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Archive for Aug, 2019

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He gets up very early to walk his dogs before going to work and thus can take pictures like this with his phone.

ANT'S SUNRISE

We had yet another day of intermittent showers, some very heavy and almost all quite short.  The shortest lasted about a minute but was quite intense while it was in action.

I started the day by filing down a key.  When we moved the Archive Group to its new premises, we got some keys cut to let members in to work.  Some of the keys fitted the lock but others didn’t and I have been meaning to sort the ill fitting ones out for some time.  Like many of my little plans though, nothing actually happened until I got a call today to do something about it.  Galvanised by this, I got busy with a little file and went up to the office where, rather to me surprise, the key now fitted and opened the door.  I delivered the key to the member who had asked for it, and she was probably even more surprised than I was.

Encouraged by this, I resolved to risk getting wet, and went off for a bike ride.  Once again the wind was very unhelpful and made cycling hard work, so I settled for fifteen miles, making sure that I had the wind behind me on the return journey.   The sun came out as I pedalled home and Wauchopedale looked very inviting.

Wauchopedale view

When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and then walked round the garden.

This poppy had given all it had to give to passing bees…

exhausted poppy

…but the buddleia still has plenty left to attract butterflies….

peacock butterfly

…and the Michaelmas daisies are not short of pull either.

fly on daisy

Sadly, the sweet peas have had their day and I gave Mrs Tootlepedal a hand as she demolished the imposing structure which had given them support.

Nearby, I admired the fine mint plant next to the greenhouse.  It is, as they say, in mint condition.

mint in mint condition

Round the front lawn, the yellow crocosmias are making a good show.

yellow crocosmia

It was a pleasantly warm day, and after we had finished with the sweet peas, Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat on the new bench and had a rest.  From the bench I could see a good crop of Japanese anemones climbing above a hedge…

Japanese anemone clump

…and a good flock of sparrows clustered on the silver pear.

sparrows in silver pear

Then it was time for lunch.

After lunch, we went out into the garden again.

When Mrs Tootlepedal had been cutting down the potentillas on the dam side yesterday, I had noticed that the fuchsia further along the house wall was looking good, so I took a picture of it today.

fuschia beside dam

I had also noticed a plant with many tiny white flowers on it and Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is lemon balm.

lemon balm

The camera club has had a small exhibition running in the community cafe in Canonbie for some time, but it is coming to an end this week and we are going to take the pictures up to The Hub in Eskdalemuir, where they will be on show during September.  The organiser there had asked me to paint a pen portrait of the camera club and provide a poster for the exhibition, so I went in and did my best to meet her requirements.

Then there was time for another garden check to see if there were any birds wanting to have their picture taken.

A blackbird gave me that fashionable over the shoulder pose…

blackbird back

…and a dunnock tried for the same effect but didn’t quite have the neck and shoulder for it.

dunnock on fence

I took a final picture…

clump of calendula

…and went back in.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I checked over our potato crop fairly carefully to take out any tubers which had been forked or were suffering from slugs.  We put the rest of the crop into storage.  For one reason or another, we had managed to spear quite a lot of potatoes when we were digging them up but the slug damage was very slight so we were pleased to have enough to last for some time.

Although there was a hint of rain in the air when we had finished sorting the potatoes, I went for a short walk.   Along the way, there were unwelcome signs of the turning of the year to be seen.

leaves in puddle

…and unwelcome, although pretty, invasive plants to be found.

himalayan balsam park

And there was a token of how strong the winds have been in the form of a pile of branches beside the path…

fallen oak branch easton's walk

…which turned out to be from a substantial limb which had split from a tree.

fallen oak branch easton's walk 2

I didn’t walk as far as I intended as I fell into conversation with a friend whom I met on the way and we had a lively discussion about life and politics which took some time.  There were a couple of short, sharp showers while we talked but as we were under a well leafed tree, we were unaffected.  In the end, we broke off our debate and walked back together, heeding the call of the evening meal.

