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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm camera club’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He gets up early to walk his dogs and as a result sees sights like this.

Tony's dawn

It was another thin day for pictures for me as we spent a lot of the daylight hours getting back to Langholm after three days of fun in the city.  The journey was painless as the train was on time and we made our connection with the bus from Carlisle with five minutes to spare.

Apart from a brief spell near Penrith where the train  was engulfed by a foggy patch, the sun shone relentlessly the whole way.  However, the sun did little to raise the temperature and when we got home, there was still some frost on the middle lawn where the shadows of plants had kept the sun off the grass…

frosty middle lawn

…and a lot of frost on the front lawn which sees little sunshine at all in the winter months.

frosty front lawn

You would have had to have been half way up our walnut tree to do any significant basking.

sun on walnut tree

I filled the bird feeder up and a grateful chaffinch appeared a few minutes later.

chaffinch

After three days of frolic sandwiched by two days of travel, we were very happy to have a quiet sit down when we got home.

After tea though, I had to go out again to attend the monthly meeting of our camera club.

For various reasons there was a very small attendance, but the evening was still most enjoyable as apart from some interesting local shots,  Sandy showed some excellent firework images and Grace brought in a wonderful selection of pictures from a recent trip to Uzbekistan.  It is not every day that you get to enjoy pictures from the golden city of Samarkand.

All the same, we hope for a better attendance when we meet next in January.

The flying bird of the day is a Pukeko.  Now, some of you may think that it doesn’t look much like a flying bird, but when I tell you that it has flown to Langholm all the way from New Zealand, I think that you will be impressed.  (Our friends Mike and Alison may have given it a helping hand).

Pukeko

It is -4°C as I write this but the sun is due to shine again tomorrow so normal blogging services should resume.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who took it while  flashing past Stonehenge on a double decker bus.  There was no time to stop as she was off to London for a march to demand a second referendum.  One of my sisters, my brother and his two sons also attended the march so it was an important affair.

stonehenge

It was a bright and calm morning here today but it was also decidedly chilly and I was in no hurry to get my bike out until the temperature reached at least 7°C.  This gave me time for coffee and the crossword as as it was after eleven o’clock before the target was reached.

Mrs Tootlepedal advised me that blackbirds were bathing in the dam behind the house and there might be a photo opportunity.  I went to check but found a blackbird that was waiting on the edge but not willing to take the plunge.

blackbird by dam

I put on a great many layers of cycling clothing and finally got going.  When I got to ten miles and stopped for a drink of water, I noticed that a tree which had had leaves last Friday but which had lost them now.

tree no leafs

But it was a fine day and as you can see there was so little wind that the turbines at Minsca were not turning at all.

still windmills

I had a lot of clothes on and just turning my legs over was quite a task in spite of the still conditions but I plugged away and passed trees with leaves on near Eaglesfield….

trees with leafs eaglesfield

…and stopped for a buttered roll with honey under the cavernous motorway bridge near Kirkpatrick Fleming (my bike ignored the no parking sign)…

motorway bridge KPF

…and paused for a smaller bridge near Gretna.

bridge over burn near gretna

The bridge’s arch was framed with bright red berries.

red berries

As I got back on my bike and was just getting going, another fairly elderly cyclist passed me without stopping for some civil conversation.  Just to annoy him, I caught him up and pedalled along silently a few yards behind him.  He knew I was there and occasionally pushed a bit harder to try to shake me off but he couldn’t and in the end I passed him …with a few civil words about the lovely weather.  I could see him in my mirror, hanging on about twenty or thirty yards behind me even when I pushed a bit to try to shake him off.  Mercifully we took different routes at the first junction we came to, and we could both relax.

I had taken my route in the hope of seeing migrating geese near the border and a loud honking directed my attention to a big flock foraging in a field.

geese at Englishtown close up

There were a lot of them.  I think that they are greylag geese

geese at Englishtown

I waited for a while, hoping that they might take off and give me a flying shot but they remained firmly on the ground.  Resisting the temptation to say boo to a goose, I pedalled on home.

