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Posts Tagged ‘Kirkandrews-on-Esk’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was driving past the Silk Mill in Derby and thought that it might be the sort of picture that I would enjoy.  On reflection, I think that he was right.

silk mill Derby

We were promised a cooler, cloudier day today but when we got up, it was as sunny as ever.

I was intending to go for a bike ride and once again found it hard to get going so I was happy to enjoy a stroll round the garden and admire the sunlit garden flowers after breakfast.

garden flowers

The strong light took some of the darkness away from the ‘black’ iris.

The sun didn’t last for long and by the time that I had had an early cup of coffee, the skies had clouded over.  It was still pleasantly warm though and with a light wind, it looked like a perfect day for pedalling.

In the end, I ran out of excuses and got my new bike out and set off, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal toiling in the garden.

It was a perfect day for pedalling.

For some reason which is obscure to me the road verges seem to attract different wild plants in different spots even though the growing conditions look very similar.  There is a section of the road just before the top of Callister that is perennially home to a very fine collection of curly dock (as always my naming of plants is open  to correction).

curly docks

It grows elsewhere of course, but this section of about fifty yards has the best collection by far.

I thought that you would be interested to know that.

Once over Callister, I set my course for the flatter lands of the Solway coast as my tin knee has been a bit creaky lately and I wanted to give it kindly treatment today.

I crossed the Kirtle Water for the third time as I got near Eaglesfield.

Eaglesfield bridge

My route then took me past Chapelcross, a retired nuclear power station which is being (very) gradually dismantled.  Each time that I pass it, a little more of it has disappeared.

Chapelcross

August last year

Chapelcross 2018

Today

The power station sits on a hill looking over the Solway and looking down, I thought that for once the sea might be on duty…

Solway view

….and I was pleased to find when I got to Brow Houses, that I was right.

Brow houses

I paused and had my lunch and a little walk among the wild flowers on the grassy slope down to the water’s edge.  There were plenty to enjoy.

Brow houses wild flowers

This was my favourite.

Brow houses flower

The farms are cultivated as near to the edge of the Firth as possible and the cows were interested in what I was doing.

 

Brow houses cow

Refreshed by an egg roll and a banana, I pressed on to Gretna and then into England.

I had to stop and let a train go up the main line….

TP Express

…before I could cross the level crossing and head down to Rockliffe and then by way of the new Carlisle by-pass start heading home through the lanes of North Cumbria.

One of the lanes had a wonderful hedge of roses….

roses beside road

…which were a delicate shade of pink.

hedge roses

As I was going up the main road from Longtown to Langholm, I took a break from the traffic and visited Kirkandrews-on_Esk, where there is a neat church and an old tower, still lived in as a family home today.

Kirkandrews on Esk

The church, as its names implies, sits on the bank of the River Esk and there is a bridge to allow the churchgoers on the other side of the river to get to the services and a sundial to tell them if they are on time.

bridge and sundial Kirkandrews

I took the picture of the sundial at just about 3 o’clock BST which is two o’clock GMT so the sundial is still keeping pretty good time after 100 years.

It is a picturesque spot….

Kirkandrews on Esk (2)

…and the river was looking beautiful in the little bit of sunshine which had come out to brighten the day.

Kirkandrews on Esk (3)

The bridge is a delicate construction and sways alarmingly when you cross it.

Kirkandrews on Esk bridge

It didn’t take me long to get home and by dint of sprinting through the town as fast as I could pedal, I just managed to keep my average speed for the 61 miles to 14 mph, a tribute to the warmth of the day, the flatness of the route and the kindness of the light winds.

Mike Tinker was taking a cup of tea in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal when I arrived home and he remarked that he and his wife had seen plenty of lightning yesterday.  This was very odd as Mrs Tootlepedal and I had looked hard and seen none and he only lives about 100 yards away.   Maybe we just weren’t looking in the right direction.

I had another look round the garden when Mike went and was able to admire the very neat lawn edging which Mrs Tootlepedal had done while I was out.  She had done quite a lot of other things too.

