Posts Tagged ‘lamb’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent and shows her daughter Hannah taking part in the Newcastle Vamos festival celebrating Latino music.  What fun.

HannahThe wind was all that was forecast today (40-50mph) and sometimes it felt as though it was even stronger than that and we had worries about trees in the garden but the rain, after a wet start, was not anything like as bad as we feared and although there were showers, there was sunshine too.

The temperature had fallen to a feeble 10 degrees C and in the wind and rain, I had to wrap very well to go to the monthly producers’ market for supplies of fish and cheese.

In lieu of gardening or pedalling, we sat down to watch the tennis over lunch and in the early afternoon and the better conditions let me get out from time to time to see if there was anything new in the garden.

welsh poppy and hellebore

I saw mostly old favourites like the welsh poppy and hellebore which were unbowed by the weather.

rose and euphorbia

The first sighting of a rose and a flourishing euphorbia

In general things were waving about so much that trying to take photos was not much fun so I went back in.

In the end we got bored and seeing a sunny spell, we resolved to go for a walk.  After quite a bit of discussion about where to go to miss the worst of the weather, we settled for a walk along one side of the Tarras and back by the other mostly in woodland.  With typical good timing, no sooner had we driven out of the town to get to our starting point than the heavens opened and rain and wind lashed the car.  We parked at the Moorland feeders and waited for the storm to subside.  It was gloomy.

View of TarrasAfter a while, it did brighten up but Mrs Tootlepedal had lost all confidence in the day and decided to go home.  As the sun was shining when we got back to Langholm, I got her to drop me off at the Kilngreen while she went back to do some decorating.  My plan was to do a two mile walk to take advantage of the sunshine and hide under big trees if it should rain on the way.  This time the plan worked out beautifully and I was just beside some trees that were well supplied with thick foliage when it started to rain heavily.

The shower didn’t last long and I was soon on my way again.

The same tall wild flowers that Sandy and I had seen beside the Esk were growing beside the track today.

wild flowersI don’t know what they are but they obviously like the present conditions as the tallest were nearly up to my head height.

I walked along the top of the woods above the Castleholm….


The bluebells are going over but were still a fine sight.

…and came down at the North Lodge before walking back along the Esk.  When the sun was out, everything was green.

Pheasant hatchery track
Pheasant hatchery trackThe sky was blue but the clouds were racing past at a speed which promised that the next shower would not be far away.

TimpenOn the Castleholm, the trees provided a colourful backdrop to my walk.

Castleholm treesCastleholm treesAll the way round the walk, I was able to admire the fauna as well as the flora.



A rabbit hiding behind a buttercup…not entirely successfully

As well as the bigger picture, there was some detail to enjoy as well.

leaf sproutoak flowersOn the whole, though, I didn’t dawdle too much as the sky clouded over and a few drops of rain added some impetus to my homeward speed.

The walk was a bonus and pretty well sheltered from the wind so in spite of the low temperature, it didn’t feel as cold as I had expected.  Of course, having my big coat and a woolly hat on helped.

There was plenty of starling action again at the garden feeders but I thought that I probably had had enough starling pictures this week so I have put in a sparrow picture to show that there are other birds in the garden too.

starling and sparrow

Oh all right, I did put one starling in as well.

Things are due to calm down a bit meteorologically tomorrow and then get warmer on Monday so I hope that cycling will be back on the agenda soon.  Meanwhile, I am trying with only limited success to learn a song off by heart for tomorrow’s Carlisle choir practice.  Thank goodness the conductor only wants one piece without the music in hand.

Today’s flying bird is an evening greenfinch among the flying insects.


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I apologise for today’s guest picture but it is another from the St Bees Sportive and I have put it in because I paid good money for it so I am going to use it.

St BeesI also apologise for breaking my own rule about how many pictures I should put in a post.  I was surprised by the weather today and took far more photographs than I thought that I would and then had some difficulty in choosing which ones to throw away so if you are pushed for time, look away now.   I will keep the words to a minimum.

I started the day by scarifiying the front lawn.  I did the proposed paths yesterday and the proposed meadow parts today, using a more ferocious blade.

front lawn

There is still any amount of moss left sadly.

After the scarifying, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did a lot of reorganisation in our upstairs rooms following the end wall work.  Mrs Tootlepedal managed to get a saw and resize a desk in no time.  She says she is never going to do a major reorganisation again…ever.