The wind had got up enough to make the wind turbines at Gretna turn very slowly but it was mostly behind me by this time so I was able to do my 40 miles with two minutes in hand before the three hour mark arrived.

I had put a mixture into the bread maker earlier in the morning and Mrs Tootlepedal had taken it out while I was pedalling.  The bread maker had done a fine job and some vintage plum jam was on hand if needed.

bread machine triumph

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy gardening so I heated up a mug of celery and Stilton soup and went out to see what was going on while i drank it.

In spite of the chilly morning, the roses were going on very well.

Crown PrincessRosy Cheeks

A rudbeckia was looking a little part worn but as it has been looking like that since it first started flowering several weeks ago, I think it deserves credit for trying.

rudbeckia

I saw a dunnock…

dunnock on edge

…and nearly caught a flying dunnock of the day but it was too sharp for me.

flying dunnock

Honeysuckle berries and nasturtiums caught my eye…

honeysuckle and nasturtium

…and the perennial wallflower and the lamium look as though they will never go over.

perennial wallflower and lamium

My flute pupil, Luke turned up and mindful of the truth that if a pupil is having difficulty with something, it is the fault of the teacher, I upped my game a bit and we made some serious progress in counting.

After tea, I went off to the camera club meeting where Sandy helped me to set the projector and screen up.

Once again we had a rather small but very select group of keen photographers and once again we had some most enjoyable images to look at.  With pictures from a royal palace in St Petersburg and raptors from a park in Keswick, local wild life and memories of our trip to Beamish in the summer, we were well supplied with things to enjoy.  One of our members had been having a very creative time with his photo editor and he produced results which defied belief.  All in all, it was a satisfactory meeting and we agreed to meet again next month, with the hope of a few more members turning up.

The flying bird of the day is that reluctant swimmer.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She is visiting the Netherlands for singing purposes, and saw this fine selection of bridges crossing the river Waal at Nijmegen through the tinted windows of her coach.  The Waal is a distributary* of the Rhine.

Nijmegan bridges

We had a fine day here today.  Indeed, we are promised a week of fine weather.  This will be very welcome after our recent very changeable conditions.  The temperature is due to rise steadily until Sunday when it will start to rain again.

A bit of warmth will be very welcome as it was definitely felt autumnal as I cycled about the town on various errands after breakfast.   I almost felt as though I should have been wearing gloves. However, it soon warmed up and Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough from her cold to have a wander round the garden and do some light work.

I did some dead heading and clearing up of fallen plums and, of course, looked around as I did so.

After a very slow start, the fuchsias in the garden are beginning to make a better effort…

garden fuchsia

…and together with the second flowering of the red astrantia….

red astrantia

…they are bringing some late colour to the garden.

An Icelandic poppy and a cosmos were doing a grand job of providing for insects.

insects on flowers

The most striking thing about the garden though was not the flowers, but the butterflies on them.  There were red admirals…

red admiral butterfly

on buddleia and sedum…

red admiral butterfly on sedum

…and peacocks on both blue…

peacock butterfly

…and red buddleia.

peacock butterfly on buddleia

They were joined by the usual collection of white butterflies too.

white butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a very curious white butterfly with odd yellow wings fluttering about.  It was so unusual that we tracked it carefully as it flitted from plant to plant.  Finally, it rested long enough to be caught on camera and it turned out to be not one butterfly but two butterflies engaged in the business of producing more butterflies.

white butterflies mating

We politely left them to it and went off to a admire a lone small tortoiseshell completing our butterfly collection for the day.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

I went back indoors and spent some time getting things ready for the first camera club meeting of the season, testing the projector and making sure that the laptop that we use wasn’t suddenly going to demand an update at an inconvenient time.

