Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Langholm’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my ex colleague Marjorie who is on holiday in Yorkshire.  It shows a pub at Robin Hood’s bay than which you can go no further.

Robin Hood's Bay pub

Ophelia passed up by in the night, huffing and puffing but not blowing the house down….or anything else much.

There wasn’t even a lot of rain so this was one event where we were more than happy to find out that it didn’t live up to its advance billing.

It was still grey and pretty windy in the morning so after a quick visit to the High Street, I was happy to stay in and drink coffee with Sandy.

Mrs Tootlepedal signalled a step in the direction of a full recovery by cleaning the oven.

When Sandy left, I got out my new lens and pointed it out of the kitchen window in the hope of seeing some visitors to the feeder.  I was not disappointed.

The first arrivals were a small flock of goldfinches…

goldfinch

…which monopolised the feeder for a while.

When a gap appeared it was filled by a pair of blue tits…

blue tits

…and a house sparrow who bit off more than he could chew.

sparrow

There was a good deal of coming and going…

goldfinch and sparrow flying

…though the chaffinches were holding back.

This one sat in the plum tree watching. When he turned, you could see the force of the wind.

chaffinch

On the ground below the feeder, a dunnock or hedge sparrow inspected the new tray and a robin took advantage of some fallen seed which had collected in it.

dunnock and robin

It was just like old times and I spent a happy hour staring out of the window in between making some lentil, carrot and red pepper soup for lunch.

It was still pretty breezy after lunch so Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat and watched an interesting programme about the painters Peter Lely and Mary Beale before we ventured out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal got to work on tidying up the vegetable garden while I looked about.  The strong winds in the night had left plenty of flowers in full bloom.

poppy

The poppies were still in fine form

Lilian Austin

And Lilian Austin was looking lovely

Time was getting on and as the forecast was for the wind to continue to drop as the afternoon went on, I popped out for a quick walk before going for a short bike ride.

I walked down to the river where I was delighted both by finding Mr Grumpy standing on one leg and seeing a luminous willow nearby.

willow and Mr Grumpy

The fungi on the bank of the Wauchope below the church wall are getting ever more various.

fungus

The grey ones may well be oyster mushrooms and edible but I will leave that for others to test out.

I walked through the park and along the river side.  In spite of a good layer of fallen leaves on the path….

Beechy Plains

…there are still a lot of leaves on the trees in every shade of green, yellow and brown.

autumn colour leaves

I walked to the end of the beechy plains and turned back up the hill along Easton’s walk.

The sun came out as I got to the top of the hill and the town looked very peaceful below me.

Langholm view

In fact, everything looked very mellow and we have been very lucky to avoid the worst of Ophelia which seems to have tracked past to the north of us, though a football stadium was damaged in Cumbria to the south of us.

View of Meikleholm Hill

It was a delightful day for a walk.

Eastons Walk

I came down to the path beside the mossy park wall….

Park wall

…but I ignored the moss when I saw a good crop of what I think is some more cladonia lichen on top of the wall.

Pin lichen

When I got home, I was very impressed by the growing power of Mrs Tootlepedal’s green manure in the beds which had potatoes in them earlier in the summer.

green manure

I left Mrs Tootlepedal talking to out neighbour Ken.  He overtook me yesterday when I was out bicycling on his way to clocking up his 5000th mile of the year.  As he is the same age and weight as I am, I can only doff my chapeau and admire his prodigious energy.

I  haven’t got to 4000 miles yet but I got twenty miles closer today as I pedalled up and down the road three times in a mix of light rain, crisp breeze and a little sunshine every now and again.  I was pushed for time as the light was fading so I didn’t stop for any more pictures on my way and in the end, I just got back in before the time when I would have needed lights on my bike.

I have a choice of flying bird of the day today, either a traditional flying chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…or a skein of geese which flew overhead this afternoon.

_DSC7931

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s recent visit to Bath with my two other sisters.  They had some good weather  when they visited the Abbey.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

We had some thoroughly rotten weather here.  It rained on and off all day and the thick cloud made it feel like the middle of winter as far as the light went.  The fact that it was pleasantly warm only made the whole thing more annoying.

Mrs Tootlepedal was a bit better today but still confined to bed for the most part.  Sandy came round for a late coffee and then I took Mrs Tootlepedal off to see the doctor.  She coincidentally had an appointment on other matter which was handy.

