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Posts Tagged ‘Buccleuch Park’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was taking some refreshment in Russell Square when she noticed that she was being watched.

Susan's owl

We had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine and light winds, ideal for pottering about the garden so this is what I did.  I thought of going for a bike ride from time to time as it was also a perfect day for cycling but by the time that I had pottered about the garden all morning and a bit of the afternoon too, the heat of the day had rendered me too melted to pull myself together enough to go cycling.

Through the day, flowers caught the eye, both singly…

four bright flowers

…and in clumps…

four bright clumps

…and they caught the eyes of insects too and the garden was loud with buzzing.

bee and hoverfly on poppy

In the face of hot competition, this was my favourite single flower of the day…

calendula

…though for a knock ’em dead effect, it was hard to ignore the phlox…

phlox phlurry

…which is phlourishing greatly.

another phlox phlurry

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I was picking beans and digging potatoes in the morning.

We had a good selection today:

A red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…a peacock…

peacock butterfly

…a painted lady…

painted lady butterfly

…and a small tortoiseshell…

small tortoisesgell butterfly

…and lots of plainer butterflies too.

white butterfly

There were several of each variety and it was hard to miss the butterflies as they flew about the garden.

It was pretty warm in the sun so I had to go inside from time to time just to cool down.  Not being able to stand the heat outside at one point, I went into the kitchen and made some soup for lunch using potatoes, beans and an onion from the garden.

Later, I spent some time inside watching the birds and was pleased to see a few goldfinches about.

goldfinch sparrow siskin

The number of siskins has decreased lately so they must be moving on but the goldfinches still had to wait for a free perch…

goldfinch perching

…. because there are a great number of sparrows about and they are very boisterous…

sparring sparrows

…very boisterous indeed.

squabbling sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal had been at a series of meetings in the morning but she buckled down to some serious gardening in the afternoon and only paused when these three wise men appeared at our gate.

three old men

Gavin, Mike and Charlie had been out on the hills checking on one of the Langholm Walks routes and replacing marker discs on the guideposts where necessary.  Their voluntary work is valuable as the walks bring many visitors into the town.

I mowed the front lawn and then I did some compost sieving.

As I found that I had emptied Bin D when I had finished, I shifted the compost that hadn’t gone through the sieve and which had been resting in Bin C back into Bin D and then, after a short sit down, I shifted the contents of Bin B into Bin C.

This is exciting work but I needed another sit down after it so I took a camera in hand and sat on a chair beside the front lawn.  I was greatly entertained as I rested by the persistent demands of a young blackbird to be fed by its long suffering parent.  One worm was never enough.

blackbird feeding young

Then I went in and made incessant demands of my own until Mrs Tootlepedal made our evening meal.

I haven’t done much walking lately, as I am trying not to make my feet worse but it was such a lovely evening after tea, that it seemed a crime not to go for a short walk, so I went.

A reflection in the dam caught my attention as I crossed the bridge when I left the house.

dam reflection

The park and the river beside it were full of children swimming in the river and cycling round the park so in Langholm at least, the idea that all children these days spend their time sitting inside staring at their screens is obviously not true.

The park was looking at its best.

 

Buccleuch Park

Several of the poplar trees along the river bank had to be cut down in recent years but the ones that remain look good on a day like today.

Poplars in Buccleuch Park

I walked nervously past two monsters…

two monsters Buccleuch Park

…and through the wood until I got to the Murtholm.

murtholm

It was such a lovely warm night that I was tempted to walk along the river bank to Skippers Bridge and back on the far side of the river but good sense prevailed and I turned back and walked home along the track on the top of the bank above the river.

easton's walk

This is the last post for some time in which birds on the feeder will appear, as the warm wet weather and the tendency of siskins to spill seeds when they eat has made the feeder area too smelly for comfort and I am pausing the feeding for a while.  There is plenty of other food for the birds about.

