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Posts Tagged ‘crocosmia’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who went to the Taunton Flower Show.  You can read about her adventures here. Sad to say, her favourite arrangement in the ‘At the Garden Gate’ class was disqualified for using artificial grass.

Taunton Flower show

We had quite a lot of rain and wind overnight and it was raining very heavily after breakfast when I had to go up to the Town Hall to inquire about getting a replacement bus pass.  It was a fitful sort of day though, and by the time that I came back, the rain had stopped.  That set the pattern for the day.

Dropscone dropped in with traditional treacle scones to go with a cup or two of coffee. He told me that he had been at a golf tournament earlier in the week and had only managed to get six holes in before the competition was called off because the course was flooded.  The dry spell earlier in the summer seems a distant memory now.

When he left, I looked out of the back door across a rainy garden to see the robin at the far end of the lawn…

sparrow at end of lawn

…and two birds on opposites sides of the great Brexit debate on a neighbour’s rooftop.

two birds not speaking

Badly painted blackbirds are all around…

badly painted blackbird

…though the painter’s work is improving.

better painted blackbird

When the rain stopped, I went out to have a look round and was impressed by Mrs Tootlepedal’s large lily.

bif lily

There are still new flowers coming out and the yellow crocosmia has just started to flower.

yellow crocosmia

The phlox has done so well, undaunted by wind and rain, that Mrs Tootlepedal plans to have even more  next year.  Who could blame her?

fiery phlox

A late honey suckle has come out on the vegetable garden fence.

late honeysuckle

I went back in and made some leek and potato soup for lunch with a leek and potatoes from the garden.  Together with a tomato and feta cheese salad (not from the garden), it made a tasty meal.

After lunch, it looked as though there might be a window in the changeable weather that would allow me to go for a short cycle ride, so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping, I set out to go as far as I could without getting wet.

It was sunny when I started but there was plenty of water running across the road up the Wauchope valley after the morning’s showers, and plenty of water in the little streams rushing down to join the Wauchope Water

bigholms burn

The powers that be have mowed every road verge in the district and there are now no wild flowers to look at, so my camera took a wider view today.

I went to the top of Callister and looked down the other side.

callister panorama

Click for the bigger pic (I may have put this one through a heavy filter.)

The dark clouds coming up from the left told me that it was time to turn and go home.

When I looked back towards the town from the top of the Wauchope Schoolhouse brae, I could see my sunny weather disappearing up the valley

Wauchope view

When I got back to the town, I thought of stopping while the going was good, but it was warm enough and it hadn’t started to rain, so I pressed on and crossed the town bridge and headed north.

 

three arches flood on Esk

I had walked under the near arch dry shod on Common Riding day when I wanted to cross the road which was full of horses.

I kept thinking of those grey clouds that I had seen on Callister and feeling that it would be wise not to go too far, but the road is well surfaced and it was still dry so I went a few miles up the road….

ewes panorama

Another clickable bigger picture.

…and the view is always worth looking at…

ewes view

 

…but I left it a fraction too late to turn round and within a mile of home, the heavens opened and I got wet.  As soon as I got home though, the rain stopped again. Those weather gods like a laugh.

The dry spell gave me a chance to have another walk round the garden.  I was hoping to catch a flying bird…

starlings on wire

….but the starlings stayed rooted to the electricity wire while I watched them and then all moved off in a body as soon as I turned my back for a moment.

A young dunnock tried out the fake tree but sat there quietly.

dunnock on fake tree

I gave up and went in to have a shower.

As we sat down for our tea, the sun came out and it was a glorious evening.  We agreed to go for a walk after our meal but of course, it started to rain again when the time came, so we stayed in.  Then the sun came out as the rain continued and to emphasise what a patchy day it was, when I looked out of the window at the back of the house to try to see a rainbow, I found that it wasn’t raining at all on that side of the house.

I went out into the garden and it wasn’t raining as I went out of the door but it was raining quite hard on the lawn only a few yards away.  I don’t think that I have ever seen quite such local rain.

