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Posts Tagged ‘broad beans’

Today’s guest picture comes from my eldest sister Susan, an inveterate traveller, who has just come back from Italy.  She saw this handsome church door in Ortesi in the Dolomites.

ortesi door

Like King Lear, I was going to do such things today but also like the King, I didn’t know what they were so in the end, I didn’t do them.  Instead, I took a leaf out of Brer Terrapin’s book and did a lot of lounging about and suffering.

The lounging was serious but the suffering was very slight and was greatly alleviated by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee bearing the traditional Friday treacle scones.

I had done some watering and weeding before he arrived and I did some more afterwards and as always looked at the flowers as I went along.

The first sweet peas are out…

sweet peas

…and ever more lilies appear each day.

lily

Mrs Tootlepedal planted two new roses this year and I saw that one was looking rather dry and droopy a day or two ago so I have watered it carefully and it was looking much more cheerful today.

rose Fru Dagmar Hastrup

The Queen of Denmark has responded to some water too.

Queen of Denmark

And the Common Riding rose is just sensational without any water at all.

rose excelsa

The camera simply can’t do its luxuriant growth justice at all.

While I was having coffee with Dropscone, the phone rang and a mystery voice asked if I was Tom.  I admitted to this and the voice said my wife was having trouble with her mobile phone and since I was the account  holder, he wanted to ask me a few security questions.   This was so obviously a scam that I put the phone down without saying any more.

A moment or two later, Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say it wasn’t a scam and she was having trouble with her phone and I was the account holder for it.  I checked for a reputable number for the phone company, rang it, got a really helpful human on the line with minimum delay, talked the problem through and solved it within minutes.   The shock of getting a sensible and prompt  corporate response was so great that I had to have a sit down to recover.

Then  I watched birds for a bit.

A greenfinch arrived to take advantage of the sunflower seeds.

greenfinch

Greenfinches are a lot bigger than siskins but don’t always get their own way.

siskin and greenfinch

On the ground below the feeder, a blackbird with an elegant grey feather was finding its own food.

blackbird with grey

I had lunch and thought of a walk or a bike ride but actually did some more lounging instead and had to suffer by sitting through much of a Tour de France stage and two simultaneously  never ending tennis matches from Wimbledon.

Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say that although her phone was working, now she was having trouble reading her emails on her tablet although she was properly connected to her brother’s internet router.  This was a puzzle.

I popped out from time to time to do more watering and weeding and dead heading too.

The melancholy thistle is looking more  cheerful every day…

melancholy thistle

..and looming over it, is the prettiest sunflower that I have ever seen.

tall sunflower

In the vegetable garden Mrs Tootlepedal has planted many small sunflowers and they are blooming freely with a great heap of honeysuckle on the fence behind them.

sunflowers and honeysuckle

Also in the veg garden, the French marigolds are thriving and time will tell whether they have helped to keep the carrot root flies of the carrots.  I thinned out a test carrot the other day and it looked straight, clean and promising…

french marigold

…but it was rather small still.

A new potentilla has come out.

new potentilla

In the course of time, I dug up another potato, picked lettuce, peas, beans and gooseberries and a large turnip for my evening meal.

broad beans

There are many more beanfeasts in store

The turnip was so large that I cut it in two and gave half to Mike and Alison when they came round in the evening for their customary Friday night visit.  Alison and I enjoyed some good playing of sonatas by old English masters while Mike, in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal to talk to, watched the tennis.

I had further talk with Mrs Tootlepedal on the matter of her internet connection and suggested that although she was connected to the router, maybe the router was not connected to the internet.  This turned out to be the case and the problem was solved by the time honoured method of turning the router off and then on again.  I wish all problems were as simply solved as Mrs Tootlepedal’s technical glitches were today.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture shows the west face of Hereford Cathedral.  My brother likes imposing church buildings.

