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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my Sydney correspondent Stephen.  As he came out of the Sydney Opera House after a performance of Carmen yesterday, he saw this striking tribute to the many volunteer firemen who have been battling the blazes in Australia.

sydney opera house firefighters

After a restless night disturbed by strong wind and heavy rain,  we got up to a continuing gale and more rain.

It was so dark at midday that this was the best that the camera could do when peering out of the window.  The fact that the feeder was swaying madly didn’t help.

siskin in gale

It was a day fit for nothing outside but perfect for making marmalade indoors.

I made marmalade.  If it turns out well, a picture may follow tomorrow.

The wind calmed down as the afternoon went on and the light improved enough to enable the camera to get a glimpse of some hardy birds who had defied the conditions and made it to the feeder.

feeder afetr gale

But making marmalade is a lengthy business so I wasn’t bored.

Our friend Gavin ventured out while there was still some light and took this picture of the Wauchope Water just sneaking under the Kirk Brig to join the Esk.

gavin's wauchope in flood

Luckily, the rivers didn’t get any higher than this and the rain stopped in the evening.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fry up of black pudding, liver, mushrooms and tomatoes with a side order of mashed potato for our tea, a suitably cheerful meal for a rotten day.

And then the day got better.

It was warm and dry as we walked along the road to the Buccleuch Centre for our annual treat, the appearance of the RNSO, Scotland’s national orchestra.  This is not some mini outreach programme  for the provinces but the full orchestra of 60 players on the last leg of their national (Perth, Inverness, Dumfermline, Langholm) new year tour with a Viennese Gala.

RNSO 2020

You can take it from me that getting to hear a 60 piece symphony orchestra in a packed 300 seater hall  is quite something and I sat in the back row beside Mrs Tootlepedal with tears of joy running down my cheeks as they played Suppé’s Overture to Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna to get the concert rolling.

And roll on the concert did, with popular orchestral favourites interspersed with songs from the Richard Tauber repertoire sung by a very pleasing tenor.  As he sang “You are my heart’s delight” while I was sitting beside Mrs Tootlepedal, the programming couldn’t have been better planned.

Tinayi Lu, the conductor, took some of the pieces along at such a speed that you feared that the whole hall might explode with the accumulated energy generated.  I am not a great fan of the modern tendency to play everything as fast as possible but the acoustic in the Buccleuch Hall is so clean that you can hear every note no matter how fast they are played.  And it was decidedly exciting.

She also introduced the audience to an ingenious Chinese pun and a very delightful musical dialogue between Chinese  tunes and western orchestral style by a composer called Bao Yuankai.

By the time that we came out of the concert and strolled home, the terrible weather of the day was just a fading memory and all was peace and harmony.

No flying bird of the day today for obvious reasons but I wonder if this goldfinch was as happy as we were by the end of the day.

soggy goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture is another East Wemyss view from our son Tony.  They don’t don’t just do golden sunshine and handsome canines there, they do purple skies too.

east wemms purple

We were intending to catch one of the super duper 5 coach new trains from Lockerbie to Edinburgh today but having checked the early services and found them either late, starting from the wrong station, having only three coaches or cancelled  (or any combination of these), we cracked and decided to stay at home instead.

We might have considered driving the 80 miles to Tweedbank to get a more reliable service from there but the thought of driving home in the dark through the forecast heavy rain didn’t appeal either.

A generally slightly gloomy mood in the Tootlepedal household was not lightened by seeing a cat prowling around the garden chasing our birds so I was pleased to see that a dunnock had survived.  They are often to be found at ground level and are targets for feline predators.

dunnock

The light wasn’t very good after some heavy overnight rain but a good quantity of siskins found their way to the feeder today.

siskin coming to feeder

At times they monopolised the perches.

siskin looking down

A blackbird with a bright yellow beak turned up as well.

balckbird

Rather surprisingly, the skies lightened up a lot and instead of sitting around and having coffee and whingeing, I put a loaf in the bread maker and went for a bicycle ride.  I had given my knee a good twist and bump yesterday while getting up too quickly to answer the phone, so I was anxious to keep it moving today to stop it stiffening up.

It was a bit sore at first but it soon settled down, and it got no worse as I pedalled along.  It did mean that I had to adopt a very low gear for going up hills though and this resulted in a very slow pace.

For once, the wind was reasonably light and while the sun was out, it was a treat to be dawdling through the countryside.

