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Posts Tagged ‘Icelandic poppy’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who once again managed to extend her permitted walk as far as Regent’s Park where she found a favourite restful corner to enjoy.

It was still grey and drizzly this morning, but the heavy winds of the past two days had eased off a lot and when the drizzle stopped, it was quite a suitable day for wandering round the garden.

I wandered from time to time.

The frost survivors among the rhododendrons and azaleas are still doing their best to cheer us up…

…but the gap that the frost has left in the garden is still hard to bear.

The recent rain has now got up to an inch and half as recorded by Mary Jo’s rain gauge. This is fine for the broad beans which are looking good but the peony and tulips have found it a bit much.

A burst of heavier rain put paid to the morning street coffee meeting and I watched the birds instead.

Greenfinches and sparrows were the flavour of the morning…

…and a sparrow was happy to watch a greenfinch trying the seed before having a go itself.

The rain stopped and we went out into the garden to do useful tasks (Mrs Tootlepedal) and footle about looking for raindrops (me).

The view down the back path is always rich at this time of year.

When I had finished footling about, I went in and did something more purposeful. I made some potato and carrot soup for lunch and while it was cooking, I made 30 ginger biscuits. There was a bit of a snack crisis as the boiled cake had been polished off when we drank our coffee earlier in the morning.

After lunch, I went for a short walk to fill in the time before our virtual Carlisle Choir meeting.

I chose a familiar route. After two months of lockdown and about thirty local walks, there is no other option than to choose a familiar route and this makes it harder than usual to try to find something unfamiliar to see as I go along. If the truth be told, I am probably finding it harder to look too as I subconsciously feel that there won’t be anything much new to see even if I did look carefully.

Looking down, I did notice the more noticeable today…

…and looking around, i couldn’t miss the frost damaged trees among the spring greenery.

As I was walking along the Becks track, I was considering whether I would have time to walk up to the track on Warbla on my way home, but a glance across the valley revealed cattle sitting right on the path across the grass that I would use to get up to the track…

…so when I had crossed the Auld Stane Brig…

…I went through the frost damaged trees along Gaskell’s Walk instead.

When I got to the Stubholm, I checked on a blackthorn to see if there are going to be any sloes this year. The signs are good and as a bonus, there was some interesting lichen on the branch that I was inspecting.

Instead of going straight home when I got to the park, I walked down to the Esk to see if the oyster catcher was still on its nest.

It was…

… but a bit further up the river, I found another adult with a very young chick. The adult made it hard for me to see the nipper, and the chick didn’t help by turning its back on me…

…but in the end, they co-operated.

I got home in good time and Mrs Tootlepedal and I settled down in front of my laptop to see what a virtual choir practice would be like on Zoom. It was very well organised and well over 50 choir members had logged on to take part. Ellen, our energetic director, had done a lot of preparatory work and everything went very smoothly and we were encouraged to sing, but there is no doubt that singing by ourselves at home while hearing only only one other singer (Ellen at the piano) is not really choral singing. Still, it was fun to see the other choir members and the virtual meeting had the feeling of an occasion, even if not a choral one.

The weather had greatly improved by the time that we emerged into daylight from peering at the computer and I did think of going for a cycle ride but the call of lawn maintenance was strong and I mowed the greenhouse grass, the drying green and the middle lawn instead. We then had our second Zoom meeting of the afternoon when we chatted with my brother, one of his sons and my sisters.

After our evening meal, I went out into the garden to enjoy the sunny evening…

…and the colour matching between car and clematis.

The wind had dropped and I was sorry that the day hadn’t worked out so that I could have enjoyed these ideal conditions, but you can’t have everything.

Not all the colour in the garden is floral…

…but the late evening light was kind to the colours and the bees were really enjoying the cotoneaster on the wall of the house…

…while I enjoyed an Icelandic poppy.

I hope to get back to cycling tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day was not one that the greenfinch approved of.

