Posts Tagged ‘LAODS’

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s African odyssey.  She is putting a full account of the trip on her blog which can be found here.


Yesterday’s rest had improved my foot a little but as there is still some way to go, I had another day where I didn’t venture out of house or garden on foot until well into the evening.  I did pay two visits to shops, pedalling very sedately on my slow bike.

It was warm enough outside for Mrs Tootlepedal to get some useful gardening in.  My role was limited to sporadic supervision though I helped to lift up the little bridge over our pond.  It turned out to be acting not just as a bridge but as a home  from home for a pair of frogs too.

two frogs

I don’t know who was more surprised, them or us.

We lifted the bridge to see if we could spot a leak in the pond liner as our pond had mysteriously and suddenly gone down a lot..

empty pond

It had been absolutely full two days ago.  We filled it up and will look anxiously tomorrow to see whether it has gone down again.

I wandered around the garden but as it was a damp and misty day, there wasn’t a lot to see except the  inevitable moss which is taking over the world…

moss elder

…and any amount of rather unusual raindrop patterns on leaves…

another leaf with raindrops

…in every corner…

lupin with raindrops

…of the flower beds…

leaf with raindrops

….and on euphorbia flowers.

euphorbia with raindrops

The forsythia was  doing its best to brighten things up…


…and pulmonarias are trying to help too.


I spent most of the day indoors, killing time by doing this and that and occasionally peering through the gloom at the bird feeders.

The siskins were thoroughly at home today…

four siskins

…although they had to fight off the attentions of chaffinches….

siskin under pressure from chaffinch

…and goldfinches…

siskin under pressure from goldfinch

…not to mention other siskins.

siskin under pressure from siskin

The main business of the day was a visit to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening to see the Langholm Operatic and Dramatic Society’s production of My Fair Lady.

You always hope when you go to see a production involving friends that you are going to be able to look them in the eye afterwards and say well done without feeling shifty.  This show amply fulfilled that hope with a crisp production, good acting, excellent stage crew work and some really first class singing without a single weak member of the cast or chorus.   The show itself is one of my favourite musicals, with a good story, some very witty dialogue and a fistful of memorable tunes.  Time in the auditorium passed in the twinkling of an eye.

I am really beginning to feel the lack of exercise so I fear that I will have to put in some time on the bike to nowhere in the garage starting from tomorrow before I forget how to pedal altogether.

It wasn’t a good day for taking pictures of flying birds as the mist never lifted from the hills so I have put in two mediocre efforts, neither of which are chaffinches.

flying siskinflying goldfinch


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Today’s picture shows the view that my neighbours Gavin and Gaye should have been looking at out of their aeroplane window today had they not been laid up at home here in Langholm with the lurgy.  It was taken by their son who lives out there.

Golden gate bridge

It was a confusing day as far as the weather went.  When we got up, it was bucketing down but if you poked your head out of doors, it was really warm for the time of year.  The rain eased off during the morning and at one moment in the afternoon the sun even made a brief appearance…


…but it didn’t last.

In a burst of enthusiasm, I cycled the 200 metres to the Buccleuch Centre to get a ticket for Mrs Tootlepedal’s concert and by the time that I came back it was raining heavily again.  Just my luck.

Generally, I had a quietly pointless day.  I had hoped for treacle scones but Dropscone rang up to say that he was otherwise engaged.  To make up for this, I cooked some tea cakes.  They were better than my last effort on this front and looked more like tea cakes and less like demented buns.

tea cakes

I had to be quick with the camera because Mrs Tootlepedal, who had said that she wasn’t going to eat any of them, ate three of them in short order.  Still she used up a lot of energy on the stage during the concert so I expect that they won’t have affected her diet.

The weather was good enough around lunch time for her to get out in the garden and do a bit of work on the border she is re-doing.  Some yellow crocosmias have gone in.

new border

There are going to be iris Siberica and Shirley poppies too in the course of time.  They both do well in the garden.  The Shirley poppies  by the middle lawn have stood up bravely to the recent rain and wind.

Shirley poppy

I drifted around snapping berries in the garden while Mrs Tootlepedal toiled.



I was able to pick a pound of raspberries and I used them to make some raspberry jam with a few brambles added in for extra flavour.

For those who don’t make jam, I should say that the best thing about making raspberry jam is that it takes about ten minutes from start to finish and it never fails.

