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Posts Tagged ‘Kilngreen’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She is getting out and about again after a hip operation and was able to enjoy the colour in Regents Park today.

regents park

We had a very lovely sunny day today, though with the wind coming from the east, it was lovelier if you could find a sheltered spot.

When I went to bed last night, I gave my sore leg a gentle massage as I generally do but on this occasion, I hit upon just the right spot to work on with the result that when I woke up, the pain had gone down dramatically.

It was with a light heart therefore that I cycled along with Mrs Tootlepedal to the Buccleuch Centre where a small group of singers from Langholm Sings had been asked to sing carols at the British Heart Foundation coffee morning.   We had no accompaniment so did the best we could and this must have not been too bad because after we had paused and had a cup of coffee, we were asked to sing again.  Although it is a bit early for carols, it was an enjoyable occasion and got the day off to a good start.

Things got better when Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out to cycle the three and a bit miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse to test out my leg.

Mrs Tootlepedal led the way….

Mrs T cycling

…and I followed behind, taking things very easily up any hills.

Mrs Tootlepedal stopped to examine a telegraph pole and I considered the mystery of why some rosebay willowherb  still keeps its white seed heads…

rosebay willowherb

…while others are quite bare.

There were a lot of catkins on the trees along our way.

catkins

The wind had blown us up the hill on our way out but although it was chilly when it was in our face coming back, it wasn’t very strong and I could appreciate the fine weather and the leafless scenery…

bare tree and monument

…and it all made for another enjoyable experience.

And my leg didn’t hurt.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal set to work on a pantomime costume which she is making up and I went to look for flying birds.

I had set the camera up when we got back from cycling but a builder arrived to fix some broken tiles and that put paid to bird watching so I headed off for the Kilngreen in the hope of finding some black headed gulls in the air.

There was a line of them at the meeting of the waters…

gulls at meeting of waters

…but none in the air.

When I walked towards them, they rose up but instead of flying about in a useful way, they settled down immediately on the fence posts beside the Ewes water.

gulls in post

I waited hopefully but the gulls refused to leave their posts.  I nobly resisted the temptation to say “Boo!” very loudly.

I waited a bit more, and it has to be admitted that there are worse places to hang about than the Kilngreen on a sunny day….

kilngreen on an sunny november day

…but in the end, I gave up and set off towards the Sawmill Brig with a view to walking round the Castleholm.

I hadn’t gone very far though before something disturbed the gulls and they whizzed past me in all directions.

gull and lampost

flying gull with trees

I snapped away for a while and then crossed the Sawmill Brig, admired the moss on the Castleholm wall…

moss on wall

…and walked back down to the edge of the river and cautiously approached the posts where the gulls were back in their positions.

gulls on Castleholm posts

gull on Castleholm posts

Obligingly, one or two of them took off and gave me a low level fly past.

 

gull above ewes water

I left them to themselves and continued my walk along the path beside the river.

Intrigued by Mrs Tootlepedal’s new found interest in electricity poles, I stopped to check on one near the cricket club.  It had many carved inscriptions on it…

electricity pole castleholm

I couldn’t interpret any of them.

The horizontal line was quite low so I take it that this means that the pole is well planted in the ground.  It didn’t have a stay at any rate.

One advantage of the season is that bridges come more into view as the leaves disappear and I could see the Jubilee Bridge well before I got to it.

jubilee bridge november

I looked back from the bridge towards the path that I had come along.  I still think of it as ‘the new path’ but it is looking quite well integrated now.

new path november

There was enough sunshine left for a walk round the garden when I got home…

november colour in garden

…and then I retired indoors to rest my leg before I got too cocky and did something to set it off again.

Having manged a six mile bike ride and walked a mile and a half, I was very pleased to find that my leg was still pretty much pain free by the end of the day.  I will give it another rub on the same spot tonight!

I settled down to watch Scotland play South Africa at rugby football and after a scintillating first half in which both teams played an open and interesting game, the second half was a disappointment as South Africa closed the game down and Scotland reverted to making crucial mistakes when under pressure.

The defeat was not unexpected though as South Africa are one of top teams in the world.   What was much more surprising was that the Scottish association football team actually managed to win a vital game in the evening and by a handsome margin.

