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Posts Tagged ‘Canonbie Church’

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon who noticed these interesting additions to a pylon when he was out and about near Canonbie. They are going to renew the cables.

We had another beautiful day here today. As this was the first day of summer, there is a slight worry that summer can only go downhill from here on. It will be hard to get a better day day than this.

We had our morning street coffee off the street today, tucked round the corner beside the dam where two of our number could sit in the shade of Margaret’s shed, while Liz and and I sat in the sun holding umbrellas to provide our own personal shade. Passers by, used to finding us in the street, were amazed to find us on the grass looking for all the world like an impressionist painting by Monet.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal did some work in the garden while I wandered about looking for new flowers. There were new flowers to be found.

The wiegela has started flowering.

A red geum has come to join the geum flock.

A new lupin is probably my favourite lupin now it has come out.

Both the red and white astrantias are not at their peak yet but full of promise.

And the stars of the show today are the silver lined irises.

Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased with the progress of the vegetable garden and I was able to snip some leaves from her cut and come again lettuce patch to have in a lettuce and marmite sandwich for my lunch.

After lunch, I looked at the feeder through an open window and saw a goldfinch there…

..and in the distance, I could see Mrs Tootlepedal putting the new bench to the very use it was designed for on a sunny afternoon.

it seemed to be a couple of degrees cooler than it had been yesterday, so I decided to mark the start of the summer months with a cycle ride. Wanting to avoid the Wauchope road where the tar was melting last time that I went that way, I headed south out of. Instead of crossing the river at Skippers Bridge, I kept on going down the east bank of the river and then crossed the Tarras and went through Claygate towards the Hollows.

This route is quite hilly and I was concentrating so hard on pedalling sensibly and not getting too hot that I forgot to take any pictures until I got to the shade of the old road at the Hollows.

I headed down to Canonbie, hoping to see the pylon devices that Simon had photographed but instead of the devices themselves, I saw workmen on another pylon getting ready to install them.

I heard a man on a news programme recently complaining that young barristers could only expect to earn as much as an electrician but I think that these super electricians deserve every penny that they get.

Away to my left, Canonbie Church looked at its best.

I pedalled on south and joined the main road for a mile or two at the end of the Canonbie by-pass. The traffic was still light and nowhere near back to pre-lockdown levels.

After a very unpromising winter, farmers must have feared the worst, but things have improved a lot recently as this field of waving barley near Longtown shows.

I left the main road here and turned up towards Milltown of Sark, crossing the border back into Scotland on my way. The last tree in England is also the last to get its leaves.

I looked back at the tree after I had passed it and you can see from the direction that the Gretna turbines are pointing that the wind was helping me up the hill here. I was grateful for the help but having the wind behind me and not blowing in my face meant that it was hot work for a mile or two.

Readers may have noticed how completely weed free the field of barley that I passed earlier was. I worry that this is part of the reason for the drastic drop in the number of insects about, so I was happy to see an uncultivated field full of buttercups further along my journey.

The wind continued to be helpful all the way home, and I arrived back after 26 enjoyable miles in perfect time to have a shower, a cup of tea (and a ginger biscuit or two) and join in the evening Zoom meeting with Mrs Tootlepedal and my siblings.

After the meeting, I watched the birds for a bit. Mrs Tootlepdal’s fake tree may not have any leaves but it is still a useful spot for birds waiting for a perch at the feeder to have rest.

We needed to have a queuing system as the feeder was busy.

I had time for another wander round the garden before scrambled eggs for tea and found another new flower out. This is the first of many foxgloves to come.

And I feel a bit guilty that I usually show the garage clematis en masse when the individual flowers are very pretty in themselves.

But if the silver lined irises were the morning stars, the evening star was Lilian Austin, a really lovely English rose.

The scrambled eggs (on toast) brought the first day of summer to a satisfactory close. I hope that there are many more like it as far as the weather goes, but mixed with overnight rain from time to time of course. We need rain badly.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my South African correspondent, Langholm exile Tom.  He was looking for something to send me from his archives and found this lofty view of Worcester in the Western Cape, taken from 6000 ft up.

view of Worcester SA

We had a calm day before the advertised arrival late tomorrow of storm Ciara, which the experts think might be the worst storm to hit the country since 2013.  We are not looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I had an enjoyable day today.  In the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do useful things around the town and I entertained Dropscone to coffee and ate two of his excellent treacle scones.  A Friday wouldn’t be the same without treacle scones.

