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Posts Tagged ‘Duchess Bridge’

Today’s guest picture is another blast of sunshine from the past.  This time it is a pleasant valley scene from one of my brother Andrew’s Derbyshire walks in early October.

derbyshire

After a rather restless night, I got up to a sunny morning and a much improved interior economy and after a quiet morning, I was back to normal by lunchtime and able to eat without any ill effects.

I didn’t take any risks though and did nothing more energetic than have a walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

The berberis was positively glowing….

BERBERIS

…and the special Grandma was having a final fling.

special grandma

The display of rose hips is easily the best that I can remember and many roses that don’t usually have any are covered with them after the good summer.

rose hips

There is no denying that we are well on the way to winter though.

red leaf

It is good to have blackbirds back in the garden as they have been pretty scarce since July.

blackbirds

I didn’t stay out long and when the sun went in so did I, and I was soon back in the kitchen looking out of the window.

It was an extremely quiet day for birds.

lonely chaffinch

I haven’t been able to work out why the feeder can be mobbed one day and deserted the next.

Even the sight of plenty of available perches didn’t discourage some uncouth pushing and shoving.

pointless violence

After lunch, I tested my constitution and my leg by going for a short walk over three bridges.

As I came to the river, I could see glowing trees in a garden on the hillside opposite…

yellow trees

…and golden willows below me on the river bank.

willows beside esk

Wherever I looked on my walk, there always seemed to be a defiant patch of colour among the leafless branches.

autumn colour November

I was impressed by the careful relaying of turfs on the site of the big bonfire on Sunday.

bonfire patch

After I crossed my second bridge, I met a fellow camera club member walking his dog and spent my time chatting rather than snapping and it was only when we went our separate ways that I took the camera out again to record a little more late colour.

Lodge tree

I crossed my third bridge and made my way quietly home…

duchess bridge tree

…only pausing for a wild flower on the edge of the Scholars’ Field.

november wild flower

My leg is working but still sore and there is no chance of getting on my bike for a while yet but my constitution was unruffled by the walk so I was happy.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy watching a YouTube video on sharpening woodwork tools so I realised that she had left the garden and gone back to rocking horse restoration.  I settled down to put a couple more weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  My lack of cycling may be regrettable but it has let me catch up (a bit) on the backlog of data.

My friend Susan wasn’t available to come to our monthly recorder group meeting today so I had to drive myself to Carlisle.  The effort was very worthwhile as we had an excellent evening of music.  One of other members was unwell so we were a quartet  tonight and this made for a change with some different music to play.

Having been 150 miles ahead of my mileage schedule at the beginning of October. I am now 200 miles behind and with no hope of catching up, I am officially abandoning any targets for the year and will take any miles that I can squeeze in as a bonus.

Once again there are two flying birds of the day, this time goldfinches, one with wings in…

flying goldfinch in

…and one with wings out.

flying goldfinch out

Variety is the spice of life.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who walked though five villages the other day and looked at one of them across a valley. This is Holbrook seen from Horsley.

Holbrook from Horsley

I was expecting a wet day today but after some heavy rain overnight, it was quite dry and calm in the morning and Dropscone was able to cycle round with treacle scones at coffee time.

I had a quick look round the garden before he came.

A couple of frosty mornings while I was away have done for a lot of the flowers but the nasturtiums under the protection of the front wall of the house are still looking excellent.

nasturtium

Sadly, only a very few fuchsias are left standing…or more accurately, hanging.

fuchsia

Dropscone has been checking on the well being of his tin knees which are now ten and twelve years old.  He got them put in at different hospitals and as a result, he had to go to two different places to get them x-rayed as one hospital couldn’t possibly x-ray another hospital’s knee.  This was rather annoying but he is pleased that the check has been completed.

I put the camera on its tripod at the kitchen window and took a variety of shots during the morning, while the weather was still dry.

