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Posts Tagged ‘flute’

Today’s guest picture comes from my former colleague Ada.  She encountered this sturdy cobweb on a walk today.

cobweb

It was grey and slightly drizzly at breakfast time but that didn’t matter to me as I was due to send two hours in the Welcome to Langholm Office, potentially offering advice to locals and visitors alike.

As I was not much occupied with advising, I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database which was pleasing.  I did have a little official work to do as well.  An anxious local motorist came in to tell me that the traffic lights which regulate the one way system on Skippers Bridge weren’t working.    I had encountered this yesterday and naturally assumed that “something would be done about it” without any input from me.

Now though, since it was obvious that nothing had been done, I rang up the road managers and reported the fault.   They thanked me and gave me an incident number, presumably so that I would feel important.  I felt very proud.  The lights were working when I walked over the bridge later in the day but whether my call and that outcome had any connection, it is impossible to say.

Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer and dedicated data miner called in just as I left.  She had been in the Archive Centre adding more data to the heap needing entering into the database.  It was dry as I walked back to the New Town with her and I was able to run a mower over a very soggy drying green when I got home while Mrs Tootlepedal went off on her bicycle to collect some river stones for her new path.

The forecast had been for a dry afternoon so I was thinking of a cycle ride myself but by lunchtime, both the forecast and the weather had changed and it started to rain.

I stayed in and practised songs instead.

That finally got boring and since the rain had stopped for a while, I went for a walk.

I snapped a dahlia…

dahlia

…and a poppy…

poppy

…in the garden as I went out and I had got about two hundred yards down the road when the clouds descended over the hills and it started to rain again.

I was feeling rather obstinate and decided to continue my walk down to Skippers Bridge to check the lights in spite of the drizzle.

I was dry enough in the woods and used my flash to capture this script lichen on a tree beside the path.

script lichen

When I got to the track along the fields on the Murtholm…

Murtholm track

…I weighed up the situation and decided that a little rain wouldn’t hurt me and walked on.

The autumn colour has started to show properly but the misty conditions didn’t let me make the best of it.  I tried anyway.

misty autumn colour

Langholm Distillery in autumn

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and walked back along the other side of the river.  The rain was very light and my walk was well sheltered so I was glad that I had decided to keep going.

Skippers Bridge in autumn

I passed a fine fungus on a tree stump at Lands End….

fungus on tree stump

…and enjoyed the seed heads and the last of the flowers that help disguise the sewage treatment works from the public gaze.

sewage works flowers

There is a sensational drift of late daisies beside the river here.

autumn daisies

I kept trying to catch the colour on the river banks as I went along….

Esk autumn colour

Esk autumn colour

…while trying to keep raindrops off my lens with varying success.

As I came up to the suspension bridge, the trees on the far bank looked quite cheerful…

Suspension bridge trees

…but the view from the bridge itself…

Misty view of Esk

…suggested that the direct route home and a cup of tea and a biscuit might be the best plan.

I was surprisingly dry after two miles in a light drizzle so I was very satisfied to have got some exercise in on such a dreich day.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we put in some good work on a piece by Quantz which requires sophisticated counting although the notes are relatively easy.

I had picked some spinach from the garden earlier and I used it to make a baked spinach and egg dish with cheese sauce for my tea.

I made too much but ate it all and then had to lie on the sofa and groan for a while until I had recovered.

We hope for better weather tomorrow.  I need to work off the big meal.

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a very bad hair day for a face mask of a student called Tom which was turned into a plant pot.  It was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba.  The class was on death masks but I am happy to say that the student survived.

bad hair day

Our weather got worse today.  It was windy and grey from the start and after lunch, drizzle and then rain was added to the mix.  Not a day for photographs at all.

I spent two of the dull but dry hours in the morning sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office but at least I got some good archive work done and I also welcomed some visitors to Langholm.  As I also sold, a booklet, a CD and a DVD, it wasn’t wasted time.

