Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for Oct, 2019

Today’s very appropriate guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He not only photographed this Halloween lantern but also carved it himself and grew the plant too.  A man of many talents.

andrew's halloween

We had another in our run of frosty mornings but dry days today and after coffee, I went out for a walk with my bird watching camera to see if there were any obliging gulls at the Kilngreen.

Before I left, I had a quick round up of some surviving flowers in the garden.  The phlox is very amazing.

last october flowers

I also checked the birds and found a dunnock considering the seed feeder and a blackbird nibbling on an apple.

dunnock and blackbird

When I got to the Kilngreen, the first black headed gull that I met was standing on a rock.

black headed gull on rock

And then I noticed that a lot more were standing around nearby.

black headed gulls Kilngreen

Some gulls kindly took to the air and flew slowly past me…

black headed gull flying

They were joined by a black backed gull.

black backed gull flying 2

While I was walking up the river bank, I came to this brand new bench.  It has been put in place to remember a local farrier who was a great supporter of the Common Riding where his skills were often in demand.

memorial bench Kilngreen

Below the bench, two mallards cruised past…

two mallards

…and further upstream, a dog did what a dog does when it has been chasing a ball into the cold waters of the Ewes.

shaggy dog

Having spent some time, hanging with the gulls, I moved onto the Castleholm…

bare tree castleholm

…and walked round the new path, looking up at the pine trees as I passed under them.

pine

I crossed the Jubilee Bridge and thought that I ought to try to take a picture of it.  I scrambled down the banking and took this view from the water’s edge.

jubilee bridge from below

And I looked across the Esk while I was down there.

esk at jubilee bridge

On my way round the Scholars’ Field path, I once again stopped to admire the staying power of the corydalis which is growing out of a crack in the wall.

corydalis scholars

Some gardeners go to great lengths to prepare soil and nurture their plants.  The Scholars’ Field wall makes you wonder if all that work is needed.

corydalis scholars 2

It doesn’t just have corydalis, there is a small world of plant life in and on it.

scholars wall

When I got home, I was welcomed by a smiling viola.

viola

As it was Thursday, we were set to go to Edinburgh to visit Matilda after lunch but we wisely checked on the trains before we set off for Lockerbie.  Our train was thirty minutes late when it left Manchester so we waited until we were sure that it was well on its way before we set off.

Even so we were too early as it was even later by the time that it got to Lockerbie.  It had also changed from the usual four coach electric train to a three coach diesel set.  We were naturally worried about whether there would be enough seats for everyone.

When I left the waiting room to go on to the platform. I thought at first sight that one of the planes passing over the town had pulled a hand brake turn…

air handbrake turn

…until a second glance showed me that it was two planes going in opposite directions.

There were seats on the train when it eventually arrived and the diesel chugged away and got us safely to Edinburgh where we had an enjoyable visit.  I won’t say who won the three games of Carcassonne that we played but regular readers may well be able to guess who lost them all.

After our evening meal, Matilda went out guising…

Matilda the witch

…and her mother and father and I escorted her round some very friendly neighbours who had marked their willingness to dispense sweets and nuts to passing witches by placing a Halloween lantern outside their front doors.   I thought that this was a very good idea and as they all laughed heartily at Matilda’s joke of the day*, it was a very satisfactory outing.

Our train home was a little late too, and it was raining by the time we came to drive home which was a disappointment after our recent good spell of weather.

I was spoiled for choice for a flying bird of the day today, but in the end I settled on this black headed gull from my morning walk.

black headed gull flying 2

*  Knock Knock….Who’s there?…..Boo…..Boo who?…..Don’t be sad.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who, in spite of some grey weather, went down to the south bank of the Thames yesterday and enjoyed the view.

Thames

Here, our recent pattern of chilly mornings but dry days continued, although we didn’t get quite as much sun as we have had recently and as a result, it felt colder in the noticeable north easterly wind.

The bird feeder is failing as an avian magnet and no finches of any sort can be seen in the garden at the moment.  Fortunately, other birds are available and from the number of blackbirds about, it seems that we might be getting the first of our northern European winter visitors.

In the meantime, I spotted some old friends today…

dunnock, blackbird, starling

…and much to my surprise, Lilian Austin had waited for the chilly weather to arrive to make her farewell appearance of the year.

lilian austin late october

After morning coffee, I went off for a walk, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal in decorating mode with some cheerfully coloured paint, acquired at a very reasonable price from a DIY store which is closing down.

