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Posts Tagged ‘flute playing’

Today’s guest picture, from our daughter-in-law Clare, provided the only ray of sunshine we saw all day.  You can see what made Matilda so happy tomorrow.

Matilda

It was a foul day here as far as the weather went, the authorities having decided that one sunny day at a time was more than enough for us.

I sneaked out in the rain whenever it wasn’t too bad and I will insert a soggy flower from time to time in this post.

poppy

Luckily I had plenty to do so time didn’t weight too heavily on my hands.

In the morning, I went up to the Welcome to Langholm office and settled down to put a week or two of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I couldn’t get as much work done as I hoped because I was frequently interrupted by the need to welcome people seeking  information.  I suppose that I shouldn’t complain about that.

One of the visitors was looking for a book of graveyard inscriptions and she remarked in passing how useful the Archive Group website had been in her family history research.  I pointed to the computer and told her that I was adding to the site at this very moment and she was suitably impressed though not quite so impressed as to offer us a voluntary donation for our funds.

dahlia

Another visitor was a descendant of a chemist in the town and I pointed out to him that both the chemist and his shop could be found on our picture archive page.

It stopped raining very politely for long enough for me to walk home after my stint was over.  It started again quite soon afterwards.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some flowers to fill in a few gaps in the beds that her recent tidying up activity had created and I set about a mixture of practising songs for our Carlisle choir and printing out photographs for the forthcoming Canonbie Flower Show.

My main concern while printing out the pictures was to try to get the printed results to look a bit brighter than the printer wants them to look.  This takes a bit of learning and the results were variable though the frog in the box ball came out well.

Fuschia

Mike Tinker came round for a cup of tea and a biscuit and we were just finishing when Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her shopping trip.    I was amazed to find that she had actually bought three plants as she usually looks for a long time and then decides that things are not quite what she wanted or they are a bit too expensive or the whole matter needs more thought.  A sound way of going on but one which I find a bit testing on my patience.

She explained her purchasing activity by claiming that she was haunted by the sound of my voice behind her saying, “For goodness sake, buy something.”  So she did.

stargazer lilies

The evening was filled with music as first my flute pupil Luke came and then I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  It was the first time that we had played for a month and there was a certain amount of rust evident but as always, it was a very enjoyable evening.

The rain is pouring down again as I write this.  I have ordered an ark just in case.

virginia creeper

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Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile, Irving.  He tells me that he hasn’t seen this recent visitor to his garden in Lochmaben for some time.

sparrowhawk

It was good to be back home again today after the very enjoyable visit to London but the weather didn’t seem very pleased to see me as it was cold, windy and wet.  In fact it has obviously nor been very warm while I was away, because the grass on the lawns has hardly grown at all.

Poppies have come and gone….

poppies

…but we are still  waiting for the Shirley poppies to arrive in numbers.  There were three out today but the weather was so awful that they would open up for a portrait.

The wet weather wasn’t discouraging the bees though.

bees on poppy

The blackbirds have been very busy and they have eaten every single gooseberry off the bush while I was away.  This is a big disappointment as I was looking forward to eating the gooseberries myself.

A dull morning was brightened by the arrival of Dropscone with traditional Friday treacle scones and I caught up on his adventures.  He has been to St Andrews and Glasgow since I last saw him.

I did get out into the garden from time to time…

phlox and white flowers

…to find that flowers were still blooming….

clematis and rose

…in much the same way as before we had gone to London.

hosta and astrantia

I spent most of the morning cutting mounts and framing pictures ready for our camera club exhibition which starts tomorrow.  I am hoping that we will have enough pictures from members to make up a good show.

The potatoes are doing very well and there are more than I can eat by myself so although it is a pity to treat new potatoes in this way, I used some to make soup for lunch.  It tasted good.

In the early afternoon, our new neighbour Irving brought four friends round to look at the garden and it was a pity that Mrs Tootlepedal is away visiting her mother as she would have been able to give them a lot more information than I could but they seemed to enjoy the tour.

I took a few more pictures after they had gone.

The rambler roses are tremendous this year.

rambler roses

The post lunch weather was generally drier but still grey and windy and as I was a bit tired after recent excitements, I had a quiet afternoon in.

I did pop out into the garden from time to time. New arrivals were to be seen…

Nicotiana

Nicotiana

clematis

A curious clematis

…as well as the usual suspects…

roses, lilies and honeysuckle

…and a blackbird…

blackbird

…which was probably suffering from a sore tummy from eating all my gooseberries.

By the time that the weather took a turn for the better….

ligularia

rambler roses

…it was too late for a walk.