When he left, I had a look to see if there were any birds at our feeder and found remarkably few.

A chaffinch was weighing up its options…

chaffinch on stalk

…and a sparrow was complaining about Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree..,.

sparrow shouting

…while a rook posed at the very top of the walnut.

rook on walnut tree top

Mrs Tootlepedal has put up the robin nest box and we are waiting to see if the robin also knows that it is a nest box.

new robin box

As there were no birds to watch, and it was still a bit cold for cycling (it had been freezing when we woke up), I went for a walk.

A little bit of  hair ice showed that it had been cold…

new hir ice

…and it certainly looked like winter as I walked along the beechy plains…

winter on the beechy plains

…but the sun was out and when I got into the open, it was very pleasant.

The battery had run out on my camera so I used my phone to take a few pictures as I went along.  I was delighted by how well it picked out these catkins.

sunny catkins murtholm

I took a view of Warbla just so that I would have something bright to remind me of better days when the storm comes.

view of warbla before storm

I crossed Skippers Bridge….

distillery on arthur's leaving day

…and walked home along the river.  The daisies on the bank still had something to show…

diasies by esk

…but there was not much else to look at today.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy seed potatoes and I went for a cycle ride.  All traces of the morning frost had gone and the wind wasn’t too unkind so I added a few more miles to my last outing and pedalled the twenty miles it takes to get round my familiar Canonbie circuit.

Two fine fungi beside the Wauchope road caught my eye…

fungus wauchope road

…and I liked the view of the lake District hills on the far side of the Solway Firth.

view of skiddaw

There were some clouds about…

cloudscape

…but they conveniently cleared away by the time that I got to Canonbie, where the church was looking at its best.

canonbie church

Beside the church, a row of pylons reminded me of how much work there will be to do before all our pylons are upgraded.  It is a major task as we live on a electricity highway from Carlisle to the north..

pylons at canonbie

Work is going full steam ahead on the new Canonbie sewage system.  There were people hard at work in the village, with another group digging a trench in the old road past the school, and then more workers at this site in the field below the Byreburn Wood.

The incontinent of Canonbie will be well catered for when all this is finished.

new sewage works canonbie

The low sun picked out the new balcony round the top of Hollows Tower.  I had a chance to go out on it when we visited the tower last year but it was too alarming for me.

hollows tower

My final picture was a peer through the branches at Irvine House, still standing empty after many years.

irvine house

I got home in good order, very pleased to find that I can bicycle normally again although I am still taking care and not going down the hills too fast.

Looking around the garden, I saw that we now have four daffodils.  When we get another one out, we will declare that the clump is an official host of golden daffodils and start writing poetry.

four daffodils

There hadn’t been quite enough warmth in the day to persuade the crocuses to open.

crocuses

Following a report of a male hen harrier sighting on the moor, Mrs Tootlepedal had driven up to have a look after her potato expedition, but she had not seen anything.  She consoled herself with a cup of tea and a bite of my chocolate eclair.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round, and Alison and I played duets while the other two chatted.   We had a go at a sonata which we haven’t played for several years and came to the conclusion that some practice might be a good thing before we try it again.

If no post arrives tomorrow, you will know we have been blown away but in the meantime, two peacefully swimming ducks are the flying birds of the day.

two ducks

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He recently found himself on top of Bosley Cloud, a 1125ft eminence on the Staffordshire- Cheshire border with, according to to the Visit Cheshire website, stunning views over the surrounding countryside.  It lived up to its name when my brother was there though, and there was a marked absence of views, stunning or otherwise.

Bosley Cloud

We had plenty of clouds here today as well.  In fact it was so gloomy that when I threw open the curtains to welcome the day, the room actually got darker.

Still, we sang some cheerful Christmas carols when we got to church.  Our new minister takes the view that Christmas is too good to be wasted on just one Sunday in the year.   I agree.  We returned home for coffee and a mince pie and as I added a modicum of brandy butter to mine, all was well with the world in spite of the dark clouds.

