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Archive for the ‘Walking’ Category

Unusually, I have two guest pictures of the day from our son Tony.  The first shows that he got up at sunrise to walk his dogs…

wemyss dogs

…and the second shows what he saw.

wemyss seal

His new house gets our seal of approval.

Dropscone is away refereeing another golf tournament so there were no treacle scones today but there was ample consolation in the appearance of Sandy who came for coffee and biscuits.

I had a cycle ride in mind for sometime during the day after Sandy left but the weather was very unsettled with a combination of sunshine and rain, including one very sharp shower that came with added thunder and hailstones.

lawn with hail

I did go out in the sunny spells to see if butterflies had arrived but there were none so I took a picture of a Michaelmas daisy…

michaelmas daisy

…had a look at the vegetables..

onion, bean and courgette

…checked out the bees…

bees

…and went back in.

I spent a moment or two watching the birds.  A sunflower is growing uninvited behind the bird feeder and a chaffinch perched on one of its ample leaves to check out the seeds.

chaffinch on sunflower

Amongst the regular visitors, a very white bird appeared.  It was tricky to see what it was but I think it is  sparrow.

white sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal was out on business in the morning and when she returned, a passing neighbour commented on the number of walnuts in the tree…

walnuts in tree

They are looking very impressive and we are hoping that they will ripen into a usable crop.

If I had been keen and watchful, I would have found a good enough spell of weather during the day to get out on the bike but I was not keen and instead of watching the weather, I spent time watching the European Games on the telly.

I was just going upstairs to admire a layout for a patchwork blind which Mrs Tootlepedal is making when the doorbell rang so I went back down and found my South African correspondent, Tom Elliot on the doorstep.

It was a pleasure to see him and we had a good chat.  I had to go up and fetch the car from the garage where it had been having a service and he was still chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal when I got back so we had a walk round the garden and he tested the new bench…

Tommy elliot

…and pronounced it fit for purpose.

He is a keen cyclist and is in training for a very hilly mountain bike marathon back home in South Africa.

When he left, I felt that I ought to make some good use of a day that had become very sunny again so I went for a short walk.

In spite of the heavy showers and quite a bit of recent rain, it is still basically quite dry and the river is low.

River Esk in august

I walked up one of Langholm’s narrowest streets…

George Street

…and came to the Kilngreen where there were a good number of black headed gulls about, some very active…

black headed gull flapping

…and some quite passive.

black headed gull on grass

Then I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed up the Lodge Walks…

lodge walks

…hoping that the sunshine would last for long enough for me to get home dry.

I was keeping an eye out for fungus….

fungus august

…and signs of the season.

beech nutbrambletree fruitsCastleholm acornsbrown twig

Some black clouds loomed up so I didn’t dilly dally but had enough time to see some brighter colour once I got back into the town.

rowan, dahlia and honeysuckle

Rowan berries at the manse, astounding dahlias in Walter Street and honeysuckle in our hedge

I looked into our garden from the road and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s ranks of yellow crocosmia which surround the front lawn.

yellow crocosmia

There was more rain to follow the sunshine before it brightened up again just in time for Mike and Alison to arrive for their regular Friday evening visit.

Both Alison and I have been practising a bit so it came as no surprise when our playing was a bit more ragged than usual.  We were worn out before we started!  Still, playing duets is always a pleasure so we were not downhearted.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Anne, my cello playing friend Mike’s wife, who came across a very odd looking bird at her daughter’s bird feeder.  I would like to see red squirrels in our garden.

squirrel on birdfeeder

It was one of those days when it was hard to get some satisfactory organisation into my outdoor life thanks to a very indifferent weather forecast.  One thing the forecast did get right was the strong wind which, with frequent  gusts at 30 mph, was quite enough to stop me cycling.

But it couldn’t work out when it was going to rain and in the end, it didn’t rain at all.

This was a bit disappointing in two ways.

Firstly because if you don’t do something because it is going to rain and then it doesn’t rain, then it means that you feel a little foolish.