I had my camera in my hand of course and was spoilt for choice.

garden flowers in afternoon

in the garden

When we went inside, we could watch a small flock of wood pigeons being disagreeable.

pigeons

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and added weight to my suspicion that he has been secretly practising.  We did a lot of good work.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden is looking very healthy and she was able to pick more spinach to go with a second helping of the slow cooked sausage stew for our tea.  Considering how much I disliked spinach when I was a child, it is amazing how much I like it now.

The flower of the day is the first look at my favourite peony, taken in the early evening.

peony

Note: I received a message from our health centre while I was out cycling and I rang the doctor when I got home and was very happy to hear that my chest x-ray had come back clear of any problems.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture come from ex-archivist Ken who tells me that this odd structure is designed to filter pollutants to the  equivalence of up to 300 trees. It is situated at Haymarket at a busy junction close to the bus station.

mechanical tree

Spring arrived  today and even if it is, as they used to say on the posters outside theatres, “For Two Days Only”, it was very welcome.

There was sun all day, no wind at all in the garden, no hint or threat of rain and a reasonable temperature.

Mrs Tootlepedal was very happy and got a power of work done in the garden and I was pretty cheerful too.   There had been a light frost overnight so I waited for the temperature to hit eight degrees before I set out on my slow bicycle.

This gave me time to admire a goldfinch on the feeder….

goldfinch

…and walk round the garden.

There were bees on the crocuses…

bees

… and frogs in the pond…

frogs

…getting ready for the start of a handicap race (though one contestant may have got distracted).

This was my individual pick of the day.

frog

Talking of crocuses, I noticed that the camera had recorded two quite different colours on a set of crocuses growing side by side…

crocus

…even though they are exactly the same colour.  Light is a funny thing.

And of course, if I ever get bored there is always plenty of moss to look at in the garden.

garden moss

Just a small sample.

I was quite happy to delay setting off on my slow bike as I wasn’t aiming for a long ride because pushing the slow bike along is hard work and my knees are feeling the recent efforts a bit.

It was a grand day for a slow pedal though and I enjoyed my thirty miles a lot.   I had noticed a sign regarding road improvements near the end of the Winterhope road so I took a short diversion to investigate.  Things looked promising as I found a brand new pothole free surface but sadly, it didn’t go on for long…

Winterhope road

The end of the road

…and I was soon on the old road again.  I went far enough to take a picture….

Winterhope road

….and then turned back and joined the Callister road again where I stopped to take a picture of the bridge at Falford which I often cross.

As it is at the bottom of a steep hill, I am usually going too fast to think about stopping but after my diversion today, I was going at a more suitable stopping speed.

Falford bridge

The gorse along the road to Gair is always out early and it is looking good already this year.

gorse

I went up to Kennedy’s Corner where I enjoyed the variable geometry of these three roofs.

red roofs

From there my route was downhill onto the Solway plain and I could look over the Solway Firth to the Lake District hills beyond as I came over the top of the hill.

view of skiddaw

On my way down to Chapelknowe, I passed a unusual lamb.  I think that these two are Jacob sheep.

lamb

Once through Chapelknowe, I headed down to Corries Mill and on my way, I met a rush of traffic.

pony cart

I was happy to pause while it passed my by.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been reading an interesting book about our end of the border between Scotland and England called ‘The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England’ written by Graham Robb, so I was happy to sneak over the border into England on my way and get a picture of the tower and church at Kirkandrews-on-cycEsk  in part of the Debatable Lands.

Kirkandrews tower and church

It was still a lovely day when I got home and unsurprisingly, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  I took a look round and was very pleased to see that the hellebores were still looking good,  the fancy primroses had more or less survived the frosty nights and the sun had brought the winter aconites out.

flowers march

I think that the crocuses look at their best in the late afternoon sunshine…

crocus

…and I like a semi circle of them which Mrs Tootlepedal has arranged round the foot of the silver pear.

crocus

Our friends Mike and Alison have returned from seeing their grandchildren in New Zealand and Mrs Tootlepedal laid on a pot of tea and a fancy iced cake or two to welcome them back.  They had gone through a rather alarming experience when a cyclone had pushed a high tide under the floor of the beach house where they were staying but other than that, they had had a wonderful time.