While she waited for the doctor, I took a stroll down to the river in the drizzle to see whether the turtle had survived yesterday’s minor flood.

Turtle

It is a very well constructed animal.

I had a look round while I was there.  It wasn’t a day for standing around and admiring the view….

River Esk in flood

…because there wasn’t a view to admire.

Mist on Whita

The trees beside the river were doing their best though.

Autumn colour on Esk

The goosander family, with some mallards too,  were lurking in a calm spot below the church for the second day running.

Mallard and goosander

This one was looking a little cheesed off with the weather.  Fishing must be tricky when the water is running so quickly.

goosander

I collected Mrs Tootlepedal and went home.  I cooked some soup for lunch and ate it by myself while Mrs Tootlepedal nibbled on a bit of toast upstairs.

I had a crossword to do and some more songs to look at and I nipped out to look at some flowers during a lull in the rain.  Although the garden is definitely beginning to look rather ragged, there is still a range of colours…..

Feverfew and nicotianaclematis and calendulanasturtiums

….but the drizzle returned and I went back in again.  Thus the afternoon was passing slowly when Sandy rang up and suggested a walk as it had temporarily stopped raining yet again.  By the time he had arrived though, it was back to raining heavily so we killed a little time considering some Archive problems with the database and then, as it had calmed down to a drizzle, we went out.

Sandy was impressed by the fungus and the goosanders and took a picture or two with his new camera.  I pointed the Lumix at the side of the church.

Parish Church

We walked along the Esk.  I was hoping to see the dipper again but we only saw fallen leaves.

fallen leaves

There were mallards on the Kilngreen, contemplating the rushing waters of the Ewes.

kilngreen mallards

This heron was standing in Mr Grumpy’s spot so I suppose it is Mr Grumpy but he looks a lot neater and more cheerful than when I last saw him.

heron

The Lodge gates looked gloomy.

Lodge gates

I had to use a flash to take a picture of these traditional toadstools beside the walk.

toadstools

As well as for these duller fungi a little further on.

fungi

It really was gloomy although it was only four o’clock and as it had started to rain quite heavily again, we didn’t dally any longer and headed for home.

Misty on the castleholm

Once indoors, I only ventured out as far as the shops to buy some stuff for my tea and otherwise, Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent a very quiet evening in.

There is rain on the Met Office forecast for every day for the next seven days except for Tuesday.  There is a gale warning for Tuesday.

No flying bird of the day today for obvious reasons.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my former colleague Ada.  She encountered this sturdy cobweb on a walk today.

cobweb

It was grey and slightly drizzly at breakfast time but that didn’t matter to me as I was due to send two hours in the Welcome to Langholm Office, potentially offering advice to locals and visitors alike.

As I was not much occupied with advising, I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database which was pleasing.  I did have a little official work to do as well.  An anxious local motorist came in to tell me that the traffic lights which regulate the one way system on Skippers Bridge weren’t working.    I had encountered this yesterday and naturally assumed that “something would be done about it” without any input from me.

Now though, since it was obvious that nothing had been done, I rang up the road managers and reported the fault.   They thanked me and gave me an incident number, presumably so that I would feel important.  I felt very proud.  The lights were working when I walked over the bridge later in the day but whether my call and that outcome had any connection, it is impossible to say.

Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer and dedicated data miner called in just as I left.  She had been in the Archive Centre adding more data to the heap needing entering into the database.  It was dry as I walked back to the New Town with her and I was able to run a mower over a very soggy drying green when I got home while Mrs Tootlepedal went off on her bicycle to collect some river stones for her new path.

The forecast had been for a dry afternoon so I was thinking of a cycle ride myself but by lunchtime, both the forecast and the weather had changed and it started to rain.

I stayed in and practised songs instead.

That finally got boring and since the rain had stopped for a while, I went for a walk.

I snapped a dahlia…

dahlia

…and a poppy…

poppy

…in the garden as I went out and I had got about two hundred yards down the road when the clouds descended over the hills and it started to rain again.

I was feeling rather obstinate and decided to continue my walk down to Skippers Bridge to check the lights in spite of the drizzle.

I was dry enough in the woods and used my flash to capture this script lichen on a tree beside the path.

script lichen

When I got to the track along the fields on the Murtholm…

Murtholm track

…I weighed up the situation and decided that a little rain wouldn’t hurt me and walked on.

