Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Today’s guest picture shows a flowery scene from Kew Gardens which caught my sister Mary’s eye.

Coming up to the Orangerie

Coming up to the Orangerie

The forecast was full of dire warnings of heavy rain, possible thunderstorms and general mayhem.  In the event, midsummer’s day was a quiet day with some very light rain now and again, hardly a breath of wind and just a hint of menace thanks to a very clammy humidity.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Moorland feeders after breakfast as I was acting as a fill in feeder filler for friends who had gone off to some mist covered mountains.  As usual, she sat in the car and kept an eye out for hen harriers while I filled the feeders and then sat under the grass roof of the hide….

Laverrock Hide

…in the hope of interesting visitors.

She got a glimpse of a harrier and I saw many more birds than on my last visit.  There were coal tits, great tits and siskins….

siskin, coal tit and great tit

…as well as blackbirds, chaffinches and a robin.

The inevitable pheasant pushed himself forward…..

pheasant

..and there were several visits from woodpeckers and a jay.

Jay and woodpecker

The jay kept too far down the glade for a good photo op but it was was entertaining watching it as it was clearly quite peckish…

jay

…and found food wherever it could.

That great Scottish pest, the midgie, was in evidence too so I didn’t hang about long as I was getting bitten a lot and we drove down to the banks of the Tarras Water to see if the wild irises were out.

There were some but it was not the great carpet that I had hoped for…

wild irises

…so I photographed a yellow rattle….

yellow rattle

I found another one with seed pods and they really do rattle if you shake them.

…and walked back to the road to see if I could find any of the horsetails which I seen growing on my last visit with Sandy a few weeks ago.

They were not hiding.

horsetails

I was impressed.

The midgies were on the go here too so we didn’t dally and went home for coffee.

It makes life difficult to plan when the forecast is not reliable.  At ten in the morning, the BBC weather map showed heavy rain covering Langholm and the surrounding area for some hours and although there was no sign of any such rain, the thought of it kept me off my bike and wasted what could have been a good cycling day.

I tested the strawberry jam  and found that it hadn’t turned out too badly at all so I tested it again.  It was still all right.

I wasted time doing the crossword and then, wondering if it was going to rain soon, I went for a wander round the garden.

The roses are gorgeous…

roses

…with new blooms coning out every day.  The first of the moss roses has joined in.

moss rose

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out poppies and protecting her vegetables from the depredations of the voracious sparrows so I had time for a look at a colourful corner….

colourful corner

…and my favourite colour combination of the day.

campanula and foxglove

Mrs Tootlepedal liked this subtle gradations on a peony.

campanula and foxglove

A few other things made the camera click.

campanula

lambs ear

wiegela

…but in spite of it being the longest day of the year, the light was very dull and I soon gave up and went in for lunch.

After lunch, the day brightened up a bit and even the weather forecast admitted that it wasn’t raining so I got my fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.

It was lucky that we had gone to see the roadside orchid yesterday because Genghis the grass cutter was out with his machine today and the verge where the orchid had been was totally flattened.

Luckily I found some more on an uncropped verge near Gair….

orchids

…but unluckily my Lumix chose this moment to stop working and I had to fall back on my phone camera for the rest of the trip.

It was a really good day for a leisurely cycle ride with a mixture of very occasional raindrops and some cheerful sunshine and I saw many interesting things which I failed to record as I find using the phone with my cycling glasses on quite tricky.   (If I take them off, I find it even trickier.)

I did see a lot of fields where the silage was being cut….

silage

…and I even noticed a fungus, the first that I have seen in a verge this year.

fungus

I pedalled here and there, keeping an eye on the weather and thinking of going a bit further while the going was good but some more persistent raindrops and a burst of slightly windier weather made me think that the promised storm might be finally on its way so I headed for home and managed  37 miles.

As you can see from the map below, it was quite warm so perhaps it was wise to stop before I got too cooked.

garmin route 21 June 2017

Those interested can click on the map for more details.

