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Posts Tagged ‘heron’

Today’s guest picture comes from my ex colleague Marjorie who is on holiday in Yorkshire.  It shows a pub at Robin Hood’s bay than which you can go no further.

Robin Hood's Bay pub

Ophelia passed up by in the night, huffing and puffing but not blowing the house down….or anything else much.

There wasn’t even a lot of rain so this was one event where we were more than happy to find out that it didn’t live up to its advance billing.

It was still grey and pretty windy in the morning so after a quick visit to the High Street, I was happy to stay in and drink coffee with Sandy.

Mrs Tootlepedal signalled a step in the direction of a full recovery by cleaning the oven.

When Sandy left, I got out my new lens and pointed it out of the kitchen window in the hope of seeing some visitors to the feeder.  I was not disappointed.

The first arrivals were a small flock of goldfinches…

goldfinch

…which monopolised the feeder for a while.

When a gap appeared it was filled by a pair of blue tits…

blue tits

…and a house sparrow who bit off more than he could chew.

sparrow

There was a good deal of coming and going…

goldfinch and sparrow flying

…though the chaffinches were holding back.

This one sat in the plum tree watching. When he turned, you could see the force of the wind.

chaffinch

On the ground below the feeder, a dunnock or hedge sparrow inspected the new tray and a robin took advantage of some fallen seed which had collected in it.

dunnock and robin

It was just like old times and I spent a happy hour staring out of the window in between making some lentil, carrot and red pepper soup for lunch.

It was still pretty breezy after lunch so Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat and watched an interesting programme about the painters Peter Lely and Mary Beale before we ventured out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal got to work on tidying up the vegetable garden while I looked about.  The strong winds in the night had left plenty of flowers in full bloom.

poppy

The poppies were still in fine form

Lilian Austin

And Lilian Austin was looking lovely

Time was getting on and as the forecast was for the wind to continue to drop as the afternoon went on, I popped out for a quick walk before going for a short bike ride.

I walked down to the river where I was delighted both by finding Mr Grumpy standing on one leg and seeing a luminous willow nearby.

willow and Mr Grumpy

The fungi on the bank of the Wauchope below the church wall are getting ever more various.

fungus

The grey ones may well be oyster mushrooms and edible but I will leave that for others to test out.

I walked through the park and along the river side.  In spite of a good layer of fallen leaves on the path….

Beechy Plains

…there are still a lot of leaves on the trees in every shade of green, yellow and brown.

autumn colour leaves

I walked to the end of the beechy plains and turned back up the hill along Easton’s walk.

The sun came out as I got to the top of the hill and the town looked very peaceful below me.

Langholm view

In fact, everything looked very mellow and we have been very lucky to avoid the worst of Ophelia which seems to have tracked past to the north of us, though a football stadium was damaged in Cumbria to the south of us.

View of Meikleholm Hill

It was a delightful day for a walk.

Eastons Walk

I came down to the path beside the mossy park wall….

Park wall

…but I ignored the moss when I saw a good crop of what I think is some more cladonia lichen on top of the wall.

Pin lichen

When I got home, I was very impressed by the growing power of Mrs Tootlepedal’s green manure in the beds which had potatoes in them earlier in the summer.

green manure

I left Mrs Tootlepedal talking to out neighbour Ken.  He overtook me yesterday when I was out bicycling on his way to clocking up his 5000th mile of the year.  As he is the same age and weight as I am, I can only doff my chapeau and admire his prodigious energy.

I  haven’t got to 4000 miles yet but I got twenty miles closer today as I pedalled up and down the road three times in a mix of light rain, crisp breeze and a little sunshine every now and again.  I was pushed for time as the light was fading so I didn’t stop for any more pictures on my way and in the end, I just got back in before the time when I would have needed lights on my bike.

I have a choice of flying bird of the day today, either a traditional flying chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…or a skein of geese which flew overhead this afternoon.

_DSC7931

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s recent visit to Bath with my two other sisters.  They had some good weather  when they visited the Abbey.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

We had some thoroughly rotten weather here.  It rained on and off all day and the thick cloud made it feel like the middle of winter as far as the light went.  The fact that it was pleasantly warm only made the whole thing more annoying.

