Posts Tagged ‘bread rolls’

After Ada’s picture of walking in the mountains of Tenerife, I have another mountain scene as guest picture of the day today.  This snowy view from Hoch-Ybrig in Switzerland was sent to me by Dropscone’s niece Hilary, who was skiing there with her family.

Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland

A click on the pic will spread the picture on a wider scene.

We had a pervasively gloomy day here, a bit warmer but very grey and much windier, not an attractive proposition for cycling or walking.  Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day with visits to the dentist, the information hub to put up Buccleuch Centre posters and then the Buccleuch Centre itself where she had lunch before doing the front of house for a screening about the Young Picasso.  As she stayed for the screening, I saw very little of her until she came back in time for a cup of tea with me and Mike Tinker who had dropped in later in the day.

While she was out, I tried to avoid walking on my sore foot and passed the time by listening to the radio, doing various puzzles in the paper and of course, watching the birds.

Goldfinches were the flavour of the day.

Sometimes all was calm…

goldfinches quartet

…and at other times it was all go in every direction.

goldfinches coming and going

Occasionally, chaffinches tried to join the fun.

goldfinches and chaffinches

And we have been getting regular visits from collared doves.

doctored collared dove

I used Photoshop to remove a rather messy background from this shot.

I noticed a robin on the arm of the garden chair….

robin on arm of chair

…and then I noticed that there was a robin on the back of the chair…

robin on back of chair

…and then I noticed that there were in fact, two robins, an unusual sight.

two robins

I did have a wander round the garden but there was nothing new to see except a single potential new crocus.

potential crocus

I did pick up a walnut and to my surprise, it was in very good condition and Mike and Mrs T had half each with their cup of tea.

After Mike had left, I got my slow bike out and cycled half a mile round the new town just for sake of getting out of the house.  It had been raining for much of the afternoon, but it had stopped now.  It didn’t make much difference to the gloom though as the clouds were still firmly clamped down over our hills.

clouds over Langholm

A row of ducks were lined up on the edge of the main flow of the river.  They were peering anxiously about and for all the world they looked as though they were waiting for a bus to arrive.

ducks at the waters edge

Since I was having a quiet day in, I got the bread machine to make me some dough and used the result to make 18 rolls.  The bread machine makes a wonderfully elastic dough and the rolls came out well.

bread rools

My flute pupil Luke had missed our Monday meeting because of a cold and although he was hoping to come today, the cold still had him in its grip so we will meet next week instead.  I practised by myself which was no bad thing as I have to work hard to keep up with him as he gets better.

I will get about a bit more tomorrow as I am off to the physio and hope to use the trip to take a picture or two while I am out.

The flying bird of the day is one of those goldfinches, concentrating hard as it comes in to the feeder..

flying goldfinch



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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  She is working in Zurich this week and took a picture of the sunset there this evening.

Zurich sunset

There was no chance of a sunset here today…or a sunrise…or a sun anything as the sun was conspicuous by its absence all day.  The forecast told me that if I was up sharp, I might be able to get up to the Moorland Feeders, where I was filling in for absent friends, before the rain started for the day.

I took them at their word and they were quite right so I filled the feeders and sat in the hide for a while  before the rain started.  It might not have been raining but it was very gloomy so only brightly coloured birds which came close were available to snap.  It was my lucky day.

Greater spotted woodpecker

A greater spotted woodpecker coming close

Greater spotted woodpecker

And a greater spotted woodpecker coming closer…

Greater spotted woodpecker

…and then going away again

When it flew off, I took the hint and went away too.  I was glad to have got a brief glimpse of a goldfinch, the first of the autumn while I was there.


It was still raining when I got home and it rained on and off in a half hearted way for the rest of the day.  It was that annoying sort of rain which kept looking as though it had stopped but by the time that I had got outside to check, it had started again.

Under the circumstances, Mrs Tootlepedal got on with repainting the doors in the hall and I put a week and a bit of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group’s database.

You can learn a lot from the newspaper index.  In 1854 there were only 12 advertisements for food in the whole year but by 1874, there were 116.  There were 140 by 1894 but the biggest item advertised by far was tea, which was obviously a big seller by then.

I went out to our corner shop to buy food (but not tea) and noticed an unusually long array of collared doves on the wire by the dam as I left the house.

collared doves

I don’t know enough about collared doves to say whether this might be one happy family or just a gathering of friends.

At lunch time, I noticed that Mrs Tootlepedal had brought a couple of nasturtium flowers into the kitchen…


Their cheerful colour brightened the day up a bit and made me look closer too.


I did go out to check the rain.  It was light but persistent.  Flowers looked a bit depressed.


mint and chives

There is some colour in the vegetable garden though


and a very low flying clematis

We picked some runner and French beans and ate them for our lunch.  Even if the rain had stopped, it would have been too soggy for gardening.

It was one of those days which felt colder than the thermometer said that it should be so after lunch, I lit a fire in the front room and settled down to put music into the computer for practice purposes.  With about sixteen new songs on hand for Christmas concerts with my two choirs, I have plenty to get on with.

I kept on thinking about going for a walk in the rain but settled for making rolls with the help of the bread making machine instead.  They turned out well.


When they had come out of the oven, I had another look out into the garden at four o’clock.

colourful corner

In spite of the efforts of the flowers to persuade me that it wasn’t too bad….


…I wasn’t tempted to stay out as it was too gloomy for a photographic walk by now so I took a picture of a crow on the roof…


…and came back in and made a sausage stew for my tea.

It too turned out well and I was in a good mood in spite of some heavier rain when I went off for a Langholm Sings choir practice.  The attendance was a bit thin, possibly because of a showing of La La Land at the Buccleuch Centre at the same time.  I was happy to miss the film, which we have already seen and judged pretty dull, and very much enjoyed the practice.  All the songs and carols that we are preparing have their charms.

I am going back to the Moorland Feeders tomorrow morning, this time as a substitute for Sandy, who is sunning himself elsewhere, and I hope for better weather.



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Today’s guest pictures come from my occasional correspondent and Langholm exile, Irving.  He sees these buzzards regularly in his garden and thought correctly that I might be interested in seeing them too.


There wasn’t much to see in Langholm today, apart from very low cloud and occasional rain.  It was still reasonably warm at 7°C but the dank conditions didn’t make it feel very pleasant.

Dropscone complained about the weather when he came round for coffee but I didn’t complain about the scones that he brought with him as they were very good.

Birds were mostly notable by their absence and often the ones that did come looked a bit miserable to say the least.


Oddly, some goldfinches seemed less bedraggled than others.


Perhaps the one on the right had been sheltering somewhere dry

A small flock of ten goldfinches was the largest crowd of the day and they weren’t very polite if a chaffinch intruded…

goldfinch and chaffinch

…but no one seemed to mind when a lone siskin turned up.


We haven’t seen numbers of siskins in the garden since late summer and I don’t know where they have been.  Mrs Tootlepedal is generally quite happy not to see siskins as they are very messy eaters and this leads to untidiness and odour.

After Dropscone had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took our Christmas tree out and replanted it in the garden.  It was less of of a chore that we thought that it might be and it looks quite happy to be back where it came from in December.

Christmas tree

Nearby, the first shoots of rhubarb could be seen.


Some way to go before we can think of crumble though

When Dropscone and I had been drinking our coffee, we had been reminiscing about cycling in past years and I was reminded that we used to pedal quite often in pretty poor weather conditions.  I have got a lot more picky lately which cuts down cycling opportunities so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe, I thought that I should brave the damp conditions and go for a cycle ride.

The forecast had said that there was a possibility of rain over lunchtime but I hadn’t gone far before the possibility turned into reality and I had a soggy time while I was out.  I was well wrapped up though and with a peak on my helmet to keep the worst of the drizzle off my glasses, I managed a steady 21 miles in relative comfort.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea later and that concluded the excitement for the day.

Well perhaps, not quite because after he had gone, I got the second half of the dough out of the fridge and made another batch of rolls.  In spite of my best efforts, they wouldn’t win any prizes for looks but they cooked perfectly well.

As I am still struggling to throw off my husky throat, I was quite pleased to have had a quiet day.  I am cutting down on cheese for the moment because that has been implicated in throat troubles and I am inhaling salt vapour through a cunning device that my daughter gave me and either  for these reasons or just through the march of time, things are beginning to get a bit better.  Whether cycling twenty miles in a chilly drizzle is part of the cure is perhaps open to question.

