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Posts Tagged ‘Japanese anemone’

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to Kew Gardens.  As well as the glass sculptures, she met this imposing dragon.

dig

The rain stopped on cue over night and we woke up to a calm and sunny day with the dam looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth.  All the same, the first business of the day was to ring up the people responsible for the maintenance of the dam and its sluices.  They promised to look into the matter straight away.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off with her committee to visit another group interested in a community buy out and while she was away, I had a busy morning.

I entertained Sandy to coffee.  If all has gone well, he should have acquired an electric bike this evening, so we are planning to go for a pedal tomorrow to see how much faster he will be able to go than me.

Then the dam manager rang up to tell me that the defective sluice should be repaired as soon as possible and the storm wall will be strengthened as soon as conditions allow because they realised that it has cracks in it.  This is quite comforting but we can only hope that there isn’t another testing flood before the work gets done.

When Sandy had gone, I set to work in the garden, anxious to be of use while Mrs Tootlepedal was otherwise engaged.

First I pruned the new growth from the espalier apples…

pruned espalier apples

…which let some sunshine in on the ripening fruit.

apples after pruning 1

The crop on two of the tree bushes is looking promising.

apples after pruning 2

When I had shredded the prunings and added them to the compost, I mowed the two lawns and the greenhouse grass.  They have been neglected during the rainy days.  Amazingly, in spite of a lot of rain, the ground was firm and the grass mowed well.

lawn after rain

It has been pretty warm lately and the rain had not discouraged the grass from growing, so there was a great deal of cuttings to add to the compost.

Then I trimmed the hedge next to our neighbour Betty’s drive…

trimmed hedge

…and this led to more shredding and composting so it was a very productive morning.

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I worked.  There was more than one kind of white butterfly on the buddleia….

two white butterflies

…but only the peacock of the coloured butterflies, though there were plenty of them about.

peacock butterfly after the rain

The big lilies are unperturbed by the weather and keep looking very serene in wet or dry.

lilies after the rain

A rather smart Japanese anemone has arrived to cheer us up…

coloured japanese anemone

…and the zinnias are all smiles.

dazzling zinnia

It was very good to see flowers in the sunshine.

clematis in sun

It was cooler today than it has been, but when the sun was out, it was still pretty warm and the blackbird family was scattered across the lawn dealing with the heat.

panting blackbird on lawn 1

Some better…

panting blackbird on lawn 2

…than others.

panting blackbird on lawn 3

Mrs Tootlepedal  came home, having had a very interesting meeting, and I spent quite a lot of time in the afternoon picking and printing pictures for the Canonbie Flower Show competition this weekend.

I haven’t got the requisite skills to get my printer to print out exactly what I see on the screen, so I wasn’t going to enter any pictures this year until Sandy told me this morning that he had got a good number of pictures to enter.  As a result,  I thought that I better make an effort too.

As always, I found it very hard to choose just a few from the many hundreds of pictures that I have taken in the past year, and once again I feel that my selection is far from ideal.  Still, it is taking part and not winning  that is important….or so I have been told.

I was going to go for a pedal in the afternoon, and I had just changed into my cycling gear when Mike Tinker dropped by for a cup of tea.  He very wisely pointed out that I hadn’t got time to go for a pedal if I was expecting my flute pupil Luke to arrive.  I hadn’t realised that it was so late, and I had forgotten about Luke anyway, so it was just as well that Mike came when he did.

As it started to rain quite heavily soon afterwards, I was doubly grateful to Mike.

Before he came, I had had time for a quick look round the garden and was pleased to have the right camera in my hand to take this shot when the opportunity arrived.

two white spots

It may not look much to you, but it is two white butterflies fluttering by.  This is a very common sight in the garden just now but I have never been able to catch it.    Just to prove it is two butterflies, here is an enlargement.

white butterflies close

It may not be good, but it is the best that I could do.

The rowan tree berries are looking juicier every day….

rown berries

…and the blackbirds are beginning to eye them up.

blackbird among rowans 2

There was more posing than pecking today…

blackbird among 1rowans

…but I hope to get some blackbird berry pecking shots shortly.

