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Posts Tagged ‘dahlia’

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

Loch ness cruiser

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

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

riley

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

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

It was.

sparrow in rain on fence

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

robin on wire

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

three starlings on wirefour starlings on wire

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

blackbird on chair staring

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

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

I nodded at some flowers as I left the garden…

roses and dahlia panel

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

 

Town Bridge October

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

poplars beside Esk

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

fallen leaves

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

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

heron one leg

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

sawmill brig

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

lodge walks inside

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

lodge walks outside

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

trees across castleholm

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

sunshine on whita

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

jubilee bridge october

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

felled tree jubilee bridge

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

I stood on the bridge and looked upstream.

 

upriver from jubilee bridge october

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

astrantia october

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

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

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

First, a rook flying high over the garden…

flying rook

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

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s holiday in Forres.  He and his daughter Susan went down to see the sea at the mouth of Findhorn Bay.  There was a lot of sand about

Sand 2019

The weather today was as confused as the forecasts.  It couldn’t really make up its mind whether it was raining or not but it was dry enough in the morning to let me walk around the garden and admire Crown Princess Margareta’s latest flower.

am princess margareta rose

I looked at it again in  the afternoon and in spite of the gloomy and drizzly conditions, the flower showed clear signs of development.

pm princess margareta rose

As there are obviously more flowers waiting to come out, we can only hope that we don’t get a frosty morning soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s plan of planting small sunflowers with many blooms from one stem has paid off handsomely.  There are cheerful clumps all over the garden.

sunflower panel

This web of droplets could have done with a little sunshine to make them sparkle.

droplets

As well as the Crown Princess, Lilian Austin is doing her best to provide us with end of season colour.

lilian austin rose

As the day didn’t look very promising, I went in to do some work updating the Langholm Archive Group web pages and had to dust off some rather rusty memories of HTML, PHP and Cascading Style Sheets.   I thought that I had done a reasonable job of getting it up to date but when I double checked after writing that previous sentence, I found that there is still some work to be done.

When I got up from the computer, the drizzle had stopped so I got my bicycle out and headed off to do 20 miles.  No sooner had I got half a mile from the house, than the drizzle started again and as I went along, the drizzle turned to rain.

I had sound waterproof socks on and I was wearing an efficient rain jacket so the rain wasn’t a great problem (apart from making me go cautiously round corners).  All the same, I didn’t want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere if conditions got worse, so I pedalled up and down the 7 miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back three times to get my distance.

The camera stayed well tucked up in a waterproof pocket.

I had a late lunch and then watched the men’s cycling world championship time trial on the telly.  The winner did 54km (about 34 miles) in 1 hour and 5 minutes.  I had taken 1 hour and 33 minutes to do 33km.  These professional cyclists are superhuman.

When the time trial had finished, I checked on the weather and as the drizzle had stopped, I went out for a walk round the garden.

The fuchsias in one spot have done so badly over recent years that Mrs Tootlepedal moved most of them but this one plant that remained has flowered well just to spite her.

fuschia end of Sept

After a very slow start, when it looked as though they weren’t enjoying the summer at all and were also getting badly attacked by slugs, this bunch of  dahlias is looking better by the day.

dahlias end of Sept

Having walked round the garden, I got my unused cycling camera out again and took it for a short walk.

It was dank and gloomy….

eastons walk

…but there are still plenty of leaves on the trees.

near the hungry burn

It is a mixed picture with autumn colour here and there…

faded leaves

…and fresh greenery there too.

stubholm track

When I looked out over the town, I could just see the tops of the hills.

misty view stubholm

It was so gloomy that I had to use my flash to take any pictures of detail as I went along.

There were not a lot of wild flowers to be seen.

red campion

I couldn’t make up my mind if this growth on a dead tree branch was fungus or lichen.

fungus on dead branch

The park wall has a positive garden growing on top of it…

wild strawberry park wall

…and a fine crop of pixie cup lichens sprouting out of the side.

pixie cup lichen park wall

When I got in, it was time for my evening meal and I enjoyed some fish cakes with runner beans from the garden.