It is a clear night here so I am going to keep an eye out for shooting stars as there are supposed to be some around in the early hours but in the  meantime, I leave you with a high flying gull as the flying bird of the day.  It makes a welcome change from the interminable chaffinches.

flying gull in sky

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Today’s guest picture is another blast of sunshine from the past.  This time it is a pleasant valley scene from one of my brother Andrew’s Derbyshire walks in early October.

derbyshire

After a rather restless night, I got up to a sunny morning and a much improved interior economy and after a quiet morning, I was back to normal by lunchtime and able to eat without any ill effects.

I didn’t take any risks though and did nothing more energetic than have a walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

The berberis was positively glowing….

BERBERIS

…and the special Grandma was having a final fling.

special grandma

The display of rose hips is easily the best that I can remember and many roses that don’t usually have any are covered with them after the good summer.

rose hips

There is no denying that we are well on the way to winter though.

red leaf

It is good to have blackbirds back in the garden as they have been pretty scarce since July.

blackbirds

I didn’t stay out long and when the sun went in so did I, and I was soon back in the kitchen looking out of the window.

It was an extremely quiet day for birds.

lonely chaffinch

I haven’t been able to work out why the feeder can be mobbed one day and deserted the next.

Even the sight of plenty of available perches didn’t discourage some uncouth pushing and shoving.

pointless violence

After lunch, I tested my constitution and my leg by going for a short walk over three bridges.

As I came to the river, I could see glowing trees in a garden on the hillside opposite…

yellow trees

…and golden willows below me on the river bank.

willows beside esk

Wherever I looked on my walk, there always seemed to be a defiant patch of colour among the leafless branches.

autumn colour November

I was impressed by the careful relaying of turfs on the site of the big bonfire on Sunday.

bonfire patch

After I crossed my second bridge, I met a fellow camera club member walking his dog and spent my time chatting rather than snapping and it was only when we went our separate ways that I took the camera out again to record a little more late colour.

Lodge tree

I crossed my third bridge and made my way quietly home…

duchess bridge tree

…only pausing for a wild flower on the edge of the Scholars’ Field.

november wild flower

My leg is working but still sore and there is no chance of getting on my bike for a while yet but my constitution was unruffled by the walk so I was happy.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy watching a YouTube video on sharpening woodwork tools so I realised that she had left the garden and gone back to rocking horse restoration.  I settled down to put a couple more weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  My lack of cycling may be regrettable but it has let me catch up (a bit) on the backlog of data.

My friend Susan wasn’t available to come to our monthly recorder group meeting today so I had to drive myself to Carlisle.  The effort was very worthwhile as we had an excellent evening of music.  One of other members was unwell so we were a quartet  tonight and this made for a change with some different music to play.

Having been 150 miles ahead of my mileage schedule at the beginning of October. I am now 200 miles behind and with no hope of catching up, I am officially abandoning any targets for the year and will take any miles that I can squeeze in as a bonus.

Once again there are two flying birds of the day, this time goldfinches, one with wings in…

flying goldfinch in

…and one with wings out.

flying goldfinch out

Variety is the spice of life.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who came upon a horde of ladybirds on one of her visits.  This picture shows just a few of the insects that she saw.

Ladybirds

It was a bright but chilly morning here and I had to scrape ice off the car windscreen after breakfast before I could drive up to the Moorland bird hide to fill the feeders as a substitute for Sandy who is still on holiday.

There was a lot of mist about along the river and enough of it had spread up the hill to the hide to give me a rare treat when I got out of the car, a mistbow.

mistbow

It soon faded away and I set about filling the feeders and then lurking in the hide to watch the residents emptying them again.

I did a brisk business with tits.  Here are a blue tit and a coal tit taking in some peanuts…

blue tit and coal tit

…and here is a great tit waiting to take its turn.

great tit

I had to wait a while for a greater spotted woodpecker to arrive but when one did, it posed very graciously for me.

woodpecker

There is almost always fungus on the ground near the feeders at this time of year.

Laverock fungus

Coming out of the hide to go home, I found that the hide was in sunshine and the valley below in mist.

mist from Laverock

I plunged bravely into the valley and the mist and headed for home.

mist from laverock 2

Although the temperature was only 3°, the day was very calm and it felt much warmer than it should have done.  In the circumstances, it seemed too good a day to waste indoors so in spite of it being nearly coffee time, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed to come for a drive up the hill road on Whita.

We were soon back above the mist and looking down.

mist from hill road

It was well worth the effort.

misty trees hillhead

We drove up to the White Yett and looked back over the Esk and Ewes valleys.

mist from white yett

We parked in the car park at the MacDiarmid Memorial and  I walked a little further up the hill, passing this delight on the way.

dewy spiders web

From there, I could see the mist lying over the rivers below.

mist from whita

I would have liked to have stayed longer and to have taken innumerable shots in pursuit of the perfect mist picture but it really was coffee time by now so we headed back down the hill.

