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Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my brother paid to Wirksworth last month.  It is an ancient lead mining and quarrying town in Derbyshire which has a steam train and guard’s van shuttle to the Quarry museum up the hill.

Wirksworth train

It didn’t rain today.  It didn’t rain today.  I have said that twice because it is a bit unbelievable.  It wasn’t very warm and the sun didn’t put in much work but it didn’t rain so that made it a very good day.

I made use of it by cycling down to Canonbie on my regular 20 mile route while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.

Before I left, I had a quick look in the garden.  The bees were setting about the poppies with great enthusiasm and it was hard to find one to photograph without a bee or two on it…

bees on poppies

…though they could be found.

poppies

Once I got going, I found that the wind was in a helpful place, not too bad on the way down and very useful on the way back.  I only stopped for one picture….

Belted galloway bull

…but I thought that this belted Galloway bull was too handsome to leave unrecorded.

I had no time to waste when I got home as I was hoping to get up onto Castle Hill to take pictures of a charity ride which was setting off just after midday.  I packed a sandwich and a date, picked up a camera or two and got a lift from Mrs Tootlepedal to the bottom of the track up the hill.

I didn’t have to use the stile over the wall as the gate was opened for the riders to come.

Catle Hill stile and gate

The track up Castle Hill was steep enough for me to be quite happy to find things to stop and look at on the way up.

nettle. hawthorn and purple flower

There is going to be a bumper crop of haws this year by the look of it.

ragwort, hawkbit and daisy like thing

The little flowers on the right are sneezewort (ID courtesy of Mike Tinker)

At one point the hillside was almost like a meadow.

Castle Hill

And of course, there were splendid views that needed to be looked at too.

Langholm

An early look back at the town

I got a very expansive view of the three river valleys that meet in Langholm and the one that leaves it.  (Click on the picture for an enlargement.)

Panorama from Castle hill

When I got to the top of the hill, I had time to sit on a handy rock and eat a honey sandwich and admire the view to the north.

Esk valley

The course of the Esk snakes up the valley, outlined by trees

While I was eating my sandwich, I was passed by Laura who was going ahead of the riders to open a gate further along the ridge.

Laura

The wind had dropped and even on a coolish day, it was warm work for her as she strode across the heavy ground.

I had time for a last look over the edge of the hill…

Milnholm and Potholm

A sea of green

…before the first riders appeared over the crest…

Macmillan riders

…and cantered towards…..

Macmillan riders

…and then past me.

Macmillan riders

More sedate groups followed on.

Macmillan riders

It was a sociable ride.

Macmillan riders

There was a good number of riders out and I hope that they raise a lot of money for Macmillan Nurses.

I didn’t count the riders as I was too busy clicking away and by the time that the last riders had past me…

Macmillan riders

…the leaders were well ahead.  The last I saw of them was when they were waiting for the rest to catch at the top of Potholm Hill.

Macmillan riders

I left them to descend to the Ewes valley and turned back down the hill to the town.

One of the penalties of increasing age and creaky joints is that going down a steep and stony track is a lot worse than going up one but I arrived safely on the Castleholm and gave my legs a break as I watched a few overs of cricket.

Cricket on the castleholm

Bowlers bowled and batsmen batted.

Cricket on the castleholm

When I got home, I finished off my picnic lunch and then went out into the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cutting down comfrey to add to  compost bin A so I took the hint and sieved a bucket of two of compost from Compost Bin D.  Mrs Tootlepedal took away the rough discards which hadn’t gone through the sieve and used them for a mulch for the hedge.

Since I had already taken far too many pictures, I heroically abstained from taking any more garden flowers pictures….

fuchsia

….well, I nearly abstained.

Then I went in  to watch some athletics on the telly as I thought it was probably all right after a busy time to let someone else take the exercise for me.

