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Posts Tagged ‘Esk’

Today’s guest picture comes from Stephen, my sister Susan’s friend.  He used to live  in New Zealand but has moved to Sydney in Australia where he sees a lot of ibis on his way to the gym.

two ibis

We had another dry day here but there was a cold wind blowing which made it feel far from springlike if you were out and about.

The tulips took the view that staying tucked up was the best policy.

chilly tulips

I had a quiet morning in and even when the sun came out, it was quite cold enough to make me happy to be looking out of the window.

two chaffinches plum blossom

Some goldfinches were concentrating hard on getting lined up correctly for landing…

well aligned goldfinch

…while others were trying to get a perch freed up.

goldfinches fighting

I made some soup for lunch and when Mrs Tootlepedal went off for an embroiderers’ Guild meeting, I thought about a short cycle ride but it was grey and the wind was very mean so I settled for a woolly hat and gloves and went for a short walk instead.

My feet were a bit sore and it was so cold that I almost gave up before I had gone half a mile, but a cheerful bank of daffodils in the park kept me going…

daffs and garlic

..and I soon found myself going along the riverside path among a blanket of wild garlic.  The bench in the picture above will be not for the faint of nose soon.

I could see the garlic buds among the leaves and there were other subdued signs of spring too.

four subdued wild flowers

There was a bit of colour here and there but it was cold enough for the script lichen to be obvious.

anemone. script lichen, dandelion

I plodded on towards Murtholm farm and Skippers Bridge and was rewarded when rather unexpectedly, the sun came out, showing up the yellow algae on a concrete fence post beside the road at Skippers.  It looks as though it should be slimy from a distance but it turns out to be quite fluffy when you look closely.

algae on concrete

I saw the algae when I was climbing over the low fence on my way down to the river bank to enjoy one of my favourite views.

skipers bridge April

The little ripple just above the bridge was looking charming with the water level being as low as it is at the moment.

river esk above skippers

I crossed the road beside the river and climbed up the steps that lead to the old railway and walked along the track below the embankment…

birch wood

…until I got to the gate that leads onto the hill. It was a completely different day by now and as I was sheltered from the malignant breeze, I was very happy that I had kept going.

oak tree in field

I walked up to the Round House, originally built as a gazebo  by a local landowner so that he could enjoy…

approaching round house

…this view of the town and the surrounding hills.

view from round house

From the Round House, I took the track back to the town….

track from round house

…and fell in with three cheery fellows from Hawick who had caught the bus to Langholm and walked nine miles round the back of Whita Hill.  They were pleased to be out of the wind too and looking forward to catching the bus back home.

The Embroiderers’ Guild members  were still meeting as I walked past the Day Centre.  I like their banner which is there to attract any passing needlewomen who might like to drop in.

embroiderers sing

The lonesome gull, who stands on the rock in the river between the bridges, had found a friend.

two gulls

My pocket camera has more menu items than I can possible ever use but I noticed one that offered settings for ‘Sparkling Water’.  There was a river with water and some sunshine so I tried it out.

This was the result.

sparkly water

I don’t know how the camera got that effect and I am amazed that some software engineer thought it was worthwhile to write the code to make the camera do it. It looks like an ad for toothpaste.

I put the camera back on more normal settings and took a picture of the daffodils beside the Wauchope Water along Caroline Street.

daffs along caroline street

They are just beginning to go over so I thought I ought to record them before they are gone.

When I got back to the garden, the sun had been warm enough to persuade some of the tulips to unbutton a bit…

red tulips evening

…but it was still pretty chilly so I didn’t do any gardening but went into to watch the Melrose Sevens on the telly.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and joined me in watching the rugby until it was tea time.

As the evening coincided with the third round of the Masters Golf from Augusta, which is worth watching for the fine grass and lovely flowers alone, the day ended very quietly.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, caught in a sunny interval in the morning.

flying chaffinch

The forecast says that it is going to be frosty both tonight and tomorrow night and then it may get warmer.  The tulips and I both think that that would be a good thing.