Mrs Tootlepedal had rescued a blackbird from the strawberry netting while I was out but there were still plenty of strawberries left to pick so I picked them.

I had time for a shower and a tea of baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce before I went out to our Common Riding choir practice.  I was pleased to see my cello playing friend Mike there as it would mean that I wasn’t going to be the only bass.  We had a good session in spite of very sultry conditions which were not very sympathetic to singing and it was still a fine day when I walked home.

I apologise for putting too many indifferent pictures into today’s post but it was the longest day so perhaps it needed a long post.

And I did get a rather indifferent flying bird of the day to round things off suitably.

flying jay

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Our daughter sent me today’s guest picture just to show that there are good looking bees in London too.

London bee

The wind moved round to the east today and brought a little touch of coolness with it so although the day was agreeably sunny again, it was much more pleasant to be out and about.

All the same, it looked as though it was going to be hot enough to make serious cycling hard work in the afternoon so I got up early and went for a ride in the cool of the morning.

I had an appointment at ten o’clock and this time pressure limited me to my usual twenty mile run down to  Canonbie and back.  I had my camera with me and might have had time to take a picture or two if I hadn’t realised after I had gone a mile that I had forgotten to put my helmet on.

There are those who claim that helmets make no difference to cycle safety but they are wrong so I went back and started again with my helmet clamped firmly above the space where my brains should be.

(As far as the safety argument goes, my thought is that there are no conceivable circumstances when I am in the middle of falling off my bike that I would ever say. “Thank goodness I am not wearing a helmet.”)

The conditions were just about perfect – warm, sunny and with a light cooling wind – and I got round in good order and at a brisk pace for me and was showered and ready for my appointment in good time.

I even had time to check on some of the blue-ish flowers in the garden before I went.

blue flowers

delphinium

The heart of a delphinium

dutch iris

A Dutch iris

The bees were so noisy that I went to have a look at what was attracting them.

cotoneaster

It was the cotoneaster. It does look inviting.

bee on cotoneaster

Getting stuck in

I got back from my appointment and had another walk round the garden.  This time, I had a mower and not a camera with me and I mowed the drying green and then adjourned for a cup of coffee.

It wasn’t long before I was out again.

There were roses to look at….

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the bottom right rose is a Ginger Syllabub and not a Golden Syllabub as I have been calling it……but a rose by another name looks just as good in my view.

Mrs Tootlepedal was helping to serve lunches at the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar and while she was away, I picked some strawberries, sieved some compost, trimmed a hedge and mowed the middle lawn.  You can tell that the weather was a lot kinder today.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back, she had a little work to do in the garden and while she toiled, I admired the flowers.

Sweet William

I love the contrasting delicate pale purple of the stamens compared with the zing of the petals

I thought that I had seen an orchid or two beside the road a mile or so out of town  on my morning pedal so we decided to go out on our bikes to check if my eyesight had deceived me or not.

It turned out that I had seen literally only two orchids and not fully out at that….

wauchope orchid

…so the orchid hunt was less than exciting.

So we pedalled on a bit and left the bikes while we took a short walk through woods and fields along the Wauchope.

We were serenaded by a buzzard circling high above us, emitting its characteristic plaintive cry.

buzzard

We walked.

manure mountain path

It was a good choice.  The path through the woods is delightful and we paused beside the river…

Wauchope water

…in the vain hope of seeing kingfishers, otters and deer.  Even without exotic wild life, the scene was a balm to the soul.  Mrs Tootlepedal blended in with the scenery…

Mrs T in the woods

…while I roamed around looking for things to photograph.

I found a gate.

Gate beside wauchope

Leaving the wildlife to laugh at us behind our back when we  were gone, we used the gate and walked back to the bikes through the field.

If you like meadows full of wild flowers and grasses….

wauchope field

I would welcome a name for the tiny flower on the left.

…fringed with interesting trees…..

conifer

conifer

…this was the place to be.