So the flying bird of the day today is a farewell sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who was alarmed to see some bears while he was out on a walk  in the town.  He calmed down when he noticed that there was a stout fence between them and him.

bears townfoot

It was a very unreliable day today as far as both the weather and the weather forecast went.  The forecast changed every time that I looked at it and the weather changed even more frequently.  At one moment the sun shone brightly and at the next it was raining or even sleeting.  There was one consistent factor however, a strong and cruel wind that cut like a knife.

As a result, I gave up any thoughts of cycling and watched the birds for a bit.  There are still plenty of them to watch at the moment, with twenty or thirty chaffinches and goldfinches on the plum tree and at the feeder….

invading chaffinches

…and siskins hanging about too.

siskin acrobat

There finally came a moment after coffee when the weather seemed to be set fair for long enough to let me out for a short walk, so I chanced my arm and went for a stroll round Easton’s and Gaskell’s Walks.

There was blossom in the park…

blossom in park

..and plenty of signs of wild garlic growing on the bank beside the river as I went along Easton’s.

wild garlic shoots

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like this walk much as she thinks that the trees don’t look quite well grounded enough…

bare roots

…and she may well be right as there are always little landslips happening along the path and many of the trees are leaning in a threatening manner, but I got along safely today.

As I turned back up the hill at the end of the riverside track, I saw a rich bank of moss…

mossy bank

…and the promise of a good show of bluebells to come later on in the spring.

bluebell shoots

When I got up to the Stubholm there were more signs of spring…

hawthorn buds

…and as long as I could keep out of the wind, it was a very pleasant day for a walk.

stubholm path

I didn’t dawdle though as I went along Gaskell’s because I wouldn’t have enjoyed being out in a heavy rain shower so I kept my camera in my pocket and stretched my legs until I was well on the way home.  Then I stopped to appreciate a tree at Wauchope Kirkyard…

graveyard tree

…and an ash twig on the road down to Pool Corner…

ash twig…and some alder catkins beside the caul.

alder catkins pool corner

The daffodils along the road sides are just beginning to come out, although it will be a week or two at least before they are out in full force.

daffodils moodla point

I got back home to find Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden, making metaphorical hay while the sun shone..  I looked around and was happy to see the first chionodoxa of the year.

chionodoxa

We went in for lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her monthly Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I settled down to watch Scotland getting beaten by Wales in the Six Nations rugby tournament.  I was so certain that we were going to get beaten that I ended up  mildly pleased when we give the Welsh a good fright before going down.  Even a blatant but unpenalised forward pass in the run up to the first Welsh try failed to significantly dent my equilibrium.

After Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her meeting, another spell of sunny weather tempted me out for a second short walk, this time over three bridges.

Once again, the sunny weather made for a cheerful scene but the  sharp eyed…

Castle Hill and gritter

…will notice a bright yellow gritting vehicle parked on the Kilngreen.  The driver told me that he had been out gritting the country roads to the west and north of the town as frost and snow to quite low levels are expected tomorrow.

Mr Grumpy was out enjoying the evening sunshine while he could and as I passed…

heron one leg

…he raised a languid foot in greeting.

heron two legs

On the Castleholm, I stopped for a chat with a camera club member, retired postman Stan, and by the time that we had finished talking, the sun was dropping behind the hills. It was getting quite chilly so once again, I put more effort into walking than snapping and only stopped to salute some willows at the Jubilee Bridge…

willow

…before hurrying along to get to home and some welcome warmth.

It started to rain again not long after I had got in.

Quite apart form the forecast of sleet or snow for tomorrow, it looks as though the unsettled weather is going to continue for at least a week so my cycling mileage for the month (zero miles so far) is likely to be very poor.  I don’t much mind cold conditions and I can cope with wind if it is dry and I can live with some rain if it is not too windy but I have passed the age when cycling in cold, wind and rain at the same time has any appeal at all.  I will try to sneak in as many walks as I can between showers.

The flying bid of the day is one of the large flock of chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is the last from my sister Mary’s visit to Regents Park.  It has been good to have such sunny pictures while we have been rather gloomy up here.

