Posts Tagged ‘leaves’

Today’s guest picture comes from Irving, a keen fisherman.  Knowing that we have not got much water in our rivers at the moment, he sent me this view of the Einag Falls. They are on a tributary of the river Oykel in the Highlands where he was fishing three weeks ago.  He adds that he caught  two fish.

Einag Falls

After some showery days, the weather gods knew that we had a two choir day today so they arranged for a fine day with no rain.  How we laughed.

The flowers in the garden are having a difficult time with the changeable weather so some are starting to come out and then sticking and others are coming out a bit early and then going over more quickly than usual.

tulip and trout lily

The trout lilies are on the way out and I have dead headed tulips which should  only just be by now.

Still, there are plenty of promising buds just waiting for warmer and steadier weather.

clematis bud

And the trees have gone green in a rush.

My feet are still annoying me so after church, I went out for a cycle ride round my short three bridges walk as fortunately cycling is pain free.

Almost every tree beside the river is in leaf now…

river esk from suspension brig late april

…and the Lodge Walks are looking beautiful.

lodge walks late april

The Castleholm is surrounded by varied greens…

trees green castleholm

…and there is even a tinge starting to show on the hills behind.

trees and timoen

Spring is in full fling.

green growth castleholm

As I crossed the Jubilee Bridge, I could just see the Duchess Bridge behind the new foliage.

duchess bridge among leaves

When I got home, I inspected the Charles Ross apple on the fence…

Charles ross apple blossom

..and was very pleased to find a solitary bee hard at work,

bee on apple blossom

The Ballerina tulips are lasting well…

ballerina tulip standing

…and we are still waiting for others to open.

leaning tulip

We combined the trip to our Carlisle Choir with some shopping which included cheese, coffee and dates.  As the choir practice was enjoyable as well as hard working, this made for a good way to spend time even if it was indoors on a fine day.

The forecast is offering us a couple of warmer, dry days to come so we have forgiven the weather gods for their little joke.

I didn’t have much time to watch the birds and for some reason, there weren’t many birds to watch anyway after some very busy days at the feeder.

This didn’t stop a siskin and a goldfinch going beak to beak….

siskin goldfinch eyeball

…but the flying bird of the day turns out to be a small white butterfly instead.

white butterfly

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s recent peregrinations.  He passed the south door of York Minster on his travels.

York Minster

I was slightly annoyed to find that I was no better when I woke up this morning.  If anything, I was a little worse.  My throat was better and I had stopped sounding like a disgruntled frog but my cough was a bit worse so another possible cycling day went by without a foot on the pedal.

The weather was rather dull in the morning but, as so often, my day was brightened by the arrival of Dropscone and scones to go with coffee.

After he went on his way, I mooched around feeling a bit depressed by my everlasting cold.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop and I made some rather sombre brown lentil soup for my lunch.

In between times, I looked out of the window.

A dunnock was back on the chimney pot under the feeder.


We have a group of dunnocks lurking in our hedges at the moment.

Some of the birds looked a bit cross like me.


And some looked even crosser.

greenfinch and sparrow

I kept on thinking that I might go for a bike ride after lunch when the weather brightened up but I never quite managed to be able to ignore my chest which was saying, “Don’t cycle, ” in quite a loud though somewhat wheezy voice.

I looked out of the window again.  There were small birds…

blue tit siskin and great tit

…birds with a point of view…

greenfinch, chaffinch and robin

…and, in the end, a sunny bird.


I still couldn’t quite make up my mind whether to go for a quick but gentle pedal and in the end, I went for another walk just to stretch my legs.

I had a look at the garden survivors before I left.

november flowers

You can probably see why I like to walk along the river between the bridges even though the sun had gone back in by this time.

Esk and George Street

The little white dot that you can see in the middle of the river is our resident big gull.

Gull in Esk

I didn’t see much while I was walking, partly because there wasn’t much to see and partly because I was walking fairly briskly for a reason which will become plain later in the post.

I could see that the leaves are nearly all off the trees now….

Castleholm trees

…and I could see where they have gone.

fallen leaves

The path along the river bank was covered with them and I felt like royalty walking along a red carpet.

fallen leaves

When I got home, I admired the work that Mrs Tootlepedal is doing on her new path.  It shouldn’t be too long before I can show you the finished article.

Seeing the starlings on the feeder in the last couple of days had made me think of Gretna and the annual murmuration there.  Although it was rather cloudy, it wasn’t a bad afternoon so I suggested to Mrs Tootlepedal that  this might be a good moment to see if the starlings were actually murmuring.  She agreed that it might be and we got in the car and drove to Gretna.