We cycled gently home, grateful for the cool breeze in our faces and enjoying the warm sun on our backs.

The garden had not been idle while were out.

Lilies were on the move.

martagon lily

A Martagon lily was showing the first Turk’s Caps of the year.

Day lily

And a day lily had decided that this was the day

Both had come out while we were walking. It is amazing what some sunshine will do.

After tea, I set my hand to making a couple of jars of strawberry jam.  Time will tell but I fear I may have overboiled the jam a bit.  It was not entirely my fault.  I was keeping a careful eye on it when I was summoned outside by Mrs Tootlepdal to look at a kite in the sky.  A sharp eyed neighbour had spotted the bird upsetting the oyster catchers in the park and come to tell us.

By the time that I had fetched my camera, the kite was high above us in the evening  sky but although the resultant picture was poor, it does show the characteristic shape of the red kite.  I hope that we will see many more as time goes by.

Here then is the rather distant flying bird of the day.

red kite

It was worth spoiling the jam a bit to see such a glorious bird.

Read Full Post »

The guest picture of the day comes from my daughter’s recent visit to Knightshayes garden where she encountered this interesting animal.

Knightshayes

It is the Muckletoon* Adventure Festival weekend and we were blessed with good weather today as I went off in the morning to help with one of the guided summit walks.  There was a set of walks taking in five, three or one of the summits round the town and fortunately, my walk was the ‘one summit’ effort.

It was a family affair and we stopped for a picture when we got to the McDiarmid memorial…

Summit walk MTAF

…and then Billy, our leader, gave a short historical talk appropriate to our location.

Summit walk MTAF

With gestures

Our next stop was at the summit of Whita Hill where we paused for refreshment….

Summit walk MTAF

…and another short talk.

We were often passed by mountain bikers as we walked up the track to the summit.

mountain bikers

Our final stop was at Whita Well on the way down the hill…

Summit walk MTAF

…where we could enjoy the view and another short talk….

MTAF summit walk

…and a refreshing drink of spring water from the well.

Fortunately, at least as far as I was concerned,  the sun continued to shine on the town…

Ewes valley

…and up the Ewes valley but the hill that we were on had its own cloud and as a result, we walked in a very comfortable warmth rather than a searing heat.

All around us, the hill was alive with mountain bikers enjoying, if that is the right word, the many trails across the hill as part of a thirty mile cross-country ride.

mountain bikers

The sections  of the cycle route were well signposted but not all of them were sympathetically titled.

MTAF

We finished our three mile walk in the centre of the town and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Some of the walkers were going on to do a 5km run in the afternoon but I preferred to spend some time relaxing at home where the sunshine made everything in the garden look lovely.

garden flowers

That is a new clematis beside the front door on the right

The roses are thriving.

roses

Lilian Austin, Golden Syllabub and Special Grandma

New flowers had been encouraged by the sunshine.

lily

A very secret lily

delphinium

A conspicuous delphinium

The sun had encouraged the white peonies to open up…

white peony

…which made life easier for visitors.

There was colour everywhere.

geranium and rose

I mowed both the middle and front lawns and the combination of recent rain and a good day today has left them looking much more like  lawns and less like ploughed fields and marshes so I am very happy.

We went off in the car to do a little food shopping and then to buy some necessities at a DIY store (some paint, a petunia and some lawn feed. The petunia jumped into Mrs Tootlepedal’s hands without even being asked.  It was amazing.)

We finished out trip by a visit to a farm where the farmer, the  husband of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s ex work colleagues, had kindly bagged up some farmyard manure for our garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was very happy.

Ryehills Farm

When we got back, I had another look round the garden….

lambs ear and a moth

There are always interesting things to see.

…and then went in to cook bacon and eggs for my tea.

After tea, the wind had dropped and so had the temperature so I got the fairly speedy bike out and gave it a through wash and brush up and then set off to do 23 miles in the cool of the evening.

