Posts Tagged ‘End Wall’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia.  She saw this old wireless transmitting station and was amazed to find that it is on sale as a dwelling.

wt stationWe had a day of variable weather, with a selection of wind, rain, hail, thunder and occasional sunshine.  It was very cold too too and the combination of the wind, rain and chill kept me off my bicycle.  To tell the truth, I am not feeling very perky at the moment and it will take quite an effort of will to get me back onto the bicycle unless the weather is a bit more friendly.

Meantime I was regaled with scones by Dropscone who came round for coffee and kept busy during the rest of the day by moving things back into the newly refurbished front room.  As it has got to be kept tidy now it doesn’t leak any more, this has involved throwing away a lot of things which tended to lie about in heaps in the old room.

Because I have collected a large number of variously shaped leads over the years, it is sometimes very difficult to remember which leads go with which devices and I am sure that I have kept leads for ages which belong to devices which have long since gone to the scrapheap.   Today I have probably thrown away leads which will turn out to belong to things that I still use.  Time will tell.

I did have time to look out of the kitchen window too.  After yesterday’s feast of bird life at Sue’s, it was rather quiet in out garden with mainly familiar faces.

chaffinch.Two freezing mornings have set back the plants in the garden, finishing some off completely but the plum tree seems to be soldiering on…

plum tree…and I was pleased to see some bees hard at work when the day warmed up a bit.

bee in plum treeAs you can see, the frost has turned some of the petals brown but there was enough left to attract a good number of bees.

There was a moment of joy after lunch when the electrician appeared and put the lights up on the walls in the front room.  This is the final visit of the men responsible for the whole undertaking and the room is now in working order…though the lighting is a bit stark as Mrs Tootlepedal has yet to acquire new lampshades.

new roomThere is still work to be done such as rehanging pictures and buying a rug to cover the bare patch in the carpet which my computer chair has worn but out joy at the completion of the undertaking after pretty well exactly three months is unconfined.

I am sitting at the computer table as I write this and getting used to the eerie silence of a room without water dripping into a bucket.

While the electrician was working during the afternoon, there was a heavy shower with thunder but when it passed, a sunny interval appeared and I nipped out for an amble round Gaskell’s Walk before the next shower. It was hard to take in the bright blue sky after such gloomy day but it was very welcome all the same.

I had a quick check on one of the slow worm hides at Pool Corner to see if there were any signs of life after the cold mornings.

slow wormThere was just this one.

There were colourful sights  nearby.

Pool cornerI didn’t linger on the way for fear of another thunder storm but I did stop to show the scrubby saplings that are growing beside the path

Gaskell's WalkThe path used to run through a gloomy coniferous plantation before it was felled but it will soon be back in the shade again at the rate these things are growing.

The saplings were not the only green things beside the path.  After the rain, the moss was very vivid too.

mossWhen I got to the Stubholm, a large number of rabbits scurried across the path from the field into the woods as I came along.  I will have to bring my zoom lens next time I come and try to capture a few.  They were too quick for Pocketcam which had to settle for some stationary lichen on the park wall instead.

lichenIt was not hard to find things to look at on the wall.

Park wallAlthough the magnolia has been battered to death by the weather, most of the tulips in the garden are made of stronger stuff.

tulipsThe feeder became quite busy as the afternoon wore on and I was pleased to see two birds here which I hadn’t seen at Sue’s, a siskin and a greenfinch.

siskin and greenfinchThe chaffinches were jostling for attention as they vied to become flying bird of the day.

chaffinchesAfter tea, Susan appeared and drove me to Carlisle where we played recorders.  There were only three of of us this week which gave us the chance to enjoy some of our less frequently played pieces and we got out a very varied selection of music from folk dances from Playford to a oogie woogie arrangement.

The forecast for the next few days is so miserable that I might have to put the slow bike back on the trainer in the garage but at least it should give us time to put the finishing touches to the front room so it is an ill wind etc etc.

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

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows some friends which my Newcastle correspondent Fiona met in Malta.

malta turtlesAfter a chilly night, there was just enough rise in the temperature to get me out on the bike while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.  There was a chilly wind and I was back into my multi-layered winter gear again.  I wasn’t in the mood to climb any hills today so I settled for three laps of the seven mile trip to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back.  I met Dropscone, who had evidently got up earlier than me, just finishing his 21 mile morning tum as I was going out for mine.

It took me the first seven miles to get going properly but after that, I managed the second and third laps at a reasonable speed and got home at much the same time as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from church. I beat her by a few minutes though and had time to watch a good number of bees working hard to make plums for me.

bees and plum blossombees and plum blossombees and plum blossomThis is only a small selection of the crowd that were at work.

After a cup of coffee, we set about the chief business of the day which was relaying the carpet in the front room.  This turned out to be easier than I expected (possibly because Mrs Tootlepedal did all the skilled work).

carpet and cupboard

The room is beginning to look like a room and not a building site.

After the carpet came the two most important bits of furniture in the room, the keyboard and the computer desk.

front roomPlans are afoot to try and minimise any further wear on the carpet from my computer chair. The carpet and I are about the same age so some wear and tear is inevitable.

In the garden, the tulips were not impressed by the cold morning….

tulips…but the cold weather did bring more birds back.  There was a lot of standing about….

chaffincheschaffinch and plum tree…although the sparrows were working hard on the lawn.

sparrowsAs the day went on, the sun came out and although it never became warm, it was another bright spring day.

goldfinchI went out into the garden again and met beauty and the beast.

flowering currant

A delicate flowering currant.


And a very suspicious looking rhubarb.

The azaleas are looking promising and if they survive the promised sub zero temperatures tonight, should be out soon.

azaleasWe just had time to finish laying the carpet and moving the furniture before it was time to go off to Carlisle to sing with the Community Choir there.  Our conductor and pianist were delayed by train troubles on their way down from Glasgow but we got going after a while and had another good session.

We enjoyed the fine weather for the drive home and when we got back, I chased after some tulips which had recovered from the cold morning….

tulips…and noticed that one of them had a large patch of yellow on it.

tulipVery odd.

Mrs Tootlepedal picked some rhubarb and flowers and with these suitably bundled up, we set off for an evening meal with Mike, my cello playing friend and his wife Anne.  The company included the third member of our trio, Isabel with her husband and also Scott, the minister and his wife.  The meal was excellent and the company congenial and it rounded off a very good day.

The laying of the carpet signifies a return to normality in our household arrangements after a month of recovering from the knee operation followed by two months of the end wall improvement.   There is still more to be done but Mrs Tootlepedal was mightily pleased by the day’s work.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch with its wings in full use.

flying chaffinch

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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.


Plainer ones still have plenty of ping.


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.


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 comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent.  She noticed, while reading a county guide, that there was a 13th century Tootle Bridge not far from her home.  In a spirit of fun, she visited it and waited for some time until she could take a picture of a cyclist crossing the bridge to get a Tootle pedal picture.  In spite of her patient wait, I preferred her picture of a vertical canoeist shooting the bridge in what can only be described as a Tootle paddle picture.

Tootle paddleWe had an unexpected visit today from our older son Tony and his partner Marianne, who finding that they both had a day off together, thought it would be a good idea to come and visit us.  It was a good idea and it was a pleasure to see them…and Sally, one of their three dogs who came with them.

sallyTony is a painter and decorator to trade and he very kindly brought along a bag quick drying filler and a smoothing tool and during the day did some very useful work in the front room, leaving what had been a rather battered wall in his own words, “As smooth as a baby’s bottom.”

Smooth wallIt may not look much in this shot but I can assure that it is indeed very, very smooth.

I didn’t have much luck in co-ordinating the few moments that I had to look out of the window with any significant bird action so a perching robin will have to stand in  for all our avian visitors today.

robinI spent quite a bit of time hoping that Sally would sit still long enough to get her picture taken but it was a lost cause.  I did enjoy this close up which shows the little LED lights in our kitchen ceiling reflected in her eye.

SallyWe took her for a walk round Gaskell’s before lunch.  It wasn’t very warm or sunny at this point of the day…

Going for a walk…but everyone seemed very cheerful.

We had a look, more in hope than expectation, to see if there were any slow worms under the felt tiles at Pool Corner.

