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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair, and shows his daughter Matilda in the nice new dress which her Granny has made for her.

Matilda in Mrs T's dress

No prizes for guessing the theme of the performance.

We had much better weather today which was very welcome, but it turned out that I had lost a filling from my sore tooth so I had a quiet morning entertaining Dropscone to coffee while Mrs Tootlepedal went to off to Hawick on business.  Our local duke is selling the Langholm moor and there is interest in a community buy out for at least some of the land and Mrs Tootlepedal was meeting an expert in community land matters.

Dropscone had brought treacle scones so I was happy to stay at home and eat them (carefully).  Following his golf buggy accident, it turns out that Dropscone has broken three ribs so he was taking things quietly too and trying not to laugh too much.

Before he came, I had walked round the garden to see what was going on and I couldn’t ignore Mrs Tootlepedal’s Sweet Williams which are strategically placed all round the place.

four sweet william

They are all pretty peppy but this is the peppiest.

vivid sweet willieam

The bees are still very busy on the chives which must provide an endless stock of pollen for them.

three bees on chives

Away from the flower garden, I was interested to see the first flowers on the potatoes…

first potato flowers 2019

…and some promising looking beans.

beans flowers

After Dropscone left, with a little rhubarb to speed him on his way,  I settled down for a rest and the crossword, keeping my free hand on the remote lead for the camera on its tripod at the window.

Siskins were about, eating messily and scattering good seed on the ground.

siskin chewing

Sometimes they waited in the wings…

siskin waiting in wings

…and sometimes they got impatient…

siskins squabbling nf

…but the sparrows paid them no heed.

siskin and sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Hawick, full of good advice, and I made some soup for lunch.

After lunch, I sieved the last of the compost from Bin C and put the residue into Bin D.  Then, as I was in full composting mode, I turned the contents of Bin A ,which was full, into Bin B, which was empty.  The opposite is now the case…

empty bin A

…although a morsel of green waste found its way into Bin A later on.

When I was finished, I had a look around and found the the sunnier day had opened out an anemone which had been shut up against the rain and cold for the last few days.

anemone open

A bee was trying to cheer up a melancholy thistle.

melancholy thistle and friend

A Rodgersia has come out in the back border.

rogersii

And the roses were appreciating the dry, warmer weather as much as we were.

three happy roses

Men are coming to replace our aged and decrepit electricity pole next week so I helped Mrs Tootlepedal move a rose which had been growing up the stay wire for the pole.  We stuck a temporary pole in the flower bed, untied the stem from the stay and bent it back and tied it to the new pole.

rebent rose elec pole

We hope that there will be a new stay to tie it back onto when the pole work is finished.

The red peonies are almost over but the white and pink ones are still refusing to show themselves, perhaps as baffled by the odd weather as we are, but there are signs of hope.

potential peony

I had a last check on the lupins and found another busy bee there…

bee on lupin

…and then went off to the dentist.

My usual dentist doesn’t work on a Friday so I was seen by the other dentist in our surgery, a very nice lady whom I had not met before.  I had been able to get an emergency appointment and I was hoping that she would give me a temporary filling for my tooth until I could see my regular man.

Things didn’t quite turn out like that though.  She peered at my tooth and whistled gently in a concerned sort of way, and then suggested that I might like her to extract it.   She had such a kindly manner that I agreed and before I knew it, I was a tooth short.  Modern dentistry means that tooth extraction is a painless and relatively swift affair but even modern dentistry can’t stop your face hurting as the anaesthetic wears off so I spent the next few hours being very quiet.

Things are still a bit sore as I write this in the evening but I am hoping that all will be well by tomorrow morning and I will be able to get out on my fully serviced bike for a ride.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, rushing to get into the frame on time.  It nearly made it.

young flying sparrow rushing in

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who has returned from Spain and found this fine windmill at Lytham in Lancashire.

windmill at Lytham

A spell of good weather has crept up on us surreptitiously.  It has gone gradually from being cold and grey to generally warm and fine.  It has been raining in the night but by day, the sun has developed a habit of coming out and the wind has lost some of its usual fierceness so we are finding ourselves in the unusual condition of having nothing to complain about.  It is most annoying.

Being Sunday, it was a day of singing rather than cycling or gardening but I found a moment or two to walk round the garden and see what was going on.

Before church I checked on the progress of the alliums…still a bit slow.

allium

There are plenty of buds but precious few petals.

In one of the new beds in the vegetable garden, beans are looking healthy.

beans

And near the bird feeders, the first wallflowers are beginning to show.

wallflower

After church and before lunch, I had another look.

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted a perennial wallflower this year which is looking good…

perennial wallflower

…but a closer look showed that some evil leaf nibbler has been hard at work on it.  Hmm.

Nearby, the first rhododendron buds are giving promise of a great show to come soon.

rhododendron

They are a contrast to the restrained white dicentra.

dicentra

I went to check on the pond and saw these bright flowers along the edge.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are poached egg plants (Limnanthes douglasii for their Sunday name) but the white of the egg is not very much in evidence yet.

poached egg flower

In the pond itself, a frog was banging its head against the wall.  It had possibly been considering Brexit.

frog

I made some potato soup for lunch and there was time for a last visit  to the garden before going off to Carlisle for our afternoon choir.

We did some bench testing but I was tempted into chasing after a white butterfly which flitted from flower to flower so briskly that this was the best that I could do.

butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal eyed some tulips in the bed opposite the bench with some satisfaction…

tulips

….and resolved to buy a few more for next year.  A sensible decision in my view.

We had a good session with a substitute conductor with the Carlisle Community choir.  The drive down through the fresh green leaves of spring was worth the journey alone but the singing was enjoyable too.

During the day the blackbird male was assiduous in attending to the needs of his two offspring. ..

blackbirds

…although, as usual, they never seem very cheerful about things.

A keen eyed jackdaw visited the feeder to sample the fat balls…

jackdaw

…and left enough for a sparrow to enjoy later on.

sparrow

On the seed feeder, goldfinches sparred…

goldfinches

…siskins loomed up…

_DSC4018

…and a pair of redpolls made a determined effort to dislodge some siskins.

siskins and redpolls

We had a vague plan for making the best of a sunny evening as we drove back from the choir but once we had got settled into the kitchen over a cup of tea on our return, the rest of the day slipped away before we could rouse ourselves to action.

We seem to have been quite busy lately and as neither of us sleep as well as we would like, we were a bit tired and the sitting room sofa held a lot of charm.

I am hoping to get the new bike out again tomorrow if the good weather holds.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

goldfinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal.  She bicycled off after church to help with some archaeological surveying at a Roman camp near the town and noticed this painted lady butterfly on the way.

painted lady

I was in a rather creaky state when I woke up and after breakfast I resolved to see if some vigorous activity would be beneficial in easing things off so I scarified and then mowed the middle lawn.

Although I was quite able to do this without any trouble, it didn’t have any lasting effect and I resolved to spend the rest of the day at rest.  I did have a quick walk round the garden first though.

Some flowers are useful as well as decorative and these are beans and potatoes in the veg patch.

beans and potatoes

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out a lot of Sweet Williams and they are just beginning to make a show in various beds round the garden.

Sweet William

There is plenty of white to set off the other colours in the garden and here are clematis round the back door, cosmos planted out by the front door and pinks beside the pond.

clematis cosmos and pink

For the first time this year, there was quite a lot of buzzing to be heard all round the garden today which was good news.  I watched one bee visiting a foxglove.

bee on foxglove

Going, going…gone

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted up the chimney pot beside the bird feeder….

chimney pot

…and it wasn’t long before I was inside and looking out at the feeder.  I was pleased to see a blue tit, quite a rare visitor this year.

blue tit

As I had sitting down in mind as my chief occupation for the afternoon, it was very fortunate that the television kindly provided me with the exciting final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine followed by both the men’s and women’s world cup triathlon events from Leeds.  This kept me fully entertained until Mrs Tootlepedal returned.  She had had a busy time moving measuring ropes to mark out a grid for the magnetometer operator to follow for the survey of the fort site.

She is going back tomorrow to have more fun.

It was quite hard work and she followed my example and did a little sofa surfing while I made her a cup of tea.

The day had stayed dry and cloudy and it was pleasantly warm so I decided to stir my stumps and stretch my joints with a little walk over the Jubilee Bridge.

There were plenty of birds to be seen as I walked along the Esk from the suspension bridge.

black headed gull, heron and rooks

There were more to be seen on the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen but as they were wagtails and the light was fading, they were hard to catch.  There were both pied and grey wagtails and they didn’t stop long when I got near. This is a grey wagtail.

grey wagtail

The sheep on the Castleholm were more placid.

sheep on castleholm

A pastoral scene

I saw knapweed beside the river and ornamental red horse chestnut flowers beside the cricket pitch.

horse chestnut and knapweed

We are pretty well at peak green now.  Indeed, it is hard to see how things could get any greener….

Castleholm

…although there is a lot of yellow about too.

buttercups

I didn’t dawdle too long as there were some threatening clouds about and I crossed the bridge and headed home.  The nuthatches seem to have gone but there were plenty of other things to look at, some beside the path round the school playing field…

wild flowers

….some in the minister’s garden as I passed…

minister's flowers

..and a Philadelphus perfuming the evening air as I approached our gate.

