Some music at last

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. It was her birthday today, and as the planned family activities had to be postponed for reasons out of her control, she went for a walk by the canal instead. She was very impressed by this floating garden.

We had another fine day here, but it took us some time to get out into the garden (housework, archive business, coffee etc), and it was midday before Mrs Tootlepedal got to work, and I got to wander about.

I was chiefly looking for butterflies, and they were not hard to find today, with a good number of red admirals and peacocks about.

I saw one small tortoiseshell and lots of the white butterflies which have been regular visitors all summer.

Potentillas have had a rather patchy year in the garden, but there are a couple doing well at the end of the middle lawn just now, and the perennial wallflower nearby is enjoying life freed from the shadow of the no-mow long grass. Our heron keeps watch over the pond behind the Michaelmas daisies.

The main gardening business of the day was an assault by Attila the Gardener on an aged weigela which has been in the garden for about 50 years. Mrs Tootlepedal had decided that its time had come so it went. It was probably a good idea, as it had interesting black fingers of fungus growing from its stem. There are some promising new shoots though, and I sieved some compost to go round their roots.

After the branches of the weigela had been shredded, I got out my electric bike and made good use of the fine day.

I headed up the main road north out of town, passing the gentle hills of the Ewes valley, until I got to the old toll house at Fiddleton.

Here I turned right, and took the narrow road up to Carewoodrigg . . .

. . . being very grateful for the electrical assistance as I cycled up the steep hill onto the ridge.

The views from the ridge are good . . .

. . . but my enjoyment of them was tempered by several notices telling me that road was closed ahead at the bridge at the bottom of the far end of the ridge. I thought that I might have to turn round and see the views again sooner than I wanted.

However, all was well. Although the bridge was indeed shut for a comprehensive repair, a temporary mound with a culvert under it was in place beside the bridge, and I was able to cycle over that.

I was able to enjoy the views on the road down to Hermitage . . .

. . . and the sight of some sheep beside a neat circular sheepfold.

I was heading for Hermitage Castle, and when I got down beside the river, the road was lined with wonderfully colourful rose hips. The track to castle had scabious and sneezewort on it.

The castle was open to visitors after having been shut for a long time during the lockdowns, but I didn’t have time for a visit. I took a picture of its forbidding appearance from the visitor centre.

That imposing arch is not the front door. That can be found round the side. It gives an idea of the scale of the building.

Leaving the castle behind, I cycled down the Hermitage Water to Newcastleton. I passed a farm where goats ran about as I approached. They were too quick for clear pictures but I have put them in anyway, as I know that there are readers who like goats.

I didn’t stop in Newcastleton today, but went straight through and up the steep hill that leads on to the moor and over to Langholm. I had noticed a monument half way up the hill when I was cycling with Sandy and Mrs Tootlepedal a couple of days ago, and I stopped for a closer look today.

In view of his nom de plume ‘Bluebell’, I took a picture of a harebell beside the monument.

It had got rather grey by the time that I was up on the open hill, and I even felt a spot of rain, so I didn’t dilly dally, though I did pause for a look at the bonnie purple heather. It turns out to be quite pink when you get close to it.

Even with electric help, the 32 mile route was very energetic with some big hills to climb, so I was very happy to sit down quietly when I got home and have a cup of tea.

During the day, I kept an eye on the feeder and saw a lot of sparrows.

A siskin was keeping an eye on the sparrows too.

What had already been a good day was made even better in the evening when our friends Mike and Alison came round. For various reasons, it had been a long time since their last regular Friday evening visit, so it was a special pleasure for me to be able to play some good music for recorder and keyboard with Alison, while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights.

One of the sparrows is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Some music at last

  1. I enjoy seeing the goats, too. Especially when herds of them are being used as weed eaters! They’re used often in various areas of high fire danger. Very clever, I’d say.

  2. The fungus on the weigela is interesting. It reminds me of the common earth tongue (Geoglossum cookeanum) but I don’t think that’s it.
    I’m guessing that nobody has ever breached the castle walls. They are impressive.
    The heather is very pretty to these colorblind eyes.

  3. I like the inquisitive siskin. It looks quite unusually well-behaved!

    The castle is formidable, and I would imagine it would be a most uncomfortable and drafty place to live.

  4. The entrance to the Hermitage Castle does look very small, dwarfed by the size of the building.

    So glad you were able to enjoy a musical evening once again.

  5. I think I might invest in an electric bike or an assist. Even in South London the hills are less than as appealing as they once were…

  6. The floating garden is very beautiful! No problem getting the plants watered, one just needs to lean over the side with a bucket.

    I enjoyed the photos from your day, especially the hills today. I would very much like to walk those hills.

    1. Considering how inviting there are, it is surprising how few people I meet when I am out walking on our hills, so you would be a welcome walker.

  7. I am glad you are back to playing. The long interruption of the musical arts is over for the most part on this side of the pond too. Music is meant to be shared.
    Your butterflies and wildflowers amaze me. And I like goats too.

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