After lunch, we considered our options.  It was dry and warm (7°C) so I considered a bike ride but checking on the wind, I found that gusts of up to 30 mph were expected. Mrs Tootlepedal fancied some exercise so she and I went off for another walk instead.

After yesterday’s tramp up hill and over rough terrain, Mrs Tootlepedal called for a flatter route on dry roads today so we drove down to the Hollows Bridge and walked the three mile Canonbie circle along to the village by the top road and back by the old main road beside the river.

Mrs Tootlepedal stopped to read an historical information board by the Hollows bridge and I checked to see if there were still stone statues in the wood there.

hollows sculptures

We crossed the bridge and stopped to talk to the owner of the Archimedes screw who was just setting off for a family walk and then we took the top road to Canonbie.

I was very impressed by the neat appearance of a hedge in a field beside the road.

hollows hedge

Purists may think that it is a bit too sparse to be effective as a hedge but as it has a wire fence right behind it, that doesn’t matter too much.

As is often the case, the weather had got much better once we had got south of Langholm and out of the hills.  Looking back as we went up the top road, we could see the impressive gloom over the town behind us.

looking back to langholm

Even without the dark clouds overhead, it wasn’t sunny and as we walked along a stretch of road between a conifer wood and a tall beech hedge, the camera was unimpressed by the amount of light available.

hollws road hedge

It was able to pick up a crop of catkins though, a reminder that we are on our way towards spring now.

catkins

We passed a lot of good trees along our route but this one was my choice for tree of the day.

hollws road tree

The road to the village took us along the top of a steep escarpment above the river and I could look down on Canonbie church, which almost seemed to be catching a hint of sunshine.

Canonbie Church

Mrs Tootlepedal called my attention to a dunnock.  As a dunnock is also called a hedge sparrow, it was good to see one living up to its name by posing on a hedge for me.

dunnokc on hedge Canonbie

(It turns out that a dunnock is not a sparrow at all but an accentor.)

Although we weren’t in sunshine, there was blue sky above our heads, we were sheltered from any wind and we had left the black Langholm cloud behind us so walking was very comfortable.

cloud front

We passed a fir tree in a garden before we got to the village.  It was covered in smallish upright cones and looked very like a Korean pine but with brown not blue cones.

pine tree canonbie

As we walked down the path to the village, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed this bracket fungus on the fence rail.  It is unusual to see them on treated wood like this.

bracket fungus on fence canonbie

Canonbie’s Public Hall has a fine clock which celebrates the centenary of the hall in 2012.

canonbie hall clock

We crossed the river Esk by the newly resurfaced Canonbie bridge and walked along the old main road back to the Hollows Bridge.  There was a moment when the sun actually shone on us and we could see our chadows…

shadows on old A7

…but it didn’t last and the sun was so low anyway that the trees on the far bank of the river were looking very sombre.

trees on Esk escarpment Canonbie

It wasn’t a day for sitting at the fine new bench at the lay-by and having a picnic.

Canonbie bench

Rather worryingly, the back cloud over Langholm seemed to be slipping south and was getting nearer and nearer to us.

cloud front canonbie

This lent a bit of urgency to the last half mile of our journey but I still had time to admire a monkey puzzle tree in a garden at Byreburnfoot.

I liked the way that its bottom branches pointed down, its top branches pointed up and the ones in the middle were absolutely pointing neither up nor down.

monkey puzzle byreburn

I was considering the habits of walls on our walk last Saturday and this wall at the Byreburnfoot Bridge was another example of the curious behaviour of nature. The wall is more or less totally black until it gets to the bridge itself when it suddenly becomes covered with pale lichen.

byreburn bridge with Mrs t

It’s another mystery.

It didn’t rain and we got back to the car after three miles of gentle exercise.  The weather looked very black as we drove back to Langholm but even there, it wasn’t raining.  The Met Office says that the humidity today has been around 95% so I have no idea why it hasn’t rained.  I am not complaining though.

It was too dark to get a satisfactory flying bird today so the best that I can do is to show one of our resident garden dunnocks standing in for the absent fliers.

dunnock in garden

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew.  As well as the moon, Derby has been visited by the sombre ‘Knife Angel’, an artwork designed to highlight the problem of knife crime in Britain.

knife angel

Autumn gave us a sharp reminder that it is here with a chilly start to the day, not far above freezing.  But having nudged us in the ribs, it then provided us with a beautifully sunny day to cheer us up again.

All the same, it was too chilly to spend much time outside early on as my cold has not given up altogether.  I did pop out into the garden from time to time to enjoy the sunshine and watch birds…

chaffinch, blackbird, starlings

…and check that the flowers hadn’t been knocked out by the cold morning.  In general, the flowers had survived very well…

argyranthemum, cosmos, nasturtium

…and as the day warmed up…

verbena and nerine

…insects came out to enjoy the flowers too

insects on flowers

There were not many butterflies about but seeing any was a bonus.  I didn’t see any in October at all last year and 10th Oct was the last that I saw any in 2017 so we are right at the end of the butterfly season.

This red admiral looked to be in excellent condition.

red admiral butterfly

Rather annoyingly, the transplanted fuchsia finally showed a flower at the very last moment, much too late to be sensible, and…

fuchsia october

…Mrs Tootlepedal, worried about another cold night coming, picked a spray and took them indoors.

fuchsia indoors

Finally I spotted a butterfly on the sedum.

rd admiral on sedum

I made a leek, onion and potato soup for lunch, all from the garden, though I did add a little shop bought carrot for colour.

It had warmed up quite a bit by the time that lunch was over, so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some business, I got my bike out and tested my chest with a gentle twenty miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.

I wrapped up very well and in the sunshine, it was really a good day for cycling for semi invalids.

I was a bit alarmed to see that my favourite tree has already lost all its leaves…

bare tree bloch

..but other trees are hanging on.

two trees with leaves

It was another clear day and i could see the Lake District hills clearly on the far side of the gleaming Solway.

view over Solway

Canonbie Church was looking at its best…

Canonbie Church

…and when I looked around, the trees at Canonbie seem undecided about changing colour yet.

trees with leaves october

I stopped at Hollows Bridge for a rest and looking down at the rocks in the river, I could just make out…

hollows brodge view

…Mr Grumpy’s Canonbie cousin.

heron at hollows

Some of the route back from Canonbie is on the old A7, now bypassed by a wide new road, and it is hard to believe that this was once a busy main road.  It makes for a quiet ride now, although cyclists have to join the traffic on the main road for the last couple of miles back into Langholm.

old A7 seven sisters

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  Among other things, she is trying to pinpoint an annoying leak in our pond.  This may be an insoluble problem but Mrs Tootlepedal is not giving up yet.

I recorded a visit from a small tortoiseshell butterfly…

small tortoishell butterfly october

…and went off to sieve the last of the compost in Bin D.  When I had finished, I took the cover off the compost in Bin C and started to shift it into Bin D.  However, for one reason or another, the compost turned out to be in excellent condition, and I may be able to use it straight away without more shifting.

I have never managed to make such good compost so quickly before and I would like to know how I’ve done it.

good compost

It might be the steady warm weather we have had this summer, or possibly some careful layering of green and woody materials when it was put into Bin A, or perhaps just the right amount of moisture in the pile, or a combination of all of these things…or possibly pure chance.  Whatever the reason was, it will save a lot of sieving.

In the evening, I went off to the first meeting of the season of the Langholm community choir, ‘Langholm Sings’.  We have a new conductor and a new accompanist but because two concerts have been arranged in early December and we are going to be pushed for time, we are still singing some old and familiar songs.  As a result, the meeting was not quite as exciting as I had hoped.   Still, as hitting any low notes made me cough a bit, some undemanding work was probably a good thing.

As my cold is getting better, Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold has returned.  I hope that this sort of thing is going to stop soon.

The flying bird of the day was being checked out for style by an interested spectator.

flying starling and spectator

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She went to the Haynes International Motor museum in Yeovil with her friend Venetia, and her eye was caught by this shiny Morris Oxford 6 saloon from 1930.

haynes motor museum

I got up intending to have a quick breakfast and go cycling but like so many of my good intentions, this one was unrealised.  In the end, I had a slow breakfast, did the crossword, waited for a rain shower to pass, checked on the butterflies in the garden…

more butterflies

….and then finally went cycling.  By this time the wind had got up and was blowing pretty forcibly so I reduced my intended route distance from 30 miles to 12 and even then had quite a hard time cycling the six miles up hill and  into the wind to my turning point.

