Taking the biscuit

Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker. He and Alison are just back from a golden wedding holiday in Oban. Mike spotted these colourful fungi on one of their outings.

We had a better day of weather than we expected here today, with light winds and no rain. This was lucky as we were due to go up to the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve tree nursery at Cronksbank to do a bit of volunteering. I had a look round the garden before we set out.

The berries on the horizontal cotoneaster are really eye-catching but it is getting harder to find dahlias in good condition . . .

. . . although the Special Grandma rose is doing very well.

We pedalled up to Cronksbank on our electric bikes and found that a couple of students from a London film school were making a film about the reserve.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had different tasks today. She was part of a gang making the farmhouse ready for some visiting volunteers who are coming to plant trees in the newly felled wood. They are going to sleep in the house which is unfurnished but warm and watertight. By the end of the morning, the house looked very welcoming. Meanwhile, I worked with another volunteer to see if we could improve the rabbit defences of the tree nursery. Keeping rabbits out is always a hard task but we did our best.

Although it had been misty when we set out, it had cleared up by the time that we got there. The hills are brown now, but there was enough depth in the colour to make Mrs Tootlepdal feel not quite so bad about the end of the gardening season. We cycled home in a cheerful mood, feeling that we had helped out on a job well done. The rowans in the nursery are very colourful.

I had another walk round the garden when we got home. Things had perked up a bit and there was quite a lot to see.

I went through the garden from the front lawn to the vegetable patch, passing a fuchsia beside the middle lawn and ending at the nerines at the end of the drive. The verbena and the clover are in vegetable garden beds for one reason or another.

My favourite today was the phacelia which is blooming more vigorously than ever.

On my way round, I was pleased to spot a lone butterfly and a single hoverfly . . .

. . . but the garden is certainly not buzzing any more.

I filled the feeder and had a look at it after lunch in the middle of a short sunny spell. The feeder was quiet again today and a greenfinch ate seed in peace.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to look at some extremely interesting historical records relating to the moor which had been given to a friend, while I went for a cycle ride on my road bike.

Although it was warm for the time of year and the wind was light, my legs felt that there was no need for excessive excitement and kept me down to a gentle speed. This gave me the chance to look around as I went along.

I saw the first signs of autumn on the old larches beside the Wauchope Water . . .

. . . and enjoyed this combination of tree colour at the gate to Bloch Farm.

The verges had been mown and a lot of the hedges have been clipped as I went over the hill and down to Canonbie so the most interesting thing that I saw was this pipe running from a farm along the roadside.

It is usually used to convey slurry from the cattle sheds to spray on fields. I was amazed by how long the pipe was today, and I followed it for over a mile before it disappeared through a gate into a what looked like a settling pond.

I was a bit disappointed by the autumn colour on this section of my ride and it wasn’t until I had got through Canonbie on my way back to Langholm that I came across much colour.

And there was even another sunny moment to enjoy.

From then on, there was enough to keep anyone happy, although the sun kept disappearing any time I got my camera out.

There was a hint of sunshine when I was a couple of miles from Langholm.

I pruned and shredded some of a big buddleia when I got home, and then had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.

Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that she had seen caterpillars back on the nasturtiums again, so I went to have a look. She was right. There had been a lot of leaf nibbling and the perpetrators were in plain sight. Judging by the amount of caterpillar poo about, this one had been eating very heartily.

After a cheery Zoom with my brother and sisters, and a plate of the slow cooked beef casserole for my evening meal, I followed up a suggestion that I had seen on a website and tried to bake some oatmeal and raisin biscuits in the air fryer. The motivation was that it would be good to be able to cook smaller batches of biscuits without wasting a lot of heat in a big oven.

The intention was good, but the outcome only went to prove that learning new skills is not always easy. However, it is definitely possible to make good biscuits in the air fryer so I shall try again. And I am happily eating my mistakes.

The flying bird of the day is resting. (I didn’t have a lot of time to look at the feeder today.)

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Taking the biscuit

  1. I’m going to have to look into getting some nerines. They seem to be timeless, unchanging plants that bloom for months.
    The daisy looks to be making it hard for anyone to cross the bridge. It’s doing as well as any of the wild ones we have here.
    I loved seeing the tree colors along the river.

  2. Congratulations to Mike and Allison on their golden anniversary. That is a beautiful patch of what I think are Amanita fungus they found.

    The views from your bike ride are beautiful, especially the scenes with dark sky and bright sun. I enjoyed seeing the larches turning gold now. Your garden is still bravely marching on as the days shorten.

  3. Lots of colour in your garden and in the countryside the autumn colours are very vibrant. Love the portrait of the goldfinch fantastic detail.

  4. Absolutely beautiful autumnal colours along your ride. It’s good to see the reserve getting so much media attention.

  5. Your photos of the autumn colour are absolutely stunning. We visited Ireland and Scotland in autumn a few years ago, my favourite part of the trip was (Paul driving) while I looked at the glorious trees. Enjoy your lovely flowers while you still have them.

    1. It is turning out to be a good autumn for colour so I hope we get one or two decent days soon to enjoy it. It is good to have a competent chauffeur allowing you to enjoy the scenery.

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