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Posts Tagged ‘cosmos’

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin.  He is visiting his son in California where he was impressed to see that every other parking space at his son’s place of work had an electric charging point..

Apple EV charging

We had an unusual day here today in that it didn’t rain at all.  People were walking round the town looking nervously at the sky and wondering what had gone wrong.

It was an early autumn sunny day though, being quite chilly in the morning and not warming up until later in the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent the whole morning manning a stall at the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre where she gave out information about the proposed community land purchase scheme.  I went along for the more mundane purpose of buying fish and meat.  I would have bought cheese and honey too, but the cheese man has stopped coming, and the honey will not be ready for another month or two.

When I got home, I prepared for a cycle ride by drinking coffee and doing the crossword until it got a bit warmer.

I went out into the garden to check the temperature and spotted not one, not two, but three butterflies, a peacock by itself, a red admiral with a small tortoiseshell, and finally all three together.

three butterfly panel

The Abyssinian gladiolus and the mallow were pleased to see the sunshine….

galdiolus and mallow

…but the pick of the flowers for me today was this cosmos.  It was very happy not to be bowed down with raindrops.

cosmos

I went back in and fuelled up on some haggis and finally got going just before midday.

For once, the wind was behind me as I cycled out of town and I had a most enjoyable time cycling through the peaceful pastoral countryside…

pastoral scene

…though the verges have been so heavily mown that there was not much in the way of wildflowers to be seen.  This ragwort was growing in a crack in the concrete on a motorway bridge.

ragwort and insect

My route took me down into England.  There are many good things about cycling on the back roads of North Cumbria; the generally excellent road surfaces, the lack of traffic and the absence of hills among them, but one of the things that I like best are the many lone pine trees that I pass along the way.

Some are tall and thin…

pine tree harker

…and others, shorter and stout.

pine tree 2 harker

After 30 miles with the wind being mostly helpful, there came the inevitable time when I had to turn into the wind to pedal home.  It wasn’t very strong so I made reasonable progress but I was happy to stop and look at the cliff beside the River Lyne where it is crossed by the Longtown road.

It is a strikingly coloured sandstone cliff, all the more surprising…

cliff cliff

…because it sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise gentle and flat  landscape

river lyne at cliff

Looking  from the bridge, I could see the Longtown windmills slowly tuning in the light breeze.  The fact that they were facing directly in the direction that I was going to have to pedal to get home was not encouraging.

longtown windmills

Still, as I say, the wind was not strong so I made steady progress.  On the longer rides, I like to stop roughly every five miles for a minute or so just to stretch and to make sure that I remember to eat and drink regularly.

My next stop after the bridge over the Lyne gave me the chance to look across the River Esk and see Netherby Hall, the site of Young Lochinvar’s daring feat.

netherby hall

On this occasion there was no “racing and chasing on Canonbie Lea” as I maintained what could charitably be described as a steady pace for the rest of my way home.  The journey was enlivened by having to listen to remarks made by  my legs on the lines of,  “Whose idea was this then?” and “Any chance of a cup of tea soon?” and “I hope you’re happy because we aren’t.”

I had to stop to talk to them severely at the bus stop at the Hollows and this let me enjoy some orange hawkweed and a hedge full of convolvulus.

hawkweed and convolvulus

I don’t know why my legs were reluctant to co-operate over the last few miles.  Perhaps the hilly walk yesterday had put them off.  Still, they got me home and 50 sunny miles had been completed so I wasn’t complaining (much).

Mrs Tootlepedal, with great forethought, was cooking a large heap of drop scones when I got in and half a dozen of these with some homemade raspberry jam soon made everything right.

So right, in fact, that I was able to go out and mow the middle lawn.  When I had put the mower away, I had a last look round the garden.

The verbena is looking very fine.  I wasn’t very taken with it when it first came out, as I thought that it was rather spindly and insubstantial, but it has got better and better as time goes on, and it is another of those flowers of which each head is a little garden in itself.  I like that.

verbena

Mrs Tootlepedal likes the gorgeous blue of the gentians which are growing in a pot beside the chimney.

gentian

The sedums were glowing in the evening sun and they had attracted several visitors.

sedum and insect

As well as flowers, the garden is full of flying things.  The starlings which live in our neighbour’s holly tree have taken to perching on our new electricity lines and there are often several to be seen.

starling on wire

The mint is still very busy with these bright green flies…

greenbottle on mint

… and every time you walk past it, there is a mighty buzzing as they all fly up into the air..

