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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is on the Isle of Arran.  Unlike me, he saw a squirrel at breakfast time.

Arran squirrel

Our spell of good weather continued with a pleasantly warm and often sunny day.  At the moment we are getting some sunny days without it getting too hot for comfort and the only thing lacking to make things perfect is a few overnight showers to save the need for watering the vegetables.

I had time before going to sing in church to have a quick walk round the garden.  It was worth it.

poppy, lily, courgette

Perhaps the biggest and most flamboyant flower in the garden at the moment is in the vegetable patch but the courgette (bottom left in the panel above) looks quite at home.

We have got some very nice white foxgloves on the go among all the colour.

whiute foxglove

The hostas are covered with flowers,  They are doing well this year.

hosta with flowers

Our church organist has been elected cornet so he has been very busy attending common ridings in neighbouring towns lately, but he found time to come and play for us today and it was good to have him at the organ.

After church, there was time for another garden wander and some dead heading.  I noticed the last of our lupins…

new lupin

..and took a general view of the borders on the front lawn.

front lawn border

The front lawn is much better than it was, but it is still a bit patchy.  I did think about photoshopping the brown patches out but restrained myself.

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys a bright red perlagonium which she rescued from a ‘past its best’ tray at a garden centre last year.  It has repaid her care.  I like it too, but it is so bright that it frightens the camera.

geraniums red

I went inside to have coffee and had a look at the birds.

There is a lot of blackbird activity in the garden and this looks like a growing youngster.

young blackbird

A siskin looked as though it was being distracted by an arriving sparrow from the threat from another siskin behind it.

sparrow landing

Later on, two siskins got very up close and personal.

mixed siskins

After lunch, we went off for a cycle ride.

During the ‘sit and stitch’ session at the producers’ market yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal had been reminded by one of her embroidering friends that members of the Waterbeck village hall committee serve cream teas every Sunday afternoon in July.  Waterbeck is ten miles away from Langholm so a ten mile bike ride seemed a good way to work up an appetite and the ten miles back seemed like a good way to work off the calories acquired.

We went at a leisurely pace and kept an eye out for orchids.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted some on the way out and some more on the way back…

two orchids

…and in the end, she saw so many that she stopped pointing them out.

As well as wild flowers, we saw animals pondering on life…

three bulls

…and a busy sand martins’ nesting site…

sand martin nests

…though my pocket camera couldn’t capture any of the sand martins which were flitting in and out of the nest holes.

The verges have not been mown recently and are very lush with waving grasses.

waving grasses

We encountered a small stream of old cars on a group outing but I only managed to get my camera out of my pocket by the time that they had almost all passed us.  This was the last in the queue (with a modern car behind it).

old car

We arrived safely at the hall and enjoyed an excellent cup of tea, a cream and strawberry scone and a delightful plate of cakes as well.  I would have shown you the scones but they had all mysteriously disappeared in no time at all.

waterbeck cream tea table

There was a light breeze in our faces on the way home and the hills are steeper going towards Langholm than on the way out, so we didn’t rush back in spite of being well fuelled with scones and cake.  We had time to stop and look at more flowers.

The vetch and the yellow bedstraw were very striking…

four wauchope wild flowers

…but the more subdued meadowsweet and two active red soldier beetles also provided photo opportunities.

The most surprising stop of the trip was to photograph a hare on the top of Callister.  It thought that the best way of hiding from me was to stand very still in full view.

hare on Callister

More animals should adopt this scheme.

We made a judicious pause half way up the steepest hill to admire the view.

view from Callister

Mrs Tootlepedal did the trip on her shopping bike.  It is the one that has been recently serviced and now has a fully functioning ‘granny gear’ on it.   The hills gave it a good test and it passed well.

An evening meal consisting of a fry-up of liver, bacon, egg and mushroom rounded off a very satisfactory day and we sat down to watch a recording of the team time trial stage of the Tour de France after we had had one last walk round the garden.