Luke came and we enjoyed playing a Haydn sonata that we haven’t played for some time.

We are promised more sunny weather for tomorrow so I hope to get out and about to make use of it.

The flying bird of the day is a very large bumble bee.  It was camera shy and made off as soon as I tried to photograph it so once more I can feature the bum of the flightlebee.

enrmous flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  She took our new granddaughter, Evelyn Rose to the allotment in her ‘travel system’ or push chair as it used to be called.  Annie hasn’t been able to work on the allotment recently for obvious reasons but she was pleased to find her dahlias thriving on benign neglect.

annie's dahlia

I decided to give my legs a rest today so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a drive in the Zoe instead.  We ventured into England and tested out using a motorway service station charging point.  We needed to use an app on my phone to make the system work  but it turned out to be very easy to use and we had a cup of coffee and a sausage roll while the car charged.

Zoe at Southwaite

In spite of the road  and the car park being very busy, we were the only people using the chargers and the greatest excitement was in trying to find where the chargers were as I drove round in circles, ignoring sage (and correct) advice from Mrs Tootlepedal as I did so.  Slightly surprisingly to me at least was the fact that the chargers were not in the petrol station but beside the food outlets.  However, this makes sense when you think about it.

I will know next time.

When we got home, after a small diversion to a garden centre on the way, it was time for lunch. Then we did some gentle gardening in the afternoon.  The gardening was gentle because it was extremely hot in the sunshine.  The car thermometer had shown 27°C when we were in the car park at the garden centre.

The garden was alive with butterflies again, although we didn’t have as many as the fifteen painted ladies as Mike and Alison had seen in their garden yesterday.

Once again we had a good variety though, with small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…painted ladies, who have more interesting undersides to their wings than most…

painted ldy butterfly

…occasional red admirals, some looking a bit worse for a wear..

red admiral butterfly

…and lots of peacocks too.  This one was so tired that like me, it needed a sit down on our bench to recover.

peacock butterfly

I mowed the front lawn and the combination of warm weather with occasional rain has got it looking as good as it has looked for some years.  I was so overcome by its beauty that I forgot to take a picture of it.

The poppies are getting past their best but there are still quite a lot on the go, including this one, the reddest of them all.

deep red poppy

Even when they have passed their best, they still have a sort of faded glory.

faded poppy

Mallows are thriving…

three mallow

…and more clematis are coming out all the time.  This one has the best colour in my opinion.

deep purple clematis

I did some shredding of things that Mrs Tootlepedal had pruned and cleared and had to go into the house from time to time to cool down so I managed to make not a lot of activity stretch out over quite a long time.

I picked more sweet peas and had enough for a vase for us and a bouquet for our neighbour Libby, who has just come out of hospital, and I still left a good number uncut.

sweet pea uncut

The Japanese anemones have come out and though they are very welcome, they do send a message that the year is turning and the nights are getting shorter.

japanese anemone

AS far as the roses go, the Wren is determined to make the best of the warm weather while it is here and is constantly putting out new flowers…

rose Wren

…and Special Grandma is doing well too.

special grandma rose

I have been trying to get a satisfactory picture of a green euphorbia for some days now but it is so green that the camera gets confused and can’t focus properly.  This is my best effort.  It is a vividly striking plant.

green eupphorbia

I packed away the bird feeder and cleaned and stored the tray from underneath it so once again, there is no flying bird of the day.  This unassuming sunny reggae dahlia modestly takes its place instead.

sunny reggae dahlia

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who stopped to take this picture on his way up Stanage Edge in the Peak District today.

Stanage Edge

I had a busy morning which started with taking the car to the garage to get a slow puncture sorted.  I had noticed the possibility of pressure loss when I pumped up the tyres before going to Pitlochry and a second check on our return confirmed that all was not well.

I took the car up to the garage before breakfast and it was a lovely sunny day but at 2°C, it was quite chilly as I went to walk home and this may have contributed to what happened next.  I decided to nip across the road in between traffic and as I stepped off the pavement, I felt an ominous stab of pain from a calf muscle.  I had no alternative but to stagger home as best as I could hoping that I had done nothing worse than a slight strain.