I started by going down to the river….

gull on rock in esk

…and then, as the river is low after our dry spell, I walked under the town bridge, looking back down the Esk as I did so.

from under town bridge

There was quite a contrast in mood when having climbed up the bank and crossed over the bridge, I arrived on the Kilngreen beside the placid Ewes Water.

ewes water calm

I walked over the Sawmill Brig and followed the track that goes along the little escarpment above the Ewes Water, passing the rugby club, a man digging out the ditch beside the track (ready for a certain prime minister perhaps?) and several fine bare trees.

I thought that under the clouds, this one might look well in black and white.

bandw tree

Beside the track, there is a wall and, as always, a wall is an interesting place.

interesting wall lichen

All this wall excitement was within a yard or two.

The clouds passed over as I walked and the day brightened up a bit, showing off the larches on the opposite side of the valley to advantage.

larches late october high mill

It is not only walls that have lichen.

hawthorn and oak lichen

I wanted to walk back on the opposite side of the river so I made my way down to the High Mill Bridge…

high mill brig

…which is coming up to a significant anniversary.

high mill brig date stone

By this time, the sun had come out so I made a little extension to my route by following the track north up the far side of the river once I had crossed the bridge.

In spite of the sun, the day was cool enough for there still to be ice on the puddles in shady spots.

icy puddle target burn track

I followed the track until I came to  this rather less substantial crossing of the Ewes Water, which I crossed…

bridge target burn

…and then recrossed and retraced my steps back to the main road.

It was a day for recrossing bridges as I also recrossed the Sawmill Brig on my way home via the Lodge Walks…

lodge walks late october

…and I was pleased to find this little crop of fungus beside the Scholars Field after I had crossed the Jubilee Bridge.

fungus beside scholars

Any walk with bridges, fungus and lichen is a good walk but throw in some bare trees, occasional wild flowers…

three wild flowers october

….and enough sunshine to make me take off my gloves and unzip my jacket, and a merely good walk becomes a really good walk.

I was very pleased to have had the full co-operation of my feet over the four miles of the walk.  My new insoles and exercises seem to be working well.

It was time for lunch when I got home and I quite impressed myself by having enough energy to get my bicycle out afterwards and go for a twenty mile cycle ride.  To be honest, it wasn’t really a twenty mile ride.  It was a ten mile ride which I did twice.

I didn’t want to spend too long cycling directly into the very chilly wind.

The sun only came out for a few minutes in the whole ride, just when I was turning at the five mile mark on Callister, but it was another golden moment…

view from callister october

…and I was welcomed home by a cheery primrose…

primrose october

…and Mrs Tootlepedal who had finished her decorating and had cleared the dahlia bed while I was out cycling.  She doesn’t keep the dahlias over winter but will start again from seed next year.  I approve of this as it gives me different dahlias to look at each year.

Yesterday’s roast chicken provided another tasty evening meal today and fortified by this, I went off to sing with the Langholm Choir.

Our conductor was poorly but we have a very good accompanist, and he provided us with an excellent practice in her absence.

That rounded off a day which was firmly inscribed on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

I even found a flying bird of the day, courtesy of the black headed gulls at the Kilngreen.

flying gull

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows a real trouper from Manitoba.  Lucie sent the picture to me and tells me that on the day that she took it,  Manitoba was at -8c, and the little pansy was still going strong despite having been covered in four inches of snow and suffering several below freezing days

Lucie's flower

We had another frosty morning here but a generally sunny day so after coffee, while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Carlisle to make some purchases relating to repainting our hallway, I brushed the leaves off the lawns, collected another good handful of fallen walnuts, checked out the floral survivors of the frosts…

four after frost flowers

…and went for a walk.

The falling of the leaves has let more light into the river bank near Pool Corner…

Wauchope above pool corner

…but there were still some bright leafy moments here and there along my walk…

manse brae tree

…although we are also well  into the ‘bare tree’ time for taking photos.

leafless tree

As you can see, there are some grey clouds in the background of the picture above and for a moment, a light drizzle threatened to spoil my walk.  It was a false alarm though and the drizzle fizzled out after only a minute or two, and the sun shone again.

It lit up a couple of characters who were as interested in me as I was in them.

balck cow

grey cow

The frosty mornings haven’t affected the lichens on the fence post at the Auld Stane Brig.

lichen fence post

Why this particular fence post out of the thousands around here should have such a flourishing lichen garden is one of life’s little mysteries.