I did go out and mow the drying green when the athletics finished and by this time, the wind had dropped and it was a lovely evening in the garden, even if it was still a bit cooler than it should be for the time of year.  It was so nice that I summoned Mrs Tootlepedal out to enjoy it too as the forecast is for more rain tomorrow and it seemed a pity to waste such a good moment.

We have three weeks of the Vuelta (the cycling tour of Spain) to entertain us in the coming evenings so that is something to look forward to as the rain beats against the windows.

No flying bird today but an interestingly coloured dahlia instead.

dahlia

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was walking along the Thames last week when she came to Tower Bridge at low tide.

Tower Bridge at low tide

We had another day of sunshine and showers here today but in an improvement on yesterday, there was more sunshine and less rain and when the rain came, it came less ferociously.

The day started early as I picked up Sandy and we took our photograph down to Canonbie to put them on the boards in the village hall, ready to be judged at the Canonbie Flower Show.

On our way home, it rained heavily and we feared for the worst as the flower show has many outdoor activities on the playing field beside the hall.  In the end though, that was the worst rain of the day and things went ahead as planned.

I had a late breakfast when I got home and and after a leisurely time sitting and doing not much, I finally went out for a short walk before lunch.

The sun was shining when I started….

Saw Mill Brig

…but it was too good to last and I had to put up with occasional drizzle as I went round.

Still, there was a lot to look at.  There were sparrows, headless ducks and a sitting bird as I went along the Kilngreen.

sparrows, duck and heron

I wonder if Mr Grumpy is feeling his age a bit.  He seems to have created quite a worn patch on the bank where he has been sitting the last two times that I have seen him.

On the wall beside the Sawmill Brig, I saw spleenwort and turned a frond over to look at the back.

spleenwort

Elegant whichever way you look at it.

On the Lodge Walks I saw fungus.

fungus

The patches of fungus by the felled tree stumps are getting bigger and bigger .

As I walked back along the path by the river, I saw oak leafs with galls and on another oak nearby, a pristine acorn.

oak leaves and acorn

There may be two different galls on that leaf

I met a very handsome husky taking its owner for a walk.

husky

Other things appealed to me.

nettle and nut

Although it looked as though the heavens might open, the clouds passed by with the merest sprinkling of rain, and I got home quite dry.

After lunch, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in a walk round the garden.

The honeysuckle is going over but Lilian Austin is producing a few late flowers.

honeysuckle rose

This is therefore a honeysuckle rose combination. Cue for song.

Two butterflies were defying the rain showers and a stiff breeze.

red admiral and peacock butterflies

The perennial nasturtium which lives among a yew tree has spread across a flower bed and appeared in the hedge behind the yew as well…

perennial nasturtium

…and rather cleverly, it has found a bamboo stick in the middle of the bed and grown up that too.  You can see it in the centre of the picture above.

After a while, I drove back down to Canonbie to see how the flower show was going on.

On the playing field, a chainsaw carver was demonstrating his art….

chainsaw carving and static engine

…while a patient static engine whirred endlessly nearby.

Equally patient donkeys were doing good business offering rides.

donkeys

A brief moment of repose.

Around the field, vintage tractors and old cars were drawn up for inspection.

Canonbie show cars and tractors

You know that you are old when you realise that you drove the classic cars which you see at a show when they were first brand new.  That Triumph Herald is very familiar.

I left a demonstration of dog agility and obedience to look after itself in some light rain and went in to see whether my pictures had attracted the attention of the judges.  I was delighted to find that a Lake District view and a garden blackbird had won their classes and one of our garden poppies had got a third.  I did get another first and a second place too in another class but as mine were the only pictures in that class, this was a not entirely unexpected.

The photos at the Canonbie show are always given plenty of room among the flowers…

Photos and flowers

I took this after some of the pictures and flowers had already been removed at the end of the show.

…so it a pleasure to exhibit there.