It became apparent that I wasn’t going to get off so easily and after breakfast, I cycled back up to the town for a meeting regarding the Archive Group.  Cycling was better than walking but it was no fun at all.

I had seen two dippers at the river earlier on so I had my camera with me on this trip but the dippers had gone.

A goosander had appeared though so not all was lost.

goosander

The puncture was promptly fixed by the garage, the car was fetched by Mrs Tootlepedal, the meeting went well and as Dropscone brought some of his best treacle scones round for coffee when I got back, the day was very satisfactory in every way except one.  It became very plain that I had torn my calf muscle and enforced idleness would have to be the plan for the rest of the day and probably for a few days to come.

As my cycling miles for October are already very poor, this is a great pity and unless we get some very unseasonably pleasant weather in November and December, my annual target looks to be out of reach now.

As it was still sunny, I took a very gentle walk round the garden.  I had hoped to go for a walk in the hills in the sunshine so this was a poor substitute but the flowers did their best to cheer me up.

The clematis are doing amazingly well still…

clematis oct 26

clematis in october

…..but this was the very last of the Japanese anemones for the year.

last japanese anemone of year

The ‘October daisies’ are living up to their nickname…

october asters

…and the delphinium is astonishing.

delphinium oct 26

We have a couple of sunny but chilly days forecast but as there is supposed to be no sub zero temperatures, it will be interesting to see what survives in the garden.

Standing around at the kitchen window wasn’t an ideal way to treat my calf so I only had a brief look at the birds today.

In spite of the sunshine, the feeder lives in dark shadow in the mornings at this time of year and oddly enough, the brighter the sun, the harder it is to take pictures before it has moved round in the sky.

A chaffinch took advantage of the stump of the sunflower next to the feeder to size up the situation.

chaffinch on sunflower

Even when things improve, the very bright backgrounds don’t help the camera to see the birds in the foreground clearly and I often need a lot of help from the photo editor to make the birds visible at all.

busy feeder oct 26

This was a pity because there was quite a lot of lively action from time to time.

 

A greenfinch turned its back on me…

back of greenfinch

…and a goldfinch and a coal tit were simultaneously distracted by different things.

coal tit looking out

I couldn’t find a moment today without some intrusive shadows…

chaffinch in sun and shade

…unless I looked at the plum tree…

chaffinches in plum tree Oct

…but as it looked rather wintery, I didn’t look at it often.

During the day, I treated the calf as well as I could with some gentle massage, healing ointment and frozen peas but it is still pretty sore as I write this and I am not very hopeful about a miracle cure.  I may well need to draw fully on my rather scanty stock of patience tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, getting a very hard stare from a goldfinch for encroaching on its space.

close flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who was at the Roxburghe Golf course when he came across a reminder of the strong winds that battered us last month.

roxburghe tree snap

There was a brisk wind here today but not as brisk as the one that had knocked that tree to bits.

I had time for a quick look at the birds after breakfast….

low flying chaffinch

A chaffinch trying to sneak past the window without getting its picture taken.

…before the wind  blew me down the road to Brampton as I went off in the car for a singing lesson from the lady who conducts the Langholm Choir.  I was a bit worried in case the car gave me warning messages again but the garage had done the trick and everything went smoothly.

Mary turned out to be an excellent teacher, patient, supportive and very clear in her suggestions.  It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks as the saying goes but she managed very well and I came away with a good idea of what to work at and a bit of confidence in my ability to sing which had been lacking before.  We are going to arrange another couple of lessons when time permits.

I had a meeting arranged in Langholm at midday so I couldn’t stay around to explore the surrounding area which would have been fun and found myself back home in time for lunch.

Two friends of Mrs Tootlepedal came to visit the garden after lunch and when I went out to see them, I noticed the butterfly of the day on a dahlia.

buttefly on yellow dahlia

When they left I had a look about.

Most of the dahlias have come to the end of their useful life but one or two still look good…

last dahlia

…and others still had bees visiting.

