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Archive for the ‘Tootling’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my flute pupil Luke’s mother.  They were having a family day out in Durham before the start of the new school term and found the cathedral looking at its best in the sunshine.

durham cathedral

I had a Utopian plan for the day which involved getting up early and being out on my bike by about seven o’clock.  I would be back in plenty of time to allow Mrs Tootlepedal to go to Edinburgh to see Matilda while I waited for the plumber to come. He would finish his work in plenty of time for me to get out for a walk before having my tea and going off to Carlisle with Susan to enjoy an evening of recorder quintets….and the sun would shine all day.

And it all came true.

Almost.

I did get up early and get out on the bike.

misty morning

The mist was just lifting as I cycled across the town bridge.

Esk with mist

The river was still shrouded with mist as I cycled south

Esk at Longtown

But by the time that I had got to Longtown, the mist had cleared. It had been raining heavily overnight as you can see.

I headed a bit further south and then turned west to Rockcliffe before heading back up to Langholm.

Trees in Cumbria

It was beautiful day and I passed many trees…

arch and bridge

…and arches both natural and man made…

Kirtle Water house

…and a fine house too.

But the most interesting thing that I saw was a flock of starlings on a farm silo near Rigg.

starlings

I pedalled 48 miles at a steady speed and got home in plenty of time to have a walk round the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a flock of butterflies on the buddleia.

peacock and red admiral butterfly

There were peacock and red admiral butterflies….

white and peacock butterflies

…and I saw a white butterfly on a Michaelmas daisy and took a close look at one of the peacocks.

I admired the poppies as usual and had a first look at Mrs Tootlepedal’s new pink Japanese anemone.

pink Japanese anemone.

The sun continued to shine.

While Mrs Tootlepedal was away, I cut down the orange hawkweed which had finished flowering  but some new flowers have appeared as if by magic….

orange hawkweed

What looks like shadows are buds waiting to open

…and once again I was thwarted in an attempt to take a picture of a cornflower, this time by a positive crowd of visitors.

orange hawkweed

Bumble bee, honey bee and a fly

Mrs Tootlepedal went and the plumber came, finished his task and went off as well.

I went for a walk.

I was trying to take yet another picture of the Auld Stane Bridge but a procession of cars kept driving across it…

auld stane bridge

…and when I looked, it turned out to be a rally of convertible beetles.

vw at the auld stane bridge

They had a good day for it.

I walked past the Hallcrofts, down through the woods and back along the track to Holmwood.

The forest floor was carpeted with these.

wood sorrel

I saw fruits…..

Rose hip, crab apple and blackberry

Rose hip, crab apple and blackberry… the blackberry was delicious

…a snail….

snail

…and a brand new bridge taking the path across a dangerous bit of banking that is being undermined by the Becks Burn.

new bridge by Becks Burn

It is good to see that our popular paths are being looked after.

There were of course many views to enjoy on such a good day.

view of Whita from Hallcrofts

I ended my walk by visiting Sandy in his new house and enjoying a cup of tea as I sat on his new suite.  He has been very busy tiling.

Sandy's tiles

Very neat work.

I got home in time to look over my photos for the day and have my tea and at this stage, the only part of my Utopian that didn’t fully work out came into play.  It started to pour with rain. It lashed down as Susan fearlessly drove through the storm and happily, by the time that we got to Carlisle, the clouds had cleared and the sun was out again.

The recorder playing was most enjoyable and as always the tea and biscuits afterwards were of the highest quality.  The rain stayed away as we drove home and that rounded off a day that could hardly have gone better….

….except that I had no time for a flying bird of any sort so I will put in the map of my cycle ride instead.  Click on the map for details of the ride.  Note the light wind.

garmin route 17 Aug 2017

 

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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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A winter’s tale

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone  He is roaming about Glasgow finding bridges to cross.

Glasgow Bridge

I had no need to worry about wasting a good day with a bad back today as it was a perfectly horrible day.  This was the view of the hills from an upstairs window.

clouds on Whita

…and that was in one of the brighter moments.

On the other side of the house, this was as near as I got to going out into the garden in the morning.

garden in wet

It was lucky that we had something to do that didn’t involve being out in the rain.