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Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He saw deer on one of his walks with his dogs.  The deer saw him but didn’t run away at once.

Tony's deer

To say that today was another uneventful day would be rather overstating the excitement.  The recent frost has put a damper on the pleasure of walking round the garden in quite a big way, and as it was another grey morning, there was not a lot of incentive to get up and go.

In the end, I managed to finish the crossword and get up in time for a walk round the garden before coffee.  The only photograph that I took was of these ill matched Icelandic poppies, and I couldn’t get a very good shot of them as they were blowing about in the breeze.

ill matched poppies

I don’t know why some of the orange poppies have white tips this year.

After coffee, I shredded more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s uprooted box bushes and then went inside.

I watched the birds through the window for a moment or two.

A greenfinch felt that I was intruding on its privacy.

sad greenfing

A sparrow watched while another greenfinch and a chaffinch arrived simultaneously, luckily heading for different perches.

greenfinch and chaffinch arriving together

And there was room for two sparrows too.

sparrow joining sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal had suggested that I might like to try a recipe for a boiled cake.  This sounded very strange to me but on investigation it turned out that only some of the ingredients were boiled and that the cake was actually baked in a standard way, so I gave it a go.

It tuned out that it makes a small cake and the process was quite simple (which is probably why Mrs Tootlepedal suggested it).  You take butter, syrup, sugar and water, melt them together and add currants and sultanas and then boil this mixture very gently for a few minutes.  This is cooled and then added to flour and spices with a beaten egg and the whole thing is poured into a cake tin and baked.

Some time later, it comes out like this:

boiled cake

While it was baking, I made leek and potato soup for lunch and we had time to eat the soup before the cake came out of the oven.

After lunch, I had another walk round the garden and found a rhododendron flower which looks as though it might have survived the frost.

surviving rhododendron bud

The tree peony and the standard peonies in the flower beds are in a race to see which comes fully out first and at the moment, the tree peony is the slight favourite.

tree peony almost out

The alliums, unaffected by the frost, are going global.

global allium

In the absence of azaleas, I am probably going to spend more time looking at Welsh poppies than usual.  They have acquired some pinkish tinges this year, another mystery but quite pretty.

Sometimes the tinge is in the middle…

welsh poppy red middle

…sometimes in a line across the petals…

welsh poppy red stripe

…and sometimes round the edge.

welsh poppy red edge

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is damage of some sort.

She has completed her hedge cut back and you can see the more open view of the house that this provides.

hedge clipped

I will be interested to see how the planting changes to reflect the new vista.

There was a tremendous racket in the garden caused by baby sparrows demanding to be fed by their long suffering parents and this blackbird in the plum tree was joining in with gusto.

hopeful blackbird

It looks a little old to be needing to be fed but it wasn’t getting any attention and that didn’t suit it at all.

A starling had been doing some successful foraging.starling with food

I went in to change into my cycling gear and then went off for a short cycle ride.  Mrs Tootlepedal had looked at the clouds and brought the washing in ‘just in case’, but the forecast hadn’t got any rain in it so I set off with confidence of a dry trip round Canonbie.

My confidence was well founded and with the wind coming from a generally helpful direction, I enjoyed my ride and went a bit more quickly than recent efforts.

After taking far too many pictures in recent days, I resolved not to take too many today and was reasonably successful.  The theme of the ride was hedges and wild flowers.

The cow parsley is coming on well along the Tarcoon road…

cow parsely tarcoon

…and the tree over the hedge is now fully clothed.

tree tarcoon

A little further on, I was happy to find a beech hedge in very good condition.  My friend Nancy had sent me pictures yesterday of a beech hedge badly affected by the frost but this one was untouched.

beech hedge tarcoon

I stopped at Canonbie Bridge for a conversation with Simon, a Camera Club member who was out for a walk.  His normal work involves sporting events and international travel so he currently stacking shelves for supermarkets instead.   He doesn’t know when he will be able to go back to his real job.