The autumn colour has started to show properly but the misty conditions didn’t let me make the best of it.  I tried anyway.

misty autumn colour

Langholm Distillery in autumn

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and walked back along the other side of the river.  The rain was very light and my walk was well sheltered so I was glad that I had decided to keep going.

Skippers Bridge in autumn

I passed a fine fungus on a tree stump at Lands End….

fungus on tree stump

…and enjoyed the seed heads and the last of the flowers that help disguise the sewage treatment works from the public gaze.

sewage works flowers

There is a sensational drift of late daisies beside the river here.

autumn daisies

I kept trying to catch the colour on the river banks as I went along….

Esk autumn colour

Esk autumn colour

…while trying to keep raindrops off my lens with varying success.

As I came up to the suspension bridge, the trees on the far bank looked quite cheerful…

Suspension bridge trees

…but the view from the bridge itself…

Misty view of Esk

…suggested that the direct route home and a cup of tea and a biscuit might be the best plan.

I was surprisingly dry after two miles in a light drizzle so I was very satisfied to have got some exercise in on such a dreich day.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we put in some good work on a piece by Quantz which requires sophisticated counting although the notes are relatively easy.

I had picked some spinach from the garden earlier and I used it to make a baked spinach and egg dish with cheese sauce for my tea.

I made too much but ate it all and then had to lie on the sofa and groan for a while until I had recovered.

We hope for better weather tomorrow.  I need to work off the big meal.

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Mary Jo from Manitoba’s London visit.  This time she met one of the celebrated Tower of London ravens.

Tower of London raven

Our changeable weather is evidently tricky to predict so in spite of forecasts of gales and heavy rain, it was not a great surprise to wake up to merely a brisk breeze with dry spells.

One of the dry spells let me go up to the town after breakfast to pay in a cheque from the railway company to cover the fare for our delayed journey from London last weekend.  I would like to think that this repayment came either from a deduction from the company directors’ own pay packets or a reduction in the dividend to shareholders but I fear that that is wishful thinking.

I dropped in on the data miners at the Archive Centre, took a meter reading there and then booked the car into the garage for a look at its brakes and got home just as it started to rain once more.

After that, I stayed in, did the crossword, made some soup and grumbled.  I didn’t go out again until lunch time when it had brightened up a bit.  I took a look at the garden.

There were plucky flowers smiling through their tears to be seen.

nasturtiums

poppies

Thanks to relatively warm mornings, there are still plenty of colourful sights about, some more vibrant….

sedum, creeper and clematis

…than others.

poppies and anemone

As you can see from the anemone on the right, there was even a hint of sunshine.

The fuchsias are loving the weather, whatever the other flowers think.

fuchsia

Bees were few and far between but I did find a hoverfly on a dahlia.

dahlia with hoverfly

I was delighted to find that Lilian Austin was still in business in a modest way.

Lilian Austin

I went back in to eat my soup for lunch with no great hope for the afternoon but the sun was still out by the time that lunch was over so I set out for a walk, hoping that any clouds would blow past in the brisk wind and not rain on Langholm.

Things looked promising as I went through the park…

Park in October

There was a great heap of logs at the exit from the park….

felled trees in the park

…and it was apparent that two large trees had been felled and cut up.  I couldn’t tell whether the trees had partly fallen first and then been cut up or whether the felling was precautionary.

I walked on through the wood along the river and came out onto the track along the Murtholm…

Murtholm

…which led me to Skippers Bridge, where I went down the bank to look back at the bridge…

Skippers Bridge

….and then, trusting that the good weather would hold, I took a short diversion up the hill through the oak wood…

Oak wood

…to the Round House.

Round House

If I hadn’t been in a bit of a hurry, I might have sat on the bench there in the sunshine and enjoyed the view over the town.

Langholm from the Round House

As it was, I pressed on, enjoying the golden colour in the bracken beside the track…

bracken

…and stopping when a striking crop of fine black berries caught my eye.  When I showed the picture to Mrs Tootlepedal later on, she thought that they might be St John’s Wort….

st John's Wort

…and as I had seen some of these flowers nearby, I expect that she is right.

The river looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth when I came to cross the suspension bridge on my way home.