We went off to Carlisle and bought a new dish washing machine.  It was remarkably cheap so we are hoping that it will work well once it is installed.

It was a miserable thirteen degrees C as we drove back and although it got a little warmer later in the day, I needed to light a fire to cheer up our music room on what should have been one one of the warmest days of the year.

I spent a good deal of time working on choir songs and even found that I could play the whole of the tenor line from one song on my flute from memory.  That was a triumph for me as my musical memory is awful.  Sadly, when I tried again in the evening, I couldn’t get past the first four bars.  Ah well.

In the early evening, the rain slackened off to a light drizzle so I went out and took a flower shot just for the sake of it.

dahlia

I wish whatever it is would stop eating the dahlias.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and a little night music provided a pleasant end to a dull day.

The rain had stopped by the time that they went home.  Hooray.

In answer to many polite enquiries, I can say that my back was better today and I am confident that all will soon be well with it.

 

 

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The second of the ‘trip to London’ pictures shows “Topaz”, one of the elegant Pullman coaches pulled by the steam engine which we saw at Carlisle station.  I like the little lamps with shades at every table.

Pullman coach

We had a rare outbreak of summer today with plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze from the north in case it got too hot.

I started the day off by going up to check on the Camera Club exhibition and making arrangements for visitors to purchase prints if the mood comes upon them.  While I was there, the volunteer custodian and I got our pictures taken by the local paper which was publicising the event for us.

I then went home and promptly had to come back up to the town again as I had forgotten to buy a Common Riding tie to wear when our little choir songs at the concert on Wednesday.  It is a quirk of the Langholm Common Riding that it has different colours each year, taken from the colour of the silks worn by the jockey of the winner of the Derby.  This means that there is a different tie every year.

All this excitement and a bit of shopping thrown in, meant that I needed a sit down and a cup of coffee when I finally got home.  Then I needed a lettuce and marmite sandwich to provide fuel so it was not until after midday that I managed to get going on the fairly speedy bike.

I took a few garden pictures before I left.

sunny flowers

Once on the bike, I soon discovered that my legs were in go slow mode so I didn’t push them and I was happy to stop for pictures as I went along.

There was plenty to see in the verges….

umbellifer with red soldier beetles

Every umbellifer seemed to have at least one red soldier beetle on it.   I saw a stem hosting nineteen insects of various sorts on its flower heads later in my ride.

The road side verges are recovering after the mowing and I liked this display of hawkbits on the road up Callister.

hawkbits on Callister

Whether they are ‘lesser, ‘autumn, ‘rough’ or some other hawbits I cannot tell but they were good to look at as I puffed up the hill.  I have no idea what the little birds in the middle of the road further up the hill were doing.

I had to cross a couple of recently gravelled sections of road on my journey but there has been sufficient traffic to make them quite safe for cycling which was a relief.

I went as far west as Paddockhole and then turned north, uphill and into the wind to get to Eskdalemuir via Bailliehill and Castle O’er.  This took me past the new windfarm at Ewe Hill and I tried to get a picture that took in all the 22 turbines…..

Ewe Hill wind farm

…and failed.  The turbines are so stretched out and alternately low and high that my camera couldn’t cope at all.

There are now so many wind turbines in Scotland that on a day of good wind and low demand, they can provide just about all the energy that is needed for the whole country.  What is required now is serious work on developing storage for renewable energy and it does seem that people are paying attention to this.  I live in hope.

I pedalled on up the valley of the Water of Milk, crossing bridges when I came to them.

little bridge on Bailliehill road

When I arrived at Bailliehill, I had crossed the col between the water of Milk and the Esk Valley….

Esk valley at Bailliehill

One of my favourite views of the Esk

…and I was soon passing the spot where the Black Esk meets the White Esk….

Black Esk meets White Esk

…and I had to cross the Black Esk…..

Black Esk bridge

…to continue up the west bank of the White Esk to Eskdalemuir.

When I got there, the northernmost point of the trip, I crossed yet another bridge…

Eskdalemuir bridge

Electricity and phone wires are everywhere I go.

…to continue my journey back to Langholm down the east bank of the river.

After pedalling the last ten miles uphill and into the wind, I was hoping for a good push from the breeze to get me back to Langholm but it was fitful and flighty and often seemed to come from the side and even into my face a bit instead of wafting me home.

Still, it was a glorious day to be out in the country so I didn’t mind too much and just pedalled along in a very stately manner admiring the views.

There are prehistoric monuments along the way.  This is a stone circle, The Girdle Stanes, half of which has been swept away by the river.

Girdle Stanes

The fields really were those colours.  The whole outing was a visual treat.

I had to pause on the Crurie Brae to let my tin knee rest as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills.  While I paused,  I looked north.  I could see the road that I had come up on the other side of the valley.

Looking back from Crurie Brae

Soon afterwards, I got my reward for the climbing I had done…..

Shaw Rigg

…as I whistled down the long straight road of the Shaw Rig.

I was soon pedalling along the back road past Georgefield, through banks of wild flowers….

Georgefield road

…until I crossed the Esk again at Bentpath by the bridge below the church….

Bentpath bridge and church

…which I see has got the builders in.

Westerkirk Church

Although the road from Eskdalemuir is theoretically downhill as it follows the river, it never seems that way when I am cycling along it. It undulates a lot and I was grateful to get to the last climb of the day.  I stopped for a breather and a final view from my ride.

View of Esk valley at Potholm

I would have taken a picture of the good crop of raspberries at the top of the hill but I inadvertently ate them before I thought of getting the camera out.  Wild raspberries are delicious.

I did 34 miles which is not far but as you can see from the elevation profile below, it was an up and down sort of ride with long uphill and short downhill sections so not very restful.  It was the slowest ride I have done for ages but also one of the most enjoyable.

Garmin route 24 July 2107

Click on the map for more details of the ride if you wish

 

When I got home, I had another wander round the garden….

poppy and roses

…edged the lawn and picked some beetroot which I then cooked.  I made a loaf of bread (with water) and went upstairs to have shower.  The front lawn looked so good from the bathroom window that I went back downstairs and got a camera.  I often say to Mrs Tootlepedal that all the work that I do on the lawn through autumn, spring and early summer is to make it look good for at least one day later in the summer.

I think that this might have been that day.

the front lawn looking good

When I came down a little later, there were forty sparrows pecking the lawn to bits.  Ah well.

Still the evening sunshine lit up a poppy very nicely so that soothed my ire.

poppy in sunshine

And a very cheery clematis at the front door completely restored my good humour.

front door clematis

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we played through our trio and that rounded off a very good day indeed.

After tea, I picked the very last of the blackcurrants and I hope to find time to make a pot or two of jelly tomorrow.

The flying birds of the day can’t make up their minds and are sitting on the fence for the time being.

blackbirds

Oh all right, it’s a hedge and not a fence.  Perhaps they are hedging their bets.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile, Irving.  He tells me that he hasn’t seen this recent visitor to his garden in Lochmaben for some time.

sparrowhawk

It was good to be back home again today after the very enjoyable visit to London but the weather didn’t seem very pleased to see me as it was cold, windy and wet.  In fact it has obviously nor been very warm while I was away, because the grass on the lawns has hardly grown at all.

Poppies have come and gone….

poppies

…but we are still  waiting for the Shirley poppies to arrive in numbers.  There were three out today but the weather was so awful that they would open up for a portrait.

The wet weather wasn’t discouraging the bees though.

bees on poppy

The blackbirds have been very busy and they have eaten every single gooseberry off the bush while I was away.  This is a big disappointment as I was looking forward to eating the gooseberries myself.

A dull morning was brightened by the arrival of Dropscone with traditional Friday treacle scones and I caught up on his adventures.  He has been to St Andrews and Glasgow since I last saw him.

I did get out into the garden from time to time…

phlox and white flowers

…to find that flowers were still blooming….

clematis and rose

…in much the same way as before we had gone to London.

hosta and astrantia

I spent most of the morning cutting mounts and framing pictures ready for our camera club exhibition which starts tomorrow.  I am hoping that we will have enough pictures from members to make up a good show.

The potatoes are doing very well and there are more than I can eat by myself so although it is a pity to treat new potatoes in this way, I used some to make soup for lunch.  It tasted good.

In the early afternoon, our new neighbour Irving brought four friends round to look at the garden and it was a pity that Mrs Tootlepedal is away visiting her mother as she would have been able to give them a lot more information than I could but they seemed to enjoy the tour.

I took a few more pictures after they had gone.

The rambler roses are tremendous this year.

rambler roses

The post lunch weather was generally drier but still grey and windy and as I was a bit tired after recent excitements, I had a quiet afternoon in.

I did pop out into the garden from time to time. New arrivals were to be seen…

Nicotiana

Nicotiana

clematis

A curious clematis

…as well as the usual suspects…

roses, lilies and honeysuckle

…and a blackbird…

blackbird

…which was probably suffering from a sore tummy from eating all my gooseberries.

By the time that the weather took a turn for the better….

ligularia

rambler roses

…it was too late for a walk.

Instead, I picked all the sweet peas that were out and pout them in a vase.

sweet peas

My flower arranging skills have not been highly honed as you can see.

The vegetables are coming along well when they can escape from the attentions of the sparrows.

courgette and runner beans

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mike sipped on a cool beer and caught up with the Open golf, Alison and I made progress on the three new pieces that we are working on.  Since neither of us had done any practising, this was very encouraging.

I try to learn something every day and today’s lesson was that the bread machine makes much better bread if you remember to put the water in.

The second effort was more successful.

The flower of the day is one of  my favourites and I hope to see many more soon.

cornflower

 

 

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Keith, a correspondent from Edmonton, Canada says,”Many of the buildings here in Edmonton feature limestone that is just chock-full of fossils and hunting them is a good way to pass time when one is taking shelter from a thunderstorm.”  I think that there must have been a storm because he sent me this as today’s guest picture.

Edmonton fossils

We were far from stormy here today as our spell of very reasonable weather continued.

We had a lull in the appearance of new poppies so I had to settle for purple pictures from the back bed….

moss rose, buddleia and knapweed

…and phlocks of phlox.  The white ones are doing well and have flower heads almost the size of phootballs.

phlox

In the vegetable garden, the cardoon is threatening to take over the world and now towers over me.

Cardoon

Photo courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal Photo Services Inc

It has a several flowers waiting to come out but sadly they may be just too high in the sky for ordinary mortals to enjoy.

While we were in the veg garden, there was quite a lot of sympathetic nodding to be done as Mrs Tootlepedal bewailed the incessant depredations of the sparrows which constantly nip the tops off growing plants.  We may not get any runner beans this year at all thanks to them.

Somehow I managed to pass the morning without doing anything more meaningful than the crossword and making coffee and taking a few more pictures in the garden.

Among the new arrivals are these alstroemeria…

alstromeria

…and this Japanese anemone.

Japanese anemone

Welcome as new flowers are, these two signal the turning of the year and the start of the descent into autumn so the welcome for them is a bit ambivalent.

Nasturtiums are in the same camp.

nasturtium

It feels that the later flowers are a bit early this year but we have had an untypical weather pattern to contend with so maybe the flowers are confused.

We are not short of colourful corners though.

colourful corner

Spirea, ligularia, nasturtium and roses

One thing that caught my eye today were these petals on this clematis which have neatly curled up to make a point.

clematis

After lunch, we settled down to watch a short but exciting stage of the Tour de France.  I took the precaution of changing into my cycling gear, pumping up the tyres on the fairly speedy bike and filling the water bottle  before I started watching the telly so that as soon as the race finished, I could get going and not loll about just thinking about going.

This cunning plan worked well and I was soon off on the twenty mile trip down to Canonbie and back.  Tuesday’s long ride had left my legs in fine fettle and I pedalled away very happily, easily able to persuade myself that the casual spectator would have had a hard time distinguishing between me and a real cyclist.

in spite of the best efforts of Genghis the Grasscutter, wild flowers are still to be seen beside the Wauchope road.

orchid and harebell

Sometimes in large numbers.

Yellow agrimony

Yellow agrimony

I took a closer look at the agrimony and the thistle too.

Yellow agrimony and thistle

I need three things to come together for a vigorous ride – good legs, good breathing and a friendly breeze and today for once, I had all three.  After I had taken the wild flower pictures,  I pressed on, enjoying the feeling of going well.  It may sound a bit silly but so pleasant is the sensation of cycling when all is going well that it is easy to day dream a bit and remember younger days.

