The B picture

I have got a great many potential guest pictures of the day on hand at the moment so if I don’t use them all, I apologise.  Today’s is a starfish which our son Tony spotted while out on a walk recently.


We had a wildly different and exciting day today…, I am fibbing there.  We had a very similar day to the previous days.

I rose, had a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and did the crossword and then graciously changed from nightwear to daywear and had coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal (and a toasted tea cake in my case).

It is a gentle rhythm and designed to stretch time out so that I don’t have to spend too long each day wondering what to do.

I did some compost sieving, woodshed tidying and new path construction and followed that with a walk round the garden.

Florally, it was a mixed day.  Although another dog tooth violet had come out, it was cold enough  to cause the tulips to purse their lips…

garden flowers

….and although light blue grape hyacinths have joined the darker ones, the magnolia blossoms haven’t enjoyed the chilly weather much.

New flowers have appeared and this was my first sighting of a vinca…


…and another plum blossom or two popped out to see what the weather was like.

plum blossom

I sat on the new bench and watched a bumble bee with a very red rear end visit cowslips…

bee on cowslip

…and dicentra.   I think it may be a red tailed bumble bee but I am open, as always, to correction from knowledgeable readers.

Later in the day, I saw what I think is white tailed bumble bee on a different dicentra.

bee on dicentra

I also watched a female blackbird taking nesting material into a hole in our front hedge while the male blackbird looked on.

blackbirds nestying morning

From time to time, he had to get active though in order to defend his territory.

blackbirds sparring

Inside the house, one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s pot plants, a gift from our friend Alison Tinker, has perked up a lot and produced some very pretty little flowers.

indoor plant

There is nesting going on all around and we watched this jackdaw taking nesting material into a handy chimney pot on Walter Street.

jackdaw nesting in chimney

After lunch, I went for my permitted exercise.  As I had walked yesterday, I cycled today.

The wind was noticeable but not strong.  It was coming from the east, so I cycled north on the main road towards Hawick, hoping that although it would be a crosswind, it might help me more on the way back than the way out.

As I was cycling up a familiar road, I didn’t stop to take pictures until I had done eight miles.  I was at the head of the Ewes Valley then.  The road looks as though it should swing round the the left here but in fact…

road below mosspaul

… it veers sharply right and then goes up a narrow valley until it reaches Mosspaul.

The view at Mosspaul may not look much but it very significant as it marks the watershed that divides the east and west of Scotland.  Behind me, every stream and river runs eventually into the Esk and then into the Irish Sea, while ahead of me, they all end up eventually in the Tweed and then flow into the North Sea.

mosspaul col

Looking to my left at Mosspaul, I was again struck by how mathematical the countryside here is.

mosspaul geometry

I headed on over the col and down into the valley of the Teviot.

Regular readers will know that I like a tree on a hillside.  This is a good example.

mosspaul tree

I stopped when I got to the new bridge that crosses the Teviot…

teviot bridge

…and then headed back to Langholm, hoping for some assistance from the wind.

The wind duly obliged for a lot of the way home and my average speed improved a lot.

On my way back up the hill to Mosspaul, I was intrigued by this place name and stopped to look around.

phaup cottage

Research tells me that the name Phaup is the local pronunciation for Fawhope.  As this means  small upland valley or hollow enclosed at the upper end by green hills or ridges, I think that the central picture in the panel shows that the cottage is well named.  The bridge takes the main road over the Phaup Burn.

I scooted back down the hill from Mosspaul to Langholm and crossed the Langholm Bridge near the end of my journey.


Langholm Bridge

The thirty four mile outing took me over 100 miles for the week and was most enjoyable.  The road surface was mostly good and sometimes very good.  There are no steep hills on the way so I got into a very steady pedalling mode and bowled along cheerfully.

When I got back, I had a sit out in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and we watched another bee….

bee on hyacinth

…and the nesting blackbirds.  The female was busy taking material into the nest in the hedge while the male sat on the yew tree and watched.  Mrs Tootlepedal seemed to think that this made some sort of point but I couldn’t see what she was getting at.

blackbirds nesting evening

She also pointed out a new and pretty tulip but the cool evening air had caused it to shut up shop for the night so I will look at it again tomorrow.

new tulip

It had been a cool, grey day with the east wind not helping so it was galling to hear the weather presenters on the telly going on and on about what a lovely warm and sunny day it had been in England.  However, it does seem that it will be warm here tomorrow, so we are looking forward to that.

Two distant flying ducks are the flying birds of the day.

two ducks flying

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “The B picture

  1. That is a beautiful red tailed bumblebee, if that is what it is. We have a greater variety of bumblebees out here than I ever saw back east, but they have seemed o be in short supply that last few year. I have been told they are better at pollinating blueberries than honeybees.

    Is Alison Tinker’s gift flower a red oxalis? we used to have a couple of those as indoor plants back east.

    Fawhope and Phaup. I enjoy these short digressions into your local words for places and things.

  2. Interesting how life seems to be settling into a different, slower pattern. I’m never at a loss for what to do. If all else fails, it can always turn into a leisurely nap. 😉

    Judging by your flowers, it looks like spring is approaching.

    1. It’s been supported by scaffolding and wrapped in protective and progressively tattier material for what seems like for ever. The spire is dangerous but nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.

  3. I have never seen a red tailed bee. Jackie’s highlights, read out before I got to this, were the fighting blackbirds and Mrs T’s point. I get the fighting birds but not the watching. 🙂

  4. With all that marvelous scenery to explore I don’t know how you could ever run out of things to do, but I guess it’s all relative. Thanks for the beautiful flowers and bees. We are nowhere near that yet, but I am so looking forward to it.

  5. Good to see such a bright tail on the bumble bee- looks as though the flowers are pleased to see him too. Like the aerial ballet of the blackbirds and the views on your cycle ride. Hope the weather stays bright over the weekend for you both so you can enjoy your hot cross buns and chocolate in the sunshine!

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