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Posts Tagged ‘garden flowers’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She has combined some good autumn colour with a grebe.

grebe

My plan for the day was to leap out of bed early and go for a cycle ride and then go to see the physio for a check up.  I managed half the plan. The physio was very helpful and has discharged me with admonitions to keep doing the exercises but not to do do them too much.  I shall pay attention.

The high spot of the cycle free morning (I did not leap out of bed) was the arrival of a huge parcel which when opened, revealed its very modest contents.

big parcel small contents

I know this sort of thing makes sense to someone but it doesn’t make sense to me.

As it turned out to be a cold and windy morning with quite a lot of miserable drizzle about, I was quite pleased with the lack of leaping out of bed and enjoyed a gentle stroll round the garden to see what flowers are surviving…

surviving nasturtium

lamium november

poentilla november

…and to pick up a few more of the excellent walnut crop.

fallen walnut

Most of our colour will come from shrubs until the the spring bulbs arrive.

spireas

I watched the birds as well and recorded a crow in the plum tree, a rare visitor to our garden, though we do see quite a few rooks.

crow on plum tree

A chaffinch is a more regular sight.

chaffinch on plum tree

Under the feeder, a robin…

robin on ground

…and a dunnock kept a wary eye out for cats.

dunnock by feeder pole

While up above, a blue tit snatched a seed before flying off.

blue tit tucking in

There were plenty of birds about and a goldfinch seeing a fellow being assaulted by a greenfinch headed for safety.

busy feeder

A female chaffinch made a neat landing.

female chaffinch landing

After carefully checking on the trains, we drove across to Lockerbie and caught a reasonably punctual train to Edinburgh

Matilda’s parents went off to a parents meeting at her school and we had a very entertaining time with Matilda.  There was creative dance, shooting Grandpa with a bow and arrow, and games of Carcassone and Pelmanism.

Al and Clare returned with good reports of Matilda and we enjoyed another excellent meal before setting off home.

The train home was late and as we are setting off at the crack of dawn tomorrow to catch another train, this time to Glasgow, our fingers are firmly crossed.

This also explains this brief post.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in a queue

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend and former colleague, Marjorie.  She came upon these stunning fungi on a walk a few days ago.

blue fungus

It was a dry but grey morning and the forecast was not too bad for the rest of the day so my mind turned to cycling.

Before I set off, I had coffee and a slice of toast to think about and the birds to to watch as well.

They must have been reading the blog because after yesterday’s complaint about not enough birds, they came in better numbers today and the feeder was soon filled with goldfinches…

full feeder goldfinches

…with more anxious to join in.

This made for photo opportunities…

attacking goldfinch

…and bad tempered exchanges…

two goldfinches sparring

…and curious chaffinches.

chaffinch approac hing

The goldfinches in possession of a perch tried to ignore outside distractions and kept their heads well down while they could for the most part.

goldfinches tucking in

In the end, I put down the bird watching camera and packed my cycling camera into the pocket of a stout waterproof bright yellow jacket and got out my bicycle, noting two particoloured jackdaws at the apples as I set off.

two spotty jackdaws

There was a brisk north easterly wind blowing and it pushed me over Callister and along the newly surfaced road past the quarry to Paddockhole.  I stopped there for half a banana and a look at the bridge.

The bridge has a bright red metal plate screwed to the parapet and when I looked at the parapet, I could see that turning lorries may have been knocking into it a bit, hence the need for the warning and protective plate…

paddockhole brodge medley

…but the parapet was sound enough to be home to a nice pixie cup lichen among the moss and  a fallen beech nut.

The reason for the lorry traffic over the bridge is a new windfarm in the area so the narrow road after the bridge is being widened and lay-bys are being put in to cope with the construction vehicles.

Luckily there was very little traffic on the road as I battled up the hill alongside the Water of Milk straight into the brisk wind.  I was heading for the watershed between the Water of Milk and the River Esk and it took me some time.

It was lucky that I had my stout rainproof jacket on as it was drizzling at this point.  It was a bit annoying to look to my right and see the Ewe Hill wind farm bathed in sunshine.

ewe hill windfarm in sun

I pressed on, crossing little bridges over little streams…

bridge on crossdykes road

…until I got to the sunlit uplands on the top of the hill.  I love this section of road.

sunlit uplands baillieghill

To my right I could see more wind turbines making good use of the enthusiastic breeze…

new turnbines bailiehill

…and once I had got over the hill, I could see the Esk valley stretching in front of me.  The road follows that line of trees along the right side of the valley.

esk valley from bailliehill

The rain had blown over by now and I enjoyed a sunny trip back down the river into Langholm.  Larches stood out in the sunshine.

larch plantation

With seven miles to go, I stopped for the other half of my banana and a drink at the Enzieholm bridge.  Naturally, I had a look at the parapet while I was there.

enzieholm bridge medley

There was some good autumn colour on a hedge at Bentpath village…

colour at bentpath

…and I stopped to take a close up of a larch beside the road further on just to show that they really are golden at this time of year.

a golden larch

I had a look back at the Douglen Cleuch…

view of douglen

..before climbing the last hill of the day and swooping down into the town.  It was only a 26 miles ride but because of the wind and several hills to climb, it had seemed like more and I was very satisfied as it had felt like a proper outing.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy painting the hall while I was away.  It is looking very exciting already.

I had a look round the garden when I got home and was impressed by the staying power of the Rosy Cheeks rose and the very late phlox but the most arresting thing was the sudden appearance of a cowslip among the expected clematis, potentilla and wallflower.

six november flowers

I had a shower and than went for a walk.  I am supposed to keep exercising my feet and there was a little sunshine left so I headed off to see if I could find the fungi that Marjorie had photographed.

My usual friend was standing on the usual rock in the Esk…

gull on same rock

…and two goosanders were swimming up the river nearby.

two goodsanders

I should have been quicker to go walking as the sun was already sinking behind the hill and this was the last sunny view I got…

river esk november evening

…before crossing the Sawmill Brig and walking round the pheasant pens.  I didn’t find Marjorie’s fungi but I saw other varieties…

three fungi castleholm

… before I crossed the Duchess Bridge and made my way home.

duchess bridge november

As you can see, the bridge is in need of some TLC.

The slow cooked venison stew made a third and final appearance for our evening meal and it was followed by some tarte tatin which I had made when I got back from my walk.  I may need therapeutic help as I think that I have become addicted to tarte tatin.

When I checked, I discovered that the forecast for the next week is for some inclement and wintery weather with a maximum temperature of 7 degrees and plenty of rain so that made today’s ride and stroll even more pleasant in retrospect.

I apologise for an excessive number of pictures but it was an interesting day and here is a FBotD to round it off.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a real trouper from Manitoba.  Lucie sent the picture to me and tells me that on the day that she took it,  Manitoba was at -8c, and the little pansy was still going strong despite having been covered in four inches of snow and suffering several below freezing days

Lucie's flower

We had another frosty morning here but a generally sunny day so after coffee, while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Carlisle to make some purchases relating to repainting our hallway, I brushed the leaves off the lawns, collected another good handful of fallen walnuts, checked out the floral survivors of the frosts…

four after frost flowers

…and went for a walk.

The falling of the leaves has let more light into the river bank near Pool Corner…

Wauchope above pool corner

…but there were still some bright leafy moments here and there along my walk…

manse brae tree

…although we are also well  into the ‘bare tree’ time for taking photos.

leafless tree

As you can see, there are some grey clouds in the background of the picture above and for a moment, a light drizzle threatened to spoil my walk.  It was a false alarm though and the drizzle fizzled out after only a minute or two, and the sun shone again.

It lit up a couple of characters who were as interested in me as I was in them.

balck cow

grey cow

The frosty mornings haven’t affected the lichens on the fence post at the Auld Stane Brig.

lichen fence post

Why this particular fence post out of the thousands around here should have such a flourishing lichen garden is one of life’s little mysteries.

My stroll took me along Gaskell’s and Easton’s Walks.  There were fungi to be seen along Gaskell’s…

three gaskells fungi

…and the sun penetrated through the trees to light up the arrival of the Becks Burn into the mighty Wauchope.

becks burn meeting wauchope

I looked across at Meikleholm hill…

Meikleholm hill autumn

…before plunging through the autumn tunnel to the Stubholm and Easton’s walk.

stubholm track

It was definitely autumn in the Beechy Plains…

beechy plains

…but there was still plenty to look at as I went along.

acorn, script lichen and leaf

This fine bunch of daisies on the river bank at the park bridge made a cheerful end to my walk.

daisies by park brig late october

I made some lentil soup for lunch and Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Carlisle in time to have some for her lunch too.

The temperature had risen to 8°C by the time that lunch was over, so I wrapped up warmly and got my bike out of the garage.  I very nearly put it back again when I looked up and saw this.

rainbow from garden

That was the direction from which our weather was coming today.  I checked the forecast and it swore that it wasn’t raining in Langholm so in spite of the evidence of my eyes, I had faith and cycled off up the Wauchope road.