There was splendid fruit and veg to admire and many beautiful flowers too and I had an enjoyable time looking round.  When I had had a good look, I went back to the field and had a cup of tea and a fancy cake with Sandy, who was at the show with a friend and his wife and then I went off for a walk along the river before it was time to collect the pictures and go home.

I was lucky with my walk and dodged the rain completely.  I walked down towards the river bank at the bridge and came across a large clump of these tall yellow flowers.

yellow flowers

They were hard to photograph because they were waving about in the brisk wind but they are handsome plants.  I have no idea what they are.

Once I had got the water’s edge, I looked up at the Canonbie Bridge itself.

Canonbie Bridge

I drove over that bridge to work for thirteen years.  The bridge is narrow and the overhanging footpath is a fairly recent addition to allow schoolchildren to get back to the village in greater safety.

I crossed the bridge, passed the church and made my way down to the other bank of the river.

The Esk runs past some red sandstone cliffs at the village…

Dead Neuk

…but it soon opens out into a broad stretch that will take it down to Longtown and the Solway Firth.

Esk at Canonbie

The powers that be have put power lines over every nice view in Eskdale.

The church was looking at its best, picked out by the sun against the rain clouds behind it.

Canonbie Church

I watched a patient fisherman casting on one bank of the river while goosanders, great fishers themselves, snoozed on the opposite bank while they waited for their chance.

Canonbie fisher goosander

After  glance at a sign of autumn…

elderberries

…I returned to the hall, enthusiastically applauded the many trophy winners (not me), collected the pictures for myself and Sandy and drove home.

The final business of the day was a quick shopping trip with Mrs Tootlepedal and then I was happy cook my evening meal and to sit down and eat it.

It had seemed like a long day.

The flying bird of the day was still waiting to take off when I saw it in the morning after breakfast.

blackbird

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited the south coast of England  yesterday and saw the not quite so famous white cliffs of Brighton.

The white cliffs of Brighton

After the excitements and activity of yesterday, today was very restrained.

The only noticeable activity of the morning was eating some iced buns which Dropscone kindly bought with him when he arrived for coffee.  Dropscone had plenty to relate as he has had a busy time lately, playing golf, refereeing a golf tournament, organising a golf tournament of his own  and visiting the science museum in Glasgow.  He had survived all this very well but I was quite exhausted just listening to his adventures.  He certainly gets about.

It rained heavily while we sipped and chatted but it stopped when it was time for him to go home.

I went out to look at flowers just once in one of the sunny spells.

dahliasdahliaspoppies

The only activity in the afternoon was a drive to the council dump at Annan to get rid of our old dishwasher.  This was made even more exciting than a normal visit to the dump by the fact that we had to pass through several torrential downpours with added thunder and lightning on our way there.

It was fortunate that the downpours were reasonably brief, as in the space of a minute on each occasion, the roads turned into rivers and driving became quite dangerous.  Happily on each occasion, we soon found ourselves back in bright sunshine…although we could see the next shower coming towards us at speed quite clearly.

With heavy showers and bright sunshine alternating rapidly, it wasn’t a day for cycling, walking or gardening so I took the opportunity to give my back a really good rest.

The ironic sunflower is progressing well in spite of the rain…

sunflower

…but the theme of the day was summed up by this large puddle outside the back door.

puddle

It was our younger son’s birthday today and Clare, his wife, sent me this picture of him being terrified by his birthday cakes.  It is acting as the flying bird of the day.

Al birthday cakes

It is the Canonbie Flower Show tomorrow and we are hoping for some better weather.

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Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.

frog

The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier

It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus

hen harrier

I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.

Skiddaw

Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.

heather

And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.

Whita

Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses

The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch

sweet pea

A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young

two cosmos

The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….

dahlia

…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, from our daughter-in-law Clare, provided the only ray of sunshine we saw all day.  You can see what made Matilda so happy tomorrow.

Matilda

It was a foul day here as far as the weather went, the authorities having decided that one sunny day at a time was more than enough for us.