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Today’s guest picture is another antidote to gloom and comes from my sister Mary’s visit to Bath last month.

Bath October 2017 011

After breakfast, I took it easy in an attempt to recover from all the jollifications of my birthday while Mrs Tootlepedal drove off to Longtown to get her eyes tested.

She was very fortunate to get back to Langholm just before the main road was completely closed to allow the recovery of a large vehicle which had slid off the road just to the south of Skippers Bridge last night in the heavy rain.

I watched a few birds while she was out.  The feeder was busy….

busy feeder

…but the gloomy morning made it easier to catch birds when they were standing still.

chaffinch

A chaffinch samples the sunflower seed…

 

blue tit

…while a blue tit examines the mixed seed.

greenfinch

The elegant back of a greenfinch..

pigeon

…and a pigeon shows off its pink feet.

robin

A robin obligingly gave me the full range of poses.

The early rained eased off so I took the opportunity to go for a short walk.

In spite of continuing rain, the river had dropped a bit more and the turtle was back on dry land.

TURTLE

As I looked down on the upstream side of the town bridge, I could see why the spot is called the meeting of the waters.

Meeting of the waters

The Ewes and the Esk were flowing with very different colours.

Meeting of the waters

It always surprises me that the rivers don’t mix more quickly when they meet.   Some knowledgeable reader may be able to tell me if the temperature of the water or the speed of the flow has anything to do with it.  At first sight I would expect the rivers to intermingle as soon as they collide.

I crossed the Ewes by the sawmill Bridge and walked up the Lodge Walks.

Lodge walks

Although the scene is pretty wintery now, there are touches of colour about.

beech tree in November

And plenty of moments of reflection too.

puddle

I was pleased to see a scrap of blue sky above the hills.

Timpen

I crossed the Duchess Bridge on my way home and passed a dripping catkin and another little bunch of leaves hanging on.

catkin and leaves

When i got home, I looked over the hedge from the road into the garden.  Although all the flowers have gone, the neat hedges and box balls still give the garden an ordered look which is pleasing to the eye.

garden in November

After lunch, we took our courage in our hands and set off to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda.  There had been talk of floods and/or snow but in the end, we had quite a pleasant drive over to Lockerbie and the train arrived only a little late due to speed restrictions because the the bad weather further south.

We arrived safely in Edinburgh and had a very good time playing with Matilda.  She, with a little help from her parents, had prepared me and Mrs Tootlepedal, whose birthday is very soon, a fine chocolate birthday cake….

P1050564

…which tasted even better than it looked.

The cake rounded off an excellent evening meal so we arrived back at Waverley Station in a very cheerful frame of mind.  Our good cheer was slightly moderated by finding that our train was running late due to floods in the south and that we would be sharing it with the passengers of an earlier train which had been cancelled.

There seemed to be huge numbers waiting on the platform for our train to arrive but in the end, we all fitted in very comfortably and since the train made up a little time on its way, we arrived at Lockerbie not long after our scheduled time.

After the satisfactory journey, our cheer factor had once again been raised but it fell back with a thud as we arrived at the car to find snow on the windscreen and the thermometer registering -1C.  It fell even more when we met fog soon after leaving Lockerbie.

However, the fog soon cleared, the roads were free of ice and the only snow we passed was politely sitting by the sides of the road as we went over Callister so the drive home was far less alarming than we had feared.

Once again, we have been lucky with bad weather. Others to the north and the south of us have fared worse.  And of course, Matilda’s smile would brighten any day up.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz.  She enjoyed this misty view on one of her morning walks recently.

Mist on Whita

There were no views at all when we woke up this morning, as the hills were shrouded in clouds and a fine drizzle was falling.  Luckily I had a stint in the Welcome to Langholm office to do so the miserable weather didn’t trouble me.

