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Posts Tagged ‘lupins’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  When I looked back at his pictures from Kirkcaldy’s Highland Games on the beach, I saw that as well as cyclists and runners, they had these curious characters too.

beach runners Kirkcaldy

It was the day of the wires in our garden and luckily, the wire hangers had a fine day for their work.  They got prepared and while one man disconnected the power from a neighbouring pole, using a handy bucket, a worker shinned up the new pole in our garden and got ready to remove the wires from the old pole.

new electricty supply 1

The picture on the right in the panel above was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal and as I had to leave the scene, she took all the others of the works too.

Once the wires had been taken off the old pole, it was carefully lowered down….

new electricty supply 2

…and turned out to fit exactly into the available space.

Our new pole stood alone.

new electricty supply 3

Then new wires were fitted from our neighbour Liz’s house to the new pole at the front gate….

new electricty supply 4

…and connected up by a team of two hanging on the vegetable garden pole which acts as a centre point for all the houses surrounding our garden.

new electricty supply 5

I see that I have put the two pictures in this panel in the wrong way round. 

Mrs Tootlepedal took a picture of a section of one of the old poles showing exactly why it was time for replacements.

new electricty supply rotten old pole

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go to the Buccleuch Centre, where she was helping out at the coffee shop, and it wasn’t long after she got back that the power was restored and she was able to enjoy our new (and doubtless better) electricity as she made herself a cup of tea.

I had had to leave her to be photographer in chief as I wanted to make use of the good weather to get a cycle ride in.  After cycling thirteen miles on Sunday and walking two mile yesterday without any bad effects on my feet, I thought that the time had come to extend my range a little.

Long suffering readers will know that I harbour an ambition to cycle as many miles as I have had birthdays each year and for as many years into the future as possible.  As there was a rock solid guarantee of no rain today, I thought that this might be the day to accomplish the challenge for this year.

Unfortunately, in spite of the sunny conditions, there was still a pretty brisk wind blowing with gusts of up to 25 miles an hour, so I chose a very flat out-and-back route in the hope that the wind would blow me home.

I was not at all confident that I would be up to the task so I made to sure to stop for a minute or so every five miles to have a drink, eat a snack, stretch my legs and take a photo if the opportunity arose.

There were a lot of things to see on my way…

wild flowers on way to Bowness

…but my favourites were the banks of daises that lined the roads in many places.

daisies beside M6 service road

My route took me down to the southern shore of the Solway Firth and along some very flat roads beside the salty marsh there.

This cow crossed the road in front of me at one point and gave me a hard stare before going off to join her pals in the distance.

salt marsh cow

I would have enjoyed the flat road better if I had not been pedalling straight into the wind, working really hard to achieve a measly 10 mph.

I stopped to admire the fortified farmhouse at Drumburgh, built in the 12 century using stones taken from Hadrian’s Wall.

Drumburgh Bastle

For once, the tide was in and the sea was lapping at the shore as I pedalled along.

solway fiorst view

After 40 miles of head and cross winds, I was mighty pleased to find a small shop in a developing holiday complex in Bowness.  I bought an ice cream, a coffee and an alleged Bakewell tart bar and sat in the sun and had a rest while I enjoyed them. (The Bakewell Tart bar tasted surprisingly good but not much like a  Bakewell Tart.)

Bowness cafe

I pedalled along the shore a bit further after my snack and enjoyed the sight of the marsh cattle peacefully grazing.  Across the Firth, I could see Criffel on the Scottish side.

cattle grazing on salt march bowness

I turned for home after 43 miles, and my plan to be blown home by a friendly wind worked out well.  This was lucky as the 43 miles into the wind had been hard work.

I had stopped on the way out to record the Methodist church at Monkhill, and to even things out, I stopped to record the 12th Century Anglican church at Burgh by Sands (also built using stones from Hadrian’s Wall) on the way back.

chapel and church

I had nearly got back to Langholm when I spotted the biggest treat of the day.  The people who mow the verges of our roads had failed in their task of exterminating every possible wild flower on the  A7  and near the end of the Canonbie by-pass I came across a small clump of orchids which had survived the trimming.

orchid beside A7

After 81 miles at a very modest speed, I managed to get home just before Mrs Tootlepedal went out to an evening meeting and was very pleased to find that she had cooked a nourishing meal for me to eat after she had gone.

