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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Sings’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He and his partner Marianne celebrated her birthday with a weekend in Argyll on the banks of Loch Awe, where they visited the multi layered Arvich falls.

falls of avich

We had a cold and chilly morning here today.  It was not freezing but it was cold enough to persuade me that a really idle morning would be good thing.  To tell the truth, I didn’t need much persuading.  If I was the sort of person who might complain about minor aches and niggles, I would have had an embarrassment of choices today.  However as regular readers will know I am the strong silent type so I merely did the crossword and drank coffee until getting up could no longer be avoided.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy decorating so I wouldn’t have had anyone to complain to even if I had wanted to.

I spent some time watching the birds when I was fully dressed.

There were two types of goldfinch available, the old and wrinkly and the young and smooth.

contrasting goldfinches

But luckily there were plenty of both about….

four goldfinches on feeder

..so there was plenty of action too.

Inquisitive chaffinches challenged the sitting tenants…

chaffinch challenging

…and goldfinches faced off against each other with zest.

goldfinches spat

An old and wrinkled type put the wind up a smooth fellow in a big way…

goldfinch shock

…while a greenfinch watched from above with a magisterial air.

greenfinch on pole

Putting down my bird camera, I made some lentil soup for lunch and while it was cooking, I made a quick record of some autumn colour in the garden…

autumn colour in the garden

…welcomed a robin…

robin on grey day

…and then ate the soup.

After lunch, I considered the weather forecast.  The general view was that things could only get worse so now seemed as good a time to go for a walk as any other.

I took my brolly with me for insurance and set out to walk up through a wood before coming back down to the river at Skippers Bridge and following the river bank home.

The wood was varied…

kernigal wood

…and the path was reasonably dry…

kernigal wood 2

….and there was lichen to be seen on a wall on the way and a little fungus among the trees.

fungus and lichen november

I had been well sheltered in the wood but when I got to the track at the top, it began to drizzle and I was glad that I had my brolly with me.  It was a very still day so I was able to keep quite dry in spite of the fact that it rained all the way home.

The track down the hill was covered with larch needles and this made me feel a little like a film star walking down the red carpet at a ceremony.

path to skipperscleuch

A newly felled area beside the track is regrowing with a mixture of spruce, larch and birch and even on a  gloomy day, it glowed.

young wood in autumn

When I looked back up the track, I could see the larches which had provided my carpet.

path from kernigal looking back

Out of interest, I took the same shot with the camera on my phone…

path from kernigal looking back phone

…and nothing could make clearer the amount of work the processors in your cameras do before they give you a picture to look at (unless you shoot in RAW which I only do occasionally).

I stopped for a chat in the light rain with a local resident who was walking his dog and then made my way down to Skippers Bridge.  I usually take pictures there when the sun is shining but today I took one when the weather was grey and the rain was falling just to show that it is a picturesque spot at any time.

distillery in the riain

There is a wooden fence a few hundred yards up the river from the bridge where my favourite lichen can be found if the conditions are right. They were right today.  I think that it is a lecanora or rim lichen.  They are very tiny.

lichen at lands end

The daisies that grow in profusion along the river bank at this point were still showing a bit of life…

daisies beside the river

…and further up river, I found a dipper perched on a stone, a bit too far out for me to get a good shot.  This was my pocket camera zoom at full stretch and I would have needed somewhere to rest the camera to get a sharp shot.  Juggling with an umbrella while trying to keep the camera dry made things harder.

dipper november

In spite of the persistent drizzle, the windless conditions meant that I got home both dry and warm so I enjoyed my gloomy walk a lot.

I had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got home as she had finished her decorating for the day and then I caught up with my correspondence and discarded a lot of very fuzzy pictures from my walk.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm community choir and as we had both a conductor and an accompanist, we had a productive time.

The flying bird of the day is the greenfinch in dive , dive, dive mode when a perch became vacant at the feeders.

greenfinch flying

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who, in spite of some grey weather, went down to the south bank of the Thames yesterday and enjoyed the view.

Thames

Here, our recent pattern of chilly mornings but dry days continued, although we didn’t get quite as much sun as we have had recently and as a result, it felt colder in the noticeable north easterly wind.

The bird feeder is failing as an avian magnet and no finches of any sort can be seen in the garden at the moment.  Fortunately, other birds are available and from the number of blackbirds about, it seems that we might be getting the first of our northern European winter visitors.

In the meantime, I spotted some old friends today…

dunnock, blackbird, starling

…and much to my surprise, Lilian Austin had waited for the chilly weather to arrive to make her farewell appearance of the year.

lilian austin late october

After morning coffee, I went off for a walk, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal in decorating mode with some cheerfully coloured paint, acquired at a very reasonable price from a DIY store which is closing down.

I started by going down to the river….

gull on rock in esk

…and then, as the river is low after our dry spell, I walked under the town bridge, looking back down the Esk as I did so.

from under town bridge

There was quite a contrast in mood when having climbed up the bank and crossed over the bridge, I arrived on the Kilngreen beside the placid Ewes Water.

ewes water calm

I walked over the Sawmill Brig and followed the track that goes along the little escarpment above the Ewes Water, passing the rugby club, a man digging out the ditch beside the track (ready for a certain prime minister perhaps?) and several fine bare trees.

I thought that under the clouds, this one might look well in black and white.

bandw tree

Beside the track, there is a wall and, as always, a wall is an interesting place.

interesting wall lichen

All this wall excitement was within a yard or two.

The clouds passed over as I walked and the day brightened up a bit, showing off the larches on the opposite side of the valley to advantage.

larches late october high mill

It is not only walls that have lichen.

hawthorn and oak lichen

I wanted to walk back on the opposite side of the river so I made my way down to the High Mill Bridge…

high mill brig

…which is coming up to a significant anniversary.

high mill brig date stone

By this time, the sun had come out so I made a little extension to my route by following the track north up the far side of the river once I had crossed the bridge.

In spite of the sun, the day was cool enough for there still to be ice on the puddles in shady spots.

icy puddle target burn track

I followed the track until I came to  this rather less substantial crossing of the Ewes Water, which I crossed…

bridge target burn

…and then recrossed and retraced my steps back to the main road.

It was a day for recrossing bridges as I also recrossed the Sawmill Brig on my way home via the Lodge Walks…

lodge walks late october

…and I was pleased to find this little crop of fungus beside the Scholars Field after I had crossed the Jubilee Bridge.

fungus beside scholars

Any walk with bridges, fungus and lichen is a good walk but throw in some bare trees, occasional wild flowers…

three wild flowers october

….and enough sunshine to make me take off my gloves and unzip my jacket, and a merely good walk becomes a really good walk.

I was very pleased to have had the full co-operation of my feet over the four miles of the walk.  My new insoles and exercises seem to be working well.

It was time for lunch when I got home and I quite impressed myself by having enough energy to get my bicycle out afterwards and go for a twenty mile cycle ride.  To be honest, it wasn’t really a twenty mile ride.  It was a ten mile ride which I did twice.

I didn’t want to spend too long cycling directly into the very chilly wind.

The sun only came out for a few minutes in the whole ride, just when I was turning at the five mile mark on Callister, but it was another golden moment…

view from callister october

…and I was welcomed home by a cheery primrose…

primrose october

…and Mrs Tootlepedal who had finished her decorating and had cleared the dahlia bed while I was out cycling.  She doesn’t keep the dahlias over winter but will start again from seed next year.  I approve of this as it gives me different dahlias to look at each year.

Yesterday’s roast chicken provided another tasty evening meal today and fortified by this, I went off to sing with the Langholm Choir.

Our conductor was poorly but we have a very good accompanist, and he provided us with an excellent practice in her absence.

That rounded off a day which was firmly inscribed on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

I even found a flying bird of the day, courtesy of the black headed gulls at the Kilngreen.

flying gull

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s who visited Oslo on his Scandinavian  cruise.  He tells me that She Lies (Norwegian: hun ligger) is a public sculpture by Monica Bonvicini made of stainless steel and glass panels.  It is a permanent installation, floating on the water in the fjord and turns on its axis in line with the tide and wind, offering changing experiences through reflections from the water and its transparent surfaces.  I would add that it is not often that you see a window cleaner at work on a sculpture.

P1000870

I had a quiet morning in as although it was dry again, I wasn’t attracted to the idea of going for a cycle ride in very strong winds.  I did walk round the garden where thanks to the continuing mild mornings, there are plenty of flowers still blooming.  The panel below doesn’t show everything that’s out by any means.

garden flowers late october

Mrs Tootlepedal made some delicious ginger biscuits and then we cracked open some of our walnut crop and she made a walnut and banana loaf.  The biscuits have been well tested but the loaf is waiting for tomorrow for a try out.

After lunch, I practised songs for our Glasgow trip and then went off for a walk. Mrs Tootlepedal, having checked my proposed route and tested the wind, decided that gardening would be more fun.

I walked up through the town and onto the golf course.  My plan was to look for toadstools which often flourish there.

I think that i was too late this year and most of the fungus has flown.  What was left was a bit tattered.

golf course fungus

Still, it was a pleasure to be on the well maintained course and the views always are available to console a golfer after a poor shot and me after a fruitless fungus hunt.

golf course

This was my favourite view from the course today.

trees from golf course

I walked up to the top of the course and took the track onto the open hill, passing this fine wall…

whita wall

…which was rich with interest.

whita moss amnd lichen

I was soon high enough up to get good views back down over the town…Langholm from whita

….and away to the south over the Gretna windmills and the Solway Firth to the Lake District Hills which were nudging the clouds as they passed over.

skiddaw from whita

I took closer looks at the town…

dye house chimney

…where the poplars beside the church was very prominent…

poplars from whita

…and looking at the New Town, I could see our walnut tree in the middle of the picture.  (It is behind the much darker tree.)

new town from whita

I walked along the old track towards the quarry and leapt nimbly over the stile at the wall (that might not be an entirely true statement) before going down the hill on the far side of the wall.

The hill is not grazed intensively these days and young trees are able to grow without being nibbled before they can established themselves.

birch on whita

Going down the hill on a rough path requires all my concentration these days and if I try to look at the views as I descend, I am likely to fall over.  I didn’t fall over today but I had to stop if I wanted to look at the river below.

river esk from whita

The sun came out as I  walked through a newly established birch thicket…

new wood on whita

…and I had one last stop for a view…

looking over langholm

…before I came to the woods on the lower slopes of the hill and walked down to the river to take the obligatory shot of Skippers Bridge.

skippers arch in autumn

This shot had added interest today, because when I looked at the picture later, I noticed something which  I hadn’t seen at the time, a cormorant doing a little fishing under the bridge.

cormorant at skippers

I crossed the bridge, clambered down the bank on the far side and looked back.

skppers from up river

A quick check on the camera at this point showed me that I had already taken over 100 pictures, so I stuck it firmly in my pocket and resolved to take no more before I got home….

…but who can resist a goosander?

goosander

My walk was about three and a half miles long and I was very pleased with the co-operation that my feet offered as I went along. My new insoles are doing a good job.

Mrs Tootlepedal had just finished her gardening when I arrived back but she had enough energy left to cook a dish of smoked sausage and spinach with a cream cheese sauce served with penne.  I needed it to give me strength as it was soon time to go out to my Langholm choir practice.

Our regular conductor was not there but our accompanist did a very good job of directing us and playing at the same time so we had a useful session.

On my way home from my walk in the afternoon, I came across a gang of jackdaws finding something interesting to do in the middle of  Henry Street.  They wisely took off when a vehicle approached, allowing me to capture a double (low) flying bird of the day.

two flying jackdaws

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s cycle ride through Duffield.  As well as the pub, he saw a fine bridge over the Derwent  there.

duffield bridge

I had a subdued day today.  I was meaning to take a bit of exercise, but cold wet windy weather once again suggested that more rest for the feet was the best policy.

I was consoled by the arrival of Dropscone with scones warm from the pan to go with morning coffee. We had a short competition to see who was in the worst condition and although it was a close thing, I think that Dropscone just won.  He has got a lot of trouble with a knee.  I easily won the moaning competition though.

When Dropscone left, I did the crossword, lounged around a bit, had some soup and waved Mrs Tootlepedal off on a trip to Edinburgh.  She was going to listen to our church organist’s degree recital in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh along with other supporters from the town.  I would like to have gone too but I felt that I needed to go and sing with my Langholm choir as a concert is looming up.

I did a lot of useful work on the computer during the afternoon but took time out to look at birds.  A greenfinch appeared…

greenfinch may

…and became one of a quartet of four different birds on the feeder…

mixed feedr

…although it wasn’t long before things had reverted to type.

siskin feeder

Siskins were everywhere.

siskin heading for feeder

I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and have now caught up with my backlog.  I imagine that the data miners will have been busy behind my back though and more sheets will soon arrive.

There is often something interesting in the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser of 1899 among the reports of temperance meetings and rugby matches.  Today’s nugget was a visit to Langholm by a champion cyclist who was in the process of cycling 100 miles every day for a year.  His name was Teddy Hale and I found this entry in Wikipedia:

On the 30th of July of that year he started a record attempt to ride a 100 miles daily on British roads. This attempt was sponsored by Acatène, a company that produced a shaft-driven bicycle. One year later, at the 31st of July 1900, he completed a total of 32,496 miles with which he set a first mark for this endurance record. Afterwards Hale ended his cycling career. He died in 1911, only 47 years old, leaving behind a wife and five children.

You can find an interesting article about him here if you have time to spare.  He won a big race in America too.

Sometimes, when I am looking out of the kitchen window, my eye is drawn away from the birds towards the flowers round the feeder…

wallflowers through window

…and today they were drawn even further afield by the sight of devastation on the middle lawn.

pecked lawn

Those pesky jackdaws had been at work again.  !!!

I put my jacket on and went out into the garden and though I was delayed by finding a third flower out on the garage clematis…

three clematis flowers

…and a tulip…

ballerina tulip

..or two…

pink tulip

…I managed to get the mower out and combine a quick cut with collecting the pecked moss.

mowed lawn after jackdaws

I mowed the front lawn too.

An hour and half later, I looked out again.

Jackdaws on lawn

!!!!!!

The sparrowhawk might have felt the same when it arrived on a fruitless mission shortly afterwards.

sparrowhawk head

It just couldn’t believe that there were no birds down there.

I am happy to report that at least one pigeon regained its focus today.

focused pigeon

After tea, which consisted of the farewell appearance of Mrs Tootlepedal’s quorn sauce, this time in the guise of a mild curry with rice, I went out to the choir.  In spite of resting pretty seriously for several days, things did not go well on the way.

My feet may be fairly considered to be items of great aesthetic beauty by connoisseurs but as aids to actual walking, they are still pretty hopeless at the moment.  I am confused as to whether rest or exercise is the best thing and I really hope that I get to see the physio soon.

Still, the singing was both enjoyable and useful so I hobbled home cheerfully enough.

The house was rather empty as Mrs Tootlepedal went to stay with Matilda in Edinburgh after the recital.  I will see them both tomorrow if the new car and the trains run as scheduled so that isn’t too bad. And, as a Tottenham Hotspur supporter I was mildly surprised but not entirely displeased with the result of their match against Ajax this evening.  (This an example of litotes.)

!!!!!!!!!!!!! (It was a day of !!!!)

The flying bird of the day is one of those siskins.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  It shows the Hood Monument at Compton Dundon.  She tells me that Admiral Samuel Hood (1724-1816) was the son of the local vicar who took in a navy captain when his carriage broke down. Young Samuel (and his younger brother Alexander) were so taken by the captain’s stories that they both joined the navy when they grew up.

Hood Monument in Compton Dundon

After breakfast our new car took us up to the bird hide at the Moorland feeders as I was once again acting as a fill in feeder filler.  Mrs Tootlepedal came too in the hope of seeing hen harriers on the moor but the mist was lying so low on the hillside that she joined me in the hide and we watched a woodpecker instead.

woodpeckers at hide

Unusually, the woodpecker allowed a siskin to share the feeder for a while.

As we left, the mist lifted off the moor…

mist clearing off whita

…but we still didn’t see any raptors.

We got home safely and I had a look round the garden.

A smaller bumble bee was visiting a white dicentra and Solomon’s seal and lily of the valley completed a white trio…

six garden flowers

…while more colourful flowers added a contrast.

I always like our spireas but I like them particularly when they show evidence of overnight rain.

spirea with raindrops

Dropscone arrived for coffee and after the interest shown in his drop scones last Friday, he brought a matching set of soda scones for today.

four soda scones

They were still warm from the cooker and went down very well.

While we ate, drank and chatted, I noticed a blue tit visiting the peanuts.

blue tit on peanuits garden

We haven’t seen one of these for some time so I hope that this one has a nest nearby and will be a regular visitor now.  I like blue tits a lot.

After coffee, I gave Dropscone a  very short ride in the new car and he was quite impressed by its smoothness and quietness.

When he cycled off, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set to work in the garden. We were distracted by a large aircraft making a tight turn above our heads….

passing aeroplane

…but we soon got back to work and added a second fruit cage skeleton to the new beds…

two fruit cage skeletons

…laid the wood chips which we had collected yesterday on a path between the beds…

path and sweet opea cage

…and tied together an ingenious sweet pea defence construction made by Mrs Tootlepedal from bamboos.

We did this in spite of all that the weather  could throw at us…

…though in fact, all that the weather could throw at us was a warm and gentle breeze with some very light drizzle so it was no great Hardship.

This took us up to lunchtime and I went in and watched the birds as I munched on my bread and cheese.   I had filled the feeder in the morning and it was already more than half empty thanks to a steady demand for seed.

goldfinch and siskin

I was quite tired for no very obvious reason so I had a sit down with the crossword after lunch and then I took another wander round the garden.

It just needs a warm and sunny day to bring out the full force of the rhododendrons and azaleas but the first flowers have started to appear…

rhododendrons and azalea

…and there are still tulips waiting to spread their wings.

dark tulip

After a last look at a goldfinch…

goldfinch on feeder

…I spread my own metaphorical wings and went for a slightly longer cycle ride round the 20 miles of my regular Canonbie circuit.

My favourite tree was looking very springlike with added lambs in a brief moment of sunshine..

bloch tree

…but the sun didn’t last and a few spots of drizzle and some very ominous black clouds made me think of taking a short route home.

I stuck to my guns though and was rewarded when the clouds went off to bother someone else.

There are fresh wild flowers in the verges now…

white wild flowers

These are probably stitchwort

…and a full range of green leaves on the trees beside the Esk at the Hollows.

view from hollows bridge May

I stopped to stretch my legs at Irvine House and looked at a couple of trees in the field beside the road,  If these are oaks, which I think they are, they are coming out rather earlier than usual.

two trees at Irvine House

A cow, grazing nearby, took a dim view of my photographic activity.

cows at Irvine House

There are bluebells all over the place now and this display is all that is left of one of the best bluebell woods in the area. Most of it was cut down a few years ago and the bluebells have never recovered.

bluebells on old A7

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir and unusually, we had both an accompanist and a conductor today, so we got a lot of detailed practice done.  This was handy as we have a concert coming up at the end of this month.

We are going to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to go to Edinburgh tomorrow and this will be the first serious outing for the new car.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  With all that dog walking going on, the household wellies need somewhere to have a good rest when they get home.

welly rack

Our wintery weather continued with the temperature in low single figures all day.  We had been threatened with snow but got occasional sunny spells interrupted by heavy showers of rain and sleet instead.

I had a moment to watch the birds after breakfast.  There was blackbird about…

blackbird on chimney

…and the fake tree was drawing in customers waiting for a perch at the feeder.

chaffinch on fake tree

I took no pictures in the garden in the morning as I had to set off quite promptly to go to the hospital in Dumfries for my foot x-ray.

This was an entirely satisfactory process as the road over to Dumfries was very traffic free, I got a parking spot a few yards from the main entrance to the hospital (a very rare occurrence), was in and out of the x-ray department before my appointment time had even arrived, spent some useful cheese buying time in the farm shop which is just next to the hospital and where I also bought a packet of tasty parkin biscuits and finally took the scenic road home along the banks of the Nith Estuary.

There were some impressive rain clouds about when I looked down river from the dock at Glencaple where I had parked  to eat some of the parkins…

foreboding view from Glencaple

…and I could see small rain showers on the slopes of Criffel across the water…

criffel with rain shower

…but fortunately, the rain stayed away from where I was, Criffel emerged from the cloud..

criffel in sun

…and I had time for a very short stroll among banks of gorse…caerlaverock gorse

…past clumps of primroses…

caerlaverock primroses

…and through a delightful wood…

caerlaverock wood

…before a hint of rain sent me back to the car, encouraged by loud cries from passing flights of geese.

clouds with geese nith estuary

The drive home was largely free from traffic but I did have to battle through some sharp rain showers on the way.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had a very busy time helping out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop as they had had over 60 people for lunch, and we were both happy to have a quiet moment or two when we got home.

The sunflower hearts are going down at great speed so I was happy to see some siskins trying the peanuts.  They had various styles of approach to getting at the nuts, vertical head down….

vertical siskin on nuts down

…vertical head up….

vertical siskin on nuts up

…and horizontal.

horizontal siskin on nuts

Meanwhile, competition for places at the sunflower seed feeder was intense.

very busy feeder

I had already filled the feeder once today.

Other forms of bird food were available.

blackbird and fat ball

The redpoll was back.

redpoll

I took some advice on the little blue flower that has just come out and I can report that it is a brunnera.

brunnera

I put in some work on practising two short sets of Scottish tunes to play on my descant recorder at the concert in the evening and was distracted by the ever rolling catastrophe of the Brexit reporting on the telly.  The reporting and the process are equally catastrophic in my view as the contradictions inherent in the process are still largely unacknowledged by those promoting various schemes and those who are ignoring the realities are largely unchallenged in all the excitement of who is up and who is down.

Still, it all makes for something to talk about and I had an entertaining discussion with my choir friend Mike when I gave him a lift up to the Langholm Sings concert at the Westerkirk WRI meeting.

The concert itself, considering that we had had no practice and were without an accompanist or conductor, went better than might have been expected.  There were ten singers and the choir did five four part songs while three members sang unaccompanied solos (very nicely), one recited Daffodils by Wordsworth (also very nicely) and one tootled away merrily.

The audience was very polite and appreciative and we got a quiz half way through the concert and  an excellent light meal afterwards, as you would expect from a WRI meeting so the evening was much more enjoyable than I had anticipated.

The black spot of the day was receiving a debit card through the post from a bank that I do not use.  This indicated that some fraudster had opened an account in my name and required phoning up the bank in question.  After registering my complaint and having it acknowledged that an unauthorised account had been opened, the bank said that I would have to talk to their fraud department.  Crooks must have been very busy lately as they couldn’t put me through because the lines were fully engaged but they promised that the fraud department would ring me back.  I am still waiting at the time of writing.  This sort of thing takes some of the pleasure out of life.

Flying birds of the day however, bring it back again.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who met this violinist in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  The exhibition is called “Too Cute”.

Brum fiddler

I had a restless but inactive day as my dratted foot went from being more or less pain free at breakfast to extremely sore by the end of the day.  I am frustrated.  What is best? Rest? Exercise?  A mixture of both?  I can’t wait to see the doctor on Friday.

Meanwhile a disjointed post will accurately reflect a disjointed day.  The best thing about it was that Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough to go off to an embroidery meeting in Hawick where they combined business with lunch and I have no doubt that the banter had them all in stitches.

I made frequent forays in search of flowers and found a promising tulip…

nearly a tulip

…an actual aubretia…

aubretia

…a dog tooth violet (a candidate for seeing if mirror photography will work)…

dog tooth violet

…and a little lamium.

lamium

Mrs Tootlepedal  is mildly vexed to find that the jackdaws have now removed nearly all of her wool mulch for their nests.

no wool left

It was a warmish day with a bit of chill still in the wind but we were short of sunshine and I had to rely on the daffodils along the back path…

daffodil path

…and some that our neighbour Kenny planted along the dam at the back of the house to bring some brightness into the day.

dam daffodils

Other flowers were available.

cowslippy thing

The magnolia has come out.

open magnolia flower

The birds emptied the feeder again today with siskins and goldfinches the first to get tucked in…

siskin and goldfinch and food

…but with chaffinches arriving to get their share too.

one chaffinche on each side

As the seeds  went down, things got heated.

arguing chaffinches

HEALTH WARNING:

The next part of the post contains composting pictures which those of a nervous disposition may find too exciting for their own good.

In the afternoon, while Mrs Tootlepedal was away, I turned my hand to some gentle composting.  I sieved some more of Bin D and finished emptying Bin B into Bin C.

This left Bin C (on the left) and Bin D (on the right) looking like this.

Bin C and Bin D

Bin B is now ready for refilling from Bin A…

Bin B empty

…but as Bin A is only half full….

Bin A half full

…I can take a break from turning compost for a bit.

The end product of the system is this.

two buckets of composy

Mrs Tootlepedal will soon find a home for it in the flower beds and vegetable garden.

Of course, you don’t have to do turning and shifting and sieving as you can just leave your compost in a great heap and let time do its work but where is the fun in that?

I had rung up the phone company in the morning to complain that the fallen telephone wire which is lying across our garden had not been fixed back up again.  The men who came on Friday had promised that someone would come on Monday to do the job.

Rather to my surprise, I got through almost immediately to a very competent and helpful lady in India who told me that the job had been marked as closed for some reason but she said that she would start a new job and get someone round as soon as possible….and with the right ladder!

She gave me a window of 48 hours in which to expect them but she must have added strong words to her case report as no less than three men came round in the afternoon.  I was pleased to hear that they had brought the blue ladder with them too.

Things went downhill a bit after that as having inspected the pole in our garden, they declared that it was so unsafe that they could not lean a ladder against it under any circumstances, blue or not, for fear of knocking the pole and its live wires over.

Of course the pole doesn’t belong to them as it is the property of the energy company so that means more delay.  They did think of taking the phone wire across the garden by a different route but that would have involved using one of their own poles beside the dam and when they looked at it, they found that it was decidedly wonky too, being over 60 years old.

New poles all round seems to be what is needed.

But as we have been waiting for six years to get the pole in our garden replaced, we are not holding our breath.  Something may happen as the phone company men are going to report to the electricity company  men that the pole is dangerous and the  telephone wire is still draped across our garden…

fallen wire with sandbags

..though it does have additional official sandbags on it now.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm Choir and found that we have had a concert arranged for us next Tuesday for which at the time of writing, we have no conductor, no accompanist, not many singers and no music.  It promises to be an interesting event.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch female

 

 

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