We have two more days of this sort of weather to come and then, according to a reliable forecast, it is going to get cooler but drier.  It will be nice to be able to plan a day’s activity with confidence.

The flying bird of the day is the dunnock that we saw before.  By the time that I saw it again, it had flown up into the rowan tree.

dunnock in rowan

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  There are caves near his house in East Wemyss which have a rich history dating back to the Picts and some archaeologists are currently having a dig around to find out more.

smacap_Bright

It has been getting steadily warmer here, although nothing like the heatwaves in the USA and mainland Europe and although the morning was grey, it was quite warm enough to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to put on her wellies and do some heavy clearing of old plants from the dam behind our house.

I was so busy wheeling barrow loads of soggy stuff round to our compost bins that I forgot to take any pictures of the activity, though when were finishing, I did spot a duck swimming in the part of the dam that our neighbour had previously cleared on the other side of the bridge.

duck on dam

When that task was finished, we had a cup of coffee and then Mrs Tootlepedal set about other garden business while I took a few pictures.

The poppies had perked up after being battered by the wind yesterday…

three poppies

…and I was pleased to find a lot of the taller flowers were still upstanding.

colourful border

A hosta flower stuck out its tongue for me…

hosta stamens

…and the St John’s Wort berries positively gleamed.

st johns wort berries

I was going to sit down on our new bench for a rest when I noticed that a verbena had sneaked though from behind the seat.

verbena and bench

The privet is a hive of activity.  Not only is it filling the garden with its scent, it has a continuous hum as you approach it, so full of bees is it.  I managed to spot a few today (and a butterfly out of the corner of my eye).

privet with bees

The individual flowers are very fancy with their rolled back petals and they cover the ground below the branches like snow when they fall.

Above the privet, the walnut tree is full of nuts again this year.  Whether the weather will be fine enough to ripen them is another question, but they are looking good at the moment.

walnuts

I noted the first crocosmia in the garden…

crocosmia

…and then went in for lunch, having picked masses more sweet peas and some garden peas to add to our summer soup.

As Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out, we could just keep the soup pot going for quite a time by adding more fresh veg every day, but we probably won’t.

I noted a couple of greenfinches had come to join the crowds on the feeder…

two greenfinches

..but once again, the chief seed eaters were siskins.

passing siskin

By the time that lunch was over, the wind had calmed down a lot and there was the promise of sun for the rest of the day.  I was almost waylaid by a stage of the Tour de France but as it was a flat stage with all the excitement in the last twenty seconds and still some hours away, I pulled myself together and went off to do some pedalling myself.

I did have a choice, since it was such a pleasant day, of a more hilly scenic ride or a slightly more boring and flat ride.  Luckily I chose the boring flat ride as it turned out that while my legs were very happy to co-operate while the going was easy, as soon as I hit a rise, they started to grumble tremendously.

There were no interesting views so I stopped occasionally if I saw something interesting in the verge…

wild flower with bee

…like this great burnet or sanguisorba officinalis.  There is a lot of grass about and I had a bit of trouble in finding a burnet flower without some grass in front of it.

great burnet and grass

The grass and its many seeds may be part of the reason that my legs were a bit unhelpful as grass pollen doesn’t help my breathing.

Still, as my route was largely flat after the first eleven miles, I plodded on down into England where I saw just about the most silver silver birch that I have ever seen.

silver birch

Still in England, I stopped beside the River Esk in Longtown to have a honey sandwich and admire the handsome bridge over the river.

Longtown bridge

After the recent rain, there was enough water in the river to to tempt a fisherman to put on his waders and have a go.

fisherman at Longtown

Thanks to adopting a very sensible speed, I managed to do fifty miles exactly before sinking into a chair in the kitchen and having a reviving cup of tea.  At a bit over 20°C (70°F), and with the sun beating down, it was as hot as I can cope with these days so I was pleased to find that the house was quite cool.