My stroll took me along Gaskell’s and Easton’s Walks.  There were fungi to be seen along Gaskell’s…

three gaskells fungi

…and the sun penetrated through the trees to light up the arrival of the Becks Burn into the mighty Wauchope.

becks burn meeting wauchope

I looked across at Meikleholm hill…

Meikleholm hill autumn

…before plunging through the autumn tunnel to the Stubholm and Easton’s walk.

stubholm track

It was definitely autumn in the Beechy Plains…

beechy plains

…but there was still plenty to look at as I went along.

acorn, script lichen and leaf

This fine bunch of daisies on the river bank at the park bridge made a cheerful end to my walk.

daisies by park brig late october

I made some lentil soup for lunch and Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Carlisle in time to have some for her lunch too.

The temperature had risen to 8°C by the time that lunch was over, so I wrapped up warmly and got my bike out of the garage.  I very nearly put it back again when I looked up and saw this.

rainbow from garden

That was the direction from which our weather was coming today.  I checked the forecast and it swore that it wasn’t raining in Langholm so in spite of the evidence of my eyes, I had faith and cycled off up the Wauchope road.

My faith was justified and it didn’t rain on me at all.  In fact it was more or less sunny the whole way.

There were no leaves left on the trees when I passed the Glencorf burn though.

glencorf burn october

I was doing an out and back ride, so I took this picture at the far end of Callister before I turned back towards Langholm

view over winterhope

…and this one at the other end of my ride, where in spite of some impressive cloud formations…

clouds up Ewes

…the top end of the Ewes valley was bathed in sunshine.

Ewes valley october

When I got home, after twenty gentle miles, I was greeted by these cheerful argyranthemums which had perked up in the sun after being rather droopy in the early morning frost.

last argyranthemums

Mrs Tootlepedal roasted a chicken for our tea and as I polished off the rest of the tarte tatin as pudding, any calories burned during my cycle ride were more than amply replaced by the evening meal.

Although the feeder has been out in the garden for two days now, no bird has visited it at all while I have been watching, so a dunnock is the standing in as flying bird of the day.

dunnock

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from that inveterate traveller Bruce.  He looked in on a tea dance at the famous Tower Ballroom in Blackpool but did not venture onto the floor himself.  Doubtless things will be a bit more lurid on 16th November when Strictly comes to town.

tower ballroom

Finally our spell of mild autumn weather came to an end today and we woke up to a frosty garden.

first frosts

It wasn’t very frosty though and things warmed up gently through the morning. I wondered if the frost would have encouraged some autumn colour, so after breakfast I went out for a short three bridges walk.

I was waved off by a hosta positively glowing in the sunshine.

golden hosta

Sadly, the autumn colour was mainly on the river bank…

leaves on ground

…though it was still a glorious morning for a walk.

meeting of the waters late october

The ducks seemed to think that it was good weather for them too…

female mallard

…as they cruised up and down the Ewes Water, occasionally ducking.

male mallard

I fear that autumn colour is not going to figure this year and the trees behind the Sawmill Brig have lost interest in the whole thing.

sawmill brig autumn

The old Episcopalian Church on the Lodge Walks was looking attractive.  It is a pity that no use can be found for this building.

episcopla church october

The trees across the Castleholm were rather dull….

trees on castleholm

…but the sunny day made for good views.  I was interested to see the hill cattle had chosen to graze near the top of the hill where I would have thought that it would be chillier.  Perhaps they got more sun up there.

cattle on Timpen

With two months still to go until the shortest day, it is slightly depressing to find the sun so low in the sky even at this time of year but it does provide some Hitchcock like shots on a walk.

low shadows n walk

When I got back, I settled down and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to demount her embroiderers’ group exhibition in the Welcome to Langholm hub, I did the crossword, made coffee and bread and followed that up with another tarte tatin.   We have quite a few apples in hand and the making (and eating) of tarte tatin is my approved way of dealing with them at the moment.

After lunch, with the thermometer showing 7°C, I wrapped up well and went out for a pedal.  The larches are doing their best to provide some autumn colour.  These ones are at Pool Corner.larches pool corner

I was a few miles up the road when I met a cyclist coming the other way.  He drew to a halt and it turned out to be Sandy out for a spin on his e-bike.  He was doing an adventurous circuit with quite a few hills in it.

sandy cycling

After some chat, he set off to pedal home to Langholm…

sandy cycling off

…and I cycled on up to the top of Callister.