When I got nearer Langholm, I found that the Pyrenean Valerian is beginning to line the roadsides.

pyrenean valerian clump

The boiled cake went down very well with a cup of tea on my return and the normal sibling Zoom and an excellent pasta dish for our evening meal rounded off another routine day of lockdown.

Looking at the forecast, I see that things are going to warm up a bit and there may even be a bit of rain in the next day or two but the promise of very high temperatures next week seems to have faded away, for which I am grateful as I don’t like it when it gets too warm.

We will believe in the rain when we feel it actually falling on our heads.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch leaving the feeder.  It avoided the pole.

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from Bruce’s recent walk.  As well as his uncommunicative stranger, he encountered fifty shades of green.  I don’t think there can be a greener local view than this one.

bruces esk valley view

After the excitements of yesterday, it was back to the well trodden paths of lockdown today.  I rose late, ate a leisurely breakfast, did the crossword and then got up in time to have a walk round the garden before coffee.  Everything was as it should be.

In the garden, alliums are working towards spherical perfection…

allium close up

…and the flowers on the tree peony are looking promising.

potentional peony tree

The downside of the tree peony is that by the time that the flowers come fully out, they are often covered up by the leaves.

I liked the delicate red trim on the petals of the last of the yellow tulips…

tint on yellow tulip

…and the way that the yellow azalea encourages visitors.

yellow azalea stamens

Pollinators have been doing their work in the garden as these potential plums show.

potential plums

I had time to wonder about what had caused the petals on this Icelandic poppy to go white…

tinted poppy

…before it was time for our socially distanced street coffee break.

It was a bit warmer today so we chatted for longer and the world must be a better place as we certainly put it to rights.

After coffee, we went back into the garden and had a wander round before getting down to work.

The peonies are just about ready to burst into flower.

potentional peony bed

This azalea was part of a panel yesterday but it is so rich that I thought that it deserved a place of its own today.

deep red azalea

It was a cool morning again but the sun was warm enough to encourage petals to open generously on tulips….

tulip

…and the lilac.

lilac

Mrs Tootlepedal, being a true artist, is never quite satisfied with the way the garden is, so today’s task was to open up the view from the front door by cutting back the box hedges on each side of the path to the lawn.

I remembered to take a before and after picture for once.  This was the scene at ten to twelve…

P1050992

…and this was a scene an hour later after a lot of hard work had removed four of the little box bushes that make up the edges.

 

hedge trimming start

When I looked at the pictures on the computer in the evening, it became apparent that I had chosen totally the wrong angle for the shot and it doesn’t look as though Attila and her henchman had made much difference at all.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal returned to the task of widening the gap and I went off for a cycle ride.

It was reasonably warm in theory but a cold and blustery wind made picking the right amount of clothes to wear a tricky problem.

I put on too many and since I was feeling a bit tired and grumpy because of the wind, I didn’t enjoy my ride as much as usual and it took me a long time to get round my familiar Canonbie circuit.

It was a pleasant enough day with plenty of sun on my route but I only stopped for two pictures, this one of the big structures which have been put up under the power lines at Canonbie, prior to work on the lines….

canonbie pylons

…and this one at Byreburn where the varied colours caught my eye.

byrebrun houses

When I got home, I took a third picture to show Mrs Tootlepedal’s hedge reducing work in my absence…

hedge trimming

…and she reckons that about six foot of hedging has been removed.  That may not sound much, but she had done an amazing amount of work.

There may be another plant to be removed tomorrow to make the gap exactly equal on each side of the path but the task is almost complete.  Most of the box cuttings have been shredded and some are already back in the garden as mulch round the bottom of another portion of the hedge.

I walked up the road from the front gate to record the first honeysuckle flower in the hedge there.  I had noticed it as I cycled back home.

honeysuckle road

Beside it a viburnum is in flower.

viburnum

This plant comes from a cutting from a plant that came from a cutting that Mrs Tootlepedal took near an underpass while going shopping in Carlisle many years ago.