My faith was justified and it didn’t rain on me at all.  In fact it was more or less sunny the whole way.

There were no leaves left on the trees when I passed the Glencorf burn though.

glencorf burn october

I was doing an out and back ride, so I took this picture at the far end of Callister before I turned back towards Langholm

view over winterhope

…and this one at the other end of my ride, where in spite of some impressive cloud formations…

clouds up Ewes

…the top end of the Ewes valley was bathed in sunshine.

Ewes valley october

When I got home, after twenty gentle miles, I was greeted by these cheerful argyranthemums which had perked up in the sun after being rather droopy in the early morning frost.

last argyranthemums

Mrs Tootlepedal roasted a chicken for our tea and as I polished off the rest of the tarte tatin as pudding, any calories burned during my cycle ride were more than amply replaced by the evening meal.

Although the feeder has been out in the garden for two days now, no bird has visited it at all while I have been watching, so a dunnock is the standing in as flying bird of the day.

dunnock

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce.  On his recent trip, a driverless electric bus kindly stopped for him at a pedestrian crossing in Oslo.

Copengaen

I managed to get out for a 16 mile cycle ride this morning and enjoyed the sight of larch trees turning to gold both on my way up to Callister…

larch wauchope road

…and on my way back.

larch wauchope road (2)

I had intended to to do 20 miles but a friendly farmer engaged me in conversation for quarter of an hour on the way so I ran out of time.

When I got back, I had a quick tour of the garden to add another set of flowers to the record of the remarkable number that are still out this late in the year.

Some are a bit more part worn than others but they are all definitely out.

nicotianasedumviolasweey williamsunflowerphloxwhite daisiesweigelacosmosjapanese anemoneastrantiamichaelmas daisy

It was our day to go to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and we usually drive the 20 miles to Lockerbie and catch a Transpennine train from Manchester to Edinburgh which stops at Lockerbie. Luckily I looked at the Transpennine app and it told a sorry tale of trains being cancelled, and others only getting as far as Carlisle before stopping and, in the case of the one we would normally catch, not starting from Manchester at all but starting at Lancaster.

The reason given was shortage of drivers.  I suspect that this may be because drivers are being trained to use the new trains which are due to arrive on the route soon.  If this goes on, they may have new trains and well trained drivers but the passengers may have all got fed up and disappeared.

We didn’t risk waiting to check to see if our intended train had actually started from Lancaster but drove the 40 miles to Tweedbank instead and caught the train to Edinburgh from there.  (This turned out to be a good plan because the train from Lancaster didn’t start at all in the end.)

The drive up, in sunny conditions, was a treat in itself, with lots of delightful autumn colour along the way.  The traffic was light, the station car park provided a space and the train was on time so the whole journey was an unqualified success.

The journey back was not quite as good as the main road south was closed again for overnight repair work and we had to take a 45 mile less familiar route back home in the dark.  Still we got home safely, a bit later than planned, but cheerful enough.

We had had a very good visit.  Clare, Matilda’s mother, has been in hospital but is now at home and recovering well, and Alistair, Matilda’s father, cooked us another delicious meal.  Matilda herself had a very good time beating me at a game called Carcassone.  As she pointed out to anyone who would care to listen, she beat me three times.  I am going to have to make some improvements to my strategy if we play again.

The flying birds of the day are three starlings resting in the holly tree from their aerial exertions.

starlings

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Today’s guest picture is another from Simon and this time shows the inside of the covered bridge between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  I do not know whether the light at the end of the tunnel is in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

swiss bridge

After yesterday’s extremely gloomy weather, we enjoyed a bright and cheerful day today, although it was a bit colder than we have become used to with the thermometer unable to creep into double figures.

As a result I put a pair of gloves on before cycling off to church with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We had a ‘Songs of Praise’ service today with favourite hymns chosen by members of the congregation.  Fifty hymns were suggested and the Worship Team had chosen the eight most popular for the service.  That amounted to quite a lot of singing but as they were tuneful hymns, it was no hardship.

The sun was still out when we got home so after a look round the garden…

fuchsia, marigolds, verbena, rose

…where I was pleased to see an insect on nodding acquaintance with the Crown Princess…

rose with insect

…Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out for a short three bridges walk to enjoy the day.