We were surprised.

slow wormsDaffodils are beginning to emerge all round the town.

daffodilsI offered to point out to the other three many interesting lichens as we went round but on every occasion something more interesting appeared to catch their eye.

The party stopped to admire the new bridge on the walk…

Gaskell's bridge…and Tony, who is a busy man, dealt with a work enquiry on his phone.

When we got to the Stubholm, little lambs were to be seen gambolling on the turf.

lambIn the park, cherry blossom is also beginning to appear.

cherry blossomThere were daffodils at the end of our walk as well as at the start.

Wauchope daffodilsI had made a vegetable soup and we had that for lunch with rolls and some tasty cheeses.

In the afternoon, a carpet fitter came and rolled back the carpet in the upper room.  There are some skirting boards for Mrs Tootlepedal to finish but otherwise this room in now ready for occupation again.

upper roomAfter lunch, we had another opportunity to add Sally to the photographic hall of fame.  Having failed to catch her in a quiet moment, we went for an action shot.

SallysallyShe is pretty handy with a soft football.

While we were out in the garden, I noticed that the dandelion has been joined by some primroses on the edge of the drive…

primrosesAnd the light, which was much better by this time, was just right to bring out the orange trumpets on the Jetfire daffodils.

Jetfire daffsTony and Marianne introduced me to the delights of WhatsApp and Tony used it to send me this picture of Marianne and Sally which he took and which Marianne had edited on her phone.

Marianne and sallyAfter Tony and Marianne left for home, Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to painting the skirting boards upstairs and I settled down.

I should have gone to Carlisle to play with the recorder group in the evening but it had been cancelled so I did some more settling down.  The weather looks promising for a good cycle ride tomorrow so I don’t feel too bad about having had a relatively idle day today.

I did manage a rather gloomy flying bird of the day.


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Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother on the 3rd of March and shows snow in the Lake District then.  It snowed here today at the very end of the month.  So much for March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb.

BlencathraWhen I woke up at eight o’clock, it was a fine sunny day and it turned out later that Dropscone had had the foresight to get up early and enjoy his 20 mile morning pedal while the going was good.  Mind you, it was so windy that when he stood on his pedals and free-wheeled over a cattle grid on the top of a hill, his bike stopped dead.

By half past nine, it was raining. The rest of the day was a mixture of heavy rain, snow, hail and beautiful sunshine.  I tried to get the washing hung out at one point but the gaps between the showers were too small and even with a howling wind, it didn’t have a chance to get dry.

Dropscone recovered from his ride well enough to make some particularly tasty scones and bring them round for coffee.  We were joined by Scott, the minister so we got nourishment for the body and the soul at the same time.

If I was the sort of person who rudely looked out of the window while his guests were chatting, I might have seen some jackdaws at a suet ball outside.  I might even have been ruder still and leapt up and photographed them…

jackdaws..but perish the thought!

I might have seen the even larger, more severe rooks that followedbehind the jackdaws.

rookrookNo one would imagine that a rook could look cuddly…

rook…but they might be wrong.

In a dry interval, I discovered that the pulmonarias have started to bloom.

pulmonariaThe poor weather had brought in several siskins…

siskins and goldfinches…and even more goldfinches.

It was noticeable that the wind was strong enough to discourage the goldfinches from their favourite very-top-of-the-twig positions.

goldfinchIt was snowing at lunchtime…

snow in the garden…but by three o’clock it looked set fair for long enough to allow me out for a walk.

I drove up to the golf course and walked up the Kirk Wynd towards Whita and the monument.

whitaThe  monument looked tempting in the sunshine so I put my best foot forward (and my other one too) and headed up the hillside.  The gorse looked brilliant in the sunshine….

gorse…and the going wasn’t too bad, even after all the rain…

whita…and  I surprised myself by getting up to the monument….

monument…in a reasonable time and in good order.

As always, I enjoyed the views from the top.

EwesEskI may possibly have been helped on my way up by a heavy wind at my back.  I paid dearly for this help with my woolly hat. This was whipped off my head by a malevolent gust when I was on the very  top of the hill.  It disappeared so quickly that I never saw it again.  If anyone sees a hen harrier flying around with a woolly hat on, it’s mine.

