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Posts Tagged ‘lichen’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was tempted by this large pre-Halloween spider mallow shortcake but a quick look at the nutrition information revealed that he would have to take two or more days to eat it to stay within his health guidelines, so he gave it a miss.

halloween mallow

I had a rotten night’s sleep and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a business meeting, I was more than happy to idle the morning away with nothing more demanding than the crossword, sweeping the leaves off the middle lawn and washing the car,  Those who know me well will be amazed to hear that I washed our car, but when you carelessly buy a white car, even the most dirt blind person can’t avoid noticing when it turns brown.

I also spent a little time stalking the garden birds.

starling, chaffinch, robin and sparrow

Once again, a dunnock is my pick of the day, though the robin ran it close

dunock on lawn

We have had a small but tasty crop of autumn raspberries and the very late hosta is a continuing delight.

raspberry and hosta

There are some good survivors among the humble flowers and the Crown Princess has perked up again.

daisy, yarrow, sweet rocket and rose

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal looked at the fine weather and suggested a walk.  She likes to go somewhere away from my regular walks if possible, so we drove to the top of Callister and checked out a track there.

It was alright at the beginning as we passed this little bridge under the road which we had just driven along…

conduit

…but the track soon became very soggy so we retraced our steps and tried walking in the opposite direction.  It looked as though a weather front might be looming up…

view from callister

…but we kept walking until we got to the end of the track about half a mile on.  There was plenty to see on both little walks.

I think that the yellow flower is a prickly sow thistle, the painted lady looked a bit pale and battered but flew about quite cheerfully…

lichen, flower, painted lady and clover

…and the clover and lichen were both doing very well.

There was fungus and more lichen beside the track…

fungus and lichen

…and some larches turning to gold among the spruces.

larch callister

The track led us towards an artificial pond that was made when the area was first planted with trees.  It was said that it was to attract ducks but it looks neglected and overgrown now, more marsh than pond….and not a duck in sight.

 

pond callister

We strolled back to the car and drove a few hundred yards along the road back down the hill.  There we parked and took a forestry track along the other side of the road.

The track was rich in wild flowers, including this very impressive multi stemmed dandelion look alike.

big yellow flower

And although the clouds were still looming, the sun stayed out and made things look very colourful.

fungus and dandelion with insect

There were lichens of many kinds on our way….

four lichens

…and lots of colourful details too.

four items along westwater track

We went far enough along the gently climbing track to enjoy some splendid views over the neighbouring hills…

westwater track view 1

…with the sun shining on the monument six miles away…

westwater track view 2

…and the Solway plain lying below us with the northern English fells in the distance.

westwater track view 3

I liked the way that seemingly arbitrary larches had sneaked in among the regulation spruces.

westwater track view 4

When we had enjoyed the views for long enough, we turned to go back to the car, passing tiny forests of moss and a smooth clump of deer grass….

moss, mold and deer grass

…and two very interesting patches of something slimy or moldy (or both) on the track.

The track, which was was rather bare and severe when it was first put in a few years ago, has grown into the landscape now and it was a pleasure to walk along it in the late afternoon sunshine.

Westwater track 5

As we turned the corner into the sun, we had the choice of the yellow brick road…

westwater track view 6

…or the straight and narrow.westwater track view 7

We probably didn’t walk much more than three miles at the most but it was a very worthwhile excursion and we felt that we thoroughly deserved our cup of tea and a biscuit when we got home.

We would normally have been in Edinburgh on a Thursday afternoon visiting Matilda but both her parents are a bit poorly and her other grandparents were visiting already so we didn’t feel a visit would really be a good thing.

On our walk, we found ourselves under a fairly busy flight path for a while so the flying bird of the day is a bit bigger than the normal ones.

flying plane callister

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s Highland holiday.  He went to Fraserburgh and saw not one but two lighthouses.

Fraserburgh Lighthouse

It was another tedious morning with lots of rain showers and just enough gaps between them to make you think that they might be stopping….but they didn’t.

After killing time to a background of Beatles music on the pop up radio channel, I went out in one of the gaps to get my new insoles which had been delivered to the Thomas Hope Hospital up in the town.

The rain stopped for long enough to get me up to the town, but having got me there, it rained on me all the way home.  How I laughed.

The birds didn’t think that it was funny either.

wet sparrow on fence

A starling just couldn’t get settled at all.

scrubby starling

I fried some sardines and had them on toast for my lunch and then wasted some more time.