When I had finished my tea, I went out into the garden in pursuit of butterflies.  I had seen quite a lot of them on my ride, so I thought that there were bound to be some in the garden.

I was disappointed.

The fancy roses are trying to prove that Mrs Tootlepedal is wrong to think of replacing with them with simpler varieties…

rose in sunshine

…though these little red charmers which live very close to the ground would probably survive a cull anyway.

roses on ground

The astilbes were beautifully back lit.

backlit astilbe

I went in to enjoy a tasty evening meal, cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal, and then rather collapsed for the rest of the evening for some incalculable reason.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It must have been feeling the heat too as it needed a friend to blow strongly just to keep it in the air.

flying siskin blown up

 

 

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Today’s guest picture once again shows what our son Tony comes across when he walks his dogs at his new house.

Tony's seal

It was yet another miserably drizzly and windy morning when we got up but it was still comfortably warm in the garden.  I am afraid that I was one of those  purveyors of fake news a day or two ago when I said that the scientific rain gauge was showing three inches of rain for the week.  I had got carried away and it was really only showing two inches.  However, by this evening, it really was showing three inches and I have emptied it out and will try to remember to check it (accurately) every Saturday from now on.

Mrs Tootlepedal is busy with creating a blackout blind for an upstairs room and as this involves a patchwork layer  she was quite happy to spend the morning sewing.  I had an interesting crossword and a cup of coffee and I can spend a lot of time, when needed, in solving one and drinking the other.

The forecast had suggested that things might be better in the later part of the afternoon and this turned out to be true so I had a walk round the garden…

plums

There are plums ripening on the plum tree and getting ready to be eaten inside but there are other interested parties in the matter of eating plums…

wasps on plums

…which means that I will have to be careful in reaching up to pick the fruit.

There are still some campanulas left, rather battered but with enough pollen to still attract a bee.

campanulas

We would sit out in the evening and enjoy the sweet smell of the nicotianas if the weather was a bit better.

nicotiana

The French marigolds somehow make it very difficult for me to take a picture which shows just what a treat they are to look at but this was one of my slightly better efforts.

French marigold bunch

I like the devil may care attitude of rudbeckias to their petals.  No military precision there.

big rudbeckia

Mrs Tootlepedal’s scheme to surround the top end of the front lawn with a band of yellow provided by crocosmias is coming along well…

lawn and yellow crocosmia

…and some of the more traditional colour can be seen next to the greenhouse.

two crocosmia

The end of the middle lawn should be a sea of white cosmos and we are hoping that the weather will be kind enough to let them all flower soon.  There are plenty of buds waiting to burst.

white cosmos

Mrs Tootlepedal has a bright red geranium already in place and she has now planted out the economically priced one which she bought in Dumfries.

gernaiums

The dahlias are doing well.

four dahlias

The strong winds of the morning had eased off and although the clouds were still looming, it was not raining so I got my bike out and set off round the 20 mile Canonbie  circuit with the option of turning tail if it started to rain or the wind got too strong.

By the time I had got three miles out of town, there was even a hint of blue sky about…

view from Bloch

…though the view behind me wasn’t very encouraging….

view of Bloch road

…and the sight of house martins (I think) on the telephone wires beside the road spoke of autumn.

martin

However, I was lucky and the roads dried out and the rain stayed away.  With the wind still quite brisk…

blowy tree

…it was good that it was in the most friendly direction possible, being only directly in my face for about five of the twenty miles.  By the time that the ride was over, the wind had dropped a lot so I had a much more enjoyable experience than I had expected.  I even got to stop on the way and chat to a man who has an Archimedes screw.

I picked some raspberries and sweet peas when I got back and we had the raspberries on a meringue base with some whipped cream for afters at our evening meal.

After bragging about how many birds there were in the garden yesterday, I got a well deserved comeuppance when none appeared today at all.  This might have been because of the wind or possibly because I thought I saw a sparrowhawk fly through the garden in the morning but for what ever reason, there is no perching bird today, let along a flying one.