The afternoon was devoted to mumbling bad words about the weather and doing  indoor business in equal measure…..and some useful time going over the choir songs until I almost believed that I had learned some of them.  (That belief will last until I try to remember them again tomorrow).

I only took three pictures all day.

How do you like them apples?

apples

I have eaten a couple of windfalls from another of the trees and they tasted surprisingly sweet.  We have been eating plums from the plum tree for several days now and they too have been excellent so it doesn’t seem as though the weather has affected the fruit badly at all.

I didn’t dead head any poppies today but I did look at two seed pods from the same plant and I marvelled at their difference.

poppy seed pods

The greyness of the afternoon was brightened by a visit from Mike Tinker for a cup of tea and then by my flute pupil Luke coming for a lesson.   Although we haven’t entirely mastered the Haydn trio we are learning we have set about a Quantz trio for a bit of variety so we are not short of work.

In the evening I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and that ended the day on a better note than it deserved.

The flying bird of the day is a dahlia which has turned up in the middle of the runner beans in the veg garden.

Dahlia

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Wirksworth.  As well as the train to the museum, there was another connection to Derby and Sheffield by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

Wirksworth

We had been expecting a very rainy day today but it was surprisingly dry if rather chilly when we got up.

The day continued dry and got quite warm and although the sun was mostly absent and a few individual drops of rain fell from time to time, it ranks as one of the better days of the summer.  It would have been a great day for a good long pedal but I had been so adjusted to the possibility of rain and a day indoors that it took me ages to realise that I should be outside.

In the end, I had a look round the garden.

A lot of the dahlias are very spiky this year.

dahlias

The poppies are not.

poppies with no pollen

Many poppies had been visited by bees and abandoned.

poppies with bees

And bees were flying around looking for fresh pollen

Occasionally a poppy was to be found with pollen but no bees.  This was my favourite.

poppy

There were butterflies to be seen too.  We have two buddleias and both were in the butterfly business today.

peacock butterfly

Red Admiral butterfly

I did get my act together in the end and after coffee, I went off down to Canonbie on my customary 20 mile route.  There was only a light wind today and my legs felt quite cheerful so I applied myself to bicycling and only stopped for one cow…

horn cow

…which was too busy chewing to pose for a proper picture.

I got back at a good speed and had a quick look for butterflies on the Michaelmas daises….

bee on Michaelmas daisy

…but there was only a bee

I noticed that the Virginia creeper has some little flowers…

fox and cubs virginia creeper

…and the cubs have come to join the fox in the orange hawkweed.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hosting a committee meeting of her Embroiderers’ Guild group in the afternoon so after a quick lunch and a shower, I packed myself and my new lens into the car and went up to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland Project bird feeders to see what I could see, although the day had got a bit gloomy by this time.

The first thing that I saw was two other other enthusiasts already ensconced in the hide with big lenses at the ready.  I filled an empty feeder and sat down beside them as they clicked away furiously.

There were a lot of small birds to see…

chaffinch

Chaffinch

Great tit

Great tit

Siskin

Siskin

Coal tit

Coal tit

Blue tit

Blue tit

…and some bigger ones too.

Greenfinches

Greenfinches looking as fierce as ever

pheasant

A pheasant not in full feather yet

woodpecker

And a greater spotted woodpecker

The other two bird watchers had left before the woodpeckers came so I sat quietly and enjoyed three woodpeckers chasing each other about the trees.

I had thought of a walk while I was up there but a spell of very light rain for a while persuaded me that a cup of tea at home would be the best thing.

It had got quite warm enough by this time to make it feel quite like summer so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out into the garden.  She did some heavy tidying up and mulching while I sieved some compost and trimmed one more of the box balls…and admired the combination of crocosmia, cornflower and poppies which the gardener had planned and which has finally arrived.  The camera can’t do it justice.

poppies, crocosmia and cornflower

I’ll try again if we get some sunshine.