When I had eaten, I was recovered enough to go out and mow the middle lawn and take a turn round the garden.

The climbing hydrangea is covered with flowers and bees.

climbing hydrangea with bees

The day of sunshine had brought the coral…

coral peony out

…and the white peonies out…

white peony out

…and the lupins were a joy to look at in the evening light.

lupins

But of course, the highlight was the new pole.

new electricty supply final

At the time of writing,  my feet and ankles have survived the slightly longer cycle ride but only tomorrow morning will tell if I was ill advised to take on my age challenge.

I managed to capture a flying siskin of the day after I got home.

flying siskin

I have appended my route map below.  You can see that it was a very flat route.

Those interested can learn more by clicking on the map.

garmin route 18 June 2019

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair, and shows his daughter Matilda in the nice new dress which her Granny has made for her.

Matilda in Mrs T's dress

No prizes for guessing the theme of the performance.

We had much better weather today which was very welcome, but it turned out that I had lost a filling from my sore tooth so I had a quiet morning entertaining Dropscone to coffee while Mrs Tootlepedal went to off to Hawick on business.  Our local duke is selling the Langholm moor and there is interest in a community buy out for at least some of the land and Mrs Tootlepedal was meeting an expert in community land matters.

Dropscone had brought treacle scones so I was happy to stay at home and eat them (carefully).  Following his golf buggy accident, it turns out that Dropscone has broken three ribs so he was taking things quietly too and trying not to laugh too much.

Before he came, I had walked round the garden to see what was going on and I couldn’t ignore Mrs Tootlepedal’s Sweet Williams which are strategically placed all round the place.

four sweet william

They are all pretty peppy but this is the peppiest.

vivid sweet willieam

The bees are still very busy on the chives which must provide an endless stock of pollen for them.

three bees on chives

Away from the flower garden, I was interested to see the first flowers on the potatoes…

first potato flowers 2019

…and some promising looking beans.

beans flowers

After Dropscone left, with a little rhubarb to speed him on his way,  I settled down for a rest and the crossword, keeping my free hand on the remote lead for the camera on its tripod at the window.

Siskins were about, eating messily and scattering good seed on the ground.

siskin chewing

Sometimes they waited in the wings…

siskin waiting in wings

…and sometimes they got impatient…

siskins squabbling nf

…but the sparrows paid them no heed.

siskin and sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Hawick, full of good advice, and I made some soup for lunch.

After lunch, I sieved the last of the compost from Bin C and put the residue into Bin D.  Then, as I was in full composting mode, I turned the contents of Bin A ,which was full, into Bin B, which was empty.  The opposite is now the case…

empty bin A

…although a morsel of green waste found its way into Bin A later on.

When I was finished, I had a look around and found the the sunnier day had opened out an anemone which had been shut up against the rain and cold for the last few days.

anemone open

A bee was trying to cheer up a melancholy thistle.

melancholy thistle and friend

A Rodgersia has come out in the back border.

rogersii

And the roses were appreciating the dry, warmer weather as much as we were.

three happy roses

Men are coming to replace our aged and decrepit electricity pole next week so I helped Mrs Tootlepedal move a rose which had been growing up the stay wire for the pole.  We stuck a temporary pole in the flower bed, untied the stem from the stay and bent it back and tied it to the new pole.

rebent rose elec pole

We hope that there will be a new stay to tie it back onto when the pole work is finished.

The red peonies are almost over but the white and pink ones are still refusing to show themselves, perhaps as baffled by the odd weather as we are, but there are signs of hope.

potential peony

I had a last check on the lupins and found another busy bee there…

bee on lupin

…and then went off to the dentist.

My usual dentist doesn’t work on a Friday so I was seen by the other dentist in our surgery, a very nice lady whom I had not met before.  I had been able to get an emergency appointment and I was hoping that she would give me a temporary filling for my tooth until I could see my regular man.

Things didn’t quite turn out like that though.  She peered at my tooth and whistled gently in a concerned sort of way, and then suggested that I might like her to extract it.   She had such a kindly manner that I agreed and before I knew it, I was a tooth short.  Modern dentistry means that tooth extraction is a painless and relatively swift affair but even modern dentistry can’t stop your face hurting as the anaesthetic wears off so I spent the next few hours being very quiet.

Things are still a bit sore as I write this in the evening but I am hoping that all will be well by tomorrow morning and I will be able to get out on my fully serviced bike for a ride.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, rushing to get into the frame on time.  It nearly made it.

young flying sparrow rushing in

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce.  Having left Scotland by sailing under three bridges across the Forth, he has sent me this picture of sailing under another bridge and not just any old bridge but The Bridge.  Yes, that one, the Øresund Bridgefamiliar to all lovers of Scandinavian Noir TV.

The Bridge

Bruce may have had sunny weather as he cruised up the Øresund, but we didn’t even get a glimpse of the sun here today and it rained pretty well the whole time.  That made for a dull day for a start, both literally and metaphorically.  The dullness was enhanced by the  after effects of yesterday’s enjoyable walk which has left with me with a number of niggling aches and pains.

Thanks to the combination of rain and pain, it seemed as though the best thing to do after breakfast would be to go back to bed and do the prize crossword, so I did exactly that.

I got up for coffee and then went off shopping in Carlisle with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We acquired a mundane piece of domestic plumbing equipment and then walked round a couple of garden centres rather morosely in the drizzle.  We did have a light lunch at one of the centres but in keeping with the general tone of the day, the home made soup had run out before we got there.

The forecast had suggested that it might stop raining in the afternoon so I was hoping for a gentle pedal but the forecast was wrong, and as I couldn’t raise any enthusiasm for getting wet, I stayed in and practised songs for tomorrow’s choir concert.

I hadn’t taken a single photograph all day, so I put up my umbrella and walked round the garden before settling down to sing.

The climbing hydrangea is progressing but the first flowers that come out are sterile and are of no interest to bees.

climbing hydrangea

A few foxgloves are doing their best…

foxglove in the rian

…and the lupins don’t seem to mind the cool, wet weather.

lupins bnearly full out

I did get one fuzzy picture of a bee who was ignoring the rain.

bee on lamium

I liked this selection of Dutchman’s Breeches looking as though they were hanging on a  washing line…

dicentra

…although they wouldn’t have got very dry today.

wet hosta leaves

The light was poor for looking at birds but I spent a moment or two looking out of the new bird spotting window.

Mrs Tootlepedal has moved the old sunflower stalk and stuck it in the ground near the re-positioned feeder pole.  A redpoll was grateful for the perch..

redpoll on sunflower stalk nf

…and went from there to the feeder.

redpoll on NF

A sparrow looked as though he would have liked an umbrella too.

shrouded sparrow

As we were having a lazy day, we had a ready cooked meal for our tea.  It turned out to be very good so at least the day ended on a cheerful note.

A sparrow is the flying bird of the day.

flying sprrow young

Sorry about the dull post.

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Today’s guest picture shows a very nice bridge that my sister Mary met in the Lake District last week.  You can see Lancrigg Hotel in the background.  She tells me that Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry there.

Lancrigg Hotel in the background where Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry.

After our brief burst of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, we were promised a day of continual rain and temperatures of no more than 13°C to start the new week off.  I was prepared to spend a day indoors, well wrapped up, doing those useful tasks which had been neglected while the great outdoors had been so tempting recently.

However it seems that changing weather patterns have made it harder than usual for the big predicting computers to grind the data accurately enough to give a reliable ‘day ahead’ forecast and in real life, we enjoyed a dry-ish day with occasional bits of rain and a  very tolerable 17°C temperature.

As a result, I only did some of the useful tasks that I should have done and not quite as many as I would have liked. Walking round the garden and getting out further afield kept interrupting my work flow.

I did spend most of the morning putting a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, catching up with correspondence and memorising songs for Sunday’s concert and I only got out into the garden just after midday.

I took a few pictures with my phone camera to see how it took to flowers.  I tried it on a wide view…

lupins

…and a close up…

geum

A fancy geum

…and on a decorative shrub…

spirea

A spirea

…and I thought that it did quite well.

My Lumix is getting quite unreliable as the zoom keeps sticking and I am thinking about a replacement.  An article I read suggested that compact cameras have had their day now that phone cameras are so good and it is true that when conditions are perfect, a phone can do a good job but you don’t have anything like the control that you need when things are not so helpful.

I couldn’t take a satisfactory picture of some white flowers with it at all.

I made and ate some potato soup for lunch and then went out and mowed the middle lawn and took some more flower pictures with the Lumix.

I found a pretty flower in one flower bed just the like the wild one which I had found beside the road a day or two ago.  I was very pleased…

vetch

…but Mrs Tootlepedal was most unhappy.  “That’s vetch,” she said, “It’s a pest, get it out of there.”

I pulled it all up as best as I could and realised that it was indeed a bit of a problem as it had crept and crawled all over the bed.

I turned my attention to safer plants.

spirea

Another spirea showing an elegant curve

chimney pot

The chimney pot has just got its annual implant

There were a few bees buzzing around.  This one was sampling the comfrey.

bee on comfrey

In spite of the forecast, the weather seemed to be set fair for a bit so Mrs Tootlepedal and I ventured out on an unexpected cycle ride.  Once again we went up the Wauchope road but on this occasion we added a little extra by visiting Cleughfoot and did eight and a half miles.

I got some additional exercise by stopping to take flower pictures….

geraniums

Wild geraniums lining the roadside near the Auld Stane Brig

…and then racing to catch up Mrs Tootlepedal who, as you can see in the picture above, wastes no time in disappearing into the distance.  Still, when I do catch her up, she is a very useful extra pair of eyes scanning the verges.  She spotted this fine thistle.

thistle

I spotted one of those dandelion-like flowers which are not dandelions.  It is probably a hawkbit….

hawksbit

…and I was not the only one to have spotted it.

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t spot lichens but I do.

lichen

Wall art

It wasn’t very windy so it was very enjoyable cruising through the countryside looking at nature.  The scenery was sometimes pastoral…

Cleuchfoot valley

The road to Cleughfoot

…and sometimes watery.

Wauchope Watery

Wauchope Water at Bessie Bell’s

We stopped for a while at Bessie Bell’s so that Mrs Tootlepedal could marvel at the changes that time and rushing waters have brought to a favourite picnic spot when the children were young.

I looked at wild flowers.  They weren’t hard to find.

broom, geum, crossowort and buttercups

Broom, geum, crossowort and buttercups

The broom has just come out so it can be described as a new broom, I suppose.  It is very yellow indeed.

broom

The birdsfoot trefoil nearby had a lot of red about it…

birdsfoot trefoil

…and was looking very pretty.

When we got home, we were joined by Mike Tinker for a cup of tea and a biscuit and by large numbers of sparrow families who were enjoying the fat balls outside the kitchen window.

sparrows

After tea, i went back to the song learning and put one into the computer which helps by playing the music for me so I can’t cheat and look at the words which  I tend do if I am picking out the part on our keyboard.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we started work on a Haydn trio sonata.

I was out in the garden doing some deadheading yesterday when I accidentally knocked the head off an iris.  Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it might flower indoors if she could find a suitable vase and she was quite right.  I took a picture of it on the kitchen table and we were surprised to find that two of my cameras thought that it was quite a different colour than we did.  It still looked good though.

iris

It looked a much darker purple to us.

The sharp eyed will notice that somehow or other, a greenfly has got to the flower.  How it had manged this, when the flower was brought into the house completely unopened, is a mystery.