The grass is pointing to my way home.

 

blowing grass

I was freewheeling along a flat section at 25 mph with not a breath of wind in my face at one time on my way home, and that gives some idea of the briskness of the breeze.  Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have managed even 12 miles.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had done some serious lawn edging.

edged lawn

I had another walk round the garden and was pleased to find that lots of flowers had survived the four inches of rain that we have had during the week…

six garden flowers

…and that bees were busy visiting some of our newer blooms.

two bees

After lunch, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to do some more gardening in the sunshine, I drove down to Canonbie to visit the flower show there.

As well as jams, jellies, needlework, art, flowers and vegetables, there are always other attractions at the show and this year, there was a modest display of falconry.  It was slightly hampered by the very strong winds but a couple of patient birds sat on their perches taking an interest in what was going on.

This is a Harris Hawk..

harris hawk

…but I can’t remember what this striking bird was.

falcon canonbie

There are usually some static engines on display and this fine oil engine was the star of the show this year.

static engine canonbie

Some more mobile vehicles were to be seen as well.

two tractors canonbie

When I went into the hall to see the photographs, I was surprised to find that I had managed to acquire two first prizes and a second ticket from my twelve entries.  Sandy had been in the prizes as well and we shared  a trophy with yet another exhibitor for most points in the coloured photo classes.  We all had had a first and a second.

There were a lot of pictures on display and quite a number of different people had caught the eye of the judge.  This is very satisfactory and should bode well for the entries next year.  I would like to thank Linda for taking my pictures down to show and putting them up for me.

After a tour round the flowers and vegetables, I went for a walk along the river.  As I crossed the bridge, I saw a dipper below.

dipper in esk canonbie

A started my walk at the church and was pleased to find sheep safely grazing in the glebe fields.

sheep canonbie church

I felt that I was being laughed at as I took the path down to the river but it was only a conifer covered in strange fruit.

pine fruit

It was very peaceful walking along the grassy bank of the Esk…

esk at canonbie

…although a little waterfall splashing down the banking further on showed how wet it has been.

waterfall at canonbie

I was going to walk along the river for a good bit but the path became very muddy and as I didn’t have suitable footwear, I had to turn back and go back to the hall by the route that I had taken on the way out.

I met Sandy there and he kindly offered to bring my pictures back after the show had ended, so I was able to drive home and find out what Mrs Tootlepedal had been up to in my absence.

She had lifted the onions.

onions 2019

We had a cup of tea and then we drove up to the White Yett and walked up the track to the monument on Whita Hill.

It was still very breezy but the sun was shining, so I expected to get some good views.  Once again my expectations were unrealised as it was pretty hazy, but when the sun shone in the right place, views of some sort were available.  This is the Ewes valley.

ewes valley august evening

There is a plan to put a lot of exceedingly tall wind turbines on the top of these hills and although I am a supporter of wind power, we think that this is a step too far.  We can already see about 60 turbines from the monument but they don’t impinge on the views too dramatically,  These huge turbines would overwhelm the valley altogether.

They are several times the height of our monument.

monument sugust evening

When we arrived at the monument, we were being buffeted by the wind to such an extent that we didn’t stay for long.  I did look over the wall and down onto the Solway plain which stretches between our hills and the English hills which you can just see though the haze in the distance.

view of Solway plain from whita

When the sun came out from behind the clouds, the monument cast a long shadow over the moor.

shadow of monument

As we turned to go back down the hill, a patch of sunlight played on the top of Castle Hill across the valley.

castle hill august evening

As we went back down the hill to the town in our car, we passed several notices calling for care and warning of sharp bends and sudden steep sections.  When I checked, I found that there is a cycle sportive coming this way tomorrow from Hawick.  I just hope that the wind drops a bit or it will be hard work for the cyclists.

After a busy day for us both, we were refreshed by corned beef hash and rhubarb crumble with custard for our tea.