A small flock of goldfinches were keeping the usual chaffinches at bay today…

goldfinch and chaffinch

…although one chaffinch at least made it to the feeder.

landing chaffinch

The birds have been complaining to their agents that I do not do them justice with my obsession with grainy shots of them in flight so I took some grainy head and shoulder shots today instead.

portrait goldfinch

Goldfinch

portrait greenfincj

Greenfinch

portrait sparrow

Sparrow

They are all very handsome.

It was still dry when Dropscone left after coffee so I had another look round the garden…

delphinium october

veg garden flower

…and then I took a chance and went for a short ‘three bridges’ walk to seek out autumn colour.

As I approached my first bridge, the pedestrian suspension bridge across the Esk, I couldn’t fail to be struck by the poplars beside the church.

river esk oct 12

And as I walked along towards my second bridge, this colourful garden hit me in the eye.

bar brae garden

I didn’t cross the town bridge today but I did look back at it from the Kilngreen…

autumn over the town bridge

…and I looked up the Esk from the same point.

esk from meeting of waters

I was pleased to see that for once I had all my ducks in a row.

ducks in a row

The Sawmill Brig over the Ewes Water was my second crossing.

sawmill brig october

And once across, I could admire the Langholm Castle ruins on the Castleholm…

castle in autumn

..and the glow of the trees at the start of the Lodge walks.

lodge walks oct

Across the playing fields, the trees on the far bank of the Esk were well worth a glance…

Castleholm trees oct

…or two.

castleholm trees oct (2)

Although not as brilliant as the maples that draw the tourists to New England in the fall, they give me a lot of quiet pleasure.

As the rain was threatening to come, I crossed the Duchess Bridge as my third bridge…

duchess brig in autumn

…and scuttled home as quickly as I could, propelled onward by a short but sharp little shower that encouraged me not to linger and look for fungi.

I did see this little specimen as I went through a gate on the Castleholm…

fungus on gatepost

…but mostly I had eyes only for yew deciduous trees on my walk today.

I got home in good time for lunch and shortly afterwards, the rain started in earnest….

feeder in the rain

…and kept going for several hours.

It has stopped as I write this but if the forecast is to be believed, it will start again in the early hours of the morning and rain until tea time tomorrow.

I will have a quiet day in.

Mike Tinker braved the rain and dropped in for a cup of tea and he told me that there has been an invasion of chaffinches from the continent.  I should recognise them if they arrive in the garden as they are more colourful than the natives.

Mrs Tootlepedal is doing well in the south but is looking forward to coming home next week and getting to work on preparing the garden for the winter.

I tried to catch a flying goldfinch but only managed another chaffinch today to be the flying bird of the day. They hover very obligingly.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is an owl spotted by Dropscone on his recent visit to Kent.  It was keeping an eye on things near a graveyard.

owl

We had another cold, grey and wet morning today with added icy patches so I was very happy to find things to do in the house.  The  ground is still rock solid and the rain was producing fine puddles on the lawn.

lawn puddle

Sandy came round for a cup of coffee and our neighbour Liz dropped in to recover with another cup of coffee from the shock of finding her drains blocked with water all over the kitchen floor.  Luckily, a plumber soon arrived and unblocked the pipe.

What with the visitors and the crossword (done to an accompaniment of Miff Mole and his Molers), the morning passed more pleasantly than it deserved.

It was soggy outside…..

goldfinch and siskin

…and the light was absolutely rotten so flying birds were out of the question.  The blackbirds were very much in evidence again…

blackbirds

…with the apples continuing to attract customers. I rarely looked out of the window and saw less than four blackbirds round the feeder and often as many as seven or eight.

Other birds dropped in too.

pigeon and dove

Finally, the weather took a turn for the better and the rain stopped.

chaffinch and goldfinch

I had to wait for the bread machine to deliver the dough for a batch of rolls before I could get out for a walk though and by that time, the light had begun to fade.

There was a hint of blue sky….

blue sky

…but the low and misty cloud that you can see in the picture above, persisted and it made sure that no sun came out to warm me on my way.

A glimpse of Mr Grumpy cheered me up…

heron

…and I enjoyed the duck in the foreground pretending to swim but sensibly keeping himself just out of the water by standing on a rock.

mallard

A goosander was quite happy to swim away as I came past.

goosander

It was still pretty chilly out but all traces of frost and snow had gone…

Meeting of the Waters

…and the morning’s ice had gone too, leaving me with a remarkably pleasant walk for a dull, cold day.

