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Posts Tagged ‘daisy’

Today’s guest picture comes from our older son Tony.  He took a suitably black and white shot of his black and white dogs.

wemyss dogs

In theory today was very much the same temperature as yesterday but in practice it felt much colder because of a rawness in the air and as a result I was quite happy to have a lot of singing and no cycling to do.

The singing started in church.  The choir had had no notice of the hymns in advance which was unusual but didn’t matter in the case of two of them which had simple harmonies.  One of the others in particular defeated me entirely even though it was sung in unison.  However, we had a enjoyable practice afterwards and in the end, we had a good morning of singing.

While this was going on, Sandy and Nancy were supervising the removal of the Archive Group’s furniture and equipment to the new base for the group.  The removal was in the hands of a couple of every competent fellows and Sandy and Nancy reported that everything had gone smoothly.  I hope to visit the new premises tomorrow and see the results.

When I got home, I had time for a quick walk round the garden with my new phone in hand.

There are still flowers about (just).

In some cases, it is a question of hanging on by the skin of the teeth…

edf

…but others are defiantly still flowering freely…

edf

….even if conditions are a bit soggy.

edh

I can’t get over how cheerful the perennial wallflower still is.

edf

As well as flowers, there is always moss about in the garden and this morning there was some additional fungus among the moss on the elder.

edf

At the bird feeder, it was very much a chaffinch day….

chaffinch activity

…though other birds were about as well.  There were pigeons on the lawn…

pigeon on lawn

…and jackdaws in the elder…

waiting jackdaw

…and one on a chair showing off its white feathers.

white feathers jackdaw

The chaffinches were queuing up to get to the sunflower hearts…

chaffinch queue

…but when they got there, some preferred arguing to eating.  Perhaps they were politicians in a former life.

chaffinch head to head

There was no shortage of pushy behaviour.

chaffinch starmash

After lunch, we went off to sing with our choir in Carlisle.  Ellen, our usual conductor, had other commitments and our accompanist was marooned in Motherwell by a late train cancellation so we had both a substitute conductor from Glasgow and a member of the choir at the keyboard.

As it turned out, they were more than able to provide us with a satisfactory practice and as is so often the case, a new face in front of the choir provided us with fresh insights into performing  better.  As there were only three tenors present this week, our department had to work hard to make itself heard.

When we got home, I made some cauliflower cheese for tea and followed that off with an iced bun so all in all, it was a very satisfactory day.

The flying bird of the day, unsurprisingly, is one of the chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who is beginning to get about again.  She visited the south bank of the Thames and admired the view of St Paul’s and the “Wobbly Millennium Bridge”  (now stabilised).

thames suspension bridge

Our weather is coming from the east at the moment so the temperature has dropped well into single figures and with a brisk wind blowing, it was not a day for idling around outside.

All the same, I had to go out after breakfast to return the key of the room where we had had our camera club meeting last night but I walked briskly and only stopped for one quick test of my new phone’s camera on the way.

sdr

The wind was coming from the left so by the time that I got home, a little sunshine had arrived and I tested the phone camera on a couple of the few remaining flowers in the garden.

sdrdav

The berberis is getting very thin on top now.

dav

I am still trying to get a balance between exercise and rest for my leg so I spent a quiet morning in, intending to go for a walk in the afternoon.

The birds provided a diversion.

There were goldfinch swirls….

goldfinch swirl

..and chaffinch twirls…

chaffinch twirl

…acrobatic landings….

one legged goldfinch landing

…and an anxious goldfinch hoping that a chaffinch had judged its braking distance correctly.

chaffinch pulling on brakes

Mrs Tootlepedal had put some breadcrumbs out on the lawn yesterday and two rather baffled jackdaws arrived today and wondered where they had all gone.

two curious jackdaws

On the whole, it was a quiet day and there were more chaffinches in the plum tree than on the feeder.

chaffinches in plum tree

After lunch, I went round to Nancy with a bank statement for the Archive Group and the experience of that very short walk made me reconsider my plan for a longer walk and I went home and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.

Later Nancy came round with the completed accounts for the Archive Group for the year and happily, we are still solvent.

I partially made up for not going for a walk by doing a short spell on the bike to nowhere in the garage later in the afternoon and was pleased to find that my leg is continuing to improve.

This was successfully tested by a walk to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening where Mrs Tootlepedal and I watched a screened performance of the “The Madness of George III” by Alan Bennett at the Nottingham Playhouse.  I had seen the film some time ago and wondered if I would enjoy the play as much.  As it turned out, I enjoyed the play more as it was an excellent production and the immediacy of the live drama was very emotionally touching.

