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Posts Tagged ‘flute’

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who has been baking bread.

annie's bread

I had a day full of action but very little of it was in front of the camera – it was not a case of “Lights, camera, action!”

It was damp and drizzly after breakfast and there were still occasional mournful cries of geese to be heard.   It seemed a good day to have coffee with Sandy and he dropped in on his way to Carlisle,  He brought a gift of Christmas cake, made by a friend who doesn’t like Christmas cake and whose husband can’t eat it for health reasons.  In spite of this slightly dubious pedigree, it tasted very good.

When Sandy left, I set about making marmalade and as this involves a lot of sticky work and a sharp knife, I didn’t have the opportunity to pick up my camera or look out of the window for a while.  When I had got the mixture simmering, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly agreed to watch over it, while I went for a pedal.

The drizzle had gone and the clouds had lifted and as the thermometer showed nearly 10°C, it would have been a perfect day for cycling if there hadn’t been a twenty to thirty mile an hour wind blowing.

As it was, I put my head down and pedalled three times up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse, keeping as far out of the wind as was possible. On one of the repetitions, I went though the town and out of the other side just for a bit of variety but I don’t have any time to spare and got back home after 22 miles in perfect time to add the sugar to the pan and cook the marmalade.

I took only two pictures on my ride, one at each end of my up and down route.

high mill

wauchope schoolhouse

I had a look for some birds while the mixture was boiling but there was not much to be seen and not much light to see it in anyway as the skies had clouded over again.

chaffinch

two goldfinches in plum tree

Once I had potted the marmalade…

marmalade

The pale bits are lemon rind which I added as a novelty this year.  You have to use the juice of two lemons so I thought that I would chuck the rind in too.

…I had a shower, came down to have a cup of tea with Mike Tinker who had dropped in and then played some enjoyable duets with my flute pupil Luke and finished the active part of the day with a plate of venison stew which Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked for our tea.

All in all, it was a useful and sociable day, even if there was not much of a photographic record of it.

I did get a sort of double flying bird of the day picture but the main thing that it shows is that I have lost a perch from the feeder.  I will have to remember to look for it tomorrow.

chaffinch and goldfinch hovering

I should say that Sandy has posted a couple of splendid galleries of his trip to Thailand which can be seen here.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s Highland Tour.  As well as stunning scenery, he noticed this very curious gate.

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As it happens, Dropscone is exactly half a year older than me to the day so to celebrate my arrival at the same age as he is, he brought round some of his traditional treacle scones to go with coffee this morning.

As there wasn’t room for 77 candles on the scones, we ate them unadorned.

After he left, I got my new bike out for the first time for a month and tested the state of my leg by pedalling the six miles to the top of Callister Hill and back again.  This was my first ride on the new bike for a month.  12 miles may not be very far but it is a lot better than 0 miles…and my leg was quite happy about it all.

I went along the Wauchope road and this meant that I passed no less than three sets of barriers placed to stop motorists driving too close to the edge of the road where the banking has been showing signs of collapse…

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The bottom of the fence not the top should be at road height!

…and one where the banking has disappeared entirely….

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…and still hasn’t been repaired.  The lack of repair does not come as a total shock.  A group of enthusiasts is holding a ‘hands over the gap’ birthday party to celebrate the third anniversary of a continuing road closure on another local road which suffered a serious landslip.

My cycling road is still open to traffic but the little burn that runs along side it…..

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…is not going away and will continue to eat into the banking just as huge and heavy timber and quarry lorries will continue to thunder along above it on a road which is not designed for them.

It is an intractable problem.

I got to the top of Callister Hill and noticed a great number of cars parked on the access road to the proposed new windfarm there.  They are obviously busy preparing the way for the arrival of the turbines so I took this view of the ridge where they will stand and will take the view again as the turbines  are erected over the coming months.

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I heard an interesting programme on the radio last night as we drove back from Lockerbie.  It was about hope and the question of whether hope is a curse or a blessing.  I thought of it as I started my cycle ride today in a light drizzle because I was hoping that it would stop as I went along.  This hope was based on the weather forecast.  One of the questions raised in the programme was; can faith and hope co-exist?   This seems to be because if you have faith you don’t need hope and if you are merely hoping, you can’t have faith.   Is hope a trap for the unwary and stupid optimist? Is faith a snare for those who don’t learn from experience and keep on believing that something will happen that never happens?

Anyway, I had faith in the forecast and hoped that the rain would stop and it did…

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…and I had a sunny ride home past the landslide.

