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Posts Tagged ‘Castleholm’

Today’s guest picture is a lovely study of a heron in the pond at Myatt’s Fields in London.  It was taken by our daughter Annie.

annies' heron

We had another fine and sunny day, both here and when I got to Edinburgh.  It was a bit too chilly for cycling in the morning so I went for a quick walk round three bridges while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an interesting meeting which lasted all day.

You wouldn’t know that we have just had two weeks of storms.

peace after storm

An oyster catcher had taken over the fence post duty from the gulls.

oystercatcher on fence

I did see a grey wagtail at the Kilngreen but it was too quick for me and got away.  I had to make do with a tree on the Castleholm which stood quietly and echoed the hill behind it quite neatly.

tree and timpen

It was a lovely day for a walk (as long as you were well wrapped up as the wind was bitter).

lodge walks

I just had time for a coffee and a slice of toast after my walk and then it was time to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.  It was nearly on time.

There are some fine views to had as the train goes through the hills on its way to Edinburgh.

snowy view from train

When I got Edinburgh, I got off the train at Haymarket instead of going to Waverley as usual.  I had a couple of hours to spare before Matilda got out of school so I walked from the station to the start of the Union Canal, stopping for a snack on the way.

The area round the canal basin has been ‘poshed up’ a lot…

 

union canal

…but some more traditional buildings can be seen further along the towpath.

old church union canal

This was my favourite spot on the whole walk.  It was hard to believe that I was still in the centre of a city.

tree and union canal

two rowing boats union canal

clubhouse union canal

There were bridges to admire along the way, both metal…

 

metal bridge union canal

…and stone…

stone bridge union canal

…and mechanical.  This is a lifting bridge near the canal basin.

lifting bridge union canal

The towpath was sometimes wide…

wide towpath union canal

…and sometimes narrow…

narrow towpath union canal

..but mostly busy.  Cyclists do not seem to have discovered the purpose of bicycle bells so it was nervous work from time to time.

I liked this rather desperate attempt to make a dull building more interesting by adding a portico and a palm tree.  It didn’t convince.

buildings union canal

I took many, many pictures and I hope to visit again in the not too distant future and show you some more of this pleasant place.

On my way to the canal and back, I passed along this splendid crescent.  I lived in Edinburgh for five years but never went this way before.  It is called Gardner’s Crescent..

gardeners crescent

…and it has a garden called Gardner’s Crescent Garden but the planting is not very interesting to say the least.

gardeners garden

I got back to Haymarket and enjoyed a ride on the tram to the other end of Princes Street.

Edinburgh Tram

This was a great treat for me even though I had to buy a ticket because my bus pass doesn’t work on the tram.  Perhaps this was why there was no shortage of empty seats.

I arrived at Matilda’s in time to welcome her back from her school day.  She was in good form and told me that she had been learning the ‘banana hold’ at the judo club.   We had a good time and after some energetic action with a hula hoop, we settled down to do a quiet jigsaw puzzle.

matilda and puzzle

Alistair not only cooked a tasty lentil dahl for our tea but sorted out the coding problems on my Langholm Archive website.   This is just the sort of son you want when computer problems loom and you are peckish after a good walk.

The train home was late but not by much and although I had to scrape ice off the car, the drive home went without any hiccups.

Mrs Tootlepedal reported that her meeting, which was to do with community land purchase in general not the Langholm buy out in particular, had been thoroughly worthwhile, so we had both had a good day.

I walked just under 20,000 steps according to my phone.  It tends to exaggerate a bit but it was still a good day of exercise.

The flying birds of the day were seen at the canal basin and were strangely immobile even when I said “Boo!” to them.

canal birds

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Today’s guest picture comes from camera club member Simon.  He was taken for a walk on our local hills by a friend.  They walked yesterday morning before the storm came.  A good choice.

simon's hill picture

The storm arrived with some force yesterday evening, and we had a rather restless night  as the wind howled round the house and rain hammered on the windows.  We opened the curtains with some trepidation this morning but everything still seemed to be there so we breathed a sigh of relief.

It became clear that there had been quite a lot of rain though when we went to church.

