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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Sings’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  He has just spent a few days acting as a referee at an international children’s golf tournament on the east coast.  It’s tough work but somebody has to do it.  (The tide was out there too.)

Golf course

I heard all about the golf tournament when Dropscone came round for a cup of coffee this morning.  In a terrible shock to my system, he didn’t have treacle scones with him although it was Friday but I recovered when I found that he brought a very acceptable substitute in the form of four brioches.  They went down very well with some home made blackcurrant jelly.

It rained while we were drinking our coffee but it had stopped by the time we had finished and the weather for the rest of the day just got better and better. I didn’t go cycling though as I had a concert in the evening and felt that it would be better not to go to it in a tired state.

As a result I have only got garden pictures.

iris

Taken just after the rain had stopped

Mrs Tootlepedal spent a good deal of time in the garden again today.  She is busy planting things out…

greenhouse

There are all sorts of things ‘coming on’ in the greenhouse

…as well as doing the weeding and tidying up that keeps the garden looking so neat.

I did a little too.  I sieved some compost for the vegetable beds, trimmed the front hedge and scarified and mowed the front lawn.

This left me plenty of time to look around.

lamium

After an early start and then a pause, the lamium has started to flower again

The rose Lilian Austin is showing its first flower…

Lilian Austin

…and the Rosa Moyesii is doing very well.

Rosa Moyesii

Rosa Moyesii

It is sharing a corner with a thriving philadelphus.

rose and philadelphus

And talking if thriving, the Fuchsia on the back wall of the house has got a fabulous display of flowers…

fuchsia

…on half the plant.  This is all the more impressive as the other half hasn’t got any flowers on at all.

In fact, things are thriving all around as the mixture of sunshine and occasional rain is helping a lot.

Sweet rocket, ox eye daisies, irises and spirea

Sweet rocket, ox eye daisies, irises and spirea

The rhododendrons are going over with the exception of the this dark beauty.  Mrs Tootlepedal claims that it glows in the dark…

rhododendron

…and the last two of the azaleas are beginning to fade away, but they are going out in style.

azaleas

Mrs Tootlepedal has some pale lupins by the front lawn and I like the way that they look as thought they have tiny internal uplighters for each flower.

lupin

After I had scarified and mowed the front lane, Mrs Tootlepedal gave it some liquid feed as it is not looking as green as we would like and while I was standing there contemplating its general lack of oomph, Mike Tinker came round and spotted a frog enjoying the sunshine on a lily pad in the pond.

frog in pond

I spotted a spider on a nearby leaf.

spider in pond

A reader has asked how the tadpoles are doing so I looked for a tadpole too.

tadpole

There is plenty of life in the pond with snails and water boatman too.

I was reading a photographic supplier’s catalogue recently and came across a handy device which you can fix up with one end gripping your tripod and the other end gripping the stalk or stem of a plant to stop it waving in the wind.  What a handy device, I thought but of course you can just hold the plant with your hand as I did today with this fancy buttercup.

buttercup

Mike thinks that I might take better pictures if I did use my tripod and the handy device and he is probably quite right….but then I might not have enough time to practice songs and music for concerts as taking really good pictures takes a lot of time and patience.  I never seem to have much of either.

When the time came, the concert in Waterbeck Church went quite well and Mrs Tootlepedal, who came to both the Langholm Sings concerts, thought that this one showed the benefit of our extra practice on Wednesday.   It is almost certainly true to say that we could never have too many practices before a concert.

From a personal point of view, I had a little eight bar tenor solo to sing in one of the pieces.  It went very badly last week and was much better this week so I was happy.

No flying bird today but three magnificent hostas on the banks of the dam round off this post.

hostas

One more concert to go on Sunday with the Carlisle choir and then I can have a good lie down.

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The guest picture of the day comes courtesy of Mary Jo from Manitoba who asked her friend Lucie to send me this really stunning picture of a bison, with which Lucie had a close encounter in Riding Mountain National Park.

bison

The forecast shows a lot of rain showers coming our way over the next week so it seemed like a really good idea to make the most of a very pleasant sunny day today by getting up early, putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before breakfast and hitting the road on the fairly speedy bike while the morning was still young.

