Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘dahlia’

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my brother paid to Wirksworth last month.  It is an ancient lead mining and quarrying town in Derbyshire which has a steam train and guard’s van shuttle to the Quarry museum up the hill.

Wirksworth train

It didn’t rain today.  It didn’t rain today.  I have said that twice because it is a bit unbelievable.  It wasn’t very warm and the sun didn’t put in much work but it didn’t rain so that made it a very good day.

I made use of it by cycling down to Canonbie on my regular 20 mile route while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.

Before I left, I had a quick look in the garden.  The bees were setting about the poppies with great enthusiasm and it was hard to find one to photograph without a bee or two on it…

bees on poppies

…though they could be found.

poppies

Once I got going, I found that the wind was in a helpful place, not too bad on the way down and very useful on the way back.  I only stopped for one picture….

Belted galloway bull

…but I thought that this belted Galloway bull was too handsome to leave unrecorded.

I had no time to waste when I got home as I was hoping to get up onto Castle Hill to take pictures of a charity ride which was setting off just after midday.  I packed a sandwich and a date, picked up a camera or two and got a lift from Mrs Tootlepedal to the bottom of the track up the hill.

I didn’t have to use the stile over the wall as the gate was opened for the riders to come.

Catle Hill stile and gate

The track up Castle Hill was steep enough for me to be quite happy to find things to stop and look at on the way up.

nettle. hawthorn and purple flower

There is going to be a bumper crop of haws this year by the look of it.

ragwort, hawkbit and daisy like thing

The little flowers on the right are sneezewort (ID courtesy of Mike Tinker)

At one point the hillside was almost like a meadow.

Castle Hill

And of course, there were splendid views that needed to be looked at too.

Langholm

An early look back at the town

I got a very expansive view of the three river valleys that meet in Langholm and the one that leaves it.  (Click on the picture for an enlargement.)

Panorama from Castle hill

When I got to the top of the hill, I had time to sit on a handy rock and eat a honey sandwich and admire the view to the north.

Esk valley

The course of the Esk snakes up the valley, outlined by trees

While I was eating my sandwich, I was passed by Laura who was going ahead of the riders to open a gate further along the ridge.

Laura

The wind had dropped and even on a coolish day, it was warm work for her as she strode across the heavy ground.

I had time for a last look over the edge of the hill…

Milnholm and Potholm

A sea of green

…before the first riders appeared over the crest…

Macmillan riders

…and cantered towards…..

Macmillan riders

…and then past me.

Macmillan riders

More sedate groups followed on.

Macmillan riders

It was a sociable ride.

Macmillan riders

There was a good number of riders out and I hope that they raise a lot of money for Macmillan Nurses.

I didn’t count the riders as I was too busy clicking away and by the time that the last riders had past me…

Macmillan riders

…the leaders were well ahead.  The last I saw of them was when they were waiting for the rest to catch at the top of Potholm Hill.

Macmillan riders

I left them to descend to the Ewes valley and turned back down the hill to the town.

One of the penalties of increasing age and creaky joints is that going down a steep and stony track is a lot worse than going up one but I arrived safely on the Castleholm and gave my legs a break as I watched a few overs of cricket.

Cricket on the castleholm

Bowlers bowled and batsmen batted.

Cricket on the castleholm

When I got home, I finished off my picnic lunch and then went out into the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cutting down comfrey to add to  compost bin A so I took the hint and sieved a bucket of two of compost from Compost Bin D.  Mrs Tootlepedal took away the rough discards which hadn’t gone through the sieve and used them for a mulch for the hedge.

Since I had already taken far too many pictures, I heroically abstained from taking any more garden flowers pictures….

fuchsia

….well, I nearly abstained.

Then I went in  to watch some athletics on the telly as I thought it was probably all right after a busy time to let someone else take the exercise for me.

I did go out and mow the drying green when the athletics finished and by this time, the wind had dropped and it was a lovely evening in the garden, even if it was still a bit cooler than it should be for the time of year.  It was so nice that I summoned Mrs Tootlepedal out to enjoy it too as the forecast is for more rain tomorrow and it seemed a pity to waste such a good moment.

We have three weeks of the Vuelta (the cycling tour of Spain) to entertain us in the coming evenings so that is something to look forward to as the rain beats against the windows.

No flying bird today but an interestingly coloured dahlia instead.

dahlia

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited the south coast of England  yesterday and saw the not quite so famous white cliffs of Brighton.

The white cliffs of Brighton

After the excitements and activity of yesterday, today was very restrained.

The only noticeable activity of the morning was eating some iced buns which Dropscone kindly bought with him when he arrived for coffee.  Dropscone had plenty to relate as he has had a busy time lately, playing golf, refereeing a golf tournament, organising a golf tournament of his own  and visiting the science museum in Glasgow.  He had survived all this very well but I was quite exhausted just listening to his adventures.  He certainly gets about.