I kept an eye for orchids but only saw this….

wild flower

…which was pretty but a disappointment.

The conditions were perfect for cycling so I enjoyed myself a lot more than I have recently when I have been battling strong winds and the 23 miles brought up 200 miles for the month so far.  Satisfactory all round.

We have to get up at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to help with the Adventure Festival again so it is going to be an early night tonight.

Two flying birds for the price of one today.

oyster catchers

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is possibly the last from our daughter’s Devon jaunt.  She visited the celebrated garden at Knightshayes and thought that I might enjoy a view of some handsome grass.  I did.

Knightshayes

I had no commitments so I was able to ease through the day at a gentle pace.  It was fortunate that it was a day of better weather, still breezy but almost entirely dry and occasionally even sunny in the afternoon.

I mowed the middle and front lawns in the morning and that was the most energetic thing on my programme.  For the rest of the time, I enjoyed the garden, a cup of coffee and a crossword until it was time to make some lentil soup for lunch.

Before coffee, I took a camera out with me.  The peonies were at their best today.

peony

peony

The tropaeolum tadpoles are turning into flowers.

tropaeolum

There is no shortage of colour.

sweet william, campanula and Lilian Austin

After coffee, bees became the focus.  For the first day this year, there were really a lot of bees about and it wasn’t a matter of finding one to photograph so much as not being able to choose which one to shoot.

The pale blue lupin was a popular spot.

lupin with bee

But lots of other flowers had their admirers.

allium, iris and weigela

The peonies and lupin in the vegetable garden joined in.

lupin and peony with bee

It was very cheering to see so much activity.

I took a couple of pictures of a more general nature….

orange hawkweed

We like the orange hawkweed a lot

kitchen window colour

Mrs Tootlepedal has provided a rich tapestry of colour to enjoy when looking out of the kitchen window.

…and went in to cook the soup.

After lunch (the soup turned out well and there was a good selection of cheese to go with it), I got the fairly speedy bike out and went out to face the wind again.  Although there were some very heavy gusts as I started which nearly tempted me into hugging the valley bottom, I stuck to the task and took to the open country and was rewarded when the gusts calmed down and later in the ride, the sun came out.

The downside of the trip was that the council had been very busy mowing the verges so there were no wild flowers for me to see.   This blatant pandering to the supposed needs of motorists is reprehensible and I had to find other things to use as an excuse to pause and catch my breath from time to time.

Middlebie Church

Middlebie Church

A virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water

A Virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water near Middlebie

Mein Water Bridge

This is the road bridge that I crossed. In spite of the recent rain the water is very low.

When I got to the old A74, I was so cross about the verge cutting that I got off my high horse and stopped to take a picture of it…

A74 and orchid

…and was glad that I  did so because right on the edge of the long grass was an orchid, the first that I have seen this year.

Now that I had my eye in,  as I went on down the road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming, I saw dozens more orchids in the long grass.

orchids

This was the moment that the sun chose to make its appearance and as I was no longer cycling into the wind, I stopped muttering grumpily and started to really enjoy the outing.

Once I had the wind behind me, I was going too fast to look at the verges carefully, whether they were  mown or un-mown and it needed something bigger to attract my attention.

Gretna Windmills

As you can see, two of the newly installed Gretna wind turbines were not going round.  This is disappointing when there was plenty of wind to be harvested.  The dark clouds soon passed over.

I stopped one last time to admire a neatly scalloped roadside fringe of bird’s foot trefoil on the old A7 near Irving House.

bird's foot trefoils

Fortunately the council had not got to this verge with their mower yet.