I looked over the hedge to get a ‘passer by’ look at a colourful corner…

colourful corner from road

…and went in to have a cup of tea and a late look at the bird feeder.

chaffinches and sparrows

Chaffinches and sparrows were stocking up.

In the morning, the postman had delivered a parcel containing no less than  six sorts of tea: Orange Blossom Oolong, Keemun Black Tea, Lapsang Souchong, Nuwara Eliya Black Tea, and Assam Broken Gold Tips Tea ~ GFBOP ~ Summer, so I should be alright for a cuppa for the next few days at least.

In a turn up for the books, we got a little rain this evening, just a little rain to be sure, but very welcome all the same.

The flying bird of the day is one of the sparrows.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture is a puzzle.  Is it the south of France? Is is a tropical Isle? No, it is sunny Wemyss turning up trumps yet again for the lens of our son Tony.

another wemyss view

We had a touch of frost in the very early morning but by the time that I got up the sky was as blue as the lithodora….

lithodora

…and it stayed that way all day.

In spite of coming from the south west, the wind had a distinct nip in it as I walked round the garden after breakfast.

As long as I was in the sunshine though, it was a pleasure to be out enjoying Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers.

rhododendron

The tulips look delightful when they are backlit by the morning sun.

mroning poppy

And the sun must surely encourage the advent of the age of the azalea and alliums which is reluctant to to dawn while the mornings are so cold.

allium and azalea

To be fair to them, I looked back at previous years and found it is really a bit early to expect full blown alliums and the azaleas are often later too..

The very first honeysuckle flower is trying to creep out unobserved…

first honeysuckle

…while the clematis round the garage doors is secretly adding a flower or two every day.

growing clematis

The street socially distanced coffee morning convened at the usual time and as well as our Garibaldi biscuits, Liz provided a very tasty mixed fruit cake and the general consensus was that there wouldn’t be much call for a big lunch later on.

Because of the continuing lack of rain, there was a lot of watering to be done in the garden.  While the water was spraying,  I dead headed tulips and tore up a cardboard box to add to the compost in Bin A.

While I was there, I was very happy to note that professional pollinators were on the job in the espalier apple trees.

bees on apple blossom

The sun had encouraged an Icelandic poppy to give us a smile.

first icelandic poppy

I was encouraged to go indoors for an early lunch in order to make use of the fine day by going for a good cycle ride.  I foolishly glanced at the crossword and wasted time before I finally managed to get organised enough to actually go out on my bike.  (It was an enjoyable crossword.)

The cold wind of the morning had eased off a bit, but it was still noticeably chilly for such a lovely day.  This had the good effect of keeping me cool under a cloudless sky and the breeze wasn’t strong enough to make much of a difference to my speed.  I averaged 14 mph down to the coast over the only substantial uphill section of the ride and then I managed 14 mph on the much gentler return journey.  The joy of cycling when there isn’t a strong wind is indescribably great, if only because it is so rare.

It would have been hard to find a better day for a ride.  There is still very little traffic on the road.  I met a few but not many other cyclists and they were all going in the opposite direction to me so there was no call to try to keep up with people passing me or to get depressed when they shoot off into the distance.

The verges are perking up and I saw quite a lot of crosswort today.  By dint of putting my shadow over one example, I even got a half decent picture.

crosswort

I never cease to be amazed by the design work that goes into building flowers.

We are not quite in full leaf yet as this study of clothed and naked trees staring at each other across the Kirkpatrick Fleming road shows.

bare and clothed trees

I was aiming to do 50 miles so I stopped every twelve and a half miles to rest my legs, drink some water and eat some guava jelly and a date.  At my first stop, I leaned my bike against a road sign and had a close look at the reflective surface.

road sig pattern

The signs are so bright these days that they constitute a dazzling hazard themselves for elderly night drivers.

