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Today’s guest picture is another from Tom in South Africa and, appropriately enough since he is a great rugby man, it shows some springboks.

springbok

The first named storm of the year was visiting Britain overnight and we were warned that Aileen would bring heavy and persistent rain overnight and well into the morning so it was no surprise to find the sun shining when we got up.

It turned out that Aileen had stayed well to the south of us.

I went up to the town to do some business and then walked round the garden.  The variety of Mrs Tootlepedal’s poppies never fails to delight me.

poppies

And they continue to attract bees in numbers.

poppies with bees

And of course, some of them are simply beautiful.

poppy

As well as some good weather, the morning brought Dropscone, complete with a batch of excellent scones for coffee.  He has recently been to Aberdeen on golfing business so it was good to see that he had got back without losing another wheel on the way.  He had crossed over the new Forth bridge on his trip but told us that it was far less exciting to drive over than to look at from a distance as it has tall panels each side of the roadway which severely restrict the driver’s view.

When he left, I got the mower out and mowed the middle lawn.  After the overnight rain, the lawn was fairly squelchy and the mowing involved quite a lot of worm cast squashing as Mrs Tootlepedal kindly pointed out to me when I had finished.  All the same, if you didn’t look too closely, which I didn’t, things looked quite cheerful.

Middle lawn

Rudbeckia, lilies, cosmos, nasturtium and poppies are still giving the lawn a colourful border.

There are three colours of potentilla in the garden.  They are not all flowering freely but if you look hard, you can find them.

potentilla

All through the day, sudden heavy rain showers interrupted the better weather….

clouds

The next shower lining up

…..and the gardening was a very on and off business.  In spite of quite a lot of sunshine, the rain was heavy enough when it came to make the garden soggier at the end of the day than it had been at the start.

Even so, the nerines round the chimney pot are doing very well.

nerines

We managed to repair the wires on the espalier apples and turn all the compost from Bin B into Bin C and then from Bin A into Bin B so we are ready to start the whole composting cycle again.

The wet roads and the constant threat of a shower put me off proper cycling but I did go out on the slow bike later in the day to see if I could see a dipper by the river.

I could.

dipper

It was on the same rock as last time.

I saw another even more patient bird while I was out.

carved owl

As the rain was holding off, I cycled along to Pool Corner and watched the Wauchope flowing over the caul there.

Pool Corner

It is very soothing watching running water but the road out of the town…..

Pool Corner

…looked inviting so I pedalled up the Manse Brae and along the road at the top….

Springhill

…just far enough to be able to turn off and get a good view of Warbla and the Auld Stane Brig.

Warbla

Those are grey clouds and not blue skies behind the hill so I didn’t push my luck and turned and pedalled back down the hill while it was still sunny.  I was not best pleased therefore when it started to rain quite hard out of a blue sky and I scuttled back home as fast as I could.

But……every cloud has a silver lining they say and this rain had a multicoloured bonus for me.

rainbow over Henry Street

I was happy.

After tea, I went off to the first meeting of the new season of the Langholm Community Choir.  There was quite a good turnout and some new music that I liked so it was an enjoyable evening and a good start to the new session.

Instead of a flying bird of the day, I am showing two pictures of butterflies.  There were plenty of them about today between showers.  I don’t know where they go in the rain but it can’t be far away because they appeared almost immediately after the sun came out. It was  day for red admirals.

This one may have been drying its wings after a shower.  The symmetry is astonishing (to me at least).

red admiral

This one was getting stuck in.

red admiral butterfly

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Today’s guest picture from my South African correspondent, Tom, shows a jackal.  Not something we see round here at all!

jackal

My day was conditioned by an awful warning of heavy rain;  one of those warnings that comes with a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in the centre.  We were to expect rain so I expected rain.

