Posts Tagged ‘hogweed’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba.  It was sent to her by a friend and was taken by her friend’s nephew, James Greig .  James farms near Melita, MB and is the third generation to work that land.  He has a good eye for a photo and those interested can find a lot more of his work here.

james fieldscape

Thanks to the long spell of good weather, I have got well behind schedule when it comes to putting the data miners’ work into the newspaper index database on the Archive Group website so I am going to have to cut down on words and pictures in the blog posts for a bit while I catch up.  (Enormous sigh of relief, politely masked, from beleaguered blog readers.)

Looking back, it is eight years since I started this on-line diary on June 16th 2010 with a post of 45 words and one picture.  Things have gone downhill since then.  I have had 2921 posts and I think that my sister Susan has read every one!

Anyway, here is briefer than usual summary of my day.

I got up early, had breakfast and got on my bike for the 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  I stopped twice.

Canonbie umbellifer

Umbellifer at Canonbie Bridge (Hogweed Heraculeum sphondylium?)

view from hollows bridge

The view from Hollows Bridge

The combination of the early start and a brisk breeze caught my legs napping and I found it hard work but I got home in time for coffee and a walk round the garden.

Two shrubs which had Mrs Tootlepedal worried earlier in the year have done better than expected.


The Weigela is flourishing


And the Cotoneaster is producing flowers

The bad weather has hit the lupins badly.  They were doing so well in the good weather, it is sad to see them now.

bent lupins


There is plenty of white about

jacobite rose

Jacobite rose with visitor.


Yet another Philadelphus coming out

I like this Euphorbia.  It gives me the impression that it is the result of a potato print by a competent child in the school art class.



The espalier apples are showing the benefit of some hand pollinating during our cold and beeless spring.

young apples

I went in and made some soup for lunch and watched the birds.

siskin at feeder

A young siskin works out how to land on a perch


It makes a man cry when a fine flying bird of the day hides behind a pole

After lunch, I mowed the middle and front lawns and then gained extra credit with the gardener by going round with the lawn edger.  A little compost sieving followed and that completed the energetic part of the day.  It was really windy which made taking flower pictures difficult and it was grey and chilly which made a walk unattractive so I did what I needed to and went inside and put a week of the newspaper index into the database.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive session.  Onwards and upwards.

I watched the first half of the England world cup football match but watching England trying to play the ball out of defence always makes me nervous so I wrote the blog during the second half.  I noticed that they won so well done England.

The flower of the day is the lamium, which after a slow start, is going great guns.


And a FBotD too.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal.  She took it at the flower show in Birmingham which she went to with our daughter last month.

Gardener's World flower show

The plan for today was to leap up early, jump on the bike and get a good distance in before the forecast rain arrived and the wind got up.

It was a good plan and started well.  I leapt out of bed good and early and had breakfast but then things went a bit pear shaped.  I  footled around, finally got ready to pedal and just as I was going out, it started to rain.  I went in and did the crossword until the rain stopped and then got going.  It was still only half past nine but this was a lot later than the plan.

As a result of the late start, the wind was blowing in my face as I pedalled up the Wauchope road and although the view behind me looked sunny enough, the view ahead was ominously cloudy.

cloudy day

The sunshine lasted well though and it was still a very pleasant day for cycling as I got near to Ecclefechan…

road to Ecclefechan

…though the sky ahead looked very grey.

My route passed through fields of grass being cut for silage…

Silage field

…and I was able to laugh in the face of grey clouds ahead as I was headed for the Art Café at Dalton Pottery where I could stop for refreshment and allow any passing shower to pass.

Ah, but the best laid schemes o’ mice and men…

Art cafe sign

…Gang aft agley.

There was nothing for it but to pedal on.  The roads as I headed down to the Solway shore were damp so at least I had missed one of the showers.  Instead of the Art Café, I visited the church at Ruthwell for my lunch.

Ruthwell Church

It has an eight century Anglo-Saxon cross inside but the doors were locked so I couldn’t look at it.  Instead, I took advantage of the steps laid into the kirkyard wall, a relic of the time when the minister was allowed to graze his sheep among the graves, and sat on one of the steps to eat my tuna roll.

Ruthwell Church

The was plenty of blue sky about but plenty of damp roads too and occasional drizzle.  I managed to avoid the heavy showers until one caught me out near Half Morton Church.  This church too has steps in the wall but it also had a very fine tree under which I sheltered while heavy rain lashed down.

Half Morton Church

It was all the more annoying to see blue sky a few hundred yards away.  In the event, the rain didn’t last long so I put on my rain jacket to discourage any more showers and pedalled home.

I was a bit short of nourishment as my plan had been to pedal down to Gretna and sample the egg and chips at the Old Toll House there.  The sight of heavy showers on all sides persuaded me that the shortest route home might be the best so I missed the meal.

If I hadn’t stopped to take a picture of a fine crop of lesser knapweed beside the old A7…

lesser knapweed

…both in colour and black and white….

lesser knapweed

…I might have got home dry but as it was, I caught a sharp shower just as I came through Langholm.  Considering how many miles of damp road I had pedalled over on my way back, I had been very lucky though.

Full of sympathy at my lack of egg and chips at Gretna, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cooked me some fried eggs and fried bread when I got in.    Fortified by these, I finished the crossword and settled down to watch another exciting stage of the Tour de France.

The sun came out as the race ended so I thought that it would be a pity not to go for a short walk and set off on my favourite brief tour of the Kiln Green and the Castleholm, ideal for a day when the weather might close in.

As I walked along the Esk, I could hardly hear myself think for the raucous shrieks of oyster catchers.  There were five of them all in full voice.  I assumed that they were a family.  Two were standing quietly, perhaps parents…

oyster catcher

…and three were scooting up and down the beach, beaks agape and screeching like banshees.

oyster catchers

I thought at first that they were finding something to eat but it didn’t seem as though they were picking up anything with their beaks.  I don’t know what was going on.

Ignoring the racket, a pied wagtail skipped about the rocks.


Although the sun was out as I crossed the town bridge, everything in the garden was not exactly promising…

Black clouds

…and there were threatening clouds on all sides.

I increased my pace and only took a few pictures as I went.

Giant hogweed and noble fir cone

There was giant hogweed (taller then me) and a noble fir cone on the Castleholm

blade of grass and fungus

There was a blade of grass and tiny fungi too

The blade of grass of grass is not terribly exciting but I had plenty of time to look at it while I was sheltering beside it under a handy tree as another sharp shower passed over.

I met two occasional blog readers on my walk, one walking her dog and the other walking her sister.  The dog was very fine but the sister was even finer as she had appeared in a guest picture of the day last month, having cycled up to the top of Mount Ventoux.  It was a privilege to shake her hand.

She will have done better than the Tour de France cyclists as the wind is so strong that their stage tomorrow, which should have finished on the summit, has been curtailed.  She was not surprised though, as she told me that the wind had been so strong on her ride that she had feared that she might be blown off her bike.

I got home dry in the end, much to Mrs Tootlepedal’s disbelief as she had noticed a couple of showers while I was out and we walked round the garden.

poppy, hosta, geraniums and daisies

I was just making a cup of tea when we were visited by Mike and Alison and their grandchildren.  The children are spending some time with their grandparents while their mother is off playing with her local wind band in Germany. They were delighted to spot a tadpole or two in our pond.

When they left, I picked enough strawberries and gooseberries to make a light supper and then went back in.

The flower of the day is a pink poppy.  It was a bit battered by the showers but at least it wasn’t another red one.

pink poppy

And the flying bird of the day is a distant gull at the Kilngreen, catching the sun against a grey and cloudy sky.


Details of the bike ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 13 July 2016

I see on the news that Mrs May, our new UK prime minister, has made Boris Johnson foreign secretary (or minister of foreign affairs as my unkind younger son pointed out) and so once again political satire is dead as nothing could possibly be more absurd than this.

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Flamborough Head.  As well as seeing gannets and a puffin, he witnessed a dramatic sea rescue of a woman who had got into difficulties in the sea.  It needed a brave onlooker who plunged into the sea, a life boat and a helicopter.  Here the helicopter is lowering medical assistance  to the shore.


Mrs Tootlepedal was very excited when she looked out of an upstairs window after breakfast and saw that the first of her Shirley poppies,  grown from seed, had shown its colour.

Shirley poppy

I was excited too as I like them a lot.

Talking of plants grown from seed, Mrs Tootlepedal is also very pleased with the good show that her Sweet Williams are making along both sides of the drive.

Sweet William

It would be a very gloomy person who wasn’t cheered up by these bright flowers.

In the morning, I had to visit the Archive Centre to replace a bulb in one of the microfiche readers.  Luckily you can buy the bulbs in town so it was not a great problem.  I had a bit of other shopping to do and I got back home in time to watch Scotland play Japan at rugby for the second time in two weeks.  Like the first match, Scotland managed to win but once again it was a far from convincing performance.  Still, it can’t be bad if you can win matches when you are not playing your best.

By the time that the game had finished so had the dry weather and a light rain was falling.  It got heavier which put paid to any plans for a walk or cycle.  It did ease off though and both the sun and I came out into the garden.

philadelphus, peony and water lily

peony and marigold

Everything was rather wet but still looking good.

We had a  bit of a worry a few days ago when one branch of our gooseberry bush got terminally sick and had to be cut off but the rest of the bush seems to be doing very well and the fruit is developing nicely.


The rain came back again and I went inside.  It didn’t dampen the spirits of the sparrows who continued to trample happily on each other in the pursuit of seed.

sparrow trampling

A blackbird took advantage of a rain filled coconut shell to have a drink.


The rain eased off again just in time to welcome a visit from Bob to the garden.


Bob had brought Mike Tinker and his daughter Liz with him.  She is a professional gardener and her visits are always welcome as she is very generous and helpful with her advice.  She had given Mrs Tootlepedal two Cardooms last year and there was a ceremonial inspection of the plants today.

They are doing well.


They are members of the artichoke family and should soon have big flowers.

Mike and Liz went on their way but not before Mrs Tootlepedal had pressed a dahlia on Liz.

When they had gone, I noticed a bee heading for a foxglove.

bee and foxglove

In spite of the some ominous looking dark clouds, the rain seemed to have gone away for a while so I decided on a short walk while the going was good.

The view of the church from Caroline Street is much improved since a tree on the river bank had to be felled.  You can see the stump in front of the wall.

Langholm Parish Church

This is where Mrs Tootlepedal sings in the choir on Sundays.

I passed the family of oyster catchers between the bridges on the Esk.

oyster catchers

Both the adults tried to lead me away from the youngster.

I walked along the Kilngreen taking in the sights both welcome…


A mallard making waves….well ripples.

…and less welcome.

Giant hogweed

This looks like giant hogweed on the Castleholm bank, a real pest among weeds

My walk took me towards the cricket ground and I noticed that there was a match on in spite of the rain earlier.

Cricket notice

I see that the most important spectator attraction is in the biggest writing

I kept away from the bar but stood on the boundary watching the game for several overs.

Langholm Cricket Ground

For those unfamiliar with the game of  cricket, there are bowlers who hurl balls at…




…who fend the balls off with a bat.

They are surrounded by fielders who collect the balls that the batsmen hit and catch them out if they are in the air.  On the occasion though, the fielders failed to keep hold of two very easy catches and the batsmen biffed and bashed and won the game.

I walked home when the game ended.

As I am still a bit tired after missing a whole night’s sleep, I was very happy that it had just been a short walk and to make things even better, Mrs Tootlepedal made the tea.

We followed the main dish up with a plate of strawberries and cream.  It seems bad that we have to eat strawberries and cream every day just now as the strawberry plants are very productive but someone has to do it.

The flower of the day is a Goldfinch Rose.  It is yellow when it comes out at first but soon changes to white as it develops.

Goldfinch rose

The flying bird of the day is two siskins.

flying siskins



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