Philadelphus

Once again, I was able to take the exercise without any trouble but it didn’t stop the creaking when I went to sit down afterwards.  A good night’s sleep should sort it all out.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow slipping past the feeder pole.

sparrow

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by keen photographer Kevin, who was delighted to find a smooth or common newt on his garage steps, the first he has seen in Langholm.

newtThe wind had dropped this morning and I ventured out for another short bicycle ride after breakfast.  I passed Dropscone, who had made a very early start,  flying down the hill in the opposite direction soon after I set out.

At Barnglieshead, I stopped to chat with Jim, the semi retired farmer there.  He told me that he had tried a little golf and thought of a little cycling but in the end he was still mostly farming.  He added that he sometime reads this blog so if this post is one of the ones he reads, “Hi Jim, get the bike out and give it a go.”

Our friend Arthur joined Dropscone and me for our coffee and scones and it was just like old times when we were all golfers (before age and infirmity took its toll).

After they left, I took a walk round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal recently bought some begonias and they are proving to be good value for money.

begonias

bee and poppy

The bees were more successful in finding the centre of the poppies today.

Lords and ladies

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these are Lords and Ladies.

Japanese Anemone

The Japanese Anemones are flourishing in the shade of the walnut tree.

The garden has been battered by the weather and this clematis rather sums up the state of the flowers.

Clematis

Past its best.

A quick walk into the vegetable garden confirmed that we will be eating beans for some time yet.

Runner beansThough we are not going to eat these tomato like fruits on the main crop potatoes….

Potatoes…as Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are poisonous.

As well as the bright red and yellow crocosmia, we have some very pretty orange ones…

crocosmia…though they too are getting to the end of their time.

After lunch Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with the pony driving at Brydekirk and I took a walk up to the town to check on the sales of our Archive Group postcards, order some more coffee and bird food and top up my stocks of cheese.

In spite of some alarming rumbles of thunder, I managed all this in the dry and it didn’t start raining until I was safely back at home.  I was afraid that Mrs Tootlepedal might be having a damp time at Brydekirk but she returned in cheerful mood, having dodged the showers in a very satisfactory way.

I took another walk round the garden when the rain had stopped and made a little collection of rather bruised cosmos.

cosmosWhile we had been drinking coffee in the morning a brightly coloured robin had appeared but it refused to reappear when I had a camera in hand so I had to make do with a non scruffy blue tit.

blue titAfter Mrs Tootlepedal returned, there was a brief moment when the sun almost shone and this was reflected in half a rainbow over Henry Street.

half a rainbow over Henry StreetIt didn’t last.

In the evening, Sandy and I went to the Archive Centre, visiting our colleague Jean, who is still in hospital and getting very fed up with it, on our way.

We got some work done but had to waste twenty minutes while our computer did some of those mysterious updates which are sent to try us. We had a well deserved glass of wine when we finished

The flying bird of the day, you will be surprised to discover, is another chaffinch. I must get out more.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a contrast to our present gloomy weather and shows a sunny day in Devon in June.  My daughter was visiting pretty gardens down there.

devon flowers

We had another basically wet and windy day which, with the addition of a considerable drop in temperature, made it quite a good day to find things inside to do.

Fortunately, the rain didn’t set in until after coffee time so Mrs Tootlepedal and I wrapped up and nipped out for a short pedal after breakfast.  The strong winds made going further than Wauchope School unattractive and we were soon whistling, wind assisted, back down the road.  Just before Langholm, we met Sandy who had had the same idea and was bravely  battling against the wind.  Abandoning Mrs Tootlepedal, I turned round and went back up to Wauchope School with Sandy and then enjoyed a second cruise home.

Bicycling was no problem but walking when I got off the bike was hard work and it took a while for my hip to settle down again.  I have a visit scheduled to the doctor tomorrow and I hope to make some progress towards a solution there.

Sandy stayed for a coffee and by the time we had finished, the rain had started.

I spent quite a lot of time sorting out photos for the Canonbie show and by the end of the day I think I have got enough printed out for a decent entry.

Sandy came round after lunch (in the rain) and we put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database.  He brought his Canonbie photos round to trim them on our shared mount cutter and I must say that they look very good.

Interestingly, he looked over my shoulder while I was going through my files and we both picked out a picture that we thought would look good, with lots of depth and interest.  However, when it was printed out,  it looked as flat as a pancake and really dull.  It is now residing in the waste paper basket.  Another learning experience.