I passed the disused church on the Lodge Walks, reflecting that in its early life as a church for visitor’s to the Duke’s summer lodge, the ministers must have been chosen for their ability to play cricket as the first two appeared regularly on the pitch for Langholm Cricket Club matches.

Tin church

A flock of sheep found me interesting as I walked past them…

sheep and tree

The ram had his harness on.  It carries a block of paint which marks the ewes so that the shepherd knows which ones have had the benefit of his attention.

sheep and ram

As they were all facing me, I couldn’t tell if he had been doing his duty.

I was interested to see several protective cages with canes marked in red in them.

P1060033

These are an indication that replacements for the felled trees along the Lodge walks will soon be in place.

As always, there was lichen to look at.

lichen

And fungus too.

P1060035

Both of those were on the felled trees that are going to be replaced.

The light was fading fast so I crossed the Duchess Bridge…

P1060037

…and made my way home.

I met Mrs Tootlepedal, out on an errand, just as I reached Mike and Alison’s house and we dropped in to see if they would like to come round for scones and music tomorrow afternoon as we are busy in the evening.

This was agreed and while we there, we were entertained with nice cup of tea and several topless tarts.  (These were mince pies, which owing to a miscalculation of the available pastry, had been made without lids.  They were still delicious.)

As we left, I took a picture of this beautiful orchid on their kitchen windowsill.

P1060041

In the evening, I went off to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group and we had a most enjoyable time.   The icing on the cake was seeing a shooting star flashing across the sky as we drove home.  A little research told me that this was one of the Geminids.

When I got back into the house, I went upstairs for a look out of the window. The sky was brilliantly clear thanks to the lack of any moon and Mrs Tootlepedal and I could see the Milky Way behind the usual constellations with the naked eye, a very rare thing for us.  Although we waited for a while, we didn’t see a shooting star.  The internet tells me that 2am will be the best time. That may be a bit late for me.

Owing to the poor light, no flying bird of the day today and owing to laziness, no inferior substitute either.

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Today’s guest picture is another blast of Irene’s sunny South African sketches.

Irene's garden

We had a quietly grey day here today, dull but dry and calm.  It would have been another good day for a cycle ride and it has been annoying that probably the best two days for a bike ride that we are likely to get in November have coincided with me having a cold.  And to make it worse, not an all out and knock you down cold but just a niggling, persistent little blighter that won’t go away.

So it was lucky that although Dropscone was going to a society dinner in Edinburgh in the evening, he had enough time and energy to bring a set of treacle scones round for coffee in the morning.

The coffee was quite exciting as four packs had just arrived by post and we were able to chose our brew by looking at some fanciful descriptions of the flavours on the packets.  We settled for ‘rum and raisin’ flavour from Kenya but it tasted remarkably like ‘coffee’ when we drank it.  It was nice though.

When Dropscone left, I had a quick check on floral survivors in the garden.  There are not many but those that are left are doing their best to keep us cheerful.

calendula, nasturtium, rose and poppy

Then I went back in and stared out of the window for a bit.

The birds were back and it was a busy morning at the feeder.

busy feeder

Blue tits and chaffinches came and went.

blue tit and chaffinch

A greenfinch, blue tit and goldfinch all stopped for a quick pose for me.

greenfinch, blue tit and goldfinch

And a robin waited on the chimney until I had got a pose than popped up to the feeder to give me another chance.

robin

But perhaps I liked this picture of a blackbird on the ground more than any feeder pictures today.

blackbird

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to have lunch at the Buccleuch Centre with our neighbour Margaret and I waited in for a man with a van to come and collect the garden tiller to take it away for its service.  He arrived on time and I wrapped up well and went out for a walk.

I went down to the river to see if there were birds to be seen.  There were.