Regents park 15.03.17 007

Being Sunday, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir after breakfast and I set about making a lamb stew for the slow cooker.  I ideally like to go for a pedal on a Sunday if I can because the main roads are free from heavy goods vehicles and it gives me a chance to try different routes.  However I wasn’t sad to be cooking instead of cycling today as it was raining steadily again outside.

soggy chaffinch

I interspersed the cooking with staring and was pleased to see a brambling…

brambling

…although it only paid the feeder one visit before flying off again.

Everything looked rather subdued in the rain…

dunnock

…except some of the chaffinches who were in fine flying form, whether in the form of a direct approach…

flying chaffinches

…or creeping up from behind.

flying chaffinch

Almost exactly at midday, the sun came out much to my surprise so I had a walk round the garden. Although everything was still wet, the sun made the heart sing.

daffodils

We are entering peak daffodil period

chionodoxa and hyacinth

Chionodoxa and grape hyacinth

The one thing you learn about flowers when you have a camera is that the closer you look, the hairier everything is.

pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

After another quick glance at the birds…

singing chaffinch

Obviously the chaffinches have a choir practice on a Sunday too

chaffinch

This one was late

…I went for a stroll down to the river.  In the sunshine, it was just like spring outside although the river was pretty full after several days of gentle rain.

It might have been fine weather for ducks, as they say, but one duck was trying to block the day out completely.

duck

This looked liked a better plan that swimming in the river.

Langholm Parish Church

I walked over the bridge that you can see in the picture above and went past the front door of the church.  It is quite impressive…

Langholm Parish Church

…but the building constitutes a heavy responsibility for its congregation in terms of upkeep.

I went past the church and on into the park where I couldn’t resist an admiring look at the wall beside the river….

Park wall

…which is a flourishing garden in its own right.

Then I walked over the Park Brig,….

Park Brig

…a modern replacement for what was originally a wooden bridge, and made my way home.

In spite of the sunshine, it still looked as though it might rain at any minute so I didn’t dilly-dally but I found a moment to take a photo of the fine flowering currant in our neighbour’s garden…

Currant

..and some new leaves on our elder as I went past.

elder

Mrs Tootlepedal was worried that the orange trumpets on her Jetfire daffodils were rather pale this season but they have brightened up considerably in the last couple of days…

jetfire daffoidils

…and she is quite pleased with them now.

After lunch, we got prepared and set off for our choir practice in Carlisle.  We had our substitute conductor again and she put us through our paces while we made progress on a new song.  It is a setting of a poem by Yeats and it needs very good diction and sensitive singing to bring out the best of it so since neither of these are things that we excel at, we will have to work hard to make it succeed.  Good fun.

For the second week running, the humorous weather gods provided me with a fine sunset just to point out the fine cycling weather that I had been missing while we were singing. How I laughed.

The flying bird of the day is a sunshine chaffinch.

chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an ominous haze behind the financial district on a sunny day on the Thames in London.   Perhaps it is an ill omen for 2017.  My sister Mary took the picture.

The murk can be seen in the background

A bright but chilly day ushered in the new year here and encouraged by the good weather, I took up an invitation from Mike Tinker to join his party for the now traditional New Year ‘Whisky Run’ which Mike has organised with his wife and Charlie Graham for many years.

I should say straight away that Mike’s party, consisting of Mike, Mike’s daughter Liz and his grandson William along with Charlie, was of the strictly walking variety while others did the running.

The object of the event is to go round the eight mile road and track course starting at such a time and going at such a speed as to get you to the Market Place exactly as the clock strikes eleven.

We started early in the day!

The sun was just rising as the party set out….

Mike, Charlie, Liz and William

…but it was still behind the hill as we went along the road above the River Esk.

Gates of Eden

With a north wind in our face, it was decidedly chilly and it wasn’t until we had crossed the river and climbed up the road leading towards the gap in the hills which you can see in the picture above, that we could look back and see the sun at last.

Esk Valley

It was a glorious day for walking…

Mike and Charlie walking

Mike’s daughter and grandson had wandered off ahead of us by this time.

