Swanning about

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. They don’t just have sun in East Wemyss, they have red admiral butterflies too.

We had plenty of sun here today, and as it didn’t get hot but stayed around 18°C all day, it was a very pleasant late summer day.

Glancing out of the window at breakfast time, I saw a very badly painted blackbird on the fake tree . . .

. . . while on the lawn, another blackbird was tucking into a fallen plum for its breakfast.

We started the day off by going to church to sing in the choir. The hymns were rather disappointing as far as singing interest went, but there was a good congregation because there was a christening as part of the service.

After coffee at home, we set about tidying up the vegetable garden. I mowed the grass paths and Mrs Tootlepedal got busy with the strimmer. I had time for a walk round the garden before lunch.

I noted that the red crocosmia has literally come to the end of the road, but calendulas are still doing well, and it was good to see a bee and a butterfly.

There are signs that the plums on the plum tree are going to ripen, and the thornless blackberry is looking promising (but still tasting very sour for anyone brave enough to try one).

I took pictures of various colourful flowers and only managed to find one without an insect photobombing my shots.

I took this green bottle fly on purpose.

After lunch, I took a moment to look at the bird feeder. There were sparrows and greenfinches about again, most co-existing quite peacefully . . .

. . . but not always.

In the afternoon, while Mrs Tootlepedal combined watching today’s stage of the Vuelta with pricking out a lot more baby willows, I went for a cycle ride.

It was fairly windy, but I took out my road bike as it was a lovely day and going a bit more slowly would not be a bad thing to do. I did choose an easy route though, and headed off down the main road south out of town. Being Sunday, the traffic was light.

I stopped on the Canonbie by-pass to enjoy the large daisies in the embankment beside the road. They have done a good job of seeding the embankments of new roads with wild flowers over recent years.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I saw a lot of swans on the pond at Longtown when we went to Gretna in the rain yesterday, so I stopped and had a look today. There was only one one swan in sight, and that was in the far distance.

I was disappointed.

However, a few yards further along the road, I found out that all the swans were sitting on the bank and not out in the open water. They got up and swam off in a dignified way when I poked my camera at them.

I was happy.

I went along the Gretna road as far as the motorway, and then took the service road south beside the motorway. There were a lot of red rose hips and scarlet hawthorn berries on the embankment here but what caught my eye most was a lonely teasel.

I liked it so much that I took a close up.

At the bottom of the service road, I had to wait at the level crossing while a mainline train went past, but I soon found myself down by the banks of the River Eden near Rockcliffe. It is a beautiful spot, just the place to stop for a banana, some dried apricots and a drink of water.

I had another look at the river from the top of the bank a little further on and I could hear a terrific racket of geese. When I got my zoom to work, I could see that the geese were not on the river but in one of the fields on the far bank. There were a lot of them.

I left the river, crossed the motorway again, and passed Blackford Church . . .

. . . which is not on a hill as my camera makes it look.

From there, I headed across the flat North Cumbrian country to the Brampton to Longtown road which I joined at Smithfield. My legs called for a short rest when I got to Longtown, and as there is a handy bench on the banks of the River Esk there, I paid attention.

A few minutes contemplating the river and its fine bridge, and eating a few dates, was time well spent.

The wind was kind enough to help me home and keep my average speed just about 13 mph. I didn’t regret my decision to leave the e-bike at home.

It was getting near the time for our evening meal but I was able to have another walk round the garden . . .

. . . and have a shower before sitting down to a fine plate of mince, served with potatoes, broad beans and spinach from the garden and cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal.

After the meal, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to attend a concert in aid of funds for Ukraine at the Buccleuch Centre. One of the participants will be a young Ukrainian woman who is staying as a guest in the town. Her home in Ukraine has been destroyed. Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that £3500 was raised.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

Footnote: For one reason or another today’s pictures were taken with four different cameras plus one on my phone. Like bicycles, you can’t have too many cameras.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “Swanning about

  1. The swans are beautiful. I think I’ve seen some but if so it was in Boston Commons, so long ago I can’t be sure.
    I like the geometry of the teasel.
    I hope the plum eating blackbird doesn’t know how to pick them. I’ve seen robins knocking the berries off a mountain ash (Rowan) tree and then flying down to the ground to eat them.

    1. Almost all our mountain ash berries have been eaten, Starlings, sparrows and blackbirds all have a taste for them. The teasel is fun to photograph. They seem to be very rare round here. I have only seen two.

  2. I am glad to see you will be harvesting some nice plums. This was a bad plum year for us. Not a single one this year. On the plus side, I picked a quart of blackberries today, and harvested more cucumbers for pickles.

    1. Our blackberries are just ripening but as i have still have some jars of bramble jelly from last year, I may not pick a lot this year. The crop looks good. We are pleased that the plums seem to be coming on at last. I am sorry about yours.

  3. We also have four, maybe even five cameras, and two phones with cameras. Only two of the cameras are pretty good ones, and those are not the ones which fit handily in the pocket while gardening.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: