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Posts Tagged ‘berberis’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who is beginning to get about again.  She visited the south bank of the Thames and admired the view of St Paul’s and the “Wobbly Millennium Bridge”  (now stabilised).

thames suspension bridge

Our weather is coming from the east at the moment so the temperature has dropped well into single figures and with a brisk wind blowing, it was not a day for idling around outside.

All the same, I had to go out after breakfast to return the key of the room where we had had our camera club meeting last night but I walked briskly and only stopped for one quick test of my new phone’s camera on the way.

sdr

The wind was coming from the left so by the time that I got home, a little sunshine had arrived and I tested the phone camera on a couple of the few remaining flowers in the garden.

sdrdav

The berberis is getting very thin on top now.

dav

I am still trying to get a balance between exercise and rest for my leg so I spent a quiet morning in, intending to go for a walk in the afternoon.

The birds provided a diversion.

There were goldfinch swirls….

goldfinch swirl

..and chaffinch twirls…

chaffinch twirl

…acrobatic landings….

one legged goldfinch landing

…and an anxious goldfinch hoping that a chaffinch had judged its braking distance correctly.

chaffinch pulling on brakes

Mrs Tootlepedal had put some breadcrumbs out on the lawn yesterday and two rather baffled jackdaws arrived today and wondered where they had all gone.

two curious jackdaws

On the whole, it was a quiet day and there were more chaffinches in the plum tree than on the feeder.

chaffinches in plum tree

After lunch, I went round to Nancy with a bank statement for the Archive Group and the experience of that very short walk made me reconsider my plan for a longer walk and I went home and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.

Later Nancy came round with the completed accounts for the Archive Group for the year and happily, we are still solvent.

I partially made up for not going for a walk by doing a short spell on the bike to nowhere in the garage later in the afternoon and was pleased to find that my leg is continuing to improve.

This was successfully tested by a walk to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening where Mrs Tootlepedal and I watched a screened performance of the “The Madness of George III” by Alan Bennett at the Nottingham Playhouse.  I had seen the film some time ago and wondered if I would enjoy the play as much.  As it turned out, I enjoyed the play more as it was an excellent production and the immediacy of the live drama was very emotionally touching.

It says it is going to be colder still tomorrow.  I will have to think about putting the winter tyres on the car soon, not to mention looking out the winter undergarments for the driver.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture is a break with tradition and is in fact a pair of pictures as Bruce sent me a fairly standard view of the famous ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’ between the mainland and Seil Island…

seil bridge

…but also included his view from the bridge.  He was surprised to find that someone had painted a white line down the middle of the channel, presumably to keep marine traffic on the right track.

seil bridge view

I was listening to a radio programme about the Roman poet Horace today.  One of his most famous phrases was ‘Carpe Diem’ which might be translated as ‘make good use of your day’

We had a beautifully sunny and reasonably warm morning and if there ever was a dies that needing carping, this was it.  Sadly, as my knee still needs cossetting, the dies remained totally uncarped.

I looked at birds instead.

In the dark months, the shadow of our house looms over the bird feeder and so the brighter the sunlight is on the plum tree….

sunny chaffinch

…the darker the shadows are on the feeder…

coal tit profile straight

…though this can produce an interesting silhouette from time to time.

coal tit profile landing

It was about midday when the sun and birds both appeared on the feeder.  Once again there were not many birds about so this gave the blue, coal and great tits plenty of scope for visiting.

blue tit with seedcoal tit with seedgreat tit

A robin popped in and although I took a very poor picture of it just as we were going out, I have put it in for the record.

robin

While I was bird watching, I couldn’t help noticing the berberis….

berberis November

 

…and I went out for a closer look.  One part of the bush has gone bright red while the other remains fairly subdued.

sunny berberis

The perennial wallflower is a marvel.  We have two and the other has now given up but this one looks as though it is ready to go through the winter.

november perennial wallflower

The calendulas are very diminished but they are still trying to produce new flowers.

november calnedula

Apart from the berberis, the brightest thing in the garden was this stone ball wrapped in a blanket of moss.

mossy stone ball

I raised my eyes to the hills and sighed…

cattle on Castle Hill

…and went back inside for lunch.

