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Posts Tagged ‘lichen’

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony just to show that his life isn’t always glorious sunrises.

Fife stormy weather

We had a dry day today that became increasingly breezy as time passed.  If I had been extremely well prepared and keen, I could have got up at the crack of dawn and done twenty miles in calm conditions before breakfast…but I wasn’t and I didn’t.

What I did do was to have a late breakfast and then enjoy a cup of coffee and some excellent scones with Dropscone when he came to call.  His golf is still causing him some grief but he did tell me that he had noticed the toadstools were out in force among the trees beside the fifth fairway on the golf course.

I couldn’t go up straight away as I had a visit to the health centre to get my three monthly vitamin B12 top up to fit in first.

I had a look at the birds when I got back and was happy to see a calm blue tit on the feeder pole…

blue tit on feeder pole

…and several lively chaffinches coming in for seed.

scary chaffinches

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe and after a light lunch, I headed up to the golf course on a toadstool quest.

On my way there, I saw horses at the bottom of the Kirk Wynd having a snack on the way to their field….

horse on Kirk Wynd

…and a bee having a snack on a dandelion at the top of the slope.

bee on dandelion

I was a bit worried about the toadstools when I passed the green keeper and he told me that they had been mowing the rough but when I got to the trees, there were still plenty to be seen.

They were a little past their best but there was a lot of variety and colour….

golf course fungus panel 1

…and both old and new were to be seen along with other varieties.

golf course fungus panel 2

This was the top toadstool of the day in my opinion.

golf course fungus star

While I was on the course, I took a moment to admire the wonderful new 7th tee, built since my golfing days….

seventh tee

…and the old shelter for benighted golfers on stormy days, still standing after many years but only just.

shelter on golf course

I left the course and headed for the open hill.

I had passed this way last in the middle of the dry spell and the wall at the gate onto the hill had had very little lichen or moss but the recent rains had got things going again…

lichen on moss at top of Kirk wynd

…and both lichen and moss were thriving.

The skies clouded over as I walked along the track to the quarry so I have taken the liberty of ‘zinging up’ the pictures that I took along the way a bit as otherwise the skies looked very dull in the images and the results didn’t reflect the pleasure that I got from the scenery.

My route took me along the hill with views up the Ewes Valley to the north…

 

view of ewes from whita

…past the town….

view of Langholm from Whita

…over the wall at the quarries…

wall and stile at quarry

…and down into the woods….

oak wood path

…which gave me some welcome shelter from the stiff breeze.

oak wood near round house

I walked down to the river at the Skippers Bridge and stopped for the obligatory picture opportunity.

Skippers bridge Sept 18

It is a tall bridge when viewed from the upstream side as can be seen by the tiny figure crossing it in the shot above.

Peering through arch of the bridge, I thought that the river was looking at its best.

Esk below skippers

(Not zinged up at all)

The recent storms have left a lot of broken trees and branches around and I saw a couple on my walk today.

fallen trees

I walked along the Beechy Plains on my way home and in the rather gloomy woods beside the river, I saw both script lichen and fungus…

Easton's walk

…of various sorts.

fungsu on tree stump

I ended my walk with a visit to our corner shop.  It really is on a corner.

corner shop

Mrs Tootlepedal had brought back a slice or two of a delicious sponge cake from the Buccleuch Centre and I ate them with a cup of tea while I rested for a while after battling the breeze.

Then I started the task of sanding down the garage doors which are going to be painted.  Luckily this didn’t require any great skill and I was able to get on with it while Mrs Tootlepedal did some shopping.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do front-of-house for a ballet screening and on this occasion, I left her to it and spent time messing about with the photo editor instead.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.  There are a lot of them about.

flying chaffimnch sept 18

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and reveals that the path in yesterday’s guest picture did indeed lead to a lighthouse, though the lighthouse is rather unusual.  It is opposite the port of Port Ellen next to Carraig Fhada at Kilnaughton Bay. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1832 by Walter Frederick Campbell in memory of Lady Eleanor Campbell. This is a very characteristic lighthouse with two square towers connected to each other.  It is a working lighthouse.

Islay lighthouse

Both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a lie in today so things started slowly and it was very hard to distinguish between breakfast and morning coffee.

It was a cool day but dry and with not anything like as much wind as we have been having recently so I eventually got my bike out and set off to see how far my legs would carry me.  I was feeling pretty creaky at the outset but once again the good Dr Velo provided if not a complete cure, at least some relief from creakiness and my legs took for me for an enjoyable 30 miles.  I might have gone a bit further but I had no food with me and I had told Mrs Tootlepedal that I was going to do 20 miles so 30 miles seemed sensible.

