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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Flute Band’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She came across this artwork in an outdoor exhibition in a park.  It is called The Tudor Ball and it is by Lars Fisk.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have been an artist.

Tudor Ball by Lars Fisk

It was even hotter today than yesterday and by the afternoon, the thermometer was showing 30 degrees C.  I took the day easily but my friend Ken is made of tougher stuff than me, and set off for a ride in the morning as the heat was building.

Ken

I walked round the garden (slowly).

The salvia was sticking even more snakes’ tongues out than ever.

salvia

In the vegetable garden, runner bean flowers are appearing…

runner beans

…and the biggest flower in the garden is the courgette.

courgette

The rosa complicata is doing its best to catch Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye with some late blooming…

rosa complicata

…and once again the garden was full of butterflies sampling different flowers.

four butterflies

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting in Hawick regarding funding for the proposed community moorland buy out.  Later in the day I spoke to another person who was at the meeting, and he remarked that when you meet potential funders, they are always much more keen to suggest other sources of funding than to commit themselves.  There will be a lot of work to be done if the dream is to be realised.

I stayed at home and watched the birds.

They were quite heated too.

two balletic siskins

siskin arriving

It made me tired just watching them.

sparrow arriving

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting and we watched a very exhausting stage of the Tour de France where these giants among men scaled ever more incredible heights.

When the stage was over, we got ready to welcome Matilda and her parents Al and Clare, who are coming to stay with us for the Common Riding.  Matilda is dancing in a competition tomorrow afternoon.

We were somewhat dubious about whether it was a good idea to open some doors and windows to let some air in or to keep them all shut and keep the air out.  In the end we opened the back door onto the dam and I noticed a fine leycestaria growing just beside the door.

leycestaria

When we went out into the garden, I saw that a fine crop of poppies which I had photographed this morning…

poppies

…had completely disappeared by the afternoon.

no poppies

The heat had knocked off more heads than the wind and the rain.

The Wren rose doesn’t seem to mind the heat.  We have never seen so many flowers in good condition on a single stem before.  Usually one bloom starts fading before another comes to full flower.

rose Wren full

Mrs Tootlepedal has five different phloxes on the go so I took a picture of all of them but as I can only cope with two, three, four or six pictures in a composite panel on the blog, I have had to sneak in a ringer.

five phlox

Matilda and Co were held up by heavy traffic in Edinburgh and slow traffic on the way down so I popped out for a steady ten miles on my bike while we were waiting.  Because you make your own breeze while you cycle, it didn’t feel too bad while I was actually pedalling but I was extremely hot when I stopped.

Our visitors arrived safely in time for an evening meal.  This was accompanied by some growls of thunder, streaks of lightning and some rain.  The storm didn’t last long though, and while Matilda was getting ready to go to bed, I went up to the High Street where the Town Band had been playing a concert.  I was too late to hear the brass band play but there were still plenty of people on the street.  They were waiting for the Flute Band to march through the town.

high street flute band

This is an informal gathering of musicians who gather together at the Common Riding.  The band meets exiles returning to the town on the last train in the evening of the day before the Common Riding itself.

The fact that the last passenger train came into the town about fifty years ago has not stopped them from meeting it every year since.  We like our traditions.

flute band approaching

Henry, the cornet and our church organist was playing in the front row as they marched along the High Street…

henry in flute band

…and I could spot my flute pupil Luke puffing away too.

luke in flute band

The pink ties reflect the Common Riding colours which are always the colours worn by the winning jockey in the Epsom Derby  earlier in the year.

The band crossed over the Town Bridge and marched off down Thomas Telford Road followed by a large cortege.

flute band cortege

I followed the flute band along Henry Street and when they had reached the end of the road, I waited for a minute or two, turned round, and hey presto, another band appeared!

Watched by the traditional one boy and a dog, this was the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band…

man and dog pipe band

…looking very smart.

pipe band henry street

The bands march and play to remind everyone in the town, as if they needed reminding, that tomorrow is Langholm’s Great Day.

There were more rumbles of thunder after the bands had gone and we are just hoping that the weather will be kind to us.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from the phone camera of our younger son, Al who took it while sitting on the new bench in our garden this afternoon.

Al's bee on calendula

It is a very smart device which not only takes the pictures that he wants but often takes one or two just before and/or just after he has pressed the button of its own accord and then it may politely suggest that its effort is better than his.  I need one of these devices.  Still, his effort was very good.

It was a hot and sunny day today but not as hot as it was in London as our daughter rang us up to point out.

The pest control man appeared before breakfast time and did his work so the painter was able to get on with his work too and this was very satisfactory.

Between the hot weather and the need to prepare the house for visitors, there was not a lot of opportunity to do useful things in the garden but I did manage to trim some of the hedges round the front lawn and take a few pictures.

Not just one…

red cosmos

…but two more cosmos have come out.

another red cosmos

And there was a new dahlia of the day.

red dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal planted two gaura in her new bed in the spring.  One succumbed to the miserable weather but the other has continued to flower in a very satisfactory way.

gaura

The bed is edged with lobelia and they have often appeared in the background behind other flowers.  I thought that they deserved a picture to themselves.

lobelia clump

Like many other flowers, a closer look is interesting.  They turn out to have two car headlights each.

lobelia headlights

There were a few peacock butterflies about but they were hard to catch.  Here is one on the red buddleia…

peacock butterfly on red buddleia

…and another on a pink phlox.

peacock butterfly on phlox

They weren’t very keen to settle down and open their wings and this one on the other buddleia remained firmly closed.

peacock butterfly on buddleia

It wasn’t idle though. It was getting stuck in.

peacock butterfly sipping

The white butterflies are still about in numbers and I caught this one in mid air by happy accident.

flying white butterfly

The sunflowers are reaching up to more than 10 feet in height.

sunflower heart

Our son Al with wife Clare and daughter Matilda arrived in the late afternoon after a very hot drive from Edinburgh.  Matilda’s first business was to walk three times round the outside of the house with me.  As the dam runs right along the back of the house, this involved crossing our new bridge at one end of the house and then the stepping stone in the dam at the other end.  Then we went in for a drink and a biscuit.

Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared an excellent evening meal for the party and after Matilda had paid another visit to the stepping stone with her father…

matilda at the dam

Out with a helping hand…

matilda at the dam 2

…and back unaided.

…we ate  it with great appreciation.

Langholm Common Riding always takes place on the last Friday in July, which is tomorrow.  The day before, Thursday, is known as Simmer Fair Night and it is celebrated by the three bands in the town.

First, the Town Band plays a programme in the Market Place and then the flute band goes down to the site of the old railway station to greet exiles returning to the town on the last train.  Although the trains stopped running about fifty years ago and the station has long since disappeared, the flute band still turns up.  Then they march through the town….

Langholm Flute Band

…followed by a considerable procession, doubtless some of them being returning exiles.

flute band procession

A town bandsman looked on with the satisfaction of knowing that he had already done his duty.

Calvert, town band

Almost as soon as the flute band has passed on its way, the Langholm Pipe Band  start a march round the town.

Langholm pipe band

It looked for a moment as though their march pace might speed up a bit as some  heavy drops of rain began to fall from a menacing sky but once again, the rain came to nothing and the march continued in good order.

We are looking forward to celebrating Langholm’s Great Day tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is one of the swifts that traditionally scream  across the sky  on Simmer Fair Nicht.

swift

 

 

 

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Today’s picture from our London Trip shows the sign for a long forgotten shop on Brixton Road.  By coincidence, the American senator, Bernie Sanders, a diamond geezer if ever there was one,  spoke in front of a crowd of 5000 people at a Brixton venue nearby only last month.

Sanders in Brixton

I have been doing a bit of washing of clothes lately and as some of my readers will know, this leads to ironing and so I started the day with the ironing board in play.  I am not a skilful iron handler and I never cease to be amazed (and put out) by how much more easy it is to iron a crease into a garment than it is to iron it out again.  It just doesn’t seem right.  Still, it is a great lesson for life – careful preparation is almost always better than just breenging in regardless.  I am going to learn that lesson one day…..but not yet.