No flying bird of the day today, but I felt that the resident dragons in the park were taking a keener interest in me than usual as I walked by them today, so I have put them in to keep them happy.

park monsters

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  A friend, a fellow allotmenteer, brought her round some dahlias from Annie’s plot.  They are doing a lot better than ours are.

annie dahlia

We had another unsettled and unsettling day.  It is difficult to have a plan of action when the weather (and the forecast) is so changeable. In the forecast yesterday morning, we had been promised a calm and sunny day today so I was looking for a good cycle ride, staring early.

By the time that I got up today, there was no sign of sun and the forecast was now promising showers in the morning and a sunny afternoon.  I settled down to coffee and the crossword, thinking of an early lunch and an afternoon pedal.

There was rain.

Having finished the coffee and the crossword, I ventured out into the garden.

There were no butterflies to be seen but we were not short of other insects.

I saw a hoverfly vising an Icelandic poppy

hoverfly icelandic poppy

…and a bee well into a poppy…

bee in poppy

,,,while another hoverfly had caused a small pollen storm.

hoverfly in poppy

Another bee took a more refined approach to a geranium.

bee on geranium

Not every small creature was so welcome though.  Our turnips have taken a bit of a bashing.

nibbled turnip

Mrs Tootlepedal hasn’t planted as many cosmos as usual because the plants have tended to suffer from disease in recent years, but there she has some and they are just coming out.

cosmos

Although the bird feeders are not out at present, there are still plenty of birds about, particularly starlings…

fluffy starling on holly

…and blackbirds.

blackbird on bench

I looked at the forecast just before noon.  The sunny afternoon had disappeared and rain showers were back in.  I did put my cycling clothes on but cycling was once again postponed and we were busy out in the garden, looking at some ominous clouds, when a pair of strangers appeared at the front gate.

Were we the owners of Wauchope Cottage, they asked.  We confessed that we were and the man said that he had come especially to see the house as his name was Wauchope too and he had often seen pictures of our garden when he researched Wauchope on Google.

We invited him and his partner Cassandra in to tour the garden in real life. They turned out to come from New Orleans and were in Scotland to find as many Wauchope connections as they could.  They had been to a Wauchope family mausoleum in an Edinburgh churchyard and now they had come to visit the mighty Wauchope Water and Wauchopedale in all its glory.

After their garden tour, they sat our bench for a moment’s rest before continuing their adventure.

Mr Wauchope

When they left, I took a picture of the work that Mrs Tootlepedal, in the guise of Attila the Gardener, had been doing in the garden when the visitors came.  The age of the salvias is ended and they are no more.

no salvias

However, I shredded them all and they are now serving a useful purpose as either garden mulch or an addition to the compost bin.

As the weather continued to look gloomy, I went back indoors and did some work on the computer until finally a good forecast and some fine weather actually coincided and I went out for a cycle ride.

Nothing is perfect though, and a stiff breeze made cycling into it more of a duty than a pleasure so I cut my intended distance down and settled for a comfortable 20 miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.

In spite of the wind, it was warm enough to make being out and about enjoyable, and as I pedalled along, the clouds were being blown away and the sun shone for the whole of my trip.

retreating clouds

The River Esk drains well and there was little sign of the recent rain as  I looked over the bridge at The Hollows.

esk at hollows

I stopped when I got to the old A7 just before getting back to Langholm and enjoyed the view across the valley.

view from old A7

Beside the road, an umbellifer was playing host to a crowd of insects.  I can count seven but there may be more.

umbellifer and insect

The amiable sunshine made even a very ordinary dock look rather gorgeous…

dock close up

…and  I was able to find some refreshment before getting back on my bike again.

brambles

The blackberries were delicious.

When I arrived back, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy cutting down  potentillas at the back of the house along the dam while i had been away.  After the recent flood had put water through the ventilators under our floor, she thought that clearing away the vegetation in front of the ventilators would allow more flow of air which could only be a good thing.

This provided me with an opportunity to do a lot more shredding and more beds were mulched and the compost bin was once again enhanced.