The farmers have managed to get a second cut of silage in and my route was dotted with green fields where the sheep were grazing and pale fields where the grass had gone.

fields near gair

I kept my nose to the wheel for the most part and didn’t stop to take pictures, except for one of the river at Irvine House with just one hint of autumn among the trees.

Irvine House

There was a bigger hint a few hundred yards further along the road.

autumn bracken

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden chatting to our neighbour Liz. Liz was taking a break from hard work in her own garden but it wasn’t long before both the gardeners were back at work.  I had a sandwich and then came out to do some dead heading and supervising.

We have got some late orange hawkweed to keep things looking bright.

orange hawkweed

And if you think that this dahlia looks a little crowded with insects…

insects on dahlia

…what about this dandelion?

insects on dandelion

I went in for a cup of tea and then there was a smir of rain which brought Mrs Tootlepedal in too.

The rain didn’t last long and the afternoon brightened up again so Mrs Tootlepedal went back out to the garden and I went for a short walk.

The park wall showed that moss is getting back into its stride after the dry spell in the summer.

park wall moss

..with some spleenwort too.

There was lichen and a flower on the wall…

park wall lichen and flower

…and sloes and fungus beside the path as I walked up past the Stubholm…

sloe and fungus

…where I found that there was indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

Stubholm track

Gaskell’s walk had a lot to look at as I went along.

seed head

There were rosebay willowherb seed heads in abundace.

fireweed seed

…and a lot more fungus…

gaskell's fungi

…although one patch turned out to be fallen leaves.

The small lichen garden on the fence post at the Auld Stane Brig was still flourishing

Auls stane brig lichen

It has been there for years.

On the other side of the bridge, two cows did formation grazing.

two cows eating

The road back to town was colourful in places….

wildflowers by the road

…and there was another hint of autumn when I looked back over the graveyard to the woods that I had just walked through on the far side of the Wauchope Water..

A hint of autumn

At Pool Corner, the slow worms, both old and young, were still above ground (but under a sheltering piece of roofing felt).

slow worms

My walk was noted by interested spectators.

cows and sheep

Between the late start, the cycling and the walking, I didn’t have much time for looking at birds but in spite of that I did recognise how lucky we are to have a good variety of bird visitors.  Today we had starlings, blackbirds, blue tits, coal tits, sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins, jackdaws, pigeons and collared doves.

You will have to take my word for that though as the only pictures I have is of the flying bird of the day, a chaffinch, going to join a goldfinch, sparrow and greenfinch on the feeder.

busy feeder

Looking at the picture, I notice that the chaffinch looks a little upset and this may have been because the perch that the chaffinch was hoping to land on has become unscrewed.  I will have to look for it tomorrow.

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge shows 6 cm of rain for the week or just about 2¼ inches, almost all of which came in one night early in the week so our weather has been better than expected.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew and shows an 18th Century mill near Derby and the dam that was built to provide it with water.18th C mill

(I am in the market for new guest pictures)

I had a quiet morning today and was content to potter about indoors for the most part in spite of some fine weather.  When I did poke my head out into the garden, I had to look sharp to avoid being run into by butterflies.  There were a lot about again.

I shot pictures of them with my little Lumix and my Nikon and got reasonable results with both.  The big blue buddleia was still attracting a good number of butterflies and because the number of stems with flowers is getting smaller,  I often saw the butterflies pushing each other about just like the birds on the feeder.  I didn’t manage to catch them at it and had to settle for some fine posing.

We had a full house today.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

Small tortoiseshell.  The blue on its wingtips is fading.

peacock butterfly

A peacock still with good colour

white butterfly

There are still a lot of whites about

painted lady butterfly

One of several painted ladies

another painted lady butterfly

And because I like them so much, another painted lady

Perhaps because of the fading of the blooms on the big buddleia, the smaller red buddleia by the back fence was also doing a brisk business today.

peacock butterfly (2)

red admiral butterfly

small tortoiseshell butterfly on red buddleia

It provided better backgrounds for the shots and the zoom lens on the Nikon let me blur them to good effect.

After lunch I fully intended to go for a cycle ride but first of all the chance of watching the Tour of Britain cycle race going up a Lake District climb was too tempting and then when I did get more active, a really severe gust of wind persuaded me that some gardening might be more fun.

As part of the remodelling of the vegetable garden, I found out just how big and deep the roots of a rhubarb plant can be.  It needed a pickaxe to shift it.

While Mrs Tootlepedal cooked our tea, I thought that I ought to make some use of the good day and went for a short walk over three bridges.

As I walked over the first bridge (The Langholm Bridge), I could see two goosanders at the water’s edge below me.

two goosanders

I crossed the second bridge (The Sawmill Brig) and walked along the Lodge Walks seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Lodge Walks september

I then strolled over the Castleholm and came to the third bridge (The Duchess Bridge) ….

duchess bridge

…and crossed it and made my way home.

On my way I saw a lot of fungus again of many shapes and sizes…

castleholm fungus

…and some lichen, which needed a very close look to see the red tip.

lichen

Sheltered from the wind and with the sun occasionally out, it was a fine evening for a walk….

Castleholm copse

…with shades of green everywhere you looked.

view of castleholm

And the finale was this brilliant display of Russian vine on our neighbour Liz’s garage.

russian vine

In the evening Mike and Alison came round.  Alison and I put some useful practice into our French pieces and played an old friend to finish off an enjoyable session.

Mike and Alison are quite excited as their son with his wife and their two children have just touched down in Scotland on a visit from their home in New Zealand.

I didn’t have much time to look at birds today and when I did look, there weren’t many birds to watch so there is no flying bird of the day today, just one who had recently finished flying…

greenfinch

…who was joined by another who also had just finished flying.

blue tit and greenfinch

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I have kindly been sent a lot of guest pictures lately and I am working through them so I apologise to those whose great images have fallen through the sieve of time.  Today’s effort is from our younger son and shows his washing line on a typical recent day.

wet washing line

We had another grey day today here for the most part, a day when it always looked as though it was going to rain soon….but it didn’t and as a result there was lots of time for work in the garden.

As soon as the worst of the early dampness had worn off, I got various mowers out and mowed the drying green, the greenhouse grass, the middle and the front lawns and then strimmed the edges of everything that I could see.  There was hardly a blade of grass standing in the garden by the time that I had finished.

counterstriped lawn

I went for a fancy pattern to please Julie, a faithful reader from Australia, who had suggested that  a little variety in the lawn striping would not go amiss.

Then I sieved some compost.

After some slack dead heading days because of the drizzle, there was any amount of dead heading to be done and both Mrs Tootlepedal and I went round several times snipping off the ones we had missed on the previous circuit.

Some flowers survived the snippers.  The camera makes things look a lot brighter than they actually were.

white and red poppies

sunny reggae dahlias

Even on a drab day these ‘Sunny Reggae’ dahlias shine.

There are an encouraging amount of insects about.  Sometimes it seemed that every flower had one.

wild strawberry with tiny insect

phlox with insect

been on daisy

Or two!

dahlia with two insects

But butterflies were scarce.  The strong wind may have made life hard for them

peacock butterfly

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre over lunch so I set the kitchen window camera up in the vain hope of seeing the nuthatch again.

I saw a blue tit first….

blue tit on feeder

…and then the usual stramash of sparrows…

mass of sparrows

…with occasional greenfinch incursions…

incoming greenfinch

…but no nuthatch.  I am revising my nuthatch expectations down to nil.

We were having our outside doors painted for the second time as it had rained very heavily after the first effort and the work needed to be redone.  The painter went off after lunch and looking at the clouds, it seemed that it might be quite likely that the same thing would happen again but fortunately the rain held off and the doors dried.

I had received a call from a data miner in the Archive Centre to say that an unfortunate train of events had led to one of the microfiche readers losing some vital parts so after lunch, I snapped a siskin on the feeder…

perching siskin

,…and  went up to the Archive Centre to see what I could do about this, taking a picture of the clematis by the front door on my way out.

big hearted clematis

This is a late flowering and you might say that it is all heart.

It was a bit of a struggle to fix the microfiche reader as one of the errant parts had suffered minor damage but I got it cobbled back together in the end and the miners should be able to get back to work (with care).

When I got home again, Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work in the garden and I joined her, mostly in a  supervisory role but from time to time actually doing something helpful.

After a while, we both needed a sit down so we tested out the newly oiled bench and admired the flowers in the new bed beside the lawn.

new bed by middle lawn

On our other side, tall rudbeckias looked down on us.

rudbeckia

I like these rudbeckias because the flowers are durable and don’t need much dead heading.

