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Posts Tagged ‘bridges’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset corespondent, Venetia.  She visited the wonderfully named ‘The Newt’ estate where she came across this excellent sinuous bridge.

bridge the newt

Although we are not completely free from the threat of wet and windy weather yet, we awoke to a grey but dry day today.  The wind was still too brisk to make cycling fun though.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal had some business to attend to and I went to our shop for supplies.  We had a cup of coffee when we had both returned and then we went for a walk.

Mrs Tootlepedal likes a bit of novelty in a walk if she can get it, so we drove three miles out of town and embarked on a walk up the track alongside the Esk from the Burnfoot Bridge to the Bentpath bridge and back again.

burnfoot and benty bridges

Burnfoot Bridge on the left and Bentpath Bridge on the right.

It was a well chosen route as it was sheltered from the brisk and chilly wind for the most part.

Although we were not far from Langholm, it was noticeable that the walls were built in a different style to the ones round us, using smaller stones probably collected from the river.

burnfoot track wall

The end of one of the walls gave a neat demonstration of their sloping construction.

wall end westerhall track

We didn’t see much of the river itself as there are trees along the bank all the way, but we did get some very pleasant views of the rolling country on the other side of the track.

Burnfoot track view

As we walked on, the rough track became a smooth road and we entered the grounds of the Westerhall estate, which has impressive stone gateposts at each end.

westerhall estate gates

A little sunshine at this point made the walk even more enjoyable.

westerhall road 2

Westerhall has some lovely woods and interesting buildings among them.

westerhall buildings

The grounds are well looked after and a broad grass avenue leads up the hill away from the house. The sharp eyed will be able to spot another little building in the distance at the top of the hill.

westerhall ride

In fact several grassy paths lead through the woodland with some rather grand steps on the way.

westerhall steps

We stuck to the road though…

westerhall road

…and walked on until we got to the church and churchyard at the village of Bentpath.

westerkirk mausoleum and church

Among the graves, some bearing the names of many different members of the same family, there is a mausoleum designed by Robert Adams which was built for John Johnstone.  The mausoleum is a fine example of the use of the Greek Doric Order in a building. It actually contains the remains of John’s father, Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall (1726-94). The mausoleum is built in ashlar, with a prominent lead covered dome. The front features two pairs of columns supporting a pediment and frieze decorated with ox-skulls.

You can still see the ox skull decorations and one of the gravestones beside the mausoleum has a spectacular show of moss and algae.

Westerkirk churchyard

On our way through the estate, we had seen a good looking example of an orange witch hazel….

westerhall witch hazel

…and when we got to the bridge at Bentpath, there was an even finer yellow variety.

witch hazel at bridge

It was just behind a very nicely situated bench…

seat at benty bridge

…where we had a sit down and a snack as it was one o’clock and lunchtime.  I had bought some dates with me but Mrs Tootlepedal had gone for a banana.  To make things perfect, we only needed a glass of wine and a loaf of bread but we hadn’t brought those.

We didn’t stop for long and were soon on our way back to the car.

We stopped to admire the very unusual semicircular bridge over the Kirk Burn…

kirk burn bridge westerhall

…and the Kirk Burn itself which was splashing down towards the Esk in fine style.

westerhall kirk burn

The grounds of Westerhall have a lot of good looking rhododendrons and azaleas and we intend to come back when they are out in the spring.  In the meantime, a big patch of dogwood was giving a little winter colour.

westerhall dogwood

I had taken nearly fifty pictures on the outward leg so we didn’t stop for many on the way back.  We did stop to look at buzzards circling too high in the sky to be within camera range.  Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a hen harrier hunting over the hill as we drove towards Burnfoot on our way to the walk and she thought that she might have spotted it again as we walked, but it flew out of range before she could get her binoculars on it so it may just have been another buzzard.

The sight of Burnfoot House tucked in below Douglen Hill…

 

burnfoot and dowglen hill

…signalled that we were nearly at the end of our walk.

We had covered just under four and half miles and thanks to taking many photos and watching many buzzards, we had spent almost exactly two very rewarding hours in going the distance.

By the time that we had had a bowl of soup and a cracker with cheese when we got home to add to our very light lunch at Bentpath, the light was beginning to fail.  Mrs Tootlepedal did go out into the garden with a view to doing something useful but it was too gloomy and too chilly and too windy so she came back in.

Perhaps because of the stiff breeze, gusting up to 40 mph according to the Met Office, there were no birds on the feeder at all today when I looked.  The only bird that I did see was this dunnock in the mirk of the late afternoon, and so it is the non flying bird of the day.

dunnock

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I have a rich seam of guest pictures at the moment, so thank you to all who have contributed.  Today’s comes from my sister Mary.  She went up towards the Greenwich Observatory and looked back behind her on the way.

greenwich view

The slight warming of our weather continued today and there was no need to use the handy pre-heating facility on the Zoe before we drove down to Longtown for a visit to the opticians.

While Mrs Tootlepedal was answering difficult questions about the comparative readability of this…or this…or this…or this…

…I went down to the riverside to have a look at the bridge over the Esk.  Some weeks ago we heard a rumour that the bridge had fallen down, but this turned out to be an exaggeration.  This was lucky as we had crossed it to get to our appointment.

I passed an extremely severely pollarded tree on my way to the river.

lopped tree Longtown

No compromise with beauty there.

As you can see the bridge is still standing with all its arches intact…

Longtown bridge

…and fortunately the section that fell down was underneath a pavement on the approach to the bridge and not under the road itself so traffic has been able to keep crossing in a single lane on the far side.

Longtown bridge collapse

The arches themselves look well enough constructed to last for another hundred years at least. Longtown bridge piers

I learn from the Undiscovered Scotland website that “the Reverend Robert Graham inherited the family estate of the Grahams of Netherby. He began by building Longtown Bridge, which crosses the River Esk on the line of the Edinburgh to Carlisle road in 1756. The bridge was widened and strengthened in 1889 and again more recently.”  It has stood the test of time.  I take it that it was the recent alterations that have fallen down.

I walked up onto the bridge approach and looked down at the damage.  Quite a bit had fallen off.

Longtown bridge rubble

Then I went and had my turn with the difficult questions.  My eyes are so different that I can read the very small bottom line of the opticians chart with one eye and only the very big letter at the top with my other one.  However, I get good glasses from Mr Hagen so I don’t bang into things too much, though this may explain why I was hopeless at sport when I was young.

The most important thing is that my eyes were passed as perfectly fit for driving.

We drove back to Langholm and I dropped Mrs Tootlepedal off at home before taking the Zoe into the local garage to get a slow puncture fixed.  This was a nervous business for me as there is no spare wheel and no jacking points on the car and the battery lies flat along the bottom of the frame.   The garage was equal to the task of getting the wheel off without electrocuting themselves and an intrusive nail was removed and the tyre satisfactorily plugged.

I got back to find our ex-minister Scott having a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal.  I was deeply surprised that his scone radar had not told him that if he had come yesterday, he would have got a teacake to go with it.

It was good to catch up with his news.

When he had gone, I looked for birds on the feeder.  They were few and far between.  I captured a lone siskin and that was it for today.

SISKIN

We had lunch and then I went out for a walk as it had got too late for a cycle ride by this time.

December is supposed to be the official start of winter, and I think it is fair to say that my walks have definitely become wintery.

beechy plains december

I passed reminders of last summer..

seed heads murtholm

…and hints of next spring…

buds murtholm

…as well as a selection of trees, both complicated…

tree skipperscleuch

…and straightforward.

tree on track to kernigal

The track took me into a spruce plantation with no views…

kernigal track

…but further along, the spruces have been felled and there were prospects of hill…

whita from kernigal

…and town.

town from kernigal

And of course, there is always moss.

moss in kernigal

The writing was on the tree trunks…

script lichen on trunk

..in the form of script lichen.

script lichen

I finished my walk with two bridges, one natural which I went under..

fallen tree hungry burn

…and one reflective which I crossed.

reflective park bridge

Early in the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to do front of house volunteer duties and after I had had a bit of choir song practice, I went along to see the show.

The occasion was not the usual entertainment at all but a recording of two programmes for Gardeners’ Question Time, a long standing and much loved BBC Radio 4 series.

The audience were asked to submit questions in advance and mine was among those chosen.  Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that my question related to plant photography and the panel gave some very good answers.  But whether it will feature in the programme when it is broadcast is unclear, as they almost certainly recorded more material for the two programmes than they needed.  The programmes will be broadcast in January next year.

Kathy Clugston was in the chair and the expert panel were Matthew Wilson, James Wong and Christine Walkden.  Ms Clugston was very composed and charming and the panel were extremely knowledgeable and helpful so it was a treat to be there.  Radio is a marvellous medium and the lack of fuss and egos throughout the recording was very marked.

The team had come to Langholm at the invitation of the Langholm Chilli Club, a very enterprising group which grows huge amounts of chillis in the town and surrounding neighbourhood.  You can find out more about them here if you want.

My friend Sue Toon kindly sent me this picture of the panel which was taken by Roddy. of the chilli club.

GQT

None of the panellists have wings but this is the flying bird of the day!

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Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  Looking through my files I see that I didn’t use this one from his highland holiday earlier in the year.  I thought that it should have gone in then so I have put it in now. It shows keen canoeists in Plockton.

oznor

We had a pleasant and mostly sunny day and it was filled with interesting things to do.  Fortunately they came at a leisurely pace and well spread out.

I started the day with a conversation with a neighbour over the garden fence.  As we chatted, blackbirds flew into the rowan tree and munched away on the berries, quite unconcerned about our presence.

blackbird in rowan

After we finished our conversation, I went in and got my other camera out and spent some time recording blackbirds wondering where the berries had gone, checking out the berries that were there…

birds berry

…and then eating them.   It will not be long until they are all gone.

Our neighbour has a rowan with yellow berries and he pointed out that they  have not been touched yet.  I wonder if the birds just don’t think that they are ripe.  Maybe they are not so tasty.

Then it was time for coffee and excellent treacle scones with Dropscone.  He has been busy playing golf and visiting his new granddaughter so I hadn’t seen him for some time.  It was good to catch up with his news.

When he left, I wandered round the garden doing some dead heading and looking at flowers, both individually…

four single flowers

There was plenty of evidence of yesterday’s rain

…and in clumps.

four flower bunches

Then, thinking that I had better do something useful while Mrs Tootlepedal was busy at a meeting, I trimmed one of the garden hedges and the hedge along the road.

clipped hedge

This should be the last time this year that the hedges need trimming I hope.

On my way back inside, I noticed that a nerine had come out…

nerine

…and I watched a sparrow watching a passing insect.

sparrow on stalk

I don’t know if anyone was watching me.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting and we had a light lunch.

After lunch, I got my bike out and pedalled quietly round my customary 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  Yesterday’s visit to the physiotherapist confirmed previous advice that I shouldn’t cycle up steep hills so I shall continue to pedal along tried and trusted familiar  flattish routes.  This means that cycling photos will continue to be on the dull side.

I was pleased to finally get a reasonably sharp photo of some clover today.  I have been trying and failing all summer so it was only right that the clover should be going over when I finally caught it.

old clover

Looking over the Hollows Bridge, there was just the faintest suggestion that leaves are beginning to turn.

hollows esk

Following a previous picture of beech nuts, I took two more shots of beech trees, one on each side of the bridge at the Hollows just to show that almost all our beech trees are heavily laden this year.

beech nuts hollows

I have passed the laughing poodle tree many times this year on my bike rides so I thought that I might record it once again as it always amuses me as I see it.

poodle tree

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal relaxing after some hard gardening while I had been out.

I had a quick butterfly hunt after I had had a cup of tea and was pleased to find three different kinds on the go, red admiral, painted lady and peacock.  I had hoped for a small tortoiseshell as well but had to make up the panel with a plain fly on the sedum.

three butterflies and a fly

Crown Princess Margareta has flowered but she has turned her back on her public and I had to wade into the border to get this shot.

crown princess margareta rose sept

I went in and had a shower, and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking our evening meal, I went out for a short walk.  The physiotherapist has said that I should walk as much as I can.

Some dog tooth peltigera lichen appeared on a wall shortly after I set out…

peltigera lichen

…and my next stop was to look at the bridge over the Becks Burn.

becks brodge

I stopped again at the Auld Stane Brig, the next bridge along, to admire a small garden on the bridge parapet and a lichen jungle on the fence post at the end of the bridge.

auld stane brisge flower and lichen

I walked back to the town along Gaskells Walk.  There were plenty of fine ferns to admire as I walked along.  I looked at the front of some…

fern gaskells

…and the back of others.  This is a buckler fern.

fern spores gaskells

There were fruits as well as ferns.

three fruits gaskells

I finished by walking along the path beside the park wall.  I was hoping for more lichen but it hasn’t developed yet or I wasn’t paying enough attention.

park wall sept

I will look again soon.

The day was rounded off by a visit from Mike and Alison and Alison and I played old and new favourites including Telemann, Vivaldi, Marcello and Finger while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike once again set the world to rights.  We may have to check on their methods as things have not improved much as I hoped since they set the world to rights last week.

Among the many blackbirds visiting the ‘birdberry’ tree was this one, who just managed to qualify as the flying bird of the day.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture shows a feature of the Sheffield Peace Gardens. They were seen by Bruce on a recent stay in the city.

sheffield peace garden

Today started very oddly when I woke up realising that I had just had a good night’s sleep.  This was so unusual that it took me until Dropscone arrived with Friday treacle scones for coffee to recover.

The scones were very good though and by the time that Dropscone left, I was back on an even keel and able to appreciate that the geums had started to flower in the garden.

geums in garden

They are droopy flowers and I had to resort to the mirror to get a good look at one from underneath.

When I went back, I looked out of the window and saw that the jackdaws were back in search of nesting material.  They have discovered where Mrs Tootlepedal has buried the rest of the woollen mulch round a rose and they were busy digging it up, under the supervision of a senior member of the group.

jackdaws panel

At the feeder, goldfinches and siskins were in charge again and a lonely chaffinch appeared.  I thought that it looked a bit wistful.

lonely chaffinch

Since the chaffinches have been the most regular customers of the feeder all winter, they must feel a bit put out by these spring interlopers, much as loyal insurance company customers feel put out when they discover that new customers are getting preferential rates offered to them.

Not that the goldfinches look happy about their end of the bargain either.

goldfinches stamping

I made some bacon and lentil soup for lunch, ate a bowlful and then got my bike out.  It was quite a lot colder than my last outing and I had leggings and a waterproof jacket on as I faced a light north wind.

I had worked quite hard last time I went out and my feet had been painful afterwards so I took things very easily today, stopping frequently to admire the view…

road to burnfoot

There were fifty shades of green

…to take in the passing bluebell woods,…

bluebells on benty road

…and to record some of the many wild flowers which have started to appear in the road side verges.

wild flowers on benty road

I crossed the Esk by the Bentpath Bridge…

river esk from benty bridge

…and admired the assistance that someone had given to nature on the other side of the bridge.

flowers at benty bridge

Then I cycled up the far bank of the river, noticing more wild flowers…

wildflowers near benty

…and finding that some work by foresters in felling trees had made it much easier to spot the old suspension bridge that allowed residents on the west bank of the river a shorter walk to the church in times gone by.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 1

I wouldn’t be inclined to walk over it now.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 2

A little further on, I noticed what I thought was a tree in full flower by a gate…

pink tree westerhall

…but a closer look showed that the colour came from buds and the flowers are not out yet.  It should be spectacular when it blooms.

It wasn’t hard to spot wild flowers as the banks were covered with them..

bank of wild flowers

…and fields were full of them.

meadow of wild flowers

When  I came to the furthest point of my short ride, I had to cross the Esk again, this time using the Enzieholm Bridge, which looks modest enough when you cross it…

enzieholm bridge from above

…but turns out to be a pretty substantial bridge when you look at it from the waterside.

enzieholm bridge from below

The wind was behind me now (good route planning for once), and I didn’t stop so much on the way home, though I did like these fine copper beeches…

copper beeches beside esk

…and yet more wild flowers…

wildflowers benty may

…which I passed before I got back to Bentpath village, where I took the obligatory picture of the church and bridge.

westerkirk church may

I did the last five or six miles with only one more stop.  This was to take a look back at the Gates of Eden…

gates if eden May

…before cascading back down the hill into Langholm, very cheerful after such an enjoyable and leisurely fifteen miles.  (The pedalling took me an hour and twenty minutes and I added another twenty five minutes to the trip by stopping to take so many pictures.)

I had a quick walk round the garden before I went in…

FOUR GARDEN FLOWERS

…to find Mrs Tootlepedal, after a busy morning, sitting quietly over her embroidery.

Although the day was still quite cool for the time of year, when the sun came out it seemed pleasantly warm and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to have a short sit out on the new bench until the sun went in again.

Then the sun came out again and I was thinking of going for a short walk but as soon as I put my walking shoes on, the sun went in and a few drops of rain fell.

I abandoned the idea of a walk and cooked a feta cheese, tomato and potato bake for our tea instead.   It was followed by some sticky toffee pudding.  It is hard to have to eat all of the sticky toffee pudding ourselves instead of sharing it with Matilda and her family but we are being brave about it.

One of the thieving jackdaws is the flying bird of the day.  It wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

flying jackdaw making off

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Today’s guest picture comes from Canada.  Lucie, who sent it to me, is scratching her head as to why she can’t find people anxious to share a cup of tea with her on her patio when there are such comfortable looking cushions to sit on.

Lucie's snowy pergola

At least Lucie has had some sunshine.  We got another grey day today but not as windy as it has been for which we were grateful.

The sunshine in my life was metaphorical in the form of Sandy who came round for a coffee in a very cheerful mood.  His foot is a lot less sore and he has been sleeping exceptionally well so no wonder he was smiling.

As well as Sandy, we had plenty of other visitors today and I had to fill the feeder twice, a rare occurrence this year.

The siskins have wasted no time in making their presence felt as can be seen by this picture of a diminutive siskin blowing an incoming chaffinch away.

chaffinch blown away by siskin

A chaffinch did manage an unimpeded landing a little while later.

elgant chaffinch

Meanwhile the siskins took to creeping round the feeder to surprise goldfinches.

siskin sneaking past feeder

After Sandy left, I decided to go for a cycle ride as the forecast offered a few dry hours before the rain came.   It was still pretty breezy with gusts of up to 20 mph so I took things easy as I went round my customary Canonbie 20 mile circuit and kept my eyes open for things to photograph…

…like trees shaped by the prevailing wind…

bare tree chapelhill

…and more trees with some branched pruned by the passing winds…

bare tree Canonbie road

…and even more trees, this time standing in a relatively sheltered spot.

bare tree neat Canonbie

When I came to bridges, I stopped.

This is the Canonbie Bridge, low and wide…

Canonbie bridge

…and this is the Hollows bridge a mile or two up the road, high and handsome.

hollows bridge arch

Landowners grossly neglect their responsibility to provide uninterrupted views of river bridges for passing photographers as you can see from the Hollows bridge and this picture of another good looking bridge, a mile or two up the road which is almost submerged in trees and bushes, whereas….

old A7 bridge

…this ugly road bridge a few yards away is as clean as a whistle (and they have been cutting down more trees near it).road bridge

There is no justice….

…and bridges are not the only cause of photographic dissatisfaction.  Road furniture is a pest too as you can see from the junction at Canonbie where a lovely bank of snowdrops has been overwhelmed by clutter.

snowdrops and road signs

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy helping out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop so I took a look around and noticed that she has got the Christmas tree out of the greenhouse and is getting it acclimatised for life in the garden.

christmas tree in garden

In the ‘signs of spring category’, new life on a rose was encouraging.

rose leaf

I went inside where I had a late lunch, battled with the crossword and did a little bird watching.

The stalk of the sunflower makes a convenient stopping place for birds waiting for a vacant perch on the feeder.

chaffinch on sunflower stalk

Some birds didn’t wait but made straight for the feeder…

horizontal chaffinch

…while others did their best to remove those who had got there first.

chaffinchs attack

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from a very busy session at the coffee shop and had a restorative cup of tea.  It must have been strong tea because as soon as she had downed it, we went off for a short expedition by car to the White Yett and then by foot up the track to the Monument.

Even on a dull day, the Ewes Valley is worth a look…

ewes valley

…and on any day at all, the lichens on the boulders beside the track and what I think is algae on the monument itself are very eye catching.

lichen and algae

Mrs Tootlepedal had brought her binoculars with her and took a moment at the summit to scan the skies for interesting birds…

Mrs T bird watching on whita

…in vain.

I looked down on the town, eight hundred feet below…

Langholm from Whita

…and then we went back down the track to the car before we got caught in the rain which was threatening to arrive.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of a performance of Don Quixote by the Royal Ballet company while my friend Susan arrived to take me to Carlisle where we had an excellent evening of tootling.  The ballet was very good too, Mrs tootlepedal reported.

It was raining lightly as Susan and I drove down to Carlisle and it was very wet as we drove home so I was lucky to get my cycle and walk in before the rain arrived.  Sometimes the weather goods relent and give a man a break.  However, it does say that it is going to rain all day tomorrow so it was just a small break.

Another horizontal chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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The guest picture of the day is a curious sculpture of a bicycle on a  railway line which Bruce encountered on his recent Annan walk.

Bruce's bike at annan

We had a splendidly sunny day today but from a cycling point of view, it wasn’t as useful as it might have been as it was also very cold for several hours in the morning, with too much of a risk of ice for a unworried pedal.

Under the circumstances, I was more than usually happy to see Dropscone arrive for coffee with treacle scones.  We managed to eat all the scones ourselves with perfect timing just before we were joined by our neighbour Liz who had been walking her dog and Mrs Tootlepedal who had been putting another coat of paint on her horse.

As we sipped our coffee, the conversation, as conversations among people of more than three score years and ten tends to do, turned to the many and various strains and stresses that come with the turning of yet another page on the calendar. The upshot of the discussion was a firm injunction from the rest of us to Liz to seek medical advice today as she won the competition for the most serious immediate ailment by some distance.

When the coffee group broke up, I went for a stroll round the garden.  Although the shady parts were still frosty, the sun had encouraged the crocuses…

clump of crocuses

…with some even popping up uninvited among the moss and grass on the middle lawn.

crocuses on lawn

The snowdrops along the back path are almost at their peak and don’t seem to mind the frosty mornings at all.

back path snowdrop zenith

A euphorbia is showing welcome signs of spring.

euphorbia

I went back in and did the crossword and ate some soup and waited in vain for some birds and the sunshine to come to the feeder.  Birds were scarce but in the end a siskin arrived before the sun.

siskin in shade

Occasional chaffinches joined in but annoyingly for the would be photographer, kept getting their heads into the shadow of the feeder.

siskin and chaffinch 2

In the end, the thermometer rose enough to make cycling a pleasure so I left the birds to it…

siskin and chaffinch

…and went out to see how far my legs would take me.

I was very pleased to find that the potholes on the muddy road past the site where the new wind farm will be on the top of Callister had been repaired and the road cleaned, so I was able to cycle down to the valley of the Kirtle Water in comfort and safety.

I had my eye on bridges today and stopped at the second one over the Kirtle Water that I crossed.

kirtle water bridge near Waterbeck

As well as the bridge, I looked at trees…

tree at between the waters

…on both sides of the river.  These three are being undermined by burrowing creatures.

three trees Waterbeck

I stopped for the next bridge at Sprinkell…

kirtle water bridge sprinkell

…and then stopped again in the village of Eaglesfield to show another side of the gaily painted bus shelter there.

eaglesfield bus stop 2

From Eaglesfield, I headed south to Gretna, very pleased to get away from a chilly and nagging headwind that had made progress a rather slow business.

The wind had been stronger than I had expected and I would have been much happier when it gradually dropped to a mere whisper, if this hadn’t coincided with a change of direction in my route so that now it was behind me but hardly helping at all.

Still, it was a sunny day and it was a treat to be out and about with my ankle giving me no trouble as I pedalled along….and of course there were more bridges to cross.

This one was over a little tributary to the river Sark, just a short distance from the border between Scotland and England.

sark tributary bridge

There was a very inviting path along the stream…

riverside walk Sark

…but I didn’t have time to follow it as my slow progress meant that I needed to get home before it got too dark and cold for comfortable cycling.