…and the surrounding hills were covered in gold.

Bauchle and Golf hill

Our way back took us through woods and as we got nearer to the town, groups of brightly clad runners began to pass us.

Runners on Longfauld

We reached the Lodge Walks in good time….

Lodge walks new year's day

…and actually arrived at the Market Place ten minutes early.   The walk, exactly eight miles long, had taken us two hours and thirty five minutes.    As this was the longest walk that I had undertaken for many years, I was grateful both to my new knee which had made it possible and to the company of Mike and Charlie which had made it most enjoyable.

Waiting in the Market Place was Matilda and her father who had walked up from the house to meet me.  We stayed for a while to listen to the Langholm Town Band which arrived soon afterwards…

Langholm Town Band

…and Matilda enjoyed their performance a lot, concentrating hard on clapping in rhythm.

Matilda listening to the Langholm Town Band

This is just a glimpse of what Matilda was listening to.

We walked home, following the band for part of the way, and as we went up Lizzie’s Entry, we were reminded of how low the sun is in the sky at this time of year even when it is near the middle of the day..

Al, me and Matilda

When we got home, there was time to look at the birds.

Jackdaw

A Jackdaw looked back at me

Jackdaw

The fat balls are to a jackdaw’s taste if I leave the cage off.

The small birds were enjoying the sunshine of the bright new year.

goldfinch

robin

After the older members of the household had had a cup of coffee, her father and I took Matilda to the park to get the best out of the fine  day.  She enjoyed herself a lot….

Matilda in the park

…as did her father.

Matilda in the park

We didn’t stay too long though as Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked us a delicious lunch of roast chicken.

There was just a brief chance to look at birds again before the meal was served.

goldfinches and chaffinch

When the jackdaws left, the small birds piled in…

robin

…and with the cage back on, the fat ball feeder was safe for the robin.

By the afternoon we had all slowed down a bit so we settled in to watch Frozen.  I hadn’t seen this before but it is a favourite of Matilda and her parents and they all joined in the songs with gusto.  Matilda was quite cross that I couldn’t sing them too.

There was more good food in the evening and then Matilda enjoyed dancing along to the Vienna Philharmonic new year’s day concert under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel in the Musikverein.  Her polka was most energetic and her waltzing was particularly expressive.  We all joined in.

We shall miss Matilda, Al and Clare when they go back to Edinburgh tomorrow.  They have given us a very cheerful New Year.

The flying bird of the day is not this hopeful chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…but this stylish high flyer.

flying matilda

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Today’s guest picture, sent by my younger son from Edinburgh, shows the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood.  In 9 months we will know whether it is to house the governing body of a newly independent nation or to remain a provincial outpost of the London banking system as at present.

parliament

It was raining when we went to bed last night and it was raining when we got up this morning.

I went out to see where all the rain had gone.  Some had gone into the Wauchope.

Kirk Brig, Wauchope

It was just squeezing under the Kirk bridge.

Quite a lot had gone onto the Esk which was why the Wauchope was having trouble getting under the bridge.

Esk in spate

The Esk was having quite enough difficulty squeezing under the town bridge…

The esk at the town bridge

…and the fence posts on the Castleholm which had been a resting place for gulls a day or two ago…

Gulls along the Esk

…looked very different today.

Castleholm fence posts

I went home to have a cup of coffee and a scone or two with Dropscone and was rung up by Bruce who told me that there had been a landslip on the main road to the south of the town.  After our coffee, Dropscone kindly offered to drive to the site of this literal catastrophe.  Although it had figured on a national radio station traffic report an hour earlier, it was less than sensational by the time that we got there.

Landslip on A7

A couple of good men with a digger and a truck had cleared the rubble off the road and only the water remained.  The slip had not been very big in the first place….

Landslip on A7

…and cars were able to pass it with disappointing ease (for me at any rate).

A7 landslip

I walked back towards the town, stopping at Skippers Bridge to admire the sticking power of the old distillery.