I had just got the board folded and the evidence of rather rumpled clothes tucked away upstairs when first Dropscone and then Sandy arrived to share a pot of coffee.  Because it will be a busy day for all of us tomorrow, Dropscone kindly brought forward the traditional Friday treacle scones and we ate them on a Thursday instead.

It was a wet and fairly miserable morning outside and it got a lot worse and fairly bucketed down when I went off to do some shopping for Matilda and her parents (and her other grandparents too) who are visiting me over the Common Riding.  We seem to be in the middle of a spell of occasional sunshine and many really heavy showers.  It doesn’t make for restful days.

Some of the flowers are looking a bit depressed…

poppy

…and who can blame them.

I can blame the sparrows though for pecking holes in my lawn.

sparrow holes in lawn

A water lily seemed quite at home, sheltering from the elements under a leaf in the pond.

water lily

The dampness hadn’t discouraged the bees though and there were quite a few about as soon as it actually stopped raining.

bee on lambs ear

In the afternoon, when it had stopped raining for a bit, I had a visit from my friend Gavin, with his daughter, my Newcastle correspondent and her two children.  Leo was hoping to see a frog in the pond but there was not a frog to be seen and a few tadpoles were scant consolation.  Hannah helped me pick some peas and kindly only ate enough of them to leave me a few for tea.

When they had gone, I picked some beans….

P1010220

… and admired the other fruit in the garden, some for me….

Charles Ross apple

Charles Ross apple

….and some for the birds.

rowan berries

Rowan berries

I noticed that once Leo had left, a frog appeared.

frog

…but by the time that Matilda arrived, it had gone again.

While I waited for Matilda to arrive, I looked around the garden while it was dry.

The privet blossom is falling like snow but there is still masses to come.

privet

And it still looks very curious when you see it lying on the ground.

privet

Rather than dwell on the depressed poppies, I looked at the ever cheerful phlox….

phlox

…and a very flowery hosta.

hosta

Hostas are mostly grown for their foliage but they pack a lovely flower too.

hosta

During the day, an emissary of the Crown builder turned up to pick a few of our rambler roses….

rambler roses

…and I shall feel proud when I see them in the Crown as it is carried through the streets tomorrow.  I shall take a picture of it, weather permitting.  The forecast is not very good for the morning but things look better for the afternoon.  Fingers crossed.

Al and Clare arrived with Matilda on schedule.  The garden was too soggy to play in so we had a pleasant time indoors with a construction set which lets you build marble runs.  Al and I let Matilda play with it too from time to time.

After tea, while Matilda got ready for her bath, I nipped up to the Market Place to hear a snatch of the Town Band’s open air concert.

Langholm Town Band summer fair 2107

Henry, who trained and accompanied our choir last night, can be seen blowing fit to bust on the trombone on the extreme right of the picture.  He is a talented chap.

We had a very quiet evening in as the strange surroundings kept Matilda awake long after she should have been fast asleep but I sneaked out to see the Flute Band lead a procession through the streets.

flute band 2017

They were followed by the biggest procession I have seen on Summer Fair night, it nearly filled the whole of Caroline Street.

flute band 2017

The flautists will wake us up tomorrow morning at 5 o’clock to announce the starting of the Common Riding, Langholm’s great day.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Venetia and shows a green woodpecker visiting a hornbeam in her garden.  DShe says that it made a tremendous amount of noise.

green woodpeckerMrs Tootlepedal spent the day visiting Matilda in Edinburgh while I made the most of a second sunny day at home.  To make the day even better, there were no threatening clouds or passing showers.

I was very good though and spent the first hour after breakfast putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  This post finished off 1890 and it is always a great moment when another year is tucked away.

Luckily Dropscone was on hand with freshly made scones to go with a cup of coffee (or two) when I had finished.  Fortified by this, I went out on the fairly speedy bike to test my creaky knee.

I did walk round the garden first though.

Dahlias

The sun had brought on the two new dahlias

nasturtium

A nasturtium’s mouth looked like rather a dangerous place.

apple and rose

There was promise of further delights to come

nicotiana and lupin

The first nicotiana and the last lupin

Polemonium and musk

Two lasting old friends, polemonium and musk. I like the way that little footprints lead into the heart of the musk.

I put the camera away and got started.  It was a wonderful day for cycling….