My trip came to 36 miles and although it took me a long time, thanks to the wind in my face for the first and most hilly 12 miles, I enjoyed the outing.  After not cycling at all for the first six days of the month thanks to unhelpful weather, I have managed six outings in the last eight days which is a bit better.  If only the wind would drop, I would be very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been trimming a Forsythia while I was out and she wondered if any knowledgeable reader can tell her what this curious growth is.

forsythia growth

It was on many of the branches.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fish pie for our tea and then went off to watch a live screening from the Royal Ballet, leaving me to have a restful time at home.  I admire the skills employed in ballet but the fact that it takes ten minutes to say something as simple as “Ooh, you look nice,”  taxes my patience beyond its admittedly small limits.  Also my joints hurt when I look at the performers.  I feel their pain.

The flying bird of the day is visiting the peonies and is not a bird.

flying bee

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s Devon holiday.  She visited a famous garden but found her attention slipped from flora to fauna.

cat

She is obviously having better weather than us as we woke up to another cold, grey, occasionally wet and always windy morning.

I cycled up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to visit the data miners and got wet cycling home again.  There were compensations though.

I passed a female goosander sitting on the river bank near the church and when I got home, I got a camera and came straight back out to see if she would still be there. Luckily both the rain and the bird stopped.

goosander

Birds have a curious attitude to cyclists.  As long as the cyclists keep going, the birds will often stay still but as soon as the cyclist stops, the birds usually get going.  This proved the case today and after giving me a scornful glare, the goosander walked down to the water, launched herself….

goosander

…and paddled gently off downstream.

I was cheered up by the arrival of Dropscone with scones for coffee.  He has been very busy lately both refereeing golf tournaments and playing golf himself so he had much to tell me.

He went off in the hope that the rain would stay away and he could get some more golf in and I went out to the garden and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I also looked around.

The flowers are very resilient for the most part and I thought that they were worth a close look.

allium, clematis, peony

honeysuckle and foxglove

There were a lot of bees about this morning in spite of the occasional rain.

allium, clematis, peony

The nectaroscordum was a particular attraction.

honeysuckle and foxglove

honeysuckle and foxglove

…and on several occasions, I actually saw a bee barge another off a flower.

The Rosa Goldfinch is coming along very nicely…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and by coincidence, I saw an avian goldfinch in the garden today too (but not when I had a camera to hand).

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window and remarked that there were a lot of sparrows about.  Some were feeding young….

sparrow feeding young

…and some were enjoying a bath in a puddle.

sparrow feeding young

As it looked as though the rain would keep away, I went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and although there were one or two drizzly moments, they came to nothing and I got round dry.

The wind was pretty brisk again but not quite so rough as it has been so I ventured out into the open country and did a 27 mile circular ride instead of just pottering up and don the road beside the Wauchope.

The first seven miles were very hard work into the wind but good route choice meant that the subsequent 20 miles were less troublesome and for some of the time, I fairly scooted along with the wind behind me.

The cool temperatures and the brisk wind meant that it didn’t feel much like warm weather cycling but the countryside did its best to cheer me up either with daisies….

Gair road with daisies

…or buttercups.

sprinkell road with buttercups

I kept a close eye on the verges when I was was going at a suitably slow speed.

verge plants

There is almost always something interesting to see.

umbellifer and grass

And if I am not in a rush, it is a pleasure to take a close look.

hawkbit, trefoil and little pink flower

Flowers often have friends.

I took a picture of the Esk from the Hollows Bridge…

Esk at Hollows

We are at peak green

…and then scrambled down the bank to look back up at the bridge from near the river.

Hollows Bridge

It is a lofty bridge

I would like to have got a better view but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t think that falling in the river was a good policy.

On my way back home, I passed a lot of Pyrenean  Valerian.  Seen from a distance it looks a little undistinguished but from nearer, it is a very pretty flower.

pyrenean valerian

The roadsides are full of daisies at the moment and I particularly liked this little scene on the side of the main road just where it is joined by the bike track.

daisies and rhododendron

My flute pupil didn’t come this week but I still got a musical ending to the day when I went to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  We made some good progress on out Mozart Piano Trio and enjoyed the new Telemann trio which has just arrived through the post as well.

As it looks as though the wind might drop a bit over the next few days, everything is good.