A vivid nasturtium is the flower of the day instead.

nasturtium

 

 

 

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Unusually, I have two guest pictures of the day from our son Tony.  The first shows that he got up at sunrise to walk his dogs…

wemyss dogs

…and the second shows what he saw.

wemyss seal

His new house gets our seal of approval.

Dropscone is away refereeing another golf tournament so there were no treacle scones today but there was ample consolation in the appearance of Sandy who came for coffee and biscuits.

I had a cycle ride in mind for sometime during the day after Sandy left but the weather was very unsettled with a combination of sunshine and rain, including one very sharp shower that came with added thunder and hailstones.

lawn with hail

I did go out in the sunny spells to see if butterflies had arrived but there were none so I took a picture of a Michaelmas daisy…

michaelmas daisy

…had a look at the vegetables..

onion, bean and courgette

…checked out the bees…

bees

…and went back in.

I spent a moment or two watching the birds.  A sunflower is growing uninvited behind the bird feeder and a chaffinch perched on one of its ample leaves to check out the seeds.

chaffinch on sunflower

Amongst the regular visitors, a very white bird appeared.  It was tricky to see what it was but I think it is  sparrow.

white sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal was out on business in the morning and when she returned, a passing neighbour commented on the number of walnuts in the tree…

walnuts in tree

They are looking very impressive and we are hoping that they will ripen into a usable crop.

If I had been keen and watchful, I would have found a good enough spell of weather during the day to get out on the bike but I was not keen and instead of watching the weather, I spent time watching the European Games on the telly.

I was just going upstairs to admire a layout for a patchwork blind which Mrs Tootlepedal is making when the doorbell rang so I went back down and found my South African correspondent, Tom Elliot on the doorstep.

It was a pleasure to see him and we had a good chat.  I had to go up and fetch the car from the garage where it had been having a service and he was still chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal when I got back so we had a walk round the garden and he tested the new bench…

Tommy elliot

…and pronounced it fit for purpose.

He is a keen cyclist and is in training for a very hilly mountain bike marathon back home in South Africa.

When he left, I felt that I ought to make some good use of a day that had become very sunny again so I went for a short walk.

In spite of the heavy showers and quite a bit of recent rain, it is still basically quite dry and the river is low.

River Esk in august

I walked up one of Langholm’s narrowest streets…

George Street

…and came to the Kilngreen where there were a good number of black headed gulls about, some very active…

black headed gull flapping

…and some quite passive.

black headed gull on grass

Then I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed up the Lodge Walks…

lodge walks

…hoping that the sunshine would last for long enough for me to get home dry.

I was keeping an eye out for fungus….

fungus august

…and signs of the season.

beech nutbrambletree fruitsCastleholm acornsbrown twig

Some black clouds loomed up so I didn’t dilly dally but had enough time to see some brighter colour once I got back into the town.

rowan, dahlia and honeysuckle

Rowan berries at the manse, astounding dahlias in Walter Street and honeysuckle in our hedge

I looked into our garden from the road and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s ranks of yellow crocosmia which surround the front lawn.

yellow crocosmia

There was more rain to follow the sunshine before it brightened up again just in time for Mike and Alison to arrive for their regular Friday evening visit.

Both Alison and I have been practising a bit so it came as no surprise when our playing was a bit more ragged than usual.  We were worn out before we started!  Still, playing duets is always a pleasure so we were not downhearted.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba, or to be more precise, over Manitoba in her aeroplane from which she could see the effect of having a pivotal irrigation system.

pivotal irrigation

A variety of forecasters were offering a variety of forecasts today but they all involved rain at some time or other.  I decided to believe the ones that suggested rain in the morning and a better afternoon and spent some time putting another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  As I still have a pile of two months sitting beside the computer, I will need a lot of rainy days to get through them.

There was a bit of rain in the morning but I found a dry moment to go up and get my medicine from the chemist and arrange to book the hall for the camera club which will be starting again in September.

