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Posts Tagged ‘ferns’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She is visiting the Netherlands for singing purposes, and saw this fine selection of bridges crossing the river Waal at Nijmegen through the tinted windows of her coach.  The Waal is a distributary* of the Rhine.

Nijmegan bridges

We had a fine day here today.  Indeed, we are promised a week of fine weather.  This will be very welcome after our recent very changeable conditions.  The temperature is due to rise steadily until Sunday when it will start to rain again.

A bit of warmth will be very welcome as it was definitely felt autumnal as I cycled about the town on various errands after breakfast.   I almost felt as though I should have been wearing gloves. However, it soon warmed up and Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough from her cold to have a wander round the garden and do some light work.

I did some dead heading and clearing up of fallen plums and, of course, looked around as I did so.

After a very slow start, the fuchsias in the garden are beginning to make a better effort…

garden fuchsia

…and together with the second flowering of the red astrantia….

red astrantia

…they are bringing some late colour to the garden.

An Icelandic poppy and a cosmos were doing a grand job of providing for insects.

insects on flowers

The most striking thing about the garden though was not the flowers, but the butterflies on them.  There were red admirals…

red admiral butterfly

on buddleia and sedum…

red admiral butterfly on sedum

…and peacocks on both blue…

peacock butterfly

…and red buddleia.

peacock butterfly on buddleia

They were joined by the usual collection of white butterflies too.

white butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a very curious white butterfly with odd yellow wings fluttering about.  It was so unusual that we tracked it carefully as it flitted from plant to plant.  Finally, it rested long enough to be caught on camera and it turned out to be not one butterfly but two butterflies engaged in the business of producing more butterflies.

white butterflies mating

We politely left them to it and went off to a admire a lone small tortoiseshell completing our butterfly collection for the day.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

I went back indoors and spent some time getting things ready for the first camera club meeting of the season, testing the projector and making sure that the laptop that we use wasn’t suddenly going to demand an update at an inconvenient time.

After lunch,  I was finally ready to go for a cycle ride.  The wind was supposed to be quite light but turned out to be quite brisk and gusty at times so I had a battle over the first eleven miles to get to the top of a hill on this little used road at Kennedy’s Corner.

Kennedy's Corner

From then on though, it was almost all downhill with good views over the Solway to the Lake District Hills 25 miles to the south

view of solway from Kennedy's corner road

…and looking back I could see Burnswark Hill just behind me where forts have guarded the route north from iron age and then Roman  times.

view of Burnswark from Kennedy's corner road

To the west, I could just make out Criffel on the far bank of the Nith Estuary, 20 miles away.

view of vriffel from Kennedy's corner road

It is an airy spot and I enjoyed the swoop down the hill to Chapelknowe, with the now helpful wind giving me an extra push.

Some time ago, I had been sent a guest picture of some Korean pine cones at Half Morton church and I remembered to have a look for them as I passed the churchyard today.  There are none so blind as those who will not see and I was quite impressed that I had managed to cycle within a few yards of these wonderful trees…

korean pine tree Half Morton

… many, many times without ever noticing them especially or the astonishing crop of cones right under my nose.

korean pine cones

The fact that the church lies at the top of a small hill and I am always slightly puffed when I get there might explain it.

While I was there today, I also noted the the stone steps laid into the wall which enabled people to approach the church without opening the gate and letting the minister’s sheep, which grazed the grave yard,  out onto the road.

half morton church wall

I stopped for a drink of water just before the final little hill on my route and can tell you that there is a stone wall under this jungle of ferns.

ferny wall

I got home after 27 miles in time to have a cup of tea and a slice of bead with plum jam followed by a shower, before my flute pupil Luke arrived.   Our hard work on improving our breathing is beginning to pay off and we are progressing steadily.

When Luke left, I enjoyed an excellent evening meal cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal and then went off to set up for the camera club meeting.

We had rather a thin attendance and I would have been disappointed except for the fact that the members who came produced such an interesting selection of images that the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile.

The meeting was short though and we didn’t need a half time break for tea and biscuits.  This left me with an unopened packet of bourbon biscuits and a temptation….into which I have happily fallen while writing this post.  I don’t know how many calories my cycle ride used up but I am perfectly sure that they have all been replaced now.

The flying bird(s) of the day are a small bunch of swallows.  They were sitting on a wire as I passed on my bicycle and I stopped, meaning to take picture showing swallows getting ready to depart when they suddenly departed.

swallows disturbed

* A distributary is a river which, instead of joining like a tributary, has split from the main river as it enters the delta at an estuary.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia.  It was taken by a friend who saw her kindly trying to cheer an old fellow up at RHS Rosemoor.

