Down in the valley

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan. She had another cup of coffee beside the canal this week and saw another canal boat passing by. If I had a canal nearby, I too would go and sit by it every week, even without a cup of coffee.

After a stormy night, we had another day almost like yesterday, grey and windy. The difference was that today was greyer and windier.

After a visit to the shop to get milk and pay my bill, some gardening was the main business of the morning. I did some sieving of the compost in Bin D and then did a lot of shredding as Attila the Gardener was doing some severe pruning on the Goldfinch rose which was threatening to take over the world.

I did try to take some garden pictures from time to time but the wind was so persistent that it was hard to find a flower standing still. I looked at birds instead.

There were siskins about on the feeder…

..and one waiting upstairs.

The light was so poor that catching birds in flight was too tricky for me and I went out and tried the flowers again.

The dark dahlia has so many flowers on it that they get in each other’s way when it comes to taking a single flower…

…but at least they gave each other mutual support and stood fairly still.

The spirea is a sturdy bush and its flowers come on strong stalks.

The inlula helenium in the vegetable garden is both protected by the fence and growing very close to the ground so it was a suitable subject…

Nearby, the broccoli may be purple sprouting but when it comes to flowering, it is yellow (and delicately pretty too).

In front of the greenhouse, the bright red poppies had hit upon the very good idea of bending down low to avoid being blown over by the wind.

The flowers in and around the chimney pot were the easiest to snap….

…and looking around, I could find quite a few more nasturtiums crouching under benches and against walls.

They came in bright red…

…and shades of orange and yellow.

Shopping, sieving, shredding and stooping to to take pictures filled up my morning very nicely until lunch (along with obligatory coffee and crossword of course).

After lunch, I watched superhuman cyclists whizzing up very steep slopes until it was time for my virtual choir practice. Our conductor is having a hard time turning our video contributions into a virtual choir performance. Whether this is because of the technical skills required for her or the quality of the contributions produced by us is not entirely clear. It may be a combination of both, but thoughts of the difficulty of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear come to mind. Time will tell.

Regular readers will know that the weather gods who have the care of the weather in Langholm in their charge have a whimsical sense of humour. This was demonstrated today as the sun came out just as my choir practice started and went in again as it ended. How I laughed.

The sun was firmly in as I went for a windy walk in the late afternoon after the practice. I stuck to the valley bottom today to avoid the wind and to stop myself taking pictures of poor views in bad conditions.

There was autumn colour to be seen beside the Esk…

… and acorns and catkins and colourful leaves were spotted as I walked down to Skippers along the Murtholm track.

I emptied four inches of rain from the week out of Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge this morning and I could see that there was quite a lot of water in the river…

…but by no means a flood. The Esk is fast flowing and drains well.

I crossed Skippers Bridge and walked down the river along the road on the opposite side of the Esk. The man who is single handedly building stone walling alongside his new road is making steady progress with the second wall.

I left the road and walked up the track beside Jenny Noble’s Gill. The chestnut tree in the field was looking quite fiery.

When I got to the track towards the round house, I found myself walking between banks of bracken which is going over.

Because the track from near the round house back to Hallpath is very soggy in places after rain, I left it and walked down to the old railway and then to Skippers Bridge in dry underfoot conditions. I stayed on the the same side of the river and strolled back to the Suspension Bridge along the riverside path, passing my favourite lichen on a fence and noting that the Himalayan balsam has so many seed pods for each stem that it is no wonder that it has become invasive.

Further along the path, I met a very striking tall flower on a three foot high stem…

…which I didn’t recognise. It looks like a bit like a large knapweed but if any kind reader can tell me what it is, I would be much obliged.

I got back to another helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s excellent chicken casserole followed by stewed rhubarb and ice cream so I can count that as another good day in spite of the gloomy weather.

The only downside to the day was my complete failure to remember that I had not taken a picture of a flying bird in the morning. The best that I can do is to put this picture of a shadowy siskin passing anonymously behind the feeder in its place. Must try harder.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Down in the valley

  1. The Helenium is unusual. I’ve never seen one like it.
    Your unknown flower looks like a type of thistle to me but your knapweeds are different than ours so you could be right.
    I envy the stone wall builder. He’s doing a fine job.

  2. Nice shot of the river Esk,the white eddies creating quite an abstract effect.
    Like your description of the chestnut as fiery .๐Ÿ‘
    The lone dry stone Waller has quite a job on his hands,and probably a few cracks too,itโ€™s quite a skilful job I believe.
    Youโ€™ll have to take him a flask and a biscuit next time you go.๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Our trees are also turning quickly, especially the maples and the ash trees.

    Many lovely shots today (not an unusual thing!): the dark dahlia is gorgeous; the siskin waiting on top is very content looking, which is odd given how fierce they are sometimes; the stone wall builder is very skilled; and I completely agree about the charms of sitting by a canal (especially if it’s in London :)).

    1. I am a bit worried that after our springtime late frost followed by drought, the leaves may just decided to drop off the trees without turning this year. (I have edited the comment!)

  4. Such pretty nasturtiums with those lovely colours and markings luring in any passing flying beastie! Hope the thistle gets recognised- it’s a beauty. Quite relaxed now about seeing signs of autumn with that golden chestnut and bracken and the colour in the trees. Autumn has definitely arrived!

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