The flying bird of the day is two flying bees.

flying bees

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter who was walking in the Devon hills when she came upon these two nice young men who were wandering the hills looking for the internet – literally.  She thought that I should put a picture on the internet of people looking for the internet.  They work for a firm called Exmoor Technology  which tries to find good connections for people who live out in the country.

internet hunters

It was another day when we woke to strong winds and rain and owing to sitting up late again following the twists and turns in the political situation both here and abroad, I was glad of an excuse to spend a very quiet morning reading the papers and doing nothing.

We roused ourselves enough to go shopping at Gretna and we had a healthy lunch of egg and chips at my favourite cafe when we got there.

We both made judicious purchases and were pleased to find that the rain had stopped in Langholm by the time that we got home.

We had a cup of tea and when I looked out, there was even a glimpse of sunshine

This gave me the chance to get out in the garden to take a picture or two.

The peonies are wonderful.

peony

 

peony

However, the wind was so strong that if you look carefully in the bottom left hand corner of the coral peony picture, you might just be able to see my hand in my cycling mitt holding onto the stem to steady it.

I took a few more flower pictures and they gave a whole new meaning to the phrase hand held photography.

rose, troilus and iris

By coincidence, I glanced at a gardening programme on the TV while I was drinking my tea and saw one of Mrs Tootlepedal buttercuppy things so I know that it is a troilus now.

Considering how much rain there has been over the past few days….

wheelbarrow with rain

Our scientific rain gauge is almost full

…the garden is looking remarkably cheerful.

The cardoon is going well….

cardoon

…and the first of the pinks has come out.

pink

I am very fond of geometrically neat flowers but I also love the wild anarchic exuberance of the pinks.

I had my cycling mitts on because I was about to go cycling and in the end, I stopped pestering the flowers and set off to face the strong wind.  I think that it was stronger today than it has been recently so once more I hugged the valley floor and managed to get 20  miles in before I ran out of steam.

I was wearing new cycling shoes that I had bought at Gretna but they had very little effect on my speed sadly.

Taking pictures of roadside wild flowers wasn’t a possibility because of the wind so I stuck to more static things like the Glencorf Burn.

Glencorf Burn

Looking upstream…

Glencorf Burn

..and downstream

This is one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s  favourite little corners on the Cleuchfoot road.

Cleuchfoot road

As I passed through the town at the end of my first lap, I kept an eye out for waterside birds.  There was a small family of oyster catchers beside the river Esk and although it came out rather fuzzily, I still liked this picture of unison beak work.

oystercatchers

I got the feeling that those were the two youngster and that these…

oystercatchers

…were the grown ups.

Today’s answer to the question of where all the rain goes…..

Pool Corner

..is over the caul at Pool Corner.

If it hadn’t been for the wind, it would have been a nice evening for cycling as it was pleasantly warm and the the roads had dried out after the morning rain.

I had a look round the vegetable garden when I got home.  That tempting strawberry is sill not quite fully ripe so I left it for another day.   The potatoes are looking very promising…

apples and potatoes

…and there are so many apples on the espaliers that they will need thinning out unless we get a sudden attack of ‘June drop’.

The beans are flourishing and gratifyingly, the first flowers are showing in Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress.

pea and beans

Oddly enough, the most colourful flower corner in the garden at the moment is in a small bed at the end of the veg garden where peonies and lupins are growing.

lupins and peonies

I passed a dozy hoverfly on a daisy….

hoverfly

…and went in to enjoy a beef stew for my tea. I had made it in the slow cooker this morning.

The political situation continues to engage our attention and we very much enjoyed a voter in the American Midwest telling an interviewer on CNN that he had always thought that Trump was an idiot but he very much liked his policies so he had voted for him.   Food for thought there for those who like cut and dried positions

We are also enjoying the sight of Mrs May, who was part of a campaign in the 2015 election which vehemently warned of the dangers of a coalition between Labour and the Scottish nationalists, making herself busy today cobbling up a coalition between the Conservatives and the Irish Unionists.   In the 2017 campaign, she had been very vocal again about the possibility that voting Labour might bring a ‘coalition of chaos’ and we can only say that it is lucky that she doesn’t seem to have much sense of irony or her head might explode.