I took this small tribute to the wind turbines and the pylons that make and deliver the electricity to our house that lets me write these posts.

Minsca wind farm

The turbines in the picture above are quite noticeable but they are nothing to a couple of proposed wind farms which are wanting to put 600ft high turbines on top of our small hills.  They may be more efficient but they will overpower our surroundings and we are hoping that they will not get permission.

Turning a little bit to the right after taking the wind farm picture, I managed to get a view of hills with no turbines on them.  If I had gone another degree or two to the right, more turbines would have come into view.

view towards ewe hill

Although my ride started brightly, there were lots of clouds looming up behind the trees…

gair road tree

…and most of my ride was in their shadow, though annoyingly it was one of those days when there always seemed to be a of blue sky where I wasn’t.

When we drove to Lockerbie Station last week, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that she could see two tower houses within a few hundred yards of each other from the old main road and wondered why they had been built so close to each other.

The two houses only become visible from the same spot when the leaves are off the trees.  I could see them both today.

tower house old A74 1

Robgill Tower: 15 century

tower house old A74 2

Bonshaw Tower: 16th century

Both of the original towers now have more modern houses beside them.

In spite of the light winds, I was far from my cycling peak today and pottered along.  After I had done the first fifteen miles, I spent most of the rest of the ride trying to ride above a continual rumble of complaints from my legs by conducting coruscating imaginary interviews in my head with prominent politicians, after which they all said that they were very sorry and promised to mend their ways.

I stopped from time to time to stretch and have a snack and tried to find something to photograph when I did so.

gaunt tree

An open gate and a track down from the road gave me an opportunity to get a good picture of the first bridge across the River Sark.  A few miles to the south, this mighty stream forms the border between England and Scotland.

sark bridge at Milltown

As I got near Langholm, mist was beginning to form in the fields beside the river…

mist on fileds at Auchenrivock

…and by the time that I got to Skippers Bridge, it had begun to thicken up both to the north…

Langholm Distillery mist

…and the south.

mist from Skippers Bridge

I managed 33 very slow miles but as they had kept my knee exercised and added a few more miles to my very poor annual total, I was tired but happy when I sank into a chair and had a cup of tea and some parsnip and sweet potato soup for a late lunch.

As Mrs Tootlepedal also made a delicious venison stew for our tea, I ended the day in a much better mood than I started it.  I wasn’t surprised to read in a newspaper this morning that Lockerbie has the worst record of any station in Scotland and the third worst in the whole UK for punctuality and reliability.  I wasn’t surprised either to find that the railway company are accordingly raising the fare to Edinburgh by 5%.

I didn’t have time to watch the birds a lot this morning and it was too dark when I got back so this siskin group will have to do as flying bird of the day.

three shocked siskins

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Today’s guest picture comes from a new contributor, Paul.  Like myself, he is a cyclist and obviously a keen photographer.  He is not absolutely sure but he thinks that this delightful shot was taken at Blea Tarn in the Lake District.

blea tarn

We had another cold and sunny day today, but it was even colder than yesterday with temperatures hitting -7°C overnight.  It was still -3° after breakfast.  Mrs Tootlepedal had left very early to catch a bus from Canonbie to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate with a group of embroiderers so I was left on my own.

I went to the new corner shop, did the crossword and then watched the birds for a while as the day warmed up a little.  The goldfinches, which must come from a distance, are not interested in visiting the garden while it is so cold but there were a few resident birds about.

robin dunnock blackbird

Traffic was thin though,  so I went for a walk down to the river to see if I could find some more.

The Kilngreen was quite busy with ducks, gulls and rooks…

duck, gulls and rook

…and reindeer.

reindeer on kilngreen

Wait a minute!  Reindeer???

Yes reindeer.  Some of the Cairngorm reindeer herd are on tour, appearing at pre-Christmas events all over the country.  These ones had stayed at the company’s Yorkshire base over night.

reindeer head

There were old and young animals…

reindeer panel

…and they ate the Kilngreen grass and the ready prepared food with equal eagerness.

When they time came, they were led out onto the main road….

reindeer leaving kilngreen

…where they disappeared into the low sunshine as they made their way to the stable at the Buck Hotel where they would be an attraction at the town’s switching on the lights event.

reindeer going to the Buck

I followed them down the High Street but didn’t go into the Buck Hotel, preferring to head up the Kirk Wynd and on to Whita Hill.