Esk in October

I waited for a moment or two to see if the dipper was around but it was not to be seen so I took an arty pictures of some leaves…

autumn leaves beside Esk

…and went home.  I couldn’t resist a few pictures of flowers enjoying the welcome sunshine.

daisy, calendula and dahlia

I didn’t have long to wait in as I had an appointment to get my flu jab at the health centre as well as my three-monthly vitamin B12 injection so I was soon out and back across the bridge, this time by bicycle and returned home thoroughly needled….in both senses of the word as it started to rain as I left the health centre.

Once back, I received a visit from a camera club member who had come to collect his photos from the exhibition.  He was very cheered to find that he had sold a couple of them.

Then it was time for a visit from my flute pupil Luke.  He has been practising again and it showed.  He told me that he had played with our local orchestra yesterday and found it a ‘learning experience’.  Orchestral flute playing is very tricky.  I tried it for a bit and didn’t enjoy it much so I hope he does better than I did.

After an excellent tea which had been cooked for me by Mrs Tootlepedal consisting of mince with bashed tatties and neeps from the garden, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.   We had a most enjoyable play and found once again that Mozart is a cure for many ills.

When I got home, we watched a weather forecast which showed that the jet stream is currently crossing the Atlantic in a series of beautifully shaped waves, each one containing a high or a low so the changeable weather looks like a permanent fixture for the foreseeable future.  I will just have to look out my wet weather cycling gear and grit my teeth.

The flying bird of the day is in pre-flying mode.

blackbird

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz.  She enjoyed this misty view on one of her morning walks recently.

Mist on Whita

There were no views at all when we woke up this morning, as the hills were shrouded in clouds and a fine drizzle was falling.  Luckily I had a stint in the Welcome to Langholm office to do so the miserable weather didn’t trouble me.

I was kept very busy putting  data into the Archive Group database while entertaining Dropscone, who had news of a recent golfing triumph to pass on and John, another friend, who was recovering from a visit to the physiotherapist nearby.  What with golf and creaking joint talk and two visits from tourists seeking a welcome and the computer work as well, the two hours passed in a flash.

It had stopped raining by the time that I got home but  I found Mrs Tootlepedal engrossed in the tricky matter of balancing some accounts rather than gardening.  After we had had a cup of coffee with our neighbour Liz, I foolishly offered to lend Mrs Tootlepedal a hand with her accounts and the afternoon was well under way by the time that the figures on both sides of the ledger had obediently fallen into place.  Although it is very annoying when columns don’t add up, it is very satisfying when they finally do.

Still, a lot of quite good weather had gone by unused which was a pity.  We went out into the garden and while Mrs Tootlepedal got down to work, I looked around.

nasturtiums

A couple of cheery nasturtiums beside the front gate

Cardoon

A last look at a cardoon before Attila the gardener gives them the chop soon

I did a little much needed dead heading and upset a good number of bees and hoverflies who were looking for pollen.  At one moment, almost all of them chose the same poppy.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

We stood for some time watching the crowd, our mouths open in astonishment.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

After all, it was quite an astonishing sight.

Because my flute pupil Luke was due in the early evening, I didn’t have time to go for a cycle ride but it was such a pleasantly warm and calm day by now that I left Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work and went off for a short walk.

Beside the river I stopped to enjoy a wagtail wagging its tail and a dipper dipping.

Wagtail

The dipper was in all action mode, disappearing under the water for ages at a time and dabbing about vigorously when it emerged.

dipper dipping

It did pose for me for a brief moment though.

dipper

At the Kilngreen, I saw a lonely herring gull….

herring gull

…and some restful ducks.

ducks in the grass

This was my favourite.

duck

Occasional sunshine brought out the colours which are beginning to appear all around.

Esk

Although there are plenty of fallen autumnal looking leaves about….

autumn leaves

…there are still many more on the trees.

leaves

The combination of many greens and some red and yellow meant that there was always a delight for the eye as I walked along.

early autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholm

I kept my eyes open for other smaller things.  This fungus on a tree stump interested me greatly.  I don’t think that I have seen anything like it before.

tree stump fungus

They growths are tiny and I thought that they were sprinkled crumbs when I first saw them

It was a really pleasant walk and I was sorry that I didn’t have the time to be out longer.

When I got back to the house, I reflected that it was lucky that we don’t shut the front gate very often…

nasturtiums on front gate

Our friend Mike Tinker was chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and she was telling him of great plans for improvements for next year.  I look forward to photographing the results.