The evening light was delightful.

poppy bobbie james delphinium philadelphus

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that one of the many Iceland poppies which spring up in the garden had developed some rather fancy petals.

ragged iceland poppy

I liked the steely gaze of the delphiniums.

delphinium

According to the forecast, we have one more good day to go before the weather changes and it starts to rain for several days, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to cycle a few miles and have had so many pretty flowers to look at during this past week.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch heading up to the feeder.

chaffinch flying

 

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Today’s guest picture was taken by camera club member Mairi on our Beamish outing last weekend, and shows that there isn’t just light a the end of the tunnel, there is a Tootlepedal too.

beamish pipe dream

Our spell of excellent weather continued today.  We had a sunny day but it wasn’t too hot so that was the best of both worlds.

After breakfast, I wandered round the garden.

There are plenty more poppies to come.

poppy with followers

I took a few general shots of colourful corners as the garden is looking quite bright.

flower bed view july 1

flower bed view july 2

flower bed view July 3

Amongst all the colour, there is plenty of whiteness about.

white flowers

And a steady supply of red admiral butterflies.

red admiral butterfly

We had coffee and then we went down to Longtown to collect Mrs Tootlepedal’s shopping bike from the bike shop.  It has had its granny gear fixed so Mrs Tootlepedal can laugh at hills now.

While we were pottering around the garden when we got back, loud cries made us look up and a small flock of swifts could be seen circling above our heads.   They are very nippy so I was pleased to get this shot even though it is not of the highest quality.

swift in flight

As lunchtime approached, I ran out of excuses to justify any more dawdling, so I had a cheese and tomato sandwich and set out to do some pedalling.

There was enough wind in my face to make the first twenty odd miles hard work and I took care to give myself plenty of short breaks for a rest and a drink.  Although I wasn’t looking for wild flowers on my way round, sometimes my stops coincided with something interesting.

cycle wild flowers

This vivid buttercup meadow just out of Langholm was worth an unscheduled stop for itself.

buttercups bigholms

I came to the Hoddam Bridge across the River Annan at the twenty mile mark…

river Annan at Hoddom

…but I couldn’t get a good picture of the bridge as the sun was straight above it and both sides of the bridge were in shadow.

I crossed the river and headed uphill on the other side towards the Repentance Tower.

repentance tower

The tower, built in 1565, is perched on the very top of the hill but the climb was worth it for the splendid view down over the Solway.

solway view from repentance tower

The masts are the radio station at Anthorn on the English side.

Once I had dropped down the hill towards the coast, I could see the triangular peak of Skiddaw, one of the northern Lake District fells, across the neatly mowed fields.

skiddaw

It was a beautiful day to be out cycling and after the hard work of the first twenty miles followed by the climb up past the tower, a bit of downhill, some very flat roads and a following wind for the next twenty was very welcome.

I stopped for my 30 mile snack in Eastriggs, outside the Devil’s Porridge museum just next to Sir James, a ‘fireless’ engine.  The firelessness was necessary as it worked in an enormous explosive factory where a spark from a fire could have spelled disaster.

sir james devils porridge

(A fireless locomotive is a type of locomotive which uses reciprocating engines powered from a reservoir of compressed air or steam, which is filled at intervals from an external source.)

From Eastriggs I headed on to Gretna and crossed the river Sark by the (fairly) mighty border bridge between England and Scotland…

 

sark bridge

…and from there it was not far to get home.  Since I was now going uphill and the wind wasn’t helping so much, I was happy to stop to admire the orange hawkweed at the Hollows bus stop…

hollows bus stop

…and some very bright knapweed beside the bike route near Langholm.

knapweed

I had hoped to do 50 miles and I actually did 51 so I was very content as I had a cup of tea at home with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had spent more time collecting signatures.

After my refreshing cup of tea, I had enough energy left to mow the middle lawn and set the sprinkler on the front lawn…

…and have a last look at the flowers.

There was a lot of yellow (and some dancing feet)  to see…

four yellow flowers

…and the Rozeira de L’Hay had a curiously wriggling centre which turned out to be a bee.

rozeira de l'hay

I can’t get over Mrs Tootlepedal’s new salvia.  It is the flower with everything.