It has been a quiet day in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal (who is having a satisfactory time in London visiting our daughter and new granddaughter) but with a short walk, a short pedal, some flute practising and a bit of useful computer work, it hasn’t been entirely wasted.

I even managed to get a flying bird of the day as a starling launched itself of an electricity wire.

flying starling close

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who came across this boat, The Ship of Tolerance, an artwork on the Thames by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. The sails are made by children from 40 London primary schools.  You can out more about it here.

ship of tolerance

Today we said goodbye to summer after a great week of sunny weather.  The contrast with yesterday’s cloudless skies could hardly have been more stark.  The only sun available was just outside the front door in floral form and that was as far as I cared to go as the rain was pouring down.

soggy sunflower tower

Then I got out my umbrella and walked to church in the rain where a choir which reached double figures and some good singing hymns injected cheer into a gloomy day.  (One of the readings was from the prophet Jeremiah who was even gloomier than the weather.)

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to walk round the garden in a sloshy sort of way as the rain eased off for a while.  The non scientific rain gauge showed how much rain had arrived overnight.

unscientific rain gauge

The Charles Ross apples are well protected by their foliage and should provide source material for future tartes, chutneys and pies.

charles ross apples

We have been well supplied with turnips lately too.

turnip

Squelching across the lawns and paddling among the puddles soon lost its charm though and we went back in.

dahlia in rain

After lunch, we drove to Carlisle where Mrs Tootlepedal caught the train to London to visit our daughter and our new grandchild, and I went to sing with the Carlisle Community Choir.

The train was on time and even reached London a little early, so Mrs Tootlepedal was happy.  At the choir, we had a very good substitute conductor who got through a power of work, so I was happy too….or at least as happy as I could be in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal who will be gone for a week.

With rain forecast for most days, and with Mrs Tootlepedal away and both Sandy and Dropscone on holiday, it looks as though it is going to be a quiet week ahead.  Still, the temperature is holding up well, so if there are any chances for a quick pedal or a walk, I should be able to take them.

No birds at all again today but an argyranthemum sportingly agreed to pose as the flying bird of the day for me.

argyranthemum in rain

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who spotted this.  She tells me that she had not touched a drop.

pink elephant

We had a sunny day from dawn until dusk and the garden was once again filled with butterflies…

two butterflies on sedum

…but I let them get on in peace today and when I wasn’t having coffee and treacle scones with Drospcone, I walked round the garden dead heading as much as I had patience for and otherwise looking at flowers.  Dropscone and his daughter Susan are going on holiday in the North of Scotland next week so I hope that one or other of them will be able to send me a guest picture or two.

The flowers are still worth looking at.

new rose

…and I enjoyed the play of light and shade…

shady dahlia

…the bright colours….

shady poppy

…and the occasional piece of serendipity like these anemones poking their heads up through an azalea.

two anemones in azalea

I haven’t been dead heading the Welsh poppies with any great regularity so I am always pleased to see one smiling at me as I pass.

welsh poppy

The garden was buzzing with bees and hoverflies.

Dahlias…

bee on dahlia

…and Michaelmas daisies were favourite insect haunts.

daisy with bee

I tried to get as close as possible to a butterfly having a snack on a daisy…

daisy with butterfly

…but I need a steadier hand to get a good result.

This is what they were all looking at.

close up of daisy centre

Crown Princess Margareta has appreciated the sunshine and the Rosarie de l’Hay was in a welcoming mood.

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning of meetings so I made some soup for lunch for lunch. and when she came back, we enjoyed it with some bread and cheese.  Fortified by this, I went out for a cycle ride.

The fine weather has let the farmers go on cutting grass for winter feed longer than usual, and there were fields of cut grass all along my route.

view at between the waters

The farm here stands on a little promontory between two small streams and is know as Between the Waters, a very appropriate name.

between the waters

The wind was light and the day was pleasantly warm without being too hot so I pedalled along in a happy mood at a modest pace and without stopping for too many pictures on a familiar route.

I recently put some English road side pine trees into a post so I thought that I ought to put one of my favourite Scottish roadside pine trees in to keep things balanced.