There was a family of sparrows lined up on the house gutter and I was interested to see that as in all families, there was one that was sulking and refusing to get its picture taken.

sparrows on gutter

Mrs Tootlepedal rounded the day off by cooking some the fish from the morning’s market for our tea.  It went well with potatoes, turnips and beans from the garden.

Then we had the double pleasure of watching the highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain.  The Tour of Britain is in Scotland for a couple of days and it was nice to see the peleton on familiar roads.

The flying bird of the day is a mechanical one.  It passed over the garden in the evening and as it was carrying a big TV camera, I wondered if it had been busy photographing cyclists earlier in the day and was on its way to Kelso for tomorrow’s stage.

helicopter

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Today’s guest picture comes from my flute pupil Luke’s mother Sharon.  She has been on Orkney where she visited the chapel built by Italian POWs on the shell of a Nissen hut.

Orkney Chapel

We had a better day today but to make up for the lack of rain, the temperature had dropped a bit and it was still windy.

The cooler weather had not discouraged butterflies and there were several red admirals about…

red admiral september

…and the occasional peacock too.

peacock september

I noticed that one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s runner beans, planted among the flowers along the vegetable garden fence is producing a good crop.

beans on fence

The effort of riding the borrowed bike into a strong wind a couple of days ago had given me a sore knee, a very common complaint when you ride a bike with a slightly different riding position to your normal steed.  The rest yesterday had improved things a lot so I took the opportunity of the dry weather to test my knee with a short ride on my own bike.

Apart from having to battle with a brisk wind again, things went very well, and I managed 10 miles without any knee trouble at all.

I stopped to admire a fungus beside the road, and if you wonder what was admirable about it….

mushroom

…it was the size that attracted my attention.

mushroom and foot

When I got home, I looked longingly at some ripe  plums on a very top branch on the plum tree, well out or reach.  The birds will have to enjoy them.

tall plums

I mowed the front lawn and got a good lot of grass off it.

It has been a good year for grass but the cosmos, which came out just  as the weather turned very wet, have generally  not enjoyed themselves at all.

poor cosmos

The various clematis have had a good year…

clematis on fence

…and crocosmia and poppies are lasting well.

poppies and crocosmialate poppy

After lunch, we went to Edinburgh to visit Matilda, and as well as the usual games, we introduced her to the delights of Clock Patience.  She impressed us by being able to say all the clock face numbers in Gaelic.

We had a lot of fun and the usual excellent meal and came home tired but content.

The flying bird of the day is a bee flitting about among the nicotiana.

bee on nocotiana

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Today’s guest picture was very kindly sent to me by my brother Andrew.  He quite rightly felt that we all needed cheering up on account of the political situation, and thought that there could be no more cheerful sight than the riverside gardens at Tamworth.

Tamworth gardens

After yesterday’s miserable day of wind and rain, we got a duplicate wet and windy day today.  As a result, I was more than happy to let breakfast and the crossword drift gently into coffee and a biscuit.  At this point, I was rescued from gloomy torpor by first, the arrival of Sandy looking to borrow the Archive Group projector, and then by Dropscone, who turned up with great expectations, having read in yesterday’s post that there was a chance of biscuits as well as coffee.

We did indeed enjoy the recorder group’s biscuits with some Guatemalan coffee.  The rain fell steadily outside.

When the coffee klatch disbanded, I thought about cycling down to Longtown on my borrowed bike in order to  hand it back and collect my own bike from the bike shop and ride it home.

I thought about it and I looked at the rain and then I thought again.

But then I remembered the Rules of the Velominati, the invisible hand that guides the cyclists of the world along the truth path of enlightenment.

Their mission statement is this:

The Rules lie at the beginning of The Path to La Vie Velominatus, not at the end; learning to balance them against one another and to welcome them all into your life as a Velominatus is a never-ending struggle waged between form and function as we continue along The Path towards transcension.

There are many rules, many of the only apply to more serious cyclists than me but I like Rule 12 which says:

The correct number of bikes to own is n+1 where n is the number of bikes that you already own.