Storm Ciara rivers

As it was still raining hard when we went in, we did offer a small prayer that we wouldn’t need a boat to get home.

storm ciara esk

In fact, it had stopped raining by the time that we came out and although the Wauchope still looked high, a glance at the tidemark on the river bank showed that the water level had already begun to drop.

storm ciara caroline st

While Mrs Tootlepedal went home to make a pot of coffee, I walked up to the Kilngreen to take a contrasting picture…

storm ciara meeting of waters

…to the one that I took yesterday morning at very much the same time of day.

view of timpen before storm ciara

When the River Esk is high, I always wonder at how much the bridge acts as a dam to the flow with the river level on one side of the bridge being a good two feet higher than the other.

storm ciara langholm bridge

I got home and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s coffee.  The wind had calmed down a lot by this time and the rain had kept away so I was able to spot a few birds on the feeder.

A greenfinch arrived and thought that it would prefer the perch above it, occupied by a siskin.  A siskin is feisty but no match for a determined greenfinch so an exchange was negotiated.

greenfinch and siskins

In spite of the slightly better conditions, Mrs Tootlepedal and I were in two minds as to whether it would be sensible to drive to Carlisle for our afternoon choir as there were reports of flooding on the road.  Discussion was cut short though when we read an email from the choir saying that the practice had been cancelled anyway.  A good decision, we thought.

A few more birds caught my eye both on the feeder…

robin, dunnock, chaffinch, siskin

…and below

The robin wanted to make sure that I got a close shot.

robin on stalk

A check with the forecast suggested that we were in for a spell of sunshine and showers with wind gusts at no more than 40 mph so I decided that a walk would be in order, hoping to get more sunshine than showers.

There was remarkably little debris about and the flow of the Wauchope under the Auld Stane Brig was nothing like the storm last year where the level was so high that the trees washed down the stream couldn’t get under the bridge and ended up on the bank above the bridge.  The roots of one are still there.

debris and auld stane brig

I walked up the Becks road and took the path down to the bridge across the Becks Burn.  Mrs Tootlepedal had been mildly worried that the burn might pose a threat to an elderly walker, but by the time that I got there, the sun had come out and the water was running at a comparatively gentle rate.

Becks Burn storm ciara

I crossed the bridge and walked back to the town along the track in pleasant conditions.

whita from becks

In fact conditions were so pleasant that instead of going directly home, I walked through the Galaside wood and round the Scholars’ Field…

scholars storm ciara

…and over the Jubilee Bridge.

jubilee bridge trees

A glance down from the bridge reminded me that it hadn’t been so pleasant a few hours ago…

swollen esk

…and although the path round the bottom of the Castleholm looked inviting….

new path storm ciara

…frequent puddles had to be navigated…

puddle new path storm ciara

…and the river was not far away.

full esk new path storm ciara

When I got to the Kilngreen, the waters had dropped far enough for an oyster catcher to perch on a fence post in safety.

oyster catcher on post

As I walked back past the church, a small flock of oyster catchers swirled through the sky above my head.

flock of oyster catchers

I got home from a three mile walk which I hadn’t expected to be able to take let alone enjoy and then sank into sloth for the rest of the day.  Mrs Tootlepedal did get out to do a little gardening so the day wasn’t entirely wasted.

We have been lucky again as there was enough water at Hawick 20 miles up the road to seriously damage a building beside the river.

Looking at the forecast now, it seems that the worst may well have passed us by and we can expect some damp and windy weather for the next couple of days but nothing worse.

We are grateful.

The flying bird of the day is that greenfinch avoiding the first siskin that it met..

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent trip to New Zealand to visit their son and his family.  Knowing that I like a bridge, Alison showed me this picture to prove that they have bridges in New Zealand too.

NX bridge

I am pleased to have a little sunshine in the guest picture because there wasn’t a hint of  sunshine here today.  It was grey, very windy (45 mph gusts) and often very rainy too.

The birds weren’t keen to fly in to the feeder but our resident dunnocks pottered about on the ground in the shelter of the hedge behind the feeder…

dunnock

…and a lone goldfinch appeared.

goldfinch

When I was taking the picture of the goldfinch, I realised that it had stopped raining for a while at least, so I put on every waterproof I could find just in case and went out for a short walk to stretch my legs.

There was a fair bit of water going down the river but that didn’t put off a dipper from doing a little dipping…

dipper in Esk

…and two crows found rocks to stand on as the water rushed by.

two crows in the water

I crossed the Town bridge and went on to the Kilngreen where there were a few gulls about. The wind was so strong that when they tried to fly into it, they went slowly enough for even my pocket camera with the zoom well zoomed to catch them in the air.

flying gull lumix 2

I couldn’t do much about the light though so the results are far from perfect.  I took the pictures  just to show how strong the wind was.

flying gull lumix 3

Looking at the Meeting of the Waters where the Ewes coming from the right joins the Esk, it was easy to see where it had been raining the hardest.

meeting of the waters

The Sawmill Brig was getting its feet wet today.

sawmill brig with water

And I got my feet a bit wet as I puddled along the path round the bottom of the Castleholm.

puddles on path

Sheep were astonished at the sheer beauty of my rainy day get up (woolly hat with cap underneath, scarf, big coat, waterproof trousers and a grumpy expression).

inquisitive sheep castleholm

But it was quite warm and it wasn’t raining so after admiring some artistic lichen on a gate…

lic hen on gate

…and some more on the gatepost..

lichen on gatepost

…I decided not to cross the Jubilee Bridge…

jubilee bridge

…but to walk a little further up river and cross the Duchess Bridge.

I was just admiring a fern garden on a tree and thinking how much rain is needed to get a result like that….

ferns on tree

…when it started to rain very heavily.

I was grateful for my ample clothing and for the shelter from the wind that walking along the river bank provided, but the last few hundred yards of my walk through the town got me and my gear thoroughly soaked.  The wind was so strong at one point that my legs were going  forwards but my body was going backwards.

I got home safely though and enjoyed cold beef and fried bubble and squeak for lunch.

After lunch, the weather settled down to being constantly beastly so I settled down to putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Database.

I then tidied up the front room a bit for the most important gathering of the year, The Langholm Archive Group Annual General Meeting. (Drum roll and fanfare.)

Eight members were present and we congratulated ourselves on having extended the newspaper index from 1848 to 1901 and past the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the South African war.  The photographic collection has increased too, thanks to the work of Sandy and as we get a continuous trickle of inquiries and many remarks about the usefulness and interest of the website, we decided to keep our work going for yet another year.

Thanks go to all the volunteers who make it happen.

In spite of its great importance, the meeting was over in twenty five minutes and I was soon able to sit down to an evening meal of baked potatoes followed by baked apples, a warming treat on a miserable day.

I couldn’t get a flying bird in the garden so the flying bird of the day is one of gulls at the Kilngreen battling into the wind.

flying gull lumix 1

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Today’s guest picture comes from that inveterate traveller Bruce.  He looked in on a tea dance at the famous Tower Ballroom in Blackpool but did not venture onto the floor himself.  Doubtless things will be a bit more lurid on 16th November when Strictly comes to town.

tower ballroom

Finally our spell of mild autumn weather came to an end today and we woke up to a frosty garden.

first frosts

It wasn’t very frosty though and things warmed up gently through the morning. I wondered if the frost would have encouraged some autumn colour, so after breakfast I went out for a short three bridges walk.

I was waved off by a hosta positively glowing in the sunshine.

golden hosta

Sadly, the autumn colour was mainly on the river bank…

leaves on ground

…though it was still a glorious morning for a walk.

meeting of the waters late october

The ducks seemed to think that it was good weather for them too…

female mallard

…as they cruised up and down the Ewes Water, occasionally ducking.

male mallard

I fear that autumn colour is not going to figure this year and the trees behind the Sawmill Brig have lost interest in the whole thing.

sawmill brig autumn

The old Episcopalian Church on the Lodge Walks was looking attractive.  It is a pity that no use can be found for this building.

episcopla church october

The trees across the Castleholm were rather dull….

trees on castleholm

…but the sunny day made for good views.  I was interested to see the hill cattle had chosen to graze near the top of the hill where I would have thought that it would be chillier.  Perhaps they got more sun up there.

cattle on Timpen

With two months still to go until the shortest day, it is slightly depressing to find the sun so low in the sky even at this time of year but it does provide some Hitchcock like shots on a walk.

low shadows n walk

When I got back, I settled down and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to demount her embroiderers’ group exhibition in the Welcome to Langholm hub, I did the crossword, made coffee and bread and followed that up with another tarte tatin.   We have quite a few apples in hand and the making (and eating) of tarte tatin is my approved way of dealing with them at the moment.

After lunch, with the thermometer showing 7°C, I wrapped up well and went out for a pedal.  The larches are doing their best to provide some autumn colour.  These ones are at Pool Corner.larches pool corner

I was a few miles up the road when I met a cyclist coming the other way.  He drew to a halt and it turned out to be Sandy out for a spin on his e-bike.  He was doing an adventurous circuit with quite a few hills in it.

sandy cycling

After some chat, he set off to pedal home to Langholm…

sandy cycling off

…and I cycled on up to the top of Callister.

Rather annoyingly, after a brilliantly sunny morning, a few stray clouds had turned up to hide the sun…
clouds from callister

…but out to the west, the sea was glistening where the clouds had cleared.

shining sea from callister

It didn’t take long for them to clear where I was and I cycled home in golden splendour.

golden wauchopedale

I was going to cycle through the town and out of the other side but I came upon a man with a tractor cutting the roadside hedge.  As this often involves covering the road with sharp hawthorn fragments, I turned back and did two circuits of the New Town to make up my twenty miles.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair and after I had had a shower, my flute pupil Luke turned up.  Thanks to some improved teaching and some home practice, he is really getting a grip on the counting.  We are also both working on approaching high notes with confidence rather than terror, and that is showing improvement too.

The weather looks set fair for the next few days so I am hoping to be able to add a few more miles to my October total before the end of the month.  Since the clocks have gone back, I will have to make an effort to get started sooner as the evenings are really drawing in now and I don’t have good enough equipment (or the courage) to cycle in the dark.

We have put the bird feeder out and I hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as the birds notice that food is now available.  In the meantime, I didn’t see a flying bird today, so a reflective Mr Grumpy, spotted from the Town Bridge on my cycle ride, will have to do.

reflective heron

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo.  She escaped just in time from the Manitoba snow storm and arrived in London to find that it was raining a lot instead.  In the end the rain stopped for long enough for her to visit Kew Gardens where she encountered these  splendidly prickly plants.

kew

After our short spell of better weather, the weather gods had decided to bring us back down to earth today and it was raining heavily when we got up.   Mrs Tootlepedal bravely cycled off in the rain on business after breakfast while I did the sensible thing and stayed at home and arranged to have coffee with Sandy and Dropscone.

Dropscone brought his usual supply of good scones and we sconed, sipped and chatted away as the rain fell.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from the town and we squeezed another cup from the pot for her.

After coffee, I had time to do the crossword and start a tarte tatin off before we had lunch,  After lunch, the rain finally eased off and I was able to get out into the garden.

There were birds posing for me all over the place.

The rather scruffy male blackbird is looking better…

blackbird improving

…even though the female doesn’t think much of him yet.

fierce balckbird

The sparrows often have a bath in the dam behind the house and then, like this one, flit up up onto the lilac to have a flutter and a shoogle to get dry again.

fluffy sparrow

A bird skulked in the shadows on the fence…

dunnock on fence

…before flying up into the rowan tree to reveal that it was a dunnock or hedge sparrow.  It is obviously a bit slow in learning the difference between a fence, a tree and a hedge.

dunnock in rowan

As you can see, the sun had come out by this time, so I took a quick look at some clematis…

two clematis

…and a fuchsia which is coming out ridiculously late for the first time this year, together with a dahlia which is hanging on very well after looking as though it was well past it.

fuchsia and dahlia

Then, as it was too good a day to miss by now, I got my bike out and checked to see how my legs were feeling after two busy days.

It turned out that they were feeling fine and they carried me round my customary twenty mile Canonbie circuit slowly but without complaining.

There is a spot along the way where the grass always turns golden brown at this time of year.

brown hillside Kerr

I didn’t stop for many pictures as this is a well documented ride already but I needed a breather after 15 miles so I took a look up stream from the Hollows Bridge…

view from hollows bridge october

…and a bit later on was much struck by the golden colour of some bracken on the old A7

bracken old A7

The sun is getting low in the sky all day now and the trees on the far bank were casting interesting shadows on the old distillery building as I crossed Skippers Bridge.

Distllery from Skippers october

When I got home, I turned out the tarte tatin and while Mrs Tootlepedal made a pot of tea, I cut a couple of slices of the tarte to go with it.  I added some ice cream to my slice and in my view, it would be hard to find a better after-ride refreshment.

I was so refreshed indeed that after I had had a shower, I went out for a short walk.  I was motivated partly by the tarte, partly by the lovely evening light and mostly by the fact that my physio has told me to walk more.

It is not long until the clocks go back so evening walks at this time of day will disappear for some months so I was pleased to able to enjoy such a beautiful light today.

The shadows were falling fast but I had time to enjoy some gentle autumn colour on my way.  The pictures speak for themselves, I think.

tree at church

Esk in evening light

looking up esk

trees by A7 kilngreen

lodge october evening

By the time that I had crossed two bridges and was approaching the third, the sun was ready to sink behind the hill and the shadows were lengthening…

castleholm october evening

…until the monument was in the sun but most of the New Town was in the shade.

Whita in sun town in shadow

I swept  a lot of walnut leaves off the front lawn when I got home.

We had courgette fritters for tea and then I went to sing with the Langholm choir.  Because of some illness going round, we had a select turnout, but we had a most enjoyable sing all the same.

As the sun went down on my walk in the afternoon, it began to feel a little chilly and I was wondering if we would have a frost tonight.  However, it was still quite warm when I walked home from the choir and when I looked at our thermometer a moment ago, it said that it is 9 degrees C.  The forecast claims that it won’t get lower than 5 degrees overnight.  We have been very lucky to have kept our flowers for so long and it looks as thought they may still be there tomorrow.

No flying bird of the day today but I was happy to see a starling back perching on the holly tree again.

starling back on holly

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Today’s guest picture is the last from Dropscone’s Highland holiday.  He and his daughter Susan visited Loch Ness but resisted the charms of the cruise boat and drove round the loch by car instead.  They didn’t see a monster.

Loch ness cruiser

It was another gloomy, damp day here with the clouds hanging low over the  town and frequent spells of miserable drizzle to make things damper and gloomier.

Mrs Tootlepedal found a nearly dry moment to take our visitor Riley for a walk after breakfast, and Riley enjoyed a well earned rest when he got back.

riley

I had a pretty good rest all morning myself and it was only interrupted by the arrival of Sandy for a cup of coffee and a biscuit.  He had had a very good ride on his new electric bike yesterday and was full of praise for the way it had carried him up steep roads and over the hill and far away.  He has written about his trip here.   This might interest anyone thinking about getting an e-bike.

When he left, I went out into the garden to see if it was raining.

It was.

sparrow in rain on fence

Looking around, I could see that our power lines were busy.  I don’t usually expect to see a robin perching on one.

robin on wire

I do expect to see starlings at present.  They were adopting varying formations today,

three starlings on wirefour starlings on wire

A blackbird preferred to remain at a lower level and took the chair.

blackbird on chair staring

Sandy went off to the Archive Centre and brought back some sheets of the newspaper index for me to put onto the database.  Spurred by this, I caught up on my backlog, and it looks as though there will be plenty more gloomy weather to come which will encourage me to put in these new sheets soon.

As the afternoon wore on, the drizzle stopped and I found myself with just enough time for a quick three bridges walk before my flute pupil Luke arrived.

I nodded at some flowers as I left the garden…

roses and dahlia panel

…and walked down to the suspension bridge from which I looked up river towards the first bridge that I would cross…

 

Town Bridge October

…and down river to where the poplars are just beginning to change colour.

poplars beside Esk

The best leaf colour of the day was lying in a gutter beside the bridge..

fallen leaves

…and there is a bit of worry that the leaves may fall off the trees this year without giving us a good show of autumn tints.