Then we went to Edinburgh.  Our up train started late from Lockerbie but arrived on time in Edinburgh.  Our down train left Edinburgh on time but arrived ten minutes late at Lockerbie.  Variety is the spice of life!

We found Matilda in very good form and she absolutely trounced me at snap though I held my own in a game of Pelmanism.   We enjoyed other games as well and after an excellent meal, cooked by her father, Matilda ended our visit with a ballet display.  We went home feeling very cheerful.

I just managed to catch today’s flying bird by the merest fraction of a millimetre.

just flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another blast of sunshine from the past.  This time it is a pleasant valley scene from one of my brother Andrew’s Derbyshire walks in early October.

derbyshire

After a rather restless night, I got up to a sunny morning and a much improved interior economy and after a quiet morning, I was back to normal by lunchtime and able to eat without any ill effects.

I didn’t take any risks though and did nothing more energetic than have a walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

The berberis was positively glowing….

BERBERIS

…and the special Grandma was having a final fling.

special grandma

The display of rose hips is easily the best that I can remember and many roses that don’t usually have any are covered with them after the good summer.

rose hips

There is no denying that we are well on the way to winter though.

red leaf

It is good to have blackbirds back in the garden as they have been pretty scarce since July.

blackbirds

I didn’t stay out long and when the sun went in so did I, and I was soon back in the kitchen looking out of the window.

It was an extremely quiet day for birds.

lonely chaffinch

I haven’t been able to work out why the feeder can be mobbed one day and deserted the next.

Even the sight of plenty of available perches didn’t discourage some uncouth pushing and shoving.

pointless violence

After lunch, I tested my constitution and my leg by going for a short walk over three bridges.

As I came to the river, I could see glowing trees in a garden on the hillside opposite…

yellow trees

…and golden willows below me on the river bank.

willows beside esk

Wherever I looked on my walk, there always seemed to be a defiant patch of colour among the leafless branches.

autumn colour November

I was impressed by the careful relaying of turfs on the site of the big bonfire on Sunday.

bonfire patch

After I crossed my second bridge, I met a fellow camera club member walking his dog and spent my time chatting rather than snapping and it was only when we went our separate ways that I took the camera out again to record a little more late colour.

Lodge tree

I crossed my third bridge and made my way quietly home…

duchess bridge tree

…only pausing for a wild flower on the edge of the Scholars’ Field.

november wild flower

My leg is working but still sore and there is no chance of getting on my bike for a while yet but my constitution was unruffled by the walk so I was happy.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy watching a YouTube video on sharpening woodwork tools so I realised that she had left the garden and gone back to rocking horse restoration.  I settled down to put a couple more weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  My lack of cycling may be regrettable but it has let me catch up (a bit) on the backlog of data.

My friend Susan wasn’t available to come to our monthly recorder group meeting today so I had to drive myself to Carlisle.  The effort was very worthwhile as we had an excellent evening of music.  One of other members was unwell so we were a quartet  tonight and this made for a change with some different music to play.

Having been 150 miles ahead of my mileage schedule at the beginning of October. I am now 200 miles behind and with no hope of catching up, I am officially abandoning any targets for the year and will take any miles that I can squeeze in as a bonus.

Once again there are two flying birds of the day, this time goldfinches, one with wings in…

flying goldfinch in

…and one with wings out.

flying goldfinch out

Variety is the spice of life.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows Matilda enjoying a train ride while returning from seeing her other grandparents in Cambridge.  It is planned that we shall see her visiting her great granny here at the weekend.

Matilda on a trainIt was a day of unpredictable and very heavy showers which made planning any cycle rides or walks very unattractive.  Instead, I waved goodbye to Frankie and Mike on their journey north while Mrs Tootlepedal, after providing us all with a good breakfast, went off to a church choir practice.

After she came back, I put in some time practising my flute and singing and some time staring out of the window.

sikisn

A siskin in one of the sunny moments.

goldfinches

A goldfinch dogfight.

I made some soup for lunch and after the meal, took a walk round the very soggy garden in a dry moment.

rhododendron

The first rhododendron flower of the year.