I just had time to some black and white photography of nicotiana..

three nicotiana

…and our strikingly dark pansies…

black pansies

…before going in to cook baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce for our tea.

In the evening, we were visited by Mairi, the camera club member whose pictures I had printed.  She had framed them, and she brought them back so that they could be part of our next camera club exhibition.  She stayed on for a while to chat to Mrs Tootlepedal and we soon had the world put to rights.

The flying bird of the day is a gull which I caught when it was passing over the garden near midday.

flying gull overhead

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s recent walk.  When the walkers stopped for lunch, a local resident pestered them for a share of their sandwiches and got very hoity toity when they refused.

andrew's peacock

We had some welcome sunshine today but I had a busy morning  and the only part of it that was spent  on my bike was when I cycled up to the High Street.  I was there to do some archiving business and take some pictures which I had printed out for a fellow camera club member up to her.  As our new archive base is in the newspaper office and the camera club member works there, I was able to hit two targets with a single arrow.

I got home in time to entertain Sandy to a cup of coffee.  He bought with him some delicious home made muffins which a friend had given to him.  We were able to send him off with some rhubarb and potatoes in return.

When he left, we went out to do some work in the garden.

I mowed the middle and front lawns and then took time out to have a walk round.

The sun  flowers continue to attract customers…

sunflower witht wo bees

…and the buddleias are equally popular.

four butterfly panel

Since it was a sunny day, I looked for sunny flowers and found a lot, some of them in the vegetable garden.

six yellow flowers

The St John;s Wort is a little garden paradise all on its own.

st john's wort august

Although I intended just to take yellow flowers today, in the end I couldn’t ignore the reds.

fuchsia, cosmos, poppies

The rambler rose is producing some late flowers.

late rambler rose

And some of the poppies are soldiering on.

red poppy

This is a  sweet pea…

sweet pea

…and this is a sweet bean.

sweet bean

Actually, it is a runner bean but its beans tasted pretty good when we had them for tea.

Having had a rest, I put the push mower away and got out the hover mower to do the greenhouse grass. I had to put it away pretty sharply though because it started to rain heavily.

I had just about got inside when the rain stopped.  I went out and it started again.  This happened a couple of times and then I had an idea.  I said very loudly to Mrs Tootlepedal, “I am giving up the idea of mowing and I am going in!”

Then  as soon as the rain moved off to annoy someone else, I nipped out and got the mowing finished.

I made some soup for lunch using an onion and some potatoes that didn’t look as though they would store well and after we had had lunch, I settled down to work on the computer as the weather continued to be unreliable.

I got the charity return for the Archive Group under way.  This was only nine months late, but that makes it quite prompt for me as I hate filling in forms and always leave it till the last possible moment (and beyond).

I was just copying some music as a relaxation after the form filling, when Mike Tinker popped in for a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit.

Not long after he left, my flute pupil Luke came and then it was time for tea. It had been a busy day.

The weather looked a bit settled by the time that we had finished our meal, so I suggested to Mrs Tootlepedal that we might try the walk that had been rained off yesterday. She thought that this was a good idea so we set off, armed with an umbrella this time just in case.

When you look at the size of the tree that was washed up on to the bank just before the Auld Stane Brig by last weekend’s flood, you can’t but feel that is was lucky that it didn’t go through the bridge and bang into it.

auld stane brig with tree

As we walked up the hill towards Hallcrofts, the sun came out and in typical fashion it also started to rain.  Luckily the sun stayed out and the rain soon went away, so that by the time that we had got to the track through the recently felled wood, it was a beautiful evening.

view down becks burn

Considering that the wood looked like this in February of last year…Becks wood felling

…the amount of new growth is amazing and instead of crossing the stream by a bridge surrounded by gloomy conifers, we walked among young ash trees and luxuriant grasses and plants.

becks burn bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t visited the wood since before it was felled and she was staggered by the changes.

Having crossed the bridge and walked up to the track on the far side of the burn…

becks track

…we walked home very pleased with our decision to go on our walk.  We stopped on the way to admire a rainbow…

becks track rainbow

…and the view of Warbla in the evening sun…

view of warbla from becks track

…and to chat to friends whom we met along the way.

