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Archive for the ‘Cycle outings’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He gets up very early to walk his dogs before going to work and thus can take pictures like this with his phone.

ANT'S SUNRISE

We had yet another day of intermittent showers, some very heavy and almost all quite short.  The shortest lasted about a minute but was quite intense while it was in action.

I started the day by filing down a key.  When we moved the Archive Group to its new premises, we got some keys cut to let members in to work.  Some of the keys fitted the lock but others didn’t and I have been meaning to sort the ill fitting ones out for some time.  Like many of my little plans though, nothing actually happened until I got a call today to do something about it.  Galvanised by this, I got busy with a little file and went up to the office where, rather to me surprise, the key now fitted and opened the door.  I delivered the key to the member who had asked for it, and she was probably even more surprised than I was.

Encouraged by this, I resolved to risk getting wet, and went off for a bike ride.  Once again the wind was very unhelpful and made cycling hard work, so I settled for fifteen miles, making sure that I had the wind behind me on the return journey.   The sun came out as I pedalled home and Wauchopedale looked very inviting.

Wauchopedale view

When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and then walked round the garden.

This poppy had given all it had to give to passing bees…

exhausted poppy

…but the buddleia still has plenty left to attract butterflies….

peacock butterfly

…and the Michaelmas daisies are not short of pull either.

fly on daisy

Sadly, the sweet peas have had their day and I gave Mrs Tootlepedal a hand as she demolished the imposing structure which had given them support.

Nearby, I admired the fine mint plant next to the greenhouse.  It is, as they say, in mint condition.

mint in mint condition

Round the front lawn, the yellow crocosmias are making a good show.

yellow crocosmia

It was a pleasantly warm day, and after we had finished with the sweet peas, Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat on the new bench and had a rest.  From the bench I could see a good crop of Japanese anemones climbing above a hedge…

Japanese anemone clump

…and a good flock of sparrows clustered on the silver pear.

sparrows in silver pear

Then it was time for lunch.

After lunch, we went out into the garden again.

When Mrs Tootlepedal had been cutting down the potentillas on the dam side yesterday, I had noticed that the fuchsia further along the house wall was looking good, so I took a picture of it today.

fuschia beside dam

I had also noticed a plant with many tiny white flowers on it and Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is lemon balm.

lemon balm

The camera club has had a small exhibition running in the community cafe in Canonbie for some time, but it is coming to an end this week and we are going to take the pictures up to The Hub in Eskdalemuir, where they will be on show during September.  The organiser there had asked me to paint a pen portrait of the camera club and provide a poster for the exhibition, so I went in and did my best to meet her requirements.

Then there was time for another garden check to see if there were any birds wanting to have their picture taken.

A blackbird gave me that fashionable over the shoulder pose…

blackbird back

…and a dunnock tried for the same effect but didn’t quite have the neck and shoulder for it.

dunnock on fence

I took a final picture…

clump of calendula

…and went back in.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I checked over our potato crop fairly carefully to take out any tubers which had been forked or were suffering from slugs.  We put the rest of the crop into storage.  For one reason or another, we had managed to spear quite a lot of potatoes when we were digging them up but the slug damage was very slight so we were pleased to have enough to last for some time.

Although there was a hint of rain in the air when we had finished sorting the potatoes, I went for a short walk.   Along the way, there were unwelcome signs of the turning of the year to be seen.

leaves in puddle

…and unwelcome, although pretty, invasive plants to be found.

himalayan balsam park

And there was a token of how strong the winds have been in the form of a pile of branches beside the path…

fallen oak branch easton's walk

…which turned out to be from a substantial limb which had split from a tree.

fallen oak branch easton's walk 2

I didn’t walk as far as I intended as I fell into conversation with a friend whom I met on the way and we had a lively discussion about life and politics which took some time.  There were a couple of short, sharp showers while we talked but as we were under a well leafed tree, we were unaffected.  In the end, we broke off our debate and walked back together, heeding the call of the evening meal.

No flying bird of the day today, but I felt that the resident dragons in the park were taking a keener interest in me than usual as I walked by them today, so I have put them in to keep them happy.

park monsters

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  A friend, a fellow allotmenteer, brought her round some dahlias from Annie’s plot.  They are doing a lot better than ours are.

annie dahlia

We had another unsettled and unsettling day.  It is difficult to have a plan of action when the weather (and the forecast) is so changeable. In the forecast yesterday morning, we had been promised a calm and sunny day today so I was looking for a good cycle ride, staring early.

