Posts Tagged ‘liverwort’

To make a change from endless pictures of moss, my guest picture of the day is a moose The picture came from Venetia, who saw the moose in Grand Teton National Park.

moose, in Grand Teton National Park

The wind is in the east at the moment, which often means sunnier days for us and this was the case today.

It also means cold mornings.

The frogs disappeared because of the cold morning but a daffodil appeared.


And we did have wall to wall sunshine so after the frosty start, the temperature went up to a pleasing 7°C and this combined with a very light wind, opened the day to many possibilities.

After breakfast, the light was good enough to encourage bird shooting through the kitchen window.  Not all my efforts were entirely successful…

flying chaffinch

…but some were better than others…

flying chaffinch

…and some were quite action packed.


After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal turned to gardening and I took my walking poles in hand and went to the top of a hill and came down a again.

I had my camera with me for once.

I liked the contrasting colours as I walked up Meikleholm Hill…

View from Meikleholm Hill

…and I was surprised to see how much of the ground that I trod on was made up of mosses.

moss on Meikleholm Hill

You may think that the green hill on the right of the fence is grassy but in fact the pale grey patches are grass and almost all the green is moss.  Far from walking up a grassy hill, I was climbing a moss covered boulder.

moss on Meikleholm Hill

There was even a patch of moss clinging to the side of the concrete trig point on the top of Timpen Hill at 326m.

moss on timpen trig point

The view from the top was good.  That is the River Esk curling up the valley.

Esk from Timpen

On the far side of the Esk, I could see another example of tree felling followed by some very neat tidying up.

tree felling Longfauld

To the north, the Ettrick hills still had a little snow on their tops.

Ettrick Hills in background

Coming back down the hill, I stopped to admire the moss in one of the boggy patches.

bog moss

And of course, it is illegal to be out on the hill on a fine day and not take a picture of the town.

Langholm from Meikleholm

It is a very rewarding route for a walk of well under three miles.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal in delving mode when I got back and while we were chatting, we noticed a bird singing away in a very forceful manner.  We followed its flight on to the silver pear and I was very surprised to see it was a dunnock.

dunnock on pear tree

I usually see these creeping about silently in a very unobtrusive manner under the bottom of hedges so I can only assume that love must be in the air already and either mates are being attracted or rivals discouraged…..or both.

On my way round the garden, looking for exciting mosses, I saw these instead…


…and Mrs Tootlepedal told that they are liverworts.

After a pause for recovery and lunch, I got the fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.

They took me to the top of Callister Hill (223m) and back down again.  I was going to put some additional miles in when I was waved down by a passing motorist who turned out to be a friend who wanted my opinion on the reprehensible behaviour of our local landowner.

This led to an interesting and lively discussion, conducted while aeroplanes overhead combine to drag clouds across the sky….

con trails and cloud

…and left me with just time to get home as the sun went down and the shadows lengthened.

cycling shadow

Secretly, I was not at all upset to lose a mile or two from my trip as the morning’s hill walk had taken a little stuffing out of my legs.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden again when I got back and we went out to admire the work on the dam bridge repair.

dam bridge repairs
It is looking very neat and tidy with a waterproof membrane now stuck on top of the concrete beams and the sides of the bridge completed.   We are waiting for the pavement edge to be re-installed, a bit of fill to be added to each edge of the bridge and then the final tarmac can be laid.

I still haven’t heard from the Queen regarding the Grand Opening.

In the evening, I took my third trip of the day.

Sandy arrived and he drove us down to Canonbie, where he and I delivered an illustrated talk on the work of the Langholm Archive Group to the Canonbie Tractor Club in the Cross Keys Hotel.   We followed the talk by a showing of the Langholm Heritage DVD on the mills and railway in Langholm which members of the group made a few years ago.

This must have gone down quite well as I sold six copies of the DVD (all I had brought with me) to members of the audience after the showing.

Everything went very smoothly.  This was by no means a given considering that we were using a laptop, a projector, a screen, a sound bar and the visitors’ wi-fi connection of the Cross Keys Hotel, any of which might have been in a contrary mood.

