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Posts Tagged ‘herb robert’

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon. He has been taking walks round Canonbie during the lockdown and wonders why anyone might prefer city life to scenes like these.

It was not a promising morning today here in any way, being windy and wet from the start. I did pop out into the garden when the rain was very light and have a look around. Mrs Tootlepedal has a choisya which she doesn’t think is looking well but it is producing flowers to join the ranunculus…

…and a Rodgersia which is is looking healthy. Just to prove me wrong, the clematis by the front door has produced more flowers but it is hiding them behind its leaves to annoy.

The original flower is going over in style.

I didn’t linger long and was soon back inside wasting time on trivial but time consuming activities. Once again, we felt grateful that the weather has been fine for most of our lockdown as two months of wet and windy weather would have been very hard to bear.

I did spend some time trying out Google Meet with my sister Susan but it didn’t work satisfactorily so we will probably stick to Zoom for our regular meetings.

When I stopped doing the trivial things, the birds were there to keep me entertained.

The feeder was busy all day and new birds were constantly arriving to the disapproval of the incumbents…

…and this led to some collisions and cantankerousness.

I think that my current favourites among the visitors are the redpolls in their spring get ups.

We have many young sparrows in the garden but I haven’t seen many young blackbirds. I wondered if this was a teenager. It looked as though it wouldn’t mind being fed but no one came.

We had planned to go for a walk after lunch but the rain persisted and we didn’t start until after three o’clock in the end. We went out with some trepidation as there was still a light drizzle and the wind was boisterous to say the least.

A trail of leaves littering the track up to the Stubholm told the story of how strong the wind has been.

We met some friends at the Stubholm and they told us that they had abandoned their intention to walk up the Warbla Track because of the strong wind and advised us to keep to low level sheltered spots.

We were headed down to the Murtholm and Skippers Bridge so we were able to follow their advice without changing our plan. We passed this fine tree on our way.

We crossed the bridge and walked along the road beside the river as far as the track that leads up Jenny Noble’s Gill. A movement ahead caught our eye and we spotted a grey squirrel, and it froze for a moment as it climbed a tree.

Lovers of red squirrels have been trying to keep grey squirrels at bay for some years but I fear that they are fighting a losing battle as I see more and more greys all the time.

The walk up the gill among the birch trees was lovely….

…and the seed heads of the grasses were whispering to each other as we passed.

The track back to the town was as delightful as ever, even on a dull grey day….

…but it didn’t seem as windy as it was when we set out so we left the track and ventured out of the woods onto the open hill…

…and after passing through some bluebells, we soon enjoyed good views over the valley and town below us.

The church stands out now that it has been released from the shadows of the trees.

The golf course is waiting for the arrival of keen golfers like Dropscone as soon as the traps are opened in a day or two.

Dropscone is looking forward to it in spite of his advanced age. (He advanced another year yesterday and is now officially older than me for the next six months.)

As well as the views, there were other things to look at as we went along.

We saw wild strawberries, small cow wheat (not a thing that we have seen before), a patch of white flowers which Mrs Tootlepedal told me “is that weed which grows on your lawn”, and a bunch of smiling buttercups.

An old leafless tree caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

We had had to climb up a pretty steep hill to get above the golf course and we were happy to have reached a point as we passed that tree when it was all downhill on the way home.

We walked past Whita Well and pressed on until we reached the Newcastleton Road. This let us descend gently back to river level and we walked back to Langholm along the main road from Whitshiels.

I noted some of the points of interest that we saw on our way: exuberant crosswort, fresh green hazel leaves, herb Robert and a real novelty these day, an actual puddle.

As we crossed the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge and home, the sun actually came out…

…and just as promptly, it went in again and we had to increase out pace as a light rain encouraged us to get a move on.

It had been a strenuous five mile walk and never has a cup of tea and a slice of cake been more welcome.

That finished the day off for us as we had not an ounce of energy left for anything else except a small plate of rhubarb and custard as a late supper.

The flying bird of the day is one of the young sparrows who frequent the garden at the moment.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  He has left the country with his wife and seems to have turned up in Helsinki where they saw the cathedral.  (They will be back.)

helsinki cathedral

A brief post today as it is late again as I sit down to write  because I have been to Edinburgh.

We had a day of occasional showers but it was dry enough in the morning to let me see some sparrows who exemplified the divisions in the country by simultaneously sitting on the fence and looking in two different directions at the same time.

sparrows looking both ways

It stayed dry as I went across the suspension bridge on my way to see the physio…

 

town bridge in autumn

…who is patiently trying to sort out my general stiffness with a well judged programme of exercises.

On my way back I stopped to check on our resident rock-standing gull and wondered if it had slept badly last night or was perhaps trying some new eye shadow.

gull with eye shadow

I walked round the garden when I got home.  The continued warmish weather (11 degrees C in the morning) has brought out some unseasonable flowers on the weigela…

wiegela october

…is keeping the fuchsia flourishing…

fuchsia

…as well as the cosmos…

cosmos clump

…and the Japanese anemone, which is managing very well without any dead heading from me.

anemone clump

The roses continue to delight.

princess margareta rose

Rosy Cheeks is making Mrs Tootlepedal very glad that she has added it to our stock.

rosy cheeks rose

There are even a few campanulas stills ringing a bell…

campanula october

…and I was pleased to see a bee hard at work among the fuchsia flowers.

bee on fuchsia october

I had time for a very short walk before lunch.  The poplars in the park are a favourite at this time of year.

poplars from park

The view of the trees at the far end of the Murtholm sums up the uneven autumn that we are having.

 

murtholm view october

The sheep don’t mind though as long as there is grass…

sheep grazing

…and it has been a good year for grass.

I spotted what I think is a Herb Robert flower..

herb robert

…and I was just walking along this path when the battery in my camera expired…

stubholm path

…leaving the other interesting things that I passed unrecorded.  I didn’t see much of interest to be honest.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a meeting in the evening so after lunch, I went to Edinburgh by myself.

I drove to Lockerbie in the rain and was relieved to find that at least the train was running this week.  It was twenty minutes late getting into Waverley Station but I suppose I must be thankful for small mercies because I had a very enjoyable time with Matilda, another delicious meal and a good conversation with Matilda’s mother, Clare after the meal.

And the train back was on time and it wasn’t raining as I drove home.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s meeting had gone well so it had been  satisfactory day.

I took a picture of a flying starling this morning, and it would have been the flying bird of the day…

flying starling

…if I hadn’t caught a bee in mid air too.

flying bee

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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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