The starlings don’t always congregate in the same spot every year so we thought that we had better try the place where we had seen them last year first.  As it turned out, we had made a good decision and our timing was perfect.

The clouds had left a gap for the evening sun over the Solway and we could see a gang of starlings perched on electricity wires not far from where we were parked.

starlings at Gretna

More starlings arrived and they shifted along the wires until they were directly in front of the setting sun.

starlings at Gretna

This was spectacular but not very promising for photography so I was pleased when they moved back up and flew past in front of us.

starlings at Gretna

For the next 25 minutes we were treated to a most enjoyable close formation flying display as more and more small birds flew in to join the flock.

starlings at Gretna

Sometimes they came very close…


…and sometimes they filled the sky above our heads.

starlings at Gretna

I took a detail from that last picture just to show the individual birds.

starlings at Gretna

From time to time, I tore my eyes off the birds to admire the sky…

Gretna sunset

…which was sensational.  Unfortunately, I had brought the wrong lens with me and couldn’t do full justice to the sky or the starlings.  The sunset was as much of a treat as the murmuration.

All too soon, as the light faded, the starlings got ready for bed and started to fly lower in the sky….

Gretna starlings

…until a corporate thumb pointed to the chosen roosting spot….

Gretna starlings

…and in the twinkling of an eye, the whole flock had subsided into the trees and bushes for the night.

We drove home in a very happy state of mind, admiring the sunset as we went.  The sky which had been pink and red in Gretna….


….was purple by the time that we got back.


We will probably go back to see the starlings again and there may be more next time as starlings migrate here from Europe as the winter goes on.

In spite of the thousands of flying birds we saw at Gretna, the flying bird of the day is still a local chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone and shows his fine looking grandson Leo, who was visiting last weekend.


The letters WWW may have a common meaning in today’s wired up world but to us in Langholm they stand for Warm, Wet and Windy and we had another WWW day today.

The morning was so well supplied with the wet and windy elements that I spent it wandering about the house, kicking the furniture and exclaiming, “I’m bored.”

Mrs Tootlepedal was fully occupied with bathroom tile removal so she rightly had little sympathy.

I did look out of the window from time to time.


You may think that the male chaffinch was getting ready to sing a love song to the lady below….


…but in fact, he was just thinking of some choice abuse to hurl at her.

There were other birds hanging about too.

siskin and great tit

I made some soup for lunch and an earnest perusal of the forecast made me believe that there might be a gap in the rain straight after lunch.  I made up my mind to go for a walk and while my confidence was slightly dented by a humungously heavy shower of rain as soon as I had made up my mind, I nevertheless put on my great big waterproof boots, coat and trousers and when the rain stopped, went out for my walk.

I chose a two and a bit mile walk up the Hallpath to the Roundhouse and back by Murtholm and along the river.

It didn’t rain but the gloom was Stygian and taking pictures was hard work.  The occasional berry made up for the lack of flowers…


…and there was always the merry gurgle of a stream to keep me company.

wet path

This one was running down a path off the hill.

Stream at Skippers

And this one was running off the hill and onto the road at Skippers

There wasn’t much of view to be had….

Langholm from Round House

…even though there was an occasional hint of blue in the sky.

I have been neglecting the abundant moss that covers anything that doesn’t move round here….

Mossy log

There is a tree stump under there if you look closely.

…and I keep meaning to take a set of pictures to show the great variety of mosses that we have.

I took a few pictures of Skippers Bridge but none that deserved readers’ attention and crossed the bridge and took the track home along the river.


We have a great many puddles at the moment and a couple on the fields past the farmhouse gave me the chance to be reflective.  Black clouds behind me.

Murtholm puddle

A hint of blue skies ahead.

Murtholm puddle

My pace quickened though as the the black clouds from behind overtook the blue sky ahead and only a pretty leaf lying on the path….

fallen leaf

…and a final gurgling stream…


…made me stop for long enough to get my camera out.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was just taking the final tiles off the floor so I turned my attention to making some Chelsea buns.  My last effort had produced tasty but inelegant results.  This lot looked a little (but not much) better….

chelsea bun

…but they were still quite tasty and have been put under lock and key to ensure that there are a few left for tomorrow.

While they were cooling, we went off to a choir practice for Langholm Sings.  We had to work jolly hard as the musical director rattled through the songs at a crisp pace while we struggled along behind her.  We were pleased to be able to refresh ourselves with two scones each and a nice cup of cocoa when we got home.

We are nearing the end of our spell of WWW weather so I was glad to have found the right moment for a walk today.  It will be hats, mufflers and gloves by the weekend.

I found a very gloomy flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was kindly sent to me by Southampton blogger, Marie and shows the view from her window on a recent visit to Canada.  She must be a bit fed up to be back home if her weather is anything like ours.

Canada view

On the swings and roundabouts principle, the weather gods are certainly making a full adjustment for any good weather we may have had in September and October with a succession of grey days.  Today was the second day of strong winds but at least the rain held off for long enough for me to get a short walk in.

Sandy came down for coffee on his way to Carlisle and and I made some drop scones to nibble while we sipped.  They were of such surpassing ugliness that any photogrpah of them here would have had to have been accompanied by notes on parental guidance.  Fortunately we ate them all before any pictures could be taken.

When Sandy left, I peered out of the window for a while at birds in the air looking down…


…and on the ground looking up.


Then, as it wasn’t raining, I put on my coat and went for a walk.

After all the rain, I was hoping for some dramatic river pictures but I was too late.


You can see how high the river rose from the line of leaves along the bank

The river drops as quickly as it rises and although it had been raining all day yesterday, the slight slackening off today had been enough to let it dispose of any surplus water.

As I followed the river down to Skippers Bridge, I stopped to look at a fine display of lichen on a bench.

lichen on bench

I past the old distillery and one beneficial aspect of the strong wind and rain blowing leaves off the trees and bushes became apparent.  You can see bridges much better.


And then I leant over the parapet of the bridge and admired the rushing water.


And standing back a bit, I admired the many different lichens on the parapet itself.

lichens at skippers

Walking back home on the other side of the river, the amount of rain that we have had recently became very apparent…

puddle at Murtholm

…although the ducks weren’t complaining.

puddle at Murtholm

Fine weather, as they say.

My way home took me once again along leaf strewn paths…up over beech…

Beech leaves

…and down over sycamore.


I was keeping my eye out for fungus and there was quite a bit about but it was mostly very small and in the gloom good pictures were impossible without a tripod.

small fungus

Mrs Tootlepedal has promised to make me a handy tripod carrier like a quiver for an archer and if she does, I will try to carry a tripod about on gloomy days like this.

There were a few bigger fungi to be seen…

fungi at Stubholm

…as well as some  autumn colour and a surprise flower or two.

holly berriesyellow leaf

As always, the park wall was a rich source of interest.

park wall lichenIn spite of some threatening clouds, I got home before it started to rain again and counted myself very lucky.  My walk was sheltered from the worst of the wind and at 14°C, the temperature is about 9° above what might be normal for this time of year.

When I got home, I took a quick tour of the garden in search of the last drops of colour.

marigold, fuchsia and rose

sedum, cotoneaster and nerine

These are just isolated outburst in a sea of green and brown, though there are still raspberries to be had on our autumn fruiting canes.

In the afternoon, one of the tenors from our Langholm choir came round and we used the files which I have been creating on the computer to have a good practice.  We have a concert coming up sooner than is ideal and home practice is very much the order of the day.  As I can’t play the piano, having the computer play for me is very handy.  What’s more, the computer never gives you old fashioned looks when you make a mistake but just plays it again without comment.

My musical day continued after tea with a trip to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group.  We were five tonight and ended our session with two enjoyable pieces by my favourite recorder composer, Anthony Holborne.

This made for a good ending to what was a surprisingly satisfactory day in spite of the awful weather.

The flying bird of the day is a jackdaw carrying off one pink and one white pellet.


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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  He is lurking in the south of England while visiting his eldest son and took the opportunity to visit Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill.


The day started badly as we woke to the sound of heavy rain but I was not deterred.  After breakfast, I put on my waterproof clothing and went up to the High Street to get some money out of the cash machine and then went back down Thomas Telford Road to spend the money at our monthly producers market.

Being a man of habit, I bought fish, meat, cheese and honey and went home in a very cheerful mood.  Sadly, thanks to the recent bad weather, I won’t be able to eat any of this as I am getting very stout through lack of exercise.

Well maybe, I will have a morsel (or two) here and there.

When I got home, I collected Mrs Tootlepedal and we drove up to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland Feeders, where a tree planting session had been organised.  In spite of the wet weather, most of the trees had already been planted by the time that we got there but after a chat with the organiser….