No one was more surprised than me when this splendid idea came to fruition.

There was a light wind in my face on the way out and at my back on the way home and nothing occurred during the stately pedalling along a mainly flat route that was worthy of recording so I will just say that I managed 80 miles and enjoyed all of it.  I did stop  quite a lot to take pictures.

There were many almost idyllic moments.  Here are cows beside the Kirtle Water near Gretna…

Cows beside the Kirtle Water

…and here is the bank of the newly built M6 extension beside the service road which I use.

M6 at Gretna

It is rich in daisies and the first Rosa Complicata are just coming out

I passed many of the sort of umbellifers that always seem to have insects on them when you look.  These four pictures are of the same plant.

umbellifers

My route took me down the bike path beside the northern Carlisle by-pass.  The roundabouts as it crosses the railway line are a treat.

by pass roundabout

The bike path also had the first ragged robin that I have seen this year.

ragged robin

I left the by-pass and headed along the Solway shore.  I was hoping to see the sea but sadly, the sea was not at home.

Solway tide out

The only water showing was the outflow of the River Eden

It looked as though it would be easy to walk across the the Scottish shore where I was doing a similar pedal last week.  (It wouldn’t be)

Criffel

Even if I couldn’t see the sea, there was plenty to please the eye as I travelled the coast road.

Drumburgh verge

But I couldn’t spend all my time looking at the views while I went along the salt marsh as I had to keep my eye out for traffic too.

Cows on road at Drumburgh

The cattle graze freely over the unfenced marsh.

I also passed a cute kid.

cute kid

It was rather too hazy for good long shots but I took one anyway.  This shows the Lake District hills, seen over the estuary of the River Whampool.

Skiddaw

My ride took me round the very large masts of the radio transmitter at Anthorn which you can see in the background, behind a sturdy bull and a neat wooden bridge,

Anthorn and bridge

I didn’t come back along the shore since the sea was out and chose an inland route that was well surfaced and basically flat so I rolled along very cheerily but was stopped in my tracks by this very fine house in one of the villages that I passed through.

P1130031

This is good farming country and there are a lot of well built fortified farmhouses around as well more modern country houses.

I went right round the by-pass on my way back and stopped at Gretna for a coffee and cake to fuel me up for the last few miles.  Needless to say I met a couple from Langholm in the cafe as it is a popular destination for a short drive for many Langholmites.

I had a last look at a large English country house before I crossed the border back into Scotland.

Netherby Hall

This is Netherby Hall which features in the well known poem, Young Lochinvar. by Sir Walter Scott.

Unlike Young Lochinvar, I did no racing and chasing on Canonbie Lea but continued at a steady pace until I arrived home quite ready for a cup of tea.

Those interested in the details of the ride can click on the map below.

garmin route 31 May 2017

I would observe that although the chart says that the temperature was a cool 54°F, and it was probably quite right when I set out, it was a great deal warmer in the sunshine.  A young lad to whom I talked while having a refreshment break said that his bike computer was claiming that it was 25° in the sun by mid morning.  He was planning a 130 mile ride but had had to curtail as he had got up late.  He had settled for 110 miles. Ah to be young again.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden to pick some spinach for our tea.

spinach

She is working on the usual ‘cut and come’ again principle with the spinach.  It was delicious.

The garden is moving from the age of azaleas to the era of irises…

irises

…which I enjoy because they are a challenge to photograph well as they tend to sway about in the wind.

I also found a new plant beside the pond which Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is musk.

musk

After tea, I went off to the last ‘Langholm Sings’ practice of the season.  We have a second concert this Friday and our conductor was busy tidying up one or two things which could have been done better in the first concert last Friday.  As this took two hours, you can tell that we should be better this week than we were last week….though people who were at the concert In Newcastleton say that they enjoyed it thoroughly.

No time for any bird pictures today.

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The guest picture of the day was sent to me by my older son, Tony.  He was much impressed by this robot lawn mower mowing a public space in Edinburgh.  I was too so although it is not the sharpest photo, I have used it.

robot mower

We had another day of incessant sunshine and I was pleased to have been able to get up, eat breakfast and get out for a 25 mile cycle ride by half past seven in the morning.  The temperature was perfect when I started off but it was already getting too warm for comfort by the time that I finished.

I took a picture with my phone to give a general impression of the ride…

sunny day at Glenzier

…and was pleased to find an early silverweed flower at my foot.

silverweed

They seem to like the salt that gets put on the roads in winter.

Apart from avoiding the worst of the heat, my early start allowed me to be home in time for coffee with Dropscone and since it was Friday today, this involved treacle scones.  He had laid out some of his cash on a better quality bag of flour and this had paid off as the scones were first class.

While I was awaiting for him to come, I killed a little time chasing butterflies in the garden.

female orange tip butterfly

This is a female orange tip butterfly

small white butterfly and bee

I don’t what type this very plain white butterfly is. I liked the neat pollen bucket on the bee nearby.

I couldn’t help noticing a few flowers too.  Some were big and brash….

oriental poppy

Our first oriental poppy of the year

peony

Several peony flowers are on the go now.

Some were more delicate….

Welsh poppies

A floating cloud of Welsh poppies

Welsh poppy

A near perfect one

And the sunshine made for a couple of quite classy close ups.

Welsh poppy

Dancing feet

astrantia

Delicate petals

It was good though to get back into the cool indoors out of the sun and enjoy the coffee and scones.

After Dropscone left, with a few sticks of rather weedy looking rhubarb in a bag, I thought about mowing a lawn but decided that discretion was the better part of valour today and went back in and did the crossword instead.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been having coffee with ex work colleagues at the Buccleuch Centre but after lunch, she got busy in the garden and I went out to supervise.  I did manage to sieve another bucket or two of compost for dressing the vegetable beds and we put some netting on the strawberry beds,  but mostly I drifted about, trying not to get too hot.

I noticed the first yellow rose of the year…

Scotch Rose

…and enjoyed peering into an allium.

allium

Whenever I did get too hot, I went indoors and practised songs and/or flute and recorder pieces for the concert in the evening.

While I was out in the garden at one point, a tremendous racket announced the arrival of a bunch of starlings which sat on the electricity wires and chatted.

starlings

starling

They didn’t stay long though and were soon off in search of food for the youngsters elsewhere.

Other birds were available.

sparrows

Sparrows checking out some red pellets

I noticed that a blue polemonium had come out…

polemonium

…and the lupins are now going strong.

lupins

I went back in and made a feta, tomato and potato bake for our tea and then we picked up another choir member and set off for Newcastleton where our choir concert was being held in the church.

The thermometer in the car said 30°C when we got in and even driving along with the windows open didn’t cool us down at all.  I was hoping that when we got there, the church would be dark and cool but it was just as warm inside as the day was outside and by the time that the choir and a very satisfactorily large audience had piled in, it was a bit like a furnace.

The heat didn’t affect the singing too much but playing instruments when your hand is hot and sticky is not quite what you want so although the recorder piece went not too badly, the flute accompaniment was rather streaky.  The pianist complained that he too was making mistakes because his hands were slipping off the keys.

The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the concert.  As well as the choir, there were poems, solo songs and a terrific contribution by three of our conductor’s students from Carlisle who sang songs from musicals and some crisp close harmony work as well.

All in all, the audience got quite good value for their entrance money, though there was enough scope  for improvement in the choir to warrant a another practice before we repeat the concert in another church next week.

The almost flying bird of the day is one of the starlings.

starling

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I found today’s guest picture while looking at last month’s files.  It shows two pelicans which my sister Mary met in St James’ Park in April and it should have appeared before now. She describes the pelicans as “resting from their ‘amusing the tourists’ activities.”

Pelicans resting from their 'amusing the tourists' activities

After the slightly cool air yesterday, today was back to early summer warmth and at 19°C, it was at the perfect temperature for me as I don’t like it when it gets too hot.

I had to start the day with a trip to the garage to get a new spare tyre fitted to the spare wheel as the one we have had on since we bought the car has mysteriously got a spilt in the side wall and was irreparable.

Then I mowed the middle lawn without finding very much grass on it and followed that by going on a nuthatch hunt by bike accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal.

We passed a large bank full of ribwort on our way to the Jubilee Bridge.

ribwort

The nuthatches were very busy going to and fro to the nest with food when we got there.

nuthatches

I like they way that they always have a cautious peer out of the nest hole before emerging.

nuthatches

Mrs Tootlepedal kept an eye out for tree creepers but although she saw one, I couldn’t get the camera into action quickly enough.

She doesn’t entirely share my enthusiasm for hanging around for yet another few minutes to see if I can get a better nuthatch shot so we set off across the Castleholm to see what we could see.

There was no shortage of treats.

red horse chestnut

This is an example of the Aesculus × carnea, or red horse-chestnut an artificial hybrid between A. pavia (red buckeye) and A. hippocastanum (horse-chestnut).   I thought that you would like to know that.

hawthorn

Could this tree have tried any harder?

conifer

Or this one.

My favourites were the pair of Noble Firs on the corner of the new path,  They have more going on than most trees.

Noble Fir

We went back by the Jubilee Bridge and I stopped for another look at the busy nuthatches….

nuthatches

…while Mrs Tootlepedal went home for a cup of coffee and some gardening.

While I watched the nuthatches, a blue tit and a wood pigeon watched me.

blue tit and wood pigeon

On my way home, I passed a very furry flower.

furry flower

When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and got on with some gardening too.  I mowed the front lawn and then sieved some compost.  Mrs Tootlepedal is busy planting things out from the greenhouse and compost is always welcome.

While I was mowing the lawn, a neighbour called by and said that she had just been trapped in her house for twenty minutes by a huge swarm of bees in her garden and had only got out when the bees had moved next door.  She asked my advice as to her best plan of action.

Feeling that, “Run like the clappers!” was probably not the most useful answer, I suggested telephoning the council and she said that she would do that.  I went to warn my neighbour Liz of the possibility of a swarm of bees but when we went round to check, there was no sign of them at all.  They must have swarmed off somewhere else.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had noticed a sparrow disappearing into a crack in Liz’s wall…

sparrow in Liz's wall

…but when Liz investigated, there was not enough room for a nest and the sparrow must just have been enjoying the shade.

In between mowing and having lunch, I took the chance to look at flowers.

peony

A peony was almost out.

Ranunculus

A new purchase which Mrs Tootlepedal describes as a ‘fancy buttercup’. Money well spent in my view.

Rosa Moyesii

The first flower on the Rosa Moyesii

Mrs Tootlepedal was glad to see the rose in flower has she had feared for the health of the plant earlier in the spring.

I was pleased to see more aquilegias.

aquilegia

As it was still a wonderful day after lunch, I mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and felt very virtuous for having completed a clean sweep of the grass during the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was making a splendid job of edging the middle lawn with shears so I set about neatening the front edge of the same lawn with a spade and then edging the front lawn with the strimmer.  Though I say so myself, by the time we had both finished, the lawns looked quite neat.

Front lawn

The front lawn with azaleas

middle lawn

The middle lawn. Sparkling edge work from Mrs Tootlepedal

It is a pity that the plum tree in the foreground hides the rhododendrons which frame the top corner of the middle lawn.

In the course of the afternoon, the other two tenors from our Langholm choir came round for a practice as we have a concert this Friday.  It was one of those practices which leave you with the feeling that what you really need is some practice.

Later in the afternoon, I went up to collect the spare wheel with its new tyre and I sincerely hope that I have spent money on something that I will never use.

I left Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden when I got back and went in to make a belated cup of tea and I was rather surprised when she came in behind me in a great rush shutting the door firmly as she came.  The swarm of bees was back and in our garden.

However, by the time that I had picked up a camera and gone to have a peer through the glass in the back door, they had already moved on and were swirling about above our neighbour Irving’s roof.

bees swarming

A few minutes later and they were gone.  They seem to be on a tour of the New Town.  We are assuming that they are honey bees but we don’t know where they have come from as we don’t think that anyone nearby has a hive.

After tea, I went off to the final practice of our Langholm choir before the concert and my feeling that more practice was required turned out to be fully justified.  I will have to find some time to go over the music tomorrow.  It is unfortunate that both the choirs that I sing in are having concerts at pretty well the same time.  Being a very rough and ready singer, I am rather overwhelmed by the number of songs that need to be mastered.

My ideal choir would sing interesting music every week but never have a concert.

No bird of the day today but the flower of the day is the peony which finally came out fully in the afternoon.  It was well worth the wait I thought.

peony

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce.  He came across this fine view on the hill road to Roberton near Hawick a week or so ago.

Bruce's view

After a rather slack period for cycling recently, a dry and calm day today was an excellent opportunity to get the fairly speedy bike out and put in a few miles.  The tyres needed pumping up and the chain needed cleaning but I was soon ready to go.

My intention was to see how my legs felt and adjust the distance accordingly but I got a bit overcome by taking pictures as I pedalled along and lost a few potential miles on the way.  Still, I did 64 miles and took 50 pictures so that seems like a good balance.  Readers will be pleased to know that not all the pics made it into the post!

I started with a big surprise only a mile or so from the house when I saw the hillside above Bessie Bell’s covered in bluebells.

Bruce's view

Another visit on foot is on my to do list.

The verges were full of wild flowers and the first three that I met were these.

wild flowers

I have forgotten what the golden spikes are called but the other two are speedwell and geum

I started my ride among the hills and I hoped to get some good pictures of the 22 windmills on the new Ewe Hill windfarm by going up the hill towards Corrie Common.  I could see the windmills (just) but in the rather poor light, my camera couldn’t so i will have to try again on a brighter day.

I did get a splendid view down into the valley on the far side of Corrie Common though and even on a gloomy day, it is a very pleasing prospect.

 

view from Corrie Common

Click on the pic for a bigger picture

The only fly in the ointment is that very poor road surface takes the fun out of going down the hill into the valley.

The little stream at the bottom is very picturesque…

Corrie common

…and the bridge has the usual gate to stop any sheep making a break for freedom by swimming.

corrie common road

I pedalled on over the hill to Boreland, a very pretty road even on a rather grey day…

road to Boreland

…and then turned west and descended into Annandale.  On the way down, I was stopped several times by wild flowers crying out to be photographed.

red campion, cranesbill, hawthorn and more bluebells

Sometimes I couldn’t fail to notice them.

red campion

A bank of red campion

When I got to Lochmaben,  I had a stop for a banana and a little rest beside the Mill Loch, a very peaceful place for a sit down…

Mill Loch Lochmabe

Mill Loch Lochmaben

…and then I pedalled on down the valley to Dalton and Hoddom.

I passed several flourishing horse chestnut trees.  I was not the only one interested in the flowers.

horse chestnut

I like this rather Hansel and Gretel like lodge at Hoddom Castle…

Hoddom Lodge

…and I looked up at the Repentance Tower on the hill above the road.

Repentance Tower

I couldn’t cross my favourite bridge over the River Annan at Hoddom without taking a picture…

Hoddom Bridge

…and I noticed some more wild flowers beside the river bank path while I was there.

broom

Broom is arriving as the gorse begins to fade

dandelion and buttercup

From Hoddom, I headed to Ecclefechan and then went down the old main road to Gretna where I fortified the inner man with an excellent plate of egg and chips.

From Gretna, I took a direct route home as all my photo stops (and the egg and chips) had added a lot of time to my trip.

I did stop for a few more pictures.

My three favourite trees on the old A7 were looking well in the spring garb….

three canonbie trees

…and there were two rather delicately shaded flowers beside Canonbie Bridge…

comfrey and forget me not

Comfrey and Forget-me-not

…as well full spring clothing at Hollows Bridge…

Hollows Bridge

…and a great number of Pyrenean Valerian flowers once I got within thee miles of Langholm.

pyrenean valerian

Here is a map of the trip and those with time hanging heavy on their hands can click on the map as usual to get further details of the ride.

garmin route 17 May 2017 elevation

You can see that the route was well chosen for an old man with all the climbing at the start and the wind mostly behind on the way home.

The hilly start into the wind meant that my average speed was pretty low but it was a most enjoyable outing.  I mean to get as much pleasure as I can from the scenery and the surroundings and be less bothered by average speeds now that the better weather has arrived.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was out and had completed her pea fortress.

pea fortress

Just let the sparrows try to get into that!

Our garden was full of flowers too….

garden flowers

…and it is always interesting to see the different ways that flowers set out to attract customers.

There are some very colourful aquilegias against the back wall of the house.

aquilegia

AKA Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be Front-of-House at the Buccleuch Centre for a very peppy jazz concert from the Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra while I went to a Langholm Sings choir practice.  We both enjoyed ourselves.

It was a very cheerful day for one that had little or no actual sunshine in it.

The flower of the day is a tulip which is not showing any signs of being a shrinking violet.

tulip

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Manitoba correspondent, Mary Jo.  She has got the opportunity to share a piece of ground with a neighbour as a garden.  She tells me, “My garden boxes are too small for any amount of large crops like spuds and squash and tomatoes, and I am tickled to finally be let loose on a larger patch.  We opened about 65 x 110 feet, so we should easily supply the two families and also donate to the local food bank.”  It looks like she might have plenty of work on her hands.

Mary Jo's garden

Our garden looked liked this today…

puddle on lawn

…very soggy.

It was because it was like this…

rain

…for a lot of the day.

It didn’t discourage these two though.

jackdaws

You would think that all that pecking would aerate the lawn and help the drainage but there were a lot of puddles so they are not helping.  We tried to get a photo that would show what they were pecking up to eat but they were too quick for us.

Dropscone wasn’t discouraged by the weather either and came round with some scones which went down very well with some superior North Berwick coffee.  He told me that his golf has been so disappointing recently that he has bought a new club.  As all golfers will know, a new club is bound to make you play better so I am very hopeful for him.

As Dropscone left, there was a small gap in the rain and I had a quick look at the garden.

azalea

The azaleas seem pretty rainproof

azalea

azalea

They give off a cheerful air even on the gloomiest day.

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t much like aquilegias but I do so I was pleased to see an early one.

aquilegia

Some Icelandic poppies chose a very bad day to burst into flower and I had to get very low to look this one in the face.

Icelandic poppy

I managed to find things to do indoors while the rain came down and spent some useful time putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and taking literally thousands of photos off my computer and putting them on to an external hard drive.

After lunch, a friend from our Langholm choir came round for some practice and Luke came round for his flute lesson so a bit of music brightened the afternoon and in the evening, I went off to the last camera club meeting of the 2016-17 season ,where a small group of members enjoyed a very interesting set of pictures.

All in all, I got the best out of a pretty miserable day as far as the weather went….and after many very dry weeks, we certainly needed some rain so no complaints.

It was too soggy for photos though so no flower or bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who was half way up Snowdon in Wales when he saw this view yesterday.  He says that the best thing about climbing Snowdon is that you can get a cup of tea at the top but the view is pretty good too.

Snowdon

Our spell of dry and windy weather continued today with both more sun and more wind than yesterday.  It seems a long time now since we had any serious rain.