I have been thinking that the outer pair of gulls in the panel below were herring gulls but I think now that they may be black backed gulls.  The one in the middle is definitely a black headed gull.

gulls on the Esk

Also on parade was a dipper, Mr Grumpy and a goosander.  The dipper wouldn’t wait until I got it in focus but almost immediately disappeared under the water.

dipper heron and goosander

The mallards on the Kilngreen were more obliging and lined up neatly for a shot.

mallards

Nearby a rook was surprisingly calm while I fussed about with my camera.

rook

I left the birds to their business and walked over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge walks.

The leaves have left.

Lodge Walks in November

Although, across the Castleholm on the more sheltered side, there are a few leaves still left.

Castleholm trees

I kept an eye out for the stumps of the felled trees along the Walks as they can be interesting.  I found this display of fungus on one of them, looking for all the world like a big handful of spilled beads…

fungus

..but as a closer look proved, they are firmly attached to the wood.  They may be a variety called purple jellydisc or Ascocoryne sarcoides.

As I have remarked before, the fall of the leaves lets me see the bridges more clearly…

Duchess Bridge

…but I didn’t cross the Duchess Bridge when I came to it on this occasion and walked down the side of the Castleholm to the Jubilee Bridge instead.  This let me look back at a lone tree which had retained its leaves against the odds.

Lodge walks

After I crossed the Jubilee Bridge, I had a last look at the larches at the end of the Scholars’ Field…

Larches

…bowed to the only flower that I saw on my walk….

umbellifer in November

…and got home to find Mrs Tootlepedal back from lunch and hard at work in the garden planting out wallflowers.

I sieved a bit of compost for her, shredded a few dead ends, photographed a lupin which is obstinately and not very successfully trying to flower well past its sell by date…

lupin

…and went inside to get out of the cold.

I put the afternoon to good use by catching up on my correspondence and entering a week of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database.

By the time that I had finished it was very gloomy outside so Mrs Tootlepedal came in and we had a cup of tea.

My Friday evening orchestra, Alison is, like me, not feeling quite at her peak so once again “Yes, we had no sonatas.  We had no sonatas today.”  I am very short of tootling pleasure at the moment.

I put another week of the newspaper index into the database instead.  It’s an ill wind etc etc.

The flying bird of the day is a pretty determined greenfinch.

flying greenfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and shows one of the greens on the golf course he was visiting last week in Spain.  Tough conditions out there.

golf course

We had far from Spanish weather here today.  It had rained heavily over night and it was still raining heavily when we got up.  It continued to rain all morning and only stopped in the middle of the afternoon.

Under these circumstances, I was very fortunate to have the company of both Dropscone and Sandy for coffee.  An additional bonus was the treacle scones that Dropscone provided for the occasion.   Dropscone has been on holiday in Spain and Sandy in Portugal and they had both enjoyed excellent weather so the rain was a bit of a shock to their systems but they were bearing up bravely.

I put on some stout waterproof clothing after they had left and walked down to see how much of the rain had got into the rivers.

Wauchope and turtle

The Wauchope was flowing freely and the turtle in the Esk was learning how to swim.

Waterside birds were to be seen in spite of the rain.

gull and dipper

The dipper was very busy but taking care not to be washed away and the gull was standing very still on its rather precarious rock perch.

I looked down the River Esk from the suspension bridge.

River esk

To say that our weather is changeable at the moment is a bit of an understatement.

I didn’t stay out long and went home and did the crossword.

Once the rain had eased off to a drizzle after lunch, I went out for a second look.  The water had risen but we were far from a big flood…

Esk and turtle

…although the turtle’s need for swimming lessons seemed pressing.

I took the opportunity to visit a large crop of fungus on the bank of the Wauchope by the church wall.

fungus beside church

They are related to a tree that had to be felled because it had become dangerous.

Nearby, seven goosanders were resting on the bank of the Esk.  I couldn’t get them all in one shot so I settled for these three…

goosanders

…and this one which had gone for a swim.

goosander

I had a look up the Wauchope from the Park Bridge…

Wauchope in flood

…and then went home again and did some work on songs for both my choirs.  I was concentrating hard on the music and was surprised when I turned to the window and saw that the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  I shot out into the garden.