Secondly, because the post brought me a great treat in the shape of a gift from Mary Jo from Manitoba…

MJ's scientific rain gauge

 

….a genuinely scientific rain gauge which  was no use to me on a day when it didn’t rain.

However, I am reasonably sure that it will come into its own quite soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day in the garden, determined to do as much as possible before it rained and as it didn’t rain, she did a lot.

I did a bit.  I mowed two lawns during the day and picked beans, an onion, spinach and courgettes to make some more green soup.

I took some pictures too.

flowers

We had some sunny spells and it was warm enough to make being out in the garden a pleasure.

There is a lot of yellow crocosmia waiting to come out round the garden and the first flowers have just appeared.

yellow crocosmia

The French marigolds which are protecting the carrots from carrot root fly are worth having just for themselves.

French marigolds

There is plenty of productivity to be seen among the doddering dillies and the rowan berries.

rowan and doddering dillies

Among the tasks that Mrs Tootlepedal accomplished was the first clipping of the remodelled chicken.

new chicken

It has been a patient process.  It looked this in 2016…

topiary chicken

…and then like this after some drastic surgery in April 2017. …

thin chicken

…and then like this in August 2017.

topiary chicken

Mrs Tootlepedal plays a long game.

She also trimmed this year’s growth on some of the espalier apples, revealing a good crop of fruit.

espalier apples

This led to a lot of shredding and we had to put an extra couple of sections onto compost Bin A to stop it overflowing.

While I was making the soup, I watched the birds.  They seem to be fully recovered from the soaking they got a day or two ago…

greenfinch and siskin

…but this hasn’t improved their behaviour.  After chaffinches kicking greenfinches and greenfinches kicking chaffinches, we got greenfinch versus greenfinch today.

kicking greenfinches

When the rain held off after lunch, I went for a walk.

Even after the rain showers that we have had since the weekend, there is still very little water in our rivers….

auld stane brig

…though the water has turned a little browner than usual.

I walked up the road to the the Auld Stane Brig and then went back home by way of Gaskell’s and Easton’s walk.

There was not much moss and lichen to see after the dry spell but there was plenty to catch the eye as I went along.

furry plant

And if I got peckish, I could find wild raspberries to keep me going.

wild raspberry

They were delicious.

I know enough now to expect to find different patterns on the back of ferns.

fern backs

It looks as though there will be a good crop of sloes and acorns this year.

sloe and acorn

It wasn’t hard to spot insects on the flowers beside the tracks.

insects

There were quite a few wasps about.

insect on umbellifer

When I got near the end of my stroll, I went down to the Esk to see of the family of oyster catchers was still about.  They had morphed into two gulls.

gulls on esk

They look like two juvenile lesser black backed gulls to me but I may need correcting by knowledgeable readers.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still hard at work in the garden when I got back so I did a bit of hedge clipping to help.  Mrs Tootlepedal is gradually reducing both the width and the height of the box hedges round the front lawn and this is a very labour intensive job.  The hedges recover remarkably well from this rough treatment.

I hope for more sun and less wind soon as I need to get some cycling miles in.

I did a little work updating the Langholm Walks website.  Langholm has been officially accredited (by an official accreditor) as a walking friendly town and I have added a note of this to the website.

The flying bird of the day is one of our many greenfinch visitors.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Wetherby.

wetherby

This post has double the usual amount of pictures for reasons that will become apparent for those with the time and energy to slog through them.  If you make an excuse and leave now, I will quite understand.

Our spell of good weather continues and it is a bit irksome that it is somewhat wasted on a grumpy old man with dodgy joints and a sincere wish that it would rain so that he can stop watering the garden. It is the best summer for 40 years.  And it is not even too hot any more.  After the excessive heat a couple of weeks ago, the temperature is nearly perfect and there are enough passing clouds to give an occasional break from the sun.  I should be running across the hills and swimming in the rivers.  Ah well.