This all took most of the morning and I didn’t take my camera out until after midday.

In spite of dead heading dozens of calendulas every day, or maybe because of dead heading dozens of calendulas every day, there are still a lot around.

calendula

The clematis on the fence beside the vegetable garden are thriving and the Ooh La La is still gamely producing flowers.

fence clematis

Then it started to rain so I went in and made some vegetable soup (including courgettes) for my lunch.

After lunch, the sun shone again and almost immediately a peacock butterfly appeared on the buddleia.

lone peacock butterfly

Our neighbour Liz and I were considering where the butterflies live and what they do on wet days.  Do butterflies have a home to got to?  How far will a butterfly fly to get to a buddleia?  This are questions to which I don’t know the answer.

I do know where my bike is though so, after photographing a pigeon on a pole…

pigeon

…I got it out and went for a ride while the sun was shining.

The wind was also blowing and it was pretty vigorous so I confined my efforts to a very slow tour round my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  I was quite pleased to stop for pictures on my way.

I always enjoying looking at this slightly mysterious row of trees in a field.

row of trees

Nearby, belted Galloway cattle were too busy eating the fresh grass to look up as I passed.

belted Galloway

Things have greened up well and on my ride yesterday, I  saw that some farmers have been able to take a second cut of silage.  The view from Tarcoon back to Langholm seemed to promise fair weather all the way for my ride today.

view of whita from tarcoon

And the view ahead, showed another descent from the hills to the plain.

Tarcoon view

I was a bit less confident about getting round dry as I passed Hollows Tower with five miles to go as the black clouds looked threatening…

Hollows Tower under a cloud

…but my timing was good and it had rained in Langholm and then stopped raining by the time that I got back.

Mrs Tootlepedal was entertaining our neighbours Gavin and Gaye to a cup of tea indoors when I arrived.  They had intended to try out our new bench but had been driven inside by the shower.

We had had a painter working on the  outside doors at the front of the house through the day and I hadn’t seen many birds as a result so I set up the camera to watch the birds when Gavin and Gaye left….

plump siskin

…but then left it to go outside and join Mrs Tootlepedal who was working in the garden.

The poppies are trying their best…

three poppies

…and we have two sorts of crocosmia out…

two crocosmia

…but it was hard to take a picture of a dahlia without a bee getting in the way.

bees on dahlias

I thought that the helenium was looking a bit more cheerful today.

helenium with necklace

Going back inside, I watched the birds again.

Sparrows replaced our greenfinches today.

These two were having a discussion….

two sparrows

…when they broke off to shout encouragement to another who was experimenting with vertical take off.

vertical sparrow

Siskins brought their usual behaviour to the party.

sparring siskins

I had got the timing for my cycle ride doubly right because it started to rain very heavily while I was having my post ride shower and I recorded over 1cm of rain for the day in Mary Jo’s rain gauge, all from short sharp showers.

The combination of the house moving last week and some regularly pedalling in brisk winds have left me a little tired so I was more than happy to settle down after tea and watch highly skilled athletes and swimmers battling each other in the European Championships.

The flying bird of the day is another sparrow,

flying sparrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and shows the roadside repair man fitting a new wheel to Dropscone’s car after he had inadvertently lost the original while driving along.

Dropscone's car

Dropscone arrived for coffee today with a tale of woe.  He had been driving back from a golf event up the borders at the weekend, when he suddenly found himself one wheel short of a full set.  He managed to get the car safely off the road and called for assistance.

Sadly, however hard he looked while the spare wheel was being put in place, he couldn’t find the errant wheel.  It had disappeared into the undergrowth, never to be seen again.

Still, the car (with Dropscone)  was brought back to Langholm on a trailer and it is currently receiving some TLC in a garage and will soon be back on the road.  Dropscone seemed very calm about the whole affair but it would make me lose a bit of confidence in my car if it happened to me.

While I was waiting for him to arrive, I had a walk round the garden.  It was pleasantly warm and still for once but it had rained overnight and there was an air of dampness all around.