I was kept very busy putting  data into the Archive Group database while entertaining Dropscone, who had news of a recent golfing triumph to pass on and John, another friend, who was recovering from a visit to the physiotherapist nearby.  What with golf and creaking joint talk and two visits from tourists seeking a welcome and the computer work as well, the two hours passed in a flash.

It had stopped raining by the time that I got home but  I found Mrs Tootlepedal engrossed in the tricky matter of balancing some accounts rather than gardening.  After we had had a cup of coffee with our neighbour Liz, I foolishly offered to lend Mrs Tootlepedal a hand with her accounts and the afternoon was well under way by the time that the figures on both sides of the ledger had obediently fallen into place.  Although it is very annoying when columns don’t add up, it is very satisfying when they finally do.

Still, a lot of quite good weather had gone by unused which was a pity.  We went out into the garden and while Mrs Tootlepedal got down to work, I looked around.

nasturtiums

A couple of cheery nasturtiums beside the front gate

Cardoon

A last look at a cardoon before Attila the gardener gives them the chop soon

I did a little much needed dead heading and upset a good number of bees and hoverflies who were looking for pollen.  At one moment, almost all of them chose the same poppy.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

We stood for some time watching the crowd, our mouths open in astonishment.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

After all, it was quite an astonishing sight.

Because my flute pupil Luke was due in the early evening, I didn’t have time to go for a cycle ride but it was such a pleasantly warm and calm day by now that I left Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work and went off for a short walk.

Beside the river I stopped to enjoy a wagtail wagging its tail and a dipper dipping.

Wagtail

The dipper was in all action mode, disappearing under the water for ages at a time and dabbing about vigorously when it emerged.

dipper dipping

It did pose for me for a brief moment though.

dipper

At the Kilngreen, I saw a lonely herring gull….

herring gull

…and some restful ducks.

ducks in the grass

This was my favourite.

duck

Occasional sunshine brought out the colours which are beginning to appear all around.

Esk

Although there are plenty of fallen autumnal looking leaves about….

autumn leaves

…there are still many more on the trees.

leaves

The combination of many greens and some red and yellow meant that there was always a delight for the eye as I walked along.

early autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholm

I kept my eyes open for other smaller things.  This fungus on a tree stump interested me greatly.  I don’t think that I have seen anything like it before.

tree stump fungus

They growths are tiny and I thought that they were sprinkled crumbs when I first saw them

It was a really pleasant walk and I was sorry that I didn’t have the time to be out longer.

When I got back to the house, I reflected that it was lucky that we don’t shut the front gate very often…

nasturtiums on front gate

Our friend Mike Tinker was chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and she was telling him of great plans for improvements for next year.  I look forward to photographing the results.

I had a last look round…

fuchsia

…and was pleased to spot a red admiral butterfly on a rudbeckia.

red admiral butterfly

We read in the paper this morning that it has been an exceptionally good year for red admiral butterflies and we have certainly seen a great many in our garden in the last few weeks.

Then I had to go in to get ready for the flute lesson which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was quite pleased to have no further obligations for the day as I am feeling a little tired after dashing from end to end of the continent last week.  Somehow sitting in down in trains, although it is very enjoyable, is also quite tiring.

An early night won’t do me any harm.

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my friend Bruce, who was on a trip to the east of the country. He had climbed all of the 132 steps up a dark, narrow, spiral staircase to get to the top of the  the Garleton Monument  and was rewarded by this splendid view of the country stretching out to the Firth of Forth.

lothians

We woke to a frosty scene with the temperature just about on zero but with a bright sun shining.  Under these circumstances I  forced myself to reject a very tempting offer of traditional Friday treacle scones from Dropscone and got myself organised to go for a walk instead.

I paused for a while to let the temperature rise to 2 degrees and while I waited, I watched the birds.

