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Posts Tagged ‘flute’

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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Today’s guest picture comes from my Manitoba correspondent, Mary Jo.  She has got the opportunity to share a piece of ground with a neighbour as a garden.  She tells me, “My garden boxes are too small for any amount of large crops like spuds and squash and tomatoes, and I am tickled to finally be let loose on a larger patch.  We opened about 65 x 110 feet, so we should easily supply the two families and also donate to the local food bank.”  It looks like she might have plenty of work on her hands.

Mary Jo's garden

Our garden looked liked this today…

puddle on lawn

…very soggy.

It was because it was like this…

rain

…for a lot of the day.

It didn’t discourage these two though.

jackdaws

You would think that all that pecking would aerate the lawn and help the drainage but there were a lot of puddles so they are not helping.  We tried to get a photo that would show what they were pecking up to eat but they were too quick for us.

Dropscone wasn’t discouraged by the weather either and came round with some scones which went down very well with some superior North Berwick coffee.  He told me that his golf has been so disappointing recently that he has bought a new club.  As all golfers will know, a new club is bound to make you play better so I am very hopeful for him.

As Dropscone left, there was a small gap in the rain and I had a quick look at the garden.

azalea

The azaleas seem pretty rainproof

azalea

azalea

They give off a cheerful air even on the gloomiest day.

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t much like aquilegias but I do so I was pleased to see an early one.

aquilegia

Some Icelandic poppies chose a very bad day to burst into flower and I had to get very low to look this one in the face.

Icelandic poppy

I managed to find things to do indoors while the rain came down and spent some useful time putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and taking literally thousands of photos off my computer and putting them on to an external hard drive.

After lunch, a friend from our Langholm choir came round for some practice and Luke came round for his flute lesson so a bit of music brightened the afternoon and in the evening, I went off to the last camera club meeting of the 2016-17 season ,where a small group of members enjoyed a very interesting set of pictures.

All in all, I got the best out of a pretty miserable day as far as the weather went….and after many very dry weeks, we certainly needed some rain so no complaints.

It was too soggy for photos though so no flower or bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who visited Talkin Tarn yesterday with his wife Lesley.  They were surprised to see that the very cold weather had not put the rowers off.

rowers on Talkin Tarn

Our day started with a light snow shower but although it lay as it fell, it had soon disappeared and we were left with a cold, grey day with occasional snowflakes floating about to no great purpose.

My morning had no great purpose in it either, other than coffee, a crossword, pro resting and very occasional glances out of the window.

chaffinches

I sometimes wonder whether I keep on photographing the same chaffinch day after day or whether different ones visit us.  Are the two pictures above of the same bird?  I find it very hard to tell.

This is definitely a robin.

robin

Still, chaffinches kept arriving and tucking in, some with more success…

chaffinch

…than others.

chaffinch

I pepped myself up with a tin of sardines for my lunch and then wrapped every part of me up snugly and set off for another chilly bike ride.   The temperature was at 3°C, which is my lower limit for cycling as I don’t have winter tyres but the road was free of ice and the wind was pretty light so I enjoyed myself.

Once again it was too cold to stop often but a nice tree is always a temptation…

tree near chapelhill

…and a friend has started a Facebook page to show the river Esk and its valley throughout the year so I stopped to take the Archimedes Screw at the Hollows because the lack of foliage make this the best time of year to view it.

archimedes screw

While I was on the bridge, I looked up river…

Esk at Hollows

…and noticed that it hasn’t taken long for lichen to arrive on the relatively newly painted bridge railings.

hollows bridge

At least, I think that it is lichen.

I had a look at Irvine House as I passed too.

Irvine House

I hope to remember to take this view again in spring, summer and autumn.

I got home in good order and after a slice of toast and marmalade, I went out for a short walk to make the best of a calm afternoon.

There were signs of spring in the garden as I went out.

signs of spring

It wasn’t a bad day for walking….

Pool Corner

Things were very still in the shelter of Pool Corner

…and I was hoping for some more signs of spring but there was not much to see although this little burst of fungus was pleasing to the eye.

fungus

They are really tiny, about 2cm across.

Although it was grey and cold, the east wind meant that we were in drier air than usual and the tops of the hills were clear of cloud.

whita in winter

I had expected to see more snow lying on the hill top but there had obviously not been enough to make an impression.

I had told a curious reader that hart’s tongue fern was common in our district and then hadn’t seen any for a while so I was feeling a bit guilty but my guilt was assuaged today by seeing a good outbreak on a damp wall by the track side as I went down towards the park near the end of my walk.

hart's tongue fern

Mrs Tootlepedal had lit the fire in the front room while I was out and it made the room feel very warm and cosy when Mike and Alison came round in the evening and Alison and I retired to the front room to play music.  Having played recorder yesterday, I stuck to my flute this evening and we enjoyed ourselves a lot in spite of one or two unintended dissonances creeping into otherwise harmonious pieces.

The grand thing about playing music without an audience is that you can easily hear it in your mind it as it should have sounded rather than worry about how an audience would have actually heard it.

The flying bird of the day is an unidentified chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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