Today’s guest picture comes from my files. Looking back, I don’t think that I have used this fine slightly surreal shot taken by my brother Andrew. (If I have, it deserves another outing anyway.)
It was rainy when we got up, and the prospects did not look good. However, it stopped raining as soon as we set out to walk to church under our umbrellas, and we soon furled the brollies up and strolled along enjoying the very mild temperature.
At four strong, our choir choir was a little underpowered, but we managed a short introit and gave the hymns our best effort. I went downstairs during one of the hymns as I was going to read the lessons, and I was very impressed by how clearly the singing of the other three members in the gallery could be heard in the body of the kirk. Their labour was not in vain.
It was still fine after the service, and I had the opportunity to have a look round the garden before going in for coffee.
The rudbeckias looked cheerful, and a white buddleia has come out to join the others. Mrs Tootlepedal is building up a good collection of varied buddleias.
I had filled the bird feeder in the rain after breakfast, and it had already gone down quite a lot by the time that we got back from church. Pigeons were picking up scattered seed, though this one did not look very grateful.
I saw a chaffinch looking very pleased with himself on a perch . . .
. . . although he didn’t look so confident a minute later. He puffed himself up to look more imposing when he attempted a comeback.
By this time, there were siskins flying in all directions.
The Carlisle Community Choir started again today for the autumn term, so I didn’t have time to go for a cycle ride. I went for a short three bridges walk before lunch instead.
I crossed the suspension bridge and walked along the far bank of river to the Kilngreen. I passed a gull on a rock on the way, and spotted what I think is a pied wagtail when I got there.
In spite of another inch of rain in our rain gauge, the rivers are still very low as you can see from this shot looking back at the Town Bridge.
I crossed the Sawmill Big and went on to the Castleholm. There are pretty young lichens on the new stones on the parapet of the bridge, and early autumn colour on some leaves beside the road.
Once I was on the Castleholm, I looked for acorns but saw very few, and I wonder how long the ruins of the castle will last if the vegetation growth on its walls is not controlled.
I noticed as usual that the chestnut tree near the gate onto the field is one of the first to turn in autumn . . .
. . . but it was much more unusual to see a giant illuminated teapot behind it.
This turned out to be part of the fun for a Pony Club celebration which was being held today.
I walked through the trees beside the new path . . .
. . . and left the Castleholm by crossing my third bridge, the Jubilee Bridge. I didn’t have the option of going a little further and crossing the Duchess Bridge because the path back from it on the other side of the river is still closed.
The good news is that work has started on clearing the fallen trees from the path, a legacy from Storm Arwen, and it should be open for use in a week or two if all goes well.
I looked about as I followed the path round the Scholars’ Field. I wasn’t tempted to try a laurel berry . . .
. . . but I was happy to see lots of insects on the umbellifers as I went round.
When we saw the large white butterfly caterpillar yesterday, I said to Mrs Tootlepedal that considering the number of white butterflies that we have in the garden, there should be quite a lot of caterpillars about. When I looked at the nasturtiums round the front gate today, I found that this was indeed true. There were lots of them, steadily chewing away at the leaves.
I became an unwitting expert on caterpillar poop or frass, which was also to be seen everywhere.
I think that this is the chewing end of the caterpillar.
I read on the internet that some gardeners recommend planting nasturtiums next to cabbages to distract the caterpillars from eating the greens. They certainly like our nasturtiums.
Rather annoyingly, the weather got much better as we drove into Carlisle for our afternoon choir, but that is just life. We have a new musical director, Laura, and she took us for the first time today. She was full of pep, and I think that she will have a good effect in the choir if she doesn’t kill off all the older members by making us jump up and down a lot. We had 50 members present today, and although that is still quite a lot down on pre-covid numbers, it was still enough to make a joyful sound.
We drove home in beautiful early evening sunshine, and I added a sunny dahlia to a gloomier selection that I had taken earlier in the day.
This is the bracken that we collected yesterday, doing its job of keeping heavy rain from flattening the earth in a veg bed, . . .
. . . and this is some phacelia in the next bed that the rain had failed to knock over.
We had a second helping of the failed tarte tatin with our evening meal. As Mary Jo points out, at least you can eat your cooking mistakes and you don’t have to live with them.
The flying bird of the day is mallard heading down the Esk as I walked up it today.