I looked out of the back window and saw that the dam had risen a bit, so I thought that I ought to go and check on how the new sluice gate at Pool Corner was holding up.  It was raining, but it wasn’t windy and it was fairly warm so I took my brolly and set off

There was plenty of water going over the caul but the wall and sluice looked solid enough so I was reassured.

Pool Corner spate

Since I was out and about with a brolly and I had my new insoles in my shoes, I kept walking.  There was plenty of water coming down the Becks Burn…

Becks Burn spate

…but I thought that I would be safe enough to cross the little wooden bridge across the burn  higher up and took the road up the hill.

Looking back down at the Auld Stane Brig, the scene looked autumnal.

auld stane brig early autumn

I had hoped to see some fungus on my way, but some animal had got to this one before me.

eaten toadstool

By the time that I got to the bridge across the burn, the rain had stopped…

becks burn bridge

…but not long after I had crossed it, the rain started again, first with a little pitter patter and then with some serious intent and by the time that I got home, it was hammering down.

I settled down indoors to watch some cycling but after a while, I looked up and saw that the day had brightened a bit and the rain had stopped again.  I felt that I ought to give my new insoles a good work out, so I put them in different pair of  shoes and set off to see how far I could go before it started to rain again.

I had a quick tour round the  garden before I left just to show that the rain hadn’t flattened everything.

four soggy flowers

It was good to see that there are still buds ready to open.

One thing that the rain had done was to knock a few walnuts off our walnut tree.

dish of walnuts

I took the walnuts inside and while I was there, I spotted an old acquaintance through the window.

robin on drive

Leaving the robin to entertain itself, I walked down to the river.  It was fairly full but far from being in flood.

esk with water

I walked across the suspension bridge and up the road where I met another old friend on the Kilngreen.  He was surrounded by ducks.

kilngreen residents

I walked round the new path on the Castleholm.  An oak tree had a good collection of interesting things to show.

oak tree details

…and even after all the rain, an umbellifer was providing food for a hoverfly.

hoverfly on umbel

And then, out of the blue, the sun came out.

early autumn colour

It did point up how much some trees are changing already…

early autumn castleholm

…but it cheered up my walk a lot.

new path castleholm

The Langholm Agricultural Show is on tomorrow on the Castleholm and they must have been very worried by how much rain that there has been this week.  The news is that the show will go ahead regardless of the weather tomorrow and the stylish tents were positively sparkling in the welcome sunshine this evening.

Cattle show tent

Once again, the sun picked out the turning leaves in the trees behind the tents.

cattle show tent and trees

I didn’t want to overdo the new insole trial so I stuck to the short route home and got back without being rained on this time.

I was welcomed in by that spider.

spider

Looking at the very latest forecast, it seems that the Agricultural show could have a mostly sunny day tomorrow.  If that turns out to be true, I might put my new insoles into my wellies and pay a visit.  It will probably be quite muddy.

A starling is the flying bird of the day again.  They have very elegant wings I think.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Orviedo while he is in Spain.  It shows the  800 AD church of St Julian, built in the Byzanto-romano style, which the ruling Visigoths of Asturia liked.

orviedo church

The advance forecast has been rather gloomy about the weather this week, but we got a stay of sentence today and enjoyed a dry day which got better as it went along.  I had a quiet morning in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal, involving paying a bill, doing a load of washing and hanging it out, some random dead heading and occasional looks round the garden where I could see blackbirds early in the morning ….

two blackbirds

…and, as the sun came out, a full house of butterflies later on.

four butterflies

I spent quite a lot of time making a little spreadsheet of the amount of electricity that we have used charging the Zoe.  We have charged the car three or four times while away from home but mostly we have used our home charger and it looks as though we are paying about 3.5p per mile, which is a lot less than we used to pay for petrol for our old car.  An added bonus is that our electricity supplier claims to be getting its electricity entirely from renewable sources.

I made some vegetable soup for lunch and ate it with an apple and some cheese and then set off for a short cycle ride.

I didn’t want to go too far from home with the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service unavailable and other friends on holiday, so I  went up and down the roads around the town.