I had time for a quick look at the birds over lunch.

The goldfinches were back again…

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…but frequently flew off and let other breeds sample the delights of the sunflower hearts.

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A chaffinch looked askance at a greenfinch heading towards the feeder at a great rate of knots.

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More greenfinches arrived and surveyed the scene briefly…

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…and one came down to the feeder but didn’t look very grateful when it got there.

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After lunch, we went to Carlisle where I put the new bike into the bike shop for its second after-sale free service.  It has done two and half thousand miles now and I am more than happy with it.

Then we went off to a shop in an enormous shed which sells a huge range of goods at a modest price.  Mrs Tootlepedal bought some decorative items which she will add to the pantomime dress that she is making.

I had recently seen pictures of a good murmuration of starlings at Gretna and as it was getting near dusk, we decided to drive home by way of the site to see what we could see.  We saw a fine sunset…

sdr

…but no starlings and got bored and drove on.  We did see some small flocks flying about as we left and wondered if we had been too hasty.  I didn’t have my starling camera with me so I will have to come back another time, equipped with both patience and the right camera to see if the starlings are still around.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I played some tricky pieces with varying success but considerable enjoyment.  I am not playing at my best at the moment and will have either to practise harder or try to work out what I am doing technically wrong…or both.

An outstretched chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture is another brightener for a gloomy day from Venetia.  She was much struck by the glow from a neighbour’s flame tree in Somerset this morning.

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There was not much brightness here today at all and it rained sporadically and unpredictably off and on all day.

I started the day by putting another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and felt pretty pleased to be getting very near the bottom of the pile of waiting forms.

Then we entertained Sandy to a cup of coffee and followed that by going off to see an exhibition which he had helped to set up in the Social Club in the town.

It was a worth a visit.

To mark the centenary of the ending of the Great War, local schoolchildren have done an enormous amount of research into how the war had affected Langholm.  They had produced pen portraits and where possible, photographs of the many casualties of the war and it was shocking to see a map of the town with every affected household marked in red.  There were streets where it seemed that almost every house had suffered loss and the exhibition really brought home the extent of the damage to the town and its people.  It affected me more than any other memorial I have seen over recent weeks and made the bellicose posturings of many of today’s politicians even harder to bear.

I turned to the birds when we got home for a bit of cheer.

Goldfinches were back…

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…but not in great numbers so there was plenty of room for chaffinches too.

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Some visitors raised an eyebrow at the quality of the food on offer…

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…but others got stuck right in.

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Once again we were blessed with several coal tits, both in the plum tree…

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…and off the plum tree on their way to the feeder…

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…and having a snack when they got there.

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My joy at getting near to the bottom of my pile of newspaper data sheets was greatly tempered by finding that Nancy, our head data miner, had kindly dropped off another four weeks of the newspaper index to build the pile up again.  Ah well, we are getting near the end of another year (1898) and the 20th century beckons.

I had had a short pedal on the bike to nowhere after breakfast and as it was raining again after lunch, I had another short pedal then too.  Of course it cleared up as soon as I got off the bike so I thought that I would risk a short walk to somewhere to go with the cycling to nowhere.

This was not a great idea as it started to rain again soon after I left home and my leg thought that I had done more than enough already so I turned and came home after only a few hundred yards, walking with a pronounced limp (L.I.M.P….pronounced limp, folks © Spike Milligan).

I passed some points of interest (to me) on my brief outing.

The peltigera lichen is enjoying the weather even if I am not.

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And having shown the dam along the back of our house a few days ago, I though I might show the sluice which controls the flow into the dam from the pool at Pool Corner.

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It may not look much but it was doing a good job of holding back the water which was pouring over the caul.

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Like the photographer, the larches at Pool Corner are showing the passing of time and their golden branches have got thin on top, the gold fading to silver.

 

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When I got home from my curtailed outing, I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised some singing so the day was by no means wasted.

The early evening was improved by the arrival of Luke for our weekly fluting session and we tootled away merrily.

The flying bird of the day is one of the coal tits.  They are very nippy little birds so getting a good flying shot on a gloomy day is very hard and I couldn’t get a better one than this.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew and shows an 18th Century mill near Derby and the dam that was built to provide it with water.18th C mill

(I am in the market for new guest pictures)

I had a quiet morning today and was content to potter about indoors for the most part in spite of some fine weather.  When I did poke my head out into the garden, I had to look sharp to avoid being run into by butterflies.  There were a lot about again.