There just isn’t any rain.  It has rained twenty miles away to the south and twenty miles to the north but not on us.  Still, not so long ago there were severe floods twenty miles to the south and twenty miles to the north of us but not here so we should take the rough with the smooth.

I started the day with a little watering and flower watching.

There have been quite a few white butterflies about in the garden but no coloured butterflies at all.

white butterfly

This is a small white (I think)

I have been watering the verbascum and it is thriving.

verbascum

The privet is thriving without any help from me.  It is usually loud with bees.

privet

Knapweed has appeared in one of the beds.

knapweed

And I think that this is a zinnia just coming out.

zinnia

It is pretty warm in the direct sunshine and this blackbird was having a puff and pant in the vegetable garden.

blackbird

I stopped watering and did a load of washing and hung it out to dry (a speedy process these days) and then went off to collect my new improved asthma puffer from the chemist.  I am expecting a miracle cure.

I watched the birds when I got back and enjoyed a complete set of greenfinches on the feeder.

greenfinches

Somehow the morning seemed to slip away without much more input from me but after lunch, I leapt into action and walked up Meikleholm Hill.

There were still no orchids about but there things to be seen.

Meikleholm hill flowers

Harebell, tormentil and pineapple weed

But I hadn’t come to look at wild flowers or birds, though I enjoyed this meadow pipit piping away on top of a little tree…

meadow pipit

…and couldn’t resist one of my favourite views.

view of esk valley

What I was interested in was the first ride-out of the Common Riding fortnight.  It goes from the town…

View of Langholm from Meikleholm Hill

…across the hills to the village of Bentpath and back and is thus universally known as “The Benty Ride out”.

Looking over the edge of the hill, I thought that I could see movement on the town bridge…

horse cross bridge

…but I needed the big zoom on the little Lumix to see the cavalcade setting off from the Kilngreen….

benty rideout leaving kilngreen

…and crossing the town bridge.

benty rideout crossing bridge

The results are a bit fuzzy to say the least but as there was a brisk wind blowing and the horses were about a mile away, it is a tribute to the Lumix that it could pick them out at all.

I didn’t have to wait too long until the cornet, who carries the flag round the town on Common Riding day and leads the rides-out, came round the corner of the hill….

benty rideout cornet

…waved graciously at the cheering crowd (me)…

benty rideout cornet 2

…and cantered on to the top of the hill with his right and left hand men behind him.

benty rideout hunter's gate 1

(The right and left hand men are the cornets from the previous two years who offer experience and support to the current cornet in his many duties.)

Soon the other riders followed on…

benty rideout hunter's gate 2

…some at a good canter over the rough ground…

benty rideout hunter's gate 3

…until the whole group stopped for a breather at the gate onto Timpen (at just over 1000ft, Timpen would be  the highest point of the day).

benty rideout hunter's gate 4

An advanced marshall on a quad bike checked that the route was ok…

Timpen lead out

…and after some deliberation…

benty rideout hunter's gate 7

The cornet led the way…

benty rideout hunter's gate 8

…through the gate…

benty rideout hunter's gate 9

…followed by the other riders…

benty rideout hunter's gate 10

…and set off towards  the summit of Timpen.

benty rideout timpen 1

This was an opportunity for another canter…

benty rideout timpen 2

…and one or two minor upsets.

benty rideout timpen 3

…which led to a pause while loose horses were collected and reunited with their riders…

benty rideout timpen 4

…and then while those at the back caught up…

benty rideout timpen 5

.. the leaders sailed over the top of Timpen and disappeared along the ridge towards the Black Knowe.

The delay to catch the loose horses gave me the opportunity to walk up to the top of Timpen too and watch the riders for a little bit longer.

benty rideout leaving timpen 1

This is not country for the faint hearted rider.

benty rideout leaving timpen 2

…but on a day like today, it offers superb views of the Esk valley.