It was a day which has been firmly entered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch




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Today’s guest picture shows Dropscone’s granny’s rocking chair which his son has recently got re-upholstered.


I could have done with a rocking chair myself this morning as it was too wet and windy to be attractive to a cyclist.  As a result I spent the morning watching and waiting as breakfast morphed seamlessly into morning coffee and the crossword and then, before I knew it, it was lunchtime.  The joys of being retired on a wet day.

I did look out of the window to see if the redpolls had come back but they hadn’t and I had to make do with a visit from a brambling.


The chaffinches are ever present.


The ponderer was back (or perhaps his double)


Sometimes they came as composite birds.

goldfinch, chaffinch, siskin

Places on the feeder are hard to find.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal got a lift to Edinburgh to visit a friend who is in hospital and I was left to my own devices.  A brief burst of sunshine tempted me out for a walk.  I had got to the Kilngreen when a look behind me showed that rain was approaching fast…

:Langholm Bridge

…in a moment, it had caught up with me.  The sun was still shining though and I was treated to the lowest and closest rainbow that I have ever seen.  It was faint but fascinating.

rainbow on Kilngreen

It preceded me as I walked along the car park, getting ever fainter as I went…

rainbow on Kilngreen

…until it had virtually vanished like the Cheshire cat by the time that I acme to the Sawmill Brig.

rainbow on Kilngreen

I walked over the bridge and was delighted by the amount of colour to be found on walls and trees on every side.

green algae

In spite of its colour, the New Hampshire Gardener tells me that this is green algae

There was moss of many different kinds.




..and liverwort (I think)….


…and lichen.



It was tempting just to stay where I was and keep snapping away but I walked on…


Another brief burst of sunlight lit up my way.

I was using Pocketcam (Nikon J1) for the close up pictures and I have a nifty add on which lets me use my Nikon  DSLR lenses with it.  I hadn’t used it yet so this seemed like a good time to try it.  I had my 18 to 105mm lens in my pocket so I stuck it on to see how it would go.  It increases the zoom factor a lot and the camera can cope with the big lens quite well.

tree on castleholm

Langholm Castle

Langholm Castle shot from across the river.

I am very pleased with these first results in rather grey light.  It is an ideal lightweight combination for a walk when you don’t know what you may see.

When I got home I sat down at my computer and got two big shocks.  I switched on my tried and tested desktop Windows XP  machine and got a very brusque message from Microsoft telling me that they were going to stop supporting Windows XP in a few weeks and only a fool would keep on using it.   They suggested buying a new computer and using Windows 8.  What a cheek.  I am of the school of thought that Bill Gates only got so rich that he has to hire people to help him spend his money by using the power of monopoly to grossly overcharge his customers and this was typical of his company’s approach to them.

As I have many useful programs on this computer, I will disconnect it from the internet and keep using the useful programs on it  when the need arises.

I write this blog on a laptop which I basically keep for storing and editing photos but thanks to a set of earlier misfortunes, I do have another laptop in a cupboard which I keep as back up.  This will now come out of hiding and become my machine for day to day business.  It needed new security as it will have to be internet connected and putting this onto it gave me my second shock.

I had downloaded and was installing a 2014 version of AVG internet security when owing to a slight brain fade, I interrupted the process before it was complete.  I was baffled as to how to proceed and in  my despair, I rather aimlessly clicked on the AVG interface on my laptop.

A small pop out notice popped up at the side of the screen.  This sort of thing is always annoying and I expected a targeted ad for dementia treatment.  I peered at it suspiciously. It said, “Do you need help? Would you like to phone us?”  This was hard to take seriously but it even had a phone number on it and when I rang it, someone answered.

I was stunned.  I had to sit down.  He listened to my problem and said I would need one of their tech people.    “Ahah, the old run-around,” I thought but they got me one on line within a minute and she solved my problem in a trice…and in addition advised me of a way to save money on my next order from them.   I felt quite giddy.  This sort of thing just doesn’t happen.  I had to have a lie down to recover.

After some delicious slow cooked venison stew, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal,  for my tea, I recovered enough to drive to Carlisle with Susan for a very good evening of recorder playing.

A goldfinch managed to head off the chaffinches for the coveted post of flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch










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