Today I particularly thought of rule 9 which states:

If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period. Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.

And the best rule of all, Rule 5:

I cannot reprint what Rule 5 says in this blog for reasons of taste, but suffice it say that the general tenor of the rule is:

“Stop Crying”

So I stopped crying and put my waterproof gear on and cycled the 15 miles down to Longtown by back and sometimes bumpy roads on my borrowed bike (which has a very upright riding position) into a stiff wind and with rain battering into my face for most of the way.

I enjoyed it.

Once you are wet, you can’t get any wetter and it was reasonably warm so there was nothing to complain about.

I enjoyed coming back by a straighter route on my own much more comfortable bike, with the wind behind me and the rain reduced to a drizzle even more for some reason.

My bike was in the repair shop because of a persistent and annoying noisy vibration, probably coming from the belt drive.  I say probably because the best brains at the bike shop are baffled and although their efforts have led to an amelioration, they have not led to a complete cure.  Further trial and research is in order.  Meanwhile the bike is riding pretty well so I am fairly happy.

When I got back, I had a look round the garden in the drizzle to enjoy what colour I could find.

rudbeckia

The bad weather had not put a small insect off visiting the zinnia.

zinnia with insect

And a cosmos smiled shyly at me through the gloom.

cosmos

Lilian Austin keeps producing more late flowers…

two lilians

…and most surprising of all is this clematis at the front door, as this is the third time is has produced flowers this year.

very late front door clematis

I had time for a shower and a late lunch and then I set off to Carlisle (in the rain) but this time by car.  I was heading for the station to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up from the London train.

Quite by chance, I saw this fine steam locomotive, 45699 Galatea, waiting at platform 3 to haul a steam excursion down the line.

Galatea 45699

Mrs Tootlepedal’s train was punctual to the very minute, indeed it might even have been a fraction early, so I had to leave the steam engine and go to meet her.

It wasn’t raining in Carlisle but it was raining in Langholm when we got back.  There are disadvantages in living among the hills on the edge of the Solway plain.  After several sunny days in London, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked on them.

There is no flying bird of the day, but I did take a short and wobbly video on my phone of Galatea pulling out of the station.  I have turned the sound down considerably as it was a noisy affair.

I don’t need to say it but I will anyway, it is surpassingly good to have Mrs Tootlepedal home again.

You can find the very extensive list of the Velominati rules here if your interest has been roused.  They are for a specialised taste though and probably not very funny if you are not a cyclist.  My tan lines are very disappointing.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who must be on holiday in the West Highlands as he sent me this picture of Eilean Donan Castle taken earlier this evening as the light faded.

Eilean Donan  cas

We had plenty of light here today with a lot of sunshine and and only the odd speck of rain.

We weren’t able to make much of the good weather as we spent a lot of time indoors singing.  In the morning we went to sing with the church choir and welcome the new temporary minister who is taking charge for the next few weeks after the departure of Scott, the previous minister.  Fortunately for the absent minded parishioner, the new minister is also called Scott, though as he is American is is quite easy to distinguish him from his predecessor.

The  service went well and the choir did its bit to welcome Scott to his new charge.

Mrs Tootlepedal is helping with the administration of the music at our Carlisle choir at present so we had to be there early which didn’t leave us a lot of time between choirs.  I spent as much time as I could watching the birds…

…and there were a good many to watch…

_DSC7533

…with chaffinches particularly active….

_DSC7534

…and quite ready to shout at any sparrows coming out of the shadows at them.

_DSC7552

It was rare not to see a small queue heading for the feeder.

_DSC7544

They were joined by a sleek looking jackdaw.

_DSC7537

I took the bird camera out into the garden and took a shot or two there as well.

Special Grandma is my current favourite….

_DSC7566

…though Lilian Austin has not given up yet.

_DSC7567

There are some cosmos remaining and they are popular with insects…

_DSC7578

…though the Michaelmas daisies are still the biggest draw.

_DSC7582

I promised to take a picture of a butterfly every day for as long as I can so here is today’s offering, a red admiral doing a bit of sunbathing on a hosta leaf.

_DSC7572

I had thought that the poppies might have gone over but there has been a revival in the new bed…

_DSC7575

…and along with an orange hawkweed, an Icelandic poppy could be found.