By the time that I got up today, there was no sign of sun and the forecast was now promising showers in the morning and a sunny afternoon.  I settled down to coffee and the crossword, thinking of an early lunch and an afternoon pedal.

There was rain.

Having finished the coffee and the crossword, I ventured out into the garden.

There were no butterflies to be seen but we were not short of other insects.

I saw a hoverfly vising an Icelandic poppy

hoverfly icelandic poppy

…and a bee well into a poppy…

bee in poppy

,,,while another hoverfly had caused a small pollen storm.

hoverfly in poppy

Another bee took a more refined approach to a geranium.

bee on geranium

Not every small creature was so welcome though.  Our turnips have taken a bit of a bashing.

nibbled turnip

Mrs Tootlepedal hasn’t planted as many cosmos as usual because the plants have tended to suffer from disease in recent years, but there she has some and they are just coming out.

cosmos

Although the bird feeders are not out at present, there are still plenty of birds about, particularly starlings…

fluffy starling on holly

…and blackbirds.

blackbird on bench

I looked at the forecast just before noon.  The sunny afternoon had disappeared and rain showers were back in.  I did put my cycling clothes on but cycling was once again postponed and we were busy out in the garden, looking at some ominous clouds, when a pair of strangers appeared at the front gate.

Were we the owners of Wauchope Cottage, they asked.  We confessed that we were and the man said that he had come especially to see the house as his name was Wauchope too and he had often seen pictures of our garden when he researched Wauchope on Google.

We invited him and his partner Cassandra in to tour the garden in real life. They turned out to come from New Orleans and were in Scotland to find as many Wauchope connections as they could.  They had been to a Wauchope family mausoleum in an Edinburgh churchyard and now they had come to visit the mighty Wauchope Water and Wauchopedale in all its glory.

After their garden tour, they sat our bench for a moment’s rest before continuing their adventure.

Mr Wauchope

When they left, I took a picture of the work that Mrs Tootlepedal, in the guise of Attila the Gardener, had been doing in the garden when the visitors came.  The age of the salvias is ended and they are no more.

no salvias

However, I shredded them all and they are now serving a useful purpose as either garden mulch or an addition to the compost bin.

As the weather continued to look gloomy, I went back indoors and did some work on the computer until finally a good forecast and some fine weather actually coincided and I went out for a cycle ride.

Nothing is perfect though, and a stiff breeze made cycling into it more of a duty than a pleasure so I cut my intended distance down and settled for a comfortable 20 miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.

In spite of the wind, it was warm enough to make being out and about enjoyable, and as I pedalled along, the clouds were being blown away and the sun shone for the whole of my trip.

retreating clouds

The River Esk drains well and there was little sign of the recent rain as  I looked over the bridge at The Hollows.

esk at hollows

I stopped when I got to the old A7 just before getting back to Langholm and enjoyed the view across the valley.

view from old A7

Beside the road, an umbellifer was playing host to a crowd of insects.  I can count seven but there may be more.

umbellifer and insect

The amiable sunshine made even a very ordinary dock look rather gorgeous…

dock close up

…and  I was able to find some refreshment before getting back on my bike again.

brambles

The blackberries were delicious.

When I arrived back, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy cutting down  potentillas at the back of the house along the dam while i had been away.  After the recent flood had put water through the ventilators under our floor, she thought that clearing away the vegetation in front of the ventilators would allow more flow of air which could only be a good thing.

This provided me with an opportunity to do a lot more shredding and more beds were mulched and the compost bin was once again enhanced.

I just had time to some black and white photography of nicotiana..

three nicotiana

…and our strikingly dark pansies…

black pansies

…before going in to cook baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce for our tea.

In the evening, we were visited by Mairi, the camera club member whose pictures I had printed.  She had framed them, and she brought them back so that they could be part of our next camera club exhibition.  She stayed on for a while to chat to Mrs Tootlepedal and we soon had the world put to rights.