We stopped for a moment at the Kilngreen where Mrs Tootlepedal had been asked to say what she thought some bright red small fruits were in the garden there (amazingly deep red crab apples most probably was the verdict).

I took the opportunity to look around.  It really was the most perfect day.

kilngrren sunny morning

And we were now….

mist on Timpen

…looking back up at the mist.

mist on Castle Hill

Coffee and ‘things to be done’ called us and all too soon we were back in the car after a light lunch and heading for Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents.

Matilda, her mother Clare and I went to the Botanical Gardens to feed the ducks…

Matilda feeding ducks

…but we were a bit slow off the mark and bells were ringing for the closure of the park almost as soon as we had got there.

Still the ducks got their rice and we had our fun and it was still a good day for a walk so we weren’t too unhappy.

Alistair, Matilda’s dad, is a dab hand at making tasty pizzas so we had an excellent evening meal before catching the train home with a tricky crossword to while away the time.

In all the going up and down, I had little time for the birds in our own garden but I did catch a flying chaffinch while the feeder was still in the morning shadows.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s Irish holiday.  As well as an interesting wall, he found an interesting house.

irish house

After more snow overnight, the first task of the day was to clear the path along our drive and go to the shops for some milk.  The path was cleared but the milk hadn’t got through to the shop so we just have to hope that there will be some there tomorrow.

The path clearing had the unhappy effect of bringing on the snow again and it then snowed on and off for the rest of the day, leaving us with nine inches by the evening.

As there was a brisk wind blowing and the snow is light and fluffy, it was sometimes hard to tell whether we were seeing snow falling or just blowing past the window.  Either way, it wasn’t a good day for watching the birds as the kitchen window was often covered with snowflakes.

Dropscone and Sandy braved the snow to come for coffee and as Dropscone brought some of his excellent treacle scones with him, we were all greatly cheered up.

After coffee, I cleared the path again and spotted a robin on the feeder…

robin

…before making some soup for lunch.

There was a promise of occasional sunny spells in the afternoon so I was mentally prepared for a walk after lunch and when things lightened up, I put on my coat and shot out.

I sneaked across the unfinished dam bridge and saw that the dam itself was pretty well snowed up.

dam filled with snow

I had to run the gauntlet of some dangerous looking icicles on a gutter in Caroline Street…

icicles in caroline Street

…but after I passed, a resident was doing his best to knock them off with some well aimed snowballs.

There has not been a lot of driving about lately and you can see why.

snow covered car

Although the main roads are reasonably clear, the advice is not to drive unless it is absolutely necessary.  Because we get so little snow, it is hard to be prepared for it when it comes and also unreasonably expensive to get all the gear suitable for snow and ice which you might then use for perhaps only three days over two years.

Fifty years ago, lots of people, including us,  had chains for their car tyres because it snowed a lot more and cars were trickier to drive but I doubt if anyone still has them now.  Many of the problems on our roads come from the fact that so many businesses operate on a ‘just in time’ basis and in effect have mobile storage depots on motorways.  It only takes one sliding articulated lorry to block a road. Mind you, optimistic and inexperienced car drivers don’t help either.

It was reasonably clear when I started my walk….

Langholm bridge

…but by the time that I had crossed the bridge, far from the sun coming out, it had started to snow again.

Langholm bridge

I plodded on, making heavy weather of the deep snow but not tempted to to take a rest on this bench.

kilngreen bench

When I needed a breather, there was always something to look at.

kilngreen trees

It was a lot easier when I had some car tracks to walk in along the Lodge walks.

Lodge walks in snow

gate

When the snow stopped and the tops of the hills came into view, I was interested to see that the wind was so strong  that it looked as though the higher up the hill you went, the less snow there was.  I could see a hint of green on the summit of Timpen.

Timpen in snow

The trees were very neatly outlined.

snowy bare tree

The gas canisters were the only spot of colour on my walk but there were many good patterns.

snow shots

There is a lot of ice on the edges of the river but it doesn’t look as though it will be anywhere near cold enough for the whole river to ice up.

esk with ice

I certainly hope so.