I had a look for late butterflies or bees on the daisies again but there were none to be seen. The daisies were quite attractive in their own right though.

Michaelmas Daisies

I have pulled a muscle (even though I didn’t know that I had any) in my left arm and that combined with a nagging back is making me feel my age a bit at the moment so I went in and had a sit down before my flute pupil Luke came.

He tells me that he has passed his Higher music exam which involved  playing two instruments  and written work.  He didn’t get any help from me with his exam pieces so I can’t take any credit for this. He just worked very hard with his grandad and the teachers at the school.  I am very proud of him.

I tried very hard to get a flying bird this afternoon but the light wasn’t good enough so a head and shoulders of a woodpecker will have to do instead.

greater spotted woodpecker

 

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A winter’s tale

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone  He is roaming about Glasgow finding bridges to cross.

Glasgow Bridge

I had no need to worry about wasting a good day with a bad back today as it was a perfectly horrible day.  This was the view of the hills from an upstairs window.

clouds on Whita

…and that was in one of the brighter moments.

On the other side of the house, this was as near as I got to going out into the garden in the morning.

garden in wet

It was lucky that we had something to do that didn’t involve being out in the rain.

We went off to Carlisle and bought a new dish washing machine.  It was remarkably cheap so we are hoping that it will work well once it is installed.

It was a miserable thirteen degrees C as we drove back and although it got a little warmer later in the day, I needed to light a fire to cheer up our music room on what should have been one one of the warmest days of the year.

I spent a good deal of time working on choir songs and even found that I could play the whole of the tenor line from one song on my flute from memory.  That was a triumph for me as my musical memory is awful.  Sadly, when I tried again in the evening, I couldn’t get past the first four bars.  Ah well.

In the early evening, the rain slackened off to a light drizzle so I went out and took a flower shot just for the sake of it.

dahlia

I wish whatever it is would stop eating the dahlias.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and a little night music provided a pleasant end to a dull day.

The rain had stopped by the time that they went home.  Hooray.

In answer to many polite enquiries, I can say that my back was better today and I am confident that all will soon be well with it.

 

 

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The second of the ‘trip to London’ pictures shows “Topaz”, one of the elegant Pullman coaches pulled by the steam engine which we saw at Carlisle station.  I like the little lamps with shades at every table.

Pullman coach

We had a rare outbreak of summer today with plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze from the north in case it got too hot.

I started the day off by going up to check on the Camera Club exhibition and making arrangements for visitors to purchase prints if the mood comes upon them.  While I was there, the volunteer custodian and I got our pictures taken by the local paper which was publicising the event for us.

I then went home and promptly had to come back up to the town again as I had forgotten to buy a Common Riding tie to wear when our little choir songs at the concert on Wednesday.  It is a quirk of the Langholm Common Riding that it has different colours each year, taken from the colour of the silks worn by the jockey of the winner of the Derby.  This means that there is a different tie every year.

All this excitement and a bit of shopping thrown in, meant that I needed a sit down and a cup of coffee when I finally got home.  Then I needed a lettuce and marmite sandwich to provide fuel so it was not until after midday that I managed to get going on the fairly speedy bike.

I took a few garden pictures before I left.

sunny flowers

Once on the bike, I soon discovered that my legs were in go slow mode so I didn’t push them and I was happy to stop for pictures as I went along.

There was plenty to see in the verges….

umbellifer with red soldier beetles

Every umbellifer seemed to have at least one red soldier beetle on it.   I saw a stem hosting nineteen insects of various sorts on its flower heads later in my ride.

The road side verges are recovering after the mowing and I liked this display of hawkbits on the road up Callister.

hawkbits on Callister

Whether they are ‘lesser, ‘autumn, ‘rough’ or some other hawbits I cannot tell but they were good to look at as I puffed up the hill.  I have no idea what the little birds in the middle of the road further up the hill were doing.

I had to cross a couple of recently gravelled sections of road on my journey but there has been sufficient traffic to make them quite safe for cycling which was a relief.

I went as far west as Paddockhole and then turned north, uphill and into the wind to get to Eskdalemuir via Bailliehill and Castle O’er.  This took me past the new windfarm at Ewe Hill and I tried to get a picture that took in all the 22 turbines…..

Ewe Hill wind farm

…and failed.  The turbines are so stretched out and alternately low and high that my camera couldn’t cope at all.

There are now so many wind turbines in Scotland that on a day of good wind and low demand, they can provide just about all the energy that is needed for the whole country.  What is required now is serious work on developing storage for renewable energy and it does seem that people are paying attention to this.  I live in hope.

I pedalled on up the valley of the Water of Milk, crossing bridges when I came to them.

little bridge on Bailliehill road

When I arrived at Bailliehill, I had crossed the col between the water of Milk and the Esk Valley….

Esk valley at Bailliehill

One of my favourite views of the Esk

…and I was soon passing the spot where the Black Esk meets the White Esk….

Black Esk meets White Esk

…and I had to cross the Black Esk…..

Black Esk bridge

…to continue up the west bank of the White Esk to Eskdalemuir.

When I got there, the northernmost point of the trip, I crossed yet another bridge…

Eskdalemuir bridge

Electricity and phone wires are everywhere I go.

…to continue my journey back to Langholm down the east bank of the river.

After pedalling the last ten miles uphill and into the wind, I was hoping for a good push from the breeze to get me back to Langholm but it was fitful and flighty and often seemed to come from the side and even into my face a bit instead of wafting me home.

Still, it was a glorious day to be out in the country so I didn’t mind too much and just pedalled along in a very stately manner admiring the views.

There are prehistoric monuments along the way.  This is a stone circle, The Girdle Stanes, half of which has been swept away by the river.

Girdle Stanes

The fields really were those colours.  The whole outing was a visual treat.

I had to pause on the Crurie Brae to let my tin knee rest as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills.  While I paused,  I looked north.  I could see the road that I had come up on the other side of the valley.

Looking back from Crurie Brae

Soon afterwards, I got my reward for the climbing I had done…..

Shaw Rigg

…as I whistled down the long straight road of the Shaw Rig.

I was soon pedalling along the back road past Georgefield, through banks of wild flowers….

Georgefield road

…until I crossed the Esk again at Bentpath by the bridge below the church….

Bentpath bridge and church

…which I see has got the builders in.

Westerkirk Church

Although the road from Eskdalemuir is theoretically downhill as it follows the river, it never seems that way when I am cycling along it. It undulates a lot and I was grateful to get to the last climb of the day.  I stopped for a breather and a final view from my ride.

View of Esk valley at Potholm

I would have taken a picture of the good crop of raspberries at the top of the hill but I inadvertently ate them before I thought of getting the camera out.  Wild raspberries are delicious.

I did 34 miles which is not far but as you can see from the elevation profile below, it was an up and down sort of ride with long uphill and short downhill sections so not very restful.  It was the slowest ride I have done for ages but also one of the most enjoyable.

Garmin route 24 July 2107

Click on the map for more details of the ride if you wish

 

When I got home, I had another wander round the garden….

poppy and roses

…edged the lawn and picked some beetroot which I then cooked.  I made a loaf of bread (with water) and went upstairs to have shower.  The front lawn looked so good from the bathroom window that I went back downstairs and got a camera.  I often say to Mrs Tootlepedal that all the work that I do on the lawn through autumn, spring and early summer is to make it look good for at least one day later in the summer.

I think that this might have been that day.

the front lawn looking good

When I came down a little later, there were forty sparrows pecking the lawn to bits.  Ah well.

Still the evening sunshine lit up a poppy very nicely so that soothed my ire.

poppy in sunshine

And a very cheery clematis at the front door completely restored my good humour.

front door clematis

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we played through our trio and that rounded off a very good day indeed.

After tea, I picked the very last of the blackcurrants and I hope to find time to make a pot or two of jelly tomorrow.

The flying birds of the day can’t make up their minds and are sitting on the fence for the time being.

blackbirds

Oh all right, it’s a hedge and not a fence.  Perhaps they are hedging their bets.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who met these sea creatures while on a walking holiday in the west.

sea creatures

According to the forecast, the weather for the rest of the week and beyond is going to be cold, wet and windy so we tried to make good use of a very pleasant day today.

After breakfast I had a little business to do on the computer and then I went up to the Archive Centre to pick some more of the sheets that the industrious data miners had piled up ready for entering into the database.

After that, I spent as much time out of doors as I could.  Mrs Tootlepedal spent all day out in the garden, planting, trimming, tidying and generally providing me with as many beautiful things to photograph over the next few months as is humanly possible in our climate.

I spent time shredding hedge clippings, trimming the clematis over the back door so it doesn’t get into the gutter….

clematis

…sieving compost and mowing lawns.

The front lawn is still very mossy so I got the scarifier out and scarified it for the third time this year.  I am anxious not to have to re-seed the lawn so I have the scarifier on a gentle setting but Mrs Tootlepedal was still impressed by how much moss came out.   I was rather de-pressed.  We shall see in a week or two whether the work was worthwhile or not.

I had plenty of time between tasks to appreciate the fruits of Mrs Tootlepedal’s labours.

philadelphus

The philadelphus between the two lawns is superb this year.

philadelphus

There are other varieties around the garden.

The white Scotch roses are looking well too.

scotch roses

I trimmed one side of the yew before the perennial nasturtium crept round the corner….

tropaeolum

…but I can’t trim this side at the moment.  The nasturtium is growing furiously.

tropaeolum

Today Wauchope Cottage, tomorrow, the world.

The Rosa Goldfinch is also thriving and makes a grand sight from a distance….

rosa goldfinch

…and from close up.

rosa goldfinch

As well as the usual crowd on the astrantia there were visitors elsewhere in the garden…

rose and insect

hawkweed and bee

…and there was a very satisfactory buzz about the place.

The violas and ox eye daisies in the bed round the bird feeder are doing exceptionally well this year and they continue to provide a feast of colour…

violas and daisies

…with the help of some geums and Welsh poppies.

For added colour, more coral peonies are coming into flower.

peony

I was anxious not to waste what might turn out to be the last decent cycling day of the month so I got the fairly speedy bike out and pedalled gently up and down the Wauchope road for 22 miles.  This brought my monthly total to 400 miles.  This means that even if I don’t get out again before July comes, I have covered enough miles to hit my target for the month of June.

I stopped on my way up the road to admire a spiky yellow wild flower….

spiky yellow wild flower

…which Mike Tinker tells me is agrimony.

Nearby, an umbellifer had the inevitable visitor.

umbellifer with insect

If you find one of these on a dry day without a friend or two, it is most unusual.

And there was also this to catch the eye.

thistle

Three flowers for the price of one stop was very good value.

I made a second stop when I was pedalling along the banks of the Esk in the town to have a look at two oyster catchers beside the river.

oyster catchers

I wonder if this is mother and child

I did stop again on my third lap when, out of the corner of my eye,  I saw that Genghis the grass cutter had failed in his attempt to slaughter every orchid beside the road.

orchid

I hope that this one will survive.

I got home in time to pick a few strawberries to make some more jam as the last batch has proved very popular and is disappearing rapidly.

My flute pupil Luke came and we did some more work on our Haydn trio.  Working out the timing for a slow movement with a good mixture of demi-semi quavers, semi-quavers, quavers and crotchets (with the occasional triplet thrown in) requires a lot of hard work and concentration but we are progressing.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and playing works by Telemann, Boismortier and Mozart gave us great pleasure.