After this the sun came out and I went out too.


hyacinths  and bees

Some smaller than usual bees were enjoying the grape hyacinths

lawn bird

In spite of my scarifying efforts, there was still enough left on the middle lawn to keep various birds interested.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiders’ Guild meeting and I lounged around.

After she came back, she went into the greenhouse to plant seeds and I went for a walk.  It immediately started to rain.

I kept going regardless and as I walked up the Kirk Wynd past the golf course, I could see distant sunshine.

Distant sunshineI paused in the rain to capture two prickly subjects…

gorse and bramble….had another look at the prospects…..

distant sunshine…took my courage in both hands, ignored the rain and walked up onto the open hill.  As I got there, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

WhitaThe rest of my walk was in perfect sunshine and I will put the pictures in from it without comment for the most part.

Quarry track

Esk valley south of langholm

The view down the Esk valley

WhitaWhitasheepsheeplambIt is a grand walk for views of the town.

LangholmLangholmEven the sheep were looking from the viewpoint.

sheepAs I walked along the track I spotted what I think is a raven circling above my head and giving out discordant calls.


No doubt some kind person will tell me if I am wrong

My immediate target was the wall at the quarry.

wall on whitaI clambered over the wall using a stile and then followed the track down to the path to the Round House.

spring trees

The trees are now coming into leaf

woodI came to the round house.

round house

This was built by a local landowner to be a place to sit and admire the view but it was vandalised many years ago and is now shut up. A bench has been provided for view lovers instead.

Even the walk along the road when I got to it was very pleasant, as it was rich in roadside flowers.nettle and forget me not feverfew and dandelionI walked back along the river hoping to see a goosander.  I did…but it flew past me as such speed that I couldn’t catch it.  I had to make do with more static targets.

Esk at LangholmLangholm Parish ChurchAs you can see, it was a perfect evening by the time that I got home and warm enough to walk without a jacket on.

If you have lasted this long, I hope that you have enjoyed coming along with me on the walk.  You can probably see why I took so many pictures today.

I didn’t have a very good time trying to get a flying bird of the day today but I nearly got a very good one.


It had just landed before I got organised.

A regular chaffinch in one of the gloomier moments of the day will have to do.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to Rye.  It speaks for itself.  Simple.

Rye April 2015 005I had to speak to myself today because Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to commune with TWGSP.  My conversation with myself touched on cycling but when Dropscone rang up to say that the morning run had taken him ten minutes longer than usual because of the fierce winds, that conversation came to a halt.

I did a crossword, hung out some washing, emptied a bin, put a week of the newspaper database into the computer and thought about stuff in an arbitrary way and in this fashion, managed to pass the morning quite pleasantly.

A persistent pigeon spent a lot of time outside the window….

pigeon…and even made a bold attempt to get the coveted flying bird of the day title.


But it was more of a jump than a flight.

At one time, I was watching the bees on the plum tree through the kitchen window and I wondered if the other fruit was being attend to as well.  I went to investigate.

blackcurrant and gooseberry

The blackcurrant and gooseberry are being looked after.


The apples are not quite ready yet.

I made myself a pot of carrot soup for my lunch and then put a second week of the newspaper into the Langholm Archive database.  The clouds were scurrying over the sky, leaving some sunny spells and in one of these, I went for a walk.

I had hoped that I would find a woodland path surrounded  by fresh green leaves.  I found some wild flowers….

bluebell, nettle and oxalis

Bluebell, nettle and oxalis

…and I found the path…

Round House path…but sadly the birch trees have not some into leaf yet.  The view backwards was a consolation….

Langholm…and the path itself is delightful….

round house path…but I had to make do with promises rather than the real thing.

promises of springpromises of springpromises of springIt was a good walk but not the green delight that I had hoped for.

I stopped near Skippers Bridge but a brief rain shower ruined the light and I enjoyed the river worn stones instead of looking at the bigger picture.

EskThe shower soon passed and I walked along the Murtholm to get home.  There are lambs in every field round the town at the moment.

lambLuckily the grey clouds went skimming past me and the rest of the way home was nicely sunlit.

MurtholmThe wild garlic will soon be making itself obvious.

garlicThe three mile walk gave me an appetite for tea and toast and I was just boiling the kettle when I saw a welcome blue tit on the feeder.

blue titMrs Tootlepedal arrived back safely from communing with Matilda and as she had combined her grandmotherly activities with a stroll round John Lewis with an eye on some useful remnants, she felt that the day had been well spent.

