Posts Tagged ‘golfing’

The guest picture of the day comes from a visit to Wakefield that my brother made a few weeks ago.   The theatre there is a  handsome but modest building as befits a down to earth town.

Opera House Wakefield

After some quite heavy rain overnight and a rather misty, murky morning,  today turned into a very pleasant day.  I might well have gone cycling after breakfast but I decided to postpone any decision about that until I had gone up to the Moorland Feeders where I was acting as a fill-in feeder filler for Sandy who is basking in the sun somewhere in the far south.

I was greeted by a rather grumpy pheasant who only got off the gate to let me through with the greatest reluctance.


I filled the feeders and found that it was warm enough to sit in the hide without a coat (which was just as well as I hadn’t bought one) and so I sat for a while and enjoyed the birds.

There were the usual suspects both big….

woodepecker and pheasant

…and small.

Greenfinch and coal tit

Greenfinch and coal tit

Great tit and blue tit

Great tit and blue tit

And one or two less usual things as well.

one legged chaffinch

A one legged chaffinch looking fit and well


A blackbird on top of the tall feeder

squabbling chaffinches

And the first squabbling chaffinches of the season

There was also a major fungus outbreak at the foot of a tree near the hide.

feeder furngus

I made it home perfectly in time for coffee and then I decided not to go cycling again.

It was a great day to be out in the garden though so I went out into the garden.

I was pleased to see, along with the usual red admirals….

red admirals

Ten a penny this year

…that we had a small tortoiseshell in the garden as well.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

These have been very scarce this year.

There was no shortage of bees and hoverflies (and smaller flies too) once again.

cornflower with hoverfly

icelandic poppy with hoverfly

bee on dahlia

It is very gratifying to find that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted so many attractive flowers   that the garden is filled with flight and sound on any vaguely sunny day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy developing her new plans for the middle lawn and flower beds and while she was working, she noticed that our silver pear tree had actually produced a few silver pears.

silver pear

They are very small.

Nearby, a cotoneaster was much brighter.


The walnuts keep falling off the walnut tree, some of them assisted by jackdaws and crows like this one which was perched on the very top of the tree this morning.


I think that there may be a walnut just to the right of the bird.

Soon it was time for lunch and I decided not to go to Edinburgh with Mrs Tootlepedal to see Matilda this week.

After Mrs Tootlepedal drove off to catch the train at Lockerbie, I decided not to go cycling once again but I did get the slow bike out to deliver a message to Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer, with more cash from the Welcome to Langholm sales desk.  They sell postcards, local history books and DVDs on our behalf.

Since I was on my bike, I continued along the waterside in the hope of seeing the dipper.  It was not there but a goosander kindly took its place and posed for me.


It really was a lovely afternoon so I pedalled gently on across the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks.

Lodge Walks

My intention was to take another picture of the tiny fungi on a tree stump which I had seen on a recent walk but they had faded away almost to dust.  I looked around and saw a wonderful display of more conventional fungi on a tree stump on the other side of the road.

tree stump fungus

A veritable feast of fungus

tree stump fungus

A close up

I cycled gently home across the Castleholm and even on such a warm and sunny day, I could easily see why they had had to cancel our local agricultural show while we were away in Marseille.  Putting my foot down incautiously while pausing to admire the view  all too easily led to my whole foot and ankle disappearing into the glaur.  It has rained a lot recently.

When I got home, there was still plenty of time for a trip to Canonbie (or even further afield) but once again I decided not to cycle.

Instead, I retired indoors, practised the awkward song for our concert on Saturday (and all the easier ones a swell) and then had a long relaxing bath followed by a snooze.

It had been hard making so many decisions during the day and I needed a rest.

However, I have got my asthma medicine properly organised again and hope to be a great deal perkier tomorrow.

At last, a traditional flying bird of the day.  This was at the Moorland Feeders.  I am looking  forward to getting the garden feeders up again in the not too distant future.

flying chaffinch



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Today’s picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  It has been very hot indeed in London and it looks as though the majority of the population of that great city were out dangling their toes in the water at Parliament Hill Fields on Sunday.

The large lake, Parliament Hill Fields

I didn’t have time to dangle anything this morning as Dropscone appeared on schedule for a morning pedal.  As there are currently a set of temporary traffic lights on the Town Bridge, we decided to go off in the opposite direction and enjoyed an uninterrupted visit to Waterbeck.

There was a light breeze in our face on the way out and, luckily for us, it didn’t get any stronger until we turned for home when it picked up quite a bit and was most helpful.  Our general pace was modest although we enjoyed a burst of speed over the last five and a half miles home which were downhill and with the wind behind us.  We hit 35 mph coming down Callister which is quite fast enough for two old men.