Tree near KPF

I stopped for a drink of water and a short rest at twenty miles and needless to say, I looked at the wall that my bike was resting on.

lichen at Half Morton

A bit further along the road, a small herd posed artistically for me.

cows posing prettily

I wasn’t feeling very adventurous or energetic as Mrs Tootlepedal has kindly passed a bit of her recent cold onto me, but it didn’t stop me adding another 31 miles to my total and I was pleased to have been able to make some use of a perfect cycling day.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal peeled some of our apples and between us we made another tarte tatin in our smart new tarte tatin pan.  Mrs Tootlepedal had cut the apples into very neat shapes and on this occasion I didn’t overcook the caramel sauce and the result of this was a great improvement on our first two efforts.

burst

I have made a note to myself reminding me that if I want to make tarte tatin, it is a really good idea to get the frozen puff pastry unfrozen before you start and not to have to resort to desperate measures to defrost it in a hurry.

We have got a lot of apples to eat, so I will get a chance to remember that soon.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their last Friday visit for a while as they are going to see their granddaughters in New Zealand next week.  Alison and I enjoyed some farewell music, and once again Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights.

When Mike and Alison  had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate quite a lot of the tarte with some vanilla ice cream.  It was good.  (We did offer Mike and Alison some, honest.)

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow that had flown up into the rowan tree to grab a little shade.

shady sparrow in rowan

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Liz.  She went for a walk in the woods today and got a big surprise.  The wood carver has been at work again.

Liz's monster

We had another lovely day today, but in spite of the sunshine it was still a bit autumnal as far as the temperature went.  I walked up to the town to do some errands in the morning because just as I was cycling out of the gate, I met Mike Tinker so I pushed my bike beside me as we walked companionably up to the paper shop.

I had a couple more things to do while Mike walked back, and I cycled back a little later, deciding that any more serious cycle outing could well wait until the sun had warmed things up a bit.

Between drinking coffee and not finishing the crossword, I walked round the garden.  The pale yellow dahlia looked rather chilly in the shadow of the house….

pale yellow dahlia

…but elsewhere the sun  made everything look very cheerful…

nerine, begonia, euphorbia

…especially the poppies.

bright red poppy

I have been dead heading the Icelandic poppies and they have repaid me with several new flowers.

morning icelandic poppy

I liked this leaf of a variegated dogwood which looks as though nature has been out and about doing some hand quilting.

embroidered leaf

Once again, the most conspicuous element in the garden was the flitting about of butterflies.  There were lots about, including this white on a spirea…

white butterfly on spirea

…and all four of our regular coloured types – the peacock…

peacock butterfly

…the small tortoiseshell…

tortoiseshell butterfly on daglia

…the red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…and the painted lady.

painted lady on sedum

It wasn’t hard to find two or three together, jostling for space on the same flower.

three butterfly pairs

There weren’t as many blackbirds about as there have been, probably because the rowan berries have nearly all been eaten.  This blackbird was reduced to foraging for fallen berries on the ground.

blackbird with scavenged berry

A pale astrantia reached up to the sun.

pale astrantia

After lunch, with the thermometer at a heady 12°C, I got my bike out, spoke severely to my legs and set off to see how far I could go.

For once, the wind had dropped and although there was still a very light breeze, it wasn’t a great help or a great inconvenience.

The good forecast had encouraged farmers to cut more grass.

cut grass mid september

I cycled down to Longtown by back roads and dropped in at the bike shop there.  My bike has had a squeaking problem which had baffled the best brains among the bike shop boffins and although they hadn’t cured it when it was last in the workshop, they had made the bike ride-able again.  When the problem reappeared on a recent ride, I followed up on the mechanic’s suggestion and applied a little WD40 to a crucial point.  This had cured it, so I went to thank the mechanic.

He was very pleased to find the cause of the problem and undertook to provide a more permanent fix next time my bike comes to the workshop.  As it was, I was lucky that I was carrying the WD40 with me because when I went over a very dirty section of the road a few miles further on, the problem raised its ugly head again.  A good squirt cleared things up though, and I was able to pedal on without a problem.