The remnants will become cushion covers in the course of time.

After tea, I went off to the Archive Centre where I met Sandy and he helped me put two more weeks of the index into the database so it had been a very productive day of archive work even if I hadn’t done much else.

By the time that I got home, one of the remnants had already been transmogrified.

remnantMrs Tootlepedal wields a nifty needle.

I am hoping for a less windy day tomorrow as I need to get out on the bike and try to see how fit I am.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch for once.  I have had complaints of too many flying birds with their wings tucked up lately so I have gone for the fully unfurled look today.


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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my recorder playing friend Susan who saw this fine skyscape on a recent cycle outing.

skyscapeWe had a sharp frost during the night but the ground was remarkably ice free in the morning and while there was still frozen water in a bucket outside the back door at 11 o’clock, I was able to walk up to the town to do some business after breakfast without having to watch my step.  I was then able to walk back up to the town a short while later to do the other business which I had forgotten on my first trip.  Fortunately, it was a sunny day so it was no great hardship.

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her church choir practice, we had time for a cup of coffee before setting off to visit another member of our recorder group, though presently retired from tootling, Sue.  She lives deep in the Cumbrian countryside beyond Brampton and we arrived just in time for a tour of her garden and lunch.

She has a large garden and she and Mrs Tootlepedal spent some time discussing gardening and composting.  The lunch was excellent and it was enhanced by some of Sue’s home made sour dough bread.  Even better than the food though,  was the view from the window as we ate.  Sue likes birds and has several feeders outside  her window which provided us with a steady diet of birds to watch.

The star of the show for me was a nuthatch, one of my favourite birds.

nuthatchThere were small birds of every description, goldfinches and robins…

goldfinch and robin…great tits and house sparrows…

great tit sparrow….coal tits and blue tits…

coal tit blue tit…and even a greater spotted woodpecker but it lurked behind a branch and flew off without posing for me.  Sue tells me that her dunnocks or hedge sparrows have learned to fly up to her feeders.  The ones in our garden won’t do that so it was a pleasure to see one perched on a branch ready to go for some seed.

dunnockThere are obviously advantages to living in the country.

We had intended to go bicycling with Sue but a forecast of rain in the afternoon combined with a strong and very chilly breeze persuaded us to leave our bikes at home.  However, it was quite dry after lunch so we set off for a short circular walk on very quiet roads instead.

Sue lives on the very last gasp of the Pennines as they fall away into the Solway plain and a short but steep climb out the village of Talkin soon gave us some splendid views across the Eden valley towards the Lake District,

Eden valleyA short while later, we had a panoramic view across the whole Solway plain and Sue and Mrs Tootlepedal who had binoculars with the them, could see the monument of Whita Hill above Langholm, twenty five miles away to the north.

I pointed my zoom lens at the lake District hills.

lake districtIt was a most rewarding short walk.

As well as the long views, we could look down on Talkin Tarn…..

Talkin Tarn…admire the brilliant gorse in the sunshine against a backdrop of very threatening grey clouds…..

gorse…enjoy a stand of Scots pines….

Scots pines…and peer at a host of wild flowers on the hedgerows.  The strong breeze made it hard to get good pictures so these were the best that I could do.

wild flowerswild flowerswild flowersThat last one on the right is improbably called a Moschatel or the Town Hall Clock (because it has one flower facing upwards and another four facing in four separate directions like a town hall clock in a tower).

I found some blackthorn and local lichens to enjoy too.

blackthorn and lichenSue loves this short walk and was delighted to find that we thought that it was wonderful too.  What made it even better on this occasion was the many heavy showers which we could see on all sides and which were raining on other people and not us.

We were serenaded by curlews and oyster catchers as we walked and I had hopes of catching a flying bird of the day as a curlew flew close overhead but I was too slow and it was gone before I could catch it.

Sue's walkSue and Mrs Tootlepedal looking at some very dark clouds in front of them.

I should mention that we saw a little lamb….


When we got back to the house, it was time for us to go home and we managed to fit in some useful shopping on our way.  We really enjoyed our visit and we are determined to go back when the weather is good and let Sue show us some good cycling routes.