The flying bird of the day is a gull which I caught when it was passing over the garden near midday.

flying gull overhead

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She went to the Haynes International Motor museum in Yeovil with her friend Venetia, and her eye was caught by this shiny Morris Oxford 6 saloon from 1930.

haynes motor museum

I got up intending to have a quick breakfast and go cycling but like so many of my good intentions, this one was unrealised.  In the end, I had a slow breakfast, did the crossword, waited for a rain shower to pass, checked on the butterflies in the garden…

more butterflies

….and then finally went cycling.  By this time the wind had got up and was blowing pretty forcibly so I reduced my intended route distance from 30 miles to 12 and even then had quite a hard time cycling the six miles up hill and  into the wind to my turning point.

The grass is pointing to my way home.

 

blowing grass

I was freewheeling along a flat section at 25 mph with not a breath of wind in my face at one time on my way home, and that gives some idea of the briskness of the breeze.  Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have managed even 12 miles.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had done some serious lawn edging.

edged lawn

I had another walk round the garden and was pleased to find that lots of flowers had survived the four inches of rain that we have had during the week…

six garden flowers

…and that bees were busy visiting some of our newer blooms.

two bees

After lunch, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to do some more gardening in the sunshine, I drove down to Canonbie to visit the flower show there.

As well as jams, jellies, needlework, art, flowers and vegetables, there are always other attractions at the show and this year, there was a modest display of falconry.  It was slightly hampered by the very strong winds but a couple of patient birds sat on their perches taking an interest in what was going on.

This is a Harris Hawk..

harris hawk

…but I can’t remember what this striking bird was.

falcon canonbie

There are usually some static engines on display and this fine oil engine was the star of the show this year.

static engine canonbie

Some more mobile vehicles were to be seen as well.

two tractors canonbie

When I went into the hall to see the photographs, I was surprised to find that I had managed to acquire two first prizes and a second ticket from my twelve entries.  Sandy had been in the prizes as well and we shared  a trophy with yet another exhibitor for most points in the coloured photo classes.  We all had had a first and a second.

There were a lot of pictures on display and quite a number of different people had caught the eye of the judge.  This is very satisfactory and should bode well for the entries next year.  I would like to thank Linda for taking my pictures down to show and putting them up for me.

After a tour round the flowers and vegetables, I went for a walk along the river.  As I crossed the bridge, I saw a dipper below.

dipper in esk canonbie

A started my walk at the church and was pleased to find sheep safely grazing in the glebe fields.

sheep canonbie church

I felt that I was being laughed at as I took the path down to the river but it was only a conifer covered in strange fruit.

pine fruit

It was very peaceful walking along the grassy bank of the Esk…

esk at canonbie

…although a little waterfall splashing down the banking further on showed how wet it has been.

waterfall at canonbie

I was going to walk along the river for a good bit but the path became very muddy and as I didn’t have suitable footwear, I had to turn back and go back to the hall by the route that I had taken on the way out.

I met Sandy there and he kindly offered to bring my pictures back after the show had ended, so I was able to drive home and find out what Mrs Tootlepedal had been up to in my absence.

She had lifted the onions.

onions 2019

We had a cup of tea and then we drove up to the White Yett and walked up the track to the monument on Whita Hill.

It was still very breezy but the sun was shining, so I expected to get some good views.  Once again my expectations were unrealised as it was pretty hazy, but when the sun shone in the right place, views of some sort were available.  This is the Ewes valley.

ewes valley august evening

There is a plan to put a lot of exceedingly tall wind turbines on the top of these hills and although I am a supporter of wind power, we think that this is a step too far.  We can already see about 60 turbines from the monument but they don’t impinge on the views too dramatically,  These huge turbines would overwhelm the valley altogether.

They are several times the height of our monument.

monument sugust evening

When we arrived at the monument, we were being buffeted by the wind to such an extent that we didn’t stay for long.  I did look over the wall and down onto the Solway plain which stretches between our hills and the English hills which you can just see though the haze in the distance.

view of Solway plain from whita

When the sun came out from behind the clouds, the monument cast a long shadow over the moor.

shadow of monument

As we turned to go back down the hill, a patch of sunlight played on the top of Castle Hill across the valley.

castle hill august evening

As we went back down the hill to the town in our car, we passed several notices calling for care and warning of sharp bends and sudden steep sections.  When I checked, I found that there is a cycle sportive coming this way tomorrow from Hawick.  I just hope that the wind drops a bit or it will be hard work for the cyclists.