I will have to practise my flute now as regular Friday night music should resume.

We are hoping for another sunny day tomorrow and perhaps on Monday too but after that we are back to cool weather with the threat of rain and even snow again.  Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.

A goldfinch, the flying bird of the day, is rather different from the usual chaffinch.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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The guest pictures for this coming  week are not from guest contributors but from me in my role as guest during the past week.  I only had my phone with me and took few pictures but here is Mauri, Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother, tucking in at her 100th birthday party.

Mauri at 100

We had a splendid week’s holiday and I stuck to my plan to leave my cameras at home, avoid cycling and keep away from computers with the result that my hand was much rested by the time that we got back.

As well as the centenary birthday party we had a meal with two of my sisters and my stepmother, visited our daughter’s allotment, had brunch at Brixton market and then took the train to the south west where we were royally entertained by Mrs Tootlepedal’s cousin Sally and her husband Richard.  They took us walking on the downs, picnicking in a stately garden and attending worship in Salisbury cathedral so we had some very full days made better by good weather on our trip.

In fact we had so much fun that we may need another holiday to recover.

When we got home yesterday evening, the wind was fairly whistling through the garden so it was with some trepidation that we went out this morning.  The sun was out and there were still some flowers left.

roses

poppy

I dead headed a poppy bed after breakfast and then paid a second visit later in the morning to find that there were still over 50 poppy heads waiting to be nipped off so it was pleasing that there there were still a lot of poppies standing.

I went up to the High Street to help Sandy take down our camera club exhibition which he had looked after last week.  There had been quite a few visitors and a couple of pictures had been sold and it had gone well enough to repeat the experience again next year.

Sandy came back for coffee and then I set about reducing the grass  on the middle lawn, around the greenhouse and on the drying green.

There were quite a lot of white butterflies about and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a lone Red Admiral among them.  It was a bit battered.

red admiral butterfly

The butterflies were busy sipping nectar.

butterflies

To celebrate my safe return, Sandy had suggested a walk after lunch so when he appeared,  we drove down to the border and walked along Scots’ Dike.

In theory this should be a raised mound about three and a half miles in length bordered by two ditches.  It marks the border between Scotland and England where it leaves the river Esk and heads for the River Sark.

In practice it is a narrow stretch of woodland and the ditches and mound are hard to find.  The path from the road to the wood was round a field and full of nettles but we battled through…

Scots' Dike path

Not so much a path as a mini jungle

…until we came to a platform…Scots' Dike

…with a carved piece of wood….

Scots' Dike

…which might show where the ditch and mounds were.

There was a well trodden path through the woods….

Scots' Dike

…so we followed it up one side of the plantation for a bit and then  back down the other side, looking for things to see as we went.

fungus and moss

Other things looked at us from the fields beside the woods.

donkey and cows

We came out of the woods and enjoyed the view over the Esk and Liddle valleys…

Esk valleys

…battled back along the rough path, checking out the wild life as we went…

wildflowers scots dike

umbellifer with insects

…and reached the car again.

Since we were pointing south, we continued for about half a mile over the border and visited Kirkandrews Church.

Kirkandrews Church

We didn’t go into the church although the door was open but walked along the river bank until we came to the suspension bridge, built to allow the people from Netherby Hall to cross the river to go to church.

Kirkandrews bridge

There were cows on the far side so we didn’t venture any further.

Kirkandrews cow

The bridge is a delicate structure.

Kirkandrews bridge

The Esk was full of water and looking lovely.

Esk at Kirkandrews bridge

As was the park on the Netherby side of the river.

Netherby

Some readers may realise that Young Lochinvar could have galloped over these fields.

We glanced at the fine tower overlooking the church…

Kirkandrews Tower

…and headed for home.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we enjoyed a good work out. After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel so it hadn’t taken long for a familiar routine of mowing, snapping and tootling to be re-established after our visit to the alluring fleshpots and countryside of the deep south.

The flower of the day might have been a Himalayan basalm beside the river at Kirkandrews….

Himalayan balsam

…but it is an invasive species and frowned upon these days so one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s dahlias takes pride of place instead.

dahlia

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who is not too old to take a walk along the track above the town.

View from Stubholm

A very brisk wind greeted me when I got up this morning and this provided a convenient excuse for a morning of not cycling after yesterday’s efforts.  Instead, I had coffee with Sandy, mowed two lawns and wandered about looking at flowers.

There were plenty to see. The azaleas and rhododendrons are progressing well…

azaleas and rhododendron

…with more still to come as you can see.

The white rhodies deserved a shot of their own, I thought.

rhododendron

Other flowers were available in charming clumps.

euphorbia, chive, allium and potentilla

(from top left clockwise) Euphorbia, Allium, Potentilla and Chive

The flowers may have been colourful but the bird colour of the day in the garden was black.

jackdaw and blackbird

While I was sipping coffee with Sandy in the morning, we agreed to have a walk after lunch so I made a nourishing pot of soup for my midday meal to keep my strength up and went off with him in the afternoon.

Incidentally, keen grammarians will have spotted the transferred epithet in that sentence about the soup.  It isn’t the pot that is nourishing but the soup of course.  The government thinks that children in primary schools in England will be improved by knowing things like that but it has never done me much practical good. A bit of basic horticultural knowledge would have been more useful.

Sandy drove us down to below Irvine House and we walked back up the fishermen’s path beside the River Esk.  It was not sunny, apart from one or two tiny breaks in the cloud but it was quiet and warm enough in the shelter of the steep river banks.

River Esk

We were hoping to see some river birds and we did catch glimpses of a heron, goosanders, mallards and dippers but they were in flighty mood and we couldn’t catch them on camera.

We did see pied and grey wagtails, who were a bit more co-operative…

wagtails

…but they tended to dart away when we got close.

We walked up towards Irvine House…

Irvine House

…keeping our eye out for anything interesting.

It was not hard to spot a wild flower or two, both colourful….

wild flowers beside Esk

… and pale.

wild flowers beside Esk

When we got Irvine House, we disturbed a pair of oyster catchers.  One was most indignant.

Oyster catcher

We must have been near their nest.

The river was looking good and the walk, as ever, was balm for the soul.

River Esk

River Esk

We didn’t have as long as we would have liked to hang about taking pictures…

Sandy on banks of Esk

…because we were both due to attend a meeting of volunteers at the Information Hub so we had to hasten back down the path to the car. We passed a lot of the Pyrenean Valerian on the way.

pyrenean valerian

Fortunately, my part in the meeting was very brief and I was soon at home looking through the 150 pictures that I  had taken in the garden and along the river.  When will I ever learn?

I even went upstairs and took another one to show how the garden is looking at the moment.  Mrs Tootlepedal has edged the lawns.

garden view

I had to sift through the mound of photos quite quickly because we had the second of our Langholm Choir concerts to go to in the evening.  This one was at Kirkandrews-on-Esk…

Kirkandrews-on-Esk church

…which is quite a small church so that the singers were a bit squashed up when it came to performing.  Still the concert went well and although the choir beat the audience by one when it came to quantity, the audience was well pleased with the quality of the choir and they hope to see us back to sing again soon.

The only down side of the evening was the discovery, when we came out of the church, that it was pouring with rain.  After a pleasant day, we hadn’t thought that it was necessary to take a coat so there was a hurried scamper for the car.

We have only one more practice and one more concert with the Carlisle choir and then the spring singing season will be over and serious gardening and cycling will be on the menu.

My thumb has benefited from a couples of weeks of rest so I picked up the big camera today and the result is not one but two flying birds of the day, one from the garden in the morning…

flying jackdaw

…and one from the river in the afternoon.

Oyster catcher

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to the Belper River Gardens.  He was looking across the river which had been widened to make a boating pond.

Belper

It was the day of the Choir of the Year audition for our Carlisle community choir at the Sage in Gateshead, just across the river Tyne from Newcastle.

We had an early start as we had to be in Newcastle, 70 miles away, by half past eight.  Luckily, it was a beautiful day and the drive was a pleasure in itself.  We picked up our friend Sue, the garden container queen, on the way as we went through Brampton.

Apart from missing a turn just before our destination and getting hopelessly dazed and confused in a never ending one way system, the journey was without incident and we met up with the bus party from Carlisle in the Hilton Hotel.  The  hotel had generously offered us a business meeting room for our warm up.  It is a hotel with fine views across the Tyne.

The Tyne Bridge

The Tyne Bridge in one direction…

High Level Bridge

…and High Level Bridge (opened 1849) in the other.

After the warm up, we made our way across to the Sage, which turned out to have a magnificent hall for us to sing in.  The arrangements were very well organised and we were able to listen to all the other choirs and be finished before lunch time.  One choir was outstanding and won best choir of the day and was the only choir from the audition to go forward to the next stage of judging.  We were disappointed not to catch the judges’ eye and will have to wait to see the adjudications to before we know how close we came.

The Sage, like the hotel, is right on the banks of the Tyne and we could see a street market on the quay on the far bank when we looked across.

Newcastle

Mrs Tootlepedal and I are intending to go across to Newcastle  later in the year as tourists.

I get very nervous on these big competition occasions and as a result, I don’t do my best and personally I would be quite pleased if the choir gave up competitions and just stuck to the occasional concert.

The drive back was as beautiful as the drive over and we were got home in the early afternoon.

I was quite tired after the early start and the effort of performing but once I had had a cup of tea, the adrenalin kicked in and I mowed a lawn, photographed some flowers and went for a twenty mile bicycle ride.

The first of the Welsh poppies are poking their heads through the shelter of a bench.

welsh poppy

welsh poppy

There is sweet rocket in the vegetable garden next to the peony…

sweet rocket

…and a frog or two in the pond.

frog

I got really close to a rhododendron blossom.

rhododendron

I had to wait for some threatening clouds to pass by before I set off cycling and I improved the shining hour by making some bread while I waited.

The clouds drifted off after I got going and although it was still cloudy as I passed the Hollows Tower…

Hollows Tower

The skies had cleared by the time that I reached the Tower at Kirkandrews five miles further south.

Kirkandrews tower

This tower looks down on the church where our Langholm choir will sing on Wednesday.

Kirkandrews

Near the church is a blasted tree which looks as though it should have fallen down many years ago.

Kirkandrews tree

This was as far south as I went and as I crossed the border on the way home, I stopped to take a picture of a long distance cyclist who was on his way from Anglesey to the very north of Scotland.  He posed in front of the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ sign and I clicked away but as I took the picture of him with his camera, you can’t see it.

To make up for this omission, I stopped shortly afterwards to put the zoom on the Lumix to the test by pointing it at the Riddings Viaduct, a mile away.

Riddings viaduct

I was impressed.  The viaduct used to carry the Langholm branch railway line over the Liddel Water, which at that point, divides England from Scotland (Scotland on the left).

Shortly after I crossed the Esk in Canonbie, the skies began to look so threatening….

Threatening skies

…that I stopped to take one last picture of the scene and then put my head down and pedalled as fast as I could to get home.  I needn’t have worried though, as the gloominess had dissipated by the time that I got to Langholm and I could have gone home at my own pace and still stayed dry.

And that, as they say, concluded the entertainment for the day.