Hereford cathedral West face

Having had their little bit of fun yesterday, the weather gods were in a cheerier mood today and helped me out.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window when she thought that she saw a most unusual bird visiting the fatballs.  A second look showed that it didn’t have feathers but fur.

mouse

I went out to see of I could get a close up but it scurried off so I looked for new flowers instead.  I found a relatively new purchase and an old friend.

a ranunculus and astrantia

A lone high class buttercup and the first of many astrantias

There were many pleasures to be seen but the current star of the show is this rhododendron which is at its peak.

rhododendron

It sits in a colourful corner.

rhodedendrons

I had to sit for a couple of hours in the Welcome to Langholm office this morning, receiving tourists at the exact rate of one per hour.  I wasn’t bored though as I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Database and as it was raining outside for quite a bit of the time, I felt very content.

When I got home, the rain had relented and I was able to walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

It was genuinely warm and for the first time this year, there was no nip in the air at all, just a balmy breeze.  The plants are enjoying themselves.

I took a picture of a not very impressive flower…

first rose of summer

…but it is a significant arrival as it the first rose of summer.

I took another picture of that colourful corner.

rhododendrons

I often take close ups of flowers but there are some nice clusters of colour to be enjoyed too.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

Clematis, iris and welsh poppy

After lunch, the weather was warm and the rain had gone away so we hung the washing out and then  I went off for a short pedal down to Canonbie and back.

I had hardly got started before I had to stop when I saw an old friend at Pool Corner.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

There were plenty of wild flowers to distract me as I pedalled along…

wild flowers

…and many small butterflies flitting about too but none of them would stay still long enough for me to get my camera out so I stopped trying to catch one of them and stuck to the flowers.

crosswort and clover

The verges are rich in cow parsley at the  moment…

cow parsley

…and some of the fields are full of buttercups…

buttercups

…so my trip was very easy on the eye.

It was pleasantly warm and I was able to get my vitamin D dose through my knees. This was a treat for me but maybe a bit of a shock for any passers by.  Cycling is so much easier when it is warm and even the wind doesn’t seem to bother you so much.  It was quite breezy out in the country and I was able to cycle uphill back home from the bottom of Canonbie much faster than I had cycled down there into the wind.

I stopped to look at the church at Canonbie….

Canonbie Church

…and then I stopped again while I was in the village to visit a friend from our choir who has recently had a bad fall and is currently laid up with a broken leg.  She was remarkably cheery under the circumstances and even seeing me in my cycling shorts couldn’t dent her good humour.

There were one or two dark clouds in the offing so I didn’t dawdle on the way back from Canonbie and I got home in time for another walk round the garden…

aquilegia

The aquilegia of the day

the first bean of the year

The first bean flower of the year

…while Mrs Tootlepedal got the washing in and then with perfect timing it started to rain just as we sat down for a cup of tea.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and when he showed marked improvement in playing quietly in a sustained manner, I accused him of practising at home, an accusation which he didn’t deny.  He is an excellent pupil.

We played all four movements of a trio sonata for treble recorder and flute by Loeillet with only one hiccup.  While we played, we were accompanied by my computer on the harpsichord, one of the wonders of technology for which I am very grateful.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike and had another enjoyable musical time.

Before I went home, I popped into the Archive Centre to print out some more sheets for the eager data miners who are happily piling up work for me.  Sandy, who enters data too,  is on holiday in Greece so I will have to pull my socks up when it comes to entering the data in the database and try to do his share as well as mine.

The non flying bird of the day is Mr Grumpy who quietly sat by the water and let me get quite close.

heron

 

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Today’s guest picture is a shot of camel racing.  My daughter Annie sent it, having come across it, as one does, at a country fair in a south London park.  The things that you see in a big city!

camel racing

Like yesterday, I spent quite a lot of time sitting down again today but unlike yesterday, most of it was spent sitting on a bike saddle.

In total I spent 4 hours 40 minutes pedalling and when I checked the results of today’s Tour de France stage, I saw the the winner there had spent 4 hours 56 minutes in the saddle.  The difference was that I had cycled 60 miles in the time and he had managed 140.  These men are heroes.