It rained heavily while we sipped and chatted but it stopped when it was time for him to go home.

I went out to look at flowers just once in one of the sunny spells.

dahliasdahliaspoppies

The only activity in the afternoon was a drive to the council dump at Annan to get rid of our old dishwasher.  This was made even more exciting than a normal visit to the dump by the fact that we had to pass through several torrential downpours with added thunder and lightning on our way there.

It was fortunate that the downpours were reasonably brief, as in the space of a minute on each occasion, the roads turned into rivers and driving became quite dangerous.  Happily on each occasion, we soon found ourselves back in bright sunshine…although we could see the next shower coming towards us at speed quite clearly.

With heavy showers and bright sunshine alternating rapidly, it wasn’t a day for cycling, walking or gardening so I took the opportunity to give my back a really good rest.

The ironic sunflower is progressing well in spite of the rain…

sunflower

…but the theme of the day was summed up by this large puddle outside the back door.

puddle

It was our younger son’s birthday today and Clare, his wife, sent me this picture of him being terrified by his birthday cakes.  It is acting as the flying bird of the day.

Al birthday cakes

It is the Canonbie Flower Show tomorrow and we are hoping for some better weather.

Read Full Post »

There are two guest pictures from Clare today which show why Matilda was so cheerful yesterday.  She went on a boat trip round the Bass Rock with her aunt and cousin……

Bass Rock Matilda

…and saw lots of gannets. (This one was taken by Clare with her phone while holding Matilda in a rocking boat.  That takes great skill.) …..

gannet

…which is quite enough to make anyone feel cheerful.  I am very envious.

We had one of those days today.  If it was raining, the sun was about to come out and if it was sunny, it was about to rain.

I should have got up earlier because the best sunny spell was before and during breakfast.  The lawn was busy with thrushes and blackbirds.

thrush and blackbird

There were  two thrushes and lots of blackbirds.

blackbirds

I don’t think that we have ever had so many blackbirds in the garden in summer.  I wouldn’t mind but they are eating all my raspberries.

I got up into my cycling gear but wasted a lot of time in sitting and thinking before I finally got going.  There had been a lot of overnight rain and the river was quite full as I cycled over the Hollows Bridge…

River Esk

…but it had obviously been quite local as I passed from dry roads to roads awash with enormous puddles several times.

I was taking things easy again as my back is not quite at 100% yet but managed a few more gentle hills than on my last excursion.  I didn’t take many pictures as it kept on raining and I spent a lot of time putting my rain jacket on and taking it off again.

I did take a picture of the old church at Half Morton, now a family home…

Half Morton church

…and although it was in the sun, you can see the next shower looming up behind it.

On one of the occasions that I stopped for my rain jacket, I saw a fungus by the roadside. ..

fungus

…and I am surprised that I haven’t seen more considering the wet weather.

The rain showers didn’t last long and it was reasonably warm so I enjoyed my ride well enough.  I was rather clammy when I got home though.

I had a late lunch and a shower and then I went out to join Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden.  She was planting out her three new purchases and I hope that they will flower soon so that I can take a picture or two of them.

In the meantime, I sieved a couple of barrows of compost and mowed first the middle lawn and then the front lawn.  Although they were both very soggy at one stage of the day, a brisk wind and a warm sun dried them out just enough to be worth cutting.

I also looked at a flower or two.

sunflower

We may get more sunshine in the garden soon

battered poppy

The weather was too much for the poppies today

Rudbeckia

I had to stand on tiptoe to take this shot of a Rudbeckia. Mrs Tootlepedal has just bought a shorter one.

clematis

The clematis on the fence is battered but (mainly) unbowed. It has its back to the prevailing wind.

With the poppies keeping their heads well down today, dahlias and nasturtiums were the most colourful things on display…

nasturtiumdahlia

…with the exception of the phlox which has been brightening up our dull weather a great deal.

phlox

I even saw a red admiral butterfly on the phlox today but it fluttered off before I could fetch a camera.

More rain showers drove us indoors and we rounded off the day with a meal of lamb garnished with courgettes, spring onions and potatoes from the garden.

It is very difficult to make a good plan when the weather is so changeable but sadly, the forecast for the next few days shows that the cool showery spell is going to continue.

The flying bird of the day is a rather grey cow from my bike ride, not a colour that you often see.

grey cow

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, from our daughter-in-law Clare, provided the only ray of sunshine we saw all day.  You can see what made Matilda so happy tomorrow.

Matilda

It was a foul day here as far as the weather went, the authorities having decided that one sunny day at a time was more than enough for us.

I sneaked out in the rain whenever it wasn’t too bad and I will insert a soggy flower from time to time in this post.

poppy

Luckily I had plenty to do so time didn’t weight too heavily on my hands.