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Bill J, shows a sparrowhawk outside his kitchen window.  Bill tells me that the hawk left after killing the pigeon and that he was just going out to pick it up to cook for himself, when the hawk came back and claimed it.

sparrowhawk

The weather forecasters seem to be enjoying making our flesh creep with horrendous visions of floods and gales but our day dawned in very different mode today.  There was a glorious sunrise behind the house….

sunrise

…and a rainbow on Meikleholm Hill to the front.

rainbow

The low sun caught a neighbour’s window and proved beyond any doubt that making perfectly flat glass is a tricky job.

Cruden's window

Nice and symmetrical though.

As it was Sunday, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in church and as the temperature was high enough at 37°F to avoid any danger of ice, I got the speedy bike out and took a spin down the main road to the south.

The sun had gone in by the time that I set out and a few drops of rain as I left the town made me worry about the wisdom of going for a pedal but soon the rain stopped and in the light wind, cycling was quite comfortable.

I didn’t want to go too far as my daughter is staying with us, so I turned for home after 10 miles, stopping to take a picture of the church and tower at Kirkandrews as a memento of the trip.

Kirkandrews

When  got home, the ladies of the house were full of excitement about the possibility of another trip to the seaside so I had my shower and after a slice of burnt toast and a mouthful of tangy Italian goat’s cheese, donned my chauffeur’s cap and set off on a trip to the Solway shore.

Somehow I found a moment in all the bustle to look out of the kitchen window.

chaffinches

An appreciative audience enjoy some stunt flying by a chaffinch.

After yesterday’s trip to the North Sea on the east coast, it seemed only fair to visit the west coast today.

Our destination was Powfoot and we arrived shortly before high tide.  The Solway was full and turbulent.

Solway at Powfoot

The play of the light as clouds scooted past overhead made for interesting challenges.  The English shore is almost completely masked by a curtain of rain in the the shot above.

Looking the other way, the village of Powfoot looked quite serene.

Powfoot

It was very windy.  It is not often that you see breakers off the shore at Powfoot.

Solway waves

As we drove along the road beside the sea, we had passed heaps of debris left by Friday’s high tide and gales.  The sea wasn’t so fearsome today so we parked the car and went for a short walk along the beach.    Great heaps of gravel and seashells had been left by the flood.

seashells

And the shore had a battered air about it.

powfoot

The rain was now covering the Nith estuary and hiding Criffel from our view.

There were birds about in the high winds.

seagull

A gull heading into the wind.

Crow

A crow finding something interesting at the water’s edge.

Several flocks of sea birds flew past but as they were going downwind at speed, they were out of sight before I could get a focus on them.  One small group headed back upwind.    I would appreciate a knowledgeable identification.

Solway birds

Mrs Tootlepedal had a worthy go at being a latter day King Knut (Canute)….

King Canute

…but time and tide wait for no one and so we went back to the car which was parked only a few feet from the water by the time we got to it.

Feeling more prudent than brave, we drove back down the road, hoping to get a cup of tea in the Golf Hotel but it was closed.  We drove on towards Annan.  The river there had just burst its banks again at the height of the tide.

River Annan

It was raining so we didn’t dally but drove on towards Gretna.  On our way, we took a short diversion to Brow Houses to have a last look at the Solway.  It had stopped raining when we got there but the clouds were heavier overhead.  In contrast, some rare sunlight was falling on the English shore.

Caldbeck from Brow Houses

It made for a dramatic sea and cloudscape.

solway

I got Pocketcam out and it took an altogether more peaceful view of the scene.

solway

The road where we parked the car showed just how high Friday’s flood tide had been.

debris

We considered stopping to look at the Gretna starlings but the light had got very poor and the rain had started again so we went home and enjoyed some warm crumpets with a reviving cup of tea.

We were feeling very healthy after two bracing seaside walks in two days beside two different seas.  Healthy but tired.

Once again, we arrived home just as the light completely faded so the rest of the afternoon and evening were spent in eating and knitting and editing photos by the various parties involved.

I have put too many pictures in today but there may be not much opportunity tomorrow so things should balance out.

There is a feast of flying birds of the day today.

Busy feeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows the scone delivery system at work.  This is the empty scone receptacle being transported home after scone consumption had taken place.