I liked the view of the cavalcade stretched out along the hillside with the Craig windfarm in the background, a pleasing blend of the traditional and the modern.

benty rideout leaving timpen 3The recent dry weather hadn’t made the ground too hard for comfort but it had done a good job in drying out many of the boggy bits that might dislodge an unwary rider.  It was wonderful underfoot for an elderly walker and I even ventured to run for a few yards to make sure I was in position to get that last shot.

The cornet waited for his followers to catch up

benty rideout black knowe

..and then as the procession disappeared into the distance…

benty rideout black knowe 2

…I was left to enjoy a last look up the Esk valley…

View from timpen

…and a stroll back down the hill in the company of two keen walking ladies who had also taken to the hills to watch the riders go by.

two ladies

This was the first time that the Benty ride-out has taken this particular route on the way to Bentpath and I was surprised that I was one of only four adults and two children who had come out to see this historic occasion, considering the good weather and fine views of the riders.  I suppose though that if you wanted to catch up with the riders again at Bentpath itself, it would mean a long walk back to the town to pick up your car to drive up to the village.

I had considered a cycle ride after the ride-out but the brisk wind and stiff legs after coming down the steep hill to the town allowed me to imagine that watching some sport on the telly might be almost as good as taking exercise on my own account.  There was plenty to watch, with a sprint finish in the Tour de France, a deserved victory for Belgium in the third place play off in the World Cup and some entertaining tennis too.

I was quite exhausted by the time cooking my tea came along.  I added spinach, peas and potatoes (sautéed) from the garden to some very reasonably priced fish cakes for a nutritious and economical feast.

It was a beautiful evening as I finished my watering tasks.

garden in evening

 

 

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I do have a guest picture today as my sister Mary sent me this shot of a herd of art loving geese rushing to see Christo’s work in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park 21.06.18 008

While we were having our last spell of good weather a few weeks ago in late spring after a miserable few months, nobody dared to say that it was too hot.  Now we are having another spell of good weather and mid summer day has passed so I can confidently say about today that for me, it was too hot.

Still, it was a lovely day so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to arrange an exhibition of her embroidery group’s work in the Welcome to Langholm space and I took a walk round the garden.

On one side of the garden, roses were glowing…

two roses

…the day lily was gleaming…

day lily

…and my favourite iris was shining.

iris

On the other side of the garden, there were sparkling roses, Ginger Syllabub and Goldfinch…

two roses (2)

…and lots of bees on the cotoneaster.

bee on cotoneaster

The lupins were badly battered by the wind and rain and Mrs Tootlepedal cleared the main shoots away.  Now, the smaller side shoots have come into their own.

lupin

I put my camera down and picked up a mower and mowed the drying green and then welcomed Sandy in for a cup of coffee.

I haven’t seen him for a bit as he has been building a shed in his garden with the help of a friend so it was good to catch up with him.  He was busy again in the afternoon so when we had finished coffee, we put on sensible headgear and went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill, hoping that there would be a breeze to take the edge of the heat.

We were looking for orchids.

The down side of good weather is pollen and there was plenty of evidence of grass seeds as we went up the track to the hill.

grass with seeds

We enjoyed the cool avenue of trees just before the track goes on to the open hill….

gate onto hill

…and the views once we got onto the hill were compensation for the effort of getting there.

view fromMeikleholm Hill

And there was a light breeze.

Sadly, views were all we got as there were very few varieties of wild flower to be seen and only one or two scruffy orchids.  There was plenty of tormentil, buttercup and hawkbit which the sheep must not like.  The sheep had grazed off all the rest.

Still, the views made the walk well worth while for its own sake…

View from Hunters Gate

…and we will have to find orchids elsewhere.

As we came back down the hill, I really liked this little tree with a big view…

little tree with big view

…and well protected from the sheep by bracken, a foxglove poked its head up to give a little colour.

foxglove on Meikleholm Hill

We saw more colour on the walk down the track past Holmwood than we did on the whole of the hill.

herb robert and cornflower

rose beside track

It was a good walk but warm work and I was happy to get back into the cool of the house.

I did consider a bike ride after lunch but felt  that the walk, short as it was, was probably enough exercise for the hot day so I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.