Laverock Hide

…Mrs Tootlepedal planted two trees and I planted one while the rain relented for a while.

We were watched closely by a female pheasant.

pheasantThese hand reared birds are so tame that it is amazing to think that people pay good money to come from miles away to shoot them but it provides local employment so it has its supporters.

It was lunch time when we got home but I had time to peer out of the window at a good supply of birds visiting our feeder.

blue tit, coal tit and great tit

A blue tit, coal tit and great tit give a nicely co-ordinated display of perching style.

On the ground, a robin and a dunnock provide a change from the endless chaffinches…

robin and dunnock

…and the jackdaws pile into the pellets.


After lunch, the light seemed to get a bit better as the clouds lifted off the hills and although it was still raining, it seemed a much more cheerful day so we put our coats on again and went off for a walk.

This turned out to be a good decision as it was warm and calm and the rain often stopped as we went round.  The light was much better than it has been in recent days and we could even see  the tops of our hills.


Just the merest hint of mist over the river with the pheasant hatchery in the foregorund.

We had to keep our eyes down a lot as we walked as it was wet and at times slippery under foot but when we stopped and looked around, there was plenty of colour still left, both on the trees…

autumn leaves…and on the ground.

fallen leavesOur paths were carpeted by leaves and provided us with a variety of tints as we walked.

Autumn walking..but this moment was my favourite.

PathheadJust round the corner, we got a view of the town…

Langholm in autumn

…slightly marred as usual by the ugly scaffolding on the Erskine Church spire.

We kept an eye out for fungi and lichen but saw very little until near the end of our walk.


Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these black strips under the bark of a tree are fungus.

These look more like fungi to me…

fungus…and the one on the right was so fresh and shiny that it was positively glowing.  There was dog lichen in good condition to be seen on a wall too.

dog lichen

There had been enough rain to fill a little man made cascade with water as we came down the hill to the saw mill.

saw mill cascadeAs we crossed the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge, we hit another spell of rain.


During our walk we had heard some ferocious shouting and screaming as though a small war had broken out but it turned out to be only a football match on the shiny new artificial pitch on the Scholars’ Field at the school.

FootballThis wasn’t a match involving our local team and I am sure grass pitches would have been unplayable in the wet so it was good to see this new pitch being used.

When we got home, a honeysuckle in flower in November emphasised just how odd our weather has been.

honeysuckleIt should have been all berries by now.

Considering how wet it was in the morning, we felt very lucky to have been able to enjoy such a pleasant walk with only occasional umbrella work needed.  Walking on soggy paths had been quite hard work though and we were very happy to spend the rest of the day relaxing.

The better light did let me get a reasonable flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to Rye.  It speaks for itself.  Simple.

Rye April 2015 005I had to speak to myself today because Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to commune with TWGSP.  My conversation with myself touched on cycling but when Dropscone rang up to say that the morning run had taken him ten minutes longer than usual because of the fierce winds, that conversation came to a halt.

I did a crossword, hung out some washing, emptied a bin, put a week of the newspaper database into the computer and thought about stuff in an arbitrary way and in this fashion, managed to pass the morning quite pleasantly.

A persistent pigeon spent a lot of time outside the window….

pigeon…and even made a bold attempt to get the coveted flying bird of the day title.


But it was more of a jump than a flight.

At one time, I was watching the bees on the plum tree through the kitchen window and I wondered if the other fruit was being attend to as well.  I went to investigate.

blackcurrant and gooseberry

The blackcurrant and gooseberry are being looked after.


The apples are not quite ready yet.

I made myself a pot of carrot soup for my lunch and then put a second week of the newspaper into the Langholm Archive database.  The clouds were scurrying over the sky, leaving some sunny spells and in one of these, I went for a walk.

I had hoped that I would find a woodland path surrounded  by fresh green leaves.  I found some wild flowers….

bluebell, nettle and oxalis

Bluebell, nettle and oxalis

…and I found the path…

Round House path…but sadly the birch trees have not some into leaf yet.  The view backwards was a consolation….

Langholm…and the path itself is delightful….

round house path…but I had to make do with promises rather than the real thing.

promises of springpromises of springpromises of springIt was a good walk but not the green delight that I had hoped for.

I stopped near Skippers Bridge but a brief rain shower ruined the light and I enjoyed the river worn stones instead of looking at the bigger picture.

EskThe shower soon passed and I walked along the Murtholm to get home.  There are lambs in every field round the town at the moment.

lambLuckily the grey clouds went skimming past me and the rest of the way home was nicely sunlit.