After a busy day for us both, we were refreshed by corned beef hash and rhubarb crumble with custard for our tea.

The falconer at Canonbie was able to fly an owl over a very short distance in spite of the wind so I have got quite an unusual flying bird of the day today.

flying owl canonbie

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Today’s unusual guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen.  He
is currently in Melbourne. Last night he attended an opera performance in the Melbourne Arts Centre – the blue-lit building on the left of his picture. He took the shot while walking back to his hotel after the performance. The shot takes in the Yarra River, and the central city area.

melbourne at night

Since it is a panorama shot, a click on the picture will be rewarding.

We woke to a grey and drizzly morning and darkness fell on a grey and drizzly evening.  In between, it was grey and drizzly.

We were not discouraged though and spent most of the morning in the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work and I helped out when I could.

There is no doubt that the garden is past its best, but there is still a lot of colour to be found.  This fine plant was bought as low growing but it must like it here as it has got very tall.

rudbeckia

The verbena behind the bench is rather sparse with well spread out flower heads on spindly stalks so it doesn’t offer much to a photographer as a whole plant, but each head is very attractive.

verbena

And I managed to find another dahlia that hasn’t been nibbled to death.

dahlia

This poppy is the reddest flower in the garden and I was pleased to see that it had a little friend in the damp conditions.

poppy with hoverfly

The delicate honeysuckle on the fence has survived the heavy showers very well…

honeysuckle with stamens

…and the perennial wallflower is living up to its name and providing an endless steam of flowers on the end of ever lengthening stalks.

perennial wallflower

Mrs Tootlepedal recently bought a new phlox and has found a home for it.  It looks quite happy there.

new phlox

A variety of colours is available in the bed beside the front lawn.

three bright flowers august

I checked on the dam just in case, but it was still in a very calm mood.

calm dam after storm

While Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed hedges, I trimmed the second box ball at the far end of the front lawn.  In a perfect world, both balls would be the same size and shape but this was the best that I could do.

trimmed box balls

As it happens, the slight imperfection doesn’t matter too much as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to savagely cut them both back later in the year.  They will be reduced to short and stubby twigs, but if the ones at the other end of the lawn are anything to go by, they will soon start growing again.

regrowing bocx balls

These will need clipping quite soon.

I took a picture of the perennial nasturtium that grows on our yew….

tropaeolum

…which was just as well as the yew was next in line for clipping and the nasturtium got short shrift.

trimmed yew

The yew is not yet quite in the shape that we would like it to be but considering that it too got a savage clip a couple of years ago and looked like this….

yew

…it hasn’t done too badly.

There is a clump of poppies beside the bridge over the pond and they looked very dainty and fragile today…

dainty poppies

…but in fact, they are very resilient and are holding up well.

dainty poppy

We dug up some more potatoes and found some that were so large that it was obvious that baked potatoes were just the thing to have for our lunch.

After lunch, Sandy rang up to say that his new electric bike had been delivered.  In spite of the light drizzle, he was keen to give it a go, so not long afterwards he appeared at our house…

Sandy and his bike

…and obligingly posed for a picture before we set off.  Because the weather wasn’t very welcoming, we agreed that a three mile jaunt up the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse would be a good test run and off we went.

My worst fears were realised and as we went up the first hill on leaving the town, Sandy sailed up it serenely and had to wait for some time until I came puffing up to join him.  It is gently uphill to Wauchope Schoolhouse, and pedal as hard as I could, Sandy rolled away from me every time we hit one of the shallow slopes.

Considering that he is not currently able to walk any distance and he hasn’t cycled for quite a long time, it is obvious that an electric bike is a brilliant solution to getting out and about and taking as much as exercise as he wants while he is doing it.

In fact, he enjoyed the outing so much that when we got the Schoolhouse, he suggested going up a couple more hills to the top of Callister.  He gave me a good start and cruised past me on the lower slopes of Callister.  He kindly waited for me at the top.

