Posts Tagged ‘dam’

Today’s appropriate guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who came across this ‘brolly art’ on a visit to Banbury.

banbury brollies

Mrs Tootlepedal bought some sunflower seed this year which promised low growing multi stemmed flowers.  There was obviously a ringer in the packet though, as one plant is about nine foot high….

sunflower from above

…and can only be appreciated by leaning out of an upstairs window.

tall sunflower

It was a very wet day with persistent rain, so I was happy to welcome Dropscone for coffee, especially as he came with a heap of his excellent Friday treacle scones.  In spite of the wet weather, he told me that he had found a dry day during the week to go to play in the seniors’ golf competition at Hawick.  Although his golf score had not threatened the leaders, he had won a raffle prize and had enjoyed the outing.

It was frankly a rather depressing day and the only thing that got me out of the house in the afternoon was a check on the dam…

dam getting bigger

…which was beginning to rise.

We thought it prudent to have a look at the new sluice gate at Pool Corner so I went up and was relieved to find it looking very reliable.

nes sluice woking well

It is set slightly open to avoid the swollen river putting too much pressure on the retaining wall so there was a steady flow down the dam…

full dam

…and the wall was holding back a lot of water…

wauchope at Pool Corner

…though nothing much as it was last Saturday when the river was so high that you couldn’t see the caul at all.  It was clearly to be seen today.

wauchope at Pool Corner downstream

This was all reassuring.

I followed the Wauchope down to the spot where it flows under the Kirk Brig and joins the Esk.  The Wauchope has  shifted a considerable amount of over the past week, and it is now flowing over a small cascade to join the bigger river.

wauchope flooding under kirk brig

…and on this occasion, it was adding more than its fair share of water to the Esk.

wauchope meeting esk

On the other side of the Wauchope, I could see a family of goosanders having a quiet sit down.

qgoosanders at church

The rain eased off enough as I went home to let me walk round the garden without getting too wet.

I saw a promising plum.

ripening plum

In fact, I didn’t just see it, I picked it and ate it.  It tasted very promising.  I hope that we get enough good weather to ripen the plums properly before they all split in the rain.

As well as being wet, it was also windy and three phloxes which Mrs Tootlepedal has recently transplanted needed every bit of help from their supporting canes that they could get.  You can see the salvias being bent by the breeze in the background.

transplanted phlox

The dahlias have had a hard time.  As well as being seriously nibbled, the weather has been poor ever since they came out and I am surprised whenever I see a flower looking half decent.

three rainy dahlias

The argyranthemums smile though their tears.

wet argyranthemum

Another excursion was a quick drive to the Co-op to do some shopping for our tea, not a very exciting prospect.  However, as  we combined shopping with cheerful conversation with several friends we met in the store, it did brighten our day a bit.

In the early evening, I took my entries for the Canonbie Flower Show up to Sandy.  He has a friend who always does well in the photographic section of the show staying with him, and she and her husband very kindly agreed to take both his and my pictures down to the hall and get them properly entered.  I hope to go down tomorrow and see how they have done.

Further day brightening was applied by the arrival of Mike and Alison later in the evening, and Alison and I tinkled and tootled away to provide a musical end to a very dull day.

There were no flying birds today but at least the goosanders got up and did a bit of walking.

goosanders at church alert

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He visited Ashby de la Zouch  in Leicestershire and admired the castle there.  It reminded him of our prime ministe.  Like her, it is rather battered but still standing.

Ashby de la Zouche castle

In a complete reversal of the normal order of things, Dropscone arrived for coffee this morning but didn’t bring treacle scones with him even though it was Friday.  He had been at a golf meeting up in the borders yesterday and had visited a supermarket on his way home.  Once inside, he had been tempted by a seedy malt loaf which was on display at such a reduced price that it was irresistible and he brought that to coffee today instead of scones,  It was very tasty.

When he left,  I admired a greenfinch taking in the rays on the plum tree…


…and then Mrs Tootlepedal led me out on a cycling expedition round the New Town.  We were tracking the dam from source to outflow.  I recorded our journey.

dam 4

  1. The dam starts at the sluice at Pool Corner, squeezes under the new flood wall just below the sluice and heads off beside the old dump (now covered over and a recreation area).

dam 3

2.  We followed its course and looked back towards Pool Corner and then turned 90 degrees to watch it as it flowed past the edge of Latimer’s shed and burrowed under Caroline Street.

dam 2

3.  It creeps along the road under the pavement here until it takes a sharp left turn  at the green hedge which you can see  and emerges to go through a patch of wild country between Caroline Street and Wauchope Place.  It creeps under the street there by a very plain bridge.

dam 1

4.  Once across Wauchope Place, it enjoys a moment of freedom as it heads between manicured banks towards the spanking new bridge at Wauchope Street and then, after passing our house,  it once more heads underground, this time beneath Walter Street and across Henry Street.

dam 5

5.  Once across Henry Street, it visits the Skinyards and then appears for a brief moment at a sluice in Reid and Taylor’s yard before sinking underground again and passing under Elizabeth Street, where it emerges from a tunnel on the banks of the Esk…


Esk with dam outlet

…joins the river and ends up in the sea in the Solway Firth.