Crown princess margareta

Crown Princess Margareta is getting special care from the gardener and we hope that it will do really well next year.

Nasturtiums

A splash of colour against the wall of the house

poppy

A battered poppy doing its best

A young blackbird was taking advantage of the sunshine to have a bath in our pond…

blackbird

…watched from on high by a starling.

starling

I tried to contact Sandy with a view to going for a walk but when he didn’t reply (I found out later that he was busy at the Archive Centre), I went off by myself.

The sun went in almost as soon as I started out.

I visited the riverside.  Just where the dam comes out into the Esk, I came across a dipper busy in the long grass beside the Esk.

dipper

I walked along to the Town Bridge and once again marvelled at the sound construction which has let it withstand this sort of pressure…

Langholm Bridge in flood

… since 1775.

I looked back down river from the bridge…

River esk in Autumn

…and then walked over the bridge and onto the Kilngreen.

The Esk and the Ewes looked quite full when I got down to their level…

Esk and Ewes

…but they were safely contained within their banks.

As I walked towards the Sawmill Brig, a heron flew past me and when I was on the bridge, I could see another dipper on the rocks below.

Heron and dipper

By the this time, the clouds had come back but I walked on, hoping that all the rain that was in the clouds had already been discharged.

I walked up the Lodge Walks and enjoyed the trees lining the walks and those on the Castleholm and lower slopes of the hill beyond the river.

Lodge walks

Meikleholm hill treesMeikleholm hill treesMeikleholm hill trees

I crossed the raging river by the Duchess Bridge…

Duchess bridge in Autumn

…and got home without seeing a drop of rain.

In the evening, I went out to a Langholm Sings choir practice and enjoyed myself more than I thought that I would when I found that the songs were a bit easier to get right than I had feared.  The “getting right” is still more potential than actual but then that is what practices are for.

I am hoping that the recent progression of rainy, sunny, rainy days will lead to tomorrow being sunny.  It would be only fair.

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my son Tony.  He is the one on the hindmost of the two greys galloping along at the Lauder Common Riding. The photo was taken by ‘Lord Spencer-Taylor’, aka Robbie

Tony Galloping

We were expecting guests in the early evening so the morning was spent making ready for their arrival and after a fortnight of my solo housekeeping there was plenty for Mrs Tootlepedal to do.  I offered a hand where it was helpful but also found time to mow the drying green and greenhouse grass between showers.

We got a load of washing out onto the whirlygig in perfect time to catch a shower but the gap before the next one was long enough to get everything dry.

The flowers are still playing catch up as when the sun is not out between showers, it is still rather cool.

dahlias

Not all the dahlias have been nibbled

poppies

And the poppies are still attractive

There are lots of different shades to be seen…

hosta and ligularia

…even when the flowers are finished.

I found a rather unusually elongated radish and the first plum of the season.

radish and plum

I had the radish with my lunch but the plum has not been eaten yet.

I put the mixture for some soft baps into the breadmaker after lunch and went off for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal was going to take the dough and shape the baps for me but my dérailleur malfunctioned and I had to make a repair stop at home after eight miles which coincided nicely with the moment to take the dough out of the machine.

With the baps rising, I went out again for another eight miles and stopped to take a picture or two on the way.

There was a pretty outbreak of ‘bonnie purple heather’ beside the road…

heather

…and plenty of yarrow to go with it.

yarrow

I went up the little road to Cleughfoot….

Cleughfoot road

…and stopped to check on the sloes.

sloes

The crop looks very good but a closer look…

sloes

…revealed ominous looking scabs on some of the berries.  I don’t know what has caused this but I hope it doesn’t spread.

I got home before the next rain shower and had time to look round the garden again.  It looked all white to me….

hosta

water lily

the first cosmos of the season

The bright berries if the rowan in the sunshine over the garden made a contrast with the grey clouds in the background…

rowan

…but luckily our visitors arrived before the rain did.

We had a cup of tea and then Sara and Janet agreed to stretch their legs before our evening meal.