Small hills soon put a stop to that sort of thing but it is not a bad thing to have some illusions in life.

I stopped for a second look at wild flowers when I was nearly home.  The knapweed is glorious on the old A7.

knapweed

Mixed in with it were some greater birdsfoot trefoil (thanks to Clare Pooley for the ID) and a clump of bright yellow flowers which Mrs Tootlepedal thinks is yellow bedstraw.

trefoil and yellow flowers

To my great delight, I managed to achieve an average speed of 15 mph for the Canonbie circuit today for the first time this year and it goes to show what a good idea it is to watch some top class cyclists going like the wind just before you set off for a ride.

There was time for another walk round the garden when I got home.

The lilies on land are thriving….

lilies

…and there is a lily on the water in the pond too…

Water Lily

….though it is a bit cramped for space.

The rose of the day is Special Grandma which is flowering freely.

Special Grandma

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and more wind was expended in blowing my flute as Alison and I played through the three excellent pieces which Alison bought on her recent Welsh holiday.  I will not be short of music to practise for some weeks or  months yet.

The flying bird of the day was resting on a hedge.

blackbird

 

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Today’s guest picture was kindly sent to me by expert bird ringer, Dr Cat Barlow who had met this young kingfisher with an injured beak, probably caused by inexperience and hitting the bottom while diving for prey.

Kingfisher

The calm and sunny weather of the last two days gave way to greyer and windier weather today so I was very glad to have a good excuse not to go out on my bike.  The excuse was provided by my friend Sandy who has finally moved into his new house after months of hard work getting it made ready.

As a result he was now free for a cup of coffee and I was delighted to have his company.

Before he arrived, I looked at poppies out of an upstairs window….

poppies

…and then went out to check on them more closely.  They were abuzz with white tailed bumble bees.  There were sometimes two or three in the same flower.

bumble bees on poppies

They seemed absolutely frantic so the pollen must have been extra good today.

I had time for a look at a crocosmia…

crocosmia

…before I went in.

Sandy is still busy getting things shipshape at the new residence and I was happy to volunteer to visit the Moorland Feeders and do the feeder filling for him when he went home after coffee.

I cycled up on the slow bike which gave me time to admire the views at Skippers Bridge…

Skippers Bridge

…from both sides….

Skippers Bridge

…and check on two sorts of tiny white flowers beside the road up the hill.

tiny white flowers

And I mean tiny.  The ones on the right were about 5mm across and the ones on the left were a lot smaller.

When I got to the hide, Corrie, another camera club member, was already there and I sat and chatted with him after I had filled the feeders and although there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to see, I snapped away as we chatted.

chaffinch, blue tit, great tit and coal tit

A chaffinch, a blue tit, a great tit and a coal tit

When Corrie left, a woodpecker came for a feed….

woodpecker

…and then I pedalled off home too.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents and I watched a bit of the Tour before going off to meet Sandy again for a prearranged walk up Meikleholm Hill.

It was greyer and windier than earlier on but it was dry and not too chilly so we weren’t complaining although the brisk wind made photographing flowers a bit tricky.

Sandy took things seriously….

Sandy snapping

…and I did my best.

Once again there was a rich tapestry of wild flowers to enjoy…

Meikleholm wild flowers

…with lots of orchids…

Meikleholm orchids

…flowers with additional soldier beetles….

red soldier beetles

…and a lot to see in general.

Meikleholm hill wild flowers

When I lifted my eyes to the hills, there were things to look at there too…

Becks farm

Becks Farm getting the silage in

Potholm Hill

The ridge of Potholm Hill showing why this is such great walking country

Castleholm

The racecourse on the Castleholm below ready for the Common Riding race meeting

And there was a bonus horse and rider as well.

Horse and rider

To round off a pleasant if short walk, there was a nice gate as we left the hill.

Meikleholm gate

I got back home in perfect time to take a loaf of bread out of the bread maker.

In the evening, Susan arrived to drive me to Carlisle for our monthly recorder group meeting and with four of us present, we  had an enjoyable evening playing music both ancient and modern.

The flying bird of the day is a small flock of sheep on the way to the Moorland Feeders.

sheep

 

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