Distillery

They have even routed a stream under the road and through the building.

The Esk was rushing through all three arches of Skippers Bridge which is a rare sight.  I hoped to be able to get a good shot of this but getting down the bank to get clear of the trees was just too risky.

Skippers with three arches full

I had to settle for a clear shot of a little stream pouring down the bank onto the road beside the bridge.

Cascade at Skippers

This won’t help the road which is already in a very bad state of repair.

I crossed back over the bridge and splashed my way home along the track past the Murtholm, enjoying the gate of the day on my way.

Murtholm gate

I only had Pocketcam with me but I was sorry that I hadn’t taken a long lens when I saw this busy puddle/pond in one of the Murtholm fields.

Herons etc

I think that I can count at least three herons and possibly a pair of goosanders too.

The trail back through the woods along the riverside path was enlivened by many little streams cascading down the bank to my left.

streams from Stubholm Bank

The path had stood up well to the amount of water passing over and under it.

As I was going along through the Beechy Plains, an unfortunate incident occurred.  I heard some barking behind me and was surprised to find myself bitten  on the back of the thigh by a yappy little terrier.  A good shouting  from me did nothing to put it off and it had another go when I turned to walk on, this time just catching my welly rather than my leg.  Resisting the temptation to land it a good kick in the particulars, I waited until its ineffectual owner appeared crying, “Come here Fido, (or some such doggy name),” a command which it found all too easy to disobey.

I stood my ground until finally he caught the little pest.

“Your dog’s bitten me, ” I said indignantly.

“That’s most unusual,” he replied, an answer that was both inadequate and probably untrue as well.

As I had a pair of waterproof trousers on over a pair of ordinary trousers over a stout pair of long Johns, I expected to have suffered no great hurt and I left him trying to get his other, less aggressive but equally disobedient terrier to come to heel and continued my walk.

The river had risen enough to get onto the park when I got there.

Park

I was intending to take a turn along the Esk and see what the state of play was on the Kilngreen but the back of my leg was a feeling a bit sore where the horrid hound had sunk its tiny teeth so I returned home and got Mrs Tootlepedal to check on the damage.  Amazingly, although there were no tears in any layers of the trousers, there was a bit of collateral damage on my leg.  (Warning:  For those of a squeamish nature, scroll quickly past the next picture.)

dog  bite

Picture courtesy of MRST Photo Associates.

This was annoying as it meant that I had to go to the walk in (hobble in?) afternoon clinic at the health centre to get it checked out. It got a clean bill of health and a neat dressing but a check on the records led to me having to have a tetanus injection as I hadn’t had one since 1998.  I am definitely going to kick that dog if it comes near me again.

I took advantage of the visit to the health centre to take another couple of pictures of the Esk as I crossed it on my way.

Elizabeth Street

The residents of George Street are doubtless very glad of the wall along the river.

Suspension Bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal had to cross this in the dark on her way home from work. It made her quite nervous.

The church looked a little lonely across the Wauchope

The church looked a little lonely across the Wauchope

When I got home, Sandy came round to cheer me up and we had a quick walk to check on the water level and amazingly, since it was still raining, the rivers had dropped considerably and we soon returned home for a cup of tea and a couple of the many biscuits that I was given for Christmas.

It is a sad thing when your enthusiasm for photography leads to you wish for just a small disaster to photograph so I was probably well served by getting bitten.  As a side note, I rang up Dropspcone to tell him of my misfortune and he was very scornful.

“I’ve been bitten nine times,” he said, “Once is nothing.”   The joys of being a postman!

We are still full of the Christmas spirit and we had some tasty turkey rissoles for out tea.

I didn’t manage to catch a flying bird in the gloom and the excitement so I hope this very brief movie of a flying river or two will do instead.  Be prepared, the noise of the river is quite loud.