_DSC7579

I went back in and just had time for  a sardine sandwich and a blue tit (I ate one and shot the other)…

_DSC7587

..before we had to set off for Carlisle.

While Mrs Tootlepedal helped with the music, I did some useful shopping and then we settled down to two hours of hard work under our new conductor, Ellen.

My voice held up not too badly but I hope that I can get it working a bit better before the Christmas concert season comes round.

We drove home in in beautiful evening sunshine but were happy to sink down for a rest rather than rush out into the garden again.

There was no shortage of flying birds today so once again there is a gender balanced chaffinch flying bird of the day situation.

_DSC7549

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Sheffield correspondent, Edward.  He and his wife went to Singapore for the FI Grand Prix and stopped off at Phuket in Thailand where he was very impressed by the wiring.

Wiring in Southern Phuket

I footered away a fine morning, firstly through a failure of communication with Dropscone about the availability of scones and secondly through indolence when the scones turned out to be a mirage.

I didn’t really do anything…

….though I must have gone out into the garden fro at least a moment or two as I did some shredding of fallen sunflowers and noticed a butterfly on the bench…

red admiral butterfly on bench

…and a bee on a lamium.

bee visiting lamium

They were obviously tucked up snugly during yesterday’s gales.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit Matilda in Edinburgh, catching the first train to run from Manchester to Edinburgh after the line had been cleared of fallen trees.

I watched the birds.

A blackbird boogied on the lawn….

blackbird dancing on lawn

…a chaffinch put a hex on a goldfinch…

chaffinch putting the hex on goldfinch

…a male chaffinch told a female where the really good berries are….

chaffinch showing the way

…while a determined goldfinch practised its breaststroke…

Goldfinch swimming to the feeder

…and a sparrow kept an eye out for new arrivals.

sparrow checking out a chaffinch

From time to time a jackdaw dropped in to supervise.

jackdaw swing on the fat balls

I had an appointment with the dentist as I had carelessly bashed one of my teeth and I needed to know if I had broken it.  He took an x-ray and reassured me that it was sound.  However, if it is still sore after a few days, it might have to come out so I am hoping for the best and eating very soft food.

On my way to the dentist, I saw many bunches of bright red berries….

red berries by river

…and on my way back, I looked at the foliage that I had seen stuck under the town bridge yesterday.  It turned out to be quite a substantial tree, with its head on one side of the bridge….

tree under bridge top

…and its foot caught on the cutwater on the other side.

tree under bridge bottom

On the bank of the river beside the bridge, I was amused by this little family group of fungi with mother sheltering her two affectionate children.

riverside fungus group

I looked at the forecast when I got home and as it said, ‘rain later’, I decided to go cycling ‘now’.

It started to rain just as I got onto my bike.

However, the rain was very light so I decided to chance it and go anyway.  The rain stayed light as I cycled to the top of Callister and back (13 miles) and faded away as I got back to the town so I pedalled on over the river and went a few miles up the main road. This let me get to the magic twenty miles which is the minimum trip I like to do when I have gone to the trouble of getting the bike out.

After several very windy bike rides this month, it was a treat to find that the wind had dropped entirely and in spite of the light rain, cycling was a real pleasure.

The country is getting browner every day…

brown bracken

…so I looked for a bit of colour in the garden when I got back.  A lot of flowers got blown over yesterday but the verbascum just bent with the breeze rather than breaking…

verbascum leaning

…but the tall cosmos, which should be standing up and looking over the front lawn, is now leaning perilously low over the pond.

cosmos drooping

The Japanese anemone is small and tough enough to have survived quite well.

Tired Japanese anemone

After a nourishing meal of fish cakes, I was picked up by Susan, who was driving her very smart new red car, and driven to Carlisle where we played with our recorder group for the first time for a couple of months.  Roy, our librarian, had picked out a fine selection of music for our delight so we had a very good evening.

It was pouring with rain as we drove home.