I walked along the river bank and crossed the town bridge.  I was hoping to see some riverside birds, but the only one that I came across was Mr Grumpy, standing on one leg.

heron one leg

I then walked up to the Sawmill Bridge and crossed it.

sawmill brig

Looking up the Lodge Walks from under the canopy, the trees look pretty green still…

lodge walks inside

…but looking at the same trees from outside in the field, they look rather brown.

lodge walks outside

Across the Castleholm, there was a mild show of colour but the birch trees have lost all their leaves already and give the scene a rather blurred look.

trees across castleholm

A little burst of sunshine appeared but it lit up Whita Hill and the monument while I remained under a cloud.

sunshine on whita

When I got to the Jubilee Bridge, the third of my three bridges, something had changed since my last walk.

jubilee bridge october

I realised that I could see more of the bridge than usual and this turned out to be because someone had cut down one of the two big trees that stood beside the bridge.

felled tree jubilee bridge

Why they should have done this is a mystery at present.

I stood on the bridge and looked upstream.

 

upriver from jubilee bridge october

And then I walked home and saluted a beautiful astrantia which welcomed me into the garden.

astrantia october

My flute pupil Luke came and we practised some new pieces which was exciting.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been looking at recipes and made a delicious red lentil dal to go with a second helping of the venison stew.  The day ended well.

There are two flying birds of the day today just because I didn’t have much else to do in the morning except look up at distant birds.

First, a rook flying high over the garden…

flying rook

…and then a starling, trying to find a better power line to perch on.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture is a second from my brother’s trip to Tamworth.  As well as the colourful gardens, he enjoyed the contrast between the Tamworth’s ancient bridge and the modern buildings behind it.

Tamworth Bridge

We woke up to sunshine.  It was hard to believe but it was undoubtedly there.  After breakfast, I went out into the garden to enjoy it.

The sunflowers looked more cheerful too.

sunflower group

The sedum is getting flushed with pink…

pink sedum

…and the last of the poppies are still hanging on…

deep red poppy

…but a nasturtium, positively sparkling with joy, took the prize.

sparkling nasturtium

There were even a few butterflies about.  The red admirals seem to like resting on hosta leaves to gather warmth.

buttefly on hosta

Sadly, the sunshine didn’t last for long and we were soon back to gusty winds and frequent rain showers.  I made some potato soup for lunch and while it was cooking, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a jackdaw making free with our plums.  The miscreant tried to hide behind a leaf when it saw us looking at it, but the well pecked plum in front of it was a giveaway.

jackdaw at the plums

In light of the poor weather, I devoted the afternoon to musical matters until Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea (and the last of the biscuits).

It was still raining off and on when he went, but I was confident that the worst was behind us and I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal to come out for a short walk when it had finally stopped.

I carried an umbrella just in case but I had no need for it, as the evening turned out to be much like the early morning.

We passed a large number of ducks on the banks of the Ewes Water as we went along the Kilngreen…

ducks on kilngreen

…and there was an old friend there too.

heron on kilngreen

We walked across the Sawmill Brig and onto the Castleholm.  It was looking lush and green…

view of castleholm

…and the Lodge Walks had a refreshed look about them too.

lodge walks september

The gaps along the side of the Walks, where trees have been taken out, have made room for wild saplings to spring up.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is an ash.

new ash tree

Even when the mature trees are still there, views can be gained by peering through the branches.

warbla from Lodge walks

We were passed by some traffic and looking back as it passed us, I wondered of whom it reminded me.  But there were too many choices so I stopped wondering and walked on.

horse rider

We went past the Lodge and came back down the other side of the Castleholm.  One of my favourite trees looks at its best at this time on a sunny evening.

pine tree castleholm

Looking across at the trees that line the Lodge walks, it was apparent that autumn is on its way as the leaves are just starting to lose a little colour here and there.

back of lodge walks

In the shade beside the paths on our way home, I could see red campion…

red campion

…and snowberries.

snowberry

After the gloom of the last few days, a sunny walk was most welcome and we had worked up an appetite for the rest of the sausage stew and some courgette fritters for our tea.  They went down well.

No flying bird of the day today.  Indeed this bird looks as though it has hardly got a feather to fly with.

moulting blackbird

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