I sneaked out in the rain whenever it wasn’t too bad and I will insert a soggy flower from time to time in this post.

poppy

Luckily I had plenty to do so time didn’t weight too heavily on my hands.

In the morning, I went up to the Welcome to Langholm office and settled down to put a week or two of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I couldn’t get as much work done as I hoped because I was frequently interrupted by the need to welcome people seeking  information.  I suppose that I shouldn’t complain about that.

One of the visitors was looking for a book of graveyard inscriptions and she remarked in passing how useful the Archive Group website had been in her family history research.  I pointed to the computer and told her that I was adding to the site at this very moment and she was suitably impressed though not quite so impressed as to offer us a voluntary donation for our funds.

dahlia

Another visitor was a descendant of a chemist in the town and I pointed out to him that both the chemist and his shop could be found on our picture archive page.

It stopped raining very politely for long enough for me to walk home after my stint was over.  It started again quite soon afterwards.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some flowers to fill in a few gaps in the beds that her recent tidying up activity had created and I set about a mixture of practising songs for our Carlisle choir and printing out photographs for the forthcoming Canonbie Flower Show.

My main concern while printing out the pictures was to try to get the printed results to look a bit brighter than the printer wants them to look.  This takes a bit of learning and the results were variable though the frog in the box ball came out well.

Fuschia

Mike Tinker came round for a cup of tea and a biscuit and we were just finishing when Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her shopping trip.    I was amazed to find that she had actually bought three plants as she usually looks for a long time and then decides that things are not quite what she wanted or they are a bit too expensive or the whole matter needs more thought.  A sound way of going on but one which I find a bit testing on my patience.

She explained her purchasing activity by claiming that she was haunted by the sound of my voice behind her saying, “For goodness sake, buy something.”  So she did.

stargazer lilies

The evening was filled with music as first my flute pupil Luke came and then I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  It was the first time that we had played for a month and there was a certain amount of rust evident but as always, it was a very enjoyable evening.

The rain is pouring down again as I write this.  I have ordered an ark just in case.

virginia creeper

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was visiting the Derby Silk Mill when he found that it was an absolutely windless day.

Derby Silk Mill

It was a pretty good day here today too and after I had made a lamb stew for the slow cooker, I went out to see the poppies.

poppies

Not a drop of rain to be seen on them!  Mrs Tootlepedal has got a very good variety of specimens from her packet of mixed seeds.

The bees were exceedingly happy…

poppy with bees

…and were lining up to visit this well stocked larder.

poppy with bees

This poppy was just as beautiful but was less popular, having less to offer.

Poppy with insect

A late Fuchsia is waiting to deliver.

fuchsiaIt was difficult to walk round the garden without being buffeted by white butterflies.  They were everywhere.

white butterflies

As were sparrows.

sparrow

I went upsatirs to get my cycling gear on and when I looked out of the window, blackbirds were taking in the rays down below…

blackbirds

…in a rather anguished way.

I got on my bike fairly gingerly as I didn’t know how things would go but in spite of the odd twinge, I was able to pedal at a gentle pace without any great trouble.

John, the purveyor of all things useful from his corner shop, had suggested that I should look at an arboreal dog near Hagg-on-Esk so I did.

dog tree

I have cycled past this spot many times without seeing the poodle in the trees before.

I chose a very flat route (650 ft of elevation in 27 miles) so I was able to turn my legs over gently without putting any pressure on my back and thanks to a gentle wind, I managed a reasonable speed.

I didn’t want to get off and on the bike more than necessary but it was such a nice day that I stopped for a few photo ops.

Woodhouselees

I lied the sheep marching along below the ha-ha at Woodhouselees.

Penton road

The trees near Longtown definitely seem to be getting an autumn tinge

Monkey Puzzle

A monkey puzzle tree commands the view over the Knottyholm

Hollows Tower

The roof of Hollows Tower rising above the trees

I took another look at the ‘poodle tree’ on my way back.

prancing horse

More like a prancing horse with rider perhaps from this angle

I got home in time for a late lunch.  I looked at a poppy before I went in.

poppy with crocosmia

The crocosmia is trying its hardest join in.

