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Posts Tagged ‘berries’

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s walk round the Wemyss Estate.  As well as a parakeet in a tree, he came across a curious deer which was looking a bit lost.

wemyss deer

We were visited by storm Diana today.  I must say that the practice of giving passing weather fronts a name is obviously a bad idea.  They are getting ideas above their station and we got a lot of rain and some stiff winds in the afternoon.

It wasn’t too bad in the morning when Dropscone came round for coffee.  Sandy dropped in to pick up some keys for the new archive centre but he was busy and didn’t stay for coffee.  This meant that Dropscone and I could eat all the scones which was a stroke of luck as the scones were particularly tasty today.

Although it was raining lightly as Dropscone left, the forecast said that it would stop raining by twelve o’clock and then start again by one.  As it did actually stop raining at three minutes to twelve, I went out for a short three bridges walk.

I was detained for a moment by some cheerful calendulas in the garden before I left.

calendulas end of november

The clouds had lifted on the hills and I could almost see the monument.

misty monument

There was a touch of colour in the last willows which are fading away beside the town bridge.

last willow

And some of our resident ducks had found a calm spot for a paddle above the bridge.

floating ducks

I was very impressed by the amount of hay being transported by a single driver from the arable east coast to the pastoral west.

big hay

I passed more evidence of the activity of the Langholm Walks volunteers who have been putting new discs onto the walks signposts.

Langholm Walks signs

Walkers are spoiled for choice

The group is trying hard to encourage walkers to come to the town and sample the many delights of walking in our woods and hills.

As I went along the Lodge Walks, I discovered that the forecast had only said that it would have started raining by one o’clock.  It didn’t say when it would actually start and that turned out to be at about ten past twelve so I didn’t get very far on my walk before the rain came down.  Luckily I was well armed (or legged) with welly boots and a large golf umbrella.  As I was sheltered from the worst of the wind and there was plenty to look at, I still had a good walk.

I saw berries by a wall…

lodge walks berries

…and lichen on a tree…

lodge walks lichen

…as I went up the Lodge Walks.

Then as I crossed the Castleholm, I saw a tree with many, many branches…

castleholm bare tree

…a soggy gate…

soggy castleholm gate

…and a tree stump with a mixture of fungus and fallen leaves which were so well matched for colour that it was hard to tell them apart.

castleholm fungi and leaves

Round the back of the stump, there were more clear cut fungi.

castleholm fungi

As I walked back along the path to the Jubilee Bridge, I could see many hazel catkins…

castleholm catkin

…but by the time that I got to the bridge, the rain was coming down so steadily that I put my camera back in my pocket and concentrated all my energies on not letting my brolly get blown away by the wind.

By the time that I got home, it was a thoroughly miserable day and so dark and gloomy that I didn’t bother to get my bird watching camera out at all.

After lunch, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised some singing for my various choirs.

Mrs Tootlepedal made another delicious evening meal and fortified by that, I ventured out into the wind and the rain to go to a Langholm Sings choir practice.  Some of the work that I had done in the afternoon turned out to be quite useful.

It had stopped raining by the time that we came out of the practice and this was just as well as the river was high and flowing fast as I crossed the suspension bridge.  We are promised more heavy rain tomorrow so riverside dwellers may be getting a bit nervous.

I didn’t try for a flying bird of the day today and a rather fuzzy perching gull is standing in for the position instead.

perching gull

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone and shows his fine looking grandson Leo, who was visiting last weekend.

Leo

The letters WWW may have a common meaning in today’s wired up world but to us in Langholm they stand for Warm, Wet and Windy and we had another WWW day today.

The morning was so well supplied with the wet and windy elements that I spent it wandering about the house, kicking the furniture and exclaiming, “I’m bored.”

Mrs Tootlepedal was fully occupied with bathroom tile removal so she rightly had little sympathy.

I did look out of the window from time to time.

Chaffinch

You may think that the male chaffinch was getting ready to sing a love song to the lady below….

chaffinch

…but in fact, he was just thinking of some choice abuse to hurl at her.

There were other birds hanging about too.

siskin and great tit

I made some soup for lunch and an earnest perusal of the forecast made me believe that there might be a gap in the rain straight after lunch.  I made up my mind to go for a walk and while my confidence was slightly dented by a humungously heavy shower of rain as soon as I had made up my mind, I nevertheless put on my great big waterproof boots, coat and trousers and when the rain stopped, went out for my walk.

I chose a two and a bit mile walk up the Hallpath to the Roundhouse and back by Murtholm and along the river.

It didn’t rain but the gloom was Stygian and taking pictures was hard work.  The occasional berry made up for the lack of flowers…

berries

…and there was always the merry gurgle of a stream to keep me company.

wet path

This one was running down a path off the hill.

Stream at Skippers

And this one was running off the hill and onto the road at Skippers

There wasn’t much of view to be had….

Langholm from Round House

…even though there was an occasional hint of blue in the sky.

I have been neglecting the abundant moss that covers anything that doesn’t move round here….

Mossy log

There is a tree stump under there if you look closely.

…and I keep meaning to take a set of pictures to show the great variety of mosses that we have.

I took a few pictures of Skippers Bridge but none that deserved readers’ attention and crossed the bridge and took the track home along the river.

Murtholm

We have a great many puddles at the moment and a couple on the fields past the farmhouse gave me the chance to be reflective.  Black clouds behind me.

Murtholm puddle

A hint of blue skies ahead.

Murtholm puddle

My pace quickened though as the the black clouds from behind overtook the blue sky ahead and only a pretty leaf lying on the path….

fallen leaf

…and a final gurgling stream…

stream

…made me stop for long enough to get my camera out.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was just taking the final tiles off the floor so I turned my attention to making some Chelsea buns.  My last effort had produced tasty but inelegant results.  This lot looked a little (but not much) better….

chelsea bun

…but they were still quite tasty and have been put under lock and key to ensure that there are a few left for tomorrow.

While they were cooling, we went off to a choir practice for Langholm Sings.  We had to work jolly hard as the musical director rattled through the songs at a crisp pace while we struggled along behind her.  We were pleased to be able to refresh ourselves with two scones each and a nice cup of cocoa when we got home.

We are nearing the end of our spell of WWW weather so I was glad to have found the right moment for a walk today.  It will be hats, mufflers and gloves by the weekend.

I found a very gloomy flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows my mother-in-law standing beside her daughter  whom she is visiting in southern France.   They were attending the apple festival in the town of Mirepoix.

mirepoix

I enjoyed a lazy breakfast and a quiet sit with the crossword after it while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to song in the church choir.  I did find a few moments to watch a variety of small tits grappling with some big seeds.

great tit

blue tit

coal tit

There were chaffinches about as well.

chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal  is in cycling mode at the moment and as soon as she had had a cup of coffee on her return, she suggested a short pedal up to Wauchope Schoolhouse.  It had been raining heavily overnight but it was quite bright for the moment so we put on precautionary wet weather gear and set off hopefully.

In the event, the wind was light, the temperature mild and there was even an occasional sunbeam to be seen so we enjoyed ourselves.  I stopped to take a picture while Mrs Tootlepedal picked up a discarded pop bottle.

Sitting bull

Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that this must be the famous Sitting Bull.

I pedalled a few yards past Wauchope School before turning for home to give myself the opportunity to take an overview of our route home.

Wauchope dale

One of the few well surfaced bits of road in our vicinity.

We found plenty more discarded cans and bottles to pick up on our way home.  We need some sort of clever mechanism so that we can sweep them up without stopping and getting off all the time.   Of course it would be better if motorists didn’t keep chucking the litter out.

I had a quick walk round the garden when we got back.

October colour

Yet another new blue clematis has appeared alongside old favourites.

While I was on the bike, I received a text from Sandy suggesting an afternoon camera excursion.  That was agreeable to me and after lunch, he he came down to pick me up for a tour round Eskdalemuir.

The first piece of notable colour that we encountered was an amazingly pink berried tree at the Benty Bridge.

Pink tree

Shortly afterwards, we met another strange sight.

Georgefield bird

Definitely not a quail.  Any suggestions?

One of the reasons for our route choice was a comment from a correspondent  on yesterday’s blog that there was more colour to be seen north of Westerkirk than around Langholm.  She was right.

Billholm

Autumn colour at Billholm.  Thanks to Sandra for telling us about it.

By coincidence, the lady herself has kindly  sent me a picture without realising that I would be passing myself during the day.

The chance of fine photography was somewhat dimmed by a really heavy rain shower which engulfed us as we headed for Eskdalemuir.  We made our way home along the opposite bank of the river and the rain relented enough for me to poke the camera out of the car window.

Eskdalemuir

Looking across the river to our outward route.

We stopped when we got to the meeting of the Black Esk and the White Esk and the rain obligingly stopped as well.

Esk meeting

It was good to see a bit of water in the rivers today.

bridge

A favourite bridge

We had one more stop on the way down from Bailliehill when we met a fiery looking hedge along the road.

Hedge at Bailliehill

More delicate colours were also to be seen.

tree at bailliehill

We had arranged to go to the pictures in Carlisle in the early evening so we didn’t have time to to sit around waiting for the sun to come out after the shower but had to make our way back to Langholm.  If the weather permits, a trip round the same roads in a week’s time should pay dividends.

Sandy joined us for the trip to the cinema where we went to see a film called Sunshine on Leith.  This does for the music of Charlie and Craig Reid, aka ‘T’he Proclaimers’ what Mama Mia does for the music of Abba.  The only difference is that Sunshine on Leith has a better plot, a better cast and better music.

(The original songs by Abba are very fine indeed but the singing and dancing in the film were pretty ghastly.  The Proclaimers music is excellent too and this time, the music on the film was superb and did it justice.)

Sandy, Mrs Tootlepedal and I came out of the cinema with a light heart and a cheery smile.  I can’t think of a film that I have enjoyed more for years.  Of course it helps that the film was set in Edinburgh and showed the city off well.  It is very rare for us to see films which are concerned with recognisable people and places and this all added to the pleasure of the evening.  If you get the opportunity, it would, in my view at least, be worth walking 500 miles to see it.

I must admit that it was charmingly old fashioned in that it had no bad language, no gratuitous violence, no nudity, no noticeable CGI, no wobblycam (my pet hate) and no panicky jump cuts.   You could hear every word of the dialogue, the actors on the whole avoided overacting and there were several really good jokes.

For a bit of balance I append the first para of a review from Variety:

Twee, sentimental and boisterous in ways that might as well have followed official Scottish Tourist Board guidelines, “Sunshine on Leith” is a stage-to-screen jukebox musical that some will find irresistible, others highly resistible. Like the Proclaimers’ songbook, which it builds a formulaic laughter ‘n’ tears story around, it’s a chirpy heart-on-sleeve confection that’s populist in a somewhat generic way. Outside the U.K., where the film opens Oct. 4, biz will likely be spotty.

I would add that if they think that the Proclaimers’ songbook is a chirpy heart-on-sleeve confection then they haven’t actually listened to any of it.

For a change, a goldfinch makes flying bird of the day today.

goldfinch

 

 

 

 

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