Mrs Tootlepedal was a bit better today but still confined to bed for the most part.  Sandy came round for a late coffee and then I took Mrs Tootlepedal off to see the doctor.  She coincidentally had an appointment on other matter which was handy.

While she waited for the doctor, I took a stroll down to the river in the drizzle to see whether the turtle had survived yesterday’s minor flood.

Turtle

It is a very well constructed animal.

I had a look round while I was there.  It wasn’t a day for standing around and admiring the view….

River Esk in flood

…because there wasn’t a view to admire.

Mist on Whita

The trees beside the river were doing their best though.

Autumn colour on Esk

The goosander family, with some mallards too,  were lurking in a calm spot below the church for the second day running.

Mallard and goosander

This one was looking a little cheesed off with the weather.  Fishing must be tricky when the water is running so quickly.

goosander

I collected Mrs Tootlepedal and went home.  I cooked some soup for lunch and ate it by myself while Mrs Tootlepedal nibbled on a bit of toast upstairs.

I had a crossword to do and some more songs to look at and I nipped out to look at some flowers during a lull in the rain.  Although the garden is definitely beginning to look rather ragged, there is still a range of colours…..

Feverfew and nicotianaclematis and calendulanasturtiums

….but the drizzle returned and I went back in again.  Thus the afternoon was passing slowly when Sandy rang up and suggested a walk as it had temporarily stopped raining yet again.  By the time he had arrived though, it was back to raining heavily so we killed a little time considering some Archive problems with the database and then, as it had calmed down to a drizzle, we went out.

Sandy was impressed by the fungus and the goosanders and took a picture or two with his new camera.  I pointed the Lumix at the side of the church.

Parish Church

We walked along the Esk.  I was hoping to see the dipper again but we only saw fallen leaves.

fallen leaves

There were mallards on the Kilngreen, contemplating the rushing waters of the Ewes.

kilngreen mallards

This heron was standing in Mr Grumpy’s spot so I suppose it is Mr Grumpy but he looks a lot neater and more cheerful than when I last saw him.

heron

The Lodge gates looked gloomy.

Lodge gates

I had to use a flash to take a picture of these traditional toadstools beside the walk.

toadstools

As well as for these duller fungi a little further on.

fungi

It really was gloomy although it was only four o’clock and as it had started to rain quite heavily again, we didn’t dally any longer and headed for home.

Misty on the castleholm

Once indoors, I only ventured out as far as the shops to buy some stuff for my tea and otherwise, Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent a very quiet evening in.

There is rain on the Met Office forecast for every day for the next seven days except for Tuesday.  There is a gale warning for Tuesday.

No flying bird of the day today for obvious reasons.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and shows one of the greens on the golf course he was visiting last week in Spain.  Tough conditions out there.

golf course

We had far from Spanish weather here today.  It had rained heavily over night and it was still raining heavily when we got up.  It continued to rain all morning and only stopped in the middle of the afternoon.

Under these circumstances, I was very fortunate to have the company of both Dropscone and Sandy for coffee.  An additional bonus was the treacle scones that Dropscone provided for the occasion.   Dropscone has been on holiday in Spain and Sandy in Portugal and they had both enjoyed excellent weather so the rain was a bit of a shock to their systems but they were bearing up bravely.

I put on some stout waterproof clothing after they had left and walked down to see how much of the rain had got into the rivers.

Wauchope and turtle

The Wauchope was flowing freely and the turtle in the Esk was learning how to swim.

Waterside birds were to be seen in spite of the rain.

gull and dipper

The dipper was very busy but taking care not to be washed away and the gull was standing very still on its rather precarious rock perch.

I looked down the River Esk from the suspension bridge.

River esk

To say that our weather is changeable at the moment is a bit of an understatement.

I didn’t stay out long and went home and did the crossword.

Once the rain had eased off to a drizzle after lunch, I went out for a second look.  The water had risen but we were far from a big flood…

Esk and turtle

…although the turtle’s need for swimming lessons seemed pressing.

I took the opportunity to visit a large crop of fungus on the bank of the Wauchope by the church wall.

fungus beside church

They are related to a tree that had to be felled because it had become dangerous.