I noticed that another clematis had sneaked a flower out behind my back…

late white clematis

…and all three buds on the Lilian Austin had lived up to their promise.

triple Lilian Austin

The Japanese anemones are still out in numbers…

bright Japanese anemone

…and the last of the hostas have a few flowers left.

dark hosta

It was far too windy to make cycling a pleasure but it was sunny enough to make being outside a good idea so I went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill.

There is an old tree stump beside the track up onto the hill that acts as a fungus collection and it was well supplied with specimens today.

fungus on Meikleholm track

A bit further up the track, I came upon another casualty of the recent strong winds.

fallen tree on Meikleholm track

I was amazed by how shallow the root system was , being no more than a foot in depth and with no roots protruding through the banking that the falling tree had lifted up.

fallen tree roots on Meikleholm track

On the other hand, it was very wide.  It is wonderful that any trees stand up at all on our very shallow soils.

There were no sheep or cattle on the hill today so I had a peaceful walk on a rich growth of grass.  There were not many wild flowers to be seen….

yarrow

…because the sheep had made a good job of eating everything interesting before they left.  However, there were a great number of these small fungi scattered all over the hillside.

mushrooms on Meiklholm Hill

And of course there were any amount of views…

Esk valley from Meikleholm Hill

…with just a hint of autumn about them…

Casdtleholm from Meikleholm Hill

…though the hint was quite marked in places.

track on Meikleholm Hill

I caught the town lying below me in a sunny moment…

view of Langholm from Meikleholm Hill

…but as I walked back down the hill, ominous clouds rolled up overhead and I abandoned a plan to extend my stroll and walked back in the company of another camera club member whom I met on the way.

Needless to say, almost as soon as I had decided to go straight home, the clouds vanished as if by magic and it was a bright day again when I got back to the garden.

When I went in, I found Mrs Tootlepedal chatting to our neighbour Liz who most unluckily broke a bone in her foot recently and is now hobbling about on crutches.  She had told me about the fallen tree on the Meikleholm track.  She had seen it on one of her last walks before her accident.

When Liz left, Mrs Tootlepedal came out to join me in the garden and I took on the role of Attila the gardener’s henchman and dug up a lot of the worst affected dahlias in one of the front beds and shredded them.  I laid their shredded remains reverently on Mrs Tootlepedal’s new bed along the fence as a green mulch.  Life goes on.

Mrs Tootlepedal edged the lawns and then we went in.  I noted some cheerful colour on my way.

red flowers october

I made  baked eggs and spinach in a cheese sauce for my evening meal and picked some of our autumn raspberries for my pudding.

We had a quiet evening in.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the kitchen earlier on so I went to look at the birds from an upstairs window and from there took this picture of the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch concentrating

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Sheffield correspondent, Edward.  He and his wife went to Singapore for the FI Grand Prix and stopped off at Phuket in Thailand where he was very impressed by the wiring.

Wiring in Southern Phuket

I footered away a fine morning, firstly through a failure of communication with Dropscone about the availability of scones and secondly through indolence when the scones turned out to be a mirage.

I didn’t really do anything…

….though I must have gone out into the garden fro at least a moment or two as I did some shredding of fallen sunflowers and noticed a butterfly on the bench…

red admiral butterfly on bench

…and a bee on a lamium.

bee visiting lamium

They were obviously tucked up snugly during yesterday’s gales.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit Matilda in Edinburgh, catching the first train to run from Manchester to Edinburgh after the line had been cleared of fallen trees.

I watched the birds.

A blackbird boogied on the lawn….

blackbird dancing on lawn

…a chaffinch put a hex on a goldfinch…

chaffinch putting the hex on goldfinch

…a male chaffinch told a female where the really good berries are….

chaffinch showing the way

…while a determined goldfinch practised its breaststroke…

Goldfinch swimming to the feeder

…and a sparrow kept an eye out for new arrivals.

sparrow checking out a chaffinch

From time to time a jackdaw dropped in to supervise.

jackdaw swing on the fat balls

I had an appointment with the dentist as I had carelessly bashed one of my teeth and I needed to know if I had broken it.  He took an x-ray and reassured me that it was sound.  However, if it is still sore after a few days, it might have to come out so I am hoping for the best and eating very soft food.