The upland country is turning brown and won’t go green again for about eight months…

callister brown

…but there are still a few flowers in the roadside verges…

roadside yellow flower

…and there is now a lot of interest on walls, with lichen…

callisterwall lichen

…and moss…

callisterwall fungus

…and more lichen to be seen.

callisterwall lichen (2)

From the top of Callister, I looked  down past Chapelcross and across the Solway Firth to Skinburness on the English side, with the Irish Sea beyond.

view of skinburness from callister

On my way back to the town, I stopped to admire this fine show of hawthorns on the hillside.

hawthorns on wauchope road

I cycled through the town and headed south, stopping to admire Skippers Bridge..

skippers bridge in the round

…and enjoying more lichen on the wall at Broomholm.

broomholm wall lichen

There is more than a hint of autumn about…

broomholm view

…and I enjoyed this burst of colour at Whitshiels when I cycled back through the town.

whitshile colour

I would have gone a bit further but I wanted to look round the garden while the sun was out and I had my flute pupil Luke coming, so I settled for 21 miles, and as this was 21 miles more than I had expected to do, I was content.

I took far too many pictures in the garden over the day so I have put them into panels, mixing morning and afternoon shots together in a haphazard way.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s transplanted nerines are enjoying life among the calendulas.

clrematis, daisies, nerines

…and clematis and Michaelmas daisies are doing well too.

It is often easier to take flower shots when the sun isn’t shining as the detail can be clearer.  The cosmos and red zinnia were cloudy shots…

four flowers am and pm

…and the orange zinnia and the Icelandic poppy came later.

The garden had a summer feel to it when the sun shone in the afternoon…

bee, butterfly and flowers

…and butterflies tried new flowers.

red admiral butterfly on verbena

My flute pupil Luke appeared and we had a really good time playing duets.  I am not a very good flute player myself so I have to practise quite hard to keep up with him.  It does me a lot of good.

I am spiking the middle lawn with a garden fork and brushing sand into the spike holes in an effort to improve drainage and keep moss at bay (ha ha) but because I am having to take care of my feet, the work is proceeding at snail’s pace.  I did two rows across the lawn in the course of today and I will be lucky to finish before winter comes.

I was hoping to get a genuine flying bird of the day today and spent some time lurking in the garden with my camera at the ready.  Starlings were keen to help…

four flying starlings

…and a co-operative bird flew over the garden at a modest speed…

passing flying bird

…but in the end, I couldn’t go past a delightful white butterfly in mid flap, a shot that I have never managed to take before. Not quite a flying bird of the day, but quite satisfactory all the same.

flying white butterfly

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who spotted this.  She tells me that she had not touched a drop.

pink elephant

We had a sunny day from dawn until dusk and the garden was once again filled with butterflies…

two butterflies on sedum

…but I let them get on in peace today and when I wasn’t having coffee and treacle scones with Drospcone, I walked round the garden dead heading as much as I had patience for and otherwise looking at flowers.  Dropscone and his daughter Susan are going on holiday in the North of Scotland next week so I hope that one or other of them will be able to send me a guest picture or two.

The flowers are still worth looking at.

new rose

…and I enjoyed the play of light and shade…

shady dahlia

…the bright colours….

shady poppy

…and the occasional piece of serendipity like these anemones poking their heads up through an azalea.

two anemones in azalea

I haven’t been dead heading the Welsh poppies with any great regularity so I am always pleased to see one smiling at me as I pass.

welsh poppy

The garden was buzzing with bees and hoverflies.

Dahlias…

bee on dahlia

…and Michaelmas daisies were favourite insect haunts.

daisy with bee

I tried to get as close as possible to a butterfly having a snack on a daisy…

daisy with butterfly

…but I need a steadier hand to get a good result.

This is what they were all looking at.

close up of daisy centre

Crown Princess Margareta has appreciated the sunshine and the Rosarie de l’Hay was in a welcoming mood.

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning of meetings so I made some soup for lunch for lunch. and when she came back, we enjoyed it with some bread and cheese.  Fortified by this, I went out for a cycle ride.

The fine weather has let the farmers go on cutting grass for winter feed longer than usual, and there were fields of cut grass all along my route.

view at between the waters

The farm here stands on a little promontory between two small streams and is know as Between the Waters, a very appropriate name.

between the waters

The wind was light and the day was pleasantly warm without being too hot so I pedalled along in a happy mood at a modest pace and without stopping for too many pictures on a familiar route.

I recently put some English road side pine trees into a post so I thought that I ought to put one of my favourite Scottish roadside pine trees in to keep things balanced.

