Stretching legs and fingers

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s Highland holiday. He has had some fine weather up there.

I had quite a full day here today, though I allowed myself a gentle start. It was warm and cloudy when Dropscone came round for coffee (and scones) and Mrs Tootlepedal went off to have her monthly coffee get together with her ex work colleagues.

Dropscone was telling me about his holiday in Devon and how steep the hills were there. He is going to play in the Langholm Open Golf Competition tomorrow, so I wish him luck.

After he left, I did a bit of business relating to the Archive Group’s move to new premises. Our treasury Nancy is doing all the serious organising, but I needed to get some paperwork done and delivered. When I had done that, a walk round the garden was called for. I often concentrate on individual flowers so I thought that I would try to take the bigger picture today . . .

. . . but old habits die hard, and I welcomed some new blooms (and another Lilian Austin needless to say).

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned, I planted some wild flower plugs into the mini meadow of yellow rattle on the drying green. The last flowers Mrs Tootlepedal planted there were all eaten by slugs in one day, so we are hoping for better luck this time.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her regular stitching group, and after considering a cycle ride but not going anywhere, I finally went for a walk. I am going for another longish walk with Mark soon, and as I have done very little walking this month, I thought that I should get a bit of practice in.

It was still cloudy, but it was warm and calm, not a bad day for a walk.

I started off by going to the Kilngreen for an ice cream and some gentle bird watching.

Then I walked along to Whitshiels, and took the road up the hill. It was lined with wild flowers.

The stitchwort in the bottom right frame is absolutely tiny, no bigger than half my little finger nail, but it is very pretty. I think that the bee on the vetchling is a carder bee.

I left the road and walked along the hillside to Whita Well, and then I took the quarry track to the stile over the wall. There are sheep on the hill, so there are not so many wild flowers to see, but I saw a few thistles, bedstraw and tormentil sprinkled across the ground like gold and silver dust, one patch of what I think is thyme, and quite a few foxgloves among the bracken.

The insistent call of a couple of birds had me looking round, and in the end, I spotted one of them hopping from that top of one bunch of bracken to another. It didn’t stop long enough for a good picture, but I can see that it was a stonechat.

It had an enormous amount of fun, calling loudly just in front of me, and skipping on every time that I stopped.

I gave up on bird photography and took some landscapes instead. It was a dull day for taking good photos but at least the land stands still.

I could see the felled wood from which the timber is being moved . . .

. . . and the golf course, looking very neat ahead of the big competition tomorrow . . .

. . . and the town, lying snugly beneath the hills.

I was observed as I approached the stile.

I crossed the stile and walked down the hill towards the oak woods. The bedstraw was running riot here in any open patches on the hillside . . .

. . . but there was a complete contrast when I came across the timber track that we had tried to cycle along yesterday.

It is a scar at the moment, but I hope and expect that it will heal remarkably quickly when the timber work is finished.

Small butterflies flitted about in front of me as I walked down the hill, but they were very hard to see once they had settled among the bracken and long grass. Finally, a larger one obligingly came to rest in plain view, and kept its wings open. It turned out to be a ringlet butterfly.

When I got down to the track through the woods, I found that I had time and energy to spare, so I turned left and came back to the town by way of Jenny Noble’s birch wood . . .

. . . the Longwood park . . .

. . . and the road to Skippers Bridge.

A reflective branch in the river showed me the direction that I should go to get home.

I walked back along the riverside path, passing some very unwelcome giant hogweed, as well as melancholy thistle, willowherb and any amount of grass.

As I may have mentioned many times, the river is very low and I could hardly see the Wauchope coming out under the Kirk Brig.

Goldfinches were watching and waiting in the garden when I got home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone on from her stitching to help lay out 30 dinner settings for people who were coming for pre show meals at the Buccleuch Centre before a concert tonight, so we were both ready for a cup of tea and a piece of ginger cake when she arrived home.