The falconer at Canonbie was able to fly an owl over a very short distance in spite of the wind so I have got quite an unusual flying bird of the day today.

flying owl canonbie

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The guest picture of the day comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She recently took a break in the Highlands of Scotland where she saw this lovely little tree creeper.

tree creeper

The forecast was for sunshine and light winds in the morning and rain and strong wind in the afternoon.  As I was hoping to have coffee with Dropscone to find out about the state of his health, this meant that I would have to be up early and be well organised to get a bike ride in before coffee time.

To my own astonishment, I managed it.

It was a lovely morning for a pedal…

Chapelhill road

…but as I didn’t have a lot of time in hand, I pressed on without looking for cows or wild flowers in the verges to photograph.   I couldn’t miss Canonbie Church though.,..

Canonbie Church june

…or the ‘leaping poodle’ tree…

laughing poodle tree

…and the beauty of the River Esk at Irvine House called me to a halt too.

river esk at Irvine hiuse june

I got back after twenty miles in good time to get changed and grind the coffee before Dropscone arrived.

He has been given the all clear by the hospital after his golf buggy accident, but he will have to take things easily for a couple of weeks.  As he had just got his golf game working well after some months of poor form, he feels the accident was very badly timed but he is bearing up well and went off with some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s surplus runner beans to plant.

When he went, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a walk round the garden.  Just as the sensational white clematis flowers to the left of the front door are fading away, a new set of blue ones has arrived to the right of the door.

two front door clematis

Elsewhere in the garden, the flowers were reflecting the sunshine with bright colours…

four bright flowers

…and more subdued ones too.

four yellow flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of our melancholy thistles…

melancholy thistle june

…and it was hard to miss the bright Sweet Williams which are beginning to make a splash.

early sweet williams

Other flowers were to be seen…

four garden flowers

…and once again, there were a lot of bees about.

I put down the camera and got to work mowing the front and middle lawns.  As I was able to do this without having to use the box to collect the grass cuttings, it was an easy and pleasant task.  Cutting lawns every day or every other day is the secret of a happy life….and leads to good looking lawns.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy clearing nerines away from the base of the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.  Now that the bird feeder has been moved, she has plans for creating a little colourful spot to please the eye of the cook or washer up when he or she looks out of the window.

At the moment it is a blank canvas.

cleaned up sundial

I dug holes ready for her to plant the nerines in a different bed and then edged both lawns, shredded some hedge cuttings and sieved some compost.

By this time, we were both ready for some lunch and a sit down!

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had had a very heavy morning in the garden, went off for a siesta and I did the crossword and then looked at the weather.

In spite of the forecast, it didn’t look as though it was going to rain so I went for a walk.  I have cycled 100 miles in five lots of twenty gentle miles over the week and my feet and Achilles tendon have survived very well so I thought that I would see if some pedestrian exercise would help too and went for a two mile walk ’round the Becks’.

I went up the road first and passed under this very interesting tree with leaves within leaves.

varied leaf

As I was going slowly enough to stop easily, I kept my eye out for wild flowers…

four wild flowers

…but to tell the truth, I didn’t have to look very hard to find  them….

lots of wild of flowers

…as they lined my whole route from start to finish.

four more wild flowers

It was good to be out and about after not doing much walking at all for a month and I enjoyed the views even if the sun had gone in and the blue sky was disappearing.

view of whita from becks road

I crossed the Becks bridge when I came to it…

becks bridge june

…and very much enjoyed the little sunken buttercup meadow on the far side.

buttercup meadow becks

I haven’t had a good gate on the blog for some time so I thought that i ought tor repair that omission today.

gate june

I could have stopped for a picture very few yards but I didn’t want to get caught in the rain so I pushed on as fast as my feet would let me.  All the same, there were things to see on every side, slow worms at Pool Corner, moss recovering after the dry spell….

slow worm, hedge rose, moss and hawthorn

…hawthorn flowers turning pink as they go over and the first hedge roses of the year.

Two miles was as far as my feet would let me go, but the walk doesn’t seem to have made them worse and rest doesn’t seem to make them, better so I will try walking again as soon as weather permits.   The hills beckon.