There are plenty of haws on the hawthorns waiting for the birds to get hungry enough to eat them and disperse the seeds.

hawthorn

In contrast to the colour of the berries, a stand of rosebay willowherb stalks looked very monchrome and I helped it by taking the picture in monochrome too.

rosebay willowherb

Looking back as I climbed up the track, the valley below was already deep in shadow and looked very cold.  The sun struggles to get above the hills at this time of year and lying at 55° North, we are on the same parallel as Manitoba, bits of Alaska and much of Russia so if it wasn’t for the gulf stream, this shot might well show a lot of snow and not much else.  The effect of climate warming on the Gulf Stream is something that not enough people in government are worrying about.

chilly valley

Still, I couldn’t complain about the weather for my walk today and if I kept in the sun it was bracing but very pleasant all the same.

ewes valley sunny

It was still freezing though.  This puddle reminded of a painting of doves but I can’t pin down the artist.

icy puddle whita

It s difficult for me to capture on camera as I would like, but I do enjoy the intersecting lines of trees and hills as I walk.

potholm hill

This little scene cheers me up every time that I pass it.

view from copshaw road

When I got back to the Kilngreen, the reindeer were long gone but the gulls were at their posts.

gulls on post

I walked up to the Buccleuch Centre and a gathering of folk caught my eye.  Mrs Claus was waiting for her husband.  He appeared along with Santa’s little helper…

Santa and friends

…and they were joined by a group of volunteers who were going to control the traffic.  The alert reader will notice my flute playing friend Luke and his mother in the panel above.  Mrs and Mrs C chatted for a while.

Soon we were joined by the appropriately dressed Langholm Pipe Band and they led off a small procession…

pipe band santa

… of a unicyclist….

unicycle santa

…and Santa on his sleigh (but sadly, with not a reindeer in sight).

 

santa in TT road

I left them to their chilly fun and went back home to have a bowl of warming soup.  Then I made some tea cake dough and left it to rise while I went back up to the town to sing carols with the Langholm Choir at the switching on of the lights.

There was quite a buzz in the Market Place…

fun inmarket place

..and we sang away lustily, accompanied by members of the town brass band until the moment of switch on came.

christmas tree lights

I then scuttled home, crossing the suspension bridge and admiring the lights on the Town Bridge as I went…

lights on bridge

…and knocked back the tea cake dough and divided it into individual cakes and put it in the boiler cupboard to rise.

I was expecting Mrs Tootlepedal back from  her trip to Harrogate but she rang me to say that the bus was stuck on the A66.  Luckily the driver was able to turn round and take a diversion to join the motorway at Tebay so she got home in the end, but much later than expected. There had been a bad crash ahead of them on the A66. She was grateful for a freshly baked tea cake to give her sustenance.

We are due to have another freezing day tomorrow but then things should warm up a bit so we may get more birds back in the garden again.

In the absence of domestic flying birds, one of the Kilngreen gulls is the flying bird of the day.

flying gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who is anxious to prove that the sun continues to shine in East Wemyss.  He took this picture this afternoon.

Tony's view

Unlike East Wemyss, it was a very grey day here today but the temperature had risen to a reasonable 6°C, so I left Mrs Tootlepedal and Patricia to think about a walk and got my bike out for my first pedal for more than two weeks.

It was grey when I started out and the view wasn’t a great deal more exciting than the garage wall I had been looking at yesterday when I had been on the bike to nowhere…

Bloch dull day

…though there were always trees to look at…

Bloch tree

…and a comfortable cow at Canonbie.

canonbie cow

I didn’t take any pictures in the ten miles between the tree and the cow because it was raining.  Fortunately, as I passed the cow the rain died away and the wind, which I had feared might slow my progress on the way home, proved to be more helpful than not, so I enjoyed the last six miles of my customary 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

My enjoyment was enhanced by seeing work actually going on at the site of the proposed new Canonbie sewage works.  This site was first dug out in October 2016 so they have not been rushing to get going on the project.

canonbie sewage works

Further up the road, I was very pleased to see that all the trees, big and small, have been cleared from beside the old road near Irvine House.  Previously, this section of road has been perpetually shadowed by trees and has been dark and damp with layers of slippery leaves making things dangerous for cyclist.  This is a big improvement.

old a7 irvine house

When I got back onto the new main road, I was once again enchanted by the show of larches planted when the road was made a few years ago.

new a7 auchenrivock

Since it was my birthday today, I was more than usually pleased to have been able to get out for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal and Patricia had not been so fortunate, because as soon as they had got out of the door to start their walk, it had started to rain. They had abandoned the plan and stayed in.