Now I was in my element as his bike is limited to about 15 mph while using power assistance and I had gravity and a gentle wind to help my legs for the six mile return journey.  Going back down to the town, I had to wait for him a couple of times.  Honour was satisfied.

We had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when we got back and then Sandy left to see how well his bike would get him up the steep hill back to his house.

I settled down to put another parish magazine onto the Langholm Archive Group’s website and then had a last look round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal has a very fine mint growing beside the greenhouse.

mint

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a very tasty lamb and lentil dal for our tea and that rounded off a day which had been much more enjoyable than the weather.

There is no flying bird today but to take its place, here is Sandy, flying up the Galaside on his way home, as his new bike (and quite a lot of pedalling) whisked him up the hill.

Sandy whizzing up galaside

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to the Taunton Flower show.  They really know how to enjoy a good time there.

Taunton flower show

Unfortunately, Sandy’s new bike did not arrive on schedule so with nothing better to do, I set out on a solo ride, hoping that the good weather that had greeted the day would last.

There was plenty of evidence of the wet weather of the weekend to be seen as I left the town.  Above the Auld Stane Bridge, trees were scattered casually around, high on the river bank…

washed up trees auld stane brig

…and a mile or two further along the road, I had to stop at a traffic light to get past this landslide.

landslip wauchope road

We seem to have had the worst of the flooding though because after that the roads were dry and clear.

At least they were dry until I got caught in a rain shower which started at ten miles and lasted for the next three miles.  I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t last long and was able to look back it from a sunny spot before I got too wet.

clouds behind me

I had a good rain jacket with me and since I was wearing shorts and my legs are pretty waterproof, I was able to take a little rain without crying.

This was lucky, because after passing the ex nuclear power station at Chaplecross where the demolition continues at a snails pace (unsurprisingly)…

chapelcross demolition

…I encountered another rain shower at twenty miles and this too lasted for three miles.

The rain had stopped by the time that I got to Powfoot, a little village on the shore of the Solway Firth, but another shower was hiding England from sight on the far shore.

solway with england obscured

The contrast couldn’t have been more clear; gloom in England and sunshine in Scotland.

white row powfoot

Looking further down the firth, I could see another shower on our side but I decided to pedal on anyway.

next rainstorm solway

There has been a lot of verge mowing so I didn’t see many wild flowers but I liked this one on the shore at Powfoot.

wild flower powfoot

Since I had encountered rain at ten and twenty miles, I was fully expecting to meet some more at thirty miles but although I passed some large puddles in fields…

large puddle near ruthwell

The verges here were thick with Himalayan balsam

…the sun was still shining as I got to my turning point at the Brow Well, famous as a place where Robert Burns came to drink the waters shortly before his death.

brow well

I didn’t drink the waters but I did stop on the handy bench and ate an egg roll.  I needed the sit down as I had been cycling into the noticeable wind for thirty miles by this time.

I had taken the back road out but took the inland road back.  This involved crossing under the Annan to Dumfries railway a couple of times.

railway bridge near powfoot

With the wind behind me and the sun shining, I whistled along the road through Annan pretty cheerfully.  I stopped for a banana near Eastriggs, and some of my good cheer evaporated when I turned my head to the left and looked across the fields.

rainstorm off eastriggs

Still, the rain was on my left and the wind was coming from the right and behind so I reckoned that the clouds would be blown away safely.

However, I must have cycled too fast and the road must have changed direction a bit because when I got to Longtown, the heavens opened and in seconds the road was awash.  As I was on the main road by this time, I wasn’t only getting rained on from above, but I was getting a good soaking from the passing traffic as well.  I therefore decided to turn off and take the slightly longer but much quieter route through Canonbie, and in spite of having to pedal through a large puddle on my way, this was a good choice.

large puddle north lodge canonbie

It became an even better choice when the next shower turned out to consist of hail stones which gave me such a good pinging that I was forced to take shelter under the trees at Byreburnfoot.  I would have been very exposed on the main road.

I got going again when the hail turned to rain and rode the five miles home in a series of fitful showers which rather annoyingly stopped as soon as I got to Langholm.

My jacket stood up to the weather very well and I arrived home relatively dry and quite cheerful.  Riding through the rain had been quite tiring though, so I was very glad of the cup of tea that Mrs Tootlepedal made for me.