I crossed the Duchess Bridge which looked quite handsome in the snow…

duchess bridge

…and this was more than could be said of the view from the middle of the bridge as it had started snowing heavily again as soon as I stepped onto it.

view from duchess bridge

As it was mostly buried under the snow, there had not been much in the way of lichens or moss to look at on my walk but the wall at the Scholars’ Field had small piece of iced moss on display.

moss

Once again, I was interested to see how different the moss looks from a distance and in close up.

When I got home, I cleared the snow from on top of and around our car which is parked up the road a bit during the bridge repair works.  As a kind passer by noted, this may have been a bit of a Sisyphean task and it started snowing again not long after I had finished.  I also cleared the path along our drive and that was soon covered up again.

snowy path

With a forecast of more snow showers tomorrow, a continual 25 mile per hour wind and the temperature at or about freezing all day,  I may have a busy drive clearing day in front of me.  Still, it keeps me occupied which must be a good thing.  And on the plus side, the snow is the easiest shovelling snow that I can ever remember meeting.

As the alert reader will have realised, we didn’t go to Edinburgh to see Matilda today, even though it was a Thursday.   Honestly, as superior newspaper columnists tend to ask on these occasions, what is wrong with us?  Two flakes of snow and the whole country shuts down.  Get a grip Britain!  But we are old and cautious these days.

The individual flying bird was not easily found in the whirling snow and poor light and strong winds make them unwilling to hover if they can avoid it so an ensemble piece will have to do.

busy feeder

 

 

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A last look at the Kelpies is Bruce’s guest picture of the day.

Kelpies

We were greeted by another cold and sunny day today but as the temperature had risen a degree or two and the north wind had slacked off a bit, it was a more promising day.

It was still pretty cold in the morning so I was more than happy to sit inside, drinking Ethiopian coffee and easting the traditional Friday treacle scones that Dropscone brought round.

He has been quite pleased that it has been too cold to play golf lately as the state of his game has been giving him no pleasure.  I am hoping that this little break will do his game some good.

Normally, I would spend a fair bit of time on a morning like this glancing out of the kitchen window and enjoying the antics of the finches on the feeder but today the garden went all Rachel Carson and there were no finches to be seen.

Not any?  Not any.

Not any at all? Well hardly any.

Honestly, I only saw three finches all morning…

greenfinch

…and they didn’t stop.  We suspected that a sparrowhawk might be lurking and putting off visitors but on the hedges, under the feeder and in the plum tree, blackbirds…

blackbird

…dunnocks…

dunnock

This one was checking out some apples which I have put on the bench.

…and no less than four robins scampered about very freely.  I know that there were four robins because I saw them all at the same time.  I think that we might have two couples as there was some chasing going on but quite often two robins seem happy to co-exist.

I took a lot of robin pictures but it is hard to tell whether I got shots of four different birds or four shots of the same bird.

robin

It is a real treat to have so many robins about.

I went out into to the garden to see if I could see a sparrowhawk lurking but I only saw a robin sitting on the fence.

robin

There was a sudden rush of finches just after lunch….

BUSY FEEDER

…and a little unpleasantness too among the greenfinches…

greenfinches

..but it was a small rush and it didn’t last long.  We will have to wait until tomorrow to see whether this is a temporary phenomenon or not.    It was quite worrying to see so few birds.

However, it was less worrying to find that the temperature had climbed to a balmy 4.4°C after lunch so I put on a stout jacket and set off for a short pedal on my slow bike to check the state of the roads.  Because of the combination of my prolonged cold and some very unsympathetic weather, I only cycled three times in the whole of November,  totting up the grand total of sixty miles.

The roads proved to be pretty well ice free today, though a little care was needed at some very damp and sheltered corners, and I enjoyed my outing very much.  I was in no hurry and stopped to take pictures as I went along.

The sun brought a little warmth but the hills and fields are looking very wintery now.

Wauchope field

One of my favourite trees near the Bigholms.

Wauchope field

The wide blue yonder.  I turned for home at the end of the straight.

callister

Brown is the predominate colour now.

wauchope view

I was surprised to see this little crop of fungus looking quite healthy beside the road.

fungus

The sun was still out when I got home so after taking a picture of a Leycesteria in the garden which has obstinately remained out….

leycesteria

…..I took the opportunity to walk round my Langholm, Sawmill and Jubilee Bridges short walk in the hope of catching a flying gull.