From Longtown, I went past Arthuret Church…

Arthuret Church

…and enjoyed this little carving on a gravestone.

Arthuret Church carving

I then took a short off road section of National Bike Route 7.  It follows an old railway line across the River Lyne on a new bridge which they plunked down on top of the old piers..

NR 7 bike path

Although I had to duck to avoid brambles hanging over the path, and the final section was both muddy and very narrow, I reached the artistic signpost  at the far end of the track safely and rejoined the road gratefully.

I wound my way round the flat roads of North Cumbria, and then headed home past Gretna and through Canonbie

I paused for a drink as I crossed the main railway line near Gretna.  I love the geometry of railway lines.

railway geometry

I didn’t stop a lot to take pictures on my way but there were wild flowers to enjoy when I did stop.

three biking wild flowers

I was hoping to manage 50 miles but I came to a compromise agreement with my legs and settled for 43 miles instead.  The forecast is still good for tomorrow so I didn’t want to discourage my legs by doing too much today.

I had a cup of tea and some toast with plum jam when I got home and then had a last walk round the garden.  The calendulas are hanging on well.

evening icelandic poppy

I am off to see the podiatrist tomorrow to see if I can do something about getting walking comfortably again.  Cycling is all very well but you don’t see anything like as much detail as you do when you are walking.

The non flying bird of the day is a starling, standing fearlessly among the mess of wires on the top of our new electricity pole.

starling among wires

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who spotted this bird flitting along the shore of the Firth of Forth.   I like the delicate colour combinations a lot.

east wemyss flying bird

We had a grey but dry day here and although the temperature is getting more autumnal by the day, it was still warm enough for me to cycle to church without the need for extra cold weather clothing.  I went by myself as Mrs Tootlepedal is suffering from a cold and was not in singing fettle at all.

She joined me for coffee when I got back from church, where once again the choir had been seriously lacking in numbers.

After coffee, there would have been enough time for me to go for a short pedal or a walk but my legs are still in a non co-operative mood so I gave them a chance to get better and confined my walking to a stroll round the garden.

I was interested to note how much colour one of the dahlias loses as it ages.  Here is the youth…

young dahlia

…and here is the adult.

okd dahlia

Across the garden, another dahlia showed off the plant breeder’s skill.

fancy dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal has several potentillas spread about the place.  It hasn’t been a great year for them but most of them still have some flowers left.  This is one of the few on the red variety.

red potentilla

The rudbeckias have enjoyed the weather and are still flowering well.

rudbeckia

In a sheltered corner, a begonia which Mrs Tootlepedal picked up as a bargain on a garden centre visit is proving to be well worth every penny spent on it and more.

begonia

I am drawn to the honeysuckle on the fence because I pass it a lot and I tried to get a different take on it today.

close up honeysuckle

And I noticed these little flowers when I looked at the bright red leaves on the creeper.

creeper flower

A little geranium is soldiering on.

white geranium

A jackdaw is kindly helping us with picking the last of the plums…

jackdaw in plum tree

…and the garden is still full of odd looking blackbirds…

odd looking blackbird

…swallowing the last of the rowan berries.

swallowng berry

I haven’t been dead heading the Icelandic poppies lately and this might explain why one of the few poppies flowering had such a large attendance of insects.

icelandic poppy with four insects

We can look forward to some colour from the nerines.

nerine flowers

In the afternoon,  I once again left Mrs Tootlepedal nursing her cold at home, while I went off to sing with our Carlisle Community Choir.  The choir committee had been very conscious of the difficult conditions at last week’s practice and as a result, they had changed the seating and this week’s practice was much more satisfactory.  Two of our new tenors came back for a second go and it looks as though they will stay on, giving us a much needed number boost.

Our regular conductor was not there again this week but she had organised a very charming and competent young man to take her place and he got through a power of work.

I cooked a comfort meal of ham, egg, mushroom and tomato for our tea when I got back home and it was followed by a second helping of the tarte tatin.  This brought a bit of joy to a somewhat subdued day.

That odd blackbird in pursuit of rowan berries is the flying bird of the day.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin who was in California recently seeing his son and grandchildren when he visited the Capitola Pier.

capitola pier

We had another grey morning here with the occasional threat of drizzle which didn’t come to much.  It was enough though to persuade me that coffee and a tricky  crossword and some light shopping at our corner shop could fill up the time satisfactorily.   The wind was light and I ought to have been out making the most of a reasonable cycling day but I didn’t feel guilty enough to do more than walk round the garden.

I was hoping to see blackbirds in the rowan tree again but they were too quick for me today and flew off as soon as they saw me coming.

I looked at a shy dahlia instead.

shy dahlia

The last of the poppies are far from shy.

deep red poppies

And once again, the red admirals were about.  This one was resting on a sedum…

red admiral butterfly on sedum

…and this one on a buddleia was showing off its goggle eyes and its antennae.  The antennae look as though they have LEDs on them.

red admiral butterfly close up

At noon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop and I finally got organised and took my bike out for a pedal.

We are being threatened with the arrival of the last gasp of Storm Dorian but the rain isn’t due until the evening and although the wind was expected to speed up during the afternoon, it was still going to be pretty reasonable.  I planned a route which would take advantage of the strengthening wind to blow me back home.

These things don’t often work out well but today everything went to plan.  I cycled westwards into a gentle breeze as the sun came out.  On one of my refreshment pauses, I looked up to see a hefty crop of beech nuts on the branches above me.

beech mast

My turning point came after 20 miles when I arrived at Browhouses on the Solway coast.  I took a few minutes to eat half a banana and enjoy the views.

The tide was well out and although there were some sea birds about, they were well out of range of my cycling camera.

seas birds at browhouses

A group of swans and some of a large group of gulls with some oyster catchers behind them.

Looking westward, I could see the English shore across the shining levels of the Solway…

shining solway

 

…and looking eastwards, I could see the estuary of the River Esk rather than any sea.

esk estuary browhouses

In the distance, I could see the wind turbines at Gretna…

gretna windmills

..and at Longtown and unlike my last ride, this time the direction of the blades showed me that I would get my wish of windy support on my ride home.

longtown windmills

I noticed that one of the few wild flowers to be seen was attracting attention…

yellow flower browhouses

…and then set off to do the twenty odd miles home.

I went back by a different route to my outward journey, missing out Gretna Green which I had passed through on my way out, but going through all the other places on this neatly painted signpost which is in England in the  county of Cumbria.

cubbyhill signpost

It still carries the name of a county council which was abolished in 1974, the year in which we came to live in Langholm….

cubbyhill signpost detail

…and it is good to see that no-one thought it necessary to go to the expense of making new signposts when the old ones were in such good shape.

In the hedge beside the post were some bright rose hips.

rose hips cubbyhill

At Englishtown, the farmer had been busy cutting grass and there were bales on every side as far as the eye could see.

filed near Englishtown

Thanks to the favouring breeze, which had strengthened noticeably after I had turned for home, I did the first 20 miles down to the seaside (net elevation loss 250ft) in 1 hr 33 mins and the slightly longer return 22 mile journey to Langholm (net elevation gain 250ft) in 1 hr 27 minutes.  This is the way that well planned bike rides for the elderly should always work out.  To complete the picture, I should add that I took 23 minutes of rest and refreshment stops along the way.
 A map and details of the ride can be found here by anyone interested.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had a very busy day and was working hard at some business arrangements when I got home.  I left her to it and walked round the garden after I had had a cup of tea.

The ornamental strawberries are having a late burst and look very good at the moment.

tame strawberry

Crown Princess Margareta is trying her best but will need a couple of kind days if she is to come to anything.

margareta rose

And the blue clematis at the front door continues to produce small but quite elegant flowers.

front door clematis

I picked some more plums and stewed some of them and ate them as a dessert with some ice cream after our evening meal.  Garmin (which records my ride on a nifty bike computer) claims that I used 2289 calories on my ride so that should have put most of them back.

No flying bird of the day today but another of the many young blackbirds in the garden stands in for it.

young blackbird

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