I shot pictures of them with my little Lumix and my Nikon and got reasonable results with both.  The big blue buddleia was still attracting a good number of butterflies and because the number of stems with flowers is getting smaller,  I often saw the butterflies pushing each other about just like the birds on the feeder.  I didn’t manage to catch them at it and had to settle for some fine posing.

We had a full house today.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

Small tortoiseshell.  The blue on its wingtips is fading.

peacock butterfly

A peacock still with good colour

white butterfly

There are still a lot of whites about

painted lady butterfly

One of several painted ladies

another painted lady butterfly

And because I like them so much, another painted lady

Perhaps because of the fading of the blooms on the big buddleia, the smaller red buddleia by the back fence was also doing a brisk business today.

peacock butterfly (2)

red admiral butterfly

small tortoiseshell butterfly on red buddleia

It provided better backgrounds for the shots and the zoom lens on the Nikon let me blur them to good effect.

After lunch I fully intended to go for a cycle ride but first of all the chance of watching the Tour of Britain cycle race going up a Lake District climb was too tempting and then when I did get more active, a really severe gust of wind persuaded me that some gardening might be more fun.

As part of the remodelling of the vegetable garden, I found out just how big and deep the roots of a rhubarb plant can be.  It needed a pickaxe to shift it.

While Mrs Tootlepedal cooked our tea, I thought that I ought to make some use of the good day and went for a short walk over three bridges.

As I walked over the first bridge (The Langholm Bridge), I could see two goosanders at the water’s edge below me.

two goosanders

I crossed the second bridge (The Sawmill Brig) and walked along the Lodge Walks seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Lodge Walks september

I then strolled over the Castleholm and came to the third bridge (The Duchess Bridge) ….

duchess bridge

…and crossed it and made my way home.

On my way I saw a lot of fungus again of many shapes and sizes…

castleholm fungus

…and some lichen, which needed a very close look to see the red tip.

lichen

Sheltered from the wind and with the sun occasionally out, it was a fine evening for a walk….

Castleholm copse

…with shades of green everywhere you looked.

view of castleholm

And the finale was this brilliant display of Russian vine on our neighbour Liz’s garage.

russian vine

In the evening Mike and Alison came round.  Alison and I put some useful practice into our French pieces and played an old friend to finish off an enjoyable session.

Mike and Alison are quite excited as their son with his wife and their two children have just touched down in Scotland on a visit from their home in New Zealand.

I didn’t have much time to look at birds today and when I did look, there weren’t many birds to watch so there is no flying bird of the day today, just one who had recently finished flying…

greenfinch

…who was joined by another who also had just finished flying.

blue tit and greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who started a nine mile walk today by crossing the River Manifold over this handsome bridge.

Manifold Bridge

We had a lovely day here as well but it was decidedly chilly at first so it took me some time to get going on my bike.

I checked on the buddleia after breakfast….

Three butterflies

Mixed sunbathing for two peacocks and a small tortoiseshell

…and I was just in time to take a gift of eggs from Scott, the minister (but not offer him coffee in return) just before I set off.

I was slightly nervous about how my legs would be feeling after the slow and arduous effort on Wednesday but a day visiting Matilda had worked wonders and they were in a cooperative mood today.  I took care not to upset them by going up any steep hills.

I hadn’t gone far before I noticed two buzzards which were very agitated about something and circled around above my head crying out loudly.

One hovered long enough for me to take a picture.

buzzard

I rode past banks of rosebay willowherb seed heads as I went along…

rosebay seeds

…and was impressed by the fact that the wind hadn’t dislodged them yet.

I rolled down out of the hills and into Gretna where I saw a wedding party get ready to attend their ceremony at the ‘Famous Blacksmith’s Shop’.

Gretna wedding

They avoided getting run over.

I continued down into England, passing churches with steeples and square towers.

Rockcliffe Church

Rockcliffe

Scaleby Church

Scaleby

The church at Scaleby had a shiny new padlock on the door and warning notices from the police.  Not the most welcoming of sights.

I turned off at Scaleby and followed this unassuming road.

new road to Smithfield

It was a moment to note for me though, as it was one of the few roads in the area that I had never cycled along before.

Thanks to my perky legs, I didn’t need to stop for many breathers so there are fewer pictures today and  this picture of the welcoming sight of the monument on Whita Hill is the only one that I took in the last fifteen miles.