There were gulls about….

black headed gulls

…but they obstinately refused to leave their posts….

black headed gulls

…so I had to make do with some late afternoon sunshine on the Kilngreen…

Kiln Green

…some trees silhouetted against the sinking sun…

bare trees

…and any amount of interesting lichen.

lichenlichenlichen

It was just about dark by the time that I got home so I had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had been test driving the cooking of a vegetarian recipe while I had been out.

In the evening, having eaten the vegetarian meal, we were delighted to welcome Mike and Alison for the first Friday evening visit for some weeks.  What pleased me most about the visit was that it meant that there was Friday evening music again after quite a gap.

Alison and I played Telemann, Loeillet, Rameau and Marcello and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting these old musical friends.  If we weren’t exactly note perfect after the lay off. we hit enough right notes to keep us happy.

And of course the playing and cycling made for a Tootlepedalling day and filled a cold winter’s day with warm feelings.

The flying bird of the day is not a good picture but i felt that since the robins had stayed while the finches had deserted us, one of them deserved the accolade.

flying robin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Manchester recently.  He found this wonderful 1941 railway bridge across the ship canal there.  It is confined to walkers and cyclists these days, he tells me.

1941 Manchester Ship Canal Railway bridge

After a wet and windy night, we had another rather grey morning today, made greyer by the fact that our daughter Annie had to go back to London.

After coffee and a quick look at the feeders….

blackbird

Possibly a native blackbird rather than one of our winter visitors

…the day brightened up a lot and we set off for Carlisle.  We found ourselves peering straight into the low sun and  some very bright reflections from wet road surfaces as we drove along.  So persistent was the glare that by the time that we got to the outskirts of Carlisle, the white lines down the middle of the roads had turned bright pink and purple for me.

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is called a negative afterimage.  It was very curious and I don’t recall having had noticed such a strong colour change or one which lasted for so long.

We got a little drizzle out of what had seemed like a blue sky on the way down and stopped to admire a rainbow which had formed.

Rainbow at West Linton

It obviously wasn’t an entirely blue sky.

We delivered Annie safely to the station and then went off in search of a mirror.  Mrs Tootlepedal had seen one she liked on a previous visit and we were determined to buy it today.  Of course it was out of stock and another visit will be required…if we can find it in stock later in the week.

We consoled ourselves with a sausage bap in the furniture store’s cafe, washed down with a hot drink.  Over recent years, drinks in cafes have been so big that even a ‘small’ was the size of a bucket so we were very pleased to find that our small drinks today were just that, small and readily drinkable.  We drank them.

We got home while the sun was still shining so after putting a dough mixture into the bread machine, I went for  a short walk.

There was a bit of water in the Esk after the overnight rain…

Esk at George Street

…and some more in the Ewes when I got to the Kilngreen.

Ewes water at Kilngreen

Mr Grumpy was there, admiring the sunshine and hoping for a fish supper.

heron

I was enjoying the light and the trees.

Castleholm trees

Castleholm

A moss forest caught my eye.

moss on wall

This is not some mossy bank but the top of a stone wall.

I walked up the hill past the estate offices and was impressed by how much hart’s tongue fern was growing on the walls beside the well shaded road.

hart's tongue fern

At the top of the road, a brilliant dogwood blazed in a garden.

dogwood

The sun was threatening to sink below the hills but it was high enough to brighten up the top of Castle Hill as I walked along the track below it.

Castle Hill

Dropping down through the woods, I saw a fine jelly fungus on a fallen log.

jelly fungus

I passed beneath some winter blossom…

winter blossom

…walked back down beside the River Esk and then took the new path round the bottom of the Castleholm back to the Sawmill Brig and the Kilngreen.  I passed a noble fir and was looking for one of its large green cones when I saw this fine example of nature’s basket weaving skills.

noble fir

I have no idea what is going on there.

The light had gone by the time that I got to the Kilngreen so I made my way quietly home.

After a rest and a cup of tea, I got the dough out of the bread machine and cut it in half.  I wrapped one half in cling film and put it in the fridge and shaped the other half into bread rolls.  The machine makes more dough than we need at one time so this was an experiment to see if we can use it half at a time.  The rolls that I made today came out quite well…

bread rolls

…so perhaps I will give up on the crumpets and stick to rolls from now on.

My flute pupil Luke came for the first time since the holidays and we started on a new Boismortier duet.  His sight reading has improved a lot and we were able to play a couple of movements with very little difficulty.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see a film version of Swallows and Amazons.  This was based on books which both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had enjoyed a great deal when we were children so we approached the film with some trepidation.  In the event, it wasn’t at all bad even though they had souped up the action and had lost a little of the gentle charm of the original.   The acting was excellent and we enjoyed ourselves and were able to say as we walked home, “Well this and that never happened in the books,” in a very satisfactory sort of way.