I noticed two good looking turnips as I brought the raspberries in.


They will soon be taking a leading role in a nice pot of stew.

I was talking to an occasional reader of the blog at the concert in the evening and she remarked that there was a tremendous number of chaffinch pictures at the moment and implied quite politely that a change might be appreciated.  She lives at the edge of the town and has regular nuthatches, squirrels and woodpeckers as visitors so I can see why she thinks a diet of chaffinches might be a little dull.  However I take all readers’ suggestions to heart so there is a chaffinch-free blog today.

Luckily  a robin put in an appearance….


…both in the plum tree and on the ground.


A sparrow ran its eye over the fat balls.


A great tit measured then for size.

great tit

And a coal tit had a nibble too.

coal tit

Not a chaffinch in sight.

In the evening, I went to the Buccleuch Centre for Mrs Tootlepedal’s concert and enjoyed it a great deal.  It is always a pleasure to see Mrs Tootlepedal in the chorus as she works so hard and acts in such a lively fashion that she looks just like she looked when we got married.   The rest of the show was very enjoyable too,  being a tour through popular numbers from past shows including the Mikado, the first show the society performed 90 years ago.   The  cast was aged from eight to eighty and the society looks good for another ninety years.

I can’t say that my cold is much better but if the weather is at all nice tomorrow I might sneak out for a token pedal.  I’m getting seriously itchy feet.

Today’s flying bird is a chaffinch coal tit.

flying coal tit

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Today’s picture shows the cloisters at Salisbury Cathedral.  A big floor to scrub.  My three sisters visited it while on holiday earlier this week and my sister Susan sent me the photogrpah.

The cloisters are splendid

We had a beautiful early autumn day of 100% sunshine.  As a result, after a prompt breakfast, I got the speedy bike out and cycled up the main road to Mosspaul.  The views were gorgeous, just as good in their own way as the south of France or the Eden Valley.  Of course, we don’t get so many sunny days to enjoy the view as they do in Le Sud so I enjoyed this one while I could.


The clouds didn’t amount to anything and soon cleared away and a cross wind was the only fly in the ointment as I pedalled up the gentle gradients of the Ewes Valley.  The Mosspaul Hotel, after a period of closure, seems to be open again and judging from the number of cars in front of it, doing quite good business.

Mosspaul Hotel

The steady drag up to Mosspaul took me 50 minutes but even with the persistent cross wind, the beneficial effects of gravity ensured that I averaged almost 18 mph on the way back down.  I stopped to remark on the bracken turning brown on the hillside as autumn creeps onward…

bracken turning

..and to admire a flaming tree opposite Whitshiels cafe, another autumn marker.


The phone performed well and I hope that I can keep using it as a camera and not to have use it to ring up the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service.

After I got back, Sandy called round  to give Mrs Tootlepedal her winning embroidery back and present her with a fine certificate.  Annie looked at my pictures and with a fresh eye quite correctly pointed out flaws in the printing and presentation that would have contributed to my lack of success.  The lesson is always take trouble and take competitions seriously and not put in pictures just because you like them yourself  if you want to win prizes.   I should have got them prepared long before I went off on holiday and not at the last moment.  Mind you, I might have done that and still not won anything.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been singing in the church choir and when she got back and had been suitably refreshed with coffee, she and Annie set out on a cycle ride of their own round Potholm.

It was such a lovely day that I had to take some pictures of old friends from all round the world.

Anemone, marigold and poppy

Japanese anemone, Scotch  marigold and Icelandic poppy

I also picked some raspberries and blackberries.  The autumn fruiting raspberries are really enjoying the weather at the moment.

After the ladies got back from their cycle ride, Annie and I played a few recorder duets while Mrs Tootlepedal converted the raspberries, blackberries and some windfall apples into a delicious crumble..  Then  It was time for lunch and we enjoyed some tasty goat’s cheese on toast.  I had bought the local goat’s cheese in Skipton yesterday and it would have been almost worth the whole journey just for itself.  Followed by the crumble, it made a feast fit for a king.

Annie has an appointment to  visit her granny tomorrow and so she had to catch an afternoon train back to London.  Mrs Tootlepedal took her down to Carlisle.

While they were out, I and mowed all the grass that I could find. The front lawn looked good later in the day in the evening light.


In this light you can’t see the moss lurking.

I can’t complain if the lawns are as dry and easy to mow as they were today this late in the season.