My sixty miles was spilt in to two rides with a pleasing mathematical relationship.  In the morning I did 40 miles down a flat main road and back at just under 17 mph and in the afternoon, I did half that distance over hilly back roads with Mrs Tootlepedal at more or less exactly half the speed.

I had a banana on a bench at half distance in the morning ride and a delightful cream tea in Waterbeck Village Hall at half distance in the afternoon ride.

The sun shone all the time, the temperature was hot but bearable and the wind was light.  Who, as the song says, could ask for anything more?

My morning ride was enhanced by meeting a cycle race going the other way down the Brampton road as I cycled home.  I put my nose down and pedalled harder as the speedy cyclists flashed by me.

There was less than an hour between the morning and afternoon rides and I just had time to admire a glowing bunch of Phlox in the garden…

phlox

…before setting off to Waterbeck.  We passed lots of local cyclists pedalling back towards Langholm as we went along, including Sandy who was on a short ride and declined our invitation to join us on the cream tea trail.

The hall at Waterbeck was packed when we got there.  The cream teas raise money for the local church and whether for that reason or the excellence of the scones, they had attracted a very good turnout. We sat next to a lady who told us that they will be doing cream teas in Middlebie Village Hall in August so I can see another trip coming on.   Mrs Tootlepedal likes nothing better than a ride with a cream tea in the middle of it.

When we got back, I found time between watching bits of the final round of the Open Golf to mow the middle lawn and take some pictures in the garden.  Colours were looking strong in the sunshine.

cosmos, poppy and marigold

fuschsia

clematis

Even the normally rather dull lime green nicotiana was singing.

nicotiana

The broad beans are flourishing….

broad beans

…but rather to Mrs Tootlepedal’s annoyance, although she planted several rows at different times, they all seem to be beaning simultaneously.  We had beans for tea yesterday, we had beans for tea today and, more than likely, we will have beans for tea tomorrow.

I tested the blackcurrant jelly that I made yesterday and it seems to have set quite well which is a relief.  The possibility of bramble jelly is now looming up.

brambles

While I was mowing the lawn, I heard the sound of the Town Band marching along Henry Street, so I picked up Pocketcam and nipped down to take a picture.

Town Band

They just had enough room to squeeze between the parked cars.

Town Band

Sound and fury

They were leading a procession of masons to a service in the church.  The irreverent refer to this as the ‘Pinkie Parade’.

Masons

A pinkie is your little finger. You have to have strong group loyalty to march down the road linked like this.

After the masons had passed by, a couple walked across the road to greet me.  They were the Elliots, Langholm exiles now living in South Africa and for some curious reason, regular readers of this blog.  Pocketcam obligingly took a record of our meeting through the good agency of Charlotte, one of our neighbours.

Elliots

I am hoping to persuade Tom to send me more guest pictures from South Africa when they go home.  It was very nice to meet these far flung readers and I was much touched by the fact that they enjoy this link with their old home town.

Back in the garden, I tracked down one of the bees that make such a noise among the privet blooms…

bee on privet

…and took a picture of a variegated phlox just to enjoy the leaves before it blooms.

phlox

Mrs Tootlepedal was still full of energy after her twenty mile bike ride and suggested a trip to the moor to look for owls and hen harriers.  I was a little tired for some reason but fell in with her scheme and we drove up to see what we could see.

We did see both a harrier and several owls with our binoculars but they were too far away for the camera so just to prove that I was there, I took pictures of an impressive cloud….

cloud

…and the view down Little Tarras valley.

Tarras

By eight o’clock, the light had faded and my stomach was muttering about the need for food so we left two other enthusiasts still bird watching and went home.

