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Posts Tagged ‘cowslip’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who felt that he could prove that East Wemyss has fine trees as well as seemingly eternal sunshine.

East wemyss

For a change, we had some sunshine here too today, but as it came hand in hand with a very gusty and nippy east wind and a drop in the temperature, it was not quite as welcome as it might have been.

I had intended to go cycling, but it wasn’t appetising, and I had  coffee and a ginger biscuit with Sandy instead.  Mrs Tootlepedal had a very busy morning of meetings so when Sandy had left, I had a quiet time.  I did go to visit our translated corner shop though.

two shops

The new shop (on the left in the panel) is bigger, brighter and has a nifty new sign but the old shop was on a proper corner so I shall miss it.  Still, my cycle route to the new shop takes me along the river and I hope to be able to catch a few waterside bird pictures from time to time when I go to get my groceries.

The better weather brought more birds to the feeder….

busy feeder

…and the better light let me capture a pair of greenfinches coming and going.

flying greenfinches

Even occasional light showers didn’t put the birds off…

chaffinchlanding rain

..and flying chaffinches were ten a penny, rain or shine.

flying chaffinch panel

I made some leek and potato soup for lunch (leeks and onions from the garden but we have had to start buying potatoes again after 5 months of eating home grown).

After lunch, I went out for a walk, touring the garden before I went.

There is still a little colour, fresh from the jasmine, medium from the wallflower and faded from Rosy Cheeks…

jasmine, wallflower, rosy cheeks

…and some interesting greens too, the perennial nasturtium in the yew, unseasonable leaves still on a clematis and promise of flowers from a sarcococca by the back door.

yew, clematis sarcococca

I started out on my walk just after two o’clock and the sun was already setting behind the hill, so one side of the river was already in shade.

esk in November

I directed my feet to the sunny side of the street and went up a bit of a hill too in an effort to keep in the sun.

The wall, as I went up Hallpath had a good deal of interest with hart’s tongue fern, spleenwort and ample supplies of moss on some sections.

three wall hall path

I looked up from the wall and admired a lofty tree.  A man gardening nearby told me that it is a Wellingtonia.

wellingtonia

As I walked on, the sun was getting lower all the time and I had to walk tall to get my head warm as I passed between a wall and a beech hedge.

beech hedge hallpath

I took the track along to the round house and passed a tree which has been gradually eating a ‘neighbourhood watch’ plaque.  It looked like this in 2016…

tree eating notice…and it looked like this today.

tree eating sign

I wonder how long it will be before the plaque disappears entirely.

The sun had all but disappeared by the time that I passed the round house…

round house…and headed on down through the little oak wood….

oak branch mossy

…to the old railway and took the path back towards town.  There was a lot to see on the short stretch of old railway.  The green lichen was surprisingly bright and the script lichen on the tree was comprehensive if not comprehensible…

four thing son old railway fungus

…and the leaves came from a very young sapling but I don’t know whether the growth on the fallen branch was another lichen or a fungus.  I would happy if a knowledgeable reader could shed some light for me.

I passed Skippers Bridge by without stopping to take yet another picture….or maybe I didn’t and succumbed to temptation…

 

skippers bridge end of november

…and a sheep looked at me as I walked along the Murtholm track with a hint of censoriousness in its gaze as a result.

sheep murtholm

Perhaps I shouldn’t have dallied at the bridge because although I could see sunlight on Meikleholm Hill…

meikleholm evening sun

…it started to rain on me as I walked along.

It was patchy rain.  I could still see sunlight picking out a house on the hill to my right…

sun on house

…but I was in the patch where it was  definitely raining so I hurried home without taking any more pictures.

Mrs Tootlepedal was in the garden when I arrived back so we had a walk round (the rain had stopped) before going in.

We discovered a Lilian Austin flower and there were a lot of buds still forming on the bush.  A cowslip was also flowering….

lilian austin and cowslip november

…but as we are due to have quite  sharp frost tonight, maybe that will be that for both of them.

Regular readers will perhaps be asking why we were not in Edinburgh visiting Matilda as it is a Thursday today and they would be right to ask.  We should have been in Edinburgh but half the children at Matilda’s school have fallen victim to the winter virus and Matilda is in the unlucky half.

As we neither wanted to catch the virus nor bring it back to Langholm, we wisely stayed at home.  An evening phone call revealed that Matilda, after an unhappy morning, was making good progress so we have our fingers crossed that neither she nor her parents will be too badly affected.

There was no hint of sun left by the time we had had a cup of tea so the rest of the day was spent indoors doing little tasks.

The sunnier weather did let me catch a much improved flying bird of the day even though it was raining when it flew past me..

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture was taken by Thomas, one of our new members, and shows the Camera Club  group posing for a picture at the meeting on Monday.

Camera Club 2017

The forecast was quite correct and we got a dry day today which was welcome but our rapture was modified by a brisk and chilly east wind which kept the temperature down and held any thoughts of spring at bay for the time being.

Sandy came round for coffee after he had gone to top up the Moorland bird feeders.  He was going off to Carlisle so sadly there was no chance of a walk later in the day.

When he left, I took a turn round the garden and tried to photograph the Forsythia again. The light was better but the flowers were still swaying wildly in the wind.

Forsythia

It is a cheerful sight.

