Feet on the ground

Irene's garden

Today’s guest picture is another blast of Irene’s sunny South African sketches.

Irene's garden

We had a quietly grey day here today, dull but dry and calm.  It would have been another good day for a cycle ride and it has been annoying that probably the best two days for a bike ride that we are likely to get in November have coincided with me having a cold.  And to make it worse, not an all out and knock you down cold but just a niggling, persistent little blighter that won’t go away.

So it was lucky that although Dropscone was going to a society dinner in Edinburgh in the evening, he had enough time and energy to bring a set of treacle scones round for coffee in the morning.

The coffee was quite exciting as four packs had just arrived by post and we were able to chose our brew by looking at some fanciful descriptions of the flavours on the packets.  We settled for ‘rum and raisin’ flavour from Kenya but it tasted remarkably like ‘coffee’ when we drank it.  It was nice though.

When Dropscone left, I had a quick check on floral survivors in the garden.  There are not many but those that are left are doing their best to keep us cheerful.

calendula, nasturtium, rose and poppy

Then I went back in and stared out of the window for a bit.

The birds were back and it was a busy morning at the feeder.

busy feeder

Blue tits and chaffinches came and went.

blue tit and chaffinch

A greenfinch, blue tit and goldfinch all stopped for a quick pose for me.

greenfinch, blue tit and goldfinch

And a robin waited on the chimney until I had got a pose than popped up to the feeder to give me another chance.


But perhaps I liked this picture of a blackbird on the ground more than any feeder pictures today.


Mrs Tootlepedal went off to have lunch at the Buccleuch Centre with our neighbour Margaret and I waited in for a man with a van to come and collect the garden tiller to take it away for its service.  He arrived on time and I wrapped up well and went out for a walk.

I went down to the river to see if there were birds to be seen.  There were.

I have been thinking that the outer pair of gulls in the panel below were herring gulls but I think now that they may be black backed gulls.  The one in the middle is definitely a black headed gull.

gulls on the Esk

Also on parade was a dipper, Mr Grumpy and a goosander.  The dipper wouldn’t wait until I got it in focus but almost immediately disappeared under the water.

dipper heron and goosander

The mallards on the Kilngreen were more obliging and lined up neatly for a shot.


Nearby a rook was surprisingly calm while I fussed about with my camera.


I left the birds to their business and walked over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge walks.

The leaves have left.

Lodge Walks in November

Although, across the Castleholm on the more sheltered side, there are a few leaves still left.

Castleholm trees

I kept an eye out for the stumps of the felled trees along the Walks as they can be interesting.  I found this display of fungus on one of them, looking for all the world like a big handful of spilled beads…


..but as a closer look proved, they are firmly attached to the wood.  They may be a variety called purple jellydisc or Ascocoryne sarcoides.

As I have remarked before, the fall of the leaves lets me see the bridges more clearly…

Duchess Bridge

…but I didn’t cross the Duchess Bridge when I came to it on this occasion and walked down the side of the Castleholm to the Jubilee Bridge instead.  This let me look back at a lone tree which had retained its leaves against the odds.

Lodge walks

After I crossed the Jubilee Bridge, I had a last look at the larches at the end of the Scholars’ Field…


…bowed to the only flower that I saw on my walk….

umbellifer in November

…and got home to find Mrs Tootlepedal back from lunch and hard at work in the garden planting out wallflowers.

I sieved a bit of compost for her, shredded a few dead ends, photographed a lupin which is obstinately and not very successfully trying to flower well past its sell by date…


…and went inside to get out of the cold.

I put the afternoon to good use by catching up on my correspondence and entering a week of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database.

By the time that I had finished it was very gloomy outside so Mrs Tootlepedal came in and we had a cup of tea.

My Friday evening orchestra, Alison is, like me, not feeling quite at her peak so once again “Yes, we had no sonatas.  We had no sonatas today.”  I am very short of tootling pleasure at the moment.

I put another week of the newspaper index into the database instead.  It’s an ill wind etc etc.

The flying bird of the day is a pretty determined greenfinch.

flying greenfinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Feet on the ground

  1. The beaded fungus looks pretty, and does look as if a pile of beads, how neat! Many wonderful photos, I especially like your flying bird of the day, gorgeous flight shot!

  2. I think the l.h. gull is a herring gull, and the r.h. one a great (c.f.pink legs) black-backed. Agree with you about the ground blackbird!

  3. The Duchess Bridge is lovely, and the f.b.o.d. is very scary looking! Sorry to hear that your cold is persisting.

  4. I am sorry your cold is so troublesome. I have had the same misery with mine and still have the cough after three weeks! The fungus is very attractive and it is good to see the Duchess bridge more clearly. Such a nice variety of birds!

    1. I am coming up to three weeks of coughing too and I am very fed up though I am being restrained and only mentioning this about eight times a day and no more.

  5. I agree with the earlier commenter’s identification of the gulls, the one on the right is definitely a black-backed gull, I’m not so sure that the one on the right is.

    I’m no expert, but I believe that the beaded fungi is a slime mold, I’m sure that Allen will know when he views this post.

    I know that you’d prefer to get out on the bike, but the photos that you’ve been getting while walking have been a nice change of pace.

    1. For once I disagree with you and I am pretty sure that I got the ID of the fungus right but thank you for pfferning an opinion. That is always welcome.

      I wondered if one was male and the other female when it came to the gulls.

  6. It looks to me, after looking up Ascocoryne sarcoides, that your fungus identification is right on the money. There is a similar pink slime mold called wolf’s milk that Jerry might be thinking of.
    That’s a beautiful shot of a beautiful bridge. It’s very light and airy.
    The rook is interesting. I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen a photo of one.

    1. We have lots of rooks about as there is a roost in the trees on the bank above the town. The bridge is one of the first, if not the first, cast iron bridges in Scotland. We are very proud of it.

  7. The rum and raisin coffee sounds intriguing but, as you observed, very often the name is more fancy than the flavor. Hope your cold is soon gone. And, nice one about the sonatas!

  8. Many photos to enjoy today especially the mallards two by two, the ‘colourful’ rook , the Lodge walk, the bridge and the flying greenfinch. I could have named all your photos really! Hope that cold gets better soon.

  9. Thank you for the view of the Lodge Walk again. You are lucky to have that nearby. Your late season flowers are very cheery, and the birds always a treat.

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