Owing to the distance, I couldn’t catch a flying owl of the day so I am signing off with a sitting bird of the day today.  If you look very carefully you can just see a hen harrier on the skyline.

hen harrier

 

 

 

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No guest picture today I am afraid as no one has sent me one.  Instead, here is an eye popping colour combination of peony and azalea.

azalea and peony

The weather turned out to be a lot better than the forecast and we had a fine sunny day with warm temperatures and a gentle wind.  It would have been ideal for cycling if I could have overcome my feeling that it was going to rain soon and actually gone out pedalling.  As it was. I managed to find little things to do all day which kept me off the bike.

I had a bit of business to catch up on after breakfast and then the joys of mowing grass and turning compost took over.  These day, each of these harmless activities is accompanied by a good deal of sitting down and recovering afterwards which I enjoy almost as much as the activity.  By the afternoon, I had got the message that my body simply wasn’t interested in cycling today so I gave up pretending that I was just about to go out and spent any spare time wandering about the garden with camera in hand.

It was insect day.  This little fellow got so excited by the Icelandic poppy that it fell over and lay on its back waggling its legs in the air.  Not something that you often see.

icelandic poppy

The bees where everywhere during the day.

iris and bees

On the Irises

dicentras and bees

On the Dicentras of course

beans and bees

But also on the broad bean flowers

geranium

And getting tucked into the Geranium macrorrhizum

azalea and bees

And, unusually, there was even one on an Azalea

I thought that the broad bean flowers were so pretty that they deserved a picture to themselves.

broad beans

Plus an appearance of Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden string which I didn’t notice when I was taking the shot.

A pale geranium was one of the few bee free flowers of the day.

geranium

It was a very nice day to be pottering about the garden and Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of it by being active in potting and planting and tidying and all those other things she has to do to keep the garden looking good.

The best time to look at a mown lawn is in the evening.

front lawn

I gave the middle lawn a little boost and I will give this one some help too as it is looking rather paler than it should be.  Another few warm days will help as well.

My flute pupil Luke came in the evening and gladdened my heart by playing very well as we got to grips with a well known bourée by Handel.

After tea, we had a real treat. We had had a phone call earlier on the day from a lady Sandy and I had met while out on a walk at the Hollows recently.  I must have mentioned  in passing while talking to her that Mrs Tootlepedal has a simple metal detector which she uses in our garden for fun.  She told us that a friend of her son had dropped his wedding ring while helping with the lambing on their farm and they wondered if Mrs Tootlepedal could come and run the detector over the floor of the lambing shed to see if the ring was there.

Mrs Tootlepedal agreed with alacrity and I was very keen to come to as Craig had offered to let me look over his working water mill while Mrs Tootlepedal searched for gold.

When we got there, Mrs Tootlepedal set to work….

Looking for a needle in a haystack

Looking for the ring in the deep straw of the lambing shed.  It was rather like looking for a needle in a haystack

…while I went down to the mill.

Hollows Mill

Hollows Mill on the banks of the Esk

The mill is used for cleaning and grading grain rather than milling flour.  Unfortunately for me the water wheel is undershot and inside the building and as a result, it is very hard to get a good picture of the wheel at work.  I took some pictures of the wheel at rest.

Hollows Mill

Hollows Mill

The present wheel is twenty years old and should last for another twenty years at least.  There is a grand collection of gears, belts and miscellaneous machinery to look at in the mill.

Hollows Mill

Outside you can see the sluice that controls the flow into the wheelhouse, a grand commemorative plaque for the restored wheel and caul and yet another belt driven device.

Hollows Mill

The mill is set in a lovely spot…

Esk at Hollows Mill

Looking up river to the caul for the mill stream

Esk at Hollows Mill

Looking down river to Hollows Bridge

I went back up to the lambing shed to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was getting on.  I wasn’t the only interested spectator.

swallows

Swallows kept flying into the shed to see what was going on.

Sadly, although Mrs Tootlepedal’s machine gave some hopeful buzzes, none of them turned out to be a lost wedding ring.

Craig is very proud of the history of the mill where his family have been tenants since the nineteenth century but also has an eye to the future and has installed some solar PV cells on the roof of one of his large sheds and is working on adding some modern water powered machinery to his arsenal as well.

We had a very interesting time talking to him and will hope to visit again.

The non flying flower of the day is an anemone, hand painted by nature.

anemone

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows the cover of the schedule for the Canonbie Flower Show of 2013, perhaps the most eagerly awaited horticultural event of the year so far.

Canonbie Show

I had to get up early as Sandy was coming to drive me down to put our photographs up at Canonbie Hall.  One of our most competitive local photographers had not entered the show this year, due to a disagreement with the organisers over whether it was allowable to print photographs with virtual frames.  This meant that there was plenty of space to display the photos and we were soon finished and on our way home again.

The weather was very gloomy and it seemed unlikely that there would be much to see outside the hall on the playing field in the afternoon so we agreed to return quite late to see how we had done.

This gave me plenty of time to stare out of the window at the usual competitive behaviour….

bird feeder arguments

…and admire the cut sweet peas that Mrs Tootlepedal had brought in….

sweet peas

She tells me that the sweet peas season is almost over.

…and to reflect that perhaps we should have put some of our home produce into the show along with the photos.

Home produce

In truth, the people who enter vegetables in these sorts of shows are wizards of growing and it is no surprise to see carrots two feet long and onions the size of pudding bowls.  Our broad and runner beans might have been competitive.

There wasn’t much chance of walking round the garden….

chaffinch in rain

…so I spent some time putting two editions of the newspaper index into the database and doing some constructive resting.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to pick up Sandy and we drove down to Canonbie to see how we had fared.  In terms of winning trophies, we were trounced and our friend Linda won all three that were going.  Still we both managed to come up with some tickets and I got two firsts and five seconds from my fifteen entries which was a fair return.  As always, the judging is idiosyncratic and the picture that I thought was my best (it looked really crisp in print)….

Maryport

Maryport Harbour

…didn’t get a prize at all and this one….

racing Canonbie entry

…got a first in quite a large class in spite of having poor contrast between the action and the background.  (It looks better on the computer than in print.)

My raspberry jam deserved nothing and got nothing in a keenly contested class.

Jam corner

Jam corner

If I am going to enter these classes, I must take things more seriously.  I like making jam so I think that I might get hold of some good quality fruit next year and have a real go at the jam classes as well as the photos.  I could do with thinking a bit more carefully about my photo entries too.  It’s no good putting in entries that amuse yourself when you know that the judge won’t like them.

There were plenty of great vegetables and stunning flowers to look at.

dahlias

The work that goes into producing these blooms to this standard on a specific day regardless of the weather is mind boggling.

There was plenty of chat….

Sandy and Linda

Sandy with prize winner Linda

…a nice cup of tea with cakes and then a long wait while many trophies were given out and the raffle was drawn before it was time to take the pictures down and go home.

By the time we got home, the rain had stopped and Mrs Tootlepedal went out to dig up two plants from a bunch of a traditional/heritage main crop potatoes she has grown.  The first dig was very disappointing but the second  produced a reasonable amount.

Yetholm Gypsy

Yetholm Gypsy, a striking purple skinned variety.

I had that one with my mince for tea and it was very tasty.

I was able to catch a couple of perching sparrows before it got too dark.

sparrows

I also took a picture of the first of some white flowers which are appearing on a couple of hosta plants just as the pink ones on the other plants have gone over.

White hosta

The garden has taken a bit of a battering from some very heavy showers over the last few days so we are hoping for a spell of better weather to let it recover a bit.

As a footnote, I took a couple of pictures yesterday of two plants which are doing well in spite of the weather and then I forgot to put them in the post so here they are a day late.

rampaging runner beans

Rampaging runner beans, well over head height.

clematis

A fairly indestructible clematis.

I just managed to catch a flying bird in all the gloom.

chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s picture from my sister Mary shows a sea of  blossom in Richmond park

Richmond Park and Isabella Plantation May 2012

Our blossom is in no way so forward but today was very sunny and we are promised a big rise in temperature over the next few days so we live in hope.

After breakfast, Sandy rang up to say that the nuthatches were still at the nest which is good news for us photographers. I couldn’t got to join him because Mrs Tootlepedal was going to church and I was going to commune  with nature through the medium of the slow bike which I took out for an eight and half mile run.   My aim was to average 10 miles an hour and I managed 10.1 so I was pleased with my pace judgement if nothing else.  It was a wonderful day for bicyling but still with a chilly north easterly wind so there was no chance to get the shorts into play.

I was surprised and delighted to see a deer by the side of the road at Bessie Bell’s.  It lingered for quite a while before moving off but by the time I  had stopped and got the little camera out, it was just a speck as it loped off down the road in front of me.

deer on road

The sharp eyed will be able to see it on the left side of the road in the sunshine.

It had scampered across a field and disappeared into the woods by the time I had got to the bottom of the hill.  I stopped near Wauchope Schoolhouse to take a picture of the confluence of two of the little burns that go to make up the Wauchope Water.

burns

All this stopping to take pictures cost me a cycling glove because I lost one somewhere along the way and although I retraced my steps and kept a good eye out on the way home, I couldn’t find it.  Still with all the forecast good weather to come, I probably won’t need it in the near future.  (That’s tempting fortune.)

There was just time for a slice of toast and a cup of coffee before Susan came round to give me a lift to Brampton where we were going to have a final practice before our concert in the afternoon.  The practice went well and we drove on to Lanercost Priory, a most picturesque old building of which I would have taken many outstanding pictures if I had remembered to take my camera with me.  I later found it in the pocket of the trousers out of which I had changed into my recorder playing trousers. C’est la vie.

The concert, which was in memory of the husband of one of our group, was very well attended.  It was given by a choir singing a fine selection of madrigals and songs by the likes of Dowland and Morley and in between the singing, we had two short sections to play our tunes.  After a slightly rocky start which was caused by having to start playing without a proper warm up, we settled down and played quite well.   The whole concert only lasted an hour and a quarter, which must be a world record for a choir concert, and Mrs Tootlepedal, who had come down to listen, voted it a great success.

She kindly gave me a lift home and as soon as we got there, started back on the gardening.

Hoeing

Her broad beans, which have been under a plastic cloche in the cold weather, are looking very healthy.

broad beans

She planted out the parsley today.  The bed is  netted against the inroads of the hundreds of birds which some idiot has encouraged to frequent the garden.

parsley

The redpoll has become a regular and it made a pleasing contrast of colour beside a siskin on the niger seed feeder.

redpoll and siskin

They are very similar in shape and size.

The young redpoll put in an appearance.

redpolls

It was not very happy though.

The day had clouded over by this time but it was much warmer than it had been during the sunny morning so after taking pictures of two of the many pond skaters on the pond…

skater

Like the swallows, they are much more colourful than they appear at first sight.

skater

Here is one in reflective mood.

 

…I took the camera for a short stroll.  I had a couple of pictures to take to illustrate the ‘here and now’ for the Archive Talk and I combined that with a walk along the dam…

Damside

The residents of Henry Street improving the amenity.

…and a  look across the Buccleuch Park.

Buccleuch Park

The honeysuckle is just coming out in our hedge along the road.

Honeysuckle

As I got to our front gate, I noticed an evil looking cat loitering near the dam with intent.  I shooed it away and went to look for the ducklings which were certainly its target.  My heart sank when I saw a lone duck on the water.

duck

But I need not have worried because the seven ducklings were hugging the wall out of sight.

ducklings

I couldn’t resist this shot.

duckling with aubretia

Sandy rang up to say that he was going to visit the nuthatches with a tripod for his camera but once again I couldn’t join him, this time because Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking my tea.  I will have to see if they are still there tomorrow.

Although I had cycled less than 10 miles and played recorder for less than fifteen minutes, it has seemed like a busy day.  I never found time to take a good chaffinch picture so I will have to make do with a rather fuzzy chaffinch of the day.

chaffinch

 

 

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