Instead, I picked all the sweet peas that were out and pout them in a vase.

sweet peas

My flower arranging skills have not been highly honed as you can see.

The vegetables are coming along well when they can escape from the attentions of the sparrows.

courgette and runner beans

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mike sipped on a cool beer and caught up with the Open golf, Alison and I made progress on the three new pieces that we are working on.  Since neither of us had done any practising, this was very encouraging.

I try to learn something every day and today’s lesson was that the bread machine makes much better bread if you remember to put the water in.

The second effort was more successful.

The flower of the day is one of  my favourites and I hope to see many more soon.

cornflower

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who started a journey north by going to Kentish Town Station where she was quite surprised to find a garden on the platform.

Kentish Town Station

We had a better day today with just a hint of warmth, although no one would have called a high summer day.

I had to spend two hours in the morning not taking advantage of the good weather while I sat in the Welcome to Langholm office in the Market Place from ten until twelve.  I was able to take advantage of the peace and quiet though (just two visitors to welcome) by getting a couple of weeks of the newspaper index put into the Archive Group database so it wasn’t time wasted.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal was still helping out at the Buccleuch Centre but she was soon back home and out in the garden.

I went out too.

By the front lawn, two blackbirds sat upon a hedge.  One stayed for a picture….

blackbird

…and the other flew off, stood on one leg and gave me a hard stare.

blackbird

The Rosa Wren nearby drew my attention away from the blackbird.

Rosa Wren

It is bursting with blossom.

Rosa Wren

 

I walked through the garden.

In the back border, I noticed a clematis covered up by other plants and Mrs Tootlepedal kindly stepped forward and drew aside the curtain.

Clematis

Its name is Ernest Markham

Beside it, a pink geranium stood out.

geranium

Mrs Tootlepedal has some knapweed in one of the flower beds…

knapweed

…and it is a plant which is popular with bees.

knapweed with bee

High above the knapweed, Bobbie James looks light and airy…

Bobbie James

…while further along the fence, the Ginger Syllabub has entered a rather blowsy period…

ginger syllabub

..and like Blanche Dubois, it is perhaps past its best.

The fancy geums are also coming to an end but they have been very good value and lasted a long time so we say goodbye to them with gratitude.

Geums

After lunch, I was tempted by the Tour on the telly but managed to resist it long enough to get the fairly speedy bike out, pump up the tyres and head off down to Canonbie and back.  A brisk wind kept me concentrating on just cycling for most of the trip but I did stop to admire the bus shelter  at the Hollows…

Bus shelter, Hollows

…and some wild knapweed on the old A7.

Knapweed

Knapweed

It was growing among the meadowsweet in a really rich roadside verge.

Wild flowers in verge Auchenrivock diversion

I kept to a steady speed and had enough energy when I got home to saw a few logs, sieve a couple of buckets of compost, have a shower, see the finish of the Tour stage and be ready for my flute pupil Luke when he arrived for another go at our Haydn sonata.  I had asked him to be sure to find a little time to practise through the week and it turned out that he had.  Nothing could be more satisfactory.

After tea, for which Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared a roasted shoulder of lamb, I went off for more music with Mike and Isabel.  This was to be our last evening of playing for a month so it was especially enjoyable.

The flying bird of the day is still sitting and still giving me a hard stare.

blackbird

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Today’s  guest picture was taken by my brother Andrew on a recent visit to Birmingham.  It is a city of many canals.

Birmingham canal

I had slept very badly and was enjoying a much needed lie in and snooze when the phone rang twice.  My mild irritation was assuaged when I discovered that it was Dropscone offering to bring round the traditional Friday treacle scones at coffee time.  This galvanised me enough to get me out of bed and, after a light breakfast, out into the garden to survey the damage to the delphiniums.

It was considerable.

damaged delphiniums

The wind and the rain had been too much for them.

Mrs Tootlepedal got busy with the secateurs…..

damaged delphiniums

…but the flowers were not discarded and by the end of the day they were brightening up the kitchen…

damaged delphiniums

…assisted by some surplus Bobbie James, Philadelphus and Sweet William.

It makes washing up a whole new experience.

While Mrs Tootlepedal was wielding the snippers, I was doing some snapping.

It is best to take pictures of the roses in the morning…..

roses

Clockwise from top left: Crown Princess Margareta, Ginger Syllabub, Lilian Austin and the Wren

…because if you leave it until the afternoon or evening, they tend to get covered in little flies.

Queen of Denmark

The Queen of Denmark suffering from lèse-majesté

After yesterday’s wind and rain, there was even a drop of golden sun today….

bee on geranium

…but only a drop or two.  It didn’t last.