The birds were not very cheerful.  They are ready to start a fight at the least provocation. The fact that there were perches freely available didn’t stop this siskin abusing an innocent chaffinch…

siskin and chaffinch

I don’t know what impulse drives the birds to be so aggressive when it would be better to take the time eating the seeds.

siskins

There was no shortage of perches during this spat either. The chaffinch top left has the right idea.

siskin

This siskin took off before any arguments could start

goldfinches and siskins

This determined looking goldfinch needed to shift an incumbent

A dunnock made an appearance under the feeders.

dunnock

It should have been a good day for flying bird pictures but the strong wind made approaching the feeders tricky and there was no gentle hovering to help me out today.

I had some homemade sardine pate for my lunch but the regular consumption of oily fish doesn’t seem to be having much beneficial effect on my brain power.  Luckily, I like sardines so I shall keep eating them regardless.  I even have allegedly beneficial grains and seeds in my bread recipe (the wonderfully named ‘Oh-My Megamix’) but they don’t seem to improve my crossword solving skills either.  Ah well, I live in hope.

I spent some time in the garden sieving a little compost.  The material in Bin D is in good condition and I hope to have it all sieved soon.  I filled Mrs Tootlepedal’s big red bucket of compost and then set about sawing up some more of the logs which Dropscone brought from his garden.  I like to do these jobs a little at a time and keep my back in reasonable condition.  It is tempting to do too much on a dry day.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents and I put on many, many layers of cycling gear and braved the east wind for 21 miles.

When I went out a couple of days ago, there was a strong wind from the west and I went up the hill at 10mph and came back at 20mph.  Today, with the wind in the opposite direction, I went up the hill at over 13mph and came back at under 14 mph.   It can be a bit depressing to find yourself pedalling more slowly down a section of gentle gradient on your way home than you cycled up it on the way out.  The net result of the two days was an almost identical average speed.

I stopped for a tree picture…

Glencorf burn

Taken more for the position of the trees than their stature.

…and to admire the daffodils beside the road as I left the town.

Springhill Daffodils

I had a look at my bike when I got home and decided that it needed a good clean after some riding on wet and dirty roads so I set about it with soapy water, de-greaser and cloths and toothbrushes.  I won’t say that it was shining when I finished but it was a good deal cleaner.

I had another look round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal had remarked to me in the morning that it is very surprising to her that although she really only  likes daffodils that look yellow like this…

Daffodils

…or this…

Daffodils

…she has a lot of daffodils in the garden that look like this.

 Daffodils

I am not complaining though because I like both sorts.

There are a number of these cowslippy things coming out around the garden…

cowslips

… but the present chilly spell has slowed spring’s progress down to a crawl.

I made myself a sausage stew for my tea and then Susan arrived to give me a lift to Carlisle where we played quartets with our recorder group.  We had a fine variety of music to play and excellent tea and biscuits to follow so I enjoyed the evening.

We passed the lorry gritting the main road as we drove home.  Another cold night is in prospect.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, taken during the cloudy morning.

chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another of my brother’s pictures of Hardwick Hall.  It puts everything into perspective as they say.hardwick hall

Today’s weather had good points and bad points about it and they were both caused by the same thing.  It was raining when we woke and it had obviously been raining all night….

bedraggled daffodil

The daffodils hung their heads and cried.

…but the effect of the rain was that the persistent haze of the past few days had been washed away.   This wasn’t much help in the morning because it kept on raining but the afternoon was ideal for a cycle ride with the retired Mrs Tootlepedal.

Before that though, there was work to be done.

First there was the crossword to solve and then a fixture list for the forthcoming season had to be HTML formatted and sent up to Dropscone’s Borders Golf Association website.  This required unearthing a password which had died with my old file transfer program a few weeks ago.  Unlike many computer problems, this one turned out to be quite simple as the hosting company has an easily accessible and useful website.  Hooray.

Once the fixture list was done, I put a Gilbert and Sullivan song into my music program so that a fellow Langholm choir member could come round and practise a solo he is doing in our forthcoming concert.  He came round and he practised it.  It sounded good.

That took up the morning.

Somehow there was a moment to watch a siskin squabble too…

siskin squabble

…and take a look at some flowers in the garden.

grape hyacinths

A promise of colour to come.

a little white flower

An unidentified little white flower outside the the kitchen window

Once again Mrs Tootlepedal, now that she has retired and has time on her hands, was keen on a short pedal after lunch so we went off to visit the new bridge at Westwater.  The rain had cleared the skies and the wind had dropped so we had a very nice outing physically and visually.

wet roads

The wet roads and dramatic skies made for good viewing.

cloudscape

From the same spot but looking in the opposite direction.

The view from the bridge

The view from the bridge

on the way home

On the way home

We met a cyclist on the way who said he had seen some lizards on a wall.  We stopped and looked but could find no lizards.  We saw a willow…

willow

…and some colourful lichen….

colourful lichen

…and had to be content with that.

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal did some gardening and I cycled another six miles just to keep to my daily schedule.  I stopped to admire Pool Corner as I went.

Pool Corner

It was a real treat to cycle in light winds but it was only a temporary delight as the wind is forecast to get up again tomorrow.

I had another look at the garden flowers when I got back.

Cowslip

A cowslip which has come to join the primulas.

viola

A viola which Mrs Tootlepedal has transplanted so that she can see it from the kitchen window.

We have been instructed in the newspapers today  by those who know better than us to eat more fruit and veg so I made myself a large plate of roasted vegetables for my tea.   To tell you the truth, I was going to make it anyway whatever anyone told me.

Then it was time to drive to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group.  We had all six players in Jenny’s front room tonight and made a goodly noise as a result.

The flying bird of the day was a reliable chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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