When I got home, I had a look at the feeder in its new position.  Business was quiet with just a few sparrows coming and going…

sparrows coming and going

…so I went off to practise the songs for our forthcoming choir concert and the hymns for church on Sunday.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round.  They had brought a bottle of white wine with them and this provided fine lubrication for music and conversation.

Altogether, it was a full day, both useful and enjoyable.  The forecast is for a mixture of sunshine and showers in the week to come so I hope to be able to keep cycling and walking if my feet permit.

The flying bird of the day, taken when the sun was long gone, is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture is another from my cello playing friend Mike’s trip to the north.  His wife Anne has kindly sent me some pictures which she took on the holiday,  including this one of Abraham in the biblical garden of Elgin Cathedral.

Elgin cathedral

 

It was another pointlessly drizzly morning here today with just enough rain to annoy but not enough to do any good.

wet wedding rose

It was quite warm though so I was happy to get my new bike out after breakfast and go for my regular 20 mile circuit to Canonbie and back.

I had to put my rain jacket on shortly after I left home but I was able to take it off again three miles later, though there wasn’t much opportunity to take shots of the wonderful views while I was stopped because there weren’t any views at all.

Bloch road on wet day

It brightened up a bit as I went round and by the time that I got to Canonbie…

Canonbie Church

…it was a cloudy but pleasant day.  My good mood was greatly enhanced by a friendly wind which let me cover the last fifteen miles of the route in exactly an hour of cycling time.

Steve, the man who makes our benches, has also provided us with a new bridge for the pond.  He delivered it today and Mrs Tootlepedal and I installed it.  I selflessly gave Mrs Tootlepedal the honour of testing it out.

new bridge

It held up very well.

I didn’t have time to do any gardening so after a quick smile from my favourite sunflower…

sunflower

…I picked up my other camera and set off to walk up the Kirk Wynd onto Whita Hill.

There were plenty of wild flowers to give me an excuse for a stop on the way up the hill…

wild flowers kirk wynd

…and I was particularly pleased to see some heather out.

heather

I needed the wildflower stops because, as you can see, it is quite a steep walk up from the town.

Langholm

I wasn’t alone on the hill though, because not long after I found a good place to stand, the cornet and his right and left hand men came cantering up the Kirk Wynd and onto the hill too.

CC Ride-out 8

It was the last Saturday before the last Friday of July so it was the day for the Castle Craigs ride-out.

I liked the fine horse that carried Stuart, the right hand man, up the hill.

CC Ride-out 7

The ‘front three’ were soon joined by other riders….CC Ride-out 5

…and there was a general gathering for a moment’s rest…

CC Ride-out 4

…which gave me an opportunity to admire this beautiful horse…

CC Ride-out 6

…before the cornet led the cavalcade off up the hill…

CC Ride-out 3

…twisting and turning over the many hillocks and dips…

CC Ride-out 2

…before disappearing over the shoulder of the hill on their way to the Castle Craigs and Cronksbank.

CC Ride-out

Other eager pedestrians were following the horses on foot but I had had enough exercise for the day (and no lunch) so I headed back down through the town, got home, collapsed on the sofa…

…and let the heroes of the Tour de France take my exercise for me for the rest of the afternoon.

When the stage had finished, I went out into the garden to find that it was a lovely evening.  I noticed that a professional weeder had been at work…

weedy wheelbarrow

…and my scientific rain gauge had been put to good use.

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing some work in the vegetable garden and was surprised by just how dry the soil in the beds is.  The soil in the top six inches is basically dust if you turn it over and under that, there is a layer of hard, dried, fissured earth.  It is amazing that there any flowers thriving at all.

nasturtium, rose and poppy

But there are.

cornflowers

They must have deep roots.

We were able to supply the evening meal with many good things from the vegetable garden.

There was a scarcity of birds  when I had a moment to look at them and I was rather taken by this siskin which was much more interested in posing for the camera than eating seed,

siskin posing

Both I and Mrs Tootlepedal have been watering and there seems to be no immediate end in sight for this task as we have no rain in the forecast until the last day of the month, ten days away.

We are singing the Hallelujah Chorus in church again tomorrow so I had a final practice before settling down to write this post.  It will be good to have Mrs Tootlepedal back in the choir.

The flying bird of the day is half a chaffinch (the best that I could do)

flying chaffinch mostly

 

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