I was pleased to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had got home safely in spite of her train being delayed a bit on both the up and down trips.  She had had a good time in Edinburgh.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch yet again.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a follow up to Dropscone’s picture from Islay.  My South African correspondent, Tom must also have visited the island because he has sent me a round church by way of counterbalance to Dropscone’s square lighthouse. Kilarrow Church is a Church of Scotland parish church, overlooking and serving Bowmore on the Isle of Islay. It was built in 1767

bowmore church

We had a very straightforward day today.  We went to church and sang in the morning and we went to Carlisle and sang in the afternoon.  There wasn’t much time for anything else as the church service was quite long with two baptisms and the Carlisle session lasted several hours because the community choir was auditioning four applicants for the post of musical director.

We were in the happy position in the community choir of having four excellent candidates, any one of whom seemed likely to be able to look after us well.  We were asked to vote for the one we liked best as a guide to the committee who are making the choice and Mrs Tootlepedal and I chose differently but I would be very happy if her choice won.

We did manage to find enough time to make a beef stew for the slow cooker before we went to church and to visit a shop in Carlisle to buy a few necessities (dates, cheese, coffee beans) on our way to the choir.

It had rained heavily over night but the day was pleasant enough.  It so windy though that I was not at all disappointed to be deprived of cycling.

Just to add a little colour to this post, I rushed out a took three pictures before we went to church…

red admiral

A single red admiral had ignored the wind and arrived on the buddleia

cosmos with dead heads

The tall cosmos looks good but shows that dead heading has been neglected lately

nerines

And some nerines have arrived very suddenly next to the chimney pot by the bird feeder

 

…and then three more pictures in the fading light when we got back in the evening.

fuchsia

Mrs Tootlepedal has cleared some other plants away so that I can get a good look at the fuchsias.

Special Grandma rose

Special Grandma rose is having a second go.

pink dahlia

The dahlia of the day – perfect in my view.

There was no time to watch the birds.  I will try to do better tomorrow but more strong winds are forecast.

 

 

 

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Helping out

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my brother Andrew.  He is recovering from an knee problem so naturally he wanted to test it out.  This was his idea of a good place to test a knee.  He got to the top.

hill

 A short post today as I am rather tired as we had a full day.  It had rained overnight and the garden was fully of soggy flowers when I went out after breakfast.

three wet flowers

This cosmos was the best of them in my view.

big cosmos

I started off by going to the dentist for a check up (passed) and as soon as I got home, we set off in the car to catch the train to Edinburgh from Tweedbank.  The reason for the unusually early visit to Edinburgh was a request from Matilda’s parents for a little help with their garden.

They are selling their house and the professional photographer from the agents was coming to take pictures for the website in the afternoon so they wanted the garden to look as neat as possible.

After two hours work, mostly by Mrs Tootlepdedal but with assistance from me on the mower and lawn edging front, it looked like this.

Carlyle Place lawn

I didn’t take a picture of the garden before Mrs Tootlepedal got to work weeding, planting, clipping and tidying but Hercules had it easy at the Augean Stables by comparison.

What the picture doesn’t show was the rain that came down as we worked.

Inside the house, Alistair and Clare had done wonders.  It was painted recently by our other son and they had tidied and re-arranged and  ‘decorated the set’ so that it looked most inviting, both downstairs….

Carlyle Place downstairs

…and up.

Carlyle Place upstairs

We lent a hand where we could for the final touches and everything was finished just as the photographer arrived.

They are fortunate to have two keen gardeners just opposite them so that the view from their windows in always interesting…..

Carlyle Place sunflowerrs

…and they are very well connected…

Carlyle Place pole

…so we hope that the sale will go well.

Al and Clare were very pleased with the results of the professional photographers work and I look forward to seeing the pictures in due course.

After all the hard work, the grown ups needed a rest so Matilda took us all out for a meal at a very nice Italian restaurant in Leith Walk.

We caught the bus up to the station after the meal…

Leith Walk

…and were impressed by the very tall cranes at the top of the road.  They are busy with construction on the site of a little loved modern set of buildings which we are old enough to have seen being built and subsequently demolished..

We walked along to the edge of the terrace above Waverley Station when we got there and admired the view of the station roof, the North Bridge and Arthur’s Seat in the background.

 

North Bridge

It had tried to rain quite a few times during the day, but the showers hadn’t lasted long and we had good weather for the train and car journey home.

The flying bird of the day is a big city snail.  Al and Clare have dozens in their garden.

Edinburgh snail

 

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