We thought that we ought to be able to offer our guest Patricia an outing of some sort so after lunch, we drove back down the road towards Canonbie and paid a visit to Gilnockie Tower.

Gilnockie Tower November

This 16th Century tower house has been extensively renovated and now offers a ‘visitor experience’.  And a good one too, we thought.

We paid our money and we looked around.  We were impressed by the original fireplace on the first floor and also by the modern wood burning stove that had been installed in it which was keeping the room very snug.

Gilnockie Tower fireplace

The very thick walls might have helped to keep the room warm too.  The  window revealed just how thick the walls are.

Gilnockie Tower window

The view from the window on the floor above was good.

Gilnockie Tower view

This floor was devoted to a family bedroom and the sharp eyed reader will be able to spot Mrs Tootlepedal making use of the comprehensive audio guide which was provided for visitors.

Gilnockie Tower bed

On the next floor, which contained documents, paintings, photographs and other information,  a corner of the room is devoted to Neil Armstrong who visited the tower in 1972.

Gilnockie Tower Neil Armsrong

Access to the various floors is by means of a steep and winding spiral staircase and I was quite impressed that I managed to climb all the way to the top of the tower.

Gilnockie Tower stair

Mrs Tootlepedal and Patricia opened the door that led to the gallery that runs round the top of the tower…

Gilnockie Tower balcony

…but didn’t venture out onto it,

I had already retreated down the stairs to the safety of solid ground.

In a sign of the times, a neat walkway leads round the back of the tower to a toilet block for the convenience of visitors.

Gilnockie Tower outside toilet

Not everything has been spruced up though and I was happy to find a section of wall round the car park which was rich in lichen.

Gilnockie Tower lichen

The restoration has been done very well and the tower is full of interesting information so we were happy to have paid our visit to it.

When we got back, I made baked eggs in spinach with a cheese sauce for our evening meal and we followed that up with the very last of the tarte tatin.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday night visit and while Alison and I played music, Patricia, Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted away.  Alison and I joined in and the conversation was general for a while, though it was interrupted by the arrival of a very fine birthday cake.  This had been cooked and compiled by Mrs Tootlepedal.

Birthday cake 2019

This brought a very satisfactory day to a close.

No flying bird of the day?  You can’t have everything even if it is your birthday.

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I would welcome some more contributions to the guest picture of the day, but in the meantime, I am very happy to have another fine waterfall from Tony and Marianne’s awesome holiday beside Loch Awe.

tony's awesome waterfall

I am currently having terrible trouble with my computer.  It has been very moody recently, and frequently refuses to talk to me at all.  As a result I have had to resort to a back up device which doesn’t have my usual photo editor on it, so some pictures in this post are a bit hit and miss for which I apologise.

The main business of the morning, after a rainy night, was to look out of the window and stay inside.  Luckily Sandy came down for a cup of coffee so that cheered the day up a bit.  When he had gone, I had a look to see how the new bird feeder was doing.

A goldfinch was having a look too.

goldfinch waiting

A brave soul paid a visit to the upstairs dining room…

first goldfinch on new feeder

…while a chaffinch tried out the mezzanine.

chaffinch on new feeder

A greenfinch arrived to give it the seal of approval…

greenfinch on new feeder

…and before long, the whole thing was in use, upstairs and downstairs.

full house at new feeder

In fact at times it got extremely busy.

busy time at new feeder

A goldfinch arrives and weighs up the merits of the upstairs and downstairs accommodation.

goldfinch deciding at new feeder

A greenfinch lets a goldfinch know who is the top banana.

greenfinch threateningf goldfinch at new feeder

It was a day of constantly changing weather with rain on and off and even the occasioal blink of sunshine.  After lunch, I peered out of the window and thought that it looked as though it might stay dry for a while so I went for a walk.

In sheltered spots, there are still leaves on some of the trees but as everything is rather damp, it feels as though autumn is pretty well over.

becks track november

I walked along the track to the Becks Burn and saw that there were still some crab apples hanging on.

crab apples becks

I was more interested in getting round before it started to rain again than in taking pictures in poor light, but a fence post caught my eye…

fence post

…and a few oak trees hanging onto their colour gave a bit of contrast to a dull view.late autumn colour

I liked this gloomy combination of trees at the top of the hill before I got back to the town…

tress at Manse Brae

…and I appreciated the efforts of the young larches as I walked down the hill to Pool Corner.

larches at pool corner

The peltigera lichen on a wall nearby have survived a couple of frosty mornings.

peltigera lichen

My timing was good because it started to rain just as I got home.  Although it was only half past two, it was so dark that it felt as though it was early evening already.