P1030390

I retired indoors for a cool shower and and a nourishing meal of mince and tatties provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.  With Wimbledon and world cup football on the telly, finding an excuse for a quiet sit down after the meal was not hard.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch taking a good look to see of there was a spare perch about.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony’s Highland jaunt.  They went on a boat trip and saw eagles fishing.  He took this picture with his phone.

oznor

We had a better day today.  I managed to get up and stay up and Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold was much improved.

She had another very busy day in connection with the plans to try to get a community buy out going for part of the Langholm moor which our local duke is selling.  She is part of a steering group which is considering possibilities and encouraging local interest.  Part of her day involved a visit to the moor with our local expert and as she saw stonechats, meadow pipits, wild goats and a hen harrier in flight, she felt very happy about her day’s work.

I took things more easily and spent a lot of time doing some desultory weeding and dead heading, before some compost sieving.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been using a lot of our home made compost recently.

Among this, there was plenty of time to look at flowers both old and new.

It was a day for new poppies to pop up.  Expect many more poppy portraits in the days to come.

three new poppies

Owing to having a very twitchy shutter finger in the sunshine, flowers will appear in mostly colour coded panels.

four pale flowers

From top left clockwise: Ginger syllabub, peony, campanula and water lily

four roses

From top left clockwise: Queen of Denmark, Lilian Austin, Goldfinch, and unknown to me.

four reddish flowers

From top left clockwise: Frau Dagmar Hastrup, wiegela, nasturtium (first of year), spirea

four blueish flowers

From top left clockwise: Delphinium, iris, clematis and clematis

My neighbour Liz called in and was much struck by the beauty of the rosa complicata in the front bed which she said looked exactly like a rose should look like.  Who could disagree with her?

pretty rosa complicata

 

Not all he flowers in the garden stand out.  I had to peer through the tree peony to find this new lily which is blushing unseen.

hidden lily

Among all the other colour, the little forest of orange hawkweed is still one of the best things in the garden at the moment.

orange hawkweed

I sat down for long enough to do the crossword and watch the birds.  A goldfinch had an interesting slant on things…

slanted goldfinch

…while a sparrow clutched at straws (or in this case, the old sunflower stalk).

sparrow on stalk

I made some lentil soup for lunch and Mrs Tootlepedal appeared in time to have a bowl too.

After lunch, I mowed the front lawn.  The moss eating treatment seems to be working but I applied the mixture, which also contains buck-u-uppo, with such a free hand that the grass is growing at a furious rate.

Then, since it was a fine day and my back and feet were not complaining too much, I went out for a cycle ride.  As the wind was gusting at 25mph, it was quite a short ride because I didn’t want to put too much pressure on my legs.

I was keeping an eye out for orchids and when a flash of colour appeared in the verge, I stopped to investigate.  It turned out to be vetch but still well worth a look, I thought.

vetch

I pottered along and turned at this gate on Callister.  Like the photographer, it is a bit past its best.

overrun gate at callister

With the wind behind me, I whistled back to the town and out of the other side until I had got far enough to get a view up the Ewes Valley which the low cloud had denied us yesterday.

view of ewes with wild flowers

Satisfied, I pedalled home and clocked up 16 miles.  At least I had started the new month with something.

Mrs Tootlepedal was out when I got home.  She had been off doing more moorland business while I was pedalling but she soon returned and she noticed this strange object on a nettle  while she was getting the washing in.

thing on nettle

A search on the internet tells me that it may be a fungal gall caused by rust.

We had a discussion as to whether it was time to try digging up an early potato.  After some debate, we resolved to give it a go.

It turned out to be a reasonable decision and we ate a lot of them with our evening meal.

new potatoes 2019

My flute pupil Luke came and I was rustier than him as I hadn’t played a note for two weeks.  I will have to put in some practice.

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a walk.  I was hoping to see something to photograph and she was hoping to nab a few more townspeople to sign her petition regarding the moorland purchase.

She added two more to her total as we crossed the suspension bridge, and I enjoyed the wild flowers beside the Esk.  For reasons that may have more to do with economy than deliberate planning, the usual strimming of the banks has not taken place and although many townspeople like the banks to look neat and tidy, I prefer the wildflowers.

daisy on river esk bank

The view upriver looked like a painting.

view of Langholm Bridge sunny evening

We walked round the new path on the Castleholm and were impressed by the huge size of the cones on the noble fir.

noble fir cones

There were insects to be seen on the umbellifers beside the path.

insects on umbellifer

And the path itself was treat on a summer evening like this.

new path in shadows

Mrs Tootlepedal added another four names to her petition as we walked along Douglas Terrace and then we dropped in on Mike and Alison (another signature added) where I enjoyed a beer before finally getting home.  Mike and Alison’s garden is looking very fine.

I felt better at the end of the day than I did at the beginning and you can’t ask for anything more than that.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin with its mouth full, byt still going back for more.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother Andrew’s wife’s Australian cousin Janet who found Andrew hard at work on his son’s mower making hay  while the sun shone.

andrew making hay

After yesterday’s outing to Beamish, I had a plan for today: in the morning I would put the pictures from Beamish on the blog, mow a few lawns, make soup for lunch and then in the afternoon, I would go for a cycle ride.

Everything went entirely to plan until I got up.  Shortly afterwards, I went back to bed again with a very sore back and an outbreak of being strangely tired.  As I didn’t get up until noon, the morning part of the plan was shot.

I took a quick look at the garden flowers when I had risen and found a lot of Sweet William that I thought was worth recording.

six sweet williams

The first day lilies have arrived.

day lily

And ever more irises are appearing.

two irises

I like the last of the lupins to join the garden show.

new lupin

I found another Philadelphus flower.

single philadelphus

And my favourite rose, Lilian Austin was looking at her best.

lilian austin

She has been joined by a burst of moss roses.

three moss roses

Then I went in and watched the birds for a while.

Although the weather was good, it was pretty breezy and birds had to hang on to the feeder.

sparrow hanging on

And when they did get settled, it wasn’t long before someone else came along and booted them off.

threatening siskin

I had a cheese and tomato toastie for lunch and fortified by this, I went out and mowed the lawns.  This was a bit of a kill or cure experiment with my back and I am happy to say that the result tended much more to cure than kill and I felt a bit better for the rest of the day.

I noticed a flash of colour and dashed in for my camera and for once a butterfly kindly stayed in place for long enough for me to get a picture.  It was a red admiral, the first that i have seen in the garden this year.

red admiral butterfly

Looking around, now that I had my camera with me, I was impressed by the growth on the delphiniums…

delphinium

…and by the pertinacity of the aquilegia which are still growing through a box ball.

two aquilegia on box

I spotted the first calendula of the year…

calendula

…and enjoyed the dancing feet of the martagon lilies in the sun.

martagon lilies

The two clematis on either side of the front door are at very different stages of development.

two front door clematis

Mrs Tootlepedal has a bit of a cold and had had a very busy morning, so while I was pootling about in the garden, she wisely had a siesta.  When she came downstairs, we decided to go up to the Langholm Moor and look for interesting bird life.

Our timing was off.  The sun had gone and light rain and low clouds had beaten us to the top of the hill.

moor in mist

The wind was strong too and the bog cotton and grasses were being blown about.

bog cotton

Altogether it wasn’t the best day for watching birds on the hill.   Still, it is always a pleasure to be out and about and the roadsides were full of wild flowers…

moor road with wildflowers

…including a large patch of orchids.

moor orchids

However, it was too wet and windy to take satisfactory pictures or see much so we didn’t stay out long and came back to the garden where I spotted a new clematis in the drizzle.

new clematis by old feeder

Although we welcomed the rain from a gardening point of view as things were a bit dry, the birds didn’t look very happy, either up above…

cross starling

…or down below.

soggy blackbird

Our fake tree of twigs nailed onto a fence post is a popular stopping off point for birds on the way to the feeder.

two siskin on fake tree in rain

The rain and the brisk wind put paid to any idea of cycling, though I did put in a few minutes on the bike to nowhere in the garage just to get my legs moving.  Then I buckled down and put 90 odd pictures into a post about the trip to Beamish yesterday.   (Sandy has put some of the ones that he took on his blog too and those interested can see them here.)

All this took some time and although there was a glimpse of sun later in the evening, my day had ground to halt by then and I ate a meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal and watched Countryfile on the telly.

I hope that my back and the weather are more co-operative tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin in the queue for the feeder.

siskin in queue

 

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Today’s guest picture is a further report from Tony’s Highland holiday.  He has been to the Isle of Skye.

oznor

A lot of my posts recently seem to have been done late at night and in rather a rush, not helped by my computer behaving in a grumpy manner and frequently holding things up.  This one is no exception so I apologise for any dodgy photos and grammatical infelicities.  I am tired.

A couple of readers have asked for more general garden shots. I leaned out of upstairs windows this morning and had a look about.

The front lawn has had a dose of my moss eating treatment so it looks a bit patchy but the beds round it are quite colourful at the moment.

front lawn 27 june

I couldn’t get a view of the whole of the middle lawn because the plum tree gets in the way but the grass is better on it and I like the combination of shrubs and flowers in the right hand bed.

middle lawn 27 june

This is a view from one lawn to the other across the pond.

view of pond bed

General views are all very well but who could pass roses and peonies like these without taking a picture?

the wren margareta and peony

And even in their passing, the peonies are full of interest.

peony teeth

Our neighbour Liz brought her great nephew into the garden to walk over the pond bridge and I was able to point out a frog basking in the sunshine to him as he crossed.

june frog

In return, he told me that he had seen fish swimming in the dam, so I went out to have a look.  He was right.

fish in dam

I had time to mow the middle lawn before we set off in the Zoe for an outing.

The chief business of the day was our customary trip to Edinburgh, but instead of going to Lockerbie as usual, we went to Tweedbank to catch a train on the Borders Railway.  One of the reasons for the change of route was that it let us visit the lost property office of the Border Bus Company in Galashiels on the way.  Some careless fellow had left his cap on the bus to Carlisle when we went to London recently and it had been returned to Galashiels where I picked it up today.  The cap fitted so I wore it.

The route up to Edinburgh from Tweedbank is delightful on a sunny day, and it was certainly very sunny today.  Although the farmers weren’t making hay as the sun shone, they were certainly cutting a lot of silage.

view from border's railway

We did a little shopping when we got to Edinburgh, and then we sat on the top deck of a bus as we went down to see Matilda.  We were in the front seats and got a good view of a bit of Edinburgh of the past…

old edinburgh

…and a bit of Edinburgh to come.

new edinburgh

As it was such a lovely day, Matilda was keen to visit the park again.  The road to the park is called Butterfly Way so it was good to see an actual butterfly on the way to the park.

butterfly way

The park was busy and Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda had to take avoiding action when a cyclist came towards them.

Mrs T and Matilda Lochend

Not everyone was busy though, and we saw this duck having a snooze in the middle of the loch.

duck at Lochend

We arrived safely at the little pier at the end of the Loch and were able to see water birds of all sorts.

pond life Lochend

And we noticed that coots have very big feet….

….as do moorhens.

moorhen Lochend

Mallard’s feet are more in keeping with the size of their bodies.

mallard Lochend

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the coots and moorhens need big feet not just for swimming but to support themselves when they are wading over mud and marsh.

 

Matilda had a lot of fun on the adventurous climbing frame, the roundabout and a swing, and then was given some bread by a kind lady to feed the birds.  She found that gulls are very rude and greedy birds.

A magpie turned up after all the food was gone and looked a bit put out.

magpie Lochend

After plenty of fun all round, we returned home and played a couple of games of Go Fish.  I won’t tell you who won because it will just make Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda big headed.  I didn’t cry though.

After another delicious meal cooked for us by Alistair and Clare, it was time to head for home on a very comfortable and punctual train.  The days are so long now and the weather was so good today, that it was still light when we arrived back at ten o’clock.