While I photographed the bigger picture, I asked Mrs Tootlepedal to keep en eye out for smaller things of interest.  She spotted scabious,  a well nibbled fungus, and a good crop of crab apples.

scabius, crab apple, fungus, be cks track

We got home at eight o’clock, conscious that the long summer nights are coming to an end in a month and shorter days will be back again all too soon.

The flying bird of the day is neither flying nor early but it has certainly got the worm.

blackbird with worms

 

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Today’s guest post comes from my brother’s latest group walk.  They covered eight miles with enough climbing to offer some fine views like this one over the village of Crich.

crich

It was another day of frequent heavy rain showers and brisk winds here, and we chickened out and drove the few hundred yards to the church to sing in the choir to avoid getting soaked before we sang.

After church, we went shopping and bought a Sunday newspaper, and reading this kept us occupied for the rest of the morning.  We have been getting some good sized potatoes from Mrs Tootlepedal’s potato patch, so I had a baked potato for my lunch.  After lunch, I made some ginger biscuits for want of anything better to do.

By mid afternoon we were feeling a touch of cabin fever,  so when we found a moment when the sun was shining and the forecast offered a mere 20% chance of rain over the next two hours, we decided to go for a walk.  As we left the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal sagely pointed out the looming clouds on the horizon but I laughed them off and we continued.

I was laughing on the other side of my face half a mile later when we sheltered under some trees as torrential rain fell from the grey skies above us.

We waited for some time and then got bored and headed home, getting quite wet as we went.

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge was showing 5 inches of rain for the week.  This was the second week running with 5 inches of rain in our rain gauge.

Of course the sun came out half an hour later but we were discouraged by then and stayed at home.

I did walk as far as the garden.

I was surprised to see that a red admiral had the flying power to get into the garden in one of the dry spells in the afternoon in spite of the strong wind and heavy showers.

red admiral butterfly august

Some flowers seem impervious to bad weather and the Abyssinian gladioli are flowering away very well.

abyssinian gladiolus

There is still colour about but not a lot…

anemone, foxglove, zinnia, poppy

…although the Michaelmas daisies are getting more plentiful by the day.

michaelmas daisies

Mrs Tootlepedal came out in the late afternoon and we dug up most of the rest of our potato crop.  She was very impressed by this nine inch long specimen which was by no means unique.

nine inch potato

I cut up the haulms and added them to the compost in Bin A.  The bin is getting quite hot and the haulms looked quite healthy, and as we won’t add the compost to any potato bed next year, it should be safe enough.

full compost bin

We keep on filling the bin to the top and it keeps going down so it must be decomposing quite well.

Nearby, the apples look to be ripening well.

ripening apples

Since the sun was out after our evening meal and the wind had dropped, I took the opportunity to go out for a quick walk round three bridges.

The fact that the Wauchope Water was flowing a lot more strongly than the Esk during the recent spates has led to the Wauchope dumping a lot of gravel well out into the bed of the Esk.

gravel brought down by wauchope

Even though the Esk had not been very high, it had still washed a small tree under the Langholm Bridge.

tree under town bridge august

As I got to the Kilngreen, the sun came out from behind a cloud and lit up the mallards who were resting on the bank.

ducks at sunset

The light was mellow all around.

lodge cottage

I crossed the sawmill brig and…

sawmill brig sunset

…enjoyed the light on the other side too.

trees on castleholm sunset

The cricket ground was looking very peaceful after what must have been a very poor day for cricketers.

cricket ground sunset

My walk wasn’t all plain sailing as I had to keep an eye out for large puddles…

puddles on path

..but I negotiated them all with care and got home dry shod.