It was a pleasant sunny and dry morning,  a little breezy to be sure and not warm by any means but fine for cycling so I cycled; but I expected rain by lunchtime and when I saw some very dark clouds looming up, I took the hint and cut a putative 35 mile ride down to 25 miles.  Some cows took a dim view of my cowardice (or prudence).

tarcoon cows

I stopped on the Hollows Bridge to record the first turning of the leaves….

hollows bridge view

…but my camera misinterpreting my wishes, kindly slid the incipient yellows back to light greens so the effect was less impressive than I had hoped.

Still, I got home dry and warm;  but still expecting rain….the forecast had put it back to three o’clock by this time.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a slice of bread and raspberry jam and went out to mow the drying green grass before the rain came.

Bees, butter and hover flies were having fun on the Michaelmas daisies beside me as I mowed…

insects on daisies

…and the the poppies looked gorgeous as always.

poppies

The large lilies are developing and I wondered if they would attract a butterfly or two.

They did.

peacock butterfly on lily

I saw an odd thing at the other side of the garden….

peacock butterfly

…a peacock butterfly with only one pair of eyes.  It must have had its second wing tucked under its first.  I have never seen this before.

After I had finished my cycle ride, I had arranged with Sandy to go for a walk (before the rain came) and he arrived on cue and drove us to the top of Callister where we intended to walk round the forestry plantation.  We were discouraged when we found that there were fierce signs telling us not to enter on account of forestry operations but a queue of cars emerged through the gate and one of the drivers kindly told us that there were no operations going on today and that we could proceed with care.

We proceeded with care.

Although we were in the sun, there were dark clouds about….

Callister walk

…and depending on which way you looked, sometimes very dark clouds.

Callister walk

We walked on expecting rain.

I led Sandy down the middle of a wide forest ride.  It was very tussocky and hard going and if you lifted your head to see if there was anything interesting to see, you tended to fall over.   We therefore didn’t see much until we went into the forest beside the ride to see if the going was better.  There we saw fungus…

fungus

…and when we emerged back on to the ride, we saw a very unusual set of fungi, pressed like buttons on a sofa in the peaty side of a drainage ditch.

fungus

We battled on to the end of the ride and joined a track.  It is fair to say that I enjoyed plunging through the heavy going a good deal more than Sandy did.  I used to do a lot of orienteering and ground like this was second nature to me.

We came to a pond beside the road….

callister pond

…which would have looked better, I thought, without the telephone pole at the end of it.

callister pond

And it started to rain.  I was so appalled by this that it soon stopped and disappeared apologetically.

We continued our walk expecting rain.

We were walking round a small valley and crossed the stream that flowed out of it.  It dropped into a dark and mysterious pool as it flowed under the track.

callister pool

Strange spirits might dwell in a pool like that.

It was a lot brighter at the dark pool than it used to be because they are going to build another windfarm to add to our local collection at the far side of the forest and to that end, a lot of tree felling has been taking place.

tree felling callister

…which leaves a bit of a mess to say the least.  It is amazing though how the ground recovers as a look at a new plantation nearby shows.

callister plantation

There were three existing wind farms visible as we walked and we could see the offices for the soon to be built farm beside our track.

windfarms

I welcome these wind farms as we have a tremendous amount of wind round here doing nothing but annoying innocent cyclists so it is good to see it being put to good use.  Each turbine must take a little energy out of the wind and this should make it easier for me to pedal about…..though I do realise that we might need a whole lot more turbines before any noticeable effect could be felt.

The tree felling led to some impressive piles of logs beside the track.

callister logs

Like this heap, quite a few of the piles had ‘chip’ written on them and we wondered of they were going to be chipped for use in the wood fired power station at Lockerbie.

There were some plants to be seen as we walked.

callister plants

callister plants

As we got near to the end of our walk, black clouds over Callisterhall looked threatening.

Callisterhall

It is a pity that this is no longer an inn as our two and a half mile walk had been quite tiring with tough going at the start and some hills on our way back.  A light refreshment would have gone down well.

We had to wait until we got home until we got a much needed cup of tea and a Jaffa cake or two to restore our energy levels.

