time we were privileged to enjoy listening to Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, regular visitors to Langholm and in many people’s eyes, the two best musicians in Scotland.

They might  be classed as ‘folk’ musicians but their work together  on fiddle and accordion transcends such limiting boundaries and they provided us with a feast of good music by any standards.  They were amplified but gently, they interspersed the music with a stream of hilarious reminiscences and observations and they provided a golden couple of hours of sheer pleasure to the capacity audience.  No recording or video can properly capture the warmth of their live performances.

The flower of the day is a late blooming of an astrantia…


…and the flying bird of the day is the headmaster on an upward trajectory.

flying jackdaw





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Birds, bugs, a bike and a box

  1. Lots of lovely flying things. I have to side with you on the lichen and moss on trees issue, not so much that I’d wish exploding tyres on Mrs T though!

  2. Moss and lichens will grow on any branch that has sufficient sunlight, but they take nothing from the tree. They are like a bird, and just perch.
    Our Mountain ash are still loaded with fruit.
    Lillian Austin is a beautiful thing.

  3. A great concert last night from Phil and Aly. his story about flying into Fair Isle reminded me of the time my friend John and I flew there, probably on the same plane. We were delayed and had to wait in Lerwick airport for 4 hours for the fog to clear. There was only one other guy waiting with us who was an ex BA pilot flying a Bi-Plane round Scotland and he turned out to be a friend of Alison’s brother Mike and had flown with him on several occasions. It’s a small world. We eventually reached Fair Isle but had to return immediately before the fog came again so the pilot seeing that we were disappointed we had missed our walk and the evening flight was cancelled told us when we took off he would fly a low level circuit of the island and then back to Shetland. It could not have happened anywhere else and we were eternally grateful.

  4. Glad the live performance was so satisfying, thanks for the guest picture, an island I have visited more than once and thanks also for the fuchsia, my favourite flower.

  5. How fortunate you are to have Aly Bain in your neck of the woods. I saw him several times here in the States with Boys of the Lough back in the 1970s. He is such a wonderful performer. You don’t also have Dick Gaughan nearby do you? One of his early albums remains in my top 5.

  6. The headmaster bird seem to be in good form, and even smiling!

    The white poppy on the dark background is particularly striking. They seem to be very robust plants with a long blooming season.

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