In the morning, I went up to the Welcome to Langholm office and settled down to put a week or two of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I couldn’t get as much work done as I hoped because I was frequently interrupted by the need to welcome people seeking  information.  I suppose that I shouldn’t complain about that.

One of the visitors was looking for a book of graveyard inscriptions and she remarked in passing how useful the Archive Group website had been in her family history research.  I pointed to the computer and told her that I was adding to the site at this very moment and she was suitably impressed though not quite so impressed as to offer us a voluntary donation for our funds.

dahlia

Another visitor was a descendant of a chemist in the town and I pointed out to him that both the chemist and his shop could be found on our picture archive page.

It stopped raining very politely for long enough for me to walk home after my stint was over.  It started again quite soon afterwards.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some flowers to fill in a few gaps in the beds that her recent tidying up activity had created and I set about a mixture of practising songs for our Carlisle choir and printing out photographs for the forthcoming Canonbie Flower Show.

My main concern while printing out the pictures was to try to get the printed results to look a bit brighter than the printer wants them to look.  This takes a bit of learning and the results were variable though the frog in the box ball came out well.

Fuschia

Mike Tinker came round for a cup of tea and a biscuit and we were just finishing when Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her shopping trip.    I was amazed to find that she had actually bought three plants as she usually looks for a long time and then decides that things are not quite what she wanted or they are a bit too expensive or the whole matter needs more thought.  A sound way of going on but one which I find a bit testing on my patience.

She explained her purchasing activity by claiming that she was haunted by the sound of my voice behind her saying, “For goodness sake, buy something.”  So she did.

stargazer lilies

The evening was filled with music as first my flute pupil Luke came and then I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  It was the first time that we had played for a month and there was a certain amount of rust evident but as always, it was a very enjoyable evening.

The rain is pouring down again as I write this.  I have ordered an ark just in case.

virginia creeper

Read Full Post »

A winter’s tale

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone  He is roaming about Glasgow finding bridges to cross.

Glasgow Bridge

I had no need to worry about wasting a good day with a bad back today as it was a perfectly horrible day.  This was the view of the hills from an upstairs window.

clouds on Whita

…and that was in one of the brighter moments.

On the other side of the house, this was as near as I got to going out into the garden in the morning.

garden in wet

It was lucky that we had something to do that didn’t involve being out in the rain.

We went off to Carlisle and bought a new dish washing machine.  It was remarkably cheap so we are hoping that it will work well once it is installed.

It was a miserable thirteen degrees C as we drove back and although it got a little warmer later in the day, I needed to light a fire to cheer up our music room on what should have been one one of the warmest days of the year.

I spent a good deal of time working on choir songs and even found that I could play the whole of the tenor line from one song on my flute from memory.  That was a triumph for me as my musical memory is awful.  Sadly, when I tried again in the evening, I couldn’t get past the first four bars.  Ah well.

In the early evening, the rain slackened off to a light drizzle so I went out and took a flower shot just for the sake of it.

dahlia

I wish whatever it is would stop eating the dahlias.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and a little night music provided a pleasant end to a dull day.

The rain had stopped by the time that they went home.  Hooray.

In answer to many polite enquiries, I can say that my back was better today and I am confident that all will soon be well with it.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who met this nose diving elephant at a Regent’s Park art fair.

An elephant balancing on its trunk - Frieze scupture Fair - Regent's Park

Unfortunately, it was another fine day today.  I say unfortunately because my back was still giving me trouble and I had to waste it by doing nothing more energetic than wandering about the garden and groaning theatrically from time to time.

The sunshine brought out the best in the poppies.

poppy

poppy

poppy

poppy

And once again the bees were very busy.

From the shade of the walnut tree, a blackbird stared at me.

blackbird

The most striking flower was a pot marigold pretending to be a dahlia.

pot marigold

Though I did like  a modest dahlia against a background of phlox.

dahlia

My back kindly lets me lean forward without trouble so I got the hedge clipper out and trimmed two of the box balls on the front lawn and I was just about to put the clipper away when I was visited by my South African correspondent Tom, who was returning from a cycle ride.  He is staying with family in Langholm for a few weeks and called in to see how I was going on.

He asked me what pictures I would like him to send and I have requested some South African wild flowers so I will wait with interest for what he sends me. Listening to his tales of a months long drought, thorny bushes and venomous snakes made me grateful for for the gentler surroundings of Langholm even if does rain quite a lot here.

We saw a coloured butterfly, probably a red admiral,  whizz past us as we talked but even though I had several searches later on in  the day, I couldn’t see it in the garden and had to settle for one of the frequent white visitors.

white butterfly

There are a lot of these about

A recent picture of an American spirea in a blog that I was reading made me take a look at one of the bushes in our garden.

spirea

It has very tiny flowers

One of the astilbes is in top form.