Dahlia

A hint of sparkle caught my eye and when I looked closely, I saw that among the plants, there was a spider’s web suspended….

spider's web

…with the very diminutive manufacturer in residence at the heart of it.

I took a lot of shots, trying to capture the best general view of it….

spider's web

…and of the tiny spider itself….

spider's web

…which was suspended in an almost invisible filigree net.

spider's web

I even went to the length of getting a tripod out and setting the camera up on it but what I really needed was some sunshine to make everything sparkle.

Still, it was fun trying.

The bees were busy trying to find poppies that had survived the rain.  These two had found a rich seam of pollen…

bees on poppies

…but other poppies held no attraction.

poppy soaked

They are pretty but fragile.  Later in the day I dead headed over forty poppies.

Mrs Tootlepedal joined me and noticed a green fly and bee combination on the the dahlia…

bee and greenfly on Dahlia

…and was generally a bit discouraged by how wet things were.  She did think the raindrops on the crocosmia leaves were very pretty though.

crocosmia

Dropscone brought a large mound of drop scones with him and we ate our way through it as he related his adventures.

When he had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to help with the lunches and I got my bike out and went round my 20 mile Canonbie circle.  It was warm enough for me to expose my knees to the public and at 70°F or 20°C, it was hot enough to make me careful to drink sufficient water as I went round.  A novel experience this summer.

It was a day when I could have gone further but although my back is improving, my arm had a nasty swelling so I thought it wise to take things gently.  I did take one picture as I went round to show off a quietly green corner of the ride…

Old A7

….but the muggy conditions had steamed up the lens on my phone camera so it wasn’t very successful.  The old main road, now a cycle track, is being gradually narrowed by the encroaching greenery, year on year.

I gave my bike a good good wash and clean when I got back as I have been pedalling on damp roads lately and then had a late lunch and a shower.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back from the Buccleuch Centre and started work in the garden.   My arm was a bit sore so I wandered about taking a few photographs instead of mowing or sieving.  In spite of the warmth, it had not been a drying day.

spirea and sedum

Spirea and sedum

More sparkle attracted my attention.

raindrops

The yew bush was covered in small webs which had caught the raindrops.  I processed the picture so that the web on which the drops are suspended is visible too.

raindrops

I thought that it looked a bit like one of those neural network maps that scientists produce to show how your brain works.

It was lucky that I had taken the picture when I did because later in the afternoon, Attila the Gardener attacked the bush with loppers and secateurs and all the webs went off to the shredder along with the branches that held them.

Mrs Tootlepedal took great care of the tropaeolum which lives in the yew and it should thrive on the greatly reduced bush.  She found some of the bright blue berries which follow the red flowers.

tropaeolum berries

A garden colour like no other.

I noticed a new clematis in a philadelphus…

clematis

…and I took a couple of pictures of a poppy and a cornflower which brightened up a rather gloomy day.

poppy and cornflower

Then I took my sore arm, which had swollen up slightly alarmingly overnight,  off to visit the doctor.  He diagnosed a haematoma on my biceps caused, he suggested politely, by being a bit old and not having very good muscle tone.  However, as I had feared that I might have torn something serious, this minor injury diagnosis was quite a relief and the advice that it will take several weeks to heal itself was not too hard to bear.

The doctor was not my regular physician and he called for a second opinion just to confirm his opinion that there was no serious damage and this doctor, knowing me well, advised me not to fall off my bike for a bit.  I am going to try to pay very good attention to that helpful instruction.

Once back in the garden, I was able to put the ex yew bush trimmings through the strimmer and so heartily had Mrs Tootlepedal approached her task, that we had to empty the box three times.  It all went back on the garden as a weed suppressing mulch.

Now I know that I won’t do any harm to my arm, I hope to get out for a longer ride before the end of the month as soon the days will be shorter and colder.