I took a picture of the corydalis growing out of a crack in the wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field and was pleased to get home without encountering another heavy shower.

corydalis park wall

The flying bird of the day had come to earth.

blackbird on lawn august

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She went to the Haynes International Motor museum in Yeovil with her friend Venetia, and her eye was caught by this shiny Morris Oxford 6 saloon from 1930.

haynes motor museum

I got up intending to have a quick breakfast and go cycling but like so many of my good intentions, this one was unrealised.  In the end, I had a slow breakfast, did the crossword, waited for a rain shower to pass, checked on the butterflies in the garden…

more butterflies

….and then finally went cycling.  By this time the wind had got up and was blowing pretty forcibly so I reduced my intended route distance from 30 miles to 12 and even then had quite a hard time cycling the six miles up hill and  into the wind to my turning point.

The grass is pointing to my way home.

 

blowing grass

I was freewheeling along a flat section at 25 mph with not a breath of wind in my face at one time on my way home, and that gives some idea of the briskness of the breeze.  Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have managed even 12 miles.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had done some serious lawn edging.

edged lawn

I had another walk round the garden and was pleased to find that lots of flowers had survived the four inches of rain that we have had during the week…

six garden flowers

…and that bees were busy visiting some of our newer blooms.

two bees

After lunch, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to do some more gardening in the sunshine, I drove down to Canonbie to visit the flower show there.

As well as jams, jellies, needlework, art, flowers and vegetables, there are always other attractions at the show and this year, there was a modest display of falconry.  It was slightly hampered by the very strong winds but a couple of patient birds sat on their perches taking an interest in what was going on.

This is a Harris Hawk..

harris hawk

…but I can’t remember what this striking bird was.

falcon canonbie

There are usually some static engines on display and this fine oil engine was the star of the show this year.

static engine canonbie

Some more mobile vehicles were to be seen as well.

two tractors canonbie

When I went into the hall to see the photographs, I was surprised to find that I had managed to acquire two first prizes and a second ticket from my twelve entries.  Sandy had been in the prizes as well and we shared  a trophy with yet another exhibitor for most points in the coloured photo classes.  We all had had a first and a second.

There were a lot of pictures on display and quite a number of different people had caught the eye of the judge.  This is very satisfactory and should bode well for the entries next year.  I would like to thank Linda for taking my pictures down to show and putting them up for me.

After a tour round the flowers and vegetables, I went for a walk along the river.  As I crossed the bridge, I saw a dipper below.

dipper in esk canonbie

A started my walk at the church and was pleased to find sheep safely grazing in the glebe fields.

sheep canonbie church

I felt that I was being laughed at as I took the path down to the river but it was only a conifer covered in strange fruit.

pine fruit

It was very peaceful walking along the grassy bank of the Esk…

esk at canonbie

…although a little waterfall splashing down the banking further on showed how wet it has been.

waterfall at canonbie

I was going to walk along the river for a good bit but the path became very muddy and as I didn’t have suitable footwear, I had to turn back and go back to the hall by the route that I had taken on the way out.

I met Sandy there and he kindly offered to bring my pictures back after the show had ended, so I was able to drive home and find out what Mrs Tootlepedal had been up to in my absence.

She had lifted the onions.

onions 2019

We had a cup of tea and then we drove up to the White Yett and walked up the track to the monument on Whita Hill.

It was still very breezy but the sun was shining, so I expected to get some good views.  Once again my expectations were unrealised as it was pretty hazy, but when the sun shone in the right place, views of some sort were available.  This is the Ewes valley.

ewes valley august evening

There is a plan to put a lot of exceedingly tall wind turbines on the top of these hills and although I am a supporter of wind power, we think that this is a step too far.  We can already see about 60 turbines from the monument but they don’t impinge on the views too dramatically,  These huge turbines would overwhelm the valley altogether.

They are several times the height of our monument.

monument sugust evening

When we arrived at the monument, we were being buffeted by the wind to such an extent that we didn’t stay for long.  I did look over the wall and down onto the Solway plain which stretches between our hills and the English hills which you can just see though the haze in the distance.

view of Solway plain from whita

When the sun came out from behind the clouds, the monument cast a long shadow over the moor.

shadow of monument

As we turned to go back down the hill, a patch of sunlight played on the top of Castle Hill across the valley.

castle hill august evening

As we went back down the hill to the town in our car, we passed several notices calling for care and warning of sharp bends and sudden steep sections.  When I checked, I found that there is a cycle sportive coming this way tomorrow from Hawick.  I just hope that the wind drops a bit or it will be hard work for the cyclists.