The sound of bees made me look up to see that the berberis is flowering well.

berberisThis plant is a great favourite of the bees but none were to be seen where I could catch them today.

Since a walk looked to be doomed to end in a soaking, I peered at some of the mosses to be found in our own garden.

garden mossgarden mossgarden mossThere were plenty to be seen.

Then I crumbled a little bird feed and put it on the ground outside the window.  It drew in a blackbird first…

blackbird…but it was soon chased off by jackdaws…..

jackdaws…who in turn started to fight among themselves….

jackdaws…and in the end they were warned off by an even bigger bird.

rook

The rook was too late though, as all the food had gone.

The feathers on the rook gleamed like metal armour in the sunshine.

rookIn order to entertain Granny and get some garden necessities, we went off in the car to visit a garden centre.  We drove down in sunshine but there were immense black clouds on the way back and we had to drive through a couple of really deep puddles, big enough almost to count as floods,  By good fortune though, we missed the worst of the actual rain and got home in good order.  Granny was very entertained by our beautiful scenery, the lack of traffic and the good Scottish weather.

In the early evening, my flute pupil Luke arrived and we practised some little duets that we are going to play in public in a fortnight.  Luke was sent off with a stern injunction to practise a little harder this week.  I am sure that he will and we can always squeeze in an extra practice session if we have to.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and although we had an enjoyable play, I came home with a stern injunction to myself to practice a bit harder.  I will try.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in some light rain.

chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows my brother Andrew skiing on Mt Ruahepu in New Zealand.  He gets about.

Skiing at Mt RuapehuAfter the excitement of yesterday’s grand day out, we were back to normal today, dead heading poppies, wandering about the garden, watching birds, cooking, cleaning and ironing.  (You can guess which of those things I took most part in.)

We started the day by clearing a large backlog of ‘stuff that needed to be looked at sometime’ that had been lying on the kitchen table.  Some was thrown away, some dealt with by writing cheques and delivering envelopes and some was filed in the proper place.  This made us feel very virtuous.

I went out for a celebratory walk round the garden.

The poppies hadn’t got any less lovely while we had been away and the buzz of interested insects around them was distractingly loud.  Almost every flower seemed to have a friend.

Shirley poppyI did find three that hadn’t attracted any company.

Shirley poppy

Some were still showing the results of last night’s rain.

A bee on the sedum looked as though it had got a bit wet too.

bee on sedumMy new lens makes it more easy than using the zoom lens to take shots of several flowers at a time.

Shirley poppyI used the 300mm zoom to take this picture of some berberis berries though as it does better in blanking out the background.

berberisIt’s horses for courses however and the macro lens came out again for a shot of the white clematis.

white clematis…and two bonus roses which have just come out.

rosesI was very pleased to see a robin posing in front of the kitchen window.

robinA goldfinch looked rather unsure of whether visiting the feeder was a good idea.

goldfinch I made some lentil soup for my lunch and then I ate some lentil soup for my lunch.

After lunch we went shopping to replenish the store cupboard and then, as it was a pleasantly sunny day, we went for a fourteen mile cycle ride round the Barnglieshead triangle.

I had Pocketcam with me.

Kerr

The rough pasture has gone brown.

Ryehills

Some of the trees are just starting to turn too.

Barnglies

We weren’t surrounded by mountains but our way was still beautiful.

Bloch

Looking homeward as we passed Bloch Farm

As you can see, this was the second day running that we have enjoyed perfect conditions for cycling.

When we got home, I spent some time chasing butterflies.

peacock butterfly

The purple phlox is very popular with this peacock butterfly

There was an unusually furry yellowish bee on a nearby plant.

yellow beeI also went stalking bees on the sedum.  This wasn’t too hard as there must have been twenty or thirty tucking in.

bee on sedum

Very hairy knees.

bee on sedum

Stained glass window wings

Owing to differing commitments, there was no recorder group tonight and I was both disappointed to miss playing  and pleased as I was happy to have a quiet night in.

As a change from the eternal chaffinches, the flying bird of the day is a rather blurred robin.

flying robin

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