There was no time for a flying bird today.  A picture of Matilda having a standing up straight competition with a lamppost takes its place.

Matilda standing straight

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony’s Highland holiday.  He was up above Applecross on the Bealach nam Ba (the pass of the cattle) on the west coast when he got this splendid view.

oznor

It was a fine and warm day here today, the first summer like day of the year and I was lucky to have plenty to do to keep me busy.

I started the morning off by taking Mrs Tootlepedal’s ‘shopping’ bike down to the bike shop to get some maintenance in general, and in particular to get what younger cyclists rather scornfully call the ‘granny gear’ working again.   This is the lowest gear on the bike, useful for climbing the steeper sort of hills even for quite young people and essential for older cyclists.  It hasn’t been working for some time and Mrs Tootlepedal has found steep hills no fun at all.

Leaving the bike to be worked on, I went back to Langholm by way of the Moorland Project bird hide where I was acting as a fill in feeder filler for friends who were away.  I always hope to see a woodpecker or two as a reward for filling the feeders and my hopes were amply fulfilled today.

excellent woodpecker

I drove home in a very cheerful mood.

The garden was in a very cheerful mood too…

six bright garden flowers

…and even the flowers that had gone over were still smiling.

The roses are getting better every day…

six roses

…and I will have to get into full dead heading mode from now on.

Mrs Tootlepedal helped to demonstrate why the flowers that are commonly known as ‘Dutchmen’s Breeks’ are also known as ‘Lady in the Bath’

lady in bath

In return, I lent her a hand at getting some order back into the bed in the vegetable garden which had been squashed by the mini digger when the new electricity pole was put up.

The petrol driven tiller is noisy but hardworking.

tilling the electricity bed

We are supposed to be getting new planks for the sides of the bed from the power company but we are not holding our breath.

I had a little sit down after being pulled this way and that by the tiller and enjoyed the calm colour combination of these flowers while I rested.

colour combo garden

After lunch, I went for a walk with Sandy.  It has been some time since our feet have both been usable and there has been some good weather at the same time so this was a very welcome excursion.  I picked him up in the Zoe and we drove down the recently repaired road to the Tarras Bridge and went for a short walk  along the path beside the river.

I took far too many pictures to show them all here but among the pleasures on display on our walk were numerous different grasses…

three grasses tarras

…of which this one was my favourite.

grass tarras

There were lots of wild flowers beside the path.

wild flowers tarras

And it is always surprising to walk past the section of the river bank which reveals what is under our feet.  There was coal mining in the area for a long time and people have been considering open cast mining quite recently.

coal seams tarras

The plants were attracting other visitors.

There was a bee in clover…

bee on clover tarras

…a painted lady that looked as though it might need a new coat of paint…

painted lady tarras

…and a hoverfly getting stuck into the pollen.

hoverfly tarras

We saw several northern marsh orchids but they were not fully out yet which was disappointing.

young orchid tarras

The hedge roses were in full flower…

hedge rose tarras

…and nettles were being very spiky…

nettle tarras

…but my personal pick of the shots that I took along the way was this one of a bird’s foot trefoil looking gorgeous.

bird's foot trefoil tarras

We drove home and had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal, who had just come back from a meeting, and Mike Tinker, who had dropped in to catch up with the news.

When our visitors left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I put some time in to raising the roofs on the two pea fortresses.  The peas have grown very well and one sort that claims to grow to 16 inches on the packet is well over three feet.

I haven’t put a picture of the newly enlarged structures into this post to avoid over exciting readers….and it was very difficult to get a good shot anyway.

There was quite a lot of other garden work to be done and when we had finished we had omelettes for tea with new potatoes and turnips from the garden.

As it was still a beautiful day, I went for a 15 mile cycle ride after we had eaten.  Was it a good evening for a cycle ride?  It was.

panorama wauchope road

A ‘click on the pic’ will enlarge the panorama.

I stopped for a chat with an oyster catcher which was standing one legged on a gate post half way up a hill…

oyster catcher wauchope road

… but otherwise, I pedalled steadily along, enjoying the warmth.