I had made some more baps yesterday with the help of the breadmaker and they were just as good as the first lot.  I had one with lettuce and marmite for my meal.

After that, it was back out into the garden for an afternoon of useful, gently paced work.

I strimmed the clippings of the rambler rose which Attila the Gardener was attacking with her new secateurs, I mowed the green house grass, I sieved a couple of buckets of compost, I mowed the green house grass and I emptied the strimming receptacle into compost bin A twice.   In all, this was about half to three quarters of an hour’s work spread over three hours so it wasn’t quite the hard labour that it might seem.

Then I had a last walk round with a camera.

Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies arriving well before Michaelmas

The evening sun was catching the poppies…

poppies in the sun

…but it caught this one the best, I thought.

poppies in the sun

The lamb stew turned out very well after Mrs Tootlepedal had worked a little magic on some last minute flavouring.

The breadmaker makes dough for more baps than we can eat at one go so I had saved half the dough from yesterday and kept it in the fridge  over night.   I knocked it back and made another set today and we were pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.  They went very well with the stew in place of potatoes.

Sadly, the very good weather of the day had clouded over by the time that I wrote this so our chance to watch the meteor shower had gone.  I did wake up at three o’clock last night when there was a clear sky but I couldn’t make myself get up and go out and just rolled over and went back to sleep.  I am sorry about that now.

Tomorrow, it says, it is going to rain all day so I am glad that I made good use of today.

No flying bird but I did catch a flying butterfly as it passed a nasturtium.

flying butterfly

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a walk on The Edge in Derbyshire which my brother Andrew shared with his walking group….and some cows….and some very nice weather.

The Edge

Our weather improved today but it was still pretty damp in the morning. I didn’t go out to take a flower picture until nearly midday.

poppies

Oddly, many of the poppies were facing the wrong way and I had to go out into the road and look into the garden from over the hedge to see these two pairs.

poppies

Yellow crocosmia have just started to come out and they should blend with the poppies if we get some warmth.  The dahlias also need warmth but the nasturtiums are doing very well in the cool and damp.

crocosmia, nasturtium and dahlia

Along with the weather, my back was quite a lot better too and I was able to trim a box ball and prune the espalier apples…

box and apples

…which are cropping well this year.

After lunch I did a bit more work in the garden and admired a hosta and an indefatigable Icelandic poppy which will keep flowering as long as I keep dead heading it.

hosta and poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal spent as much as time in the garden as she could but I went in to give my back a rest and watched a bit of the World Athletic Championships.  I was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when it started to rain but the rain didn’t last so I went off for a walk to see how my back would hold up.

It held up well as I pottered down to Skippers Bridge and back, a distance of two miles which took me exactly an hour.

It wasn’t sunny but at least I could see the hills today.

Whita

There was plenty more to see on the way.

fruit

Fruits

flowers

Flowers present and past

Garden escapes by the river

Garden escapes by the river

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

Skippers Bridge was looking as good as ever….

skippers bridge

The recent repair is holding up well at the moment.

I thought that the trees were starting to get an autumnal tint when I looked through the bridge.

skippers bridge

There was enough water coming down the river….

River esk

…to keep me well back from the edge.

On the way back there was more to see.

swallows

I hope that it not time for the swallows to leave already

leaf problems

Problems on the leafs of trees

fly on ragwort

A ragwort with visitors

It was almost sunny as I walked back…

Castle Hill

…and it was a very pleasant evening to be out walking.

I tried a black and white shot of the walnut tree when I got back to the garden….

Walnut tree

…as I liked the pattern of the trunks.

We are promised some sunshine tomorrow and that will be very welcome.  If we get it, I will try my back out on a short bike ride.

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