The feeders were very busy…

busy feeders

…and the finches flew busily around snapping up a spare perch or trying to bully the sitter off an occupied one..

chaffinches

It has been generally rather damp recently so I was worried in case the paths and tracks turned out to be icy.  It was still very chilly when I got to the park…

Park

…but for reasons that are not clear to me, there was not a spot of ice to be met anywhere on my whole walk.

There were plenty of other things to be seen though.

I walked along the Murthholm track, stopping to greet Mr Grumpy….

heron

…and then crossed over Skippers Bridge (many photos taken but none put in here today) and went down to the water’s edge.

River Esk

If you look closely, you can make out the circle of ripples in the middle of the river caused by a fish leaping out of the water a second before I got my camera in focus.  As a consolation, behind me on the bank there was a splendid outbreak of fungus on a fallen branch.

fungus

I scrambled back onto the road and there can be few better roads to walk down on a sunny morning in November than this one.

Tarras Road

As I turned the corner and started to climb the hill, the warmth of the sun was causing gentle steam to rise and catch the sunbeams.

Tarras Road

As usual the walls and trees beside the road here were full of interest.

Tarras Road

Beyond the entrance to Broomholm, almost all of the trees on the bank beside the road have been felled and what was previously a very dark and dank stretch of road is now completely transformed….

Tarras Road

…with a fine view from the top.

I had brought a banana and a coffee éclair with me for sustenance so I decided to visit the Moorland feeders where I could sit down and eat them in the hide while being entertained by the birds.

I enjoyed this view on the way….

View from Broomholmshiels

…and it wasn’t long before I  was nearly at the small wood that shelters the feeders.

Moorland feeders

There was plenty of action to keep me entertained while I ate my snack and I tried my best to capture it with the Lumix.

blue tit, great tit, greenfinch and woodpecker

I went back to the town by way of the track from Broomholmshiels and enjoyed the oak and birch woodlands on the way.  There was more fungus and lichen to be seen…

fungi and lichen

…and I picked up a few acorns on the way as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to try to get some acorns to germinate this year.

The track through the woods was very lovely in the sunshine…

Broomholmshiels track

…and I liked this last glimpse of autumn colour at Longwood.

Longwood

Any walk is enhanced by a view like this at the end of it….

Langholm Bridge

…but on this occasion, pretty well every step of the five miles had been rewarding.

In spite of the sunshine, the thermometer was still only registering 4°C when I got home just before one o’clock so I was glad that it had been an almost windless day.

I was able to refresh myself with a cup of tea from a brand new 2 cup teapot which had only been delivered this morning…

new teapot

…following the untimely demise of our previous pot.

I had time to take another look at the birds after lunch….

robin

…but even on a fine day, the light was already fading and the robin had to really stretch to get itself into the picture.

I was well entertained though, as Mike and Alison Tinker came round.  They are recently back from a most enjoyable holiday in New Zealand and are recovering gradually from jet lag so they came to see us in the afternoon instead of their customary evening visit on a Friday.   We should be back to playing sonatas next week which will be very welcome.

After they left, it wasn’t long before Dropscone arrived.  Instead of treacle scones and coffee in the morning, we had drop scones and tea in the afternoon today but we survived the shock pretty well.  He told me about the trouble he is having with his car.  The fan belt snapped and fell off and as a result he is currently going nowhere.

The leaf of the day is one of the golden box balls at the top of the front lawn.

golden box ball

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch about to give a blue tit a surprise.

chaffinch and blue tit

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Alistair and shows what Attila the Gardener can do when she visits her granddaughter with a pair of shears in her handbag.

Al and Clare's hedge

We had another grey and generally rainy morning today and I was happy to stay inside and prepare a lamb stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.  What made me even happier was that I was able to use the first onion of the year from the garden and one of the little white turnips in the cooking.

The gloomy weather made me think that an indoor picture might be good insurance in case going out was not going to be suitable for flower shots.

sweet pea in kitchen

The sweet pea was in the kitchen and outside the window, the feeder aerial ballet was relentless…

siskins

…and the sparrows and siskins had emptied the feeder before Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from church.

Happily, the rain eased off and I was able to go out.  The packets of dahlia seeds have produced a good variety of shape and colour in their flowers.

dahlias

Various lilies are doing well in spite of the cool damp weather.

lilies

I visited the vegetable garden and admired the flourishing main crop potato plants.

potatoes

The trouble with potatoes of course is that you never know how good they are, no matter how good they look, until you dig them up.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.  (Not that we use potatoes in puddings.)

As it stayed dry, I shifted a bit more compost from Bin C into Bin D and might have completed the job if Mrs Tootlepedal, back from church and needing coffee, and a heavy shower of rain hadn’t arrived at the same time.

I went in and prepared the bread maker to make a dozen rolls.

After lunch I had intended to go across to the Castleholm and watch some horse racing there but a persistent drizzle and a severe lack of light for action shots persuaded me that watching another potentially exciting stage of the Tour de France followed (hopefully) by the end of Andy Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon might be a better bet.

This was a good decision.

The cyclists had an interesting day of weather starting with searing heat at 30°C and ending up pedalling up a mountain at 10° in a torrential hailstorm.  They seemed very cheerful afterwards in spite of it all.

Andy Murray won without giving his supporters a heart attack, a very rare event.

After the tennis was over, I looked out of the window and seeing that the rain had stopped, I went off for a short walk.

The Sweet Williams made a gloomy day look very cheerful as I left the house.

Sweet William

There was plenty of water in the Wauchope as I went past the caul at Pool Corner….

Pool Corner

…and plenty to look at as I went round Gaskell’s Walk.

capillaris smooth hawksbeard

If I had paid more attention on our recent wild flower field day, I might know what this is.  There was a lot of it about and I am going to plump for Crepis  capillaris or smooth hawks-beard.  Our lecturer at Maryport told us that he had once given a well attended whole day class purely on ‘little yellow flowers that look like dandelions’ so I don’t feel too bad about not being certain.

As usual, it paid to give the flowers a close look.

insects on flowers

The Umbellifer on the left has a tiny insect on nearly every other flower when you look carefully.  The flower on the right is meadowsweet.

The umbellifer below had more than tiny insects on it.

umbellifer with hoverfly and red soldier beetles

I was pleased to see that there should be plenty more red beetles for me to photograph in the future.

Some things were easier to spot.

Thistle

And I could even see the Monument today as the clouds lifted.

Monument

The weather seemed to be quite good for the moment so I dawdled along taking anything that caught my eye…

stubholm gate

…until I got back down to the Esk at the park.

Esk

The wet weather after the warm and sunny month before has ensured that everything is growing at full belt.

I disturbed a family of ducks who paddled off rather crossly…

ducks on Esk

…before getting home just in time to take a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal’s latest poppy….

poppy

Yes, it is a poppy and not a peony. Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like it much. I had to hold its head up.

…before dashing indoors as another heavy shower of rain arrived.

The weather is set to look up in the week ahead so a couple of quiet days won’t do me any harm as long as I can get out on my bike again soon.

The (wild) flower of the day is a ragwort which I met on my walk.

ragwort

And the flying bird is one of the seed demolishing siskins in the light drizzle.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from the Birmingham flower show that Mrs Tootlepedal and our daughter attended on Saturday.  It doesn’t show any flowers though.  Annie took this fine picture of the travelator which conveyed them into the NEC and, I think you will agree, it is just as fine to look at as a bunch of lupins.

NEC

I put out some peanuts after breakfast and they soon attracted the attention of the jackdaws.

Jackdaw

I noticed a slightly different pigeon under the feeder and Mrs Tootlepedal suggested it might be a racing pigeon having a break.  A look at the rings on its foot confirmed this hypothesis.

homing pigeon

If it doesn’t move on soon, I will have to contact a pigeon fancier to see if it can be caught and returned to its owner.

I had a look at our bunch of peonies when I went out into the garden later on.  They are flourishing and have hidden depths.

peonies

I tried to take an interest in some of our roses too but quantities of tiny insects had beaten me to it.

roses and insects

The pink rose on the right is an insect magnet and it hard to get a picture which is not full of black dots.

Other flowers, a few feet away, were insect free.

geranium and rose

During the morning, I did some routine dead heading, mowed the grass round the greenhouse and the middle lawn and went up to the town to pay a bill.  I might have gone cycling because it was a warm and dry day but a brisk wind, gusting up to 20 mph persuaded me that waiting for it to die down in the evening might be a good plan.

I can’t stop looking a a very nice Sweet William that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted.  The colour combination is irresistible to my shutter finger.

Sweet William

When we were at Sue’s yesterday, she provided us with some delicious rolls at lunchtime.  She said that she had made them using her breadmaker to make the dough.  As we have the same model, I thought that I would give this a try and during the morning, I put the breadmaker to work.

I took some time out to look at the flying sparrows outside the kitchen window.

flying sparrows

The dough looked very promising when it came out of the machine after lunch so I divided it up into twelve balls and went out for a walk while it was rising.

Before I left, I checked out the sweet peas and the runner beans, both of which have survived the sparrows.

runner bean and sweet pea

My walk took me along the bank of the Esk.  It wasn’t a bad day for midsummer.

Elizabeth Street Esk in summer

The orange barriers and sacking on the far bank show where the flood wall is being repaired.  It is hard to remember on such a lovely day that in January the river was within an inch or two of the top of the wall.

On the near bank in the usual spot, I saw two oyster catchers.  A second look showed me that this wasn’t Mr and Mrs but parent and child.

oyster catchers

I walked over the Town Brig and looked up the Ewes Water…

Ewes water

This too made a contrast from the scenes six months ago.

Meeting of the waters

Back then walking over the bridge in shirtsleeves in the sun seemed like an impossible dream.

Today, there were flying oyster catchers and gulls enjoying the sunshine.

flying gull and oystercatcher

 I continued round the pheasant hatchery and enjoyed being in the dappled shade as the sun was quite hot by this time of the day.

Pheasant hatchery road

My route took me back over the Duchess Bridge…

Duchess Bridge

…and round the school playing field, where a nettle caught my eye.

nettle

…and I got back home in perfect time to put the oven on and cook the rolls.

I won’t say that they were as good as Sue’s but they came out jolly well…

rolls

…and will constitute a severe temptation to anyone trying to keep their weight down.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea.  He brought with him a large and delicious piece of Welsh cheese which he had kindly brought back from his recent holiday in Wales as a gift for us so I gave him a couple of the rolls to take home with him.

I continued to think about going for a cycle ride but the brisk and vigorous wind continued to blow so thinking about it was as far as cycling got for today.

The garden looked very nice in the evening sunshine and I took a few more pictures to make up for not pedalling.

iris, rose and water lily

If I am to avoid strong winds in the coming days, I will have to get up early according to the weather forecast.  That will be a challenge.

The flying bird of the day is a Kilngreen gull in cruising mode.

black headed gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona.  Her father is currently gadding about in California but she thinks that there is just as much fun to be had on Tynemouth Sands and who could disagree.

Tynemouth Sands

We woke to a perfect March morning.  The sun was out, the sky was blue, the frogs were purring in the pond  and there was a definite hint of spring in the air.

My first business of the day was a visit to the physiotherapist to see if she could put a bit more spring in my step by magically curing my hip pain.  She gave me a set of exercises and a month to do them.  Then we will see.   Her ankle exercises cured my ankle last year so I am approaching these hip exercises in a very positive frame of mind and that is more than half the battle.

This good start to the day was enhanced by the arrival of Sandy and Dropscone for coffee.  Dropscone had made a batch of scones at such short notice that they almost qualified as fast food.