When Sandy left, I set about sieving the rest of the compost in Bin D and while Mrs Tootlepedal distributed the results around the vegeatble beds, I turned most of Bin C into the now empty Bin D.  When I flagged, Mrs Tootlepedal lent a hand.  As a special treat for those pining for compost bin illustrations, I photographed the result.

compost bins

The contents of Bin C had rotted down well.

We didn’t stay out in the garden too long as we were expecting rain but we did have time to look at some flowers before we went in.

I have picked three favourites.  Mrs Tootlepedal likes the dahlia on the left for its colour, the big bumble bee likes the dahlia in the middle for its pollen and I like the new hellenium on the right for its shape and pattern.

dahlias and hellenium

Everyone was happy.

Dropscone had dropped in before I went cycling this morning with a generous gift of a sea bream which he had acquired on his recent travels and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked it for our tea.  I don’t think that I have ever knowingly eaten sea bream before and I thought it tasted very good.  Dropscone says he will tell me all about where he found it when he comes for coffee tomorrow.

As I sat down to write tonight’s post, the rain finally arrived.  I had been expecting it.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Lucie, one of my Canadian correspondents, who took this fine view of  Lake Athapapaskow, a glacial lake in Manitoba, while on holiday.

Lake Athapapaskow

It took us some time to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t raining when we woke up but I recovered from the shock and got the fairly speedy bike out for the first time in September.  I wasn’t sure how my legs would be feeling after a week off and as it was quite breezy with a threat of light rain, I rather cravenly decided to do a turn in my ‘outside gym’ and cycle up and down the four and a bit miles to Cleughfoot three times.  This would give me the chance to bail out if the going got too tough.

It looked like a good decision when it started to rain just as I got to Cleughfoot on the first lap but I decided not to put on my rain jacket as that sort of thing only encourages bad weather and I was rewarded when the rain stopped before I started the second lap.

In the end, I managed the 27 miles quite happily and got home dry.

I didn’t take my pocket camera with me on the bike because of the threat of rain and although I took some pictures with my phone, they came out so badly that I couldn’t use them.  I walked round the garden when I got back to make up for this.

There was plenty to look at.

nerines

The nerines were enjoying the drier weather

More big lilies are coming out

More big lilies are coming out

poppy

The smaller poppies are surviving the wet weather the best

poppy

Though some of the bigger ones were open for business

poppy

And some were just open

Salvia

The Salvia is surviving well

astrantia

And the late astrantia is doing very well though I haven’t seen many bees on it at all

clematis

The clematis in the philadelphus is thriving

I had a shower and some lunch and then we went out into the garden and I mowed the middle lawn but as it had started to rain, this wasn’t as much fun as it might have been and we went back in and sat down to watch a chunk of the Tour of Britain bike race.

When it stopped raining, I went out again and sieved some compost and dead headed some poppies but it started to rain again so I went back in.

After the bike stage finished, I checked the weather and headed out to the riverside for a short walk.

A dipper posed for me on the banks of the Esk…

dipper

…and Mr Grumpy gave me a stare at the Meeting of the Waters.

heron

I spotted a goosander among the many ducks on the Ewes Water…..

goosander

…and another dipper below the Sawmill Brig.

dipper

In between watching all the birds, a good crop on a tree in the Clinthead garden made me stop and look.

Clinthead crop

I don’t know what they are.  Some sort of crab apple perhaps?  I found a variety called Malus Royalty which looked a possibility.

I would have taken many more really interesting pictures if the battery on my Lumix had not given up but I had my phone in my pocket and pointed it hopefully at a few more things as I went along the new path on the Castleholm.

Autumn leave

Early colour

fungus

Tiny fungus on a log end

umbellifer

Pretty as a picture

chestnut

The horse chestnuts seem to change colour earlier than any other trees.

I looked over the hedge into our garden as I got back.  There is still quite a lot of colour but the leaves on the lawn make it look autumnal.

n in September 2017

I had timed my walk well as I just had enough time to dead head the calendula before it started to rain again.