After a busy day for us both, we were refreshed by corned beef hash and rhubarb crumble with custard for our tea.

The falconer at Canonbie was able to fly an owl over a very short distance in spite of the wind so I have got quite an unusual flying bird of the day today.

flying owl canonbie

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Today’s appropriate guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who came across this ‘brolly art’ on a visit to Banbury.

banbury brollies

Mrs Tootlepedal bought some sunflower seed this year which promised low growing multi stemmed flowers.  There was obviously a ringer in the packet though, as one plant is about nine foot high….

sunflower from above

…and can only be appreciated by leaning out of an upstairs window.

tall sunflower

It was a very wet day with persistent rain, so I was happy to welcome Dropscone for coffee, especially as he came with a heap of his excellent Friday treacle scones.  In spite of the wet weather, he told me that he had found a dry day during the week to go to play in the seniors’ golf competition at Hawick.  Although his golf score had not threatened the leaders, he had won a raffle prize and had enjoyed the outing.

It was frankly a rather depressing day and the only thing that got me out of the house in the afternoon was a check on the dam…

dam getting bigger

…which was beginning to rise.

We thought it prudent to have a look at the new sluice gate at Pool Corner so I went up and was relieved to find it looking very reliable.

nes sluice woking well

It is set slightly open to avoid the swollen river putting too much pressure on the retaining wall so there was a steady flow down the dam…

full dam

…and the wall was holding back a lot of water…

wauchope at Pool Corner

…though nothing much as it was last Saturday when the river was so high that you couldn’t see the caul at all.  It was clearly to be seen today.

wauchope at Pool Corner downstream

This was all reassuring.

I followed the Wauchope down to the spot where it flows under the Kirk Brig and joins the Esk.  The Wauchope has  shifted a considerable amount of over the past week, and it is now flowing over a small cascade to join the bigger river.

wauchope flooding under kirk brig

…and on this occasion, it was adding more than its fair share of water to the Esk.

wauchope meeting esk

On the other side of the Wauchope, I could see a family of goosanders having a quiet sit down.

qgoosanders at church

The rain eased off enough as I went home to let me walk round the garden without getting too wet.

I saw a promising plum.

ripening plum

In fact, I didn’t just see it, I picked it and ate it.  It tasted very promising.  I hope that we get enough good weather to ripen the plums properly before they all split in the rain.

As well as being wet, it was also windy and three phloxes which Mrs Tootlepedal has recently transplanted needed every bit of help from their supporting canes that they could get.  You can see the salvias being bent by the breeze in the background.

transplanted phlox

The dahlias have had a hard time.  As well as being seriously nibbled, the weather has been poor ever since they came out and I am surprised whenever I see a flower looking half decent.

three rainy dahlias

The argyranthemums smile though their tears.

wet argyranthemum

Another excursion was a quick drive to the Co-op to do some shopping for our tea, not a very exciting prospect.  However, as  we combined shopping with cheerful conversation with several friends we met in the store, it did brighten our day a bit.

In the early evening, I took my entries for the Canonbie Flower Show up to Sandy.  He has a friend who always does well in the photographic section of the show staying with him, and she and her husband very kindly agreed to take both his and my pictures down to the hall and get them properly entered.  I hope to go down tomorrow and see how they have done.

Further day brightening was applied by the arrival of Mike and Alison later in the evening, and Alison and I tinkled and tootled away to provide a musical end to a very dull day.

There were no flying birds today but at least the goosanders got up and did a bit of walking.

goosanders at church alert

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who knowing my taste for bridges, sent me this handsome example from the Kennet and Avon Canal at the Caen Hill locks.

Kennet and Avon Canal

We had a very pleasant day today, and when the sun shone, which it did quite a lot, it felt much like summer again.