However, there was plenty of dead heading still to do on a final tour.

There are many flowers about that don’t need dead heading all the time.

pansy and anemone

We are sawing up the old, rather rotten bench a bit at a time and I was cutting through a plank on the back when I noticed some lichen on one of the uprights.

lichen on old bench

We were probably right to think that it was time for a replacement.

I had thought of a walk (it was too windy for a cycle ride) but all this gardening had knocked some of the stuffing out of me so a cup of tea and a sit down looked like a more attractive proposition.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a delicious evening meal and there were just enough raspberries to have as a dessert.

In any spare moments during the day, I ate a plum.  More plums are ripening all the time.  The wasps and the jackdaws are dealing with a lot of them but there are more than enough left to satisfy the most enthusiastic plum eater.  I can see plum chutney looming.

I hope to widen my horizon tomorrow as the forecast is quite cheerful.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan.  It was taken by the friend who took her on a tour of Germany recently.  They were quite surprised to find this plaque.

trump icon

It was a day of frequent showers with bright spells in between so the trick was to get the timing right if you wanted to get anything done outside.

I was able to get about and do some dead heading and picture taking after breakfast.

The were poppies to dead head and photograph.

poppies

And yellow flowers to enjoy in the sunshine.

yellow flowers

And then Dropscone came for coffee bearing treacle scones and with the scone radar in the manse on full alert, we were soon joined by Scott, the minister.  He will have to get a fuller strength radar now as he is leaving us and going to minister in a church in Glasgow soon.

We will miss him.

Dropscone went off to play golf and Mrs Tootlepedal and the minister set the world to rights while I took the opportunity of another sunny spell to mow the lawns.

Lawn and white cosmos

The white cosmos is coming on well.

Then I sieved a bit of compost and seeing that Bin D was getting low, I shifted almost all of Bin B into the empty Bin C between showers.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been trying to keep the soil in good condition so she has been using up the compost as fast as I can produce it.

I also took a look round.  The peacock butterflies were judging the weather too and as soon as the sun appeared, they appeared as well.

Two peacock butterflies

I went in to have lunch and set the camera up in the kitchen.

The feeders were very busy, especially with sparrows but they didn’t have it all their own way…

flying sparrow

…and a greenfinch stood its ground against a host of them.

The jackdaws have us on their feeding list and appear from time to time and then fly off again.

jackdaw flapping

And I am very happy that we seem to have a whole family of blue tits as regulars.  I saw five at a time today (but only captured two of them together).

two blue tits

The composting and dead heading went on after lunch as did the showers but in the end, things looked stable enough, in spite of an impressive cloud…

fungus cloud

…to make a walk seem like a good idea.

I set off along the path beside the park wall, where the recent rain has encouraged all sorts of growth.

park wall

The red spots on the cladonia lichen were so small that I couldn’t see them with the naked eye and had to rely on my camera to show them to me.

At the  end of the wall, a flash of yellow caught my eye.  It was a small group of most uncommon flowers…

touch me not balsam

…hanging down from the leafs above them.  I had to get Mike Tinker to identify them for me and he tells me that they are ‘Touch-me-not balsam’  or  Impatiens noli-tangere.

It is a very odd flower, looking for all the world like a flying goldfish.

As I walked up the track from the Stubholm towards Warbla, there was more to see both in the verge beside the track….

seed heads, vetch and fungus

…and on a wall a bit further up.

lichen, scabious lichen

The rain has livened things up a lot for  a walker with time to look about.

Once on the hill, I left the track after a while and headed across the grass towards the summit.

The sheep hoover up most things but there were one or two growing things left among the grass.

hillside life

They had to lie pretty low though.

And of course, there are the views as you get higher up the hill.

A click on this panorama will bring up the bigger picture.

panorama warbla

The weather gods had a little joke and laid on a heavy shower just as I got near the top of the hill so I retreated and they promptly whisked the shower away and turned on the sun again.

cluds over warbla

I wasn’t going to go back up to the top though partly because of the additional climb and partly because I had spotted some cattle on the open ground behind the mast and I prefer to leave cattle to themselves when I am walking.

I took a picture of the town on my way down….

view of ewes

…and pointed the camera past the town and towards my favourite view of the Ewes valley beyond.

view of Langholm

I took a picture of the cows on the top of the hill in the rain and of two more standing in a field beside the road when I came down the hill and as always, I was an object of interest to the many sheep that I passed.

cattle and sheep

The sun lasted for the rest of my walk and as I came along the road, peltigera lichen, rose hips in the hedge and slow worms at Pool Corner all kept me busy clicking away with the camera.

peltigera, hip and slow worms

During the day, both Mrs Tootlepedal and I picked plums whenever we passed the tree but there are plenty still ripening and when I had got back from my walk, I spotted a jackdaw helping out with the plum eating.

jackdaw eating plums

It rained again in the early evening but it had cleared up by the time that Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday visit.  Both Alison and I had been practising and and although we found out that practice doesn’t necessarily lead straightaway to perfection, we had a most enjoyable session.

They went away with plums….

…and a marrow.

That is what friends are for.

I promised a picture of the new garage doors open and here it is.

garage doors open

I can’t tell you what a good idea it is to have doors that open easily.  I wheeled my slow bike in and out several times today just for fun.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

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No guest picture today as Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge takes pride of place with a measurable amount of rain in when I checked it this morning.

rain gauge 1 cm

1cm may not seem to be that much  but when I looked at it again when we got back home in the evening, it had 3cm in it which is over an inch.  It looks like we chose a good day not to be in Langholm.

We got up early and set off to Edinburgh at 8.30am and returned,  quite tired, at 9.15pm.

We went to help our son Tony and his family move house from Edinburgh to the other side of the Firth of Forth in a little village called East Wemyss.  It was a multi faceted affair with three vans and two cars involved.

Because of my problem with heights, Tony had managed to get his van, which I was to drive to East Wemyss, over the new Forth Crossing and parked it for me on the other side.

The convoy consisted of Tony’s friend Pedro, the man with the big van, leading, followed by Tony and Marianne and three dogs in their car, followed by Marianne’s daughter Tash in her van, followed by Marianne’s son Dylan is his car, followed by us in our car following Dylan as he knew where to go to find Tony’s van.

We set off with Mrs Tootlepedal driving our car and this let me take a couple of pictures of the Queensferry Crossing Bridge from the car as we went along.

It is a spectacular sight as you approach from the south…

Queensferry crossing 1

…and pretty impressive while you are on it.

queensferry crossing 2

In fact, as you can see, there are hefty wind barriers beside the road and it turned out to be easy to drive across and I drove our car across when we went home without any trouble.

Dylan led us to the van and a mini convoy of Dylan, Mrs Tootlepedal and I made its way along the coast road to East Wemyss.  We found Tash and Pedro waiting outside the new house and we all twiddled our thumbs while Tony and Marianne picked up the keys from a solicitor in Kirkcaldy.  Thanks  to a delay in the necessary money transfers, there was quite a lot of thumb twiddling for us  to do.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked along  the road outside the new house.  It has a good view.

Tony’s house is right on the shore of the Firth of Forth and we could look across the firth to the hills of Edinburgh in one direction…

view from east wemyss

…and North Berwick Law, where we had had a holiday with Matilda in May in the other direction.

north berwick from east wemyss

The Fife coastal path goes past his door and we walked along it for a few hundred yards until we came to this splendid sandstone cliff.

east wemyss sandstone

There are some well known and interesting caves nearby but we didn’t see them.  We did see some excellent lichen…

east wemyss lichen

…a boat at anchor out in the middle of the firth…

boat in forth

…and a fine view of the sea front.

east wemyss

We got some binoculars out of the car and did some bird watching while we waited.

There were some indefinite ducks at sea….

duck

…possibly eider ducks but  too far out for us to be sure.  Nearer to hand there were several oyster catchers….

east wemyss oyster catcher

…and a curlew.

east wemyss curlew

Curlews are getting scarce so to see one so close and so clearly was a treat,.

east wemyss curlew close up

There was a noisy gang of sea birds making a terrific racket on the rocks and flying over the sea and diving for food.

east wemyss sandwich terns

It needed a closer look on the computer and some research by Mrs Tootlepedal in her bird book when we got home to tell us that they were Sandwich terns, birds which I have never knowingly seen before.

sandwich terns

Mrs Tootlepedal found a fine feather.

east wemyss feather

Pedro had another job to go to, so he unloaded his van and Tash, Dylan, Mrs Tootlepedal and I distributed the contents outside the front door and in the little  garden at the back of the house.  Then we spent a nervous hour glancing anxiously at any passing clouds hoping that it wouldn’t rain and that the money would come through all right.

The money did eventually arrive and the keys were handed over so Tony and Marianne and the dogs soon appeared and then we all set to and unloaded Tony’s and Tash’s vans and took all that and the stuff from Pedro’s van into the house from the street and the garden.

When everything was inside the house,we still had 110 miles to go to get home so we left them to do the unpacking and headed south.  The traffic across the bridge and round Edinburgh was very slow but once we had cleared the bypass and stopped for a meal, we drove home on very quiet roads.

No flying bird or flower of the day today but one can’t have everything.  It was quite a full day and we are going to bed at the end of it with a feeling of a job well done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s northern tour.  He visited Newcastle-on-Tyne and sent me this picture of a castle.  He doesn’t say if it is the new one or not.

Newcastle castle

It was relatively cool and cloudy when I got up and although it had rained overnight, once again the amount had failed to register on my scientific rain gauge so I did a little watering and took a walk round the garden after breakfast.

The Crown Princess looked lovely surrounded by phlox.

crown princess among phlox

A new flower has appeared next to the front lawn but I cannot name it without Mrs Tootlepedal’s help.

mystery flower

I can recognise this astilbe which is looking charmingly  pretty in pink.

pink astilbe

The wind was still about but as it was rather calmer than recent days, I set out on my new bike with hope in my heart, aiming at 50 miles or more.

Unfortunately, it turned out that I might have had hope in my heart but I didn’t have much stuffing in my legs and my hopes gradually faded as I pedalled along.

I did enjoy myself all the same.

The ragwort is at its best…

ragwort

..but I have been unable to find any with the colourful caterpillars of the cinnabar moth on it yet.  These caterpillars love ragwort so there should be some about somewhere.

My route took me across country to Annandale.  There is no more water in the Annan than there is in the Esk….

Annan Water at Hoddom

…but I was still glad to have a handsome bridge to cross the river when I came to it.

Hoddom Bridge

There is a lot of Himalayan Balsam on the banks of the river and although it is very pretty…

himalayan balsam

…it is regarded as an invasive pest now that it has escaped from gardens.

I toiled up a hill after I had crossed the bridge at Hoddom and then scooted down the other side until I came to the Bridge at Brydekirk which crosses the same river a few miles downstream.

Brydekirk Bridge

Here I paused for an egg roll and a chocolate biscuit.  (My cycling nutrition is about as scientific as my rain gauge.)

I was sitting on a low wall which was covered in interesting lichen.

Brydekirk lichen

Leaving the river behind, I headed homewards, thinking that I might make a detour into England at Gretna to bring up my fifty mile target.  It was at this point that it became finally apparent that my legs weren’t really up to much more than forty miles and when I looked around and saw that recent rarity, a rain cloud…

rain clouds

…and felt a few spots of rain on my knees, any thoughts of England evaporated and I headed for home.  I had obviously been lucky to avoid being rained on as quite a bit of the road to Canonbie was wet.

I arrived home after 42 miles to find that it hadn’t rained in Langholm at all.  Boo.

It was the first day for weeks when the clouds were thick enough to make the day seem quite gloomy even though it was quite warm enough to cycle in shorts again.

I had some green soup for a late lunch, checked out the birds…

bee passing birds on feeder

…which were ignoring passing bees…

,..and then settled down to watch a thoroughly engrossing stage of the Tour de France.

After the stage ended, Mike Tinker came round and we had a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit.  Any day with ginger biscuits is a good day.

When Mike left, I saw that the birds had been busy while I was relaxing and the feeder was getting empty.

sparrows and greenfinch

I really liked the cool attitude of this greenfinch, looking for all the world like a regular customer leaning on the bar in a pub.

cool greenfinch

Filling the feeder led to more birds arriving in a rush…

sparrows on feeder

…and occasional regrettable outbreaks of sparrow stamping.

sparrow stamping on sparrow

I did some more watering and weeding and noted that Mrs Tootlepedal will have a few poppies to greet her when she comes home tomorrow.

poppies

And a lot of cheerful phlox.

phlox

The bed beside the front door is looking quite welcoming too.

front door bed

After a shower, some tidying up and a basic evening meal, I went off to the church for a practice with the choir.  It is the Common Riding service on Sunday so we will have to be at our best as there will be a large turn out of people who do not normally come to services.

I am not entirely sure that my new asthma treatment is as good as it should be and this might account for my soggy legs when bicycling and certain lapses of concentration when singing.  It is useful to have something to blame of course.

The flying bird of the day is a grenfinch.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

 

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