They had had a very wet visit indeed to the celebrated garden at Glenwhan in the west of our region yesterday so they weren’t at all discouraged by another shower as we walked along the banks of all three of our rivers.

We nodded to Mr Grumpy as we crossed the town bridge…

heron

…and crossed the Sawmill Brig and the Jubilee Bridge before posing for a picture on the Duchess Bridge, the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Sara and Janet

Sara and Janet suitably dressed for high summer in Langholm

It wasn’t really a day for hanging about looking for photo opportunities but a bunch of fungus on a tree stump couldn’t be ignored.

fungus

The rain stopped before we got back and we were soon seated round the kitchen table enjoying an excellent meal, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sara sings with an Edinburgh community choir and we were able to sample some of their work very professionally presented on YouTube.  They sing unaccompanied which is very impressive but I think it would be too hard for me.

The flying bird of the day is an insect visiting the raspberries.  It looks a bit like a wasp to me.

insect

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a second helping of vegetables from our daughter’s allotment.  She is obviously doing a good job there.  Mrs Tootlepedal is very envious of the beetroot.

annie's veg

I didn’t have very much time to look at our veg today as it seemed to start to rain as soon as I went out into the garden in the morning.  It didn’t rain very hard and soon stopped after I went in but when it had done it two or three times,  I took the hint and gave up any thoughts of flower pictures or lawn mowing and devoted myself to crosswords, music and occasional ill tempered muttering instead.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see Matilda in Edinburgh and I avoided the garden and any more rain by making for the hills (or at least one of the hills).

Now that I was clear of the garden, the weather got much better and I was able to enjoy the flowers beside the track as I walked up to the Meikleholm Hill.

Meikleholm flowers

There were no cattle on the hill so I was free to walk where I liked and the sheep took my presence very calmly.

sheep on Meikleholm

I was vaguely hoping that I might see a lot of orchids as I walked round the side of the hill but the hillside was covered in tormentil for the most part….

tormentil

…and it was obvious that I was a few days too early for the orchids.  One or two were to be seen in an early stage….

vetch and orchid

…and there was more vetch than orchids to be seen.

I climbed gently round the back of the hill until I came to the gate on the col….

Meikleholm gate

…which marks the divide between Wauchopedale and Eskdale.

Eskdale was looking beautiful.

Eskdale

I did think about going through the gate and further on along the ridge but there were enough grey clouds about to persuade me that  a route nearer home might be advisable.  Indeed as I walked over the top of Meikleholm Hill back towards the town, the wind became very gusty and the temperature dropped a little so I feared the worst.

Whatever the weather, it is a treat to walk along the top of this hill….

Meikleholm Hill view

…and I soon got some splendid views across the town (click the pic for a bigger view).

Meikleholm Hill view

This side of the hill was covered in low growing cow parsley….

Meikleholm Hill

And although I saw one or two early orchids, the vetch was still easier to spot.

Looking across the Esk to Castle Hill, I could see a big scar made by clear felling the woods there.

Tree felling in the Longfauld

After a last look up the valley…

Milnholm

I love the gentle curves in this view and the many shades of green

…I left the open hill and took to tracks through woods and along meadows for the rest of my walk….and of course, the sun came out.

tracks and paths

On my way I saw a red admiral butterfly basking in the sun….

tracks and paths

…a wall engulfed by spleenwort…

spleenwort

…decorative wild flowers….

umbellifer

…and I crossed bridges both small…..

walk 2 bridge

…and large.

walk 2 bridge

I got home after a four and a bit mile walk in a very cheerful state of mind as I hadn’t expected to get such good walking weather.

When I went out into the garden to pick some spinach leaves for my tea not long after I had got back though, I found it was pouring with rain!

After tea, Susan came and we went off in her car to play recorders with our group in Carlisle.  We are meeting monthly now and it is an extra treat to meet and play when it is not quite so routine as it has been for many years.

The standard of biscuits with the après-tootling cup of tea has not dropped so it was a satisfactory visit all round.

No flying bird or bee today.  Instead a yellow dung fly takes the starring role.   I met it on the hill and I think it was finding a place to lay its eggs

dung beetle

 

 

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