The reason for this adventure was to record the dam in its present state as there has been talk of decommissioning the dam when the Reid and Taylor’s site is redeveloped.  Those who live along it would be very sorry to see it go.

While I was at the river side, I took a shot of the willows below the suspension bridge. They have been adding some late colour to the riverside scene but they are fading away now like the year.

Esk with late willows

The gentle flat cycle outing probably did my sore leg some good and I let that be my exercise for the day.

I watched the birds when I got home and once again, it was very quiet for most of the time at the feeder.  We had some busy days when the temperature dropped but it hit 13°C today and most of the birds must be happy to forage for food in the countryside at the moment.

The small flock of goldfinches returned over lunchtime, led by this handsome but slightly ruffled bird.

goldfinch ruffled

At times, there was a great deal of to-ing and  fro-ing and flapping of wings….

goldfinches on feeder

…and some smart one legged landing.

goldfinch arriving

On other occasions the landing had to be one legged as the other leg was being used to kick away the unfortunate occupier of the perch.

goldfinches coming and goin

A lone chaffinch appeared.

chaffinch and goldfinches

We took a walk round the garden and I was impressed by the staying power of the sweet rocket which would be long over by now in a normal year.

sweet rocket mid november

Mrs Tootlepedal liked the strong impression made by these primroses.

white primroses

The hips on the Goldfinch rose are  flourishing thanks to the warm summer.

goldfinch rose hips

And a few of the calendulas have suddenly taken a new lease of life and are looking as good as new.

bright calendula Nov

Not all growth is good.  Mrs Tootlepedal is a bit worried to see spring bulbs showing above ground at this time of year.  These tulips shouldn’t be visible now.

very early tulip shoots

I spent the afternoon doing useful things on my computer and in the evening, Mike and Alison came round as usual on a  Friday and Alison and I rounded off the day with some enjoyable duets.

The forecast is good for tomorrow so I might try another short, flat cycle ride to keep my leg exercised as today’s effort seems to have done no harm.

One of the goldfinches is the flying bird of the day today.

goldfinch nearly arriving



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Today’s picture shows  the space where a bridge used to be on Gaskells Walk.  Bruce and Lesley came across it when on a guided tour with Guthrie.  I suppose that they all girded their loins and leapt lightly across the gap.


Apart from a negligible couple of flurries, the rain kept away today and was replaced by clouds and occasional sunshine and a strong, drying wind.

I took this picture to show the comparative improvement.

The back door

The back door as it should be.

And this…

Dam side

All is calm

Dropscone and I went round the morning run looking for scenes of devastation but we were disappointed.  The fallen wall at Holmfoot had been neatly cleared away and there were no other signs of the rain of yesterday.  Except one.  Last time we went round the morning run, we were very pleased to see the council men in their special sucking up vehicle vacuuming up the leaves and debris on the cycle track, leaving it safe and tidy.  When we went along it today, the road was covered at the same spot by a large outpouring of stones and gravel.  We managed to squeak past but as Dropscone pointed out, it is unlikely now that it will be cleared again in the next six months.

Still it was fine and the wind was behind us for the last few miles so we managed to achieve an average of 15 miles an hour for the twenty miles and that is par for the course for us….and a welcome sign of improvement for me.

The scones were extra good.

While we were drinking our coffee, I could see the ripening plum hanging from its branch.  The tension is building.  Who will time it right, the birds or me?


Dropscone alarmed me by saying that he had seen a wasp.  They are great destroyers of plums.  It turned out though that the sighting had been in the clubhouse at Hawick and Dropscone had killed it anyway.  My fears were allayed.

Out in the garden, two clematis are hard at work.  One is on the vegetable garden fence and is rather scraggy and overshadowed…


…while the other is beside the front lawn and is much more open.


After a slow start, the bird feeder got very busy.  I took this picture at 11.55…

bird feeder

…and this one six hours later.

bird feeder

In between the two, the pace was pretty consistent and there were many opportunities to catch birds in flight.

birds in flight

After lunch, I went to the tourist information point on the Kilngreen, where I dispensed information to a lone tourist.  I also gave some computer advice to Arthur who dropped in.  He is a keen fisherman and is depressed at the height of the river which means that he cannot fish.

The Ewes was still coming down at a good speed when I looked at it.


You can see it here, battling with the Esk coming from the right.

It threatened to rain while I was at the Kilngreen but by the time I got home, it was fine.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cutting down a pyrocantha from the back wall of the house so I was moved to do useful work too and got the mower out.  Everything is so damp that I had to put the cutter up but I managed to mow the two lawns without doing them any damage.  They looked quite good in the evening sunshine later on.

lawn porn

The front lawn

More lawn porn

The middle lawn

If you look at them closely, there are a lot of dead spots but from this distance, they look fine.

I then cut the grass round the greenhouse, sieved a bucket of compost,  trimmed another two feet off the back fence (we are doing this task a little at a time), took a picture of two dahlias…


…and finally, it was time for a sit down.

Although there was time to look out of the window too.  The peanut feeder was busy.

peanut feeder

It is unusual to see a greenfinch on the peanuts.

After tea, we sat down and finished off a busy day by doing our tax return and sending it off.  We are hoping to sleep the sleep of the just tonight.

We are offered heavy rain and thunder tomorrow.  That will make a change.

I found yet another flying bird to act as flying bird of the day.

flying sparrow




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