I spent some wasted time trying to get my computer to run a bit faster, but it wouldn’t co-operate at all, so I gave up and had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal instead.

In the evening, Luke came round and we made some more progress in our flute playing.  I have had to work hard to improve my own playing in order to keep up with him and we both showed results from practice today.  I will soon have to stop thinking of him as my pupil and start to regard him as someone who is kind enough to come round and play duets with me.

I made a dish of baked eggs in spinach with a cheese sauce for our tea and reflected as we ate it that if the weather doesn’t cheer up soon, I will have to get the bike to nowhere in the garage into action.  My weight gain programme of comfort food eating is going very well.

Because the light has been so poor, getting flying birds is hard and I was thinking of having a robin shot of the day instead….

robin under new feeder

…but that belligerent grteenfinch saved me.

greenfinch flying

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He lives in Derby, one of the places affected by the recent heavy rain and found his route home blocked.  Luckily another route was possible so he got home safely.

derby underpass

After two visits to two cities in two days, I was very happy to have a quiet day at home today.  This decision was helped by a low single figure temperature and a cool wind to go with it.

I  roused myself enough to make some onion and potato soup for lunch and wave Mrs Tootlepedal off as she went to an embroidery meeting.

There was quite a lot of bird traffic in the garden in the morning so when I wasn’t doing anything else, which was most of the time, I watched the birds.

The chaffinches are beginning to return in larger numbers and they were hiding behind the old sunflower stalk…

chaffinch on sunflower stalk

…trying to stand up straight like their mothers taught them…

straight back chaffinch

…and flying off when they had had enough seed.

chaffinch fly by

One of the perches on the seed feeder has become unscrewed and fallen out, as a goldfinch discovered when it tried to perch on it.

goldfinch missing perch

Later on another goldfinch mastered the art of hanging on to the rim of the feeder.

goldfinch hanging on

Mrs Tootlepedal has put down some wire netting to stop the birds trampling down the soil near the feeder and the dunnocks are quite happy to tread on it.

dunnock on wire netting

Our robin was back again, looking pensive today.

sparrow on edge of tray

We only see one greenfinch at a time at the moment and it is hard to tell if it is always the same greenfinch coming every time, or a string of different greenfinches coming once each.

lone greenfinch

There are definitely at least two blue tits about as I have seen them at the same time but whether the seed fancier and the nut fancier are one and the same bird, I leave for others to decide.

blut tit on seed and nuts

After I had eaten my soup, I decided that I ought to stretch my legs a little at least and maybe see if I could find something interesting to photograph, so I went for a walk.

Although I did see a lot of black headed gulls…

four gulls on Ewes

…the walk was not a success.  Firstly, my sore feet played up, cutting down the distance I could walk considerably, and secondly my pocket camera gave up the ghost.  I had got sand in the zoom lens mechanism during our holiday in North Berwick in the spring and the camera has been moaning and groaning every time that I have turned it on since.  Finally, it has all got too much for it and it is refusing to focus at all.  It stayed firmly in my pocket and as I had a bird lens on my other camera, taking pictures of anything close was impossible.

I took a long view of some fading larches…

fading larches

…and admired some late colourful leaves…

late leaves

…before walking very carefully home.

As it was a very gloomy day and what little light there had been had faded, I didn’t even walk round the garden when I got home, but went straight in and found something reasonably useful to do at the computer.

I made a sausage and onion stew with green peppers and mushrooms for tea and then we sat down to watch Strictly followed by some excellent racing from the Glasgow velodrome World Cup meeting.  Watching other people taking vigorous exercise was the best way to finish off a slightly disappointing day.

I did get several flying bird pictures though and because I didn’t take any interesting pictures on my walk, I have put in joint flying birds of the day today to fill the gap.

A flying mallard passed me while I was gull watching…

flying duck

…and a traditional flying chaffinch of the day took a dim view of the missing perch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend and former colleague, Marjorie.  She came upon these stunning fungi on a walk a few days ago.

blue fungus

It was a dry but grey morning and the forecast was not too bad for the rest of the day so my mind turned to cycling.