I like to peer closely at a Lamb’s Ear….

Lamb's ear

…just because they seem so much more like textiles than plants.

I had to peer very closely to find the lily that is hidden behind the dogwood and the tree peony.  It is doing well in its hideaway, protected from the unkind elements.

lily

Dropscone arrived on schedule and we enjoyed scones from the Old Town of Langholm and coffee from Peru.  Kings and princes can only gawp in envy at our good fortune.

After Dropscone departed, I mowed the greenhouse grass and had another walk round the garden.

There are a few clematis on the go at the moment…

clematis

This one is against the wall beside the front door

…but there are more to come.

I walked out of the garden and had a look at the colour along the back wall of the house.

back wall

These are all growing on a narrow strip of poor soil between the back of the house and the dam.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been out having coffee with ex work colleagues and when she came back we had lunch and then, while she went out to work in the garden, I got into my cycling clothes and gave my fairly speedy bike a thorough wash and brush up.

The result was a very silent ride when I went out for the 20 mile round trip to Canonbie and back.

The smooth running of the bike may explain the cheerful nature of my pedalling which got me round the route in a record time for this year so far.   Once again, the direction of the brisk wind was such that it kindly blew me down to the bottom of Canonbie at an average of 16 mph and then didn’t hurt me too much on the way back.

I only stopped once as there was always a threat of rain in the air but I did find a good place to stop at.  It was rich in interest.

There were these….

orchid, trefoil, plantain and daisy

…and these…

umbelifer, campion, rattle and clover

…and these too…

insects, flies, soldier beetles

…all within a couple of paces of where I stopped the bike.

And those were by no means all that I could have photographed.

When I got back, things were going so well that I mowed the middle and front lawns to complete my happiness.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still busy trimming hedges and planting out even more poppies so I had another walk round with the camera.

Two more clematis caught my eye…

clematis

…along with the dancing feet of the honeysuckle…

honeysuckle

…the wild gestures of the Christmas Tree…

Christmas tree

…the first hosta flowers…

hosta

…and a pretty well perfect iris.

iris

I retired indoors for a shower and took the opportunity to lean out of an upstairs window and use the panorama function of the camera to get a general view of the garden.

garden panorama June 17

Click on the picture for an enlarged version.

To round off a good day, Mike and Alison came round in the evening.  They have been on holiday in Wales and they like to browse the many bookshops there.  Alison had discovered no less than three second hand pieces of music for us to play.  They are by Nicholas Chedeville (1705-1782), Nicola Matteis, (c 1675) and Marin Marais (1656-1728) all published 50 or 60 years ago.  They are approachable pieces but they all have plenty of problems requiring serious practice for both of us so we won’t be short of something to do when the long winter evenings begin to draw in.

The forecast for tomorrow is good so I hope to start July as I have finished June, with a an enjoyable bike ride and the chance to take a few pictures.

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Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s Devon holiday.  She visited a famous garden but found her attention slipped from flora to fauna.

cat

She is obviously having better weather than us as we woke up to another cold, grey, occasionally wet and always windy morning.

I cycled up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to visit the data miners and got wet cycling home again.  There were compensations though.

I passed a female goosander sitting on the river bank near the church and when I got home, I got a camera and came straight back out to see if she would still be there. Luckily both the rain and the bird stopped.

goosander

Birds have a curious attitude to cyclists.  As long as the cyclists keep going, the birds will often stay still but as soon as the cyclist stops, the birds usually get going.  This proved the case today and after giving me a scornful glare, the goosander walked down to the water, launched herself….

goosander

…and paddled gently off downstream.

I was cheered up by the arrival of Dropscone with scones for coffee.  He has been very busy lately both refereeing golf tournaments and playing golf himself so he had much to tell me.

He went off in the hope that the rain would stay away and he could get some more golf in and I went out to the garden and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I also looked around.

The flowers are very resilient for the most part and I thought that they were worth a close look.

allium, clematis, peony

honeysuckle and foxglove

There were a lot of bees about this morning in spite of the occasional rain.

allium, clematis, peony

The nectaroscordum was a particular attraction.

honeysuckle and foxglove

honeysuckle and foxglove

…and on several occasions, I actually saw a bee barge another off a flower.

The Rosa Goldfinch is coming along very nicely…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and by coincidence, I saw an avian goldfinch in the garden today too (but not when I had a camera to hand).

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window and remarked that there were a lot of sparrows about.  Some were feeding young….

sparrow feeding young

…and some were enjoying a bath in a puddle.

sparrow feeding young

As it looked as though the rain would keep away, I went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and although there were one or two drizzly moments, they came to nothing and I got round dry.

The wind was pretty brisk again but not quite so rough as it has been so I ventured out into the open country and did a 27 mile circular ride instead of just pottering up and don the road beside the Wauchope.

The first seven miles were very hard work into the wind but good route choice meant that the subsequent 20 miles were less troublesome and for some of the time, I fairly scooted along with the wind behind me.

The cool temperatures and the brisk wind meant that it didn’t feel much like warm weather cycling but the countryside did its best to cheer me up either with daisies….

Gair road with daisies

…or buttercups.

sprinkell road with buttercups

I kept a close eye on the verges when I was was going at a suitably slow speed.

verge plants

There is almost always something interesting to see.

umbellifer and grass

And if I am not in a rush, it is a pleasure to take a close look.

hawkbit, trefoil and little pink flower

Flowers often have friends.

I took a picture of the Esk from the Hollows Bridge…

Esk at Hollows

We are at peak green

…and then scrambled down the bank to look back up at the bridge from near the river.

Hollows Bridge

It is a lofty bridge

I would like to have got a better view but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t think that falling in the river was a good policy.

On my way back home, I passed a lot of Pyrenean  Valerian.  Seen from a distance it looks a little undistinguished but from nearer, it is a very pretty flower.

pyrenean valerian

The roadsides are full of daisies at the moment and I particularly liked this little scene on the side of the main road just where it is joined by the bike track.

daisies and rhododendron

My flute pupil didn’t come this week but I still got a musical ending to the day when I went to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  We made some good progress on out Mozart Piano Trio and enjoyed the new Telemann trio which has just arrived through the post as well.

As it looks as though the wind might drop a bit over the next few days, everything is good.

The flying bird of the day is two flying bees.

flying bees

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Today’s guest picture was sent by Gavin, who was on holiday in the north when he took it.  It shows part of the Ring of Brodgar, a Neolithic henge and stone circle about 6 miles north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney.

The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle about 6 miles north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland.

Our spell of dry and windy weather continued today and is now stretching out into something slightly freakish for such a normally wet corner of Britain.  The brisk north easterly winds are keeping the rain away but are also keeping the temperatures lower than you would expect for such sunny days.

The winds are battering the tulips and they are showing quite a bit of wear and tear.

white tulips

Welsh poppies are popping up all over the garden in sheltered spots.

Welsh poppy

I was intending to go out for a rather longer cycle ride today but once I got going, the wind blew my determination away and I settled for a stately ride down to Canonbie and back.

I had another look at the spruce flowers on my way.  It was hard to miss them as the whole tree is absolutely covered with them.

spruce

I was not the only one who thought that this might be a good day to sit down rather than rush about.

sheep and lambs

Everyone was at it.

bulls

All the same, I pedalled on as best I could until the heavy crosswinds knocked the stuffing out of me and then I pedalled on as slowly as I could, consistent with getting home in time for lunch.

I stopped to look at my three favourite trees…

canonbie trees

…and a burst of blue flowers in the verge a little further on which weren’t there the last time I pedalled past.

blue wild flowers

I took quite a few more pictures of the wild flowers in the verges as I went past but the stiff wind meant that when I checked them on my computer at home, it turned out that they were too blurred to use.  I had thought that this might be the case so I took a picture of a more stable scene near the end of my ride.

Spring at Skippers

When I got home, I checked out the busy bees on the apple blossom.

bees on apple

There were an encouraging number of insects on the apples today.

Matilda has been kind enough to invite us to join her on a week’s holiday and we are going away tomorrow.  The forecast is offering no sign of rain for the week while we are away so we thought it would be sensible to water the soft fruits before we went, just in case they got thirsty.

When we had finished, I had a look at the new euphorbia which Mrs Tootlepedal bought at Alnwick.  It has settled in well.

euphorbia

I will try to take a better picture on a less windy day when we get back.

A little ornamental strawberry, hidden among other plants was blushing unseen until I poked about a bit.

ornamental strawberry

Although many tulips have been dead headed and are now composting quietly in the new bin, some are just coming out.

ornamental strawberry

I am hoping that these will last until we get back

When I checked my bike computer to see how I had done on my morning ride, I discovered that it had eaten the statistics and wouldn’t regurgitate them for my spreadsheet.  This was a bit alarming so I put the computer on my slow bike and went out for a short run to see if it was still working.

I combined the test with a visit to the nuthatch tree and was able to catch a glimpse of one of the pair emerging from the nest…

nuthatch

It didn’t hang about and I waited for several minutes to see if it would return.  I was just checking my phone to see how long I had waited, when I saw it return to the nest out of the corner of my eye. and I missed the picture opportunity.  I shall come back in a week to see if they are still there.

I went over to the Lodge Walks on my way back….

Lodge walks

…and was pleased to find them greening up nicely.

I tested the bike computer when I got home and it behaved perfectly, giving up its secrets without complaint.  It must have been just one of those inexplicable blips which seem to affect all digital devices from time to time.

I had a moment to watch a redpoll on the feeder.

redpoll

But I couldn’t spend too long watching nuthatches or redpolls as I had an appointment at the Health Centre for my annual asthma review (still living and breathing, as it turned out) but it is no hardship at all to have to walk across the Suspension Bridge on a day like today.

River Esk

In the evening, Mike and Alison came as usual on a Friday and Alison and I battled away at some of our pieces, neither of us having done quite as much practice as maybe we should have done.  Still, music is music and gives great pleasure even when it is not played absolutely perfectly.

The flying bird(s) of the day are an oyster catcher and a crow which passed over the garden in the early evening making a great commotion.  It was hard to see who was chasing whom but we thought that the oyster catcher was mobbing the crow.

oyster catcher and crow

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Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my sister Mary paid to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park a day or two ago.  It seems like a very good place to visit at this time of year.

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park 29.04.17

We had yet another dry and windy day today but it was a bit warmer than it has been and by the afternoon, it was very pleasant in the garden.

I couldn’t take advantage of the morning sunshine as I was on duty in the Welcome to Langholm office in the Market Place, ready and willing to give out advice and information to any passing tourists.   In the absence of floods of visitors (there were four), I was entertained by Dropscone, who dropped in, and kept busy by Archive Group work when he went so the time passed agreeably.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got home.  I had a look round and was very pleased to see an Aglais Io, better known as a peacock butterfly…

peacock butterfly

…the first of the year in the garden.

As I looked at the butterfly, a sparrow sang out from the rowan tree nearby.

singing sparrow

The trillium was fully out….

trillium

…and was looking very handsome.

The early tulips are beginning to go over but there are still some looking very good….

tulip

…and there is no doubt that a little sunshine goes well with a tulip.

After lunch, we set about trimming the hedge along the road.  We have bought a battery powered hedge trimmer and the new battery technology is very smart so the machine is quite light to use and the battery lasts well and charges quickly.  It made doing the job quite enjoyable.

road hedge

Before

road hedge

After – half an hour later

Unfortunately, there is an old fence in the middle of the hedge and it makes it impossible to trim it with knife edge creases but we like the informal air the wobbly edge gives the hedge….and there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

While I was recovering from the hedge trimming, I wandered about aimlessly, greeting some old friends as I went along.

bright flowers

It was a lovely afternoon

The parrot tulips have come fully out…

parrot tulip

…but I am a bit disappointed with the results which were a bit messy.  Maybe the frosty mornings didn’t do them any favours.  They may develop so I will keep an eye on them.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s dark tulips from Alnwick have survived the frosts and winds well and are looking very striking.

tulips

Mrs Tootlepedal cleared a lot of weed out of the pond and we put the hose on to fill it up a bit but the tadpoles seem quite unaffected by the disturbance.

tadpoles

I was soon feeling perky again after my rest so I got the scarifying machine out and scarified and then mowed the middle lawn.  It didn’t have quite as much moss as I expected and the task was quite easy and soon completed.

The lawn looked very reasonable for this time of year…

middle lawn after scarifying

…but it didn’t take long for the wrecking crew to arrive and mess it up again.

jackdaws on lawn

I went in for another rest and while I was inside, I looked out of the kitchen window at the birds…

siskins

A pair of siskins looking each other in the eye

perching birds, redpoll and greenfinch

Today’s perching birds, redpoll and greenfinch

…and out of an upstairs window at the gardener at work planting poppies and cornflowers.

siskins

The daffodils are gone and we are in the time of tulips

The front lawn looked so inviting that when my flute pupil Luke rang to say that he couldn’t come for his lesson, I went out and scarified and mowed it as well.  This turned out to be much harder work than the middle lawn and it took a big effort to clear all the moss off it.

As a result, I didn’t have long for my tea before it was time to go out to play trios with Mike and Isabel.

We played our way through all or part of six sonatas and felt that we had done very well by the time that we had finished.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch….

chaffinch

…and I don’t suppose that you thought that I could walk past the anemone on such a cheerful day without stopping for a glance.  You were right, I couldn’t.

anemone

Hand painted by mother nature.

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