My day started with an early visit to the physiotherapist for my long awaited appointment.  It turned out to be very worthwhile and I left with some sound advice, a list of exercises and a referral to the podiatrist in the near future.

Just in case the exercises don’t work out as well as hoped, I also have another visit to the physio booked for next month, so I am well covered.  The view is that my back is a cause for concern and is affecting a lot of the rest of me.  This is not news as I have had a back problem since 1978 or thereabouts, but the exercises are aimed at strengthening things where they need to be strengthened and I am optimistic.

One of the really good bits of advice was to start walking again on a regular basis, making sure not to get ahead of myself by walking too far.   As a result, after a chat with Mrs Tootlepedal and a cup of coffee, I armed myself with my walking poles and put the advice into action.

I started off by checking out the state of the sluice at Pool Corner.

nes dam gate

A repair has been made which should keep all but the most exceptional floods at bay.

Old machinery is still in place though.

old dam gate

Walking along the road, I marvelled at how much growth has appeared on the top of a memorial in the Wauchope graveyard.

wauchope graveyard

I was keeping an eye out for interest on my walk.

bee on knapwed

Although I complain about cutting the road verges, I was grateful to the person who had been along the path on Gaskells Walk with a strimmer as otherwise it would have been a soggy experience.

Gaskells path

As it was, I was able to walk with confidence and look about as I went.

Fungus is beginning to appear and I was pleased to see a tiny oak sapling growing as they are quite unusual.

fungus, oak, fireweed

The rosebay willowherb is coming to an end and the recent heavy rains have knocked almost all the seed heads off,  This little patch was an exception.

There was any amount of ferns to enjoy…

fern and moss

…and the recent wet weather has brought along the moss which had been discouraged by the previous dry spell.

The best wild flowers that I saw were in this mini forest of yellow.

yellow forest

When I got up to the  Stubholm fields, I found a single sheep on its feet while all the rest were enjoying a lie down.

sanding sheep

An oak tree had an insect, an acorn and some mildew all on the same set of branches.

oak tree panel

I could find sloes and haws…

sloe and haw

…and wild flowers both fierce and and gentle….

three purple wild flowers

…but the most striking thing was this pattern, looking for all the world like a snake, but in fact turning out to be a fallen branch.

snake branch

When I got back to the garden after my short but enjoyable walk, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work.

Mrs T in the garden

Since the forecast was for more showery days to come, and I was due to spend the afternoon sitting down in car and train as we went to visit Matilda, I took the opportunity to mow both the lawns and edged them too.

I also walked round the garden with my camera in hand.

I love a bit of symmetry.

two lilies

These are the very last flowers on the salvias.

salvia height

There were shades of purple on all sides…

three purple garden flowers

…and it was very satisfying to see a painted lady butterfly back in the garden after a few days absence.

paintd lady butterfly

There are still plenty of peacocks about.

peacock butterfly

After lunch, we drove to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.  It was late as usual but on this occasion it was not only late but full to bursting as well, and we had to stand for the hour long journey to Edinburgh.    Luckily we were on what must be the smoothest running train in the rail company’s fleet, so standing was not quite the trial it might have been if the train was rocking about.

Our natural good humour was perhaps slightly strained by the sight of four much younger people happily sitting in the seats reserved for the frail and elderly and ignoring us.  It was a tribute to our youthful good looks of course, but the fact that they studiously avoided catching our eye at any time tells another story.

Our visit to Matilda went well.  She had just spent her first morning at school and had survived very well, so well in fact that she beat me and Mrs Tootlepedal at Go Fish, and won the Pelmanism by miles.  Needless to say, I was thoroughly beggared once again when we played Beggar my Neighbour.

Alistair provided us with another good evening meal, and as we had popped into a nearby supermarket on the way and stocked up on coffee and cheese, it was a very satisfactory visit all round.  Then the train back home was on time, and there was wonderfully large and deep red moon on the horizon as we drove home, so it was a very satisfactory day all round.  Definitely one that could be registered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying jackdaw of the day was resting on the park wall when I passed it.

jackdaw on park wall

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