The cow parsley is thriving and I just had to be careful not to take my eye of any potholes while I was admiring the flowers.

cow parsley and potholes

Sometimes, both verges joined in the fun.

cow parsley both sides

When it came to trees, these four near Eastriggs were my favourites of the day…

eastriggs trees

…but they were run close by this attractive newly planted avenue near Rockcliffe in Cumbria…

avenue at rockliffe

…and this specimen with an added gorse hedge at its foot near Whamtown.

leaning tree and gorse

I realised that I was going to miss the regular family Zoom meeting, so I stopped on the road below Canonbie School to check in for a moment and apologise.

When I looked around I could see some striking red campion beside the road….

red campion canonbie

…with a shady wild flower mixture nearby…

red campion and violets

…and a Pyrenean Valerian in flower on the opposite side of the road.

pyrenean valerian canonbie

So that turned out to be a good place to pause.

After that, I headed home for a much needed sit down, having covered 54 miles, my (just) longest ride of the year so far.

I sat out in the garden for a moment with Mrs Tootlepedal while our evening meal was cooking and we enjoyed the evening sun lighting up the tulips.

evening tulips

I was getting ready to sit down and write this post, regretting that I hadn’t got a flying bird of the day to finish it, when I noticed a very nearly full ‘flower’ moon out of a window.  It may not be a flying bird, but at least it is up in the sky.

moon may

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Today’s guest picture is a very painterly photograph of a nesting swan on a canal taken by my Welsh correspondent Keiron on his way to work today.

Keiron's swan

There was a theoretical chance of rain today but once again we had a sunny morning and the street socially distanced coffee group (fortified by date rolls)  was able to chat away while sitting in warm sunshine, caressed by light winds.

All through the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal busied herself with watering in the garden.  The soil is very dry.

I did a little compost sieving and aimless wandering.  Well, actually it wasn’t entirely aimless as I pointed my camera at a lot of things as I went by.

There is no shortage of tulips to look at, although I have been dead heading quite a lot for a few days now.

tulip sextet

I was particularly pleased to see that we have got three perennial wallflowers showing life.  These tend to go on flowering for months and provide a photographer with a subject when all else has faded.

perennial wallflower panel

Sometimes anticipation is as good as realisation…

icelandic poppy bud

…with plants bursting with potential…

allium bud

…and just waiting for another warm day.

rhododendron bud

However, there is not much to beat Mrs Tootlepdal’s geums when they are actually out.

geum in garden

The collared dove arrived back on the seed feeder and let me get very close before it flew off

collared dove panel

When I went in to make lunch (soup and bread and cheese again) a rook posed on the plum tree for me.

rook in plum tree

A greenfinch paused for a moment on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree before lunch…

greenfinch in fake tree

…and another one made an awkward landing on the feeder after lunch, surprising a siskin.

greenfinch landind

Once again, the forecast was rather shifty about when and if it would rain and my afternoon planning was made more difficult by the arrival overhead of some seriously thick and ominous black clouds.

However, beyond the clouds, the skies were lighter so in the end, I got my shopping bike out and went for a bike ride.

I was hoping to leave the dark clouds behind me…

dark clouds over Langholm

…and even to see a little sun as I went round my usual Canonbie circuit.

spot of sunshine

In the event, the blackest clouds kept away but sun was hard to find as I went round and from time to time a few tentative drops of rain made me nervous but came to nothing.

Curious cows checked on my progress…

two cows under trees

…and garlic mustard and cow parsley brightened up the verges.

mustard garlic and cow parsley canonbie

I didn’t stop a lot because being on the slow bike makes the journey long enough as it is but the view from Hollows Bridge was worth a minute or two on the journey time…

esk at Hollows

…and the sight of some very cheerful silverweed flowers near the Hollows village stopped me again a hundred yards further on.

silver leaf

I liked this lonely grass nearby.

grass

The rain threatened on and off for almost the whole ride but only once was there enough to get the road even mildly wet so I was perfectly dry when I got back to Langholm. Just to annoy me, the sun came out as I crossed the River Esk.

sun over timpen from bridge

I got back in time for my daily Zoom conference with my brother and sisters.  I did take a picture of the four of them as they appeared on the screen of my phone but I will have to try again when they are not all making faces.