Tree near KPF

I stopped for a drink of water and a short rest at twenty miles and needless to say, I looked at the wall that my bike was resting on.

lichen at Half Morton

A bit further along the road, a small herd posed artistically for me.

cows posing prettily

I wasn’t feeling very adventurous or energetic as Mrs Tootlepedal has kindly passed a bit of her recent cold onto me, but it didn’t stop me adding another 31 miles to my total and I was pleased to have been able to make some use of a perfect cycling day.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal peeled some of our apples and between us we made another tarte tatin in our smart new tarte tatin pan.  Mrs Tootlepedal had cut the apples into very neat shapes and on this occasion I didn’t overcook the caramel sauce and the result of this was a great improvement on our first two efforts.

burst

I have made a note to myself reminding me that if I want to make tarte tatin, it is a really good idea to get the frozen puff pastry unfrozen before you start and not to have to resort to desperate measures to defrost it in a hurry.

We have got a lot of apples to eat, so I will get a chance to remember that soon.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their last Friday visit for a while as they are going to see their granddaughters in New Zealand next week.  Alison and I enjoyed some farewell music, and once again Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights.

When Mike and Alison  had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate quite a lot of the tarte with some vanilla ice cream.  It was good.  (We did offer Mike and Alison some, honest.)

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow that had flown up into the rowan tree to grab a little shade.

shady sparrow in rowan

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He is visiting Aranjuez in Spain.  It is 30 mins from Madrid and is a town built around a Royal Palace.  His picture shows one of the rooms in the so called ‘Labourer’s House’.  I don’t think that the labourer lives there any more.

Aranjuez

We had a busy morning, and straight after breakfast we had to drive off to Annan where I had an appointment with the podiatrist in the hope that she would be able to suggest ways of getting me walking comfortably again.

While I went to the clinic, Mrs Tootlepedal passed the time with some shopping at a handy supermarket.

The podiatrist was sympathetic, very thorough and helpful.  She told me to stop doing one or two things that I have been doing and to start doing one or two things that I haven’t been doing and, more importantly, suggested that a certain type of shoe might be a sensible purchase.  As it happened such shoes are available at the Gretna shopping village and we had already planned to visit Gretna on the way home so that Mrs Tootlepedal could buy a skirt.  That was handy.

When we got to Gretna, there was a good selection of the ‘walking trainers’ with stiff soles that the podiatrist had recommended and I bought a pair that had the added advantage of being marked down to a very reasonable price.  Mrs Tootlepedal found a suitable skirt, so we drove home in a cheerful frame of mind.

It was another dry day, though not very sunny, and we had a look round the garden before we had lunch.  The sedums were very busy hosting various small life forms…

insects on sedum

…while the butterflies had spread out over the garden, some on the sedum, some seeking the sun and some sitting on stone.

three butterflies

The sunflowers are doing  very well, and all these five flowers come from a  single stem.

four garden flowers

After lunch, which was sweet corn and a sardine sandwich, I got my bike out and went off for a pedal.  The wind was light so I thought that I might risk going on a slightly hillier route than usual and headed north out of the town.  This involved going  up a couple of steep but short hills right at the start of the ride.  I went at them so slowly and cautiously that time lapse photography might have been needed to detect any progress.

Still, it meant that I got to the top of the hills in very good order and with no unnecessary creaking in the knees. so it was worth it.

I rode along, still going pretty slowly and with an eye out for a photo opportunity.  The Gates of Eden on a day of sunshine and shadow is always an opportunity not to be missed.

gates of eden spetember

(I checked and they have appeared on the blog at least nineteen times over the past nine years.)

Further up the valley, it became obvious that as the weeks go by, we are losing the green on the tops of our hills and colour is beginning to gently fade away.

Esk valley

I followed the Esk up stream and stopped to admire this stark example of timber management.

tree felling

When I had got to Bailliehill, my turning point at ten miles, I looked back down the Esk valley and took a little panorama of one of my favourite views.

bailliehill panorama

A click will give the bigger picture.

Coming back down towards Langholm, a colourful tree stood out among the green.

Tree above benty

And I couldn’t pass by the church and bridge at Bentpath without taking yet another shot of them…

benty church

…and as I was standing beside a wall while I was taking the picture of the church, I looked at it too.

three benty lichens

I had forgotten to take my phone with me so I was naturally expecting to be overtaken by a mechanical or human catastrophe with the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service unavailable, but I got back home without any unwanted adventures to find that the rescue service herself was resting after some hard work in the garden.

After a cup of tea and a shower, I thought that it would be a good idea to put my new walking shoes to the test so I went out for a short, flat walk round three bridges.

It can’t be ignored any more, autumn is definitely in the process of arriving.

riverside autumn leaves

At the Kilngreen, a duck was admiring its reflection in the water.

sombre duck ewes

On the Castleholm, some trees are getting ahead of themselves as far as autumn goes.

This tree always turns early….

 

tree turning castleholm

…but normally we would be waiting for October to come before we see any significant change in leaf colour.

castleholm trees seprember

I came home by way of the Duchess Bridge and found this little crop of fungus growing on a dead tree stump along the path.

riverside fungus

Our neighbour Liz’s garage rounded my walk off with a full blown burst of autumn colour.

liz's garage

My new shoes seemed to be quite satisfactory for a first go.  The podiatrist is going to send me some insoles for them which should make them even better, so I am cautiously optimistic about being able to get a bit more walking in before winter comes.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked lamb chops for tea and that rounded off a varied, useful and enjoyable day.

The flying bird of the day is having a little sit down.

sparrow on fence

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Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  Looking through my files I see that I didn’t use this one from his highland holiday earlier in the year.  I thought that it should have gone in then so I have put it in now. It shows keen canoeists in Plockton.

oznor

We had a pleasant and mostly sunny day and it was filled with interesting things to do.  Fortunately they came at a leisurely pace and well spread out.

I started the day with a conversation with a neighbour over the garden fence.  As we chatted, blackbirds flew into the rowan tree and munched away on the berries, quite unconcerned about our presence.

blackbird in rowan

After we finished our conversation, I went in and got my other camera out and spent some time recording blackbirds wondering where the berries had gone, checking out the berries that were there…

birds berry

…and then eating them.   It will not be long until they are all gone.

Our neighbour has a rowan with yellow berries and he pointed out that they  have not been touched yet.  I wonder if the birds just don’t think that they are ripe.  Maybe they are not so tasty.

Then it was time for coffee and excellent treacle scones with Dropscone.  He has been busy playing golf and visiting his new granddaughter so I hadn’t seen him for some time.  It was good to catch up with his news.

When he left, I wandered round the garden doing some dead heading and looking at flowers, both individually…

four single flowers

There was plenty of evidence of yesterday’s rain

…and in clumps.

four flower bunches

Then, thinking that I had better do something useful while Mrs Tootlepedal was busy at a meeting, I trimmed one of the garden hedges and the hedge along the road.

clipped hedge

This should be the last time this year that the hedges need trimming I hope.

On my way back inside, I noticed that a nerine had come out…

nerine

…and I watched a sparrow watching a passing insect.

sparrow on stalk

I don’t know if anyone was watching me.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting and we had a light lunch.

After lunch, I got my bike out and pedalled quietly round my customary 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  Yesterday’s visit to the physiotherapist confirmed previous advice that I shouldn’t cycle up steep hills so I shall continue to pedal along tried and trusted familiar  flattish routes.  This means that cycling photos will continue to be on the dull side.

I was pleased to finally get a reasonably sharp photo of some clover today.  I have been trying and failing all summer so it was only right that the clover should be going over when I finally caught it.

old clover

Looking over the Hollows Bridge, there was just the faintest suggestion that leaves are beginning to turn.

hollows esk

Following a previous picture of beech nuts, I took two more shots of beech trees, one on each side of the bridge at the Hollows just to show that almost all our beech trees are heavily laden this year.

beech nuts hollows

I have passed the laughing poodle tree many times this year on my bike rides so I thought that I might record it once again as it always amuses me as I see it.

poodle tree

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal relaxing after some hard gardening while I had been out.

I had a quick butterfly hunt after I had had a cup of tea and was pleased to find three different kinds on the go, red admiral, painted lady and peacock.  I had hoped for a small tortoiseshell as well but had to make up the panel with a plain fly on the sedum.

three butterflies and a fly

Crown Princess Margareta has flowered but she has turned her back on her public and I had to wade into the border to get this shot.

crown princess margareta rose sept

I went in and had a shower, and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking our evening meal, I went out for a short walk.  The physiotherapist has said that I should walk as much as I can.

Some dog tooth peltigera lichen appeared on a wall shortly after I set out…

peltigera lichen

…and my next stop was to look at the bridge over the Becks Burn.

becks brodge

I stopped again at the Auld Stane Brig, the next bridge along, to admire a small garden on the bridge parapet and a lichen jungle on the fence post at the end of the bridge.

auld stane brisge flower and lichen

I walked back to the town along Gaskells Walk.  There were plenty of fine ferns to admire as I walked along.  I looked at the front of some…

fern gaskells

…and the back of others.  This is a buckler fern.

fern spores gaskells

There were fruits as well as ferns.

three fruits gaskells

I finished by walking along the path beside the park wall.  I was hoping for more lichen but it hasn’t developed yet or I wasn’t paying enough attention.

park wall sept

I will look again soon.

The day was rounded off by a visit from Mike and Alison and Alison and I played old and new favourites including Telemann, Vivaldi, Marcello and Finger while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike once again set the world to rights.  We may have to check on their methods as things have not improved much as I hoped since they set the world to rights last week.

Among the many blackbirds visiting the ‘birdberry’ tree was this one, who just managed to qualify as the flying bird of the day.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend and horticultural adviser Liz.  She went for a paddle on the Union Canal, and knowing that I like bridges, she sent me this.

union canal

After two sunny day, we reverted to a grey and drizzly day again today.  It was an ideal morning for staying indoors so I did just that…

…though I did poke my nose outside in a less drizzly moment to see what was going on.

A bee was trying on a dashing pink hat…

bee on lamium

…and in spite of the gloomy weather, there were quite a few red admiral butterflies around.  I caught one on the buddleia and another one flat out on the sedum, having a snooze.

butterfly on sedum

I checked to see if there were any blackbirds in the rowan tree.  You might think that it would be easier to stand on a twig and peck upwards, but the general trend seems to be to balance carefully and peck downwards.

balckbird diving for berry

I did actually see a blackbird fall off its twig trying this method.   It steadied itself though  and chose a safer spot.

blackbird in rowan tree

After lunch, the drizzle cleared up and the forecast offered some hours of dryish weather in spite of still having quite a lot of rain on its weather map.  I got my bike out and set off to see how far I could get before it started to  rain again.

Farmers have been making good use of the recent sunny days and the number of bales of silage in this field shows just how well the grass has been growing this summer.

silage

I looked down at the wall which you can see at the bottom of the picture above and saw a veritable feast of lichens.

four lichens on wauchope road wall

All these were within a few feet of each other.

I took a little diversion up to Cleuchfoot, and stopped to admire the autumn fruits, sloes and brambles, beside the road.  It looks like being a fruitful season.

sloe and bramble

I got to the top of Callister and as it began to rain lightly, I turned for home.  There was almost no wind today, a very rare thing these days, and it was warm so in spite of the light rain, it was enjoyable to be out and about.

By the time that I had got back to Langholm after 14 miles, the rain had stopped so I didn’t.  I went through the town and out of the other side.  I had to wait at the junction at the bridge to let a small convoy of MGBs through.  They were obviously on a tour and perhaps a reader, looking at the number plate, can tell me where they come from.

MGB

When I had crossed the bridge, I had to stop again on the Kilngreen, because not only could I see Mr Grumpy crouching beside the river…

crouching heron

…but there was a cormorant perched on a rock at the Meeting of the Waters.

comorant

Local fishermen will not be happy.

I pedalled on up the main road for three miles, stopped to admire the view…

near Hoghill

…and pedalled back home again, pleased to have got 21 miles in on a day that had started so miserably.

After a cup of tea (and a biscuit) with Mrs Tootlepedal and our friend Mike who had dropped in, I was sufficiently revived to go out into the garden and mow the front lawn. The grass is growing well in our garden too and the lawns are needing to be mowed every two or three days.

While I was out, I had a look round and was delighted to see a robin.  I hadn’t seen one for some time.

robin on fence

While I was tracking the robin, I nearly trod on this blackbird.  It was very reluctant to move from a spot where it had obviously found something interesting to eat.

young blackbird on ground

When I looked up at the rowan tree, more blackbirds were finding things to eat.

After a good look round, this one….

blackbird eyeing up beries

…took the plunge, grabbed a berry and swallowed it whole.

blackbird eating berries

Berries were going down well…

berry in blackbird beak

…though some were harder to grasp than others.

close up balckbird with berry

The berries will not last long if the blackbirds keep going at this rate.

I left the blackbirds to it, and walked around looking for flowers.  The honeysuckle on the fence is flowering well and still has plenty to come…

honeysuckle

…and Crown Princess Margareta is making a plucky effort to have a late show.

crown princess margareta rose

Then my flute pupil Luke came and showed evidence of practice.  This can only be a good thing.  Both he and I are working on improving our breathing skills and are trying hard to avoid heaving up our shoulders when breathing in, a very bad habit.  Getting rid of bad habits is a lot harder than acquiring good habits so we have some way to go.

I made some cauliflower cheese for our evening meal and then Mrs Tootlepedal and I settled down to the double delight of watching the highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain.

I didn’t quite catch a flying bird of the day, but this blackbird had to use its wings a lot to steady itself so it gets the title today, whether it was actually flying or not.

flying berry blackbird

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