I took the lawn picture with the new phone.  It certainly enjoys a bit of colour.  I suspect that clever people have put some picture processing software into the phone to get the results looking so peppy.  I pointed it around the garden.

Middle lawn

The fence

Mrs Tootlepedal looked at this picture and said, “It doesn’t look like that.”  It nearly does though.

I hadn’t neglected the birds during the day either.  The goldfinches are back in the category of regular customers as they are appearing every day.


The families of sparrows have largely disappeared and the chaffinches are by far our most frequent customers.


One sparrow to five chaffinches

The tit family are much in evidence.  Today it was the turn of coal and great tits to pose for me.

coal tit

Great tit

My sister Susan likes a perching chaffinch so here is one pretending to be a bee and perching on a sedum.

chaffinch on sedum

I took a final flower picture of the day as the sun got lower.


Nerines under the seed feeder.

In the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre for a reception with a finger buffet to mark the 90th anniversary of the Langholm Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.  I haven’t been active recently but in years past I have directed plays and operas for them as well as conducting and playing in the orchestra and Mrs Tootlepedal, who has directed several of their productions, still appears in the shows and makes costumes.   There was an excellent turnout of members and supporters of all ages and the buffet was very good too so it was an enjoyable couple of hours.

Annie phoned to say that she had got home safely and said that the late afternoon and evening sunlight had been so good that the train journey south had been as good as another holiday.  She pointed out that like me she had had both a tootle and a pedal so she had obviously had a good day.

Given the number of chaffinches around, it is no surprise that one of them is flying bird of the day yet again.


I have added another day of pictures to the second French Trip page.


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Today’s picture, taken by my brother Andrew, shows the oddly named and oddly shaped hill, Thorpe Cloud

Thorpe Cloud, looks pyramidical from the south

I had hoped to test drive my new cycling glasses today and after a good night’s sleep,  the weather was pleasant enough to have made this a possibility but, for once, good sense came into the picture.  Good Sense said, “Does your ankle hurt?” and when it received an answer in the affirmative , it said, “Don’t go cycling.”  So I didn’t.

I did look out of the window of course.


Just the usual visitors today.

I pursued a policy of intermittent gardening and resting which let me do some lawn mowing and composting with enough gaps in between to ensure no further damage to my ankle.

Luckily I had a good combination of long lasting  sports reports to follow (test match, athletics world championships, junior world cycling championships in Glasgow and the  PGA Golf) to keep me entertained in the less active moments of the day.

The light gardening activities gave me plenty of time to look around.

The weather has cooled down a lot and summer is rapidly becoming just a memory but two sets of flowers are keeping some sunshine alive.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s sunflowers are still  looking great…


…and there is a steady but unspectacular supply of marigolds dotted about the borders.


One of the day lilies carried looking languid about as far as it can go in the floral world.

day lily

Laid back lily

Mrs Tootlepedal is still in the middle of a flurry of activity, clearing borders up after strong growth in the good weather.  I take care not to get to close to her when she has clippers, hedge trimmers and secateurs in hand in case I get tidied up too.

She put the tools down long enough to visit an embroidery exhibition in the Town hall by the ladies of Longtown which she enjoyed a lot.

We both took time out to visit an exhibition in the Buccleuch Centre celebrating 90 years of the Langholm Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.  A lot of work has gone into this display of programmes, posters and photographs.  There were even clippings of old reviews and costumes from some productions.  Both Mrs Tootlepedal and I have directed and acted in productions for the society in years gone by but she has been far more active over the years than I have.  It was fun to see pictures of respectable middle aged gentlemen and ladies of the town when they were in the first flush of their youth.

The day remained cloudy and as a result I didn’t consider any expeditions to take more interesting pictures than the usual fare so I apologise for putting in more flowers.

shirley poppy

I like the centre of the Shirley poppies which look very like iced cakes.


The phlox looks very blue from a distance but more purple when the camera looks at it.


The cloudy day let me get a true colour picture of the bright red nasturtiums


Although this bright variety wasn’t so easy to snap.

Although Mrs Tootlepedalcleared off the orange hawkweed some time ago, some hardy stems have survived.


They are another of the flowers that last throughout the season

I had a second look at the very dull clematis and I think that I am coming round to it.


It is certainly flourishing and providing plenty of interest at the arch into the vegetable garden.