Dropscone

We enjoyed another fine day today but Dropscone had to go round the morning run by himself again as I was taking the speedy bike to the bike shop to get it repaired and collecting bird seed from the Langholm Initiative office for the moorland bird feeders.  Fortunately, Wauchope Cottage was on his route and we were able to enjoy coffee and scones as we got back from our respective journeys almost simultaneously.

While we were sipping and chatting, I noticed this brambling on the feeder.

brambling on feeder

The little siskin seems less than enchanted to see the brambling.

You may think it a rather rude for someone to leap up in the middle of a conversation and take a picture out of the window.  It is but Dropscone is very tolerant.

When he left, I was kept entertained by a series of close encounters of the bird kind.

sparrow approaching

A greenfinch and a goldfinch send out hate rays as a determined sparrow is inward bound.

greenfinches

Two greenfinches go head to head.

goldfinch and chaffinch

A goldfinch sets a chaffinch back on its heels in a manner of speaking.

Meantime in the perching area, all was quiet.

greenfinch

A greenfinch looks at the goings on below.

brambling and chaffinch

A brambling and chaffinch give a handy guide to how to tell them apart.

Down below, a blackbird picked up the pieces among the primulas.

blackbird

Mrs Tootlepedal had been at a church choir practice and when she returned, I went off to the moorland feeder station to fill up the feeders.  There were a lot of birds about but mostly the same as I can see in the garden and mostly behaving much the same too.

greenfinch gang hut

This is the greenfinch gang hut.

Even with Cat’s big feeders, there is still competition for places.

greenfinch

I didn’t have to wait long to see a woodpecker…

Woodpecker

woodpecker

…or two.

When I got home, I went to the greenhouse to make a record of a strange occurrence.  We didn’t plant tomatoes this year but just to show us, this one has come up through the floor of the greenhouse and made fruit in the cold and wet with no help from us at all.

tomato

After lunch we got togged up and went out on the bikes again.  This time we went south of the town and up the hill at Broomholm.  Mrs Tootlepedal fairly whizzed up the hill and is definitely feeling the benefit of some fairly regular cycling.  We each went our own way when we got the Hollows, Mrs Tootlepedal heading for home while I took the old A7 to Canonbie.

The old A7

The old A7 at the landslip which closed the road for traffic.

 

The old A7

A little further along the road.

Once through Canonbie, I headed to Longtown but made a short diversion to visit Kirkandrews-on-Esk.

Kirkandrews-on-Esk

The pretty Anglican church with an inset of its sundial.

It is set in a beautiful spot.

 

The Esk at Kirkandrews

The River Esk runs past the church

Kirkandrews Tower

It is watched over by this tower.

The reason for my visit to the bike shop was to take them a tyre and a mudguard which I wanted them to fit while the bike was in there.  Sadly the tyre was not needed as it was not one of a pair which needed to be put on but one of a pair which had already been taken off.  In addition, the mudguard was not a replacement for a broken back mudguard but the front mudguard which went with it but which I had never needed to put on.  If that doesn’t make much sense to you, it didn’t make much sense to me either but in the end I worked it out and turned round rather disconsolately to take them home again.  Retirement may be great fun but growing old has its drawbacks.

Luckily the weather remained beautiful and the wind remained very light so the trip home by way of Milltown of Sark and the Kerr was a great pleasure and gave me the chance to add to my collection of bridges.

Kerr bridge

The little bridge at the Kerr

It turned out to be another 30 mile round trip so that was very satisfactory.

The rest of the day was a musical treat, with my flute pupil Luke continuing to make good progress and a very jolly journey later on through a trio for recorder and cello by Telemann and two Handel recorder sonatas with Isabel and Mike.

We have had a good spell of autumn weather over the last few days and even though it hasn’t made up for a miserable summer, we are very grateful for it when it comes.

The flying bird of the day is a woodpecker.  It is not a good shot but I don’t get many chances to catch a woodpecker in flight so it has gone in anyway.

flying woodpecker

 

 

 

 

 

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