After that, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her exhibition work and needed some supervision in the garden so I sat in the shade while she shifted and levelled some paving stones. I stopped supervising and did a little compost sieving but as it was about 30°C in the sun, we didn’t stay out too long and were happy to pause and have a cup of tea with Dr Tinker who appeared wearing a very sensible hat.

Then my flue pupil Luke came and we continued to make steady progress.  He has left school now and has just got a job but I hope that he will continue to come and play.

Next,  it was time to start watering the middle lawn and the vegetable garden and that took some time and completed our activity for the day.

I was going out to move the hose at one point when a strident shrieking from over head told me that swifts were about.  There has been a lot of talk about how scarce swifts are this year so I was happy to see a small flock swooping about over the house.

swifts

While I had the camera in my hand, I looked at our Scotch rose…

Scotch rose

…which always turns out to have a little black fly or two on it when I try to take a picture.

Nearby, the very first flowers on the delphiniums appeared today.  I hope that  they don’t get damaged by strong winds as often happens.  Mrs Tootlepedal has tried to get them in  more sheltered places this year.

delphinium

The flower of the day is a blue allium.  They have been sitting outside promising to come out but not actually coming for what seems like weeks.  One got knocked over by the recent winds and has found living indoors in a vase is more to its taste.  They are small flowers, about the size of a ping pong ball.

blue allium

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia.  It was taken by a friend who saw her kindly trying to cheer an old fellow up at RHS Rosemoor.

Venetia and friend

We woke to a sunny morning and I might have gone cycling but I received a better offer.  Mike Tinker had suggested a walk to look at some early summer ferns  so after breakfast I walked round to his house and started by meeting some of the ferns which he has in his garden.

Mike's garden ferns

He is a real fern enthusiast and as you can see, he has some interesting specimens.

He has many more than I have shown here but I am trying to keep posts shorter than usual for a while.

We set off round the Scholars’ Field and up the track along the river.  We were looking for ferns  but saw other things of interest along the way.

moth

Research tells me that this might be a Chinese Character moth, cilix glaucata with the brown markings supposed to look like bird droppings and put off predators.  I would be happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

But we did see a lot of ferns and it is always interesting to turn a fern and see what is on the other side.

female fern

A lady fern, more delicate than the male

buckle fern

A buckler fern.  You can see the buckle shaoped sporangia

There was no shortage of ferns to see.

fern

We passed the Duchess Bridge and took the path up through the woods.

Walk 2

Mike kept an eye out for wild flowers to show me.

sanicle

This is sanicle

I saw ferns that I never knew existed.

beech fern

A beech fern

oak fern

An oak fern

We looked at the back of more ferns.

shield fern

When we came out onto the road at the end of the path, it was not hard to spot a maidenhair spleenwort or two…

spleenwort wall

…and evergreen polypody ferns of the sort that we had seen on our earlier walk.

polypody

We walked back along the road and saw more wild flowers.

Avens

These are wood and water avens.

herb ribert and yellow pimpernel

And Herb Robert and a Yellow Pimpernel

Mike is an excellent guide and knows a lot about ferns and wild flowers and I would have liked to have spent more time and tried to take better pictures (the low light under the trees made things tricky) but I had made an arrangement to take my new bicycle down to the bike shop in Carlisle for its post sales service and as I wanted to take it home with me, I needed to be there in good time.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down with me and we enjoyed a light lunch and did some heavy shopping before picking up the bike again and heading home.

There was enough time when we got back for Mrs Tootlepedal to do some gardening and I did think of a short bike ride but the brisk breeze, uncooperative legs and the need to keep on track with my archive work sent me inside to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

I did emerge in time to thin some of the hundreds of gooseberries from the gooseberry bush.  I stewed them and had them with custard as a pudding for my evening meal (Mrs Tootlepedal had rhubarb and custard).  Considering that the gooseberries were like bullets when I picked them, they softened well and tasted remarkably good so I may well thin some more tomorrow.