After lunch,  I was finally ready to go for a cycle ride.  The wind was supposed to be quite light but turned out to be quite brisk and gusty at times so I had a battle over the first eleven miles to get to the top of a hill on this little used road at Kennedy’s Corner.

Kennedy's Corner

From then on though, it was almost all downhill with good views over the Solway to the Lake District Hills 25 miles to the south

view of solway from Kennedy's corner road

…and looking back I could see Burnswark Hill just behind me where forts have guarded the route north from iron age and then Roman  times.

view of Burnswark from Kennedy's corner road

To the west, I could just make out Criffel on the far bank of the Nith Estuary, 20 miles away.

view of vriffel from Kennedy's corner road

It is an airy spot and I enjoyed the swoop down the hill to Chapelknowe, with the now helpful wind giving me an extra push.

Some time ago, I had been sent a guest picture of some Korean pine cones at Half Morton church and I remembered to have a look for them as I passed the churchyard today.  There are none so blind as those who will not see and I was quite impressed that I had managed to cycle within a few yards of these wonderful trees…

korean pine tree Half Morton

… many, many times without ever noticing them especially or the astonishing crop of cones right under my nose.

korean pine cones

The fact that the church lies at the top of a small hill and I am always slightly puffed when I get there might explain it.

While I was there today, I also noted the the stone steps laid into the wall which enabled people to approach the church without opening the gate and letting the minister’s sheep, which grazed the grave yard,  out onto the road.

half morton church wall

I stopped for a drink of water just before the final little hill on my route and can tell you that there is a stone wall under this jungle of ferns.

ferny wall

I got home after 27 miles in time to have a cup of tea and a slice of bead with plum jam followed by a shower, before my flute pupil Luke arrived.   Our hard work on improving our breathing is beginning to pay off and we are progressing steadily.

When Luke left, I enjoyed an excellent evening meal cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal and then went off to set up for the camera club meeting.

We had rather a thin attendance and I would have been disappointed except for the fact that the members who came produced such an interesting selection of images that the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile.

The meeting was short though and we didn’t need a half time break for tea and biscuits.  This left me with an unopened packet of bourbon biscuits and a temptation….into which I have happily fallen while writing this post.  I don’t know how many calories my cycle ride used up but I am perfectly sure that they have all been replaced now.

The flying bird(s) of the day are a small bunch of swallows.  They were sitting on a wire as I passed on my bicycle and I stopped, meaning to take picture showing swallows getting ready to depart when they suddenly departed.

swallows disturbed

* A distributary is a river which, instead of joining like a tributary, has split from the main river as it enters the delta at an estuary.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal who used her new phone to take this handsome group portrait of her brother, sister-in-law, niece and great niece whom she was visiting while on her jaunt to the south.  As she had visited her mother too, she had seen four generations in one day.

mike frankie and manny

Unlike yesterday, when coffee and bun on the bench in the sunshine was the way to go…

iced bun and coffee

…there was no respite from continuous rain all day today.

puddle

It was raining in the morning when I drove down into England for my singing lesson which was enjoyable and useful, and it was raining in the afternoon when Sandy and I drove up to Eskdalemuir to put up our camera club exhibition there.

the hub

It took longer than we expected to hang the 30 odd pictures but the result looked satisfactory and the Hub manager was very pleased with the show.  Seven members of the club are taking part.

It was still raining as we drove back, but things did begin to brighten up a bit until Sandy most unwisely remarked that it was looking better.  At this point it began to rain very heavily.

It was still raining when my flute pupil Luke came.  He showed clear evidence of having practised and played with some very nice tone today.

I had some more sausage stew for my tea and was not surprised to find that it was still raining when the recorder group assembled in the evening for our monthly playing session.  We had a hard working and enjoyable time, but as it was still raining when we had finished, they made tracks for home and I will be forced to eat all the biscuits which I had bought for our post-playing cup of tea.

All in all, in spite of the miserable weather, I had a pretty good day.  Photographically, it was a day for standing in the shelter of the front door to take a flower picture across the drive and luckily, the dahlias didn’t seem to mind the rain…

dahlias in bed

…and at least I got a little sun.

soggy sunflower

It is going to rain again tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who has been visiting the Lake District where she enjoyed one of Ruskin’s favourites, the view of Derwentwater from Friar’s Crag.

Derwentwater from Friar's Crag

After our spell of cool changeable weather, we got back to a hot summer day today and I hardly like to say this, but it was too hot!

I started the day by going down to Canonbie with Sandy.  We met fellow camera club member Stan and between the three of us, we collected the photographs that had been on display at the Canonbie Church Cafe for the past months, packed them up and took them home.  The pictures will have a brief rest and then they will be off up to Eskdalemuir, where they will be on show for the month of September.

I had a cup of coffee with Sandy when we got back and when I had taken him home afterwards, I came back and had a look round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal had told me that when she went out into the garden before breakfast, there had been a lot of butterflies about.  They were still there after coffee.  I counted seventeen peacock butterflies on one of the buddleias.

There were a few red admirals and small tortoisheshells about…

red admiral and small tortoisehell butterflies

…and lots of white butterflies….

two white butterflies

…but peacocks were everywhere…

two peacock butterflies

…busy  feeding on buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

There were also a lot of painted ladies.  This kept Mrs Tootlepedal happy as they are her favourites.

painted lady butterfly

The buddleias attract bees too and I liked this little orange bundle of fun.

orange bee

Other insects were available.  Mrs Tootlepedal found a little moth clinging to her jeans…

moth on Mrs T

…and I spotted a tiny hoverfly on a leaf.

hoverfly on leaf

I had intended to go for a longish cycle ride but a combination of tiredness and the hot sun kept me sitting indoors staring at a difficult prize crossword long after I should have set off.  In the end, I did stir my stumps and went off up the main road to the north of the town.

I had a friendly wind behind me as I headed up the gentle hill to Mosspaul and I kept up a good speed.  I did stop from time to time to admire the views.  Although it doesn’t look like it from this picture…

hdr

…thin clouds covered the sun while I pedalled, and as a result, it wasn’t too hot for comfort.

It is very difficult to take a picture on this stretch of road without some electricity lines in it, as the main power line runs right down the middle of the valley.

hdr

When I turned at the top of the hill after ten miles, I was bit worried that the friendly wind that had helped me along so far,  might turn out to be a bit of a handful on the way home.  In the event, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and gravity gave me enough assistance to get me home at an average of 14.8 mph for the twenty miles, a very good speed for me these days.

The sun came out just before I got home and let me have this nice view back over my route.  I had pedalled right up to those hills in the distance.

view up ewes valley from A7

I didn’t rest for long when I got home because Mrs Tootlepedal was keen on a walk.  The cycling had loosened up my joints, so I was happy to toddle along too.

Mrs Tootlepedal is looking for some new walks so we drove a few miles up the road to Bentpath, and then took the narrow single track road to Glendinning, up the Meggat valley.

Leaving the car at the car park provided for visitors to the Thomas Telford Cairn, we left the farm buildings at Glendinning behind us…

glendinning

…and walked up the track along the west bank of the Meggat Water.  There was a delightful little cascade to set us on our way…

glendinning waterfall

…and the Corlaw burn leapt down the hillside to join the Meggat Water.

side burn to meggat water

You can see the path that  we were following as it follows along the hillside above the Meggat.

walk from glendinning

It was pretty warm and we were pleased when we got into the shade proved by a stand of trees.

meggat valley

We walked up the track until we could see the large commercial forest that covers the ridge at the head of the valley.forestry above meggat

We had hoped to walk up to a bothy which has been refurbished and is a refuge for walkers and cyclists in these hills, but it was half a mile too far for us and we turned and walked back down the track.  On our way we passed a couple who were intending to stay overnight in the bothy.