Nearby, seven goosanders were resting on the bank of the Esk.  I couldn’t get them all in one shot so I settled for these three…

goosanders

…and this one which had gone for a swim.

goosander

I had a look up the Wauchope from the Park Bridge…

Wauchope in flood

…and then went home again and did some work on songs for both my choirs.  I was concentrating hard on the music and was surprised when I turned to the window and saw that the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  I shot out into the garden.

Crown princess margareta

Crown Princess Margareta is getting special care from the gardener and we hope that it will do really well next year.

Nasturtiums

A splash of colour against the wall of the house

poppy

A battered poppy doing its best

A young blackbird was taking advantage of the sunshine to have a bath in our pond…

blackbird

…watched from on high by a starling.

starling

I tried to contact Sandy with a view to going for a walk but when he didn’t reply (I found out later that he was busy at the Archive Centre), I went off by myself.

The sun went in almost as soon as I started out.

I visited the riverside.  Just where the dam comes out into the Esk, I came across a dipper busy in the long grass beside the Esk.

dipper

I walked along to the Town Bridge and once again marvelled at the sound construction which has let it withstand this sort of pressure…

Langholm Bridge in flood

… since 1775.

I looked back down river from the bridge…

River esk in Autumn

…and then walked over the bridge and onto the Kilngreen.

The Esk and the Ewes looked quite full when I got down to their level…

Esk and Ewes

…but they were safely contained within their banks.

As I walked towards the Sawmill Brig, a heron flew past me and when I was on the bridge, I could see another dipper on the rocks below.

Heron and dipper

By the this time, the clouds had come back but I walked on, hoping that all the rain that was in the clouds had already been discharged.

I walked up the Lodge Walks and enjoyed the trees lining the walks and those on the Castleholm and lower slopes of the hill beyond the river.

Lodge walks

Meikleholm hill treesMeikleholm hill treesMeikleholm hill trees

I crossed the raging river by the Duchess Bridge…

Duchess bridge in Autumn

…and got home without seeing a drop of rain.

In the evening, I went out to a Langholm Sings choir practice and enjoyed myself more than I thought that I would when I found that the songs were a bit easier to get right than I had feared.  The “getting right” is still more potential than actual but then that is what practices are for.

I am hoping that the recent progression of rainy, sunny, rainy days will lead to tomorrow being sunny.  It would be only fair.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Lucie, one of my Canadian correspondents, who took this fine view of  Lake Athapapaskow, a glacial lake in Manitoba, while on holiday.

Lake Athapapaskow

It took us some time to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t raining when we woke up but I recovered from the shock and got the fairly speedy bike out for the first time in September.  I wasn’t sure how my legs would be feeling after a week off and as it was quite breezy with a threat of light rain, I rather cravenly decided to do a turn in my ‘outside gym’ and cycle up and down the four and a bit miles to Cleughfoot three times.  This would give me the chance to bail out if the going got too tough.

It looked like a good decision when it started to rain just as I got to Cleughfoot on the first lap but I decided not to put on my rain jacket as that sort of thing only encourages bad weather and I was rewarded when the rain stopped before I started the second lap.

In the end, I managed the 27 miles quite happily and got home dry.

I didn’t take my pocket camera with me on the bike because of the threat of rain and although I took some pictures with my phone, they came out so badly that I couldn’t use them.  I walked round the garden when I got back to make up for this.

There was plenty to look at.

nerines

The nerines were enjoying the drier weather

More big lilies are coming out

More big lilies are coming out

poppy

The smaller poppies are surviving the wet weather the best

poppy

Though some of the bigger ones were open for business

poppy

And some were just open

Salvia

The Salvia is surviving well

astrantia

And the late astrantia is doing very well though I haven’t seen many bees on it at all

clematis

The clematis in the philadelphus is thriving

I had a shower and some lunch and then we went out into the garden and I mowed the middle lawn but as it had started to rain, this wasn’t as much fun as it might have been and we went back in and sat down to watch a chunk of the Tour of Britain bike race.

When it stopped raining, I went out again and sieved some compost and dead headed some poppies but it started to rain again so I went back in.

