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Posts Tagged ‘herb robert’

Today’s guest picture is the Silk Mill in Derby which was passed by my brother Andrew on a very calm day recently.  He notes that the rowing eight in the background seem to be lacking a sense of direction. Perhaps they are our Brexit negotiation team relaxing.

Silk Mill

We had a very grey and dismal day here today and I made the best of it by having an extremely relaxing morning doing nothing at all.  It was the sort of day that Saturday newspapers, with their endless supplements full of guff, are made for.

Well, to tell the truth, I did do a little as I made a venison stew for the slow cooker and some potato and carrot soup for lunch.  The soup would have tasted better if I had remembered to put some onions in.

I did occasionally glance out of the kitchen window.  A collared dove looked about as fed up as I was…

wet dove in tree

…but a blue tit looked a little perkier…

blue tit on fat balls oct

…and even did some tricks to entertain me.

blue tit on fat balls oct (2)

The chaffinches were confused and flew in all directions at once.

confused flying chaffinches

A jackdaw took a dim view of the whole situation.  I know how it felt.

jackdaw on feeder oct

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I retired to the computer to waste time doing things so badly that they had to be done again.  In this way, I passed the time until I was driven out to stretch my legs by boredom.

I had a look round the garden before setting off on a short three bridges walk.

garden flower panel oct 20

I discovered that I had been underestimating the clematis in the back bed.  I thought that it had only had one flower but not only could I see a new flower coming,  I could clearly see a seed head as well so it may end up with three flowers for the year.

clematis panel oct 20

The autumn colour was not very exciting today….

dull autumn colour park

… but I was excited to see Mrs Tootlepedal driving over the Langholm Bridge on the way home after her meeting.

Mrs T driving home

The Christmas lights have been strung along the bridge already.  We must be the first town on the light erectors’ list this year.

There were almost as many leaves on the ground as there are still on the tree beside the suspension bridge….

fallen leaves beside Esk

…but they make a cheerful sight on the road.

fallen leaves beside Esk on street

Our lone gull was still standing on its rock staring fixedly down the river, presumably with the hope of seeing a friend coming.

lonely gull

It wasn’t a day for views so I noted the variety of lichens on the Sawmill Brig parapet…

lichen on sawmill brig

…the herb robert growing out of the wall opposite the sawmill….

herb robert

…and the water retaining moss on the top of the wall.

moss on sawmill wall

I took the new path round the bottom of the Castleholm…

new path castleholm

…and kept an eye out for fungus.

I didn’t have much luck and when I finally did see a crop on a tree beside the Scholar’s Field, some creature had got there first…

eaten fungus on tree

…and eaten my photo opportunity.

When I got in, I had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal and then went off to practise  music for our Carlisle choir.  The musical director has very kindly made demos of herself singing the various parts for several of the trickier songs and I used these to help learn the tenor parts.  The trouble is that it is quite possible to persuade yourself that you can sing the parts only to find that it isn’t so easy with another eighty people singing different parts at the same time….especially if the composer or arranger has a taste for crunchy chords.  Still, any help is welcome.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some potatoes and marrow to go with the slow cooked venison stew but couldn’t get over the feeling that she was being watched as she prepared to eat her meal.

staring food

The flying bird of the day is a suitably gloomy chaffinch to match the weather.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia.  It was taken by a friend who saw her kindly trying to cheer an old fellow up at RHS Rosemoor.

Venetia and friend

We woke to a sunny morning and I might have gone cycling but I received a better offer.  Mike Tinker had suggested a walk to look at some early summer ferns  so after breakfast I walked round to his house and started by meeting some of the ferns which he has in his garden.

Mike's garden ferns

He is a real fern enthusiast and as you can see, he has some interesting specimens.

He has many more than I have shown here but I am trying to keep posts shorter than usual for a while.

We set off round the Scholars’ Field and up the track along the river.  We were looking for ferns  but saw other things of interest along the way.

moth

Research tells me that this might be a Chinese Character moth, cilix glaucata with the brown markings supposed to look like bird droppings and put off predators.  I would be happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

But we did see a lot of ferns and it is always interesting to turn a fern and see what is on the other side.

female fern

A lady fern, more delicate than the male

buckle fern

A buckler fern.  You can see the buckle shaoped sporangia

There was no shortage of ferns to see.

fern

We passed the Duchess Bridge and took the path up through the woods.

Walk 2

Mike kept an eye out for wild flowers to show me.

sanicle

This is sanicle

I saw ferns that I never knew existed.

beech fern

A beech fern

oak fern

An oak fern

We looked at the back of more ferns.

shield fern

When we came out onto the road at the end of the path, it was not hard to spot a maidenhair spleenwort or two…

spleenwort wall

…and evergreen polypody ferns of the sort that we had seen on our earlier walk.

polypody

We walked back along the road and saw more wild flowers.

Avens

These are wood and water avens.

herb ribert and yellow pimpernel

And Herb Robert and a Yellow Pimpernel

Mike is an excellent guide and knows a lot about ferns and wild flowers and I would have liked to have spent more time and tried to take better pictures (the low light under the trees made things tricky) but I had made an arrangement to take my new bicycle down to the bike shop in Carlisle for its post sales service and as I wanted to take it home with me, I needed to be there in good time.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down with me and we enjoyed a light lunch and did some heavy shopping before picking up the bike again and heading home.

There was enough time when we got back for Mrs Tootlepedal to do some gardening and I did think of a short bike ride but the brisk breeze, uncooperative legs and the need to keep on track with my archive work sent me inside to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

I did emerge in time to thin some of the hundreds of gooseberries from the gooseberry bush.  I stewed them and had them with custard as a pudding for my evening meal (Mrs Tootlepedal had rhubarb and custard).  Considering that the gooseberries were like bullets when I picked them, they softened well and tasted remarkably good so I may well thin some more tomorrow.

There isn’t really a flower of the day today but I was pleased to see that the bumble bees share my fondness for astrantias.

bees on astrantia

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Today’s guest picture comes from a visit that my sister Mary paid to Kew Gardens at the beginning of the month.

Kew Gardens, near Queen Charlotte's cottage

Today was the final day of our holiday in North Berwick and naturally enough because I had got the car back and was ready to tour the beautiful countryside, the traditional east coast haar (a cold sea mist) arrived and stayed all day.

Although it wasn’t as bad as a haar can be, it excluded any hint of warmth and as a result we had a grey, cheerless day with no view worth speaking of at all and the car didn’t get an outing all day.

What we did instead, was to walk along the sea front to the harbour, stopping to look at flowers as we went…

valerian

Valerian

Herb Robert

Herb Robert

…in order to pay a visit to the Scottish Seabird Centre.

Scottish Seabird Centre

This is run by a charity which does its best to help Scottish seabirds and it makes money from a good restaurant, a shop and an interesting exhibition centre where you can learn as much as you want about gannets and other local seabirds.

They have a very good system of remote controlled cameras on local islands and the Bass Rock so that a visitor can study the local birds from the comfort of the centre even more closely that can be done from a passing boat.

Scottish Seabird Centre

Each camera can be operated in real time by visitors using a little joystick and I had a good time picking out puffins on Craigleith Island….

puffin

…as well as a host of guillemots, cormorants, shags, razorbills, kittiwakes and gulls.  There was even a seal having a snooze on the rocks.

Being able to see individual gannets on the Bass Rock,  sitting on little seaweed nests was a treat.

Matilda enjoyed the thoughtfully provided soft play area too.

We had a good lunch in the restaurant and then Matilda took her parents home while we had another look at the remote cameras.   A helpful assistant gave Mrs Tootlepedal a mass of interesting information about the nesting habits of the gannets.

When we left the centre, we walked out on the rocks at the end of the harbour.  It had been pointed out to me that the yacht “carpark” beside the harbour was the remains of the old open air swimming pool and the colourful doors at either end…

North Berwick swimming pool

…were the old changing cubicles, now presumably used for storage for boat owners.

There is a well made path with handrails along the rocks…

North Berwick rocks

…so we didn’t fall in and I was able to observe eider ducks going up and down.

eider ducks

Their heads always look to me as if they have been painted by a modernist potter.

…and a few brave souls going for a chilly and windy boat ride.

north berwick boat

There was not a lot of activity on the beach today.

north berwick

We got back and had a cup of tea and sit before heading off to the High Street for a last visit to some of its excellent shops.  I was able to stock up on leaf tea of good quality and just resisted buying some good looking cheese as well.

To our surprise, we found the redoubtable Matilda and her father bound for the beach when we got back to the flat and i went along to join them.  I built as big a sand castle as I could in a short time…..but with inevitable consequences.

Matilda with sand castle

Photos courtesy of Matilda’s father.

Matilda had great fun jumping off the castle, using it as a slide and knocking as much of it down as she could.  Her mother came down to join us and we had a merry time.  Her father had made a more structured castle based on the Roman fort at Housteads and Matilda gave that a good kicking too.

Mrs Tootlepedal had made us another excellent meal so in spite of the gloomy weather we had good fun and ate very well on our final day.

I did catch a flying gull hanging around the seabird centre today.

berwick gull

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