Kerr…with light winds which were behind me on the exposed parts of the route and against me when I was in the sheltered sections.

Sensibly I slowed down a bit as I got onto the gently uphill section back to Langholm and this gave me a moment to enjoy the wild flowers in the verges.

Old A7

There is still plenty of colour left on the old A7

Old A7

A closer look

I got home in very good order and after a light lunch, set about some garden tasks.  I mowed lawns and I sieved compost and felt very virtuous.  So virtuous in fact that I had to sit down in an easy chair to recover.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Edinburgh, having had an enjoyable visit to Matilda.

It was Summer Fair today in Langholm, the eve of our annual Common Riding and it is celebrated with music so after tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked up to the High Street and joined the crowd in the Market Place who were listening to the Langholm Town Band playing a programme.

Langholm Town band

It was a glorious evening

After the band finished, we walked back home but I was soon out again to watch the Flute Band march round the town.  The flute band meets the last train of the day into Langholm,  greets returning emigrants and then leads them through the streets.  The fact that the last train arrived in Langholm nearly half a century ago doesn’t make any difference.  They still go to meet it.

Flute band

There seemed to be about 50 flautists in the band tonight

…and even more people following along behind it.

Shortly after the Flute band had passed by, the Langholm Pipe Band also marched through the streets of the New Town.

Langholm Pipe bandThey too have their followers….

band followers

Pipe band enthusiasts on the left and flute band fans on the right

It is one of the best things about the Common Riding and its proceedings that the streets of the town, for  short time at least, are reclaimed by its inhabitants from the grip of the motor car.

Although my camera makes it look as though it was still quite light, a full moon was looking down benignly from the sky above the town as the bands went by.

full moonThe end of a very good day.  It looks touch and go as to whether the weather will be as kind to us tomorrow.

I did look at the birds in the garden from time to time and the sparrows were as hungry as ever…

sparrows…even to the extent of sharing a perch.

sparrowsIt will come as no surprise that the flying bird of the day is another sparrow (though I should have been able to get a better picture on such a sunny day).

flying sparrow

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There is no guest picture today and a very short post because the pain in my hip is stubbornly reluctant to ease off and I spent almost all day sitting in the only chair that was at all comfortable, hoping that things would get better.

Having had long term back problems, I have many exercises which work well when I mistreat my back and it complains and I am usually back to normal quite quickly.  This present trouble arises from  a trapped nerve in my pelvis I am told and I can’t find an exercise to shift it at all so I am trying complete rest as far as my naturally restless nature will let me.

Tomorrow is our Common Riding Day, a big moment in the town’s year and with a bit of luck, a good night’s rest will let me get out and about a bit to enjoy the festivities.  I am not overly optimistic though.

Mrs Tootlepedal has added her little bit to the celebrations as yesterday Alan came round to pick some of our rambler roses to help make up the Crown, one of the emblems carried in procession tomorrow.

Crown rose

I did take a picture or two in the garden today as I got up and stretched my legs from time to time through the day.

phlox

A very white bunch of Phlox.

sunflower

With temperatures at 25C again, the sunflower was appropriate.

perennial nasturtium

The perennial nasturtium has produced some very pretty berries.

hovering insect and marigold

A marigold and visitor

The insect hovered above the marigold in such a still way that I thought that my camera might catch it in the air but it was wobbling more than it seemed.  I liked the picture anyway.

hovering insect

Matilda arrived with her parents in the evening after a long and hot day in two trains.  Under the circumstances, she was very equable but I don’t like to bother her to pose for pictures.  Mrs Tootlepedal took her out for a calming walk in the pram to visit some of the neighbours.   They were suitably honoured to meet the world’s finest baby.

Later in the evening, the streets resounded to the beat of the drum and the shrill cry of flutes as the flute band marched through the town having gone to meet returning exiles from the nine o’clock train.  The fact that this train last ran in the 1960s doesn’t stop the flute band from going to greet it.

Flute band

The front row.

I hobbled along the street to catch them as they went past…..and past….and past….

Flute band

…as there were more than forty flautists, not to mention the drummers and a host of triangle players following in their wake.  Some, but by no means all of them, will be up at five o’clock tomorrow morning to march round the town again to wake the burghers up in time for the great day.