Venetia and friend

We woke to a sunny morning and I might have gone cycling but I received a better offer.  Mike Tinker had suggested a walk to look at some early summer ferns  so after breakfast I walked round to his house and started by meeting some of the ferns which he has in his garden.

Mike's garden ferns

He is a real fern enthusiast and as you can see, he has some interesting specimens.

He has many more than I have shown here but I am trying to keep posts shorter than usual for a while.

We set off round the Scholars’ Field and up the track along the river.  We were looking for ferns  but saw other things of interest along the way.

moth

Research tells me that this might be a Chinese Character moth, cilix glaucata with the brown markings supposed to look like bird droppings and put off predators.  I would be happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

But we did see a lot of ferns and it is always interesting to turn a fern and see what is on the other side.

female fern

A lady fern, more delicate than the male

buckle fern

A buckler fern.  You can see the buckle shaoped sporangia

There was no shortage of ferns to see.

fern

We passed the Duchess Bridge and took the path up through the woods.

Walk 2

Mike kept an eye out for wild flowers to show me.

sanicle

This is sanicle

I saw ferns that I never knew existed.

beech fern

A beech fern

oak fern

An oak fern

We looked at the back of more ferns.

shield fern

When we came out onto the road at the end of the path, it was not hard to spot a maidenhair spleenwort or two…

spleenwort wall

…and evergreen polypody ferns of the sort that we had seen on our earlier walk.

polypody

We walked back along the road and saw more wild flowers.

Avens

These are wood and water avens.

herb ribert and yellow pimpernel

And Herb Robert and a Yellow Pimpernel

Mike is an excellent guide and knows a lot about ferns and wild flowers and I would have liked to have spent more time and tried to take better pictures (the low light under the trees made things tricky) but I had made an arrangement to take my new bicycle down to the bike shop in Carlisle for its post sales service and as I wanted to take it home with me, I needed to be there in good time.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down with me and we enjoyed a light lunch and did some heavy shopping before picking up the bike again and heading home.

There was enough time when we got back for Mrs Tootlepedal to do some gardening and I did think of a short bike ride but the brisk breeze, uncooperative legs and the need to keep on track with my archive work sent me inside to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

I did emerge in time to thin some of the hundreds of gooseberries from the gooseberry bush.  I stewed them and had them with custard as a pudding for my evening meal (Mrs Tootlepedal had rhubarb and custard).  Considering that the gooseberries were like bullets when I picked them, they softened well and tasted remarkably good so I may well thin some more tomorrow.

There isn’t really a flower of the day today but I was pleased to see that the bumble bees share my fondness for astrantias.

bees on astrantia

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Today’s guest picture is another form Bruce’s visit to Eyam.  A helpful notice tells you that this is a wall sun dial.

Eyam sundial

It was warmer today and it got even warmer as the day went on whihc was very welcome.  It was rather damp and grey in the morning when I went out to learn something about ferns from fern enthusiast Mike Tinker.

We met at his house and his garden offered plenty of photo opportunities before we set out.  I took two of them.

Mikes garden

We started our walk on the path round the new playing field at the school.   There is a big wall at the end of the pitch whihc had a lot of interest.

There was maidenhair spleenwort, showing the very dark centre rib on the back of the leaf…

maidenhair spleenwort

…and wall rue which I had passed many times without ever realising that it was  a fern.

wall rue

…and among the interest was a strawberry tucked in among the stones of the wall and a hart’s tongue fern which was definitely past its best.

strawberry and hart's tongue

We moved on to Langholm Castle…

Langholm Castle

…where we found common polypody and polystichum aculeatum or hard shield fern.

polypody and polystichum

The hard shield fern had an interesting looking back.

Polystichum aculeatum

We walked up the hill to Pathhead and saw many more examples of both polypody and polystichum.  Mike explained to me that these were evergreen or semi-evergreen ferns and told me that we would need to wait about a month to see any of the new ferns coming out.

As we walked up the hill, we passed liverworts and golden saxifrage too.

liverwort and golden saxifrage

On our walk as well as ferns we saw fungus…

jelly fungus

….a hazel with a good number of flowers on it and any amount of dog’s mercury.

P1080852

Back in Mike’s garden, he showed me two of his own ferns, a soft shield fern, Polystichum setiferum….

Polystichum setiferum

…and another very handsome one of which I have forgotten the name…

Mike's fern

…and an unusual version of hart;s tongue.

hart's tongue

I haven’t done justice with the camera to all the ferns we saw and may have missed one or two out of this account.  I hope that I have recorded the ferns correctly but there was a lot to take in.  I am looking forward to the walk when the fresh ferns arrive in about a month.  Thanks to Mike for a really interesting outing.

After a cup of coffee, I went home and watched the birds for a moment.

goldfinches and chaffinches

There were still a lot of goldfinches about in argumentative mood.

sparring goldfinches

Then I checked the pond…

frog

and went in and had some lunch.

The afternoon was fine and even sunny sometimes and the wind was supposed to be quite light so I set out for a cycle ride.  Either the wind was stronger than was forecast or my legs were weaker, or both, but I found the going quite tough on the way out and had to take things easy.  I didn’t stop for much as I went along as we are still waiting for the roadside wild flowers to appear in numbers.  There were some good clumps of celandine…

celandine

…but I am still waiting for the spring carpet of dandelions to be rolled out.

A small forest of equisetum near Kirkpatrick Fleming caught my eye…

Equisetum

…and a single daisy while I was pausing for a snack and a breather.

daisy

I have cycled over the bridge at Glenzier many times and wished that it was easier to take a picture of it but you can see my problem…

Glenzier Bridge

…so this is probably the best that I will manage.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from an all day embroidery workshop and was busy in the garden.  I was unaccountably tired after a shortish and slow 31 mile ride but if you turn the distance onto kilometres, it comes to 50km and that sounds more impressive.

After watching some sport on the telly while I relaxed, I made baked eggs and spinach with a cheese sauce for tea and resolved not to go cycling tomorrow, whatever the weather.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

 

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We had such a grey day here that I badly needed something bright for the post so today’s guest offering is another of Tommy cycling in the South African sunshine.  Lucky chap.

tommy in SA

The only colour in the garden today was provided by a few stubborn daffodils who defied the cold and the wind.

daffs

It was very depressing after having had a few nearly decent days to go back to mean, cold and nasty weather again.

The birds had to hang on to the feeders…

_DSC2319

…and take great care getting on  to the perches.

_DSC2323

The encompassing gloom was cheered by the arrival of Dropscone with treacle scones and Sandy to help eat them with our morning coffee.

We were also pleased to see the return of the dam bridge repairers with the new railings, ready to be installed.

Sandy and I arranged to go for a walk after lunch and he duly arrived and drove us down to Canonbie where we parked at the Hollows and walked along the road to the Byreburn bridge.

In spite of very poor conditions for taking pictures, the wall along the old road provided us with plenty of temptations to get the camera out.

fernsmoss on lichengorsemoss and fern

When we got to the Byreburn bridge, we left the river Esk and followed the track beside the burn…

Byreburn track

…with plenty to see as we walked up to the next bridge.

P1080197

A hint of the coal seams which were mined in days past

fairy loup

The Fairy Loup

fairy loup

The Byreburn

byreburn bridge

Here we left the shelter of the woods and took to the road to make a circular route back to the car.

Once again, there were things to look at as we went along…

gate at Claygate

Gate of the day being threatened by encroaching hedges

gilnockie schoolhouse

Snowdrops at the old school house

Near Gilnockie station

Neatly trimmed hedges, often a feature of our back roads.

…and things looking at us…

mean sheep

…with a very hard stare.

As we got down the hill back towards the Hollows, Sandy noticed a tree beside the road which looked as though it had been the victim of a very bad sewing job by some dendrological Dr Frankenstein…

tree with ivy

…and I enjoyed the sight of a clump of hardy trees hanging by their toenails to the bank high above the river Esk.

Hollows Bridge

We had thought that we might get blasted by the cruel wind as we walked back along the road but by happy accident, the wind was directly behind us and the whole walk was remarkably comfortable considering the conditions.

The Hollows Bridge is hard to see from the road so the best that I could do was to peer through the trees…

Hollows Bridge

…but the consolation was the sight of the little stone carvings which keep appearing on the wooded knoll beside the river.   This set were new since I had last been here.

Hollows Bridge statues

When we got home, the bridge railings had been installed but not quite finished so I took a temporary shot of each side…

dam bridge repair railings

…and then forgot to come out later to take the finished article.

I will try again tomorrow.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out to a concert in the Church which was raising funds for the restoration of the church organ and the refurbishment of the social club in the town.

The concert featured brass and pipe bands, guest singers from Hawick and a fine selection of local talent.  I am not an out and out fan of pipe bands playing indoors but the concert was thoroughly enjoyable all the same and only the attendance was a bit disappointing.  I hope that those who couldn’t come had something better to do for they had missed a treat.

On a grumpy note, it went on too long.  Two and a half hours sitting in a church pew is enough to let the iron enter anyone’s soul.  I may have remarked before that I have never heard anyone come out of an amateur concert saying, “That was too short.”

Still, it proved that we are not short of musical talent in the town.

The flying bird of the day matches the weather.  Rather a poor effort.

_DSC2326

The weather is due to get worse.

 

 

 

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