On my way to the dentist, I saw many bunches of bright red berries….

red berries by river

…and on my way back, I looked at the foliage that I had seen stuck under the town bridge yesterday.  It turned out to be quite a substantial tree, with its head on one side of the bridge….

tree under bridge top

…and its foot caught on the cutwater on the other side.

tree under bridge bottom

On the bank of the river beside the bridge, I was amused by this little family group of fungi with mother sheltering her two affectionate children.

riverside fungus group

I looked at the forecast when I got home and as it said, ‘rain later’, I decided to go cycling ‘now’.

It started to rain just as I got onto my bike.

However, the rain was very light so I decided to chance it and go anyway.  The rain stayed light as I cycled to the top of Callister and back (13 miles) and faded away as I got back to the town so I pedalled on over the river and went a few miles up the main road. This let me get to the magic twenty miles which is the minimum trip I like to do when I have gone to the trouble of getting the bike out.

After several very windy bike rides this month, it was a treat to find that the wind had dropped entirely and in spite of the light rain, cycling was a real pleasure.

The country is getting browner every day…

brown bracken

…so I looked for a bit of colour in the garden when I got back.  A lot of flowers got blown over yesterday but the verbascum just bent with the breeze rather than breaking…

verbascum leaning

…but the tall cosmos, which should be standing up and looking over the front lawn, is now leaning perilously low over the pond.

cosmos drooping

The Japanese anemone is small and tough enough to have survived quite well.

Tired Japanese anemone

After a nourishing meal of fish cakes, I was picked up by Susan, who was driving her very smart new red car, and driven to Carlisle where we played with our recorder group for the first time for a couple of months.  Roy, our librarian, had picked out a fine selection of music for our delight so we had a very good evening.

It was pouring with rain as we drove home.

I was pleased to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had got home safely in spite of her train being delayed a bit on both the up and down trips.  She had had a good time in Edinburgh.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch yet again.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.   He must live in a sunny place now he has moved to his new house because the locals have turned their wellies into a garden.

Welly Boot garden

It was a crisp and bright morning with the thermometer in the car showing 5°C as I took the car to the garage after breakfast to get an intermittent squeal checked.  Intermittent squeals and squeaks are hard to fix so I drove ten miles before dropping the car off to see if I could make the squeal appear.  Of course it didn’t but nevertheless the garage managed to find the root of the problem and sort it out before the day was over.

My next visit was to the health centre to get a blood test to see if taking iron tablets has done me any good.  A visit to the doctor next week will supply the answer to that question.

The next business of the day was to photograph the Lilian Austin rose which had reacted to two days of sunshine by coming out….

Lilan Austin rose

…quite beautifully.

I mowed the greenhouse grass with my second best push mower, one without a roller.

And then diagnosis and cure continued when the telly aerial man arrived to find out why our guest bedroom television was not receiving a signal.  Because the cables from our dish had been run under the roof when our end wall was being rebuilt, diagnosis was fairly easy – the cable under the roof is faulty – but the reason for the fault and the way to cure it was obscure to say the least.  A ‘work round’ was put in place and the television is now receiving a signal and as the job took a lot longer than expected, we have received a bill.  Such is life.

I had soup for lunch and went for my customary 20 mile short pedal down to Canonbie and back.  I had an a appointment later on so I didn’t dilly dally on the way, though I did see a cow which was outstanding in its own field…

cow in field

…as they say in the obituary of eminent scientists.

And I gave three cheers for these hips in a hedge.

three hips

For the second day running Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy painting the new garage doors so she was resting when I got back.

I looked round the garden briefly…

japanese anemone clumphelenium clump

…and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal picked up the car from the garage and went shopping for plants, I went for a walk with Sandy.

We drove a mile out of town and took a triangular walk, up through a birch wood…

birch wood

….along a track…

Walk in the woods

…with helpful signposts…

Langholm Walks pole

Jenny Noble's sign

….through an oak wood….

oak wood

…and back down the hill to where we started.

the hill to the railway

We were hoping to see some fungi as we went along and got quite excited when we saw these just after we had set off from the car….

dark fungus

We have walked this walk before and seen very few fungi but today, we saw more as walked along…

two fungi

…and then more….

four fungi

…and then even more.

dix fungi

We have never seen anything like it.  Conditions must have been perfect this year.

I thought that this one deserved to stand alone.

tall fungus

We looked at other things too.

The horse chestnuts are always the earliest to change colour these days.

horse chestnut

I quote from the Woodland Trust website: The horse chestnut leaf miner can occur on trees in huge numbers, causing the foliage to turn brown and fall early. There is no evidence to suggest this harms the trees, as most of the damage occurs late in the season.

The oaks appear to be in good health.

three acorns

Ferns are always interesting.  This one seemed to have been decorated  by a careful embroiderer.

sporangi on fern

It was a delightful walk, warm and pleasant in the shelter of the wood and with far too many photo opportunities for us to make full use of them all.

Mrs Tootlepedal had arrived back by the time that I got home and while she prepared a plum crumble and a giant courgette fritter, I mowed the drying green with our hover mower.  I like to have the right mower for the job.

All this took up so much of my time, that iIdidn’t have the opportunity to take a flying bird picture today and as the flower of the day has already appeared, there is no more to say.

Oh alright, here is the fungus of the day.

fungus cluster

You can see Sandy’s excellent pictures from our walk by visiting his blog here.

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Today’s guest picture is another of Tony’s seals among the seaweed.  That looks like an eider duck in the background.

another tony seal

Apology: There are far too many pictures in today’s post.  If you like garden pictures of flowers, birds, bees and butterflies scroll rapidly through to the end and if you like views start at the beginning and miss the finish.   For some inexplicable reason I was a bit tired when it came to sorting the photos out and I couldn’t summon up the energy to throw many away.

After another rainy night (2cms), the morning was grey but dry and importantly from my point of view, the wind was a great deal calmer than of late.

The church choir is still on holiday and I am resting my rather ragged voice so while Mrs Tootlepedal cycled off to sing, I got my bike out.  The forecast rather improbably suggested that if I set off cycling north, I would find the wind behind me but by the time that I had got to Hawick, 23 miles away, it would have come round and would blow me back south again.

I set off northwards with hope in my heart but a considerable degree of scepticism in my mind.

The ride started well with a view of a large family of goosanders just above the Langholm Bridge.

goosander family

The wind did indeed help me up the hill to Mosspaul and crossing the watershed there improved the weather too.

Mosspaul

Looking back in some welcome sunshine at the grey clouds that I had left behind

The helpful wind didn’t quite last all the way to Hawick and it was evidently doing what the forecasters had suggested and coming round to the north so I had to push a bit harder for the last five miles.  The recent rains have got the rivers flowing now, and there was plenty of water rushing down the Slitrig Burn in the middle of the town.

Slitrig Burn

The nearby sculpture….

Hawick sculpture

…looks strangely out of place in a borders town but celebrates the moment when the Turnbull family got its name.  (By turning a bull!)

The ride up to Hawick had been very enjoyable and the changing of the wind was very encouraging so instead of just turning round myself and going back by the same road, I decided to follow the Slitrig Burn and come home by the scenic route.

garmin route 19 Aug 2018

Up on the left and back on the right

The journey back by Whitrope summit and Liddesdale has much the same shape as the journey up over Mosspaul but as you can see from the elevation profile above, it is slightly longer and the the hill is bigger, topping out at about 1100 feet.  However both parts of the journey have very steady gradients and very little gratuitous loss of height so with the wind behind, as it was both ways today, they offer no great challenge to the elderly cyclist.

I saw some things as I cycled along the valley bottom beside the Slitrig burn.

mill wheelpig

Once up in the hills, there are extensive views…

view at Shankend

..with added viaduct.

Shankend viaduct

If the campaign to extend the Borders railway is successful, we might once again see train crossing the Shankend Viaduct.

Further on, I looked back northwards.  An information board told me that I was looking at the Catrail, a large and very long ditch.  Wikipedia tells me that: It is not known when or by whom the Catrail was made, or for what purpose. However, since it is not substantial enough to be an effective military barrier, it seems likely to have been a territorial boundary marker, possibly dating from the Early Middle Ages.

Since I couldn’t actually see the ditch, I enjoyed the splendid view instead.

catrail

From the same spot, I could see an excellent example of the modern land use….

forestry

…and a faint reminder of its former use.

sheep fold

A cycle sportive based in Hawick was taking place today and as I was going up the hill to the summit, I passed many cyclists going in the opposite direction to me.  As they were cycling into the wind and I wasn’t, I didn’t mind.  I had my wind assisted downhill still to come.

A small group of enthusiasts have preserved a mile or two of the old railway at the summit and I passed several parked items of rolling stock

Whitrope railway

Although the stock is a fine sight, it is nothing compared to the beauty of the road south.

Whitrope road

It is my favourite piece of road, especially on a day like today, sunny and with a light following wind and the knowledge of ten miles of gentle and continuous descent ahead.

The road and stream go down the hill together…

whitrope burn

And at this point the road crosses the stream by this fine bridge…

bridge and waterfall

…at the same time as the stream rushes across a small cascade.

As an added bonus, the bridge carries both moss and lichen for the delight of the discerning passer by..

moss and lichen

It became obvious that I was cycling a bit too fast down towards the village of Newcastleton as there were ominous black clouds ahead and the roads were getting progressively wetter so it was clear that I was catching up with a rain shower.

With this in mind, I sensibly stopped in a cafe in the village to have a cup of coffee and a toastie.  I would have had a rock bun too, which I had paid for, if they had given it to me but I got fed up with waiting and left unbunned.  I didn’t make a fuss because by the time that I realised that it wasn’t coming, I had spent too long sitting down and needed to get my legs working again.

The ten miles down to Canonbie, along the valley of the Liddle Water were the most undulating of the whole trip but the views are often delightful…

Liddesdale

…and the general trend is downhill so with the wind still behind me, I kept up a reasonable speed.

I was expecting that the last six miles back to Langholm would be hard work into the wind but the road is well sheltered and it was easy enough.

I stopped at the Hollows Bridge to admire the rush of water coming down the Esk..

Esk from Hollows

…and pedalled home very happily.

Full details of the ride can be found by clicking here.

I did more climbing today than I have done in any ride this year but thanks to the gentle gradients and the excellent selection of low gears on my new bike, I managed to keep my tin knee turning over very sweetly and the whole ride was unalloyed pleasure.  With only one or two short rough sections, the road surfaces were pretty smooth and pothole free which makes cycling so much more enjoyable than when you have to keep your eyes stuck to the road surface ahead.

Mrs Tootlepedal was out volunteering at the Buccleuch Centre when I got back so I had gentle potter round the garden doing some dead heading and flower watching.

The theme was pink.

These are pink Japanese anemones, new in the garden last year.

pink Japanese anemone

You might think at first sight that I was in the vegetable garden but these are dicentra seeds with Lords and Ladies in the background.

dicentra

And this is the dahlia of the day with added bee.

dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal had lifted the onions while I was out cycling and I found them hanging on the greenhouse to dry out.

onions

Just as I got over Skippers Bridge on my way back into town on my bicycle, I had passed a lady looking at a big buddleia.  “Any butterflies?” I asked.  “Masses,” she replied. So I looked at our big buddleia.  There were a lot of butterflies on it too.

Peacock Butterfly pair

Some even posed for the camera.

Peacock Butterfly at full stretch

And among the peacocks, there was a lone red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…which wouldn’t pose properly for me.

The Michaelmas daisies beside the buddleia had lots of bees

bee on daisy

I went in to have a cup of tea and set the bird watching camera up.  The calmer weather had brought them back into the garden.

There were several blue tits about.

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And the usual sparring sparrows.

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The very white sparrow is getting some colour…

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..and there was a white feathered jackdaw about too.

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The jackdaws take a good portrait.

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Mrs Tootlepedal finally got back from a long screening at the Buccleuch Centre where she had been helping with front of house duties and we rounded off the day with a tasty liver casserole followed by nectarines and cream on a meringue base.  (The meringue bases come in packets of eight so we get four treats from a packet.)

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow getting close up and personal.

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Sorry about the over length post but it was such a treat getting a good day after all the drizzle that I couldn’t help myself.

 

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