Rather annoyingly, after a brilliantly sunny morning, a few stray clouds had turned up to hide the sun…
clouds from callister

…but out to the west, the sea was glistening where the clouds had cleared.

shining sea from callister

It didn’t take long for them to clear where I was and I cycled home in golden splendour.

golden wauchopedale

I was going to cycle through the town and out of the other side but I came upon a man with a tractor cutting the roadside hedge.  As this often involves covering the road with sharp hawthorn fragments, I turned back and did two circuits of the New Town to make up my twenty miles.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair and after I had had a shower, my flute pupil Luke turned up.  Thanks to some improved teaching and some home practice, he is really getting a grip on the counting.  We are also both working on approaching high notes with confidence rather than terror, and that is showing improvement too.

The weather looks set fair for the next few days so I am hoping to be able to add a few more miles to my October total before the end of the month.  Since the clocks have gone back, I will have to make an effort to get started sooner as the evenings are really drawing in now and I don’t have good enough equipment (or the courage) to cycle in the dark.

We have put the bird feeder out and I hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as the birds notice that food is now available.  In the meantime, I didn’t see a flying bird today, so a reflective Mr Grumpy, spotted from the Town Bridge on my cycle ride, will have to do.

reflective heron

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who came across a collection of 1000 year old Peruvian bottles.  I am not entirely sure that I would like to own bottles that were giving me  a hard stare.

peruvian bottles

In spite of the title of today’s post, it was actually Glasgow Central Station where we stood up and sang today and we didn’t even get a glass of champagne from the station bar.

Glasgow central station

After our hard day of practice, workshops and a concert yesterday, the Carlisle Community Choir on Tour had a more relaxed day today, wandering about the streets of Glasgow and surprising many unwary passers by suddenly forming a mass and bursting into song.

Nobody threw anything and many people applauded heartily so we enjoyed ourselves.

Luckily the weather was in a very kindly mood too and blessed us with brilliant sunshine.

Glasgow george square 1

We were based around George Square where the interior of the impressive City Chambers has starred in many movies as an important building supposedly in many different countries.

Glasgow george square 2

The surrounding architecture likes to throw in a column or two where possible.

Glasgow george square 3

And there is an eclectic mix of styles on every side.

Glasgow george square 4

There is absolutely nothing that a Glaswegian likes more than sticking a traffic cone on a statue and they had surpassed themselves here, we thought, not just with two cones but a pumpkin too.

Glasgow cones

We sang in Central Station and in three or four other locations before ending up back in George Square for our last effort.

Then we had a bit of free time, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I popped into the Gallery of Modern Art for some culture and a Waterstones bookshop for a teacake and some coffee.  Mrs Tootlepedal brought a book on wild flowers and as a result, I hope to be able to be a bit more informative next spring when the wild flowers return.

The lady at the desk in the gallery of modern art told us that she had seen the choir gathering outside the door earlier in the morning and had assumed that we were going to have a group visit to the gallery so she had got out a pile of brochures for us. Then she said, “But you burst into song and it was wonderful.  I wish that I could hear that every day when I came to work.”  We were much touched.  She didn’t even mind having to put all the brochures away again,.

The journey back to Carlisle was smooth and as the scenery was bathed in sunshine, it was no hardship to look at it as it went by and the 90 miles passed quickly.

All in all, the weekend was a great success but as it was quite energetic, so this is going to be another brief post.  I apologise to all the authors of the brilliant posts whose offerings I have not read while I was away.  I will try to catch up tomorrow.

There was a great flock of flying pigeons in George Square, but trying to catch them in the air with a phone was tricky, so here they are at ground level.  (You can see some choir members in the background.)

Glasgow pigeons

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia and shows a couple of handsome Suffolk Punch horses at her local countryside museum.

We rose early and made our way after breakfast to this handsome church in the university quarter of the town…

… and then we spent the rest of the day singing, culminating in a concert with a Glasgow choir also trained by our musical director.

Then we retired to our hotel where it didn’t take long before singing started again in the bar.

I am quite tired.

Read Full Post »

On the town

A brief phone post today as we are in Glasgow with our Carlisle choir for two days of singing.

The view from the hotel window is good.

The hotel menu offered very polite bread and butter.

But I had a Thai green curry with no manners instead.

The flying bird of the day is an argyranthemum.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »