Posts Tagged ‘Bloch’

Today’s guest picture is an impressive sea cave from Dropscone’s Irish holiday.


Our thaw continued and there was no snow to show on the lawns when we woke up.  It was still fairly chilly and grey with occasional rain so we are not breaking out the spring champagne yet.

It took the siskins a bit of time to get to the garden this morning but there were plenty of them when they finally arrived….

siskins and goldfinch

…with the occasional goldfinch and chaffinch trying to gatecrash the party.

siskins and chaffinch

There were no blackbirds or robins in sight when I looked out of the kitchen window but I did see a lone dunnock.


I don’t know if the low level birds are put off by the siskins, who are quite noisy or whether they have found somewhere else to go for the time being.  Life is full of inexplicable mysteries.

After coffee, I girded my loins and got my cycling gear on and of course, it immediately started to rain.   I had a marmalade sandwich while I waited and when the rain stopped, I set off.

The rain started again.

But it didn’t last and by the time that I was three miles up the road, things looked a lot brighter.

Bloch view

I thought that this narrow back road over the hill down to Canonbie might be clear of snow so I pedalled on cautiously and apart from some wind-formed snow sculptures beside the road at Tarcoon…

snow at Tarcoon

…there was little snow to see let alone to worry about.  As the sun had come out, it wasn’t a bad day for a pedal at all, though the brisk and chilly wind made me grateful to be very well wrapped up even in the sunshine.

I was quite keen to get home before any more showers arrived so I didn’t stop for any more pictures.  Although the skies clouded over before I got to Langholm, I arrived home dry and cheerful

A quick walk round the garden revealed crocuses trying their best…


…and a pond full of frogs.  They all dived under the water as I approached except this one who waited for a portrait.


It is a source of wonder that a frog’s eye is so prominently reflected on the surface of the pond but it can be a bit annoying for the happy snapper.

It wasn’t hard to see a lot of moss almost everywhere I looked in the garden.

It was on trees, piles of stones….

garden moss

….paths and lawns.  It sometimes feels that if we don’t get a good long dry spell sometime soon, we will gradually be engulfed under an inexorable tide of moss.

After lunch, a man arrived and hitched up the dam bridge repairers’ tea shack and office to his pick up…..

dam bridge repairs

…and drove off with it.   The road closed signs were also removed during the morning so we are almost back to normal again.  Just the railings to come.

It was a bit gloomy outside in the afternoon so Mrs Tootlepedal thought that a walk might be more cheerful than scratching around in a cold, damp garden and we went off to view the felled wood at the Becks Burn.

Of course, there was moss to look at on a wall as we walked along…

moss on wall

…and we liked the very vivid green of the expanding layer around the edge of this clump.

As we walked up through the field from the road, we could see that the Beck’s Burn was running freely with a combination of melted snow and rain…

becks burn bridge

…and Mrs Tootlepedal, who hasn’t visited the felling before, found that the view ahead was dramatically changed.

becks burn wood

We went up for a closer look, passing a striking tree stump on the way.


A bench had been placed on the edge  of the felled area.  If it was me, I would have turned it towards the view of Warbla to the left but as it was…becks burn wood

… it was looking at this.


Not the most exciting view in the world.

As it started to rain, the prospect was even more gloomy than usual.

On the far side of the burn, Mrs Tootlepedal spotted the steps and railing that were part of the walk through the wood before the tree eaters arrived.

becks burn wood steps

I wonder if they will try to re-instate the walk when the felling has finished.

We didn’t stop to explore further because of the drizzle but as soon as we turned for home, it brightened up again…


…and we got home just before the rain re-started.

We passed this rather  artistic tree stump on our way.

mossy tree stump

We had paused to chat to a friend in the street outside the house when we were interrupted by a huge flurry of wings and an entire flock of siskins rose out of our garden and flew off.  It was an impressive sight as there must have been well over 50 birds.

In the evening, I went off to sing with Langholm Sings, our local community choir.  We spent the evening singing operatic choruses in preparation for a concert with our local orchestra next month.  These are fun and quite difficult to sing really well (perhaps because everyone thinks that they know them and they don’t pay enough attention to the score) but they are not as satisfying as singing ‘proper’ choir pieces in four part harmony.

There is a possibility of more snow overnight but we hope that if it does snow, it won’t come to much.  Fingers crossed again.

It was too gloomy for good solo flying bird of the day shots so a sparring duo has got the honour instead.

chaffinch and siskin


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Today’s picture was sent to me by Bruce who spotted this ruddy darter at Threave.

ruddy darter

I did some darting myself this morning in company with Dropscone, as we nipped round the morning run in good style in spite of some moaning about bad backs from one of the pedallers.  It was another lovely day with very light winds so I was pleased to be able to take  advantage of it.  Dropscone politely started at a steady pace so I could get well warmed up before putting the foot down.

After coffee and scones, I felt confident enough to get the lawn mower out and mow the middle lawn. As the grass was short enough not to need the box on the mower, it wasn’t very hard work and my confidence was justified as I managed it without trouble.

I also walked round the flowers.

Icelandic poppy

A delightful light orange Icelandic poppy has appeared.

Shirley poppy

And the Shirley poppies keep on giving

The garden is full of white butterflies but they are very fidgety and it is rare that one presents a good photo opportunity.

White butterfly

They are not necessarily as white as they look when flying.

Mrs Tootlepedal was out all morning.  After a choir practise at the church, she made her way to the Castleholm and helped out at an archaeological session at the castle there.  They are not actually digging but using one of the clever machines that can ‘see’ underground for a survey.

She came home for lunch and as Sandy arrived after lunch, he and I decided to go across and take some photographs to record the scene.

Langholm Castle

They are surveying the ground round the castle.

Resistivity machine

Volunteers with the resistivity machine

Resistivity machine

Mrs Tootlepedal in a special archaeology hat talks to the visiting expert

Two other men were doing obscure things in some long grass nearby.

Tom Stothart

Mrs Tootlepedal’s work consisted of moving the ropes which marked the areas to be surveyed by the machine.  This was hard and continuous work and as it was very warm as well,  she was quite pleased to get a sit down at the end of the day.

Sandy and I moved on after a while and we drove down to the Tarras and went for a very short walk  along the banks of the river.  By coincidence another white butterfly posed for me there.

white butterfly

In order to keep my back in order, we went only a short distance and the track was lined for most of the way by thistles and rosebay willowherb.  This is the season of seed.



Thistledown going up

Sandy was driving and kindly agreed to my suggestion of a cross country route home.  We stopped to take pictures whenever the fancy took us.  Here a few of the ones that I took.




It was a perfect afternoon for standing out in the country looking around but a bit too hazy for distant photography.

We were having a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit after we got back when we were visited by Dr Tinker, who advised me to go at once and look at his buddleia if I wanted to see some colourful butterflies.  When Sandy left, I trotted  obediently round.  He was right of course, as doctors always are.

colourful butterflies

Dr Tinker’s butterfly farm.  There were peacocks and tortoiseshells on every twig

As you can see, one was colour co-ordinating on a neighbouring flower.

I was so uplifted by this that I mowed the front lawn when I got home.  The warm weather of the last few days has brought the lawns on very well and they are looking as good as they ever will at the moment.  It is sad to think of all the moss that is lurking, waiting for the cold, wet, winter weather to come.

I hadn’t had time during the day to catch a flying bird so I went out with camera in hand to see what I could do.  Of course, the first thing that I saw was a peacock butterfly in my own garden.  The phlox was its target.

peacock butterfly

My flute pupil Luke came in the evening and I was feeling confident enough in his ability and capacity to practise to be slightly severe about his need to practise with great discipline at all times.  It is the key to progress because otherwise you just tend to practise your mistakes in.  We have reached a certain level and the next step will take some really hard work.  I am sure that he can do it.

I did manage to catch a flying bird along with the butterfly.  It is a flying sparrow.

flying sparrow



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