It says it is going to be colder still tomorrow.  I will have to think about putting the winter tyres on the car soon, not to mention looking out the winter undergarments for the driver.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce’s trip to Arran where he visited the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.

Machrie Standing Stones

Just to put it on the record, we had a day without rain today. We were pathetically grateful.

I started the day off with a cycle ride.  This would have been quite a bit longer if I had been a bit more gung-ho about getting up, getting breakfast and getting going.  Leisurely was a more appropriate word than gung-ho to describe my activities but I got out before coffee time at least.

I was just pedalling up one of the early hills when my neighbour Ken whizzed past me.  As he is the same age and same weight as me, the only way he can cycle faster than me is by trying harder so I was stimulated into trying harder than I usually do myself and I kept him in sight until he stopped for a drink near Canonbie.  I stopped too and we had a chat…

Ken

I wouldn’t have caught him up if he hadn’t been feeling his back a bit but he was very cheerful all the same.

…and then set off on the road back to Langholm…

Woodhouselees road

It was a lovely day for a cycle ride

….with one or other of us setting the pace.  As a result, I managed a much better speed than I would have done if I had been on my own but I was also quite a bit more puffed out when we finished.

We were going to see Matilda in Edinburgh in the afternoon but I had time to look round the garden after the pedal.  The sun was really trying its best and the white flowers glowed.

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

poppies with hoverflies

The poppies were popular with hoverflies today

poppy

After all the pale flowers, I couldn’t pass the pink poppies without my finger clicking!

poppies

There really were hoverflies, flies and bees everywhere, enjoying the sunshine just as much as I was.

daisy with flies

Some ox eye daisies drew the flies

dahlia with hoverflies

A dahlia had pulled in hoverflies with another coming up to join in

bees on the Michaelmas daisies

There were three sorts of bees on the Michaelmas daisies

I had a close look at a bee.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

And an even closer look at another.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

I keep on resolving to get my tripod out and use a little patience on these close up shots but I keep on taking hand held ones and then doing something else so this may be the best that I will get.

The something else that I did today was to go to look for a butterfly…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…and I am glad that I did because it is a treat to see a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

I had to go inside in the end and have a shower and some lunch and then we drove off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.

It was such a good day that the town hall at Lockerbie looked like a Disney castle when we got there.

Lockerbie Town hall

On the down side, the train was late yet again.  It is a most unreliable service.

We got to Edinburgh a quarter of an hour late and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some lampshades, I caught the bus to Matilda’s.  Because of roadworks my bus was diverted and I got a much better view from its window than I expected.

Arthur's seat chapel

Matilda was baking a cake when I arrived presumably because she knew that we were coming.

I read a book with Matilda until Mrs Tootlepedal arrived and then we sat and chatted and played until it was time for tea.  We enjoyed a pizza with trimmings and then we got to eat the cake made by Matilda and her dad and enhanced with some jam and cream by her mother, so a proper family affair.  It was delicious, a credit to then all.  We were allowed to take some home with us in a box.

All too soon it was the moment for Matilda to go to her bath and for us to catch the bus back to the station.  The train was on time and we got home safely.

We looked up at the sky when we got out of the car and for once, we could see the stars very clearly in spite of the street lights all around.  This was tempting so I got my camera out, stuck it on a tripod and pointed it hopefully at the sky.  I was impressed by how many more stars it could see than I could with my naked eye.

stars

stars

If we get another clear night, I will go out of town to find a darker spot and have another go.  There are obviously a lot of stars to photograph out there.

The flying bird of the day is a sweet pea ignoring the recent rains and reaching for the sky.

sweet pea

 

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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

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Today’s guest picture shows a room with a view.  It was captured by Venetia while on holiday in Corrèze. She seems to have had plenty of interesting things to look at while she was inn France.

CorrezeWe had sunny spells and brisk winds again today but we were spared any showers which was a relief.  Once again though,  I failed to get out on my bike for one reason or another.

I did manage to some useful work in the garden instead.  I mowed the middle lawn and the grass paths on the front lawn too.  Then I raked one of the potential wild flower areas in the front lawn to try to get rid of as much moss as possible.

Having cast a critical eye on the state of health of the middle lawn, I gave the more pathetic parts of it a dose of liquid fertiliser.  I don’t expect to see much growth though until we get some warm weather.

I moved a couple more barrowfuls of compost from Bin A to Bin C but I have not included a photograph of this to avoid excessive excitement among the readership.

I ended the work with a good session of shredding of Mrs Tootlepedal’s spring prunings.