Before I set off, I had coffee and a slice of toast to think about and the birds to to watch as well.

They must have been reading the blog because after yesterday’s complaint about not enough birds, they came in better numbers today and the feeder was soon filled with goldfinches…

full feeder goldfinches

…with more anxious to join in.

This made for photo opportunities…

attacking goldfinch

…and bad tempered exchanges…

two goldfinches sparring

…and curious chaffinches.

chaffinch approac hing

The goldfinches in possession of a perch tried to ignore outside distractions and kept their heads well down while they could for the most part.

goldfinches tucking in

In the end, I put down the bird watching camera and packed my cycling camera into the pocket of a stout waterproof bright yellow jacket and got out my bicycle, noting two particoloured jackdaws at the apples as I set off.

two spotty jackdaws

There was a brisk north easterly wind blowing and it pushed me over Callister and along the newly surfaced road past the quarry to Paddockhole.  I stopped there for half a banana and a look at the bridge.

The bridge has a bright red metal plate screwed to the parapet and when I looked at the parapet, I could see that turning lorries may have been knocking into it a bit, hence the need for the warning and protective plate…

paddockhole brodge medley

…but the parapet was sound enough to be home to a nice pixie cup lichen among the moss and  a fallen beech nut.

The reason for the lorry traffic over the bridge is a new windfarm in the area so the narrow road after the bridge is being widened and lay-bys are being put in to cope with the construction vehicles.

Luckily there was very little traffic on the road as I battled up the hill alongside the Water of Milk straight into the brisk wind.  I was heading for the watershed between the Water of Milk and the River Esk and it took me some time.

It was lucky that I had my stout rainproof jacket on as it was drizzling at this point.  It was a bit annoying to look to my right and see the Ewe Hill wind farm bathed in sunshine.

ewe hill windfarm in sun

I pressed on, crossing little bridges over little streams…

bridge on crossdykes road

…until I got to the sunlit uplands on the top of the hill.  I love this section of road.

sunlit uplands baillieghill

To my right I could see more wind turbines making good use of the enthusiastic breeze…

new turnbines bailiehill

…and once I had got over the hill, I could see the Esk valley stretching in front of me.  The road follows that line of trees along the right side of the valley.

esk valley from bailliehill

The rain had blown over by now and I enjoyed a sunny trip back down the river into Langholm.  Larches stood out in the sunshine.

larch plantation

With seven miles to go, I stopped for the other half of my banana and a drink at the Enzieholm bridge.  Naturally, I had a look at the parapet while I was there.

enzieholm bridge medley

There was some good autumn colour on a hedge at Bentpath village…

colour at bentpath

…and I stopped to take a close up of a larch beside the road further on just to show that they really are golden at this time of year.

a golden larch

I had a look back at the Douglen Cleuch…

view of douglen

..before climbing the last hill of the day and swooping down into the town.  It was only a 26 miles ride but because of the wind and several hills to climb, it had seemed like more and I was very satisfied as it had felt like a proper outing.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy painting the hall while I was away.  It is looking very exciting already.

I had a look round the garden when I got home and was impressed by the staying power of the Rosy Cheeks rose and the very late phlox but the most arresting thing was the sudden appearance of a cowslip among the expected clematis, potentilla and wallflower.

six november flowers

I had a shower and than went for a walk.  I am supposed to keep exercising my feet and there was a little sunshine left so I headed off to see if I could find the fungi that Marjorie had photographed.

My usual friend was standing on the usual rock in the Esk…

gull on same rock

…and two goosanders were swimming up the river nearby.

two goodsanders

I should have been quicker to go walking as the sun was already sinking behind the hill and this was the last sunny view I got…

river esk november evening

…before crossing the Sawmill Brig and walking round the pheasant pens.  I didn’t find Marjorie’s fungi but I saw other varieties…

three fungi castleholm

… before I crossed the Duchess Bridge and made my way home.

duchess bridge november

As you can see, the bridge is in need of some TLC.

The slow cooked venison stew made a third and final appearance for our evening meal and it was followed by some tarte tatin which I had made when I got back from my walk.  I may need therapeutic help as I think that I have become addicted to tarte tatin.

When I checked, I discovered that the forecast for the next week is for some inclement and wintery weather with a maximum temperature of 7 degrees and plenty of rain so that made today’s ride and stroll even more pleasant in retrospect.

I apologise for an excessive number of pictures but it was an interesting day and here is a FBotD to round it off.

flying goldfinch

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