The flower of the day is a cheerful winter jasmine to offset the general greyness…

winter jasmine

…and the flying bird is one of the goldfinches, ploughing through the morning drizzle.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Manchester recently.  He found this wonderful 1941 railway bridge across the ship canal there.  It is confined to walkers and cyclists these days, he tells me.

1941 Manchester Ship Canal Railway bridge

After a wet and windy night, we had another rather grey morning today, made greyer by the fact that our daughter Annie had to go back to London.

After coffee and a quick look at the feeders….


Possibly a native blackbird rather than one of our winter visitors

…the day brightened up a lot and we set off for Carlisle.  We found ourselves peering straight into the low sun and  some very bright reflections from wet road surfaces as we drove along.  So persistent was the glare that by the time that we got to the outskirts of Carlisle, the white lines down the middle of the roads had turned bright pink and purple for me.

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is called a negative afterimage.  It was very curious and I don’t recall having had noticed such a strong colour change or one which lasted for so long.

We got a little drizzle out of what had seemed like a blue sky on the way down and stopped to admire a rainbow which had formed.

Rainbow at West Linton

It obviously wasn’t an entirely blue sky.

We delivered Annie safely to the station and then went off in search of a mirror.  Mrs Tootlepedal had seen one she liked on a previous visit and we were determined to buy it today.  Of course it was out of stock and another visit will be required…if we can find it in stock later in the week.

We consoled ourselves with a sausage bap in the furniture store’s cafe, washed down with a hot drink.  Over recent years, drinks in cafes have been so big that even a ‘small’ was the size of a bucket so we were very pleased to find that our small drinks today were just that, small and readily drinkable.  We drank them.

We got home while the sun was still shining so after putting a dough mixture into the bread machine, I went for  a short walk.

There was a bit of water in the Esk after the overnight rain…

Esk at George Street

…and some more in the Ewes when I got to the Kilngreen.

Ewes water at Kilngreen

Mr Grumpy was there, admiring the sunshine and hoping for a fish supper.


I was enjoying the light and the trees.

Castleholm trees


A moss forest caught my eye.

moss on wall

This is not some mossy bank but the top of a stone wall.

I walked up the hill past the estate offices and was impressed by how much hart’s tongue fern was growing on the walls beside the well shaded road.

hart's tongue fern

At the top of the road, a brilliant dogwood blazed in a garden.


The sun was threatening to sink below the hills but it was high enough to brighten up the top of Castle Hill as I walked along the track below it.

Castle Hill

Dropping down through the woods, I saw a fine jelly fungus on a fallen log.

jelly fungus

I passed beneath some winter blossom…

winter blossom

…walked back down beside the River Esk and then took the new path round the bottom of the Castleholm back to the Sawmill Brig and the Kilngreen.  I passed a noble fir and was looking for one of its large green cones when I saw this fine example of nature’s basket weaving skills.

noble fir

I have no idea what is going on there.

The light had gone by the time that I got to the Kilngreen so I made my way quietly home.

After a rest and a cup of tea, I got the dough out of the bread machine and cut it in half.  I wrapped one half in cling film and put it in the fridge and shaped the other half into bread rolls.  The machine makes more dough than we need at one time so this was an experiment to see if we can use it half at a time.  The rolls that I made today came out quite well…

bread rolls

…so perhaps I will give up on the crumpets and stick to rolls from now on.

My flute pupil Luke came for the first time since the holidays and we started on a new Boismortier duet.  His sight reading has improved a lot and we were able to play a couple of movements with very little difficulty.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see a film version of Swallows and Amazons.  This was based on books which both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had enjoyed a great deal when we were children so we approached the film with some trepidation.  In the event, it wasn’t at all bad even though they had souped up the action and had lost a little of the gentle charm of the original.   The acting was excellent and we enjoyed ourselves and were able to say as we walked home, “Well this and that never happened in the books,” in a very satisfactory sort of way.

The flower of the day is the first potential snow drop of the year.  It may not seem much to the casual reader but it means a lot to a gardener.


The newspapers are full of dire predictions of snow storms to come in Britain but the weather forecasts say that this flower may be the only snow drop that we will see in Langholm.

The flying bird of the day is four chaffinches.  None of them are great shots and I was too tired to choose between them so I have put them all in.

flying chaffinches


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