The gloomy forecast, which we had avoided on a walk, arrived with a vengeance when we got home…

snow…and we had another snap snow storm with flakes the size of tennis balls.  The flowers won’t know what to do, 17°C and sunny one week and 2°C and snowing the next.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a very enjoyable time paying duets.  Now that his exam has been successfully dealt with, I am intending to find as much music as possible that he can play for pure pleasure.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and we hit on some relaxed tempos for our playing which allowed us to enjoy a stress free session and play many of the right notes at the right time.

Although I saw a lot of birds during the day, I was unable to catch a flying bird of the day so a kind nuthatch has agreed to act as perching bird of the day instead.


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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce’s recent tour of the north of England and shows a very uncharacteristic yellow telephone box.  It is part of Hull Telecoms, the only place in Britain which doesn’t bow the knee to British Telecom.

yellow phone boxWe had another day without the fierce winds of late which was very welcome.  Less welcome was some persistent morning rain which did not encourage cycling.

Just as welcome as the light winds was the arrival of Dropscone at coffee time carrying traditional Friday treacle scones and a gift of leeks which he had purchased at a very advantageous price on an early morning  shopping trip to Carlisle.

The treacle scones were disposed of with coffee and the leeks were later turned into leek and potato soup for lunch.

While we were drinking our coffee, we had the first visit for some time from some starlings.

starlingsAnd during the morning at least one blue tit paid several visits.  I am not a great blue tit observer but I think one at least of the pictures may show a second bird.

blue titsDuring the day. Mrs Tootlepedal was in full decorating mode, filling, painting, stripping and painting again.  I spent a good deal of time perfecting the art of not getting under her feet.  I have had a good deal of practice at this and am pretty good at it.

I did get asked to one little bit of helping and I added getting the key for Monday’s camera club meeting, doing the crossword, chopping some of the neighbour’s ex cherry tree up and rehearsing the tenor part for Mozart’s requiem to my morning activities before making the soup so it wasn’t an entirely wasted time.

After lunch, it stopped raining and the prospects looked reasonable enough to tempt me out for a walk.  I am trying to get a mix between cycling and walking now that I have got a walkable knee in place.

Over the last three weeks I have been up three of Langholm’s four hills so I thought that I would round the quartet off with a walk up Castle Hill today.

I cheated by driving round to the Lodge Walks before starting to walk.

There are lambs all around now…

sheep and lambs…and I passed these in the field before I came to the open hill.

As I may have remarked before, our hills are tightly packed round the town and are quite steep so it doesn’t take you long to get excellent views.  I was soon in a position to look back at the other three hills.

Langholm's hillsCastle Hill gives you the best view of the three parts of the town…

LangholmThe old town is on the left, the new town in the centre and Holmwood and Meikleholm on the right,  I like the way that the town seems to lap up against the surrounding hills.

Other views were available from the top of the hill.

Potholm and Milnholm

Potholm and Milnholm

The B709

The road to Bentpath


The road to Hawick


The patchwork of fields on the lower slopes of Whita

Esk and langholm

The vehicle and pedestrian bridges over the Esk joining the old and new towns.

The are some lovely ridges to walk along and I am hoping to get some use out of them in the months to come.

castle hill ridgeThe ground on Castle Hill was made difficult for a walker by having been heavily trampled by cattle but luckily they have been temporarily taken off the hill so I was able to pick my way up and down in peace.

Instead of going straight back down to the car, I wandered through two woods…

two woods on castle Hill…until I joined the track to Holmhead and the North Lodge.

It wasn’t a peaceful part of my walk as something was making the most horrendous din up a tree.  To my surprise, upon examination it turned out to be robin giving it six bells from a bough.


It was so busy shouting that it didn’t mind me snapping away underneath it at all.

On my way through the coniferous wood, my eye was caught by a patch of silver.  I thought it was some sort wet grass and took a picture of it because it looked a little strange.  When I looked at it on my computer, I was delighted by the picture that I had taken but baffled as to what it is.

silver in the woodI rely on some knowledgeable reader to help me out here.  I have never knowingly seen this before.

I walked down to the road at the pheasant hatchery and was able to see that the wind had taken one more victim.

willowThis willow has fallen exactly on the spot where Sandy and I have often stood to watch the nuthatches at their nest.  It has brought down one of the branches of that tree too.  It is a lesson not to go bird watching in a gale.

Just as I got to the car, I saw a large patch of fungus on a mound.

fungusIt seemed unseasonal.

When I got home, the feeder was busy….

siskins…and then the sun came out for a few minutes and brightened up the day.

primula and daffodilBut it soon went in again.