To be fair, the evening cleared up well and the day finished on a thoroughly good note when Mike and Alison appeared and Alison and I had a very cheerful time playing a selection of pieces, several of which sounded as though the composer would have recognised them without any difficulty.

No flying bird of the day or any substitute at all this evening.  I will try to do better tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my South African correspondent, Langholm exile Tom.  He has passed on a picture of a Strelitzia taken by a friend of his.

strelitzia

I started the day by going up to the Archive Centre and meeting with Sandy and Nancy.  Recent work by a plumber required access to a little used cupboard filled with ‘stuff’ and as this ‘stuff’ was now spread all over the place, it looked like an ideal opportunity to sort the ‘stuff’ out and throw most of it away.

Quite a lot of it went into the back of my car and I drove off with it while Nancy did some heroic work with a hoover and a damp cloth.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with a paint pot and brush when I got home so I had time to have a coffee, do the crossword and, since it was dry for a while, walk round the garden.

As usual, the poppies caught my eye.  Some have had their centres battered by the bee onslaught….

poppies with bee

…but new pollen providers are always coming on stream.

I sieved some compost while I was out.

It was a changeable day and having checked out the weather, I hung some washing out to dry.

Then I took it in again as it started to rain.

After lunch, we took the Archive Centre ‘stuff’ to the council dump near Annan.  It was sunny when we went out to the car so we walked round the garden before setting off.

There were less bees than usual today, perhaps because it had been chilly and wet again but other insects were available.

poppies with hoverflies and flies

They had visited the sedum and dahlias too.

sedum and dahlia with flies

A touch of colour caught my eye just as we were getting into the car.

red admiral butterflies

Red admiral butterflies were visiting.

I took a close look at one.

red admiral butterfly

You can’t tell me that it doesn’t have little electric light bulbs built into the ends of its antennae.

Leaving the butterflies to feed, we set off to the dump and passed through a heavy shower of rain almost immediately after we had left the town.  It had poured down on our last visit to the dump but we were luckier this time and it had faired up by the time that we arrived.

The drive back was very pleasant and I had a quick walk round the garden….

sweet peas

…..but it started to rain again not long afterwards so I abandoned any thoughts of cycling and waited until a promising gap in the clouds appeared and went for a short walk instead.

I admired a striking dahlia on my way out of the garden.

dahlia

It was sunny when I started out and in spite of any amount of threatening clouds….

Langholm and Kirk Wynd

…it remained dry for my two mile outing.

I had hoped to find some fine photographical fungi on my way but others had got there first…

nibbled fungi

Yellow flowers proved a good substitute.

yellow flowers

I liked this yellow flower in particular.

yellow flower

It seemed to float rather than to be attached to its plant.

I walked through the park on my way to the Stubholm and saw what looked like a flock of ominous birds perched on top of a tree….

noble fir

…but a closer look revealed that it was some birds and a lot of noble fir cones.

My walk took me along a picturesque track….

stubholm

…and past a slightly ramshackle set of stable buildings which I thought might look better as an oil painting.

stubholm stables

I arrived at Skippers Bridge and paused for the obligatory photo op…

Langholm Distillery

…and noticed that Colin, one of our neighbours, was indulging in his favourite occupation down below me.

colin fishing

A man of great patience.

Walking back from the bridge on the road side of the river is less interesting than the walk down but there were more yellow flowers to be seen….

yellow flowers

…along with some vivid red berries….

red berries

…and a dipper below the suspension bridge.

dipper

When I got back, I put the some of the accompaniment for the new piece which Luke and I are learning onto the computer and that largely concluded the business of the day.

It had started to rain again after I got back from my walk so my timing was good.  I had met a friend while out walking and conversation naturally turned to our miserable summer weather but in light of events in Houston and the Caribbean, we agreed that it was definitely better to be permanently mildly distressed than to be overcome by a catastrophe.  We counted our blessings.