I had a walk round the garden in the sunshine after my cuppa and enjoyed a fine sunflower in the back bed.

sunflower back bed

We both like the pure white flowers on this hosta.

white hosta flowers

There was quite racket of birds in the garden, most of it coming from starlings perched on our new electricity wires.

convocation of starlings

The loudest of them all though was a lone starling sitting on top of the holly tree. Perhaps it was complaining about the prickles.

starling on holly

I was standing on the lawn looking at the starlings when I was nudged out of the way by this blackbird hunting for worms.

close blackbird

I gave way gracefully and went in, passing a rare unnibbled dahlia on the way.

good dahlia

Because of the rain, my feet had got a bit cold and my legs had got a bit stiff so I retired for a hot bath before our evening meal.  This was a feast of vegetarian sausages accompanied by peas, runner beans, carrots, courgette and new potatoes all from the garden.

The temperatures have dropped a lot now and there was distinctly autumnal feel about the morning and the garden is beginning to lose its summer glow.

One of the starlings on the wire rose to the occasion and is the flying bird of the day.

flying starling

Curious readers may find out more about my very slow pedal by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 13 Aug 2019

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who went to the Taunton Flower Show.  You can read about her adventures here. Sad to say, her favourite arrangement in the ‘At the Garden Gate’ class was disqualified for using artificial grass.

Taunton Flower show

We had quite a lot of rain and wind overnight and it was raining very heavily after breakfast when I had to go up to the Town Hall to inquire about getting a replacement bus pass.  It was a fitful sort of day though, and by the time that I came back, the rain had stopped.  That set the pattern for the day.

Dropscone dropped in with traditional treacle scones to go with a cup or two of coffee. He told me that he had been at a golf tournament earlier in the week and had only managed to get six holes in before the competition was called off because the course was flooded.  The dry spell earlier in the summer seems a distant memory now.

When he left, I looked out of the back door across a rainy garden to see the robin at the far end of the lawn…

sparrow at end of lawn

…and two birds on opposites sides of the great Brexit debate on a neighbour’s rooftop.

two birds not speaking

Badly painted blackbirds are all around…

badly painted blackbird

…though the painter’s work is improving.

better painted blackbird

When the rain stopped, I went out to have a look round and was impressed by Mrs Tootlepedal’s large lily.

bif lily

There are still new flowers coming out and the yellow crocosmia has just started to flower.

yellow crocosmia

The phlox has done so well, undaunted by wind and rain, that Mrs Tootlepedal plans to have even more  next year.  Who could blame her?

fiery phlox

A late honey suckle has come out on the vegetable garden fence.

late honeysuckle

I went back in and made some leek and potato soup for lunch with a leek and potatoes from the garden.  Together with a tomato and feta cheese salad (not from the garden), it made a tasty meal.

After lunch, it looked as though there might be a window in the changeable weather that would allow me to go for a short cycle ride, so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping, I set out to go as far as I could without getting wet.

It was sunny when I started but there was plenty of water running across the road up the Wauchope valley after the morning’s showers, and plenty of water in the little streams rushing down to join the Wauchope Water

bigholms burn

The powers that be have mowed every road verge in the district and there are now no wild flowers to look at, so my camera took a wider view today.

I went to the top of Callister and looked down the other side.

callister panorama

Click for the bigger pic (I may have put this one through a heavy filter.)

The dark clouds coming up from the left told me that it was time to turn and go home.

When I looked back towards the town from the top of the Wauchope Schoolhouse brae, I could see my sunny weather disappearing up the valley

Wauchope view

When I got back to the town, I thought of stopping while the going was good, but it was warm enough and it hadn’t started to rain, so I pressed on and crossed the town bridge and headed north.

 

three arches flood on Esk

I had walked under the near arch dry shod on Common Riding day when I wanted to cross the road which was full of horses.

I kept thinking of those grey clouds that I had seen on Callister and feeling that it would be wise not to go too far, but the road is well surfaced and it was still dry so I went a few miles up the road….

ewes panorama

Another clickable bigger picture.

…and the view is always worth looking at…

ewes view

 

…but I left it a fraction too late to turn round and within a mile of home, the heavens opened and I got wet.  As soon as I got home though, the rain stopped again. Those weather gods like a laugh.