There isn’t really a flower of the day today but I was pleased to see that the bumble bees share my fondness for astrantias.

bees on astrantia

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Today’s guest picture comes from our older son Tony.  As he was busy house hunting, he sent me this charming squirrel portrait in lieu of a Father’s Day card.

ant's squirrel

The Muckletoon Adventure Festival had a better day for their events today.  The road cyclists were offered 30, 60 or 90 mile sportives and I would have liked to have had a go at either the 60 or the 90 but there were too many steep hills involved for the well being of my tin knee so I got up promptly and went for a gentle 45 mile ride instead.

I chose quiet and gently contoured roads for my trip…

road near KPF

…and once again slipped into England before crossing the border on my way home.

welcome to Scotland

It was a grey, cool and breezy day and I needed to be home for cooking duties so I didn’t stop to take any more pictures on the way.

Mrs Tootlepedal was home from church when I got back and needless to say, was hard at work in the garden.

I had a look round and the sun came out to brighten up the roses.

P1110484

I went in to make a stew for the slow cooker and kept an eye on the birds while I did so.

Once again, the feeder was busy….

goldfinches at feeder

…and there was keen competition for perches.

goldfinch and siskin

After lunch, a small flock of greenfinches turned up.

greenfinch posing

It may have been a family because there was certainly at least one youngster in the plum tree looking for food.

greenfinch and young

…and occasionally getting it.

greenfinch feeding young

Mrs Tootlepedal did a little more work in the garden while I looked for new flowers…

P1110500

…and found this blue campanula.

 

The hydrangea seems to have an endless supply of pollen because it was still buzzing with bees today.

P1110507

This one has a stripy jumper on.

We didn’t spend much time in the garden though as I wanted a walk and Mrs Tootlepedal wanted to go somewhere different so we got into the car and drove over the hill to Newcastleton.  We went through the village and up the hill on the opposite side of the river where we found a Forestry Commission car park.  We parked the car and went for a walk in the forest there.

There was a selection of routes to choose from and having made out choice, we strode bravely off along this track…

Newcastleton forest

…which turned out to be the wrong direction.

However, more by luck than good judgement, we managed to finally get back on the right track and had a most enjoyable stroll.

We passed spacious forest planting…

Newcastleton forest (2)

…some very impressive ferns…

P1110512

…and any amount of wild flowers.

P1110514

Ragged robin, tormentil. marsh thistle and ajuga

P1110518

Foxglove, dock, red clover and birds-foot trefoil

Many interesting creatures

P1110529

A slug, an unknown moth on a grass and another on Mrs Tootlepedal’s boot which Anna Marett tells me is appropriately called a Red-necked Footman.

And several mountain bikers.

mountain biker

The two in the background were pushing their bikes up the hill.

There are some well used mountain bike routes in the forest and the Forestry Commission has gone to some lengths to provide good facilities for cyclists and walkers, planned so that they don’t get in each others’ way.

The second half of our walk, once we had found the right way to go, was on a neatly mown grass path.

P1110531

And this led us safely back to the car.

We will definitely return to this area as it was a pleasure to walk there.

Our timing was good too as we got back to Newcastleton village in time for a cup of tea and a fancy at the Olive Tee cafe.  Our more usual outing policy is to arrive at cafes just after they have shut.

The drive home over the hill wasn’t quite as good as the rest of the outing though as it was raining and the cloud was so low that we had to put on our fog lights on the single track road.  No chance of any scenic views.

Still, we made it home and the slow cooked stew went down very well so it was a good day all round.

The flower of the day is a Martagon Lily, still carrying a little of yesterday’s rain.

P1110502

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In lieu of any new material, I have returned to Venetia’s  trip to Madeira for the guest picture of the day.  Somewhere between the mountains and the sea, she passed through this narrow gap.