After the bike stage finished, I checked the weather and headed out to the riverside for a short walk.

A dipper posed for me on the banks of the Esk…

dipper

…and Mr Grumpy gave me a stare at the Meeting of the Waters.

heron

I spotted a goosander among the many ducks on the Ewes Water…..

goosander

…and another dipper below the Sawmill Brig.

dipper

In between watching all the birds, a good crop on a tree in the Clinthead garden made me stop and look.

Clinthead crop

I don’t know what they are.  Some sort of crab apple perhaps?  I found a variety called Malus Royalty which looked a possibility.

I would have taken many more really interesting pictures if the battery on my Lumix had not given up but I had my phone in my pocket and pointed it hopefully at a few more things as I went along the new path on the Castleholm.

Autumn leave

Early colour

fungus

Tiny fungus on a log end

umbellifer

Pretty as a picture

chestnut

The horse chestnuts seem to change colour earlier than any other trees.

I looked over the hedge into our garden as I got back.  There is still quite a lot of colour but the leaves on the lawn make it look autumnal.

n in September 2017

I had timed my walk well as I just had enough time to dead head the calendula before it started to rain again.

To be fair, the evening cleared up well and the day finished on a thoroughly good note when Mike and Alison appeared and Alison and I had a very cheerful time playing a selection of pieces, several of which sounded as though the composer would have recognised them without any difficulty.

No flying bird of the day or any substitute at all this evening.  I will try to do better tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  As well as enjoying the delights of Venice lately, she also sampled a beautiful evening at Clapham Junction before she left for the continent

sunset over Clapham Junction

It was another day of variable weather but at least the rain was sporadic rather then persistent which was a relief.

I started the day by going to Longtown in the rain to pick up a new pair of glasses.  The optician has to deal with an extreme difference between my right and left eye and has given me a rather neat bifocal lens which he hopes will let me read with both eyes at the same time.  This will be a novelty if it works.

When I got home, I had time to have a coffee and the last slice of the oat, plum and ginger bake before I had to put on my sombre clothes and go to a funeral.  There was a good attendance as the funeral was for a local hero, Jimmy Maxwell, captain of Langholm Rugby Club in its most successful period ever, a rugby international and the chairman of the Common Riding committee for many years.

To us, he was the man who as a builder had done many alterations to our house when we first arrived in Langholm and who was responsible later on for putting in the ties that hold the house together and keep a roof over our heads.

Luckily the rain had stopped by the time that we came out of church.

I was sitting in the kitchen after the funeral when a knock on the door heralded the arrival of Sandy with two friends, Fred and Irene, who wanted to look round the garden.

Sandy with Fred and Irene

They are regular blog readers and wanted to to take the chance to measure my pictures against the real thing.  The enjoyed a garden tour and took an apple each with them as they went on their way.  Fred is just off to Africa where doubtless he will find interesting things to photograph.  I noticed as we finished our tour that the nerines beside the bird feeder are beginning to look their best.

nerines

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Annan where she had been receiving treatment for a painful toe and was very pleased with the results.

I had to spend a bit of time getting everything organised for a trip back up to Bentpath in the evening where I was going to give a talk to the Women’s Institute there.

I did think of fitting a short cycle ride in but another heavy shower made me unthink.

There was time to watch the finish of the Tour of Britain stage before I checked on the weather again and went out for a short walk.  My plan was to take a variety of photographs which might help to demonstrate some good and bad  things to do with a camera and which I could use in my talk later on.

I started beside the river.

Langholm bridge

Considering how much it has rained, the river was quite calm as it flowed under Langholm Bridge

The sawmill bridge

The view up stream from the bridge

heron

A local resident getting ready to fly

Then I walked up the Lodge Walks and across the Castleholm

fungus in fence post

I went from broad views to small with this fungus in a gate post

moss in a gate post

And this moss garden on another gate post

trees

I spent some time trying to convey a feel that the trees are just beginning to turn but there wasn’t really quite enough contrast

Oak galls

The selection of oak galls gets ever gaudier

Rosebay willowherb

I was peering at the the final few flowers on the rosebay willowherb….

P1020545

…when I was joined by a bee and a fly

I left the Castleholm, crossed the Jubilee Bridge and made my way home.