I had a last look round…

fuchsia

…and was pleased to spot a red admiral butterfly on a rudbeckia.

red admiral butterfly

We read in the paper this morning that it has been an exceptionally good year for red admiral butterflies and we have certainly seen a great many in our garden in the last few weeks.

Then I had to go in to get ready for the flute lesson which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was quite pleased to have no further obligations for the day as I am feeling a little tired after dashing from end to end of the continent last week.  Somehow sitting in down in trains, although it is very enjoyable, is also quite tiring.

An early night won’t do me any harm.

Read Full Post »

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

Lake Athapapaskow

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

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

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

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

There was plenty to look at.

nerines

The nerines were enjoying the drier weather

More big lilies are coming out

More big lilies are coming out

poppy

The smaller poppies are surviving the wet weather the best

poppy

Though some of the bigger ones were open for business

poppy

And some were just open

Salvia

The Salvia is surviving well

astrantia

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

clematis

The clematis in the philadelphus is thriving

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

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

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

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

dipper

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

heron

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

goosander

…and another dipper below the Sawmill Brig.

dipper

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

Clinthead crop

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

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

Autumn leave

Early colour

fungus

Tiny fungus on a log end

umbellifer

Pretty as a picture

chestnut

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

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

n in September 2017

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent.  She has ventured east lately and visited Nuffield House, the home of William Morris, the car manufacturer.  This radiator temperature gauge caught her eye.

Nuffield Place

I note that one of the joys of modern life is not having to worry about your car radiator boiling  every time you come to a steep hill or you get stuck in a traffic jam on a hot day.  Not everything has taken a turn for the worse.

Our weather took a turn for the worse though and it was grey and windy all day. Every now and again, it started to drizzle as well.  I got up late for breakfast and finally got dressed just before midday, having had coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz while I was still in my dressing gown.  Life in the slow lane.

I did go out into the garden just after noon and I had a look around.  I think that I have been a bit too disparaging about the dahlias.  They are trying their best and made a good show amidst the gloom today, both seen from a distance…

dahlias

…and looked into closely.

dahlia

The poppies continue to flourish and although we dead head dozens each day, more keep coming.

poppies

They were looking a bit subdued in the cloudy weather today

The nasturtium growing up the wall beside the front door is enjoying the weather more than I am…

nasturtium

…but the cosmos are rather unhappy and are being very slow to come out.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s beans are recovering after a slow start….

Climbing French and runner beans

Climbing French and runner beans

…and we had some of both with our evening meal.

I went back inside for more sitting down.

Once indoors, I spent quite a lot of time grappling with an extra difficult prize crossword, though I might have saved some of that time if I had discovered that the enumeration for two of the clues was wrong which accounted for quite a lot of the difficulty as it  made the puzzle impossible to solve.

I finally realised that there must be a mistake, checked on the newspaper’s website and got the correct information which put me on the right track but even then it took some hard work and research to get the thing finished.  Who knew that there was a god called Xipe Chec?

Late in the afternoon, I finally got out into the garden in a useful way and mowed the middle lawn, shredded some rose cuttings and trimmed the second last of the box balls.

The drizzle looked as though it might hold off for a bit more so I went for a walk round Gaskell’s while Mrs Tootlepedal cooked the tea.

It was really far too gloomy to take pictures but naturally I took quite a few.

There are some wild flowers still to be see beside the road and paths…

wild flowers

…and in places, the path can hardly be seen for the vegetation.

Gaskell's

I saw one of the many umbellifera showing all three stages on one stem…

umbellifera

…and another plant further on which had got to the final stage.

umbellifer

There were lots of signs of the turning of the year.

autumn

A lot of our oak trees in different places seem to have galls on their leafs this year.  I passed more on this walk and I had to look hard to find any acorns.

oak and acorn

It was easier to spot sloes (sloely ripening) and any amount of haws.

sloes and haws

There wasn’t as much fungus about as I had hoped…

fungus

Nothing fresh and new

…but there was plenty of lichen.

lichen

A little lichen garden on top of a fence post

park wall

A damp spot on the park wall

The park wall had brighter moments with ivy leaved toadflax and a contoneaster.

cotoneaster and ivy leaved toadflax

I had a look at the potentillas along the dam when I got home.  They are still doing well.

potentillas

My arm is improving slowly which is comforting and there is nothing in life that a week of warm sunny weather wouldn’t cure.

The flying bird of the day is a poppy which had risen above its friends this morning.

poppy

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »