Today’s guest picture comes from another garden visit by my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She found nature in an artistic mood when it came to carving a tree stump and embellishing it with ancient lichens.
We had a chilly and windy day here with occasional showers. I didn’t go for a bike ride after breakfast today and I was very pleased about that becuase I would have got quite wet if I had.
Instead, I stayed in and got the bread maker to make a batch of dough for rolls for me. While it was working away, I went for a quick tour round the garden.
There was plenty of bright colour still to be found…
…and some quieter moments too.
It was touch and go as to whether we would get coffee in the garden with Margaret, and I saw a robin on the fake tree when I looked out of the window to check on the rain.
The robin looked happy enough, and Margaret was happy to take her chance and came round between showers. We even got a moment of sunshine as we sipped and chatted. Readers will be glad to know that the world will be a better place tomorrow because we certainly set it to rights today.
Another shower brought the meeting to an abrupt end, but at least we had met someone and talked so it had been worthwhile.
I divided up the dough which was ready when I got back in, and put eight rolls to rise while I had another look at the birds.
A greenfinch had tastefully perched in a spot where its plumage matched the plum leaves
A blackbird stood on tiptoe.
Another greenfinch made no effort to be charming but it had obviously been of interest as I could see that it was wearing a ring on one of its legs.
I put the rolls into the oven and they came out looking very satisfactory. We ate a couple with our lunch. It was a new recipe which I hadn’t used before for a ‘soft roll’ using an egg in the dough. I will make another batch soon and try to get them looking authentic enough to take a picture of them.
The forecast had suggested that there might be a window of opportunity for a walk after lunch and while Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been busy levelling the drive in the morning, sat down for cycling and crochet, I put my walking shoes on and hoped for the best.
It was windy enough to make me glad to have chosen a walk over a bike ride. I crossed the town bridge and saw some familiar faces at the Meeting of the Waters.
Looking up the Esk, all the trees seemed to be leaning confidentially towards the river as though listening for a secret message.
I crossed the Sawmill Brig and followed the yellow brick road…..or rather the yellow leafed road…
…up the hill behind the estate offices.
At the top of the hill, the Baggra looked very inviting…
…so I followed it to the far end….
…with haws, larches and lichen to keep me happy along the way.
I followed the track round the edge of the field down to the High Mill Brig and crossed the Ewes Water before walking upstream on the far bank, beneath that wood of larches that you can see in the panel above.
My target was the Target Burn…
…and when I came down the track to the ford, I leaped across the water with one mighty bound…or more prosaically, teetered from rock to rock on the narrow bit just above the road.
I had my two walking poles with me and they are invaluable to a slightly creaky walker in situations like this. They came in handy too as I walked up the steep track behind me and out onto the open hill.
The forecast had been quite right. It was a good moment for a walk and the low autumn sun picked out a young larch tree at a gate as I went up the hill.
In spite of the occasional puddle, the going underfoot was soggy but not boggy as I headed up the steepest part of the walk and followed the wall up to the Newcastleton road.
I was more than happy to stop at the top to take in the view up the valley.
I was on the route of Walk 8 of the Langholm Walks and I should have gone up to the monument on the top of Whita before heading back down to the town but that was a step too far. Going up would have not been too bad, as it is an easy walk, but coming back down the face of the hill might have tested my knees to destruction.
I walked back down the road past my favourite bunch of pines.
They were looking a great deal more cheerful than when I met them on my last walk.
Instead of going all the way down the road to Whitshiels, I took the track along the hill to Whita Well and came home down the Kirk Wynd.
This gave me the chance to see several fungi on the way.
…and a lonely yellow flower beside the track.
My walk was not only well chosen from the point of view of the weather but it also got me home in time to see the last few kilometres of the Vuelta stage with Mrs Tootlepedal. A win win situation as they say these days.
We enjoyed a cheery Zoom meeting with my siblings and then ate the last of Mrs Tootlepedal’s slow cooked lamb stew with bread rolls for our evening meal.
I had stewed apples and custard for afters. The apples were a gift from our neighbour Liz and I had stewed them earlier in the day.
After the Zoom meeting, I had thought that my photography was done for the day as it was dark outside, but just before tea, our neighbour Liz rang up and suggested that I should look at the moon which was rising over Whita Hill. Unfortunately, it clouded over at that very moment but I looked again later, and even though the moon was not quite full or still just above the hill, it was nevertheless a fine sight on a rare clear night…
…and as a bonus, I could see Mars, which was close to the moon, very clearly too. My camera had the best go at the planet that it could manage while being hand held.
It may not be a great picture but Mars is a long way away.
The flying bird of the day is a standard chaffinch. I was pleased to see him.