Over coffee and scones, I learnt about Dropscone’s latest golfing victory.  He is in a rich vein of form at the moment.  He also told me that he had been out twice on the bike over the weekend so he has had a busy time.

After he left, I got myself cleaned and smartened up and went up to the High Street to meet a most important visitor who was coming from Edinburgh by bus.

This was Meg, the mother of Julie Goyder whose blog I have followed with laughter, sorrow, sympathy, pride and many emotions in between over the past few years.  Meg had come all the way from Australia just to visit Wauchope Cottage and we were honoured.  She was also fitting in an attendance at her granddaughter’s wedding in Peebles so that was convenient for her.

We got her safely installed in the B&B rooms and then Sandy arrived. He too had a cup of coffee and he and I walked round the garden.  There was plenty to look at.

Danish Flags

The Danish Flag poppies may go over quickly but more arrive with commendable speed.

Rosa Mundi

The rosa mundi was looking very cheerful

Rosa Wren

A new rose, Rosa Wren, has made an appearance.

day lily

I hope that that this is the first of many day lilies


The cosmos plants will soon be out all round the garden.

Meg had brought us a gift from Julie in Australia.  It is a bottle stopper and came in a bag that told us all we needed to know about it.

Julie's gift

We were very touched by her kind thought.

Meg is making light of a fractured pelvis and several fractures in her left arm which she sustained in a fall from her bike.  When she had got settled, she went off on foot to visit the High Street and get a bit of lunch.

While she was out, I spent a little time bird watching.  There were several close encounters of the bird kind.

bird encounters

A greenfinch gave things a sideways look.


And a family of sparrows tucked in at the fat ball cafeteria.


Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and when Meg returned, she went for a short rest while I mowed the front lawn.  Then I took Meg for a motor tour of the area.  We went across the hill to Newcastleton, passing Sandy who was hen harrier watching by the roadside, and returned by way of a fleeting visit to Hermitage castle…

Hermitage Castle…and back down the A7.  I was too busy acting as a tour guide to take any pictures of the trip but the countryside was looking at its best and Meg got a really good  short tour of the western border country of Scotland.

Once back home, she took a walk round the garden and then retired to write up her diary while I finished the task of turning the compost from bin B to bin A and trimmed  a short section of hedge.  I had another camera tour of the garden.  In places, there are literally masses of flowers.


A spirea.


A white potentilla


The weigela by the road has never looked better.

And another new iris has appeared.


I like white plants that grow in shady corners.

I did some shopping and then Mrs Tootlepedal returned from work and prepared a splendid roast chicken evening meal for which Meg joined us.  The chicken was garnished with potatoes, turnip and broad beans from the garden, as we are just reaching the home grown vegetable part of the year.  We polished the meal off with strawberries, ice cream and cream and I fear that all this may have put the Tootlepedal diet plan somewhat into reverse.  It was worth it.

It has been a really good day as it was very nice to meet a real life person from the world of the blogs that I read and to have some flesh put upon Julie’s digital  bones.  I expect her ears were burning even so many thousands of miles away.

After our meal, Mrs Tootlepedal took Meg on a tour of the garden and I snatched a picture of them in a rare moment of repose.

Mrs Tootlepedal and Meg

You would never guess that Mrs Tootlepedal hates having her picture taken.

I thought that the evening light would show Crown Princess Margareta up well but the insects had beaten me to it.

rose with flies

The flying bird of the day was one of the sparrow clan.

flying sparrow














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Today’s picture shows that there are fine canals in the south of England as well as the south of France.  This is a shot of the Kennet and Avon taken by my sister Susan on a recent visit.

kennet and avon

We had the third day of interrupted sunshine running today and some of us are finding it very hard to take it in.  I was too tired and the temperature was too chilly for me to join Dropscone round the morning run but he is made of hardier stuff and went round Waterbeck on his own, dropping off the scones on his way.  I hadn’t eaten them by the time he got back and we shared them over a cup of coffee or two.

He had been to a very good golf course at Gullane for a competition yesterday and his enthusiasm almost made me want to take up golf again.  Luckily I am too sensible to punish my joints and brain by doing anything so rash.

The unfortified fat balls have been attracting the attention of a couple of starlings and I caught this one in an elegant pose.  I would say that starlings must have been designed by an Italian.


There have been some chilly mornings but we have been spared a thoroughgoing frost so far and the garden is surviving the cold  well.  The nerine outside the kitchen window is getting better all the time.


The chaffinches were in residence in the plum tree, enjoying the sun as much as we were.

chaffinch basking

The dry spell has got the insects out and about again and the Michaelmas daises were covered in a multitude of small life.


insect with shades

And to my surprise, there was a butterfly about as well. This is a red admiral.

red admiral

I never knew that butterflies were so furry until I had a camera.

The pink rose, after looking as though it was on its last legs, is going great guns and had a proper flower out today.

pink rose


I enjoyed this final spike of astilbe catching the morning sun too.


The shadows finally cleared the feeders and I was able to take this great tit just before lunch.

great tit

After lunch I was turning a little compost when a van drew up outside and the man who makes cider locally came and pruned our apple tree for us.  This was very kind but also self interested as he is hoping to harvest a good crop next year for his cider making.  It couldn’t be worse than this year.  Here is a before and after shot of the tree.

apple tree pruning

He would have liked to have taken a bit more off but didn’t want to give the old tree too much of a shock.  The Charles Ross apples against the hedge caught his eye…

Charles Ross

He advised us to pick them before a frost got them so we picked them as soon as he was gone.

They are for us and not for him.

After he left, I got into some warm gear and got the (fairly) speedy bike out as the temperature was now up to a very reasonable 9° C. As there was a light north wind blowing and I like to be blown home, I set off north up the Eskdalemuir road.  After a sharp climb in the first mile, this is a pleasant road to cycle along.

It is an iron law of nature that on a fine day, a man with a camera in his pocket can’t pass the view of the Gates Of Eden without stopping to photograph it no matter how many times he has shot it before….

Gates of Eden

It really was a fine day.

…and the same applies to the church at Bentpath.

Westerkirk Church

I cycled up to Bailliehill, running the gauntlet of a flock of sheep…

Rampaging sheep

…and then, like yesterday, the lure of a fine bridge drew onwards towards the junction of the Black and White Esk rivers.

Black and White Esk

This is the bridge over the Black Esk just above the junction of the rivers.

Black Esk bridge

Since the day was so kind, I decided to cycle on for a mile or two.  It was gently uphill on a good surface and when I came to Castle O’er….

Castle O'er

…I turned round and enjoyed cycling back down the gentle downhill.

I took it easy on the way home and completed the 23 miles at a very sober 12.7 mph.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came.  What with one thing and another, we haven’t had many lessons recently and I asked him if he had been practising while I was away.  ‘A lot’, he said confidently and he was quite right.  He had made really good progress and I was delighted.   I definitely think that he has the makings of a flautist.

Later on, I went to the Buccleuch Centre with Sandy to listen to a musician at the other end of the age scale.  This was Ralph McTell, a noted singer and guitarist.  We were a bit alarmed when it emerged that the show would last 1 hr 45 mins without an interval but in the event, the time passed extremely quickly.  He is a very fine guitarist indeed in the finger picking mode of the American bluesmen such as Blind Gary Davis and has a foot tapping sense of rhythm.

As an extra treat, we could hear every single word that he sang and he retains a most pleasing singing voice.  It was refreshing to hear a singer using a natural register and not shouting at us in the strained voice fashionable today.    The audience applauded with vigour at each number but there was no shouting or cheering and the whole evening had a very nice old fashioned air about it.  The theatre was pretty well full and I would imagine that everyone there went home feeling well satisfied.

There are two flying chaffinches for the price of one today to please Dropscone who likes a bargain.


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Today’s picture sent by my son Tony shows Tash up a ladder.  It’s not every young lady who thinks that helping the family business by getting up a ladder and doing some painting is a bit of prime fun but Tash does.  Well done, I say.


I had a treat this morning.  When Dropsone arrived for the morning pedal, he pointed out his new shiny black mudguards.


These will reduce the amount of oily and manured flavoured spray that I ride through by a significant amount.  They will also do wonders for Dropscone’s laundry costs.  Sadly, in a way, today’s conditions were too good to test the mudguards to the full and we enjoyed a reasonably brisk spin round the usual route with cloudy but dry weather and light winds.  You can’t ask for anything more in November.  I spoke firmly to my legs and they behaved.

Before we went out,  Christopher had arrived from the builders to do some  work on the roof. He is a mason and his task was to lower the end wall so that our sagging roof will meet it at right angles.  When I got back, there was a lot of banging going on and bits flying everywhere but then there was a moment’s silence so I went out to investigate.

mason at work

What's that in his hand?

dust flying

It's one of those.

The two photos are a wonderful example of how many curious angles you can get into one photo.  The scaffolding is actually very parallel in real life.