The flower of the day is the first potential snow drop of the year.  It may not seem much to the casual reader but it means a lot to a gardener.

snowdrop

The newspapers are full of dire predictions of snow storms to come in Britain but the weather forecasts say that this flower may be the only snow drop that we will see in Langholm.

The flying bird of the day is four chaffinches.  None of them are great shots and I was too tired to choose between them so I have put them all in.

flying chaffinches

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from the Birmingham flower show that Mrs Tootlepedal and our daughter attended on Saturday.  It doesn’t show any flowers though.  Annie took this fine picture of the travelator which conveyed them into the NEC and, I think you will agree, it is just as fine to look at as a bunch of lupins.

NEC

I put out some peanuts after breakfast and they soon attracted the attention of the jackdaws.

Jackdaw

I noticed a slightly different pigeon under the feeder and Mrs Tootlepedal suggested it might be a racing pigeon having a break.  A look at the rings on its foot confirmed this hypothesis.

homing pigeon

If it doesn’t move on soon, I will have to contact a pigeon fancier to see if it can be caught and returned to its owner.

I had a look at our bunch of peonies when I went out into the garden later on.  They are flourishing and have hidden depths.

peonies

I tried to take an interest in some of our roses too but quantities of tiny insects had beaten me to it.

roses and insects

The pink rose on the right is an insect magnet and it hard to get a picture which is not full of black dots.

Other flowers, a few feet away, were insect free.

geranium and rose

During the morning, I did some routine dead heading, mowed the grass round the greenhouse and the middle lawn and went up to the town to pay a bill.  I might have gone cycling because it was a warm and dry day but a brisk wind, gusting up to 20 mph persuaded me that waiting for it to die down in the evening might be a good plan.

I can’t stop looking a a very nice Sweet William that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted.  The colour combination is irresistible to my shutter finger.

Sweet William

When we were at Sue’s yesterday, she provided us with some delicious rolls at lunchtime.  She said that she had made them using her breadmaker to make the dough.  As we have the same model, I thought that I would give this a try and during the morning, I put the breadmaker to work.

I took some time out to look at the flying sparrows outside the kitchen window.

flying sparrows

The dough looked very promising when it came out of the machine after lunch so I divided it up into twelve balls and went out for a walk while it was rising.

Before I left, I checked out the sweet peas and the runner beans, both of which have survived the sparrows.

runner bean and sweet pea

My walk took me along the bank of the Esk.  It wasn’t a bad day for midsummer.

Elizabeth Street Esk in summer

The orange barriers and sacking on the far bank show where the flood wall is being repaired.  It is hard to remember on such a lovely day that in January the river was within an inch or two of the top of the wall.

On the near bank in the usual spot, I saw two oyster catchers.  A second look showed me that this wasn’t Mr and Mrs but parent and child.

oyster catchers

I walked over the Town Brig and looked up the Ewes Water…

Ewes water

This too made a contrast from the scenes six months ago.

Meeting of the waters

Back then walking over the bridge in shirtsleeves in the sun seemed like an impossible dream.

Today, there were flying oyster catchers and gulls enjoying the sunshine.

flying gull and oystercatcher

 I continued round the pheasant hatchery and enjoyed being in the dappled shade as the sun was quite hot by this time of the day.

Pheasant hatchery road

My route took me back over the Duchess Bridge…

Duchess Bridge

…and round the school playing field, where a nettle caught my eye.

nettle

…and I got back home in perfect time to put the oven on and cook the rolls.

I won’t say that they were as good as Sue’s but they came out jolly well…

rolls

…and will constitute a severe temptation to anyone trying to keep their weight down.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea.  He brought with him a large and delicious piece of Welsh cheese which he had kindly brought back from his recent holiday in Wales as a gift for us so I gave him a couple of the rolls to take home with him.

I continued to think about going for a cycle ride but the brisk and vigorous wind continued to blow so thinking about it was as far as cycling got for today.

The garden looked very nice in the evening sunshine and I took a few more pictures to make up for not pedalling.

iris, rose and water lily

If I am to avoid strong winds in the coming days, I will have to get up early according to the weather forecast.  That will be a challenge.

The flying bird of the day is a Kilngreen gull in cruising mode.

black headed gull

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