After our regular Zoom with my brother and sisters and a second helping of the slow cooked lamb stew, we were visited by Mike and Alison. While Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted, Alison and I flexed our fingers for the first time for several weeks and played some recorder and keyboard sonatas. We were keen but a bit rusty.

I didn’t have much time to watch the feeder today so the flying bird of the day is a panel of flying siskins being shouted at.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Stretching legs and fingers

  1. Your rivers do look quite low, but they reflect nicely.
    I liked the shots of the mallard and the red campion.
    Does Mrs. T. ever use sand or wood ashes around plants to stop slugs? They don’t like crawling through either one and neither will hurt plants.
    Good luck to Dropscone, and I hope Margaret is feeling better.

    1. We don’t have a lot of wood ashes to use so she has not tried them. I think it was just bad luck that all the plants got eaten at the same time.. The ones that I put in yesterday have survived so far. 🙂

  2. The tree in Longwood Park has a rather odd taper at the bottom – do you have any idea what would cause that?

    Lovely shots of reflecting waters, but my favourite is the sheep peeking around the corner at you!

  3. Cloudy, warm and calm is not a bad walking day, and I enjoyed your selection of photos. The ringlet butterfly caught my eye, quite striking for a mostly grey butterfly.

  4. We get Stone Chats here too – also difficult to photograph as they keep moving! I enjoy the woodland scenes and the reflections you have shown us.

  5. Nice Stonechat. Another of those birds that makes life difficult for photographers. 🙂

    We crush eggshell and use them for protecting plants. It doesn’t seem to work but it makes you feel like you are trying.

  6. It’s good to see a stonechat in real life and not in a book! Skippers Bridge looks as lovely as always and the pointing branch and reflection was a lovely composition.

  7. A nice gentle walk and read. Just what my day needed today. Great picture of that stonechat, I used to see them while commuting alongside the river Avon in Port Talbot. Unfortunately, the cycle path over the old railway bridge has been closed because it is unsafe. This means I have not been that way for some time. I haven’t pedalled for over a week now, my SwytchBike singlespeed conversion has no wheels. I posted them off to Tannus tyres who have offered to fit the solid tyres at a discounted price. I am told they can’t fit them till the early part of next week because they are so busy. All these new cyclists out there must be as paranoid as myself about punctures. Once the tyres are in place I still have to sort out the pedal problem. Nothing is straight forward lol. Lots of the pro cycling lobby are saying that now so many people are cycling new infrastructure to cater for the upsurge is bound to follow. I have my doubts. I believe the increased numbers of cyclists has made our roads, around here, at least, more dangerous for everyone. Plus after this unusual stretch of cycling friendly weather has come to an end the figures will drop back again. And inserting cycling infrastructure into our existing road network will be a long and costly affair. Local councils don’t have the finances available. I hope I’m wrong. Right good knee still giving me real gyp, can’t sit still for long at all. Makes my work difficult and I try to avoid painkillers as much as possible, because of the side effects. Otherwise the weather is gorgeous here, though can be rather stifling without shade and a bit of a breeze. The Neath river is very low now, and our “Waterfall Country” round about here is almost bereft of actual waterfalls. Still the walkers come in their droves, causing parking problems throughout the local villages. Strange that these green pastimes of cycling and walking need a car to get going on either method. Keep pedalling and posting, I will catch up to date one day. Cheers to you, Mrs T and all of your family and Langholm.

    1. I agree with you about the possibility of getting better cycling infrastructure. It seems very remote. Perhaps if the take up of electric bikes increases dramatically so people really don’t want to use their cars for short journeys, then something might change. (E-bike buying should be subsidised just as E-car buying was). I hope that your solid tyres suit you as well as my one suits me. I am sorry that you pedal problems persist. What with dodgy knees, and technical problems, your life has not been smooth lately.

      As you say, tourism is a very mixed blessing for the receiving localities. We are hoping that our community buy out will bring more visitors in over the years without them become too much to cope with. Fingers crossed.

      1. Just have to keep tootling forward, can’t just sit back and wait for things to get right. So, yes, fingers crossed 🤞

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