I did get a picture of a flying bird today and as a bonus, it contains two of them…

flying oyster catchers

…though one might be more ‘jumping’ than ‘flying’.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Devon where they make walls in their own particular way.

Devon wall

I was expecting to retire to bed at my usual time last night and to get up in the morning to be greeted by what would be, from my point of view at least, a rather depressing election result but we turned on the the telly late in the evening to get the exit poll result and it was so unexpected that I found myself still sitting glued to the telly seven hours later at 5.30 in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cracked and gone off at 3.30 but I stayed up until the final result was almost certain.  For those interested in this sort of thing, I chiefly watched the ITV election coverage and it was excellent; calm, with no gimmicks, with excellent guests and with a pleasingly light and un-portentous touch….and much to my surprise for a commercial channel, with no interruptions for advertisements all night.

As far as the results went, my feelings were mixed.  On the whole though, I am quite pleased that the results both in Scotland and the UK in general look as though they might force politicians to pay a little more attention to the voters and a little less to their own MPs, financial backers and media barons so that should be a good thing.  Readers of the blog from abroad can have no notion of how truly terrible much of the British press is, with no commitment to balance, truth, fairness or even the well being of its readers. If this election has knocked a little bit off the influence of the press barons, that can only be a good thing.

Anyway, getting up after only three hours sleep meant that I have been a bit tired and emotional today and I even turned down the chance of treacle scones as I was still in my dressing gown at coffee time and, in the end, only got dressed after lunch.

When I did get dressed, it was into my cycling clothes though and I went out for a 27 mile gentle spin up and down the road to Cleuchfoot in a brisk wind, stopping for photo opportunities.

There was still plenty of water in the Wauchope……

bessie bell's cascade wauchope water

My favourite cascade

…and in the Bigholms Burn too.

Bigholms Burn and Logan Water

Bigholms Burn joining Logan Water

When I went down to see the cascade at Bessie Bell’s, I passed a small group of friends hobnobbing.

flower with flies

A popular meeting spot

The wind  wasn’t quite as strong as two days ago and I got a better shot of a wild iris as a result.

wild iris

This little ride took me over 2000 miles for the year and in spite of a very light cycling month in June so far, I am on schedule for my annual target.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden and I took a walk round to look at the results of her work.

The pale peonies are just getting going.

peony

peony

And there are more still to come.

I had fun looking at irises.

iris

iris

And the weigela.

weigela

The honeysuckle is looking good this year….

honeysuckle

…and it is a good place to look for bees.

honeysuckle with bee

…of which there were a lot more to be heard and seen in the garden today.

bee on lupin

This one was on the lupins by the front lawn.

lupins

They have really enjoyed the weather this year

A combination of roses and philadelphus in a corner makes not just for a pretty picture but a good smell too.

rose and philadelphus

In spite of the heavy rain yesterday, the flowers seemed undaunted today and everything was looking strong and healthy.

astrantia, clovery thing and sweet william

A little yellow allium has arrived on the edge of the front lawn.

allium

I popped in and out of the house to check on the progress, or lack of it, of Andy Murray in the  French Open tennis and was sad but not surprised to see him fade away in the fifth set against the excellent Stan Wawrinka.

When things on court were going badly, I consoled myself with the promise of treats to come…

strawberry

…and the sight of flying floral tadpoles.

tropaeolum

My view is that I shall sleep well tonight as I am getting too old for late nights now and I am feeling distinctly tired as I type this.

The flying bird of the day are two oyster catchers on the Logan Water trying to see the political situation from both sides.

oyster catchers

Note: I know that they are not flying birds but we are living in a post truth world these days.  They are however probably more strong and stable than some people I know.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »