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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Parish Church’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen.  Having read about the Langholm Christmas tree illumination, he sent me this shot to show that Australians can do Christmas too.

australian Christmas tree

Talking about Christmas, our resident robin is working hard to get us into a Christmas mood.

sunny robin

As you can see, we had another sunny day today but once again, it was pretty nippy and the thermometer didn’t get above zero all day.

The odd goldfinch braved the cold and made it to the feeder, but they didn’t stay long.

goldfinch departing

Mrs Tootlepedal had a quiet morning in after yesterday’s very long day, so I went off to sing in the church choir by myself.  Our potential new minister has been voted in by the congregation but will not start work for ten days so we had a visiting minister today who chose cheerful hymns and gave us an interesting sermon.

When I got home, the feeder was still quite busy but the bright sunshine is a mixed blessing when it come to taking pictures of the visitors and I settled for a flying chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…and a sitting greenfinch…

greenfinch on feeder

…before getting ready for a walk.  The robin appeared again before I could go out…

sunny robin 2

…but I managed to resist the temptation to take even more pictures of it and went out into the cold.

Out of the sun, it really was cold in the garden and this was the side window of our car.

car window ice

After three days of frost, the leaves in the garden are no longer just fringed with crystals, they are covered with them.

garden leaf ice

…and even our wooden heron has got signs of a runny nose.

garden heron drip nose

A box ball summed up the two sides of the day…

half frozen box ball

…and Lilian Austin was frozen stiff.

frozzen rose

The chilly conditions had turned every leaf on one of the golden box balls into little ice flowers.

frozen golden box leaves

I left the garden and walked up to Pool Corner where a lone larch tree has retained some its needles.

last of the larches

I liked this contrast in tree shapes as I passed the Wauchope graveyard.

three trees wauchope

Expert navigators are supposed to be able to tell the points of the compass by looking at moss growing on tree trunks.  Today, the ice on fence posts gave a pretty good indication of East and West.

frozen fence post

Who needs diamonds when its frosty?

fence post ice

I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and walked back towards the town along Gaskells Walk.  I was keeping an eye for hair ice and I was pleased to find an example beside the path.

hair ice gaskells

The track runs along the side of the hill and was in shadow so it was occasionally icy underfoot and always chilly.

 

icy gaskells

My hands had got pretty cold from taking my gloves off to use the camera and I had to keep a good eye on the where I was putting my feet so the camera stayed in my pocket and I concentrated on walking fast enough to keep warm.

I added Easton’s walk to the end of Gaskell’s walk and found another example of hair ice as I walked back along the river.

hair ice eastons

I was pleased to get back into the warmth when I got home.

When we drove to Carlisle after lunch to go to our Carlisle Choir, the temperature was -5°C and we hit a fairly thick patch of fog not long after we started.  I wondered how the electric car would enjoy these conditions but it seemed unworried, although the battery charge went down a lot more quickly than it does in the summer.

Luckily the fog didn’t last for long and we got to the choir in lovely sunshine. This was the last practice before two concerts next weekend so we worked hard to polish up some of the awkward corners that had remained a little rough.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I agreed as we drove home (-6°C) that time will have to be found during the week for some final homework on the songs.

The temperature should get above freezing tomorrow (fog permitting) and we are due to get up to double figures by Friday.  I hope we do as I have done very little cycling lately and I am getting distinctly tubby.  Two mile walks taking pictures are fun but they don’t burn calories.

The flying bird of the day is a rather dashing chaffinch, showing great determination in the pursuit of a seed.

flying chaffinch lunge

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Today’s guest picture is another from Tony on a walk in East Wemyss, the land of eternal sunshine.

east wemyss sunset

Our weather got warmer today but there was not a hint of sunshine here as Mrs Tootlepedal and I cycled to church to hear our potential new minister preach a sermon before the congregation voted on whether to accept his nomination for the position.

There was a good turnout and the choir was in the middle of singing an anthem when the lights suddenly went out.  We battled on gamely, peering at the music in the ecclesiastical gloom but it was all in vain because a few seconds later the organ gave up as its wind ran out with a sigh.

With great presence of mind, our organist zipped downstairs from the gallery and accompanied the last hymn of the service from a handy upright piano near the lectern.

Was it an omen?  We don’t know because the queue of church members to vote was so long that we had to leave long before the result was announced.

We got home in time for a cup of coffee before taking my stepmother Patricia for a final walk before she caught the train home.

Although it hasn’t rained a lot lately, the lack of sun has meant that things are generally rather damp and we had to mind our heads when walking under dangling conifer branches.

dripping conifet

We walked up the river to the Duchess Bridge…

duchess bridge through mossy tree

…where Patricia and Mrs Tootlepedal paused to check on the river below.

pat and Mrs t on duchess bridge

We crossed the bridge and I noted a very pale fungus beside the Lodge Walks…

white fungus

…down which we walked  towards the Sawmill Brig…

walkers on lodge walks

…noting a late leafy tree…

late autumn leaves lodge walks

…and a profusion of bright red berries at the gate…

red berries lodge walks

…before we got to the bridge and leaned over it in the hope of seeing a dipper or two.

There were no dippers to be seen today so I took a picture, staring straight down at the water below, of a sapling growing out of the cutwater of the bridge.

tree on butress sawmill brig

We introduced Patricia to Mr Grumpy who was standing on one leg today…

heron

…and noted a rook who was taking advantage of the free parking provided by our local authority on the Kilngreen.

rook parking

Looking down the High Street as we got to the Town Bridge, we could see the fine Christmas tree, freshly installed in front of the Town Hall.

town christmas tree 2019

As you can see from the Town hall clock, it was nearly one o’clock and we had time for a bowl of Mrs Tootlepedal’s leek and potato soup before driving off to Carlisle where we put Patricia on to the London train and then, having waved her goodbye, we went on to a practice with the Carlisle Community choir.

We worked hard at the practice as we have a concert in two weeks and by the time that we got home, we were ready for a sit down.  It has been a couple of busy weeks.

I didn’t have a chance to catch a flying bird at the feeder today so a rook making use of a bench on the Kilngreen is standing in for the flying bird of the day.

rook on becnh

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s recent holiday.  As well as waterfalls and wonderful views, he and Marianne also saw this.

alpaca from Tony

We had the coldest night of the year so far and woke to a frosty scene.

frosty leaves

It was chilly but the birds were active.  A dunnock looked in soon after breakfast.

dunnock

The ground was pretty hard but that didn’t discourage a small group of jackdaws from pecking vigorously at the middle lawn.

two jackdaws pecking

We left the jackdaws to it and went off to take part in the Remembrance Day service in the church.  It was an unusual day for the choir as the hymns were accompanied by the town band and not our organist but we had some rousing hymns to sing so we didn’t mind.

After the service, we watched for a while as wreaths were laid at the war memorial and then headed home.

After a cup of coffee, I went out for a short walk to see how my feet would behave.  I was a bit shocked by how sore they were yesterday so I hoped to find out that that was just an aberration…and take in some nice weather at the same time.

It really was a lovely day and the calm state of the Wauchope as it passed under the Kirk Brig shows how lucky we have been here when there has been so much rain not very far away.

kirk brig reflective

I passed the war memorial with its wreaths….

war memorial remembrance day

…and some tough minded wild flowers and an interesting stick…

two wild flowers

…on my way up to the track at the Stubholm.

The sun made the best of what autumn colour is left…

stubholm track november

…and picked out some very red berries on a mature holly tree beside the track.

holly berries

A little further along, a combination of very yellow leaves and the direct sunshine produced a dazzling display which was a delight to me but which completely threw the processor in my camera which couldn’t cope with it at all.

stubholm tracj dazzle

As my current pocket camera had resisted all entreaties to behave and continued to be very stubborn when it came to taking any pictures at all, I was carrying my old Lumix with me.  It is in poor condition and I only use it on cycle trips now. Still, it did its best today even if it couldn’t cope with the leaf/sun combination.

It noted a small crop of fungus on an old log on the ground…

fungus on old log

…and a curious flaky growth on a branch above my head.  I don’t know whether this is a fungus or a lichen.

fungus on branch

And it enjoyed looking back over the town from a vantage point.

view from stubholm bank

I walked along this very autumnal path…

top path at end of stubholm

…which took me down to the river bank and back home.  My feet behaved very well.  This was a relief.

When I got home, I ordered a new camera.  It may be possible to live without champagne and caviar, but it is impossible to live without a good quality pocket camera.   (The camera on my phone is not great at all unless conditions are perfect.)

After this, I had a little time to watch the birds and was pleased to see that the/a blue tit had visited again…

blue tit looking up

…and that a mixed bag of finches and sparrows was on the feeder (I had replaced the missing perch).

full feeder

I didn’t have time for a longer walk, a short bike ride or more bird watching as we went off to Carlisle straight after lunch because we wanted to do some shopping before going to our Carlisle choir.

Our choir conductor has just won a prestigious singing prize in a competition in London so she was in a very cheerful mood.  She communicated this cheeriness to us and we had a very enjoyable and progressive practice.

Among the things that I bought on our shopping trip was a swish new feeder for the birds.  I have put it out already so I will be very interested to see what they make of it tomorrow.  The store where I bought it is having a closing down sale so I got it at an advantageous price.

I didn’t have enough standing around time today to catch a flying bird so this one, which was flying half a second before I took the picture, will have to do as the nearly flying bird of the day.

nearly flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from Simon and this time shows the inside of the covered bridge between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  I do not know whether the light at the end of the tunnel is in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

swiss bridge

After yesterday’s extremely gloomy weather, we enjoyed a bright and cheerful day today, although it was a bit colder than we have become used to with the thermometer unable to creep into double figures.

As a result I put a pair of gloves on before cycling off to church with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We had a ‘Songs of Praise’ service today with favourite hymns chosen by members of the congregation.  Fifty hymns were suggested and the Worship Team had chosen the eight most popular for the service.  That amounted to quite a lot of singing but as they were tuneful hymns, it was no hardship.

The sun was still out when we got home so after a look round the garden…

fuchsia, marigolds, verbena, rose

…where I was pleased to see an insect on nodding acquaintance with the Crown Princess…

rose with insect

…Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out for a short three bridges walk to enjoy the day.

There is colour about but much of it is already on the ground.

tree at suspension bridge

The lonely gull that haunts the stretch of the River Esk between the Suspension and the Town bridge was in its regular place again today…

lonely gull

…And as we watched the gull, a flash of blue speeding up the river turned our heads.  A kingfisher had flown past us at speed.  It was far to quick to catch on camera so we walked up to the Town Bridge to see if it had stopped nearby.

tree at meeting of waters

There was no sight of it unfortunately but a look back down the river was quite rewarding.

church and poplars from town bridge

We crossed the bridge and walked down onto the Kilngreen.  It was a good morning for a walk.

looking at Timpen

We were not the only ones taking advantage of the day and when we reached to Lodge Walks we could see other walkers…

lodge walks 20 Oct

…in every direction.

Lodge walks 20 oct (2)

Although we have long thought that the trees along the Lodge Walks are all beeches, looking at the trees on recent walks have shown us that some of them are hornbeams.  Although their leaves  are different to beech leaves, their trunks are so similar that it is not too surprising that we have only just noticed.

There is still no sign of all out autumn colour but the variety of shades among the trees across the Castleholm is still very attractive to me.

 

castleholm trees 20 Oct

And the felling of the conifer plantation at the far end has made the walk more scenically enjoyable.

view over pheasant hatchery

We didn’t walk far and having passed under this well established fungus near the Lodge…

old fungus duchess bridge

…we walked down the leaf covered track to the Duchess Bridge and headed home…

leafy tarck to duchess bridge

…pausing to enjoy the view from the bridge…

river esk from duchess bridge

…and also the glint of sunshine on moss covered fallen branches in the dark wood on the far side of the river.

moss in wood besode esk

When we got back, I was impressed by how vigorously the Weigela is producing a second flush of flowers after its first flowering in June.  Looking at my records, I see that it also flowered in October in both 2018 and 2017 but the last time before that was in 2011.

weigela oct 20

An insect was exploring a rather bedraggled dahlia.

insect on dahlia oct 20

Like the fuchsias in the flower beds, the ornamental fuchsia in the chimney is also enjoying the season.

pot fuchsia oct 20

We went in and I made some celery and Stilton soup for lunch which we ate with enjoyment, and then there was just time to sieve a little compost and practise a song or two before we set off for Carlisle and the Community Choir practice.

Our conductor, who is based in Glasgow, has organised a musical weekend for us in the city next week, including a joint concert with one of her other choirs so we had a good solid practice today in preparation for the jaunt.

Not surprisingly after eight hymns in the morning and a good sing in the afternoon, my throat feels as though it needs a bit of cossetting this evening.  Our conductor says there will be even more singing next weekend and we may need a lie down after it.

I had made a pasta sauce in the slow cooker in the morning and we were quite ready for a reviving meal when we got home.   There was a beautiful sunset as we drove back from Carlisle but after the clocks go back next weekend, we will be returning from Carlisle in darkness, a signal that the long winter months will be upon us.

The flying bird of the day, a black headed gull, was asleep at its post and not flying at all..

gull on post

 

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After yesterday’s glorious sunrise at Wemyss, today’s guest picture goes to the opposite extreme.  Lucie has sent me this scene as Canada’s Thanksgiving Day approaches in Manitoba.  She tells me that my regular Manitoba correspondent Mary Jo has wisely popped over to London to avoid this sort of thing.

Manitoba snow

We had neither a glorious sunrise nor a heavy fall of snow here today.  The day started out being very grey and got steadily worse as it went along.

It was dry enough to cycle to church where we had a modest choir turnout and  a vigorous and interesting visiting minister to lead the service.

Then it was still dry as we cycled home but that happy state lasted about half an hour before the drizzle started.

I nipped round the garden just to record the state of the flowers

The argyranthemums in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window laugh at rain.

argyranthemum

The sedums came out too late this year to be of much interest to bees and butterflies but they are still adding good colour to the flower beds.

sedum

The transplanted nerines obviously like their new home.

nerine

Begonias are soldiering on.  On our walk yesterday we met a lady whose entire stock of begonias had collapsed.  She lives a little higher up the hill and in an exposed position so we are lucky to be in the shelter of the town.

begonia

Rosy Cheeks doesn’t love the rain but can cope with it.

rosy cheeks rose

And the fuchsias seem to be totally waterproof.  They would like a little more sunshine though.

wet fuchsiasa

Calendulas glow whatever the weather.

calendula

Although they are hanging their heads a bit, these cosmos flowers continue to thrive.

cosmos

The red astrantias have given up completely, but the white ones seem to grow a bit more beautiful each day.

astrantia

I am surprised to see the honeysuckle on the fence still producing flowers…

honeysuckle

…but not so surprised about the nasturtiums.  They will keep flowering until the very last.

wet nasturtium

Crown Princess Margareta has not given up entirely but she does seem to have lost heart and colour a bit.

rose washed out

And the dahlias are getting depressed as well.

washed out dahlia

All the same, there are a lot of flowers still to enjoy so we are not complaining.

The leeks are not complaining either.

leeks

In the afternoon, we went to Carlisle to sing with the community choir and nearly suffered from a full car park for the second day running.  There was a lot of sports activity going on in the rain at the school where we meet and the car park was absolutely full.  Luckily, on this occasion I did find a spare space round a corner.

Our proper conductor was back in action and we had a good practice.

We had stopped on our way to the choir to stock up on cheese and I had made a slow cooked lamb stew after breakfast and some wholemeal bread so we were well supplied with nourishing food when we got home through the rain.

The flying bird of the day is a blackbird which looks as though it might not have the oomph to fly at all.  It did take off though, as soon as I had finished taking its picture.

dishevelled blackbird

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony.  He met this ‘wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie‘ in a field while he was out on a walk.  Whether it had a ‘panic in its breastie’ is not recorded.

wemyss mouse

We had any amount of rain overnight, and when I looked at Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge, it had five inches of rain in it. I think that that was the product of the last two weeks and judging by the forecast, it may not be too long before It fills up again.  September was an unusually wet month and October is no improvement so far.

Still, the other side of the coin has been the generally warm weather which has let Crown Princess Margareta enjoy a late burst of life.  She seems to be pretty waterproof and unfazed by the overnight rain.

princess margareta after rain

Other flowers, like this clematis, are also holding on well and have more buds ready to come out.

purple clematis october

Even Lilian Austin has been tempted into producing a final fling.

lilian austin trying

Mrs Tootlepedal started the day off by taking our guest, Riley, for a walk, and then we went to church to sing in the choir.  We had a visiting minister who radiated a serious cheerfulness (he was serious and cheerful at the same time), a reasonable number of singers in the choir and a selection of good hymns.  I enjoyed the service.

I had forgotten to make a stew for the slow cooker after breakfast so I had to defrost some of the venison that I bought yesterday and make the stew when we got back from church.  It is very good to get back from our Carlisle choir in the evening and find a hot meal waiting for us, so it was worth the effort.

Although it was a very grey day, Mrs Tootlepedal took Riley off for another walk while I was cooking, and I when I had finished, I had time to go out into the garden to do some bird watching.

The lilac tree was very busy with visits from a robin…

robin in lilac

…a blue tit…

blue tit on lilac

…and a dunnock.

`dunnock in lilac

A sparrow, anxious to appear in the post, tried out various poses on the fence for me…

sparrow posing on fence 1

…before we settled…

sparrow posing on fence 2

…on this one as the final product.

sparrow posing on fence 3

There is often a starling to be seen perched on the top of our neighbour Irving’s holly tree and I have sometimes wondered if it is always the same one.  This scruffy bird seemed quite familiar…

rough starling on holly

…but as I watched, it was replaced by this smoother version.  It waved its friend good bye.

smooth starling on holly

There may be those who can’t imagine what a gardener might do with bracken so I have put this picture in to show what happened to yesterday’s crop.  It has already done a good job in keeping last night’s heavy rain from battering the exposed soil where the courgettes were growing.

bracken on veg bed

Another alternative is to plant a covering crop.  Mrs Tootlepedal has used a sowing of grass on this year’s potato bed.

grass sown on potato bed

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle for some shopping and singing.  The shopping was successful but the singing was not as useful as it might have been as once again, our regular conductor had other business.  She had sent down a very competent young man to take her place, but it is not the same as being taken by someone who knows us well.

And the heating was off when we came in so it was a bit chilly too.

Notwithstanding this, we did a lot of singing and that is always a good thing.

We had been threatened with rain but there was only the faintest drizzle on the drive home.  We arrived safely and enjoyed the slow cooked venison stew, followed by tarte tatin for our evening meal.

All in all, a good day in spite of some very gloomy weather.

The flying bird of the day is a starling leaving the holly tree at speed.

flying starling

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He noticed a small water wheel which has been installed not far from his house.  It has a helpful explanatory diagram drawn on the side of its hut.  It is providing power for some lights on a bridge.

burst

Just how lucky the agricultural show was to get a fine day yesterday was made clear by the rain which greeted me as I got up today.  It kept raining as I went to church to sing in the choir.  It was the harvest festival service today so it would have been nice to have some better weather to go with it.

When I got home, the rain died down to a drizzle and in between drinking coffee and doing some desultory tidying up against the return of Mrs Tootlepedal, I went out into the garden to have a look around.

I always like to see how raindrops sit on flowers and leaves….

wet michaelmas daisy

…and I found that I was not the only one interested in the Michaelmas daisies.

wet michaelmas daisy with hoverfly

The astrantia was attractive too.

astrantia with insect

One of the fuchsias that Mrs Tootlepedal moved has finally decided that some flowers would be a good thing….

transplanted fuchsia

…but it looks as though they might be too late with some cold weather forecast later in the week.

An insect visiting Crown Princess Margareta seems to be a bit lost.

Princess margareta rose

The silver pear has got quite a lot of little pears on it this year.  They are about the size of a cherry and unfortunately they are hard and inedible.

silver pear

The nasturtiums are still bringing their own little bit of sunshine into the garden…

yellow nasturtium

…and the late flowering nerines are looking very cheerful too.

nerine close up

By the back gate, the old fuchsia continues to surprise after a couple of very poor years.

backgate fuchsia

I went back indoors and looking out of the kitchen window, I though that I saw a sparrow on the lawn but a second glance told me that it was something else, so I snatched a poor picture of it as it hopped away.   I wonder if it is a wheatear but I would welcome a suggestion from a knowledgeable reader as to what it might be.

unknown lawn bird

At the far end of the lawn, a thrush was having its head turned by a showy begonia.

thrush and begonia

After lunch, I drove to Carlisle to sing with the Carlisle Community Choir and on my way, I passed over the bridge at Longtown.  There were traffic lights in place but there was no restriction on the traffic going over the bridge and the damage which had caused it to be closed yesterday looks minor.  I hope that the repairs won’t be a major business.

We were very pleased to welcome back our regular conductor Ellen at the choir practice and we worked as hard as we could to keep her happy.

After the choir was over, I was even more pleased to drive to station and pick up Mrs Tootlepedal.  She arrived back from London on a very punctual train having had a very enjoyable week there with our daughter and new granddaughter.

After a gloomy week of miserable weather in her absence, it is very good to have a ray of metaphorical sunshine back in the house.

The flying bird of the day was just passing by during the rainy morning.

flying rook

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