I wouldn’t like to pretend that this was continuous work as it was interrupted by periods of contemplation, crossword solving, sitting and thinking, lunch and sitting without thinking…..and taking a few pictures in the garden.

daisy and lilac

Two flowers coming out just in time to greet June

daffs

The last two daffodils which sadly are not quite going to make the first of June after all.

azaleas

Two lonely flowers on azaleas surrounded by unopened petals

plum tree

It looks as though we may get some plums this year but the late frost has seen to at least  half of the flowers.

clematis

And only half of the clematis above the back door has come out so far.

Still, there are bees about which is encouraging.

bee

A bee ranging over the lithodora

bee

And finally finding the one it wants.

Because of the work in the garden, there were not a great many birds to be seen today but the usual suspects were about.

starling and chaffinch

A starling gives a chaffinch a curious look.

chaffinches

One chaffinch comes as another goes

During the day, Mrs Tootlepedal moved the old feeder from the elder to protect her flowerbed underneath and put it back on the pole outside the kitchen window.  This didn’t discourage the goldfinches.

goldfinchesThey may prefer it to the new feeder which some of them find a little awkward to land on.

goldfinchThough it is no problem to the blue tits.

blue titA well judged combination of gardening and idling filled the day and in the early evening, we drove up to Eskdalemuir to the new Hub which has been set up in the old school there.

The school lies across the road from the river Esk…

River Esk at eskdalemuirBoth Mrs Tootlepedal and I remarked that on a pleasant evening at this time of year, Eskdalemuir can easily be mistaken for Shangri-la.  It is a different matter though in the midst of winter when the winds are raging and the snow is falling.  Then it can be mistaken for hell.

The managers of the Hub had organised a day of music and I was there to contribute a little by playing some simple duets with my flute pupil Luke.  Luke was in very good form and not least because we adopted very sensible tempos, we played our pieces well and got rewarded with a warm round of applause.  I was very pleased for Luke who had practised hard and was touched to see that his playing had moved his proud grandmother, who was in the audience, to tears.

We didn’t stay to listen to more music but drove gently home by the road down the other bank of the river.  It is one of the benefits of living in a  less prosperous area of the country that we didn’t meet a single car on our 26 mile round trip.  In fact, I was able to sop in the middle of the road near Hopsrig and take a couple of pictures on our way home.

yellow flowers

Bright yellow flowers among the debris left by tree felling

bluebells at Hopsrig

Bluebells among the few remaining trees.

We will have a busy day of singing tomorrow with a rehearsal for our Carlisle choir and the second concert with our Langholm choir.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.  It is not a good picture but I have used it anyway because I love the arc that a goldfinch’s wings make when they are fully extended.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Fiona, my Newcastle correspondent.  She has been forced to go and work in Malta for a while and is having to put up with surroundings like these.

MaltaWe had another lovely day here today, genuinely warm and with gentle winds.  I would like to have used it to go cycling but the pressing need to have a lie in wasted the early part of the morning and then the pleasure of entertaining Dropscone, who was also recovering from yesterday’s efforts, took up the next hour.  This was followed by a visit to the health centre for some regular maintenance and before I knew it, the morning had gone.

After lunch, my plan was to have a quick visit to the Moorland bird feeders and follow that with a bike ride.  As a plan, it wasn’t one of my most successful.

When I got to the road to the bird feeders, I found that teams of pothole fillers were hard at work and while this is a very welcome activity, it put paid to my scheme for a little bird watching.  Watching men filling potholes is not so much fun as spotting woodpeckers so I came home.

Once home, something in the air got my asthma interested and far from cycling, I needed a quick sit down.  This was enhanced by a good snooze and the desire for a pedal had evaporated by the time that I woke up.  I was some what recovered though and managed to mow the middle lawn and sieve a little compost so the day wasn’t entirely wasted.

In the absence of any adventures, my exploring was limited to the garden.  There was enough there to keep me fully entertained.

pink and yellow tulips

Multicoloured tulips are brightening the garden up.

tulips

Plainer ones still have plenty of ping.

tulip

Plenty of ping.

There was activity in the pond.

pond skater and frogAnd in the dam at the back of the house.

little fish in dam

I was surprised to see a shoal of tiny fish there.  Perhaps some expert can tell me what they are.

aubretia

And delighted to see the flourishing aubretia.