Whita

The jaunt was almost exactly 50 miles and this took me over 3000 miles for the year so it was a satisfactory ride both for itself and statistically.  It also brought up 565 miles for the month, my biggest monthly tally for four years.  It is amazing what some good weather will do.

When I got home, I did a bit of bird watching….

goldfinch

The single goldfinch soon got swept away by an incoming tide of sparrows.

sparrow melee

…and then I had a look around the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.

She spotted a ladybird…

ladybird

…and I spotted a small tortoiseshell stretching its wings….

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…and then I spotted it again!

small tortoiseshell butterfly 2

Among the more flashy flowers, the feverfew sparkles away quite modestly…

feverfew

…but persistently.

And Mrs Tootlepedal’s new cosmos, which is improbably called ‘Double Click Cranberries’ raised its head to the sun.

cosmos

I cut down the head of the giant sunflower and put it out for the birds…

sunflower head

…and picked up one of the fallen flower heads and rested it on my knee.

sunflower flower

My neighbour Liz was trimming her cherry tree and the job seemed to call for a tall person so I went across to give her a hand and ended up with a good collection of branches for shredding and adding to our compost heap.

I had a relaxing bath and came downstairs to a delicious evening meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal, the highlight of which was an enormous courgette fritter.

It took some time to recover from this but I was back in good order by the time that Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday evening visit.  Alison and I were playing early music in the French style and had  a hard working and enjoyable time getting to grips with some tricky pieces.

It was a good way to spend the last day of summer.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, putting down the landing gear.

flying sparrow

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who is visiting the north east of England.  He was able to locate a handy cafe at one of his stops by following a cryptic clue.

ornamental teapot

It rained  during the night and when I woke up, there was evidence to be found.

wet lupin leaves

But that was all there had been, some raindrops and not enough to register at all on my scientific rain gauge (the wheelbarrow).  It was welcome all the same but I still had to do some watering.

I was delighted to see a poppy of the right sort in an intended place in a flower bed.

shirley poppy

I hope that there will be more to come.

The Jacobite and moss roses have passed but our aristocratic roses are pressing on.

double queen of denmark

Two Queens

Crown Princess margareta

And a Crown Princess

And the Ooh La la clematis is plugging away too.

Ooh la la clematis wet

I did a little gardening and then went off on a mission.

I had received an email through the Langholm Archive Group account saying:

 “I am a researcher working on behalf of Acker, Merrall & Condit. We are working to acquire images for a commemorative coffee table book celebrating the company’s 200th anniversary. We have found reference to a plaque that was donated to the Thomas Hope Hospital by the founders of the business and were wondering if you could provide any information about it, or might know where it currently is being held.”

There is indeed a Thomas Hope Hospital in the town, founded by a Langholm migrant, Thomas Hope, who had made money as a grocer in New York and left a lot of it to the town to build the hospital.  He also left his business to his staff when he retired.  An unusually good man.

I went up to the Day Centre which has a Thomas Hope Lounge where there is a display of silver and there I was shown a fine tray ….

Thomas Hope Tray

…which had indeed been inscribed by Acker, Merrall & Condit among others in 1858.

Thomas Hope Tray inscription

It was really interesting to see the tray and to know that the business of these three men is still surviving today, described on its web site as America’s oldest wine shop.

However, I don’t think that it was given by the donors to the Hospital at the time that it was inscribed as the hospital wasn’t built until the late 1890s.  I noticed in passing that Thomas Hope may have been a good man but our newspaper stated in 1890 that a report from New York said that the family of Thomas Hope intended to contest his will when they discovered that he had left money to build a hospital in Langholm.  They failed.

I have sent the researcher these two pictures and await her reply.

When I got home, since I had Archive Group business on my mind, I spent an hour putting  another week of the newspaper index into the group’s database.

Then I mowed the middle lawn to celebrate the sprinkling of overnight rain.

Soon it was time for lunch.  I have more peas and beans than I can eat so I picked some courgettes and combined them with peas and beans to create a green soup.  Rather to my surprise, it tasted very good and I will certainly make some more.

I took some time out to watch the birds.  There were compact flying birds coming and going today…

flying siskin compactflyinch chaffinch compact

…and wide open flying birds too.

busy feeder

Inspired by the activity of the birds and fortified by the green soup, I got my new bike out after lunch and went off for a pedal.

The skies were cloudy and there was a spirited wind blowing but as the temperature was 20°C, conditions were pleasant and after a slow start into the wind, I had a good run back home with the wind mostly behind.