While I was waiting for our evening meal, there was a lot of activity at the feeder to keep me occupied.  You may think that it was raining when I took this picture of a chaffinch and a goldfinch discussing Brexit but it is just seed flying in every direction.

flying chaffinch and goldfinch

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked mince and tatties for our tea and that brought to an end a day that was remarkably like the 40 or so that have preceded it since our ‘lockdown’ started.

We have settled into a comfortable routine in the past month and are enjoying the sense of time on our hands.  We have excellent neighbours, no food shortages, easy communication with our children on a daily basis, a lovely garden in which to while away the time and quiet roads and paths round the town for cycling and walking.  We know that we are blessed and we are properly grateful for this.

An additional blessing was the arrival through the post today of a big box of Palestinian Medjoul dates, another surprise from our ever thoughtful daughter Annie.  As I now have the addresses of reliable providers of both fine cheeses and good dates, I am in a happy place as they say.  Some of Marjorie’s dates were very tasty in the date rolls.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: If all goes well, I will pick up my road bike from the bike shop tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture, like yesterday’s, comes from Canada but shows a different view of Thanksgiving Day there.  Langholm exile Joyce sent me this view from her window in Ontario.

Canada scene

We had an altogether better day today here as far as the weather went, with not even a hint of a raindrop about.  My plan was to make the best if the day by leaping up early and bicycling madly all day.

In real life, I got up rather late, had a leisurely breakfast and did the crossword and only then felt strong enough to get my bike out. For some reason, I am feeling a bit tired in general at the moment and far from bicycling madly about, I kept to a very steady speed indeed, especially when it came to going up hills.

And my route today had plenty of hills compared with my usual flattish outings.  I headed north out of town and aimed for the county boundary twenty miles away at the top of a hill.

There were plenty of excuses to stop along the way to take pictures.

I liked these poplars….

poplars near Craig

…and there was an amazing crop of crab apples on a tree beside the road.

crab apple beside road

I followed the Esk to the point where the Black and White Esk rivers meet.  (I stopped just so that I could take a Black and White picture in full colour.)

Black and White Esk meeting

I then cycled across the bridge over the Black Esk and followed the White Esk to its source.

black esk bridge

The road to Eskdalemuir up the west bank of the White Esk is one of my favourites.  It is quiet, well surfaced and has gentle gradients.

Castle O'er road

My route took me through the village at Eskdalemuir and past the Tibetan monastery, where the stupa was sparkling in the sunshine.

samye ling

The road climbs steadily to just over 1000 feet…

seismic station road

…so my bike was happy to have a rest while I ate a tuna roll at the county boundary.

county boundary

I ignored the charms of the Scottish Borders and after a ten minute break, I pedalled back home through Dumfries and Galloway.

I took the same route home as I had taken on the way out as the alternative route down the east bank of the river has a very steep hill which my knees were not anxious to face,

On one of my stops for refreshment and rest, I looked back up the Esk valley.  It appeared to be very benign in the gentle sunshine but it can be a harsh place in the winter.

looking up Esk valley

Although there was quite a bit of cloud about, it was so thin that the sun shone through it it all day.

My route took me along the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail and I stopped at one of the sites while I ate a banana.  There are information boards at the sites and some of the boards are more informative than others.

This one is unusually honest.

prehistoric trail board

This is the natural amphitheatre.  One of these days I am going down the path to try out the acoustics.

prehistoric trail over rig

It has been a very good year for cones and these trees along the Esk at Bailliehill were dripping with them.

 

pine cone glut

There was a little autumn colour here and there along the route and this tree beside the graveyard at Bentpath was the best.