Warbla in evening sun

Warbla looking cheerful in the evening sun

Langholm Primary School

My old school looking a bit neglected. No use has been found for the building since the new school was built across the road.

A hoverfly in Mike and Alison's garden

A hoverfly in Mike and Alison’s garden which kindly opened its wings to make a better picture for me.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal talking to two more garden visitors.  It turned out that our neighbour Isobel had brought ex Langholmite and now Canadian resident and  blog reader Joyce to see the garden in real life too.

Isobel and Joyce

It was very nice to be able to put a face to a long time reader and commenter.

Joyce particularly enjoyed the fabled compost bins and was pleased that I give the credit for the garden to Mrs Tootlepedal, the gardener and don’t pretend that I do all the work myself.

I just had time to make a sausage stew for my tea, cook a batch of rolls which Mrs Tootlepedal had shaped earlier in the afternoon and pack my stuff into the car before it was time to go up the road to Bentpath.  I checked the weather before I left and saw no need for a rain jacket. Needless to say, it was bucketing down when I got to the village hall, a mere six miles north of Langholm and I got quite wet getting the stuff from the car into the hall.

After the ladies had had a business meeting, I got down to business with a run through of various styles of camera and lenses and then a slide show of the pictures that I had taken for the recent flower show competitions with a demonstration of how they had been edited and a run though of the afternoon’s photos from the walk with some explanation of why some had been reasonably successful and why others had been failures.

The talk seemed to hold the interest of the audience…..

Westerkirk WI

…who kindly posed for a mass portrait afterwards.

The possibilities offered by photo editing led to some questions after the talk.

This was followed by an excellent cup of tea, sandwiches and cakes.  Giving a talk to the WI is always a satisfying experience because if anyone is skilled in providing a nice cup of tea and cakes, it is them.

The moon was out as I drove home.

No flying bird of the day as that dratted heron was too quick for me when it took off.

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Today’s guest picture of helmet hair was sent to me by my Maine correspondent.  She had been for a 13 mile cycle ride and tells me that she, Laurie is in the picture  with her husband Clif . They live in Winthrop, Maine, and that picture was taken at Norcross Point, which is by Maranacook Lake in Winthrop.

Helmet heads

There was  no chance of me getting a helmet hair shot today as I woke up with a very bad back and struggled to walk let alone cycle.   I have had long standing back problems but today’s trouble was a nasty surprise as I have been quite pain free and flexible for some time.  It was probably caused by something as simple as sitting in an unaccustomed chair and will soon go away with careful use.  Still, it wasted a genuinely warm and sunny day which was a pity.

poppies

I staggered out into the garden after breakfast just to record the sunshine.

I really liked this crumpled paper poppy with a bee flying in.

poppies

That completed my activity for the morning.

The other surprise of the day was a triumph of good service.

A few days ago I decided to take advantage of a part exchange offer from WEX, a photographic supplier.  I sent off the details of the the lens I wanted to exchange and got a very good offer which I accepted. The firm sent me prepaid labels and I posted off my lens on the understanding that they might well alter their offer when they had examined the lens closely.

I thought that the offer was a bit too good to be true and wondered whether my description of the lens as ‘lightly used’ might be a bit optimistic.  The firm rang me and told me that their examiner had indeed downgraded my view of the state of the lens by a grade and naturally, I feared the worst.  Would the offer be halved?  It had seemed too good to be true.  I held my breath.

The price will have to be reduced they said.  Then they told me by how much and I breathed out.  Since the reduction was only about 8% of the total this was but a trifle and I accepted the new valuation with alacrity.

When I rang up the sales team half an hour later, my trade in was safely credited to my account and I was able to purchase not only the new lens that I wanted but a new photo printer to go with it.

This was yesterday.  The printer and the lens arrived today! I don’t believe that I have ever received such prompt, fair and reliable service.

To add to my happiness, the printer was soon set up and worked well.

As far as the lens went, Mrs Tootlepedal drove me up to the Moorland Feeders and I pointed it at some birds.  It is early days but it looks quite promising to me.  Here is a selection of the results.

blue titcoal titcoal titgreat titblue tittree creeperwoodpeckerwoodpeckergreefinchchaffinch

For the technically minded, the new lens is a Sigma 150-600mm and it should let me improve the quality of my bird pictures when I have mastered it.