The flying bird of the day is Mrs Tootlepedal’s completed butterfly.

embroidered butterfly

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony who has been experimenting with my old Lumix which I gave to him on Thursday.  This is his ‘flying birds’ taken at none  o’clock in the evening..

Tony's moon

We had a really lovely day today with a cool underlying temperature (17° C at its hottest) and wall to wall sunshine.  For me, this is just perfect as I don’t like it when it gets too hot.

I had to take some Archive Group heritage disks up to the Welcome to Langholm office in the morning so I took my camera with me and walked back by way of the Kilngreen and the new path round the Castleholm.  It was pure pleasure to be and about on such a day.

I took a couple of pictures in the garden before I left….

lilies

second poppy

…and enjoyed my extended walk back from the town.

The Sawmill Brig

The Sawmill Brig

grass beside the The Sawmill Brig

Rather ghostly grass along the river bank above the bridge

Ty Penningham's path

The ‘new’ path

Langholm Castle

Langholm Castle is getting smothered in growth on its ruined walls

I stopped to have a look at the two noble firs at the corner of the path as they are always interesting.  They were more interesting than usual today, I thought.  One of the pair was covered in more cones than I have ever seen before.

noble fir cones

The other had no cones at all but the remains of many flowers.

noble fir cones

I walked on, passing wild flowers….

wild flower

….and hearing odd sounds in the distance.

When I had crossed the Jubilee Bridge….

River Esk above Jubilee Bridge

The river Esk seen from the bridge. The trees make an impressive canyon for it to run through.

…the source of the sound became obvious as I was assailed by the playing of the Langholm Pipe Band…

Langholm Pipe Band

…who were entertaining a crowd of parents and children which had gathered for a junior cricket event.

I had time for a look at two very spiky flowers as I went round the playing field…

nettle and spiky flower

…along with a flower doing aerobics and a fly not flying.

hawkbit and fly

When I got back to the garden, I considered the down side from a lawn maintenance point of view of having a very prolific Philadelphus near the lawn….

philadelphus petals

…and then stopped moaning to myself and enjoyed combining clearing up the petals with mowing the lawn.

Middle lawn

When I had finished the lawn, I turned compost Bin B into compost C.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal came out to give her new secateurs a test.

secateurs

They passed.

The secateurs come with a special sharpening stone of their own and every part is replaceable individually.  They are Swiss made and are well worth the 600 mile round trip to get them.   I was allowed a go and can report that they are as smooth as butter in operation.

There are always roses to look at at present so I looked at some.

special grandma and Lilian Austin

Special Grandma and Lilian Austin

I noted the two different astilbes in the garden…

astilbes

…and was just going in for lunch when Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a butterfly.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

I was doubly pleased to see this small tortoiseshell, not just because it is always good to see a butterfly but also because the small tortoiseshells are said to be getting rather scarce.

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle.

Mrs Tootlepedal did some very good quality shopping (including dates, prunes, tea, coffee and cheese) while I went to a pub and did some unofficial bonding with a group of the basses and tenors from our Carlisle choir.   This involved beer and conversation and while I had very little beer, I did have a lot of conversation.  The bonding was the idea of one of the basses as the choir doesn’t meet in the summer months and a very good idea it was.

The odd thing about the affair was that on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, most of Carlisle seemed to think that packing into a pub was the best thing to do and the place was full  to bursting.  I had thought that we might be the only people to be in there on such a good day to be outside.

When I left after a couple of hours to go home with Mrs Tootlepedal, the rest of the bonders were still there chatting away merrily.

Once home, I thought of a cycle ride but the call of the compost was too strong and I finished the compost turning by putting the contents of Bin A into Bin B.  The new demountable wooden compost bins make this a very easy task but I was happy to have got the job finished.  The compost in Bin A was really quite hot in the centre of the heap and I hope it doesn’t get so hot in Bin B that it sets fire to the bin.  That would be a tragedy.

I took a couple of evening sunshine flower shots…

sweet peas

Sweet peas in their protective cage

lupin, foxglove and delphinium

Lupin, foxglove and delphinium

Checked out a bee on a hosta flower….

bee on hosta

…and went in to enjoy some fishcakes, with new potatoes and turnips from the garden, for my tea.

Altogether a very satisfactory day.

Here are two sitting Kilngreen ducks for the flying bird of the day slot today.

Kilngreen ducks

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Today’s guest picture, from my younger son Al, shows Matilda having fun in the Art Park yesterday.

Matilda

I had a long day today as Mrs Tootlepedal had decided to go to London to buy some secateurs for the garden.  This involved getting up at 5.30, having a quick breakfast and taking her to catch the early train in Carlisle.

When I got home, I took advantage of a handy bed to do some horizontal reading of the newspapers but then got up and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green before shifting a lot of the compost from Bin C into Bin D.

I also took a walk round the garden to see what had been going on while I was away yesterday.

More lilies had come out.

lilies

The one at the back had some nice detail.

lilies

For some reason I thought of Darcy Bussell

A second day lily has joined in the fun.

day lily

The new one took some time during the day to open fully.  When I first saw it, it looked like this…

day lily

Is it all right to come out?

The cardoon is now taller than me and has got several flowers in the making.

CaRDOON

The first of the flocks of phlox have arrived too.

phlox

I couldn’t pass by the roses without a glance.

The queen of Demark and the Wren

Then Dropscone arrived for coffee.  I was shocked when I discovered that he had not brought the traditional Friday treacle scones but more than recovered when he unveiled a big pile of these eponymous treats.

drop scones

They went very well with some strawberry jam.

When he went off to ponder about the state of his golf game, I went out into the garden again and mowed the front lawn, dealt with the last of the logjam….

logjam

…turned some more of the compost and looked at a few more flowers.

clematis

Clematis is everywhere

Bobbie James has flowers in all stages of development.

rose Bobbie james

The last of the pinks is just holding on when all the others have gone.

pinks

And I found that I had been a bit disrespectful about the ageing Ginger Syllabub the other day as new young, vigorous blooms were to be seen today.

Ginger Syllabub

As usual the astrantia was buzzing.

astrantia with bees

You might think that the bees would have taken all the pollen by now but obviously not.

This all made for quite a busy morning and I sat down when I got in, intending to have a bit of a rest and then go out for a walk or a pedal as the mood took me.

Things conspired against me.

First it was Wimbledon, then it was the Tour, then it was Wimbledon and the Tour simultaneously with feverish channel hopping and then, just when I was feeling guilty enough to leap into action, it started to pour with rain.

I took the hint and stayed sat sitting.

I did get out after the rain had stopped but only as far as the compost bins where I finished the transfer from Bin C to Bin D.  No pictures today though as the government has asked me not to put compost bin pictures on the internet for the time being as there is already far too much unstable political excitement about without adding compost into the mix….and I forgot to take any pictures anyway.

I rounded off the garden action by picking some gooseberries and stewing them.  They are delicious with ice cream.

I then adjourned to prepare the Water of Leith post which some of you may have seen and when I looked up, the sun was shining…

delphiniums

The view from the front room window

…but alas, too late to be of practical use.

It was very pleasant though as I drove back down to Carlisle in the late evening sunshine to pick up Mrs Tootlepedal up off the evening train.

She had purchased a very stout pair of secateurs so she felt that her trip to London had been most satisfactory.

I should add that as she had bought the secateurs at the RHS Hampton Court Garden flower show, which she had attended in the company of our daughter Annie and followed that up with a boat trip down the Thames on her way back to London, she felt that the whole thing had been well worth the long day.

I was pleased to see that she had survived the fierce southern heat (28°C or so) and the blazing sunshine.  It was 9°C by the time that we got home.  Different worlds.

On a sad note, I couldn’t show her any of the wonderful display of orchids along the Canonbie by-pass as Genghis the Grasscutter had been along with his mower and mowed them all down.  Tragedy.