 

autumn colour Westerkirk graveyard

I walked down to the river at the Bentpath Bridge but there are so many trees in front of the bridge that I couldn’t get a shot of the whole bridge and this glimpse through one of the arches was the best that I could do.

benty bridge

I pottered on gently and got home after 45 miles at very restful 11 mph.   As I had climbed over 2000 ft on my way, I was quite happy to have got home at all.

Mrs Tootlepedal had organised an exhibition of her Embroiderers’ Group work in the Welcome to Langholm office in the morning, and she had done some good gardening in the afternoon, so we had both had a full day.

After a cup of tea, I wandered round the garden.   Some plants were complaining that I had left them out of my review yesterday.

The most surprising is this hosta.  It has sent up flowering stems from some very brown leaves.

late hosta

The Icelandic poppies are still flowering in spite of poor dead heading from me.

two icelandic poppies

And the lamiums haven’t stopped at all since March.

lamium

Another little rose has taken advantage of the continuing warmth.

red rose

The fuchsia by the back gate has produced a large crop of berries.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that they might be edible but we are not going to try them.

fuchsia seeds

My flute pupil Luke came and we put in some heavy work on developing his counting skills.  It is obviously an area where I need to hone my teaching skills!

The flying bird of the day is a blackbird having a rest before a big night out on the tiles.

blackbird on tiles

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who spotted this bird flitting along the shore of the Firth of Forth.   I like the delicate colour combinations a lot.

east wemyss flying bird

We had a grey but dry day here and although the temperature is getting more autumnal by the day, it was still warm enough for me to cycle to church without the need for extra cold weather clothing.  I went by myself as Mrs Tootlepedal is suffering from a cold and was not in singing fettle at all.

She joined me for coffee when I got back from church, where once again the choir had been seriously lacking in numbers.

After coffee, there would have been enough time for me to go for a short pedal or a walk but my legs are still in a non co-operative mood so I gave them a chance to get better and confined my walking to a stroll round the garden.

I was interested to note how much colour one of the dahlias loses as it ages.  Here is the youth…

young dahlia

…and here is the adult.

okd dahlia

Across the garden, another dahlia showed off the plant breeder’s skill.

fancy dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal has several potentillas spread about the place.  It hasn’t been a great year for them but most of them still have some flowers left.  This is one of the few on the red variety.

red potentilla

The rudbeckias have enjoyed the weather and are still flowering well.

rudbeckia

In a sheltered corner, a begonia which Mrs Tootlepedal picked up as a bargain on a garden centre visit is proving to be well worth every penny spent on it and more.

begonia

I am drawn to the honeysuckle on the fence because I pass it a lot and I tried to get a different take on it today.

close up honeysuckle

And I noticed these little flowers when I looked at the bright red leaves on the creeper.

creeper flower

A little geranium is soldiering on.

white geranium

A jackdaw is kindly helping us with picking the last of the plums…

jackdaw in plum tree

…and the garden is still full of odd looking blackbirds…

odd looking blackbird

…swallowing the last of the rowan berries.

swallowng berry

I haven’t been dead heading the Icelandic poppies lately and this might explain why one of the few poppies flowering had such a large attendance of insects.

icelandic poppy with four insects

We can look forward to some colour from the nerines.

nerine flowers

In the afternoon,  I once again left Mrs Tootlepedal nursing her cold at home, while I went off to sing with our Carlisle Community Choir.  The choir committee had been very conscious of the difficult conditions at last week’s practice and as a result, they had changed the seating and this week’s practice was much more satisfactory.  Two of our new tenors came back for a second go and it looks as though they will stay on, giving us a much needed number boost.

Our regular conductor was not there again this week but she had organised a very charming and competent young man to take her place and he got through a power of work.

I cooked a comfort meal of ham, egg, mushroom and tomato for our tea when I got back home and it was followed by a second helping of the tarte tatin.  This brought a bit of joy to a somewhat subdued day.

That odd blackbird in pursuit of rowan berries is the flying bird of the day.

flying blackbird

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