If this does prove to be the last day of good weather for some time, at least we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

The flying bird of the day hasn’t quite taken off yet.

oyster catcher

The third oyster catcher beside the river this afternoon

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s Lake District visit.  She had excellent weather and made good use of it.  These  colourful boats are at the Faeryland cafe on the edge of Grasmere

Faeryland cafe with its colourful boats at the edge of Grasmere

Our long spell of good weather has hit the buffers and the forecast for the next two weeks offers us a great many days with rain showers.  Today started with that particular sort of unwelcoming rain that looks as though it has no intention of ever stopping so I was not too unhappy to have two hours to sit in the Welcome to Langholm office while it poured down outside.

I was able to get on with the business of putting a week of the newspaper index  into the Archive Group database and do a crossword untroubled by floods of visitors demanding information or indeed, any visitors at all.

To be fair, Gavin, my successor in the Welcome hot seat, had three visitors almost before I had left the building but by then the rain had unexpectedly stopped.

I made some lentil soup for lunch and after we had eaten it (drunk it? sipped it? supped it?), Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to a meeting at the Buccleuch Centre.

We were a bit hazy about the purpose of the meeting but it turned out to be an opportunity to thank volunteers.  Rather ironically, considering my lack of welcoming activity in the morning, I received a handsome certificate for my welcoming volunteering.  Mrs Tootlepedal would have received one for her work at the Buccleuch Centre if the organisers hadn’t mislaid the page with the volunteers from A to M on it.  Still, the thought was there.

The rain was still in abeyance when we got home so I had a walk round the garden.

The hawkweed heads are getting more flowers on their clusters every day.

hawkweed

As are the astrantias.

Astrantias

On the paler version, each chief astrantia has a little coterie of less important flowers clustering round it.

The darker ones are more outstanding.

Astrantias

There is a fine clump of nectaroscordum under the plum tree which has just come out….

nectaroscordum

…and it caught my eye because it had a visitor.

bee on nectaroscordum

The petals are beginning to come off the clematis at the back door (and are blowing into the house) but there are still plenty left to brighten up a grey day.

clematis

Since the rain continued to stay away, I thought that I might cycle up to Pool Corner with my duckling camera and see if the family was still about.  They weren’t but this wasn’t surprising because when I looked over the wall beside the water, this fellow was there…

heron

…and no sensible duckling hangs around when there is a heron about.

This looks like Mr Grumpy to me and he certainly wasn’t going to move from his perch just because I was nearby.  He stood patiently while I walked round to get a better shot of where he was standing.

heron

He is standing on the sluice which controls the water for the dam behind our house as it comes from the Wauchope at Pool Corner.

 

I checked to see if there were any ducklings to be seen in the Esk but there were none there either so I came home and put the keyboard part for a Haydn sonata which I am playing with my flute pupil Luke onto the computer so that the computer can accompany us when we have the thing mastered.

Luke appeared shortly afterwards and we put in some serious work on the first movement.

The rain was still holding off so Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a moment to walk round the garden.

Two sparrows were hanging onto our neighbour Liz’s wall, pecking away at the mortar between the stones.

sparrows

It must be tastier than it looks.

I like the rosa complicata in the corner of the garden where it is set off by a philadelphus.

rosa complicata

And Mrs Tootlepedal’s buttercuppy thing is looking very elegant.  There is more in it than a first glance would make you think.

buttercuppy thing

The honeysuckle under the walnut tree is just starting and it looks as though we should get a good show from it.

honeysuckle

I came out into the garden for the last time after tea and a bee spent so much time sampling a lupin that I was able to go back in, get a camera, come out again and find it still at work.  It was going methodically round each ring of flowers.

bee on lupin

It was soon time to go up to play trios with Mike and Isabel and at this point, the rain started again so I abandoned my plan to cycle up and drove up in the car instead.  We had a most enjoyable play although we all felt a bit tired before we started.  This is a tribute to the rejuvenating power of music….and Mozart in particular.

Mr Grumpy is sitting in as flying bird of the day today.

heron

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