Today’s guest picture is a Waboom or Waggon Tree, so called as its wood was used to make waggon wheels because it is very tough It was sent to me by Tom from South Africa and brought a welcome splash of colour on a very dreary day. It is the only tree protea, Tom tells me.
It was a day of unremitting greyness here, with steady rain falling from well before we woke up until after three o’clock in the afternoon. I don’t think that we are getting really good quality rain though, as in spite of raining for eleven hours on the trot, we only accumulated .4 of an inch according to our local weather station.
Still, it was wet and windy enough to keep me indoors in the morning again.
And to keep the birds away from the feeder. I saw a lot of this again…
…and the seed in the feeder didn’t go down at all.
With nothing better to do, I set about making some fig rolls, except as I didn’t have any figs, they morphed into date rolls instead. I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe and the results turned out to be very tasty. I haven’t included a picture as the presentation was not up to Bake-off standard and will need (a lot) more practice. They have a little bit of crystallised ginger in them and that is a good addition.
When I had finished cooking the biscuits, I had coffee and then did 50 minutes on the bike to nowhere. This seems to be the only place that I am going to cycle to in the immediate future according to the weather predictions.
I followed up the cycling by making some lentil and carrot soup for lunch so I had an interesting morning in spite of the rain.
(Although the casual reader will not have noticed it, the finely tuned regular reader will have observed that I broke of the post just now for long enough to get a batch of ‘Greek style cheese’ on the go. This is the next step on our journey into the world of cheese. It takes three days to make so there will be no rush.)
After lunch, in spite of a failure of the rain to stop, I put on my waterproof coat, trousers and boots and went off to see where all the rain had gone. Disappointingly (from a photographer’s point of view only), the rivers were exceedingly tame…
…and it was obvious that there had not been a lot of rain further up the country where our rivers collect their water.
The streak of brown at the Meeting of the Waters showed that there was more extra water coming down the Ewes than the Esk….
…but even the Ewes was passing under the Sawmill Brig in a very polite manner, though both arches were in use.
After agreeing with some rather fed up looking ducks that it was a rotten day for all concerned..
…I proceeded (politely) over the Sawmill Brig and up the track past the Estate Offices. The water was running freely off the hill here…
…and the track along the top of the woods made me pleased that I was wearing wellies and could splash through the puddles and not have to tiptoe round them.
I have been a bit short of gates lately, so I took this one on my way up the hill…
…and noted two openings in the wall along the track that might have had gates in the old days when the Lodge was regularly visited by the Duke in the shooting season.
The Duke’s family were keen cricketers and it is no coincidence that Langholm’s cricket ground is on his land near the Lodge. This is a typical team sheet, taken from a match against Hawick in 1886: Langholm: Duke of Buccleuch, Lord G Scott, J T Burnet, Lord E Hamilton, Earl of Dalkeith, Lord H Scott, Buckland (pro), Lord J C Scott, A Thompson, W A Connell, J Fletcher, W Irving.
The alert reader will notice that Langholm could afford the services of a professional cricketer.
However, it was far from cricketing weather today, and I kept my camera dry and in my pocket, only taking it out to record a vigorous streamlet dashing through a hole in a wall near the North Lodge.
It was not a day for views…
…so I turned for home and walked back by way of the pheasant hatchery and the Castleholm (past the cricket pitch). The rain had eased off but it was hard to tell that it had stopped, as the trees were still dripping furiously. I kept my umbrella up. Under the shelter of the brolly, I got my camera out to record some fungus on a tree stump…
…and three patches of fungus growing in the cracks on the bark of a tall tree, which is probably not all that long for this world.
I liked the framing of the snow on Whita behind the dark trunk and branches of a pine tree.
I was able to put my brolly down when I got to the racecourse, but it was still a wet day.
I passed up the opportunity to cross the Duchess and the Jubilee bridges, and took the new path round the bottom of the Castleholm.
As I walked beside the river, I could hear a crow cawing loudly, and when I looked round, I saw a crow sitting beside a buzzard on the bare branch of a tree. It was a very odd sight, just like two old men on a park bench. The buzzard had had enough of the noisy crow though (or perhaps me), and flew lazily off before I could get my camera out.
It perched on a few trees in front of me in a teasing way as I went along, but always flew off before I could get a picture. Finally, it flew across the river, and now thinking itself far enough away, rested for a while and stuck its tongue out at me.
It hadn’t reckoned on the handy zoom on my little Lumix.
I walked back over the Sawmill Brig and along the Kilngreen without meeting anything of particular interest and finished my bridge tour by crossing the Town Brig and looking at the Esk.
A lot of water had flowed under the bridge while I was walking.
Instead of people waiting to be vaccinated, there was a large gathering of jackdaws and starlings outside the Buccleuch Centre.
By some curious coincidence, I arrived home bang on time for tea and toast (and a couple of date rolls). This was very satisfactory, as was the late appearance of two birds at the feeder, the only ones that I had seen all day.
I don’t think that the seed level had gone down at all.
I am going to round this post off now as I have to go and add the rennet to the milk and yoghurt mixture for my cheese. It then has to sit undisturbed for twelve hours. This is not a hasty cheese like the Crowdie.
The flying bird of the day is like the weather, not very good at all.