MurtholmThe wild garlic will soon be making itself obvious.

garlicThe three mile walk gave me an appetite for tea and toast and I was just boiling the kettle when I saw a welcome blue tit on the feeder.

blue titMrs Tootlepedal arrived back safely from communing with Matilda and as she had combined her grandmotherly activities with a stroll round John Lewis with an eye on some useful remnants, she felt that the day had been well spent.

The remnants will become cushion covers in the course of time.

After tea, I went off to the Archive Centre where I met Sandy and he helped me put two more weeks of the index into the database so it had been a very productive day of archive work even if I hadn’t done much else.

By the time that I got home, one of the remnants had already been transmogrified.

remnantMrs Tootlepedal wields a nifty needle.

I am hoping for a less windy day tomorrow as I need to get out on the bike and try to see how fit I am.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch for once.  I have had complaints of too many flying birds with their wings tucked up lately so I have gone for the fully unfurled look today.


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Today’s guest picture, from my brother’s camera, speaks for itself.

Rotorua Sept 2014 - 5

There was little or no wind and the thermometer was showing a very stingy 4.5°C when Dropscone, Scott and I set out for a morning pedal to Gair and back after breakfast.   As a result, the start of our journey was shrouded in a clammy mist which made things feel even colder. Happily, we came out of the mist and into sunshine after three or four miles.  The sun shining on the mist beside us as we climbed up the hill past Wauchope Schoolhouse gave rise to a natural phenomenon which I have never seen before, a white rainbow.

This is of course a contradiction in terms but it was a perfectly formed and quite small white arch, apparently just a few yards away from us and I wondered if my cycling glasses were removing the colour from it but a look over the top of them showed that this was not the case.  The effect was quite magical and the more so, as Dropscone observed, because we may never see such a sight again.

The ride itself was slightly unsatisfactory because we rarely managed to find a speed that suited all three of us at the same time but we got round safely and enjoyed the scones and coffee afterwards.

It was such a lovely day that when the coffee klatch broke up, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took the car up to the White Yett to see if the mist was still hanging around the valley below in a picturesque way.  We were a few minutes too late and the mist was visibly rising as we drove up the hill but there were still some photo opportunities to be had when we got there.

Craig hill from Whita

ewes valley with mistView from White yett

View from White yett

The memorial to Hugh McDiarmid, the Langholm burn poet.

We intended to drive home over the hill with the mist pouring over it which is featured in the second picture above but the road was shut due to timber felling so we turned back and used the direct route instead.

I had a quick walk round the garden when we got back.  There is still colour to be seen (and eaten).

autumn garden colour

And there are still a few insects to enjoy as well.

insect on delphinium

I enjoyed this one so much that I am taking the liberty of putting a second shot of it in.

insect on delphinium

It is visiting a pale delphinium.  What pleasure the macro lens gives.

Another cheese and tomato sandwich, the tomato taken from the rapidly dwindling tomato mountain (now just a molehill) made for a tasty lunch.  Mrs Tootlepedal made the part of the crop which was too late to ripen into green tomato chutney this morning and the house was filled with appetising aromas.

After lunch, as the day was still fine, Mrs Tootlepedal and I ventured out for a short walk.  I had hoped that the recent rain would have led to an up-rush of fungi but either we weren’t looking in the right place or there wasn’t one.

Still, the walk along the riverside and back via Gaskell’s was very enjoyable in its own right.  Our way was very nearly blocked by a small landslide on the riverside path….


…and although the light was poor, I thought that the sight of the still upright tree stump which had been carried down onto the path by the mud slide was odd enough to merit a picture.

There were prettier sights to see as we went along.

leaves on beechy plain

A glimpse of autumn…

Stubholm Bank

…but if it wasn’t for the carpet of beech nuts below our feet, it might well have still been summer.

Castle Hill

The hills are brown but the trees are still mostly green

shy rabbit

The only rabbit we saw today.

fungus and lichen

Not the feast of fungus and lichen that we had hoped for.


Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these are wild privet berries and poisonous.

ivy berries

I think that this is ivy.  It is popular with insects.  I can count three of them.

leaves and berries

I did my best to find some autumn colour

In the evening, Susan drove me to Carlisle to play with our recorder group.  We had a very good evening of playing and the after-tootle biscuits were of a particularly high quality as well so that rounded off the day in fine style.

I didn’t have much time to stare out of the window today so the flying bird of the day is a snatched picture of a chaffinch.

flying chffinch

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