The garden is enjoying the weather and doesn’t seem to be needing rain yet though.  It is hard to beat a sight like this when I went out into the garden after breakfast.

apple blossom

It is apple blossom time.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s front beds don’t get the sunshine until a bit later but the mixed tulips were quite bright enough without any help.

tulip beds

I had intended to go for an early bike ride but I wasn’t feeling very perky, probably because my asthma was playing up a bit and definitely because the wind seemed to be very strong so I idled quite a bit of the morning away before I finally chased myself out of the house.

I was glad to be out.  It was a sparkling day and the wind blew me up the hill and made the start of my ride very easy.  Because of the stiff breeze, gusting at well over 25 mile an hour at times, I decided to use my valley bottom ‘outdoor gym’ and cycle 25 miles by repeating the four mile trip up to Cleughfoot and back three times.

The wind was so strong that I took more or less exactly the same amount of time to cycle up the hill as I did to cycle back down again and on the third iteration of the route, I set my fastest ever time for the three uphill miles from Pool Corner to Wauchope School.

I also stopped for photos, as my modest speed let me keep an eye for points of interest like these bright things on a conifer.

Spruce flower cones

Spruce flower cones

I couldn’t miss the gorse which is as good as I have ever seen it this year.

gorse

There were lambs bleating in every field.

lambs

And the blackthorn blossom at one point was sensational.

blackthorn

My favourite cascade on the Wauchope has been reduced to a mere trickle…

Wauchope cascade

…but this did let me appreciate just how bent the rocks beside it are.

bent rocks

Our peaceful countryside has been the subject of some powerful forces not so long ago.

I had another look at the apple blossom when I got back to see if there were any bees about.

bee on apple blossom

Good work.

The bird seed was going down at the usual speed.

redpoll, siskin and goldfinch

A redpoll looks rather disapprovingly at a goldfinch tucking in

Mrs Tootlepedal had been helping out with the lunches at the Buccleuch Centre so we had a late lunch when she got back and while she had a well deserved rest, I pottered around the garden, dead heading yet more daffodils and some of the early tulips.

I roused Mrs Tootlepedal and we drove down to the animal feed shop south of Longtown where I get my bird seed.  I bought a big bag of seed which I got free, courtesy of a generous bribe from BT in the form of a prepaid card which they gave me when I changed my internet supplier to them recently.   I may well repay them by changing to another supplier when my cheap first year runs out.

We stopped in Longtown on our way home and I took a quick walk along the river.  The bridge of many arches was looking good in the sunshine.

Longtown Bridge

In fact it was looking so good that I thought I might try taking three pictures and merging them using Photoshop, a technique I learned at the last Camera Club meeting.

This was the result.

Longtown Bridge 2017 photomerge

You can click on the picture for a larger view.  The technique works pretty well. I couldn’t see the joins.

The river looked inviting….

River Esk at Longtown

…so I strolled down the riverside path…

Longtown path

…and in the shelter of the trees, it was a beautifully warm day.

I was delighted to see an orange tip butterfly and even more delighted when it thoughtfully posed for me.

orange tip butterfly

A small tortoiseshell was not so obliging.

There were wild flowers on view as well.

nettle and silverweed

Some sort of dead nettle and the aptly named silver weed

umbellifera

Various umbellifera which I should be able to identify but can’t

Between the cycle ride, pottering about the garden and the riverside walk, I took far too many pictures today but the weather is due to be fine again for the next two days so I will have plenty of opportunity to take many more.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Archaeological Society meeting and I went to sing with the Langholm Community choir.  When I came out, there was a very beautiful sunset to round off an enjoyable day.  Luckily I didn’t have my camera with me as I think that the 80,000,000 pictures of lovely sunsets already on the internet are probably more than enough….but it was a particularly good one.

The title of the blog today refers both to the wind, which was hard to beat when I pedalled against it in the morning, the beautiful river views at Longtown in the afternoon which were looking as good as I have ever seen them and finally the speed at which our conductor in the evening took one of our pieces.  A beat that I found it was very hard to keep up with.

I didn’t have much time for flying birds today and this goldfinch, threading its way towards the feeder, was the best that I could do.

goldfinch

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