The sun had dropped behind the hill and we walked in shade until we got near Glendinning again where the sun shone on us for the last part of our journey.

looking down at Glendinning

If you can’t get to Shangri-La, the Meggat valley on a beautiful August evening will do very well to be going on with.

We safely negotiated the single track road (with some reversing in the face of oncoming traffic) and arrived home, tired but happy.  Driving slowly on narrow roads has a very pleasing effect on the power consumption of the Zoe so it was an economical outing as well as good fun.

It is going to be even hotter tomorrow according to the forecast.  I shall take things easy.

The flying bird of the day is a zinnia enjoying the sunshine.

zinnia

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia’s African adventure.  As well as many wild animals and birds, she found time to take in the countryside as well.

Etosha Pan, Namibia,

We were spared the worst of some inclement weather today with towns to the north of us getting a heavy snowfall.  We did get constant rain and wind so we didn’t escape entirely.

It was very wet and windy at first and it was still raining heavily at lunchtime when there was just enough light to let me look out of the window at the birds.

siskin and green finch

It eased off a bit from time to time, but even when it wasn’t visibly raining, a trip to the back door showed a fine mist of drizzle being blown across the garden at a brisk pace.

The birds didn’t come to the feeder in great numbers, probably because of the wind as much as the rain, but there were still moments when they had to queue.

chaffinches and goldfinches

These two summed up the day quite well, I thought.

siskin and goldfinch wet

And as usual, some chaffinches would prefer to get in an argument than to go to an empty perch.

shouting chaffinh

I did step out into the garden and found a washed out chionodoxa….

chionodoxa in the rian

…and daffodils hanging their heads down….

daffs hanging herads

…but as it felt cold in the drizzle and wind, I soon went back indoors.  Luckily there was an afternoon of rugby on the telly to help me pass the time, and I watched Wales thoroughly outclass a rather dispirited looking Irish team.  It was a game with a single try very near the start and another right at the end and in between there was a lot of bash, bash, bash which was quite tense without being very interesting if that makes sense.

After the game, I made a pot of sausage stew and then, since it was still drizzling outside, I sat down with foreboding in my heart to watch England walk all over Scotland.   This they proceeded to do with some style and they were more than twenty points up in less than  twenty minutes.

I checked the weather.  The rain had stopped and there was a hint of blue sky.  Phew, I could go for a walk and leave them to it.

Under normal circumstances, I would have walked as far as the evening light would have let me and I would have come home well after the game had finished but as my foot is still a bit iffy, I merely walked down to the river to admire the daffodils…

daffodils along esk

… check on the flow rate…

bridge in flood

…and say hello to a couple of pairs of mallards…

pair of mallards on wauchope

…who had managed to find pockets of calmer water.

pair of mallards in calm water

I was laughed at by a bunch of rude starlings in the tree beside the Buccleuch Centre…

starlings buccleuch square

…and pottered home to find that the first half had finished with England leading by 31-7.

At least Scotland had scored a try.

Rather against my better judgement, I sat down to watch the second half and was rewarded by a modest miracle.  Scotland played a lot better, England played a lot worse and it was one of the days when fortune favoured the brave and the bounce of the ball went Scotland’s way.  As a result, with two minutes to go, Scotland were actually leading by 38 points to 31 and in sight of a famous victory, but it couldn’t last and they gave away a crucial penalty with only seconds to go.  England kept their heads and scored a well worked try under the posts.  The subsequent conversion tied the match at 38 all.  So it really  was a match of two 31-7 halves, most remarkable and a privilege to watch.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch who was unmoved by the whole rugby thing.

flying chaffinch

I have two footnotes to today’s post:-

The first was sent to me by my friend Bruce, who for reasons that he can’t explain found this scan of a ceefax page from roughly thirty years ago relating to a local school on his computer.  All I can say is that the lucky head teacher must have had an excellent staff to impress the inspectors.