I always keep an eye for new flowers and although I am not entirely happy to see them in the middle of the front lawn, these daises looked very cheery.

daisiesThe marsh marigold in the pond was more suitably placed.

marsh marigoldAmong the established plants, the pulsatillas are going great guns….

pulsatillas…and the magnolia is looking better every day.

magnoliaAlthough we always nervous about late frosts, it was very pleasing to spot the first plum blossoms on the year…

plum blossoms….and even more pleasing to hear the buzzing of many bees in the garden.  They were very keen on the hyacinths today.

bees on hyacinthsbees on hyacinthsOther insects could be seen too.  Although they didn’t seem ready to spread their wings open and enjoy a little basking, I did see both a peacock and a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

butterfliesSo in spite of not getting much accomplished, I was able to enjoy the sunshine and not dwell on missed pedalling opportunities too much.

In the evening I went off to our local choir practice and had a most enjoyable sing.  Mrs Tootlepedal spent almost the whole day working on the floor in the front room and was still working in the evening and as a result, she missed the choir.  Still, her work is paying off and the floor is going to look very good when she has finished.

The only fly in the ointment of the end wall development is to be found in one of the old sandstone blocks which we saved from the old fireplace and re-used in the new one.  The plaster beside it is not drying and when our project manager came round with his nifty damp-meter, the reason for this became clear.  The old block is still very wet after years in a leaking end wall.  We will just have to be patient while it dries out but it does mean that the decorating won’t be finally finished for quite a bit yet.  The room will be quite usable though and Mrs Tootlepedal plans to start moving the furniture back in tomorrow.

Mr reason for wanting to visit the Moorland bird feeders was the lack of birds in our own garden but I did manage to find a flying bird of the day as the shadows lengthened in the evening.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows the world’s greatest baby looking amazed at what fun it is to have an aunt to bounce on.

MatildaI took advantage of a perfect cycling day to nip out for an out and back 50km pedal I (I think that sounds more impressive than a 32 mile pedal) while Mrs Tootlepedal was warbling in the church choir.  It was 15°C, dry but overcast and with a light wind, not conditions that we commonly associate with the autumn equinox period when equinoctial gales and heavy rain are our usual fare.

I pedalled south down the main road as traffic is very light on a Sunday.  My only excitement was being passed by a string of thirty motorcyclists at one point.  The light wind was blowing from the south which meant that I was able to come back faster than I went out which is always morale boosting.

I got back from cycling and Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her church choir at more or less the same time.  We took a walk round the garden.

Rose The Wren

The Wren was looking gorgeous.

The day had brightened up a bit and the flowers were attracting insects.

Japanese anemone

Japanese anemone

Michaelmas daisy

Michaelmas daisy

The macro lens shows that there is a good variety of hoverflies even in one garden.

Two long flowering plants are still providing colour.

Welsh poppy and crocosmia

Welsh poppy and crocosmia

Crown Princess Margareta was looking very regal.

Crown Princess MargaretaWe had a coffee and Mrs Tootlepedal went out to slave in the garden, continuing her grand plan of soil improvement while I picked some raspberries.  Our autumn fruiting rasps are loving the weather and I am having a really hard time eating them all…

raspberries…though I find that the application of ample supplies of double cream ease the pain a bit.

Then while Mrs Tootlepedal slaved on, I went off to lie in a relaxing bath.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal retired for a quick snooze and I wandered around the garden again. The sun had come out and The Wren looked so lovely that I took another picture of it.

rose The WrenOwing to a slight miscalculation with my camera settings, I took a rather moodier set of pictures of the astrantia than I meant to but they came out so well (in my opinion at least) that I have put two of them in here because I couldn’t choose between them.

astrantiaastrantiaThere were a couple of red admiral butterflies fluttering about….

red admiral…but I haven’t seen a small tortoiseshell recently which is a surprise.

Then it was time to go off to Carlisle to sing with our choir there.  Our musical director was back and we had an excellent practice.  He is very good at pushing us as far as we can go without making us hate either him or singing and he was trying to get us to sing perfectly in tune today.  This may be a step too far but we are giving it our best shot,  At least we have made that important first step of realising that we may not be singing in tune even if we think we are.

The nights are drawing in and there was no time for more adventures once we got home.  Feeling that two hours cycling and two hours singing deserved a reward, I treated myself to a large poke of chips and a tub of curry sauce from our local chop shop for my tea while  Mrs Tootlepedal nibbled on a salad leaf or two.

We rounded off a good day by watching the highlights of the final singles matches of the Ryder Cup (a golf competition between Europe and the USA for those who don’t recognise the name).  It was played in Scotland which made it more than usually interesting for us.

The birds were still conspicuous by their absence today and I had no chance to catch a flying bird so a perching blue tit will have to stand in.

blue tit.

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