Mrs Tootlepedal finally stopped decorating for the day and I cycled up to the chip shop to get her a well deserved fish supper as a reward for hard work.

I have been looking at my cycle stats and found that I had cycled 278 miles in March.  This is about half of what I did in February last year but it is a start on the road to full recovery.  A few warm days in April would be most welcome.

Between the rain in the morning and sun from the wrong direction in the late afternoon, flying birds were hard to come by so this rather grainy one will have to do.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Bruce.  He ordered 28 litter pickers from two different sources.  24 of them came in the small box at the front of his picture.  The other four from Amazon came in one enormous box each.  This is the economics of madness.

litter pickersIt was sunny when I woke up this morning.  I was so surprised that I had to have a little lie down.  In fact, it was sunny and misty at the same time and I had hopes that the mist would lift and we would have a fine day so I got the fairly speedy bike out after breakfast.

Instead of my usual westerly route, I pedalled northwards today.  It is a fine cycling route but I don’t use it very often because the first few miles are appallingly surfaced and it is very bumpy.

Things looked promising as I looked over the Esk valley soon after the start.

Gates of EdenIt looked as though the clouds would soon be gone but the further I went along, the more the clouds thickened up and by the time that I was half way round, all signs of blue sky had disappeared.

Still, I had some sunshine left as I pedalled up to Bailliehill, looking down on the River Esk below me.

River EskI stopped to take a photograph of the meeting of the White and Black Esk rivers just past Bailliehill.

The White Esk

The White Esk, this was the one I would be following for the next part of my ride.

The Black Esk

The Black Esk. This is dammed further up for a reservoir which provides Langholm with its water supply.

Just a few yards upstream, the Black Esk is crossed by a striking bridge, obviously very popular with birds.

Black Esk bridgeI cycled on towards Eskdalemuir, following the route of the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.  I didn’t visit any of the sites as it would involve too much walking and I was on a tight schedule. The only site that you can see from the road is this one…

EPT, Over Rig…at Over Rig.  It is described in the leaflet accompanying the trail as a unique and perplexing site – fascinating but mysterious.  There is a good deal of speculation about the site but the leaflet ends its entry by asking, “What was it? Will we ever know?”  In my case, the answer to the second question is, “No.”

The road to Eskdalemuir through Castle O’er is one of my favourites and even the final disappearance of the sun couldn’t diminish my pleasure as I pedalled quietly along It.  The road back to Langholm on the other bank of the river…


Prehistoric Trail

 ….is less interesting and has a steep hill near the start but with a long descent to ease the muscles after it.

I was stopped in my tracks near Bentpath by the sound of bleating.  It was the first lamb of the year.

lambAlthough shorter than yesterday’s ride, today’s effort had quite a bit more climbing and I was pleased to arrive home in good order.  I had taken things very easily up all the hills partly because I wanted to be sensible and partly because I had little oomph in my legs anyway so my average speed was in the stately class.

When I got home, I had a tour round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We were impressed by a pond full of purring frogs…

three frogs…and the crocuses, which have been looking very battered,  were impressed by the warmer weather.

crocusescrocusesI spent a little time watching a very feisty lady chaffinch seeing off all comers.

chaffinchAfter lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Carlisle to purchase some building supplies and I went to a meeting about the forthcoming Tourist Information season for which I am a volunteer.  There are exciting plans afoot with new premises planned and all we need now is some tourists.

After the meeting was over, I got the slow bike out and revisited the Kilngreen and the Castleholm hoping to get some better pictures of dippers and tree creepers now that the light was a bit better even though it was still cloudy.  Needless to say I didn’t see a dipper or a tree creeper today but on the plus side, I saw a wagtail….

wagtail…and got some better picture of catkins and flowers of the hazels by the river.

catkinshazel flowersThe pictures gives no clue to how tiny the elegant female flower is compared to the showy males  catkins.

I was quite tired after two days energetic cycling but I had enough energy to admire the chimney pot which was first capped and then completed during the day.

chimneyIt suits the house very well.  The builders are finishing the inside work and the end wall will be wet dashed (like the chimney) at the weekend so the end really is in sight now.

In the evening, we went to our local community choir, Langholm Sings.  We are working towards two concerts at the end of May so we have plenty to do at our practices.

The flying bird of the day is a duck which nearly knocked me over on the Kilngreen.

flying duck

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