Canonbie report

The other footnote is a composite shot of the pictures that I have framed for the exhibition in the Canonbie church cafe.  They have all appeared on the blog before and I have tried to pick out ones that might have general appeal and have some impact printed at A4 rather than seen at 800px on a screen.

P1170586

I realise that the top left picture needs re-framing.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s Highland tour.  He stopped to take a picture of the Connel Bridge on the Oban road.  He has had lovely weather for his trip.

connel bridge

Our spell of sunny weather came to end today and it was rather chilly and grey with a brisk wind.  I am still looking after my leg so I was very happy to stay out of the wind and entertain Sandy to a cup of coffee.  While we were sipping and chatting, Nancy, our fellow archivist, arrived with the final sheets for 1898.  Every time we embark on recording a new year of the paper, we feel a surge of satisfaction.

When Sandy left, I watched the birds for a bit.  We are still not getting a great deal of traffic but from time to time, the feeder does get busy.

whirlwind at the feeder

Mostly it was pretty quiet and the chaffinches were able to land at their leisure…

landing chaffinch

…though some still needed a steadying wing.

one armed chaffinch

Trying to catch a coal tit in flight was as tricky as ever.

disappearing coal tit

Rather than face the chilly wind, I put some time in on the bike to nowhere in the garage.  It is a little dull but it does have the benefit of allowing me to moderate the effort I put in and keep things smooth.

Then I made some vegetable soup for lunch and was able to use an onion and potatoes from the store in our garage.  The onions will soon run out but there are a fair number of potatoes still to go.  It is doubly warming to eat a soup with home grown veg in it.

While I was making the soup, I kept an eye out.

The best looking chaffinch of the day was loud and proud….

resplendent chaffinch

…but down a below, a blackbird was skulking around.

creeping blackbird

After lunch, I went for a walk and as my leg seemed to have taken no hurt from the morning pedal, I even ventured on a slightly more hilly route and went round Gaskell’s Walk.

By this time of the year the sun is so low by three o’clock that it may shine on the hills…

sun on the hills november

…but it wasn’t shining on me down in the valley below.

There were things by the way to keep my kind off the chill.  The fence post at the Auld Stane Brig was a positive garden of delights today.

auld stane brig fence post

A fallen log was playing host to moss and fungus

fungus and moss

And the back of a fern revealed a delicate tracery.

back of a fern

When I got to the park, I thought that I ought to show the park wall in all its mossy glory…..

park wall overview

…and not just pick out the detail on the way.

park wall moss and lichenpark wall leaves

When I put the pictures from my walk on the computer in the evening, my favourite was this view of Meikleholm Hill, not just because of the sun on the hillside but because of the smoky effect of the willowherb seed heads in the foreground.

sun on the hills with rosebay willowherb

When I got back, I made a cup of tea for Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been busy at her pantomime dressmaking (there will be plackets) and Mike Tinker who called round.

They arranged to go to a public meeting in the evening regarding our local newspaper which is now owned by a community company.  I would have gone too but it was camera club night.

The next business was playing duets with Luke.  I am rather cross with him as it may well turn out that he will be a better player than me.   Ah well.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked me  delicious fry-up for my tea and I went off to the camera club to learn about taking portraits.

Because of the newspaper meeting, our numbers were a bit down but two members had brought lighting equipment and there was lively discussion about lighting kit and exposure meters and members volunteered to be sitters.  I had a go at shooting them.

Stan

Stan without a flash

Andy

Andy with lighting and a reflector.

There is always plenty of discussion at our meetings and Thomas can be seen here showing Stan some of the many capabilities of the camera on a mobile phone while Corrie looks on.

dav

I took this picture with my new mobile phone which arrived today.   I am very pleased that the camera looks to be quite a bit better than the one on my old phone.

I will try to up my exercise a bit tomorrow, either inside or out as the weather permits.

The flying bird of the day is a ‘just-in-time’ chaffinch.

just flying chaffinch

 

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