When the old seed feeder was outside the kitchen window, the chaffinches never flew to it.  They would grub around under it freely enough though.  I thought they might be frightened of the sparrows who used it a lot but they never used it even when sparrows were absent.  When I replaced it with a new feeder recently, I put the old one in the plum tree. It’s the same feeder with the same seed in it but now the chaffinches will happily share it with the sparrows.

chaffinch and sparrow

That’s very interesting.  It is.  Really, it is.  Well it is to someone who spends a lot of time looking out of his kitchen window.

The sparrows like the plum tree feeder better than my nice new one.

sparrow flying

sparrows flying

sparrow landing

After lunch, I was going to go out and search for a photo opportunity but first Arthur came round with a small task for me and then I got stuck into revamping the front page of Dr Barlow’s moorland education project website, which took me longer than I thought, and then it dark and too late to go out.  I haven’t got adjusted to the new winter clock yet and I am still surprised at how early it gets dark if it’s a cloudy day.

There was no alternative but to do some more work on the Archive Group’s website.  I did a bit of the map index, had a bite of tea and then put a week and a half of the newspaper into the database.  This, with a few breaks for tea and biscuits filled my day up nicely.

My sister Susan has sent me a picture of my grandfather playing golf.

WH playing golf

Those were the days when a gentleman got dressed properly to play golf and didn’t wear fancy dress.  My sister wonders if he had tackets on those shoes.  Notice the heavy load of clubs the caddies have to carry.   If he really had played a shot and it wasn’t a posed photograph, he’s got a very controlled follow through.

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Today’s picture comes from Switzerland.


It shows Dropscone’s great niece, Lena having a walk.  And yes, that is a Swiss horn player in the background.  Lena’s mother tells me that he hides behind the tree and when he sees a tourist coming along, out he jumps and starts playing.  We don’t get that round here.  Thank goodness.

What we did get round here was another fine day and Dropscone and I went to Waterbeck and back for our morning pedal.  The wind was a little brisker than yesterday but not enough to spoil the ride.  There are only one or two really bad bits of surface on this route and there isn’t a lot of traffic so it is really annoying to discover how often the two coincide forcing us to bump over the potholed sections of the road.

After coffee, I caught a bluetit in the sunshine.

blue tit

There were no new surprises in the garden so I took this marigold as a tribute to two sunny days in succession.


Mrs Tootlepedal had been at work in the morning and as soon as she got back, she started tidying up a bit of a bed where she has removed a box ball.  I was motivated to do something useful too so I mowed both the lawns. Normally there would be little need for that at this time of year but the warm, wet weather has kept the grass growing.  I just gave them a gentle trim with the blades set high and the box off but the lawns looked well enough afterwards.

After lunch, I went up to have nine holes of golf in a geriatric four-ball and I would have had a lot of fine photos to show you if I had remembered to take my camera.  Dropscone has started playing a few holes again and he played very well for a man who has had a long time off the course.  I hit a few good shots and a lot of bad ones so nothing new there.  Having had no  birdies on the golf course, I had to look elsewhere.

When I got down the hill, I got the camera out and went to the Kilngreen to have another go at catching gulls in flight.  A little girl was getting ready to feed the many ducks.

duck stampede

A duck stampede

The heron was too dignified to join in the exhibition of mass consumerism and walked away along the banks of the Ewes.


The gulls circled round, fast and low, making it difficult to pick one out.

gull 1

gull 2

gull 3

The clocks went back at the weekend and the evenings are drawing in.  Although it was only half past three, there was a feel of sunset about the day already.

Mary Street

I cycled home across the Castleholm and couldn’t resist another autumn colour shot.   Most of the trees are shedding leaves freely now but one or two are still a treat to see.

View from Castleholm

autumn trees

In the evening, I enjoyed a new experience when I indulged in a video call with my sister Susan in London using Skype.  It’s a wonder of technology and it’s almost as good as using the telephone.   I can see its use in overseas calls and I hope to see and speak to my brother in New Zealand soon.

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Today’s picture is of the view from the golf course at noon today.

view from golf course

As the picture shows, it was another grey day today but apart from a stiff breeze, it was pleasant enough for a game of golf.  Only one other fellow turned up to play and as he was a fit triathlete who likes to play quickly,  I knew that I was in for a hard time.  We played eighteen holes in two and a half hours and the effect of this was to give me the yips with my short game.  To be fair, I can get the yips at whatever speed I am playing but going too quickly these days makes them much more likely.

To those who have never heard of the yips, they go like this: you settle down to play a little chip or a putt, you are concentrating hard and you are thinking about controlling the club head speed in a calm manner when you suddenly notice that you have already played the shot and the club head speed was not in any way controlled.  On top of this, your hands may twist convulsively in mid stoke, resulting in the ball going in many odd directions, none of them ones that you wanted.  It is not a pretty sight.  I am so used to it by now that I hardly get cross any more but they do ruin your scorecard.  In between messing about round the greens, I hit quite a lot of good shots so that, although my score was pathetic,  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had gone shopping and bought a chicken so I got roast chicken, roast potatoes and beans for my lunch which quite removed any lingering regrets about my golf score.

I am going to try to take pictures of the different shapes and sizes of sparrows that visit us.  Here is short and stocky one with strong colouring.

short stocky sparrow

The greenfinches have returned to the garden.  I like their severe and grave manner.


The observant may have noticed that I have bought a new seed feeder. This will give me the opportunity to clean and rotate the feeders to try to avoid spreading diseases.

After giving the old one a wash, I hung it on the plum tree just to see if any different birds would go to it there.  The greenfinch just shifted feeders.

another greenfinch

While a goldfinch took its place on the new feeder.


The yellow rose still hasn’t come out but in a well sheltered spot, the red rose has made a better effort.

red rose

We are promised a spell of warm, if wet, weather so I haven’t given up hope for the yellow rose yet.

A Jacob’s ladder has also appeared.

After lunch, we went up to the moorland bird feeding station to see if we could spot a woodpecker but once again we had no luck.  There were plenty of other birds about.

great tit

coal tit

I like the way this one is enjoying a little sit down.


A phine pheasant with a tail.

As we left, we could see the sun breaking through the clouds for a moment further down the Tarras valley.

sun and clouds

That was the only glimpse of sun all day.

We called in at the Kilngreen to admire the 100 or so ducks that gather there.  I tried to catch a seagull in flight but I didn’t have the camera focus on the right setting and this was my best effort.


It wasn’t for lack of gulls flying about.

gulls flocking

I am hoping that the wind drops a little during next week as pedalling into 30 mph gusts is not much fun but the forecast doesn’t give me much hope.  We are going to get the clouds that have just poured snow onto the east coast of the USA.  It’s not going to snow here, as it is far too warm but it is going to rain and blow.

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Today’s picture is from Tash and shows the fine weather that Tony, Marianne and Tash enjoyed in Menorca on their recent holiday.


Here it was not the best day for photographing flowers as it was overcast and windy but nevertheless I had a quick look round to see what had survived the recent frost.  These are not very exciting pictures but this blog acts as a record of what is in the garden at any given time.

Mrs Tootlepedal has cleared the front beds completely and the hen and chick are now in lonely splendour.

front beds

A few marigolds have lasted.


Three of the clematis are still on the go.  This one benefits from being on the sheltered side of the veg garden hedge.


clematis 2

One twig of crocosmia has survived. I thought that they had all gone but I was wrong.


The Michaelmas daisies win the prize for hardiness.


A few of the Icelandic poppies are also showing that their name would indicate an ability to put up with a chilly spell.

Icelandic poppy

Finally, the nasturtiums at the front gate have lasted while all the others have been blasted.


Considering that we had such a brief spell of frost, no more than four or five hours, on a single day, it is a pity to see the execution it caused.

I went off to play golf at noon in the winter competition.  I had been so tired after last week’s effort that I said to Mrs Tootlepedal that I probably wouldn’t play again as the balance of fun and pain had tipped too far.  Years of experience of my moaning led her to be very unsurprised when I went back up again today.  In fact, I enjoyed myself quite a lot.  I had shed two clubs from my bag and taken out all the old golf balls that seem to accumulate in a golfer’s bag and that lightened the load I had to pull.   The course was probably a little drier underfoot and that helped too.

As usual, my form was mixed.  I played quite well for fourteen out of the eighteen holes and very badly for the other four so my score was not good enough to win the sweep by a long way.

When I got home, I just had time to look at the bird life…

goldfinches at rest

Goldfinches at rest

goldfinches in action

Goldfinches in action

sparrows in a whirl

Sparrows in a whirl

.. before my son Tony arrived to visit Granny. He had been with his partner Marianne and her daughter Tash to visit Marianne’s father who is in hospital in Newcastle and then came on to see us.  Considering that they were only just back from Menorca, they were in good form after another journey and looking well tanned by the Mediterranean sunshine.

Tony and family

They joined us for a roast chicken meal before heading back to Edinburgh and a well merited rest.  In a good demonstration of smart technology, Tony was able to use Mrs Tootlepedal’s computer to make his TV set in Edinburgh record a programme that was on while we were eating and which they wanted to watch when they got home.

At some stage during the day, I took a picture by accident but I put it in here anyway as I thought it had quite a nice autumnal feel about it.


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