There is colour about but much of it is already on the ground.

tree at suspension bridge

The lonely gull that haunts the stretch of the River Esk between the Suspension and the Town bridge was in its regular place again today…

lonely gull

…And as we watched the gull, a flash of blue speeding up the river turned our heads.  A kingfisher had flown past us at speed.  It was far to quick to catch on camera so we walked up to the Town Bridge to see if it had stopped nearby.

tree at meeting of waters

There was no sight of it unfortunately but a look back down the river was quite rewarding.

church and poplars from town bridge

We crossed the bridge and walked down onto the Kilngreen.  It was a good morning for a walk.

looking at Timpen

We were not the only ones taking advantage of the day and when we reached to Lodge Walks we could see other walkers…

lodge walks 20 Oct

…in every direction.

Lodge walks 20 oct (2)

Although we have long thought that the trees along the Lodge Walks are all beeches, looking at the trees on recent walks have shown us that some of them are hornbeams.  Although their leaves  are different to beech leaves, their trunks are so similar that it is not too surprising that we have only just noticed.

There is still no sign of all out autumn colour but the variety of shades among the trees across the Castleholm is still very attractive to me.

 

castleholm trees 20 Oct

And the felling of the conifer plantation at the far end has made the walk more scenically enjoyable.

view over pheasant hatchery

We didn’t walk far and having passed under this well established fungus near the Lodge…

old fungus duchess bridge

…we walked down the leaf covered track to the Duchess Bridge and headed home…

leafy tarck to duchess bridge

…pausing to enjoy the view from the bridge…

river esk from duchess bridge

…and also the glint of sunshine on moss covered fallen branches in the dark wood on the far side of the river.

moss in wood besode esk

When we got back, I was impressed by how vigorously the Weigela is producing a second flush of flowers after its first flowering in June.  Looking at my records, I see that it also flowered in October in both 2018 and 2017 but the last time before that was in 2011.

weigela oct 20

An insect was exploring a rather bedraggled dahlia.

insect on dahlia oct 20

Like the fuchsias in the flower beds, the ornamental fuchsia in the chimney is also enjoying the season.

pot fuchsia oct 20

We went in and I made some celery and Stilton soup for lunch which we ate with enjoyment, and then there was just time to sieve a little compost and practise a song or two before we set off for Carlisle and the Community Choir practice.

Our conductor, who is based in Glasgow, has organised a musical weekend for us in the city next week, including a joint concert with one of her other choirs so we had a good solid practice today in preparation for the jaunt.

Not surprisingly after eight hymns in the morning and a good sing in the afternoon, my throat feels as though it needs a bit of cossetting this evening.  Our conductor says there will be even more singing next weekend and we may need a lie down after it.

I had made a pasta sauce in the slow cooker in the morning and we were quite ready for a reviving meal when we got home.   There was a beautiful sunset as we drove back from Carlisle but after the clocks go back next weekend, we will be returning from Carlisle in darkness, a signal that the long winter months will be upon us.

The flying bird of the day, a black headed gull, was asleep at its post and not flying at all..

gull on post

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who noticed that some keen guerrilla gardener had embellished one of the trees in her street.

20191004_142951

The forecast was for light winds and a dry, cloudy day here today, so I formulated a more realistic plan than yesterday.  It had exactly the same result.  I went out cycling at about eleven o’clock having disposed of a leisurely breakfast, the crossword and some coffee.  I like it when a plan comes together.

I also added to my plan a slightly less challenging route than yesterday.  The downside of that was less scenery as I was ploughing a familiar furrow.  However, it was a good day for cycling as there was not enough breeze to get the wind turbines turning.

When I stopped after ten miles for a banana and a swig of water, I thought that the bare tree, the grey clouds and the power lines made for a somewhat gloomy picture…

P1190075

…but a look in another direction from the same spot brought a little more colour into the day.

P1190076

Every now and again, there was a touch of genuine colour to enjoy.

P1190077

As you can see in the picture above, the verges and the hedges have been thoroughly trimmed so there is not a lot to see there and the only bit of flower colour that I passed was on the edge of the motorway between Gretna and Carlisle.

When they  built the new motorway and the service road that runs beside it which I use, they planted a lot of shrubs and sowed many wild flowers.  As a result it is often more colourful than some of the long established country roads.

P1190082

I paused at the old Toll House at Gretna and fuelled up on a plate of egg and chips and a latte.  Thus refreshed, I cycled down into England and enjoyed this little scene at Blackford before I crossed the main road and began my journey home.

P1190085

I stopped at the bridge over the River Lyne at Cliff for a tuna sandwich and tried to catch a reflection of the birds flying above the water to use as flying bird of the day.  I didn’t capture a flying bird but I quite liked the reflections of the trees anyway.

P1190088

And bridge parapets are often interesting places…

P1190092

…if you look closely.

P1190094

My final stop was only a few miles from the end of my ride.  I took this picture to show the continued tree felling at Irvine House.  The road will look quite different when they are finished.

P1190096

Then I turned and headed over the bridge and back to Langholm.

P1190097

I was overcome by decimal fever when I got to the town and pedalled on through it for  a couple of miles to bring my total for the day up to 55 miles and the total for the last two days up to 100 miles.  This seemed a good round number.

Thanks to the flattish nature of my route, I was able to maintain a better average speed today than yesterday.  I was aiming to do the first forty miles in under three hours which is par for the course for me these days and I achieved this target by the handsome margin of ten seconds.  Rather to my surprise, I kept the same average speed up for the rest of the journey, helped by the fact that the breeze had strengthened a bit by this time and was pushing me up the hill.  As I left Longtown on my way home, the wind turbines were just creaking into action.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal taking tea and shortbread with our neighbour Liz and her dog Riley.  Liz had very kindly brought over a tin of shortbread as a present from Riley for looking after him for a few days last week.  He is a thoughtful dog.

After tea and biscuits, I went out to see if I could find a flying bird in the garden.  There were still plenty of flowers (and a colourful leaf) about…

_DSC5173

…and even a bit of interesting fungus on a fallen branch…

_DSC5176

…but the birds were keeping their distance…

_DSC5183

…so I was just thinking of getting Mrs Tootlepedal to throw Mr Grumpy’s wooden cousin up into the air for a trick shot…

_DSC5182

…when fortunately a flying bird passed overhead in the nick of time.

_DSC5187

Here is a map of today’s outing and those interested can get further details by clicking on the image.

garmin route 15 Oct 2019

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After yesterday’s glorious sunrise at Wemyss, today’s guest picture goes to the opposite extreme.  Lucie has sent me this scene as Canada’s Thanksgiving Day approaches in Manitoba.  She tells me that my regular Manitoba correspondent Mary Jo has wisely popped over to London to avoid this sort of thing.

Manitoba snow

We had neither a glorious sunrise nor a heavy fall of snow here today.  The day started out being very grey and got steadily worse as it went along.

It was dry enough to cycle to church where we had a modest choir turnout and  a vigorous and interesting visiting minister to lead the service.

Then it was still dry as we cycled home but that happy state lasted about half an hour before the drizzle started.

I nipped round the garden just to record the state of the flowers

The argyranthemums in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window laugh at rain.

argyranthemum

The sedums came out too late this year to be of much interest to bees and butterflies but they are still adding good colour to the flower beds.

sedum

The transplanted nerines obviously like their new home.

nerine

Begonias are soldiering on.  On our walk yesterday we met a lady whose entire stock of begonias had collapsed.  She lives a little higher up the hill and in an exposed position so we are lucky to be in the shelter of the town.

begonia

Rosy Cheeks doesn’t love the rain but can cope with it.

rosy cheeks rose

And the fuchsias seem to be totally waterproof.  They would like a little more sunshine though.

wet fuchsiasa

Calendulas glow whatever the weather.

calendula

Although they are hanging their heads a bit, these cosmos flowers continue to thrive.

cosmos

The red astrantias have given up completely, but the white ones seem to grow a bit more beautiful each day.

astrantia

I am surprised to see the honeysuckle on the fence still producing flowers…

honeysuckle

…but not so surprised about the nasturtiums.  They will keep flowering until the very last.

wet nasturtium

Crown Princess Margareta has not given up entirely but she does seem to have lost heart and colour a bit.

rose washed out

And the dahlias are getting depressed as well.

washed out dahlia

All the same, there are a lot of flowers still to enjoy so we are not complaining.

The leeks are not complaining either.

leeks

In the afternoon, we went to Carlisle to sing with the community choir and nearly suffered from a full car park for the second day running.  There was a lot of sports activity going on in the rain at the school where we meet and the car park was absolutely full.  Luckily, on this occasion I did find a spare space round a corner.

Our proper conductor was back in action and we had a good practice.

We had stopped on our way to the choir to stock up on cheese and I had made a slow cooked lamb stew after breakfast and some wholemeal bread so we were well supplied with nourishing food when we got home through the rain.

The flying bird of the day is a blackbird which looks as though it might not have the oomph to fly at all.  It did take off though, as soon as I had finished taking its picture.

dishevelled blackbird

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