The dry spell gave me a chance to have another walk round the garden.  I was hoping to catch a flying bird…

starlings on wire

….but the starlings stayed rooted to the electricity wire while I watched them and then all moved off in a body as soon as I turned my back for a moment.

A young dunnock tried out the fake tree but sat there quietly.

dunnock on fake tree

I gave up and went in to have a shower.

As we sat down for our tea, the sun came out and it was a glorious evening.  We agreed to go for a walk after our meal but of course, it started to rain again when the time came, so we stayed in.  Then the sun came out as the rain continued and to emphasise what a patchy day it was, when I looked out of the window at the back of the house to try to see a rainbow, I found that it wasn’t raining at all on that side of the house.

I went out into the garden and it wasn’t raining as I went out of the door but it was raining quite hard on the lawn only a few yards away.  I don’t think that I have ever seen quite such local rain.

We have two more days of this sort of weather to come and then, according to a reliable forecast, it is going to get cooler but drier.  It will be nice to be able to plan a day’s activity with confidence.

The flying bird of the day is the dunnock that we saw before.  By the time that I saw it again, it had flown up into the rowan tree.

dunnock in rowan

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my correspondent Elaine who saw the noble fir cones on yesterday’s post and has topped them with this wonderful set of lilac coloured cones which she saw in Half Morton churchyard a month ago.  I think that they may be Korean Fir cones.

Elaine's cones

After some showery days, we had a better day today with little wind so I managed to get out and get going on my bike after breakfast and did the twenty mile Canonbie circuit.

I didn’t stop for a lot of pictures as I was a bit pressed for time but when I had to stop to let traffic past at the end of the bike path, I noted some promising looking blackberries…

brambles on A7

…and a fine thistle.

thistle on A7 bike path

The recent walks have left my legs a little under par and I although I tried quite hard to pedal fast, I actually went round at a slightly slower average speed than I had managed on my much longer ride last Friday.  Such is life.

I still had some energy left though because when I got home, I mowed the front lawn and trimmed another of the box balls.

clipped box ball

Mrs Tootlepedal and I were wondering where the butterflies go when it is wet and windy. Wherever it is, they must be well sheltered because as soon as the sun came out and the wind dropped, they were back in the garden in force today.  The bees made room for them.

butterfly and bee on buddleia

There were small tortoiseshells …

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…red admirals…

red admiral butterfly

…and peacocks…

peacock butterfly

…lots of peacocks…

two peacock butterfly

…but no painted ladies today.

The opium and Shirley poppies are going over but the Icelandic poppies are more durable and go on for ever.

iceland poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with the way that the plants that she has put in round the old chimney pot are doing.

old chimney pot

And we are pleased to see the first sign of the runner beans actually beaning. This is timely, because the broad beans and the peas are just about finished.

small runner beans

The huge crop of plums on the plum tree continues to worry Mrs Tootlepedal.  She is afraid that the crop might break branches.  We have already taken what must be hundreds of plums off the tee and she took another lot off today.  The weight of the plums bends the branches and brings new fruit into the reach of the picker.

redundant plums

There are plenty of plums left!

The hosta was still beckoning bees.

bee approaching hosta

And the silver pear was still acting as a home for sparrows…

sparrows in silver pear

…though one sparrow preferred a lonely perch among the rowan berries.

sparrow in rowan

I didn’t have long to wander about the garden, and I soon went in for a shower, a shave and some soup. Then, as it is a Thursday, we drove off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents.

Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that the train was twenty minute late.

We had a very pleasant visit, and although Matilda had been at a dancing competition in the morning, she was still so full of dancing that she treated me to a comprehensive display of various styles of dance until it was time for our evening meal.

This was a lentil dahl cooked by Alistair and it was delicious.

By the next time we see Matilda, she will have have turned into a schoolchild as she starts school next week.  How the years have flown.

The only sad thing about the day was the discovery that I had lost my old age pensioner’s bus pass somewhere.  I am hoping that it is in Matilda’s house and that it might yet turn up.  Otherwise, I will have to go to get a replacement as a bus pass is a very good thing to have.

I couldn’t catch a flying bird of the day today so a very small insect visiting a dahlia will have to do instead.

hoverfly visiting dahlia

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