I pressed on as fast as my legs would let me and after a very short visit to England, I returned to Scotland and got back to back to Langholm with thirty eight and a half miles showing on my bike computer.  I was seized by a decimal obsession and emulated Mrs May’s Brexit tactic by going round in ever decreasing circles without getting anywhere until the 40 miles finally came up on the screen.  At this point I stopped.

I was just having a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when our neighbour Liz dropped back in to report that she had followed our advice and actually gone to the Health Centre to see the practice nurse.  She now has an appointment with a doctor.  We were mildly surprised but very delighted with this outcome as her joints are giving her no peace at the moment.

Having discussed pain over coffee in the morning, now we discussed death in the afternoon over tea.  You can see what fun old people have when they get together.  Actually both conversations were very cheerful and interesting, all things considered.

 

I am glad that I got out for a cycle ride today because when I look at the forecast tonight, it tells me that we will be back to windy weather tomorrow.

I did manage to catch one chaffinch in the right time and the right place over lunch, so it is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

For those interested, clicking on the map of the ride below will bring up further details.   It should have felt warm at 56 degrees but the wind was cold and I was happy to be well wrapped up.

garmin route 15 Feb 2019

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew and shows an 18th Century mill near Derby and the dam that was built to provide it with water.18th C mill

(I am in the market for new guest pictures)

I had a quiet morning today and was content to potter about indoors for the most part in spite of some fine weather.  When I did poke my head out into the garden, I had to look sharp to avoid being run into by butterflies.  There were a lot about again.

I shot pictures of them with my little Lumix and my Nikon and got reasonable results with both.  The big blue buddleia was still attracting a good number of butterflies and because the number of stems with flowers is getting smaller,  I often saw the butterflies pushing each other about just like the birds on the feeder.  I didn’t manage to catch them at it and had to settle for some fine posing.

We had a full house today.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

Small tortoiseshell.  The blue on its wingtips is fading.

peacock butterfly

A peacock still with good colour

white butterfly

There are still a lot of whites about

painted lady butterfly

One of several painted ladies

another painted lady butterfly

And because I like them so much, another painted lady

Perhaps because of the fading of the blooms on the big buddleia, the smaller red buddleia by the back fence was also doing a brisk business today.

peacock butterfly (2)

red admiral butterfly

small tortoiseshell butterfly on red buddleia

It provided better backgrounds for the shots and the zoom lens on the Nikon let me blur them to good effect.

After lunch I fully intended to go for a cycle ride but first of all the chance of watching the Tour of Britain cycle race going up a Lake District climb was too tempting and then when I did get more active, a really severe gust of wind persuaded me that some gardening might be more fun.

As part of the remodelling of the vegetable garden, I found out just how big and deep the roots of a rhubarb plant can be.  It needed a pickaxe to shift it.

While Mrs Tootlepedal cooked our tea, I thought that I ought to make some use of the good day and went for a short walk over three bridges.

As I walked over the first bridge (The Langholm Bridge), I could see two goosanders at the water’s edge below me.

two goosanders

I crossed the second bridge (The Sawmill Brig) and walked along the Lodge Walks seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Lodge Walks september

I then strolled over the Castleholm and came to the third bridge (The Duchess Bridge) ….

duchess bridge

…and crossed it and made my way home.

On my way I saw a lot of fungus again of many shapes and sizes…

castleholm fungus

…and some lichen, which needed a very close look to see the red tip.

lichen

Sheltered from the wind and with the sun occasionally out, it was a fine evening for a walk….

Castleholm copse

…with shades of green everywhere you looked.

view of castleholm

And the finale was this brilliant display of Russian vine on our neighbour Liz’s garage.

russian vine

In the evening Mike and Alison came round.  Alison and I put some useful practice into our French pieces and played an old friend to finish off an enjoyable session.

Mike and Alison are quite excited as their son with his wife and their two children have just touched down in Scotland on a visit from their home in New Zealand.

I didn’t have much time to look at birds today and when I did look, there weren’t many birds to watch so there is no flying bird of the day today, just one who had recently finished flying…

greenfinch

…who was joined by another who also had just finished flying.

blue tit and greenfinch

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