There had been a bit too much warmth yesterday in the town where some people had managed to set fire to one of the unused buildings of the old Reid & Taylor’s Mill.

mill fire 2019

It is sad to see vandalism like this in our town and this was the only sight that spoiled an otherwise excellent day.

The bird hide woodpecker makes a re-appearance as the slightly fuzzy but quite unusual flying bird of the day.

flying woodpecker

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows one of his dogs relaxing in his garden.  He tells me that he sun (almost) always shines in East Wemyss.

cof

When I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the sun was shining and my feet were not hurting.  Life was good and it got better when I went out into the garden after breakfast and found a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) sunning itself on a Sweet William.

painted lady on sweet william

Things improved even further when Dropscone arrived for coffee, bringing scones of the highest quality with him.  Add to that a passing visit from our friend Gavin who stayed for a cup of coffee and happiness was to be found all around.

In the garden, when the visitors had departed, there was plenty of cheerfulness too. We have three different astrantias and they are all doing well…

three astrantia

…and the painted lady was back showing both sides of its wings.

painted lady panel

On the feeder, a siskin stood for a moment before getting a seed.  (This is a rare siskin picture for me as it wasn’t taken through a window.)

siskin not through window

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the garden equivalent of housekeeping after the pole excitements when she found this quite unexpected but very pretty iris in the middle of a bed.  Where it has come from is a mystery, as she didn’t plant it.

new yellow iris

Long established irises should not be overlooked though.

old blue iris

Two days of warm sunshine had brought life to the garden and plants asked to be photographed, both in the form of Jacobite roses…

Jacobite rose

…and the butter and sugar iris.

butter and sugar iris

The painted lady returned to another Sweet William and let me get a close up.

painted lady on sweet william 2

The tropoaeolum has burst into flower as well.

tropaeloum flower out

In between running around snapping at flowers, I mowed the front lawn and lent a hand with the garden tidying until it was time for Mrs Tootlepedal to drive off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ lunch.

I made a pan of soup for my lunch, did the crossword and then headed out on my bike to see how my legs were feeling after yesterday’s effort.

I chose a route where the wind would be across and hoped that bends in the road would mean that it would frequently change from hostile to helpful as I went along as I didn’t fancy another long spell of battering into the brisk breeze.

I chose a more hilly route but my legs were unfazed and carried me along without complaint.  My windy plan worked well and I didn’t have any long struggles into the teeth of the breeze, but all the same, I adopted a very gentle pace and stopped to take many pictures as I went along.  Here are a sample.

A mown field and a variety of greens made a interesting picture as I cycled down the hill from Peden’s View.

mowed field

There was a pretty selection of hawkweed and daises at Bentpath village (and another painted lady which didn’t get into the picture).

wild flowers at Bentpath

The Esk looked serene when viewed from the Benty Bridge.

esk from benty bridge

The shadows on the back road past Georgefield look attractive but they are a snare for cyclists as it is hard to spot potholes among them and there are plenty of potholes on this section.

road ar Westerhall

I got through safely though and was able to admire this small prairie of buttercups near Enzieholm Bridge.

filed of buttercups enzieholm

When I looked more closely, I found that below the buttercups, the field was also full of yellow rattle.

sweet ratle in buttercup filed

There was a lot of traffic on the road on my way home…

sheep on Benty road

…but I got back in good spirits after fifteen very pleasant miles.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her lunch and was busy in the garden again so I joined her in a supervisory role and took more flower pictures from time to time.

six brilliant flowers

It was a perfect day and all the better because we have had so few good days lately.

The only fly in the ointment came in the evening with the news that Scotland had failed to hang on to a three goal lead in a crucial game in the Women’s World Cup football tournament.  I wisely hadn’t watched the game because I wasn’t in the mood for needless suffering.

I didn’t find the necessary time to catch a flying bird today as it wasn’t a good day to spend a lot of time indoors, so a sitting blackbird of the day takes the position instead.

blackbird on fence.

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