On our way home, Mrs Tootlepedal first stopped to buy a battery for a humane cat scarer which she recently purchased as she is fed up with cats making a mess of her flower and vegetable beds and then stopped again at the Kilngreen.

I was hoping for a flying gull to test the new lens but instead I found Mr Grumpy sitting down, a most unusual sight indeed.

Heron

Perhaps he had a bad back too.

When  we got home, my back was eased enough to let me mow the middle and front lawns although my mower pushing style was a bit inelegant.

Then I took a picture or two.

Cat scarer

The cat scarer in position. It works with ultrasonic noise.

The handbook says darkly that it doesn’t work at all on deaf cats….or white cats…or very old cats…or perhaps any cats.  They offer no guarantees.  We shall see.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hanging the onions up to dry in the greenhouse.

onions

The last of the rambler roses.

rambler rose

Then I went in and sat down for the rest of the day.

There have been quite enough birds already in the post so no flying bird of the day in any shape or form.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my son Tony.  He is the one on the hindmost of the two greys galloping along at the Lauder Common Riding. The photo was taken by ‘Lord Spencer-Taylor’, aka Robbie

Tony Galloping

We were expecting guests in the early evening so the morning was spent making ready for their arrival and after a fortnight of my solo housekeeping there was plenty for Mrs Tootlepedal to do.  I offered a hand where it was helpful but also found time to mow the drying green and greenhouse grass between showers.

We got a load of washing out onto the whirlygig in perfect time to catch a shower but the gap before the next one was long enough to get everything dry.

The flowers are still playing catch up as when the sun is not out between showers, it is still rather cool.

dahlias

Not all the dahlias have been nibbled

poppies

And the poppies are still attractive

There are lots of different shades to be seen…

hosta and ligularia

…even when the flowers are finished.

I found a rather unusually elongated radish and the first plum of the season.

radish and plum

I had the radish with my lunch but the plum has not been eaten yet.

I put the mixture for some soft baps into the breadmaker after lunch and went off for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal was going to take the dough and shape the baps for me but my dérailleur malfunctioned and I had to make a repair stop at home after eight miles which coincided nicely with the moment to take the dough out of the machine.

With the baps rising, I went out again for another eight miles and stopped to take a picture or two on the way.

There was a pretty outbreak of ‘bonnie purple heather’ beside the road…

heather

…and plenty of yarrow to go with it.

yarrow

I went up the little road to Cleughfoot….

Cleughfoot road

…and stopped to check on the sloes.

sloes

The crop looks very good but a closer look…

sloes

…revealed ominous looking scabs on some of the berries.  I don’t know what has caused this but I hope it doesn’t spread.

I got home before the next rain shower and had time to look round the garden again.  It looked all white to me….

hosta

water lily

the first cosmos of the season

The bright berries if the rowan in the sunshine over the garden made a contrast with the grey clouds in the background…

rowan

…but luckily our visitors arrived before the rain did.

We had a cup of tea and then Sara and Janet agreed to stretch their legs before our evening meal.

They had had a very wet visit indeed to the celebrated garden at Glenwhan in the west of our region yesterday so they weren’t at all discouraged by another shower as we walked along the banks of all three of our rivers.

We nodded to Mr Grumpy as we crossed the town bridge…

heron

…and crossed the Sawmill Brig and the Jubilee Bridge before posing for a picture on the Duchess Bridge, the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Sara and Janet

Sara and Janet suitably dressed for high summer in Langholm

It wasn’t really a day for hanging about looking for photo opportunities but a bunch of fungus on a tree stump couldn’t be ignored.

fungus

The rain stopped before we got back and we were soon seated round the kitchen table enjoying an excellent meal, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sara sings with an Edinburgh community choir and we were able to sample some of their work very professionally presented on YouTube.  They sing unaccompanied which is very impressive but I think it would be too hard for me.

The flying bird of the day is an insect visiting the raspberries.  It looks a bit like a wasp to me.

insect

 

 

 

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