A blue tit obliged in one of my brief looks out of the kitchen window and appears as flying bird of the day.

flying blue tit

 

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Today’s picture, another from my son and daughter-in-law’s USA trip, shows two frogs at the Frog Pond in Boston.

frog pond, Boston

I am trying not to overdo my cycling mileage at the moment so I was happy that Dropscone is away refereeing juvenile golf matches and that my cello playing friend Mike came to pay me a morning visit.  Before Mike arrived, I noticed an unusual perching bird in the plum tree….

pigeon

…as well as a colourful regular one.

redpoll

Mike was interested in the software that I have which can read scanned music and let you edit and play the result.  I am going to use it to shift a Mozart piece from the viola to the cello clef at the touch of a key for him.  This would have been a considerable undertaking in the days of a piece of score paper and a sharp pencil but should not take me too long now.

After he left, Sandy came round for a cup of coffee and we decided to go out to try to get the definitive bluebell shot.  It was a cloudy but fairly bright day.  The curse of the photographer struck as we shut the car door and before we had even left the front gate. It started to rain.  We travelled on hopefully but the weather god laughed at us and the rain got heavier and heavier.  We arrived at the target bluebell wood by the time that the light had gone altogether and the rain was a menace to our cameras so we turned for home and set our minds on doing some of the work in our respective in trays.

It stopped raining soon after we got out of the car.

In spite of the weather, the garden is quite exciting.

spirea

A spirea gives witness to the rain

aquilegia

There is a new aquilegia out.

dying poppy

A dying poppy is still very colourful

azaleas

The yellow azaleas are refusing to break into flower until it gets warmer.

On every side, plants are getting ready to burst into bloom.  We just need some warm weather.

I did my work, which involved finishing off the transcription of the ten flute band tunes and had time to mow the front lawn before lunch.  Between the moss, the lichens, the pearlwort and the meadow grass, the business of lawn care is a bit depressing on this patch and I am seriously thinking of getting a quote to get it dug up and re-turfed.

My spirits were lifted by the arrival of the first baby starling of the year.

baby starling

It was soon followed by siblings….

baby starlings

And a parent.

starling family

After lunch, I went off to do another lonely stint in the Tourist Office at the Kilngreen.  Apart from a passing visit from Sandy, who was on his way to a Craft Fayre in Newcastleton, I wasn’t bothered by anyone wanting information.   (Sandy had some very nice squirrel and nesting blue tit video material on his blog at the moment.  Well worth a visit.)

I got home just in time to go and visit my flute pupil Luke’s grandfather.  I was consulting him on the flute band tunes and we discovered that an amendment or two would be needed before the task was complete.  He is the conductor of our local orchestra and they are having a social and concert to celebrate 35 years of music making this weekend and it has fallen to me to propose a toast to the orchestra.  I was lucky to have him to fill the many gaps in my memory about the history of the group.

When I got home, I mowed the middle lawn which is in much better condition than the front lawn because it gets more of the available sunshine.  I also had a look round the productive side of the garden and was encouraged by the apple, broad bean and strawberry flowers.

fruit and veg

I just hope that my pollinating work with paintbrush pays off.

A new clematis has come out to join the blue brigade.

Blue flowers

In order of length of time in bloom so far

Just as we were going to have our tea (salmon followed by rhubarb crumble) ,  I noticed a strange sight on the feeder.

feeder feathered ball

It was a bird but did it have its head stuck in the feeder opening?  Did it have a head at all?

goldfinch

It was a goldfinch resting with its head under its wing

goldfinch

It came to life and flew off.

Was this a sick bird or just a very young bird?  If Dr Barlow reads this, perhpas she can tell me.

I had my tea and went off with Susan to play recorders in Carlisle where we had yet another fine evening of playing.  There were five of us tonight and by and large we played the sort of music where each player’s part follows its own track and, with luck, we all arrive at the final destination together.  This is my favourite sort of music and as it was followed by particularly tasty biscuits, it was a good way to end a busy day.

The flying bird is a siskin caught in one of the cloudier moments of the day.

siskin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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