With my ears now flapping in the gale, I headed back down the path and found that the wind once again had a price to exact for its helping hand up the hill.  My foot slipped on a patch of greasy grass and in a trice, the wind had blown me flat on the ground,  Fortunately it had chosen a comfortably soft spot on which to deposit me and I was able to rise gracefully up and continue my descent with only my pride dented.

During the afternoon, the joiners came and have almost completed the task of replacing the skirting boards in both rooms and putting up some new coving in the front room.  (Mrs Tootlepedal was very pleased to have been able to have sourced some polystyrene coving which  exactly matched the existing plaster coving in the room.)

There only remains a final visit from the electrician and then the decoration.  This last may not be absolutely straightforward as Mrs Tootlepedal has plans which will make Versailles look dowdy  but the finishing line edges ever closer.

In the evening, I drove Susan to Carlisle and we had a really good evening of playing with our recorder group.  Roy picked a succession of plums out of his big bag of pieces and we were all working hard to do them justice.

Our drive home, with the thermometer at zero and flurries of snow keeping us alert, passed by without incident.

I caught the flying bird of the day during one of the frequent showers and it is a tribute to the Nikon D7000 that it came out as well as it did.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  On one of his walks with his dog, he noticed that the receptacle provided for the convenience of dog walkers has acquired a ‘genius loci’.

dog dragonI woke up to a sunny morning and toyed with the idea of getting up into cycling clothes and rocketing off into the wide blue yonder.  A number of factors were weighed in the balance, the brisk wind, the chilly temperature, business to be done and the state of my knee but in the end they were all trumped by utter idleness and I started the day at a quiet tempo which I maintained with grace throughout the day.

After breakfast I checked on the tadpole development situation.

tadpolesIt is, as they say, ongoing.  It looks as though have survived some very chilly mornings.

To help Mrs Tootlepedal with her decorating, I put an undercoat on the skirting boards for the upstairs room.  This is low grade work suitable for an amateur like me.

When Mrs Tootlepedal went off for a church choir practice, I combined doing my business in the town with a slow bicycle tour to Wauchope School and back for the grand total of seven miles.  The business was nicely varied and included placing a small ad in the local paper for the next camera club meeting, buying and delivering a fan heater for the Archive Centre and paying my garage bill.  As this was all within a hundred yards, it didn’t extend my cycle distance significantly.

The rest of the tour to Wauchope School was hard work in the wind and I was glad that I had not attempted anything more ambitious.  I stopped to record the first wild roadside primrose of the year…

roadside primrose…and then idled back home with the wind behind me twice as fast as I had gone out but still didn’t get my average speed above 10mph.

When I got home, I had a walk round the garden to look for new shoots…

signs of spring…and found some but had to put in one established flower to make up the numbers..

new shootsThere were plenty of birds about today, brought in no doubt by the change from dry to wet weather.


Male and female siskins

chaffinch landing

A chaffinch getting a toehold on the feeder


And a blackbird attracted by another fat ball

The fat ball had other admirers.  A jackdaw perched near by, checking out the options….

jackdaw…before descending to the chimney…..

jackdaw…and finally arriving at the ball and adopting a position very reminiscent of the late, great Jim Baxter tormenting the World Cup winners in 1967..

jackdawAfter lunch, a quick check on the forecast showed the possibility of heavy rain soon, so I nipped out for a walk round Gaskells.  As usual, I was waylaid by lichen.

lichen…and moss too…

moss…but I got back before the rain started.

The fat ball was still drawing in customers.

robinIt was lashing down when Owen arrived to plaster the downstairs room…

plaster…a task which he completed in short order.  The sharp eyed may notice a patch of yellow on the lintel above the stove.  The lintel is from the old fireplace and is full of soot.  Mrs Tootlepedal is using a home made poultice based on bicarbonate of soda to draw the soot out with some success.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came.  He will not get the results of his grade examination for some weeks yet but both he and his accompanist felt that he had played well enough to pass so I am keeping my fingers crossed for him.  We have put the exam music to the side and have started on a Telemann trio sonata and some snappy fiddle dance tunes.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike.  We enjoyed ourselves so much that we played all the repeats that we came across except one.  Often we are quite pleased just to have got to the end of a piece once.

There are weather warnings out for heavy rain and gales overnight and tomorrow.  I hope we don’t find our nice new chimney blown into the gutter when we wake up.

The flying bird of the day is a traditional chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Bruce.  He ordered 28 litter pickers from two different sources.  24 of them came in the small box at the front of his picture.  The other four from Amazon came in one enormous box each.  This is the economics of madness.

litter pickersIt was sunny when I woke up this morning.  I was so surprised that I had to have a little lie down.  In fact, it was sunny and misty at the same time and I had hopes that the mist would lift and we would have a fine day so I got the fairly speedy bike out after breakfast.

Instead of my usual westerly route, I pedalled northwards today.  It is a fine cycling route but I don’t use it very often because the first few miles are appallingly surfaced and it is very bumpy.

Things looked promising as I looked over the Esk valley soon after the start.

Gates of EdenIt looked as though the clouds would soon be gone but the further I went along, the more the clouds thickened up and by the time that I was half way round, all signs of blue sky had disappeared.

Still, I had some sunshine left as I pedalled up to Bailliehill, looking down on the River Esk below me.

River EskI stopped to take a photograph of the meeting of the White and Black Esk rivers just past Bailliehill.

The White Esk

The White Esk, this was the one I would be following for the next part of my ride.

The Black Esk

The Black Esk. This is dammed further up for a reservoir which provides Langholm with its water supply.

Just a few yards upstream, the Black Esk is crossed by a striking bridge, obviously very popular with birds.

Black Esk bridgeI cycled on towards Eskdalemuir, following the route of the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.  I didn’t visit any of the sites as it would involve too much walking and I was on a tight schedule. The only site that you can see from the road is this one…

EPT, Over Rig…at Over Rig.  It is described in the leaflet accompanying the trail as a unique and perplexing site – fascinating but mysterious.  There is a good deal of speculation about the site but the leaflet ends its entry by asking, “What was it? Will we ever know?”  In my case, the answer to the second question is, “No.”

The road to Eskdalemuir through Castle O’er is one of my favourites and even the final disappearance of the sun couldn’t diminish my pleasure as I pedalled quietly along It.  The road back to Langholm on the other bank of the river…


Prehistoric Trail

 ….is less interesting and has a steep hill near the start but with a long descent to ease the muscles after it.

I was stopped in my tracks near Bentpath by the sound of bleating.  It was the first lamb of the year.

lambAlthough shorter than yesterday’s ride, today’s effort had quite a bit more climbing and I was pleased to arrive home in good order.  I had taken things very easily up all the hills partly because I wanted to be sensible and partly because I had little oomph in my legs anyway so my average speed was in the stately class.

When I got home, I had a tour round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We were impressed by a pond full of purring frogs…

three frogs…and the crocuses, which have been looking very battered,  were impressed by the warmer weather.

crocusescrocusesI spent a little time watching a very feisty lady chaffinch seeing off all comers.

chaffinchAfter lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Carlisle to purchase some building supplies and I went to a meeting about the forthcoming Tourist Information season for which I am a volunteer.  There are exciting plans afoot with new premises planned and all we need now is some tourists.

After the meeting was over, I got the slow bike out and revisited the Kilngreen and the Castleholm hoping to get some better pictures of dippers and tree creepers now that the light was a bit better even though it was still cloudy.  Needless to say I didn’t see a dipper or a tree creeper today but on the plus side, I saw a wagtail….

wagtail…and got some better picture of catkins and flowers of the hazels by the river.

catkinshazel flowersThe pictures gives no clue to how tiny the elegant female flower is compared to the showy males  catkins.

I was quite tired after two days energetic cycling but I had enough energy to admire the chimney pot which was first capped and then completed during the day.

chimneyIt suits the house very well.  The builders are finishing the inside work and the end wall will be wet dashed (like the chimney) at the weekend so the end really is in sight now.

In the evening, we went to our local community choir, Langholm Sings.  We are working towards two concerts at the end of May so we have plenty to do at our practices.

The flying bird of the day is a duck which nearly knocked me over on the Kilngreen.

flying duck

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