Astilbe

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to see Matilda.  Sitting in  a train didn’t seem like a good idea to me so I stayed at home.  This turned out to be a very good decision as her train was held up by a broken down train in front and the journey took an hour and a half longer than it should have.

This left me still wandering about the garden as sitting down for long is not an option at the moment.

The first rudbeckia is out…

rudbeckia and clematis

…and the Cherokee or Ooh La La clematis is lasting very well.

The day clouded over in the afternoon and I spent most of it inside relearning and instantly forgetting songs for the Carlisle choir concert in a month or so.

I did go out and look at blackbirds.

blackbirds

Then I set the camera up on a tripod upstairs and looked out of the window to see what the blackbirds were doing.  It mostly seemed to involve sitting on hedges…

blackbirds

…sometimes with friends.

blackbird and sparrows

I feel that there are more blackbirds about in the garden this year than ever before.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s return train journey was more successful than the outward trip and she got back safely.

I did go out on my slow bike to deliver a letter during the afternoon and I passed Mike and Alison hard at work in their garden on my way.  They gave me some sound back treatment advice and although I rather dismissed it at the time, I followed it when I got home and it turned out to be be very good.  It is possibly a sensible idea to take advice when offered from a retired doctor and nurse.

I nearly got a genuine flying bird of the day today.

blackbird

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my daughter Annie.  She would like to take all the credit for this fine hanging basket in her garden but has to admit that she purchased it from B&Q.

Annie's hanging basket

The clocks went back an hour in the middle of the night so in theory, I could have enjoyed an extra hour in bed in the morning.  Things didn’t work out like that though.  I had resolved to make good use of the extra hour of light in the morning by getting up early and going for a cycle ride before breakfast.  Much to my satisfaction and Mrs Tootlepedal’s outright astonishment, I did just that.

I didn’t quite get up as early as I hoped but I was still out before Mrs Tootlepedal was awake and I completed my twenty mile round trip to Canonbie before she had gone off to sing in the church choir.

It was grey and the roads were damp but with the temperature just below 50F and with very light winds, it made a good start to the dark months.

It was too gloomy for pictures so I had to wait until I was home before I got a camera out.

The feeder was busy…

goldfinches

..until a jackdaw arrived and scared everyone off.

jackdaw

With the fat ball feeder enclosed in a cage and the seed feeder too finicky for its big feet, it didn’t stay long though and the greenfinches, chaffinches and sparrows were soon heading back to the feeder.

sparrow, greenfinch and chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from church and after a cup of coffee, set about clearing the dahlias from the second of the flower beds along the drive so that she could plant more tulips.

I spent a little time practising songs for our Carlisle choir and then went out into the garden too.  I did some shredding of defunct dahlias, some sieving of serviceable compost and some wandering about with a camera.

anemone, dahlia, daisy and poppy

In the white corner: anemone, dahlia, daisy and poppy

sabius, dahlia, poppy and poppy

In the red corner: scabius, dahlia, poppy and poppy

marigold and nasturtium

In the orange corner: marigolds and nasturtium (showing that with the right disguise even a gas meter cover can look quite good)

I have sieved all the compost in Bin D and Mrs Tootlepedal tells that the rough compost that is left can easily be used for a winter mulch so it will soon be time to start the process of turning the bins again.

I made a pan of very plain and dull soup for my lunch and ate it with some freshly made bread and two varieties of cheese, which mitigated the dullness a bit.

After lunch, there was time for a little more gardening and bird watching.

chaffinch and greenfinch

Some displayed neat flying skills near the feeder

goldfinches in plum tree

Others gathered in the plum tree

Greenfinches played the tough guy.

greenfinches

A top grade snarling competition.

greenfinches

Perch bagging

Soon the new flower bed was planted and raked.

flower bed

Mrs Tootlepedal was happy.

There was no time for a walk today as we had to set off for Carlisle for our regular Sunday Carlisle Community Choir practice.

Our excellent conductor was unable to come today but he had sent down a very adequate substitute and we had a useful and hard working session.  We were in full Christmas mode as our next engagement will be our Christmas concert.  Even though I had practised earlier in the day, the many mistakes that I managed to make showed that it is by no means too early to start work on the concert pieces.

They may well write on my gravestone, “More practice required,” and they will be right.

Now that the clocks have gone back, it was fully dark when we drove home and so there were no more chances to take pictures.

I had another plate of the dull soup for my tea in the hope that some resting time in the pan and another few minutes cooking might have enlivened it….but it hadn’t.  Luckily there was still good bread and cheese to go with it.  I followed it up with some stewed apples and custard.  I mistakenly thought that my custard skills were up to being able to dispense with any accurate measuring of quantities and ended up eating apples and concrete.  It has not been my finest cooking day.

The flower of the day is one of the surviving dahlias….

dahlia

…and the flying bird is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »