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Posts Tagged ‘hoverflies’

Today’s guest picture is volunteer Venetia’s current favourite exhibit at the Somerset Museum of Rural Life, a mechanical vacuum cleaner.

mechanical vacuum cleaner

I had a very traditional Sunday today, courtesy of the favourable weather.  If the weather is kind, I like to cycle along our main roads on a Sunday because they are largely lorry free and have the advantage of being the least hilly of any of our local roads.  This means that I can put my nose as near the front wheel as I can get it and pedal steadily along without interruption.

And that is what I did this morning.  It was occasionally sunny, 11°C and with a light crosswind.  I couldn’t expect better conditions in October.   Because of choir practice in Carlisle in the afternoon, I was time limited though and settled for a familiar jaunt down to Newtown on the Roman Wall and back, a distance of forty miles.

I stopped at Newtown for a breather.

Newtown bench

A bike, a bench, a banana and a bottle of water, all the ingredients of a Sunday morning ride.

I have had a bit of difficulty getting really motivated to get my bike out recently.  Once out on the bike, things are fine but getting started has been hard.  This has partly been down to the poor weather in the summer months but it occurred to me as I was pedalling along today in good conditions that the other reason is my ever decreasing average speeds.

I took up regular cycling very late in life and as a result was able to set myself targets for speed and distance as I got fitter but the reality is clicking in now and I have to come to terms with the fact that there are no more improvements to made  and I can only get slower each year.    I shall just have to learn to look at cycling a bit differently.  Still, I managed 15 mph today so I am not dead yet.

I had time for a look round the garden when I got home.  Mrs Tootlepedal was already out there having got back from singing in the church choir.

The mild weather has let a campanula have a second go…

campanula

…and the revived sweet rocket had attracted a customer.

sweer rocket and hoverfly.

The bees and hoverflies have given the poppies a good going over….

poppy

…but have ignored the Japanese anemone nearby.

Japanese anemone

Perhaps the smell is wrong.

Not all the poppies have been thoroughly trashed.

poppies

…but they almost all seem to have been visited.  That is probably why the dahlias now seem to be popular with bumble bees and honey bees alike.

bee and bumble bee

I like hoverflies because  their sharp patterns make them very visible to the camera.

hoverfly on poppy

From a photographic point of view, smaller flies, although quite interesting in close up…

fly on marigold

…can spoil the bigger picture.

Pot Marigold

Once again, I asked myself, “Can you have too many fuchsia pictures?”  Once again, the answer was, “Not as far as I am concerned.”

Fuchsia

One of the ones which Mrs Tootlepedal transplanted this year and which have done well

P1030846

A new one which she bought as a treat for me.

The clematis are surviving well.

clematis

I had time for a last look at an outstanding dahlia….

dahlia

…and something in the vegetable garden that Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is Pak Choi…

Pak Choi

…before I had to go in to make some soup and have a shower.

For many years, I have been mashing up my vegetable soups through an old plastic hand powered Moulinex rotary masher which we bought on a trip to France.  Lately I had become a bit concerned that with wear and tear, I might be mashing in more plastic with the vegetables than is desirable.  With that in mind, we bought a modestly priced electric masher when we were in Edinburgh on Thursday and I gave it a test run today.  It certainly mashed the vegetables and the resulting soup was very good.  Obviously not every modern invention is the work of the devil.

After lunch, there was another moment in the garden…

dark nasturtium

The inner workings of the dark nasturtium from yesterday’s post

…and another red admiral butterfly.

red admiral butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal was listening to a program on the radio about what astonishing travellers red admiral butterflies are and they certainly fly round our garden at great speed before finding just the right flower to settle on.

The choir practice in Carlisle was a very hard working session.  Because our first two practices of the season were devoted to the pieces for the concert with the Phoenix Choir, we have less time to prepare for our Christmas concert and Andrew, our conductor, is driving us on.  More homework is needed.  Luckily the pieces are enjoyable so a bit of hard work doesn’t go amiss.

The flying bird of the day is my current favourite among the poppies.

poppy

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz.  She enjoyed this misty view on one of her morning walks recently.

Mist on Whita

There were no views at all when we woke up this morning, as the hills were shrouded in clouds and a fine drizzle was falling.  Luckily I had a stint in the Welcome to Langholm office to do so the miserable weather didn’t trouble me.

I was kept very busy putting  data into the Archive Group database while entertaining Dropscone, who had news of a recent golfing triumph to pass on and John, another friend, who was recovering from a visit to the physiotherapist nearby.  What with golf and creaking joint talk and two visits from tourists seeking a welcome and the computer work as well, the two hours passed in a flash.

It had stopped raining by the time that I got home but  I found Mrs Tootlepedal engrossed in the tricky matter of balancing some accounts rather than gardening.  After we had had a cup of coffee with our neighbour Liz, I foolishly offered to lend Mrs Tootlepedal a hand with her accounts and the afternoon was well under way by the time that the figures on both sides of the ledger had obediently fallen into place.  Although it is very annoying when columns don’t add up, it is very satisfying when they finally do.

Still, a lot of quite good weather had gone by unused which was a pity.  We went out into the garden and while Mrs Tootlepedal got down to work, I looked around.

nasturtiums

A couple of cheery nasturtiums beside the front gate

Cardoon

A last look at a cardoon before Attila the gardener gives them the chop soon

I did a little much needed dead heading and upset a good number of bees and hoverflies who were looking for pollen.  At one moment, almost all of them chose the same poppy.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

We stood for some time watching the crowd, our mouths open in astonishment.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

After all, it was quite an astonishing sight.

Because my flute pupil Luke was due in the early evening, I didn’t have time to go for a cycle ride but it was such a pleasantly warm and calm day by now that I left Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work and went off for a short walk.

Beside the river I stopped to enjoy a wagtail wagging its tail and a dipper dipping.

Wagtail

The dipper was in all action mode, disappearing under the water for ages at a time and dabbing about vigorously when it emerged.

dipper dipping

It did pose for me for a brief moment though.

dipper

At the Kilngreen, I saw a lonely herring gull….

herring gull

…and some restful ducks.

ducks in the grass

This was my favourite.

duck

Occasional sunshine brought out the colours which are beginning to appear all around.

Esk

Although there are plenty of fallen autumnal looking leaves about….

autumn leaves

…there are still many more on the trees.

leaves

The combination of many greens and some red and yellow meant that there was always a delight for the eye as I walked along.

early autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholm

I kept my eyes open for other smaller things.  This fungus on a tree stump interested me greatly.  I don’t think that I have seen anything like it before.

tree stump fungus

They growths are tiny and I thought that they were sprinkled crumbs when I first saw them

It was a really pleasant walk and I was sorry that I didn’t have the time to be out longer.

When I got back to the house, I reflected that it was lucky that we don’t shut the front gate very often…

nasturtiums on front gate

Our friend Mike Tinker was chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and she was telling him of great plans for improvements for next year.  I look forward to photographing the results.

I had a last look round…

fuchsia

…and was pleased to spot a red admiral butterfly on a rudbeckia.

red admiral butterfly

We read in the paper this morning that it has been an exceptionally good year for red admiral butterflies and we have certainly seen a great many in our garden in the last few weeks.

Then I had to go in to get ready for the flute lesson which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was quite pleased to have no further obligations for the day as I am feeling a little tired after dashing from end to end of the continent last week.  Somehow sitting in down in trains, although it is very enjoyable, is also quite tiring.

An early night won’t do me any harm.

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Today’s guest picture from my South African correspondent, Tom, shows a jackal.  Not something we see round here at all!

jackal

My day was conditioned by an awful warning of heavy rain;  one of those warnings that comes with a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in the centre.  We were to expect rain so I expected rain.

It was a pleasant sunny and dry morning,  a little breezy to be sure and not warm by any means but fine for cycling so I cycled; but I expected rain by lunchtime and when I saw some very dark clouds looming up, I took the hint and cut a putative 35 mile ride down to 25 miles.  Some cows took a dim view of my cowardice (or prudence).

tarcoon cows

I stopped on the Hollows Bridge to record the first turning of the leaves….

hollows bridge view

…but my camera misinterpreting my wishes, kindly slid the incipient yellows back to light greens so the effect was less impressive than I had hoped.

Still, I got home dry and warm;  but still expecting rain….the forecast had put it back to three o’clock by this time.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a slice of bread and raspberry jam and went out to mow the drying green grass before the rain came.

Bees, butter and hover flies were having fun on the Michaelmas daisies beside me as I mowed…

insects on daisies

…and the the poppies looked gorgeous as always.

poppies

The large lilies are developing and I wondered if they would attract a butterfly or two.

They did.

peacock butterfly on lily

I saw an odd thing at the other side of the garden….

peacock butterfly

…a peacock butterfly with only one pair of eyes.  It must have had its second wing tucked under its first.  I have never seen this before.

After I had finished my cycle ride, I had arranged with Sandy to go for a walk (before the rain came) and he arrived on cue and drove us to the top of Callister where we intended to walk round the forestry plantation.  We were discouraged when we found that there were fierce signs telling us not to enter on account of forestry operations but a queue of cars emerged through the gate and one of the drivers kindly told us that there were no operations going on today and that we could proceed with care.

We proceeded with care.

Although we were in the sun, there were dark clouds about….

Callister walk

…and depending on which way you looked, sometimes very dark clouds.

Callister walk

We walked on expecting rain.

I led Sandy down the middle of a wide forest ride.  It was very tussocky and hard going and if you lifted your head to see if there was anything interesting to see, you tended to fall over.   We therefore didn’t see much until we went into the forest beside the ride to see if the going was better.  There we saw fungus…

fungus

…and when we emerged back on to the ride, we saw a very unusual set of fungi, pressed like buttons on a sofa in the peaty side of a drainage ditch.

fungus

We battled on to the end of the ride and joined a track.  It is fair to say that I enjoyed plunging through the heavy going a good deal more than Sandy did.  I used to do a lot of orienteering and ground like this was second nature to me.

We came to a pond beside the road….

callister pond

…which would have looked better, I thought, without the telephone pole at the end of it.

callister pond

And it started to rain.  I was so appalled by this that it soon stopped and disappeared apologetically.

We continued our walk expecting rain.

We were walking round a small valley and crossed the stream that flowed out of it.  It dropped into a dark and mysterious pool as it flowed under the track.

callister pool

Strange spirits might dwell in a pool like that.

It was a lot brighter at the dark pool than it used to be because they are going to build another windfarm to add to our local collection at the far side of the forest and to that end, a lot of tree felling has been taking place.

tree felling callister

…which leaves a bit of a mess to say the least.  It is amazing though how the ground recovers as a look at a new plantation nearby shows.

callister plantation

There were three existing wind farms visible as we walked and we could see the offices for the soon to be built farm beside our track.

windfarms

I welcome these wind farms as we have a tremendous amount of wind round here doing nothing but annoying innocent cyclists so it is good to see it being put to good use.  Each turbine must take a little energy out of the wind and this should make it easier for me to pedal about…..though I do realise that we might need a whole lot more turbines before any noticeable effect could be felt.

The tree felling led to some impressive piles of logs beside the track.

callister logs

Like this heap, quite a few of the piles had ‘chip’ written on them and we wondered of they were going to be chipped for use in the wood fired power station at Lockerbie.

There were some plants to be seen as we walked.

callister plants

callister plants

As we got near to the end of our walk, black clouds over Callisterhall looked threatening.

Callisterhall

It is a pity that this is no longer an inn as our two and a half mile walk had been quite tiring with tough going at the start and some hills on our way back.  A light refreshment would have gone down well.

We had to wait until we got home until we got a much needed cup of tea and a Jaffa cake or two to restore our energy levels.

When Sandy left, I set about sieving the rest of the compost in Bin D and while Mrs Tootlepedal distributed the results around the vegeatble beds, I turned most of Bin C into the now empty Bin D.  When I flagged, Mrs Tootlepedal lent a hand.  As a special treat for those pining for compost bin illustrations, I photographed the result.

compost bins

The contents of Bin C had rotted down well.

We didn’t stay out in the garden too long as we were expecting rain but we did have time to look at some flowers before we went in.

I have picked three favourites.  Mrs Tootlepedal likes the dahlia on the left for its colour, the big bumble bee likes the dahlia in the middle for its pollen and I like the new hellenium on the right for its shape and pattern.

dahlias and hellenium

Everyone was happy.

Dropscone had dropped in before I went cycling this morning with a generous gift of a sea bream which he had acquired on his recent travels and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked it for our tea.  I don’t think that I have ever knowingly eaten sea bream before and I thought it tasted very good.  Dropscone says he will tell me all about where he found it when he comes for coffee tomorrow.

As I sat down to write tonight’s post, the rain finally arrived.  I had been expecting it.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my South African correspondent, Langholm exile Tom.  He has passed on a picture of a Strelitzia taken by a friend of his.

strelitzia

I started the day by going up to the Archive Centre and meeting with Sandy and Nancy.  Recent work by a plumber required access to a little used cupboard filled with ‘stuff’ and as this ‘stuff’ was now spread all over the place, it looked like an ideal opportunity to sort the ‘stuff’ out and throw most of it away.

Quite a lot of it went into the back of my car and I drove off with it while Nancy did some heroic work with a hoover and a damp cloth.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with a paint pot and brush when I got home so I had time to have a coffee, do the crossword and, since it was dry for a while, walk round the garden.

As usual, the poppies caught my eye.  Some have had their centres battered by the bee onslaught….

poppies with bee

…but new pollen providers are always coming on stream.

I sieved some compost while I was out.

It was a changeable day and having checked out the weather, I hung some washing out to dry.

Then I took it in again as it started to rain.

After lunch, we took the Archive Centre ‘stuff’ to the council dump near Annan.  It was sunny when we went out to the car so we walked round the garden before setting off.

There were less bees than usual today, perhaps because it had been chilly and wet again but other insects were available.

poppies with hoverflies and flies

They had visited the sedum and dahlias too.

sedum and dahlia with flies

A touch of colour caught my eye just as we were getting into the car.

red admiral butterflies

Red admiral butterflies were visiting.

I took a close look at one.

red admiral butterfly

You can’t tell me that it doesn’t have little electric light bulbs built into the ends of its antennae.

Leaving the butterflies to feed, we set off to the dump and passed through a heavy shower of rain almost immediately after we had left the town.  It had poured down on our last visit to the dump but we were luckier this time and it had faired up by the time that we arrived.

The drive back was very pleasant and I had a quick walk round the garden….

sweet peas

…..but it started to rain again not long afterwards so I abandoned any thoughts of cycling and waited until a promising gap in the clouds appeared and went for a short walk instead.

I admired a striking dahlia on my way out of the garden.

dahlia

It was sunny when I started out and in spite of any amount of threatening clouds….

Langholm and Kirk Wynd

…it remained dry for my two mile outing.

I had hoped to find some fine photographical fungi on my way but others had got there first…

nibbled fungi

Yellow flowers proved a good substitute.

yellow flowers

I liked this yellow flower in particular.

yellow flower

It seemed to float rather than to be attached to its plant.

I walked through the park on my way to the Stubholm and saw what looked like a flock of ominous birds perched on top of a tree….

noble fir

…but a closer look revealed that it was some birds and a lot of noble fir cones.

My walk took me along a picturesque track….

stubholm

…and past a slightly ramshackle set of stable buildings which I thought might look better as an oil painting.

stubholm stables

I arrived at Skippers Bridge and paused for the obligatory photo op…

Langholm Distillery

…and noticed that Colin, one of our neighbours, was indulging in his favourite occupation down below me.

colin fishing

A man of great patience.

Walking back from the bridge on the road side of the river is less interesting than the walk down but there were more yellow flowers to be seen….

yellow flowers

…along with some vivid red berries….

red berries

…and a dipper below the suspension bridge.

dipper

When I got back, I put the some of the accompaniment for the new piece which Luke and I are learning onto the computer and that largely concluded the business of the day.

It had started to rain again after I got back from my walk so my timing was good.  I had met a friend while out walking and conversation naturally turned to our miserable summer weather but in light of events in Houston and the Caribbean, we agreed that it was definitely better to be permanently mildly distressed than to be overcome by a catastrophe.  We counted our blessings.

The flying bird of the day is Mrs Tootlepedal’s completed butterfly.

embroidered butterfly

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker who is on holiday in Wales.  He tells me , “I came across this interesting ancient monument while walking here in New Radnor -it is strangely called Four Stones.”  I think that I have worked out how it got its title.

Four Stones Radnor

We had a really pleasant day today – warm and dry, not too windy and with some occasional sunny spells.  I should have been out on my bike all day as I am still short of miles for June but a combination of mild asthma and sore feet kept me off the bike in the morning.

This gave me the chance to go bee hunting again.

bee on geranium

This one was exploring a chive

bee on geranium

This one was getting really stuck into a geranium.

We are getting a good variety of bees which is pleasing.

There are plenty of  bright flowers for the bees to visit.

iceland poppy and iris

And lots of detail for the bees to admire when they make their visits.

flower hearts

I was very pleased to see some flowers on the potatoes…

potato flowers

…and I am looking forward to some new potatoes from the garden in the not too distant future.

After a look at the tropaeolum….

tropaeolum

…which I see has had to be tied down to stop it flying off, I got the hover mower out and gave the greenhouse grass and the drying green a haircut.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy with the strimmer so although these areas are in the working part of the garden, they look very neat.

I was just thinking about going for a cycle ride after lunch when a knock on the back door heralded the arrival of Dropscone at a very non standard time.  He had purchased four brioche rolls at such an advantageous price (10p for all four) when passing through Hawick just before the supermarket closed for the night that he felt he had to share them with me.  This was very kind of him and we enjoyed two each over a cup of tea.

After he left, I finally got kitted up and went off on the fairly speedy bike.  I pottered round the 20  mile trip down to Canonbie and back with plenty of stops for photos.  They haven’t got round to mowing the verges immediately out of the town so I was able to enjoy a colourful mixture of buttercups and clover….

buttercups and clover

…with an attendant bee…

bee on clover

This bee really is in clover.

..before pedalling on wondering how they could bring themselves to cut verges when they look like this.

There was a different sort of growth beside the road at the top of the hill on the Kerr road.

new trees

These tubes all contain broad leaved saplings as the landowners can’t get permission to plant conifers unless they provide a fringe of native trees round the new plantations.  On the other side of this little summit are rows of identical conifers.

I am looking for views taken in Canonbie Parish to enter into the Canonbie Flower Show in August so I tested out a few possibilities as I went from Langholm Parish into Canonbie and then back out again.

Chapelhill

A typical scene

baling the silage Canonbie

Baling the silage

The natives were interested in what I was doing.

Canonbie cows

In between taking those two views, my route took me down the main Canonbie by-pass. This is quite a busy road with fast traffic  and and I don’t usually stop for picture opportunities while I am on it but some bright colour caught my eye today and I applied the brakes.

orchid

More orchids

orchid

Lots more orchids

For a short section of the road, the verge was full of orchids.  They must bloom there every year but I have never noticed them before.  I couldn’t miss them today.

I stopped for my three favourite trees in full summer rig out….

Canonbie trees

…before cycling through the village and back up the Esk to Langholm.

The verges on the old road hadn’t been cut and I stopped twice for things that got my attention.

ragged robin

Ragged Robin

an umbellifer and friend

An umbellifer and friend

I was going to take a picture of a yellow rose in the garden when I had a walk round after I got home but on closer inspection, I decided that it might not be quite what the readers would want to see…

rose with flies

The downside of a warm and calm day

…so I didn’t take it.

After tea, another excellent fish pie from Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to sing with the small choir that is practising to sing three songs in a concert in the town in July.  There were nine sopranos and trebles, four altos and three tenors.  I modestly took my place as the one  and only bass but I certainly didn’t oompah up and down the square.

We had a most enjoyable practice and I have got a month to try and get a bit of tone quality into my unused low notes.

No flying birds or bees today.

 

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Today’s dramatic guest picture comes from my friend Sue who is on holiday in Greece.  She visited the island of Hydra, just off the coast of the Peloponnese.

Hydra

We had a not dissimilar day here today, the difference being about 10°C as it was decidedly autumnal in temperature in Langholm.  I heard on the radio that this September has been one of the warmest on record which I can well believe but it is making our present more normal temperatures seem quite chilly.

On the plus side, the sun was out more or less all the time and there was only the smallest rain shower to upset the equilibrium later in the day.

I went out into the garden in  the morning to enjoy the sunshine.

Lillian Austin

Lillian Austin was enjoying it too

Fuschia

The Fuschia is still in full swing

I watched the sparrows having fun at the feeder…

sparrows

..and noticed one or two more chaffinches around.  Perhaps they will start to come back now that I am filling the feeder again.  Watch this space.

I had seen quite a lot of flying things on my first walk round the garden….

dahlia

…so I when I had come back from getting my flu jab at the health centre, I put on the macro lens and went out again.

bee on dahlia

hoverfly on cornflower

sunflower with hoverfly

The world’s smallest sunflower with friend

I took a look at the very last of the rowan berries.  They should be gone by tomorrow.

rowan

I also enjoyed some moss and lichen on the elder tree by the feeder.

lichen and moss on elder

For some reason, Mrs Tootlepedal prefers trees with leaves on rather than moss and lichen so this may be the last year that I can enjoy this sight.

Mrs Tootlepedal borrowed my track pump and blew up the tyres on her town bike and went off shopping.  She was rather a long time in coming back and it turned out that one of her tyres had actually blown up with a loud explosion on her way and she had had to walk a lot of the way home.  On inspection, the tyre was rather worn out and had split.

After having lunch and checking that my arm was showing no reaction to the flu jab, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to go up to the town and buy a new tyre and tube and I went off for a pedal on the fairly speedy bike.  I pumped my tyres up carefully before I left.

It was a good day for a pedal, even though there was quite a breeze blowing.

Wauchopedale

The hills are turning brown and the bracken is dying or dead.

My legs were in a more co-operative mood than on my last outing so I went for a 27 mile circular ride, though still at a pretty leisurely pace.

I stopped for a look down the Esk when I got near Langholm on my way back.

Esk

Not much sign of autumn here yet.

When I got home, I put Mrs Tootlepedal’s new tyre and tube on her bike.  The front tyre looks about as worn as her back tyre was so it may not be long before another replacement is due.

Before I had my shower, I had a look out of the kitchen window….

coal tit and blue tit

A coal tit and blue tit share the pink pellet feeder.

…and then I took another walk round the garden.

A sunny evening is perhaps my favourite time in the garden.

rudbeckias

The rudbeckias are nearly over

poppy

But the poppies keep on coming

cornflowers

And there are still quite a few cornflowers

Mrs Tootlepedal is hard at it in the garden, taking out flowers that are over and preparing the ground for next year’s display.  It makes me quite tired just watching her work.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre for the second time this week for another concert.  This time we were privileged to enjoy listening to Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, regular visitors to Langholm and in many people’s eyes, the two best musicians in Scotland.

They might  be classed as ‘folk’ musicians but their work together  on fiddle and accordion transcends such limiting boundaries and they provided us with a feast of good music by any standards.  They were amplified but gently, they interspersed the music with a stream of hilarious reminiscences and observations and they provided a golden couple of hours of sheer pleasure to the capacity audience.  No recording or video can properly capture the warmth of their live performances.

The flower of the day is a late blooming of an astrantia…

astrantia

…and the flying bird of the day is the headmaster on an upward trajectory.

flying jackdaw

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Gavin who is in the North East of England where he caught Lindisfarne Castle glowing in the evening sunshine.

Lindisfarne Castle

We had plenty of sunshine to glow in ourselves today as it was a really pleasant summer day, sunny without being too hot and with an occasional cloud to add variety.

It should have been a good day for a pedal and our neighbour Ken had a worthwhile 60 mile outing but I had things to do as we are going away tomorrow for a week.

NB:  While I am away there will be no posts and this will be the first time in six years that I haven’t made an effort to post something every day.  The fact is that my right hand has got quite painful with arthritis in my thumb joint and so I am going to take the opportunity of the trip south to give my hand  a complete rest from photography, mouse and key board work and cycling in the hope that a short break will let it calm down.    I hope to resume hostilities next Monday.

It may be stating the obvious but it would be helpful if no one added any comments to toady’s post as I don’t like to have unanswered comments on a post and I will not be in a position to answer any.  I will take as read your inconsolable grief at not having to look at any more poppy pictures for a while.   As I won’t be reading anyone else’s posts, I would ask that authors of those that I read regularly shouldn’t do anything very exciting this week that I would be sorry to miss.

Meanwhile, I was busy hurting my hand in several ways today.

I took a lot of photographs in the garden.  The dahlias are having fun.

dahlias

The garden was full of insects.

beees and hoverflies

Nearly every flower seemed to have one of one sort or another…

yarrow and privet

….and some had two….

poppies with insects

…or even three.

Apart from a break to entertain Dropscone to a cup of coffee or two, we were out in the garden a lot making sure that things were as neat and tidy as possible.  There was a lot of dead heading and some uprooting and I mowed the middle lawn with the cutters a bit lower than usual.

I stopped to admire a colourful corner and get my breath back.

Colourful corner

The purple clematis on the fence is causing me to worry a bit.  The flowers seem to have four, five or even six petals and I wondered if there were different plants growing side by side…

clematis

…but Mrs Tootlepedal says that she thinks it is all the same one.

While I was looking at flowers, a dunnock scurried by and dashed under a bush.  They are very shy birds but we have at least one family in the garden.

dunnock

We also got our thoughts regarding packing in order and Mrs Tootlepedal checked my intended attire for Granny’s birthday party to ensure that it complied with regulations.

There was a glimpse of tortoiseshell butterflies but they were too quick for me to get a good shot.  Even the white butterflies were not in co-operative mood today.

butterflies

After lunch, with the garden under control and packing well in hand, we went for a drive to the Tarras Valley to make good use of the fine weather.  We drove as far up the valley as we could and when we reached Lodgegill, we got out for a short walk.  Two valleys meet at Lodgegill.

Byrecleuch Burn

The Byrecleuch Burn valley

Tarras Water valley

Tarras water valley

We chose to walk up the Tarras Water.  It is sheep country as you can see from the complete lack of trees or bushes.  On a sunny day in summer, it is a beautiful place for a walk, peaceful and calming.

There were things to look at as we went along and back again.

Lodgegill Sheds

Lodgegill gate

Lodgegill bridge

We went as far as this bridge

Tarras water

There were quite a few electric fences to be seen but there were some fine examples of dry stone dykes as well…

Dry stone dyke

…and this one had a fine lichen on it.

dry stone dyke lichen

Because of the sheep, there were no meadows of wild flowers but there were some to be seen…

wild flowers at Lodgegill

That was the only orchid we saw

Even the sheep leave the thistles alone.

thistle at Lodgegill

I stopped as we drove back down the road to capture a bridge with an accompanying ford.  We took the bridge.

Bridge at Cooms

It was a very satisfactory short walk but not one that I could do justice to with my camera.  The camera can’t look round and take in the whole scene as a walker can.

After a refreshing cup of tea and a slice of bread and lemon curd, a gift from our Friday visitors, I went out into the garden again and mowed the front lawn.  In a rather mean way, I am hoping that the weather stays nice and cool in Langholm while we are away so that there is not too much growth to cope with when we get back.  Pushing a push mower through long grass is hard work.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and he played a piece that he been practising with very good results.  We then set about a Telemann sonata for two flutes in canon which is going to need some hard work.    When the dark nights come, practice will be a more agreeable way to spend time than it is on lovely summer days.  We are never going to be maestros.

No flower of the day, no flying bird of the day, just a subdued farewell to blogging for a week.

 

 

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