The flying bird of the day is a blackbird in the silver pear tree.

blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who has been enjoying café society in the sunshine on the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park.

Cafe overlooking the Serpentine, Hyde Park

In a surprise but very welcome move, Mrs Tootlepedal invited me out to lunch today.  The Buccleuch Centre, where she often helps out, is having an Italian week and she thought that I might enjoy a lasagne.

The weather was better today and this kind invitation gave me a big decision to make.  Should I go cycling before or after lunch?  The question turned out to be too difficult for me altogether and in the end I couldn’t choose and didn’t go cycling at all.  Choice is very overrated in my view.

The plus side was that I had a relaxing morning, had a good lunch and then did some useful work and had a walk in the afternoon.

Mrs Tootlepedal decided that it was time to lift the first of the early potatoes and the results were very satisfactory.

first new potatoes

We got a good crop of clean potatoes from the first row of plants and Mrs Tootlepedal soon had the space replanted with spinach (well protected from the marauding sparrows).

I took  time to wander round the flowers.  Yesterday’s rain hadn’t done any damage and even the sodden poppy looked quite perky.

poppy, lily, nasturtium and clematis

There is colour all around….

sweet william potentilla, orange hawkweed

…although the orange hawkweed is going over.

The paler astrantia is pulling in the bees.

astrantia and bee

The star of the morning was a rose once again.

rose

The lasagne at the Buccleuch Centre was absolutely excellent and as it was washed down by a glass or two of red wine and followed by coffee and cake, I was more than happy to sit down when we got home and watch the final kilometres of an enthralling stage of the Tour de France.

When it had finished, I went out for a short walk, just to work off the lunch.  I chose a route along the river to the Kilngreen, then over the Sawmill Brig, across the Castleholm and home by way of the Jubilee Bridge and the Scholars Field.

I saw a large number of ducks on the Kilngreen and among the usual mallards there was a unusual white duck.

ducks

It was sitting peacefully with the regulars but I have no idea where it has come from.

I got another surprise when I got to the far end of the Kilngreen and saw these two very large fungi.

kilngreen fungi

As I often pass this way and have never knowingly seen them before, either they have grown very quickly or I am not paying  as much attention while I walk along as I should be.

While crossing the Castleholm, I took a look at the horse racing track which is being prepared for a race meeting this weekend.

Castleholm racetrack

On the outside of the neatly mowed track, all is long grass and clover.

grass and clover

After leaving the racetrack, I passed through a gate with a rotten top to one of its gateposts.

A rotten gatepost is always worth looking into.

fungus on gatepost

It’s a different world in there.

I passed many trees with things hanging from them….

tree seeds and fruits

…and noticed that the sheep were keeping a very low profile today.

sheep

I liked this….

haw

…and I liked this even more.

umbellifer

On my way home, I peeped over the hedge into a couple of gardens….

hydrangea and lupin

…and then I peeped over our own hedge to show the view of the garden that passers by see.

garden view

We had some of the new potatoes with our tea and they tasted very good.  I hope the next rows turn out as well as the first one has.

During the day, Mrs Tootlepedal and I were busy with our bow saw and we cleared a literal backlog of logs by sawing them up ready for the stove.  In addition, I mowed the middle lawn which is looking better for its dose of weed and feed and sieved the last of the compost in Bin D.

I know readers will be feeling that they haven’t seen enough compost pictures recently so here is Bin C and Bin D with half the compost removed from Bin C into Bin D.

compost bins C and D

I will shift the other half later. Exciting times.

In the evening, I went off to practise with Henry’s Common Riding choir.  We now have three basses and we are doing our best to provide a sound foundation for the rest of the singers.  The songs are relatively easy and I am finding it most enjoyable to have a sing without any pressure to master tricky parts and memorise large numbers of words.

The flying bird of the day was one of the many young blackbirds in the garden.  It was flying a few moments after I took its picture.

Blackbird

 

 

 

 

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