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Today’s picture shows Guthrie with whom I had a cup of tea in the afternoon.

guthrie

The glorious sunshine of yesterday had gone but it was still a reasonably warm and dry day.  I had arranged to cycle with Dropscone if my joints had recovered from yesterday’s efforts and happily they were quite well enough to do the twenty miles to Paddockhole and back with him.  The ten miles out was very easy with a brisk wind behind us but coming back was a lot harder.  Dropscone was on his new bike which he has purchased for winter work.

Felt

It is a Felt, a maker that is new to me.  Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that the bike probably fulfilled a long felt want which only goes to show that living with me can have a bad effect on even the most intelligent person.

Mrs Tootlepedal had bought a curious  auger like device on her way home yesterday and she went out after coffee to screw it into the ground.  Its purpose is to provide a foundation for an absolutely upright drying whirligig and it achieved this well.

Auger like device

After all this excitement, I did a bit of staring out of the window although the light wasn’t particularly good.

greenfinch

A greenfinch taking life very seriously

Greenfinch and goldfinch

A greenfinch and goldfinch see eye to eye

Chaffinch

The chaffinch can’t believe that a goldfinch has taken his place.

There is still quite a lot of colour in the garden and the sedum outside the kitchen window makes a nice background for this chaffinch.

chaffinch

It is checking to see if there are any empty places on the feeder.

A greenfinch leaving

A greenfinch leaving at speed.

The vegetable garden, strangely enough has a lot of flowers in it at the moment.  Mrs Tootlepedal plants them there as a holding position before they finally find their places among the other flowers.

Leek daisy poppy

There are some good looking leeks there as well as daisies and poppies.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work after lunch and I had a light to replace in the Archive Centre so after checking out this blackbird…

blackbird

…I headed up to the Centre with sandycam in my pocket.  The fitting of the new light went smoothly and I made my way home by an indirect route, trying to pass as many good views as I could in a mile.

I went down Rosevale Street first and looked over the gardens to the bank beyond the river.

View from Rosevale

Then I went to the river bank itself.

River Esk

I crossed the Esk and was going to pass the Buccleuch Park without going in…

Park seen from across the Wauchope

Park seen from across the Wauchope

…but a fine looking tree drew me in.

 

Park tree

I thought that it was worth a small detour

I left the park and walked up to Pool Corner.

 

Pool Corner

The road up the Wauchope at Pool Corner

Dropscone and I had been round this corner in both directions this morning.  We probably hadn’t appreciated the scenery as much as we should have done.

Colour

Pool Corner is so called because of the weir or caul that creates a pool at the corner.

caul at Pool Corner

The caul at Pool Corner

This allows water to be drawn off through a small sluice gate for mill and skinyard use.

The sluice at Pool Corner

The is the water that flows along the dam at the back of our house.

Then I walked through the woods above Eskdaill Street until I came to the Galaside where I used the panorama function of the camera to take an 120°  shot of the scholars’ field.  It is not a very interesting picture but I am putting it on to see how it works in the blog.  (Click on it to get it enlarged if you like.)

Scholars' field

I was walking down Walter Street and nearly home when I saw Guthrie and Bruce at their door and Bruce very kindly asked me in for a cup of tea.  He offered me a cup of black brick China tea.  In spite of the somewhat uninviting name and appearance, it turned out to be delicious.  It was the genuine article too and had been a gift to Bruce from Bob and Nancy who had acquired it on a recent visit to China to see their son.

My flute pupil Luke was poorly and didn’t come for his lesson which gave me a welcome rest as the walk, though short, had found me rather tired out by the end.

In the evening I drove to Newcastleton with Sandy for a meeting of the Liddesdale Camera Club.  Their open competition was being judged by a man and wife pair of wedding photographers from Selkirk.  We didn’t necessarily agree with everything they said but we felt that they had made some good decisions in their ranking of the photos.  Sandy was pleased to come away with a second and third.  I will be entering my first competition there next month but the standard is high and I will have to find some good pictures not to disgrace myself.  I find that the first requirement of competition photography seems to be sharpness which is not my strongest suit.

Today’s flying bird is a goldfinch.

goldfinch with landing gear down.

It has got its landing gear down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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