 He is working very hard at mastering the rules of golf at the moment as he is shortly going to sit an exam in his quest to become a highly qualified official.  The rules of golf are not quite as simple as you may think – hit it up the middle, walk after it and hit it again – and contain many tricky points.  He may face multiple choice questions questions something like this:

A golfer hits the ball into a large puddle.  In bending to retrieve the ball, he is bitten by an alligator and falls on top of the ball burying it in mud.  In retrieving the ball, it is snatched from his uninjured hand by a passing heron and dropped into a nearby bunker.  In making his way to the bunker, he trips over his opponent’s clubs and falls headlong into the hazard, once again burying the ball.  He retrieves the ball, drops it correctly but strikes his opponent accidentally during his backswing, breaking his leg and as a result tops the ball back into the bunker.

What happens next?

A: The player is penalised two strokes and the game continues.
B: There is no penalty as all the events have been caused by an ‘outside agency’C: The player wins the match as his opponent is unable to continue.
D: The player wisely gives up golf and takes up billiards.

We wish him luck.

We were visited during the coffee break by a pair of bramblings in the plum tree (I caught them both)…

bramblings

…and a pair of noisy and lumbering helicopters (I only caught one of them).

helicopter

At coffee, Sandy told me that he had been out for some photography advice on Sunday from a very well known professional nature photographer and had learned some useful things.  I asked him if we would impart some of his learning to me and he generously agreed so we went off to the Kilngreen to see what we could see.

meeting of the waters

We saw ducks.

They were paddling…

mallard

…indulging in disgracefully sexist behaviour…

mallard

…taking off…

mallard

…landing…

mallard

…and just thinking about stuff.

mallard

I saw a pied wagtail too.

wagtail

We saw gulls.

blackheaded gull

And we saw lots of beautiful crocuses…

crocus

crocus

Some with added bees.

crocus and bee

Collecting pollen was the name of the game.

crocus and bee

As we left, Sandy told me that the soundest piece of advice he got was to come back to the same spot several times and try to take better pictures at each visit having learned from the previous efforts.

When I got home I found that fellow archivist Ken had delivered another letter from Scottish Power.  It said that they were baffled by the whole affair and might talk to me again in a month.  I rang up their amusingly titled ‘Customer Service’ department and expressed mild disappointment.  They said that they could quite see that I might be disappointed.

We have a visitor coming next week so Mrs Tootlepedal is currently very busy getting her painting and decorating done in time.  I have offered to help but it was explained to me, in a kindly manner, that the time taken to train me up to a half decent standard would be far greater than the time that I would save by helping so I went off for a pedal instead.

It was a good day for a pedal…

Callister

…especially on the way out where the wind was behind me.  I got to the bridge where I intended to turn round and was going to take a picture to add to my portfolio of ‘Pretty Stone Bridges of Eastern Dumfriesshire’ but decided that it wasn’t pretty enough.  However, where there is a stone bridge there is always some lichen on the parapet so I photographed that instead.

lichen

The bridge may not have been very pretty but the view from the bridge was striking.

past paddockhole

The trip back was  a bit less heavenly than the wind assisted outward leg and even though I pedalled like a ‘pipistrelle ex Averno’, I was two minutes slower on the easier return journey than I had been on the way out.

Still, the good weather this month means that at the half way point, I am well ahead of my monthly schedule.  Thanks to the earlier storms though, I am still behind my annual target distance by some way.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we did some of that boring sort of practice that is necessary from time to time if technical progress is to be made.

Isabel and Mike were busy thinking high thoughts at a manse meeting so there were no trios in the evening.  I was secretly quite pleased because I shot the pictures at the Kilngreen in the morning in RAW format and processing RAW pictures takes a bit more time than just clicking the auto contrast button on a JPEG and I had plenty to look through.

One of them appears as flying bird of the day.  It features the aptly named black headed gull.

black headed gull

*The correct answer in the golf quiz is of course answer D

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