If all the forecast cold and wet days are as nice as this one turned out to be, I won’t complain at all.

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Today’s guest picture shows a lovely old fashioned VW Camper, done up for a wedding in Carlisle.  It was noticed by Bruce who kindly sent me the picture. I wonder if it will host the honeymoon too.

photo 2(1)

It was another day when an early start would have been rewarded with fine cycling conditions but as I managed a very late rise, I missed out on them to the relief of my body in general.  Instead, I devoted the morning to cooking and resting in turns while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in church.

First on the menu was a sausage, bacon and mixed bean stew for the slow cooker.  This didn’t tax my skills too much as it required me to put some onions, sausages, bacon and beans in the slow cooker and then turn it on.  I managed this quite well.  It was surprisingly tasty when we ate it for our tea.

Next on the menu was some green lentil soup.  My standard lentil is the red variety but Mrs Tootlepedal had bought a packet of green lentils last week in a moment of  light heartedness so I thought that I ought to use them.

The result probably wouldn’t have come better than fourth in a “Mmmm! That Looks Tasty” competition…

green lentil soup

…but once again it tasted good when we had  it for lunch.  Mrs Tootlepedal commented that it even tasted green. I think that this was a commendation.

Finally I put the ingredients for a fruity malt loaf into the bread machine and set it to have the bread ready for our return  from Carlisle after our choir rehearsal.  Not quite Masterchef but we ate well today all the same.

In between times, I roamed the garden, camera in hand.

There is a good deal of white about amongst the bright colours.

Lilac, viburnum and Philadelphus

Lilac, viburnum and Philadelphus

white flowers

Polemonium, Rowan and a butterfly

I admit that that last one isn’t a flower but there are quite a few about.

I noticed that the fuschia on the back wall had produced its first flowers and I have paired it with a potentilla.

fuschia and potentilla

Mrs Tootlepedal likes a mixture of the well controlled and the more natural look in her beds.

daisies and alliums

This is often because she is waiting for the next flowers to appear..

buds

Several treats in store.

I was keeping an eye for photogenic bees but I almost trod on this one which was in the middle of the front lawn and obviously shares my liking for well mown grass.

bee

I love roses and was pleased to see a second Burnet Rose coming out near the pond…

Burnet rose

…but at the moment, I think the prettiest flower in the garden is the Candelabra Primula beside the pond.  The combination of the silver stalks with the delicate colours of the flowers is a treat if a bit hard to communicate in a photo.

Candelabra Primula

Mrs Tootlepedal particularly likes the lupins near the greenhouse and as I like them too, I willingly acceded to her demand for a photo of them.

lupins

I couldn’t find a satisfactory angle to get both the blue and white ones in that didn’t include a compost bin but as a compost bin is the gardener’s friend, I make no apology for that..

When I had a moment during the cooking, I looked out of the window in the hope of a flying bird but catching flying birds well takes more time or more luck than I had today and this was my only effort.

sparrow

The finches have deserted the garden now that the seed feeder is out of commission and we are down to blackbirds and sparrows with the occasional visit of a great tit.

sparrow

A sparrow on the peanuts

It will be interesting (to me at any rate) to see how quickly the finches notice when I put the seed feeder back up in a few weeks.

Our friend Bob kindly gave us a lift to our Carlisle choir after lunch and we had a very hard working practice sorting out a few of the weaknesses that our concert on Friday had revealed.  We have a busy schedule in front of us with a special practice with separate singing teachers for each section next week, a short concert the week after and a trip to Glasgow for our audition for the BBC Choir of the Year competition the week after that.

Bob has a hybrid Toyota and we were very impressed when he silently eased us away from the pavement under electric power.

I spent some of the evening printing, mounting and framing four photographs taken by my recorder playing friend Susan and these will go on show with the rest of the pictures in our exhibition in the Town Hall which opens tomorrow.  I hope that some of the local readers of the blog will be able to pop in and have a look.

The non flying flower of the day is a Meconopsis.  The first of many, we hope.

Meconopsis

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