The government has been accused of kicking Brexit into the long grass again so I kept my eye open when I passed any long grass to see if I could spot Brexit lurking there.  I saw sheep lurking..

sheep in long grass

…and cows lurking…

cow in long grass

…but no sign of Brexit.

I also saw a patch of what might look like seed heads on reeds at first sight….

great burnet in verge

…but a close look confirmed that the ‘seed heads’ were in fact flowers of Sanguisorba officinalis or great burnet.

great burnet flower

I don’t see them very often but the road junction at Gair seems to be a favourite place for them.

I didn’t have the opportunity for many stops as I had to be back in time to have a shower and be ready for my flute pupil Luke.   I managed 27 miles in the time available which took me over 200 miles for the month.  I noticed, when I looked at my spreadsheet in the evening, that I have done 1088 miles on my new bike since I got it on the 12th of May and every mile that I do on it tells me that I made a good decision when I bought it.

I had time for a quick walk round the garden.

A new euphorbia is flowering…

late euphorbia

…and the tropaeolum is  threatening to take over the world.

tropaeolum profusion

The hostas don’t seem to mind the hot weather and are flowering in great profusion.

hosta flowers

I am not a good flute player but teaching Luke is making me improve my own technique as we go along and so we are both getting better as time goes by.  We could both do with practising a little more.

In the evening, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike for the first time in what seems like ages and we had an enjoyable time going through some friendly and familiar pieces.

Isabel had been in the congregation when Mike and I were in the choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus on Sunday and she felt that we had done a good job so that was very heartening.

As I left Isabel’s it was raining but once again it was in a very desultory manner and I fear that watering will be needed again tomorrow. After I had written that last sentence, I went out into the garden to see if it was still raining.  The rain had stopped but the garden smelled moist and delicious.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch at feeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  It shows the Houses of Parliament which is nominally the seat of our government.  Sadly, we are currently not being governed at all.

View from Lambeth Bridge

In a shocking challenge to the established order, it rained today…

wet poppy

…but as it only rained for about five minutes and not very hard at that, it didn’t make any difference and I still had to potter about watering anything I thought might benefit from it.

I also managed some weeding and a little strimming of the paths in the vegeatble garden and I edged the middle lawn.

It was cloudy and definitely a bit cooler than it has been so that was very welcome.  Encouraged by this, I got my bike out after coffee and the crossword and set out to see how my legs were feeling.

They were feeling fine so I did a 32 mile circle of familiar roads at a gentle pace (I was trying hard but the pace was gentle), keeping an eye out for anything interesting.  Once again, I found that if I stopped and looked around, there was usually something to look at.

My first stop was not far from the town.

orchid

There are orchids and red soldier beetles all over the place.

red soldier beetles

I stopped about 2o miles further on to check out a verge.

wild flowers 1

There was a good variety of flowers to be seen.

On my next stop, about 4 miles from home, there was an even greater variety.

There were all these…

wild flowers 3wild flowers 2wild flowers 4

…and many more.

wild flowers 5

Looking at the hedges and verges certainly keeps me occupied while I am pedalling along….and give me a good excuse for stops for a breather.

The light wind and cooler temperature made for very agreeable cycling conditions and I had worked up an appetite for a sardine, lettuce and potato salad for a late lunch when I got home.

I watched the bird feeder while I was in the kitchen.

Two sparrows posed artistically for me.

sparrows

An interesting time trial in the Tour de France gave me a good excuse for a rest after lunch and then a visit from Mike Tinker caused me to stir my stumps and get back out into the garden.

The sun had come out by this time and it was a lovely afternoon.

I mixed a little more watering with some flower watching.

The new iris is adding to its charm…

lily

…and the tall sunflowers are reaching ever higher into the sky.

sunflower

The calendulas don’t seem to mind the dry conditions…

calendula 1

…and have a nice assortment of styles.

calendula 2

Then I had to go in and have a shower and get ready for my flute pupil Luke to arrive.  As I hadn’t done any practice for a fortnight, I couldn’t complain too much about his lack of practice.  He has just started his first job so I suppose he has other things to think about at the moment.

I picked some peas and beans for my tea and enjoyed them with some fish cakes and then I had a selection from the cheese board to round off the meal.

One last expedition to the garden for watering followed, where I noticed that a leycesteria has flowered underneath the apple tree….

leycesteria

…checked out another of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new nicotianas…

nicotiana

…and discussed the political situation with a couple of blackbirds.

blackbirds

The flying bird of the day picture is provided by the aerial ballet department.

flying siskin and flying sparrow

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