We had two cheery removal men from London as our B&B guests tonight.  They have been on the road for four days in a round trip that has taken in Wales and Ireland before arriving in Langholm.  They will be pleased to get home tomorrow.  Their firm is called Winkle Removals and their slogan is “Give Winkle a Tinkle.”  As they say, it does catch your attention.

I am not very optimistic about the rapid recovery of my ankle as they are complicated bits of kit but I will try to at least get out of the house tomorrow, by car if not by bike.

A standard flying friend for today.

flying chaffinch








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 Today’s picture shows Sheffield by night and was sent to me by Bruce who is awaiting the arrival of an imminent grandchild there.


After a miserable day seeking solutions to the unwillingness of my internet connection to behave and getting nowhere even with the helpful advice of my internet provider (they answer the phone within moments) and my computer literate younger son, I had completely given up hope of being able to post tonight when out of the blue, it started to work.

This gives me the opportunity to thank everyone who commented on the 1000th post and all those who took the trouble to click on the snowdrop  (33 people in all).  It is very pleasing to think that some people take the trouble to read all the words as well as look at the pictures.   In addition, I would like to thank all those of you who produce entertaining blogs for me to read.  I have entered a whole new world in the last three years.  Special thanks go to my sisters Susan and Mary for their indefatigable commenting over this time and to my daughter Annie who got me started in the first place.

I didn’t take many pictures over the last two days because it has been very cold, grey and intermittently snowing and raining so the lack of being able to upload them wasn’t as painful as it might have been.  I did take a few though and here is a chaffinch from yesterday looking well fluffed up against the chill.


And here is a hedge sparrow wondering what the fuss upstairs is all about.


It was still very disappointing not to be able to post about yesterday as it was a good day.  I spent the morning pedalling into a savagely cold east wind with Dropscone. He kindly let me choose the route and I chose to skulk up and down the relatively sheltered road to Wauchope School three times. It may be scenically dull but it did give us a regular break from pedalling into the wind. The scones afterwards were never more welcome.

This got the day off to a good pedalling start and the afternoon brought a splendid tootling opportunity as I went off to play flute and recorder with my cello and piano playing friends Mike and Isabel.  I had transcribed a Boismortier piece for two recorders and piano so that we could play on flute and cello and it went surprisingly well.  To add to the fun, we had a vigorous and enjoyable political discussion after we had stopped playing.  Tootling, pedalling and a political debate, who could ask for anything more?

I could.

I wanted entertainment so I spent the evening at the Buccleuch Centre watching the LAODS production of The Sound of Music starring Mrs Tootlepedal as the fifth nun from the left.  Amateur musicals are always a bit of a gamble from a spectator’s point of view but this one was a winner.

The girl playing Maria was absolutely wonderful and brought a smile to my lips and a tear to my eye as she sung the songs that I have known and loved for 50 years.  The rest of the adult cast was  more than competent and the show was never dull to watch.  The high spot of the evening though were the young people playing the von Trapp children.  They were outstanding –  singing, dancing and saying their lines without a moment’s hesitation and with equal measures of verve and charm.  A professional company would have been pleased to have had them in their cast.  They are a tribute to the musical director and the people who have been putting on youth theatre shows in the town over recent years.

Mrs Tootlepedal was very good too.

So that was a very good day in every way…..until I found the the internet was wonky and I couldn’t put it into my on-line diary.  I fear that I may have reached the stage where if it isn’t in the blog, it didn’t happen.


The brambling acts as visual punctuation for now we are on to today.

The morning, as I have said, was one to forget as there are few things that I find more upsetting than computer related malfunctions where a) you don’t know what is wrong and b) you don’t know what to do about it.  It engenders a feeling of rage and helplessness combined leading to a very depressed Tootlepedal.  However, as is so often the case with computers, the trouble in the end disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived.  A fault on the line perhaps? My expert internet provider muttered something about possible contention.  I hope that makes it clear.

The day was not a total write off by any means as I was able to brave the chill and do a triple Wauchope Schoolhouse at a good speed in the afternoon, mainly to work off my bad computer feelings, and in the evening,  I went to Carlisle with Susan and we played some very nice five part music with our recorder group.  Another day with a pedal and a tootle.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has commented over the years and all those who goodly clicked on the picture.  I hope that I can continue to find interesting things to photograph and do in the lovely sunny weather which must surely arrive sometime soon.

I even managed to find a flying bird in the gloom.

flying chaffinch


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