Madeira

Being Friday, I had made an arrangement to have coffee and treacle scones with Dropscone.  The forecast for the afternoon was rather dubious so I had made a vague plan with myself to get up early and go for a bicycle ride before coffee.  I didn’t have any great confidence in the plan but much to my amazement, I did in fact get up early and cycled 20 miles before breakfast.

The wind had dropped since yesterday but there was still quite enough of it (and from an unhelpful direction) to keep my head down so I didn’t see a lot more than the road in front of my nose.   However, just at the highest point of the trip, I was going so slowly that I had time to notice a good crop of yellow rattle…

yellow rattle

…and stopped to take a picture.

Mrs Tootlepedal had also got up early and was hard at work in the garden when I got back, tidying up unruly plants and picking up debris from yesterday’s strong winds.

I lent a hand by shredding what I could of the material and then and took the opportunity to admire a couple of yellow roses.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta, a long time resident of the garden

golden wedding rose

And a newcomer.  This little rose came in a presentation pot from a friend as a present for our golden wedding and has now found a home in the garden.

The coffee and scones were well up to standard and Dropscone was very cheerful because he had been part of a golf team which had recently come second in a competition.  He went off to play more golf and I mowed the middle lawn and took more pictures.

There were quite a few bees about but they were concentrating on a few plants, the hydrangea, a martagon lily and nectaroscordum.

bees

The nectarosordum proved very popular and there were still bees visiting it several hours later.

It was pleasing to see that the peonies had survived the wind and the rain very well indeed.

peony

New flowers have come out to join them.

clematis

Another clematis by the front door.

campanula

The first of many campanulas

moss rose

A moss rose

perennial nasturtium

A perennial nasturtium

Although it is not new, I couldn’t pass by the pale astrantia without clicking the shutter finger as it was looking superb.

astrantia

Over lunch, I took time to watch the birds.  The feeder was busy….

busy feeder

…and I had to fill it twice today.

busy feeder (2)

Doves and pigeons came to cast their beady eyes on fallen seeds.

dove and pigeon

And sparrows flew this way and that.

flying sparrows

There was more shredding to do after lunch as Mrs Tootlepedal had kept busy and then I mowed the front lawn.  The forecast rain stayed away so I went off for a walk.

There were lots of wild flowers (and a rabbit) to look at as I went round Easton’s and Gaskell’s walks.

Eastons and gaskells

I would welcome suggestions as to what the very small yellow flower is

The wind had torn a lot of leaves from the trees and you can see in the top right panel above that one section of the walk was carpeted by the results.

The summer growth is in full swing on Gaskell’s Walk…

gaskell's

…and I found geums, hawkbit with friends and ragged robin beside the path.

wild flowers

There was reedy grass and the first bramble flowers too.

grass and bramble

I wasn’t unobserved as I walked past a field at the Stubholm.

watching sheep

Several days ago, my neighbour Liz told me a story about finding a host of flies on the gate at the end of Gaskell’s Walk.  I didn’t have an opportunity to check the gate out and had forgotten all about it until I came to the gate today…..

flies on gaskells gate

…and found the flies were still there.  They were quite alive and flew off when I got too close.  You might wonder what they would find so attractive on the metal bar of a gate.

I was just going to take a truly wonderful picture of the Auld Stane Brig when my camera battery unexpectedly gave up so you will just have to take my word about the picture and for the fact that I passed two unicorns on my way home.   It was a bit annoying as I had put in a fresh battery before I set out and can only assume that I had failed to switch the charger on.

The sun was out and it was a very nice afternoon by the time that I got home and Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat on the new bench and enjoyed the sights and smells of the garden before going in for a cup of tea.

I watched the birds again and saw a young greenfinch falling off its perch at the feeder.

greenfinch

You don’t often see birds falling off a perch.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a healthy meal with spinach and broccoli for our tea.  I am eating so much iron rich food that if it rains a lot, I feel I may be in danger of going rusty.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted, Alison and I played music.  Several of the notes were in the right place, at the right time and in the right key.  We enjoyed ourselves.

The flower of the day is another of my favourite peonies.

peony (2)

 

 

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