No flying bird of the day today but another welcome butterfly visitor stands in.

red admiral butterfly

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is of a rather stuck up group of august personages which my brother Andrew found in a church in Hull on a recent visit.

Close up of the church hierarchy

I think that the permanently changeable weather is beginning to get to me and I am currently feeling rather short of beans to be full of.  As a result I was still sleeping soundly this morning when Dropscone rang to ask if some scones could find a cup of coffee to go with.

It was a rush for me to get my breakfast finished before coffee time but I managed.

The scones were very good.

It was another day of sunshine and showers and Dropscone cycled round in the sun, drank his coffee while it rained and cycled home again in the sun.

Since it was dry when he left, I had a look round the garden.  It was a day for the birds and the bees…

bees

blackbird

 

…and berries.

tropaeolum

Tropaeolum. They should go blue soon.

As it looked to stay dry for a bit, I was emboldened to walk up to the town with my parcel and I was rewarded when I not only found the post office open but also the river bank full of thirteen goosanders.

goosanders

They were preferring to wait until the river had gone down a bit before doing any swimming.

Some just sat about reflecting on life….

goosanders

…while others took a keen interest in the passing water.

goosanders

I enjoyed a bright crocosmia beside the dam as I came home.

crocosmia

I did a little light gardening, had lunch and watched the rain until Sandy rang up and suggested a walk.  I said that I would be pleased to go if the rain stopped and it did obligingly stop shortly afterwards so I went.

Sandy and I walked across the Duchess Bridge, round the pheasant hatchery, back down to the Sawmill Bridge and then home by way of the Kilngreen and Elizabeth Street, a distance of about two and a half miles.

When we were not watching out for puddles and muddy bits, we looked around. There was quite a bit of fungus to be seen in various places.

castleholm fungus

…much of it in dark corners under trees.  There is a huge amount of fungus round the stumps of the felled trees along the Lodge walks and you can see one small part of it in the bottom left panel above.

There were growing things to see too.

self heal, conkers and white flower

I don’t know what the white flower on the right is but it was attracting a lot of bees.  The plant is quite big but the white flowers are very small.  Once again, a brisk breeze made taking flower pictures tricky.

nettle, burr and rosebay willowherb

It started to rain as we passed these three wild flowers, a nettle, a burr and some willowherb, just at the furthest point from home on our walk but it soon stopped again and we continued on in the direction that the willowherb suggested.

We had passed some cows on our way out….

cows

My only attempt at a black and white picture today

I liked a mossy tree on our way back.  Outdoor people say that you can tell the direction of east and west by looking at where the moss grows on tree trunks.  This tree would have you going round in circles.

mossy tree

After what has been a cool and generally dry year since early spring, the recent heavy rain showers are making the ground quite wet and we had to stop and find an alternative route when we found this long and deep puddle blocking our way near the lodge.

lodge puddle

At the Kilngreen, we stopped to say hello to Mr Grumpy….

Kilngreen ducks

…and we were impressed by the number of friends he had sitting nearby.

Duck

This one was not quite fully dressed yet

As well as Mr Grumpy, we saw a robin, a dipper and a wagtail on our travels….

wagtail, robin, dipper and heron

…not to mention a very new duckling.

duckling

The rivers were all quite full and lively….

River esk in spate

…but there was no threat of a flood.

I always like this view from the Langholm Bridge….

View from the bridge

…but the Common Riding bunting and the sun glinting on the tops of the hills made it particularly good today, I thought.

We had a cup of Darjeeling and a slice of bread with wild raspberry jam when we got back and then Sandy walked home while I sank into semi snoozing mode.

I roused myself enough to prepare the charity regulator’s return for the Archive Group and catch upon my correspondence and after that I did some more relaxing.  The weather looks as though it may be suitable for cycling tomorrow so that will perk me up again.  I will choose a route so that the brisk wind will blow me back home.

The flying bird of the day had flown up onto a fence when I caught it.

blackbird

Note:  I see that Sandy has posted his view of our walk.  You can see it here

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