During the day, the bird feeder was really busy and I was entertained by a stream of  birds.  We had frequent visits from the world’s scruffiest blue tit.

blue tit

It looks terrible but it seems quite perky and has been visiting for several days.  I wonder if it is moulting.  Perhaps some kind expert can tell me what is happening.

The was always plenty of action when I looked out.

siskins

The usual siskin rudeness

sparrows

And sparrows getting in on the act

sparrow and siskin

A sparrow being unfriendly to an approaching  siskin for a change

sparrows and chaffinch

But sometimes birds were allowed to approach calmly

Mrs Tootlepedal has got the exercise bug at the moment and ignoring the rain and wind, she took a big umbrella and walked three miles up to the White Yett and back.  She was very pleased to see a fly past by a hen harrier just as she got to the top of the hill and felt that this made the whole walk well worthwhile.

She was very wet when she got back.

Although I didn’t get out into the garden to take any pictures today (in the rain), the garden did come into the house in the shape of a colourful crop of beans, runner and French.

beans

The purple beans turn green when they are cooked.

In the evening, I went off to Carlisle (in the rain) with Susan to a meeting of our recorder group.  We worked hard at the pieces for our forthcoming concert appearance and made some good progress.  I think that we will be able to do ourselves justice.

Happily, it had stopped raining at last as we drove back to Langholm.  We are promised a little sunshine tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is yet another chaffinch (in the rain).

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by their father, shows two more children of a Langholm exile.  William and Sara, grandchildren of Mike Tinker, are standing in front of the monument to the 29th chieftain of  Clan Macdougall in Oban where they are on holiday.  A nice contrast in posing styles here.

William and Sara

It was another good day today, warm and dry and not too hot for a change.  There was just a light wind blowing when I went off for a pedal up to Mosspaul and back and this allowed me to keep up a good pace.  I didn’t g0 as far as I might have done on such a good day as I had an outing with Mrs Tootlepedal pencilled in for the afternoon.

I only had one stop which was when a large buzzing insect flew through one of the ventilation slots on my helmet and got stuck.  I screeched to a halt and let it out post haste and was relieved when I found that it was just a buzzing insect and not a stinging or biting one.

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished singing with the church choir and was busy in the garden by the time that I got back.  I was in the garden too but just looking rather than doing anything useful.

There were new flowers….

cosmos

Cosmos

…and old flowers…

lupin and eryngium

long serving lupin and eryngium

…and flowers that signify future meals for us….

runner bean and courgette

Runner bean and courgette

…and berries for the birds.

rowan berries

Rowan berries

One picture baffled me a bit when I looked at it later.  I couldn’t remember try to shoot the sky.

pond

I worked out that I had been trying to catch a pond insect and had caught both it and my reflected camera…

pond insect

…which had the insect again.

pond insect

I am not quite sure what happened here. Is this a reflection in a reflection?

There are two clumps of astilbes coming on with more waiting in the wings.

astilbes

The rambler roses are doing amazingly well considering that they have been absolutely covered with mildew all season and didn’t look as though they were going to come out at all.

rambler roses

And I took another look at my favourite astrantias.

astrantia

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out on our bikes with the intention of visiting Waterbeck, ten miles away over the hill, where they offer a cream tea every Sunday in July. However, things did not go to plan.  The weather was still fine but the wind had got up a lot and was blowing straight in our faces as we pedalled up the Wauchope road towards the hill at Callister.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been very busy in the garden lately and has been also looking after our many recent welcome guests so she has not been out for any long rides for quite a time.  As a result, she wisely thought, when we had battled to the top of Callister into the teeth of the wind, that enough was enough…especially as there are still two cream tea opportunities to go in July.

We turned for home and enjoyed the reward for our hard work as we whizzed back down the hill in style.

We were also able to watch the last miles of a very interesting stage of the Tour de France while we recovered which was a bonus.

It wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal was out in the garden again though.  I followed and mowed the drying green and came out again with my camera to take advantage of the evening light to capture some pale flowers..

The phlox are beginning to arrive.

phlox

hostas

Our hostas are flowering furiously

Ligularia

The ligularia are standing tall but are dying from the bottom before the top is out.

euphorbia

A pretty euphorbia fading in style

I found a bee in clover.

bee in clover

…and then went in to rest.  I was much less tired today than yesterday and I was relieved to find that the strawberry jam wasn’t as bad as I feared, although it is not as good as it should be.

I didn’t have much time to watch the birds during the day but I was entertained by our young blue tit.

blue tit

It also appears as flying bird of the day although I must admit that I didn’t know it was in the picture when I pressed the shutter button.

flying blue tit

 

 

 

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