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Posts Tagged ‘Michaelmas daisy’

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce’s trip to Arran where he visited the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.

Machrie Standing Stones

Just to put it on the record, we had a day without rain today. We were pathetically grateful.

I started the day off with a cycle ride.  This would have been quite a bit longer if I had been a bit more gung-ho about getting up, getting breakfast and getting going.  Leisurely was a more appropriate word than gung-ho to describe my activities but I got out before coffee time at least.

I was just pedalling up one of the early hills when my neighbour Ken whizzed past me.  As he is the same age and same weight as me, the only way he can cycle faster than me is by trying harder so I was stimulated into trying harder than I usually do myself and I kept him in sight until he stopped for a drink near Canonbie.  I stopped too and we had a chat…

Ken

I wouldn’t have caught him up if he hadn’t been feeling his back a bit but he was very cheerful all the same.

…and then set off on the road back to Langholm…

Woodhouselees road

It was a lovely day for a cycle ride

….with one or other of us setting the pace.  As a result, I managed a much better speed than I would have done if I had been on my own but I was also quite a bit more puffed out when we finished.

We were going to see Matilda in Edinburgh in the afternoon but I had time to look round the garden after the pedal.  The sun was really trying its best and the white flowers glowed.

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

poppies with hoverflies

The poppies were popular with hoverflies today

poppy

After all the pale flowers, I couldn’t pass the pink poppies without my finger clicking!

poppies

There really were hoverflies, flies and bees everywhere, enjoying the sunshine just as much as I was.

daisy with flies

Some ox eye daisies drew the flies

dahlia with hoverflies

A dahlia had pulled in hoverflies with another coming up to join in

bees on the Michaelmas daisies

There were three sorts of bees on the Michaelmas daisies

I had a close look at a bee.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

And an even closer look at another.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

I keep on resolving to get my tripod out and use a little patience on these close up shots but I keep on taking hand held ones and then doing something else so this may be the best that I will get.

The something else that I did today was to go to look for a butterfly…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…and I am glad that I did because it is a treat to see a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

I had to go inside in the end and have a shower and some lunch and then we drove off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.

It was such a good day that the town hall at Lockerbie looked like a Disney castle when we got there.

Lockerbie Town hall

On the down side, the train was late yet again.  It is a most unreliable service.

We got to Edinburgh a quarter of an hour late and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some lampshades, I caught the bus to Matilda’s.  Because of roadworks my bus was diverted and I got a much better view from its window than I expected.

Arthur's seat chapel

Matilda was baking a cake when I arrived presumably because she knew that we were coming.

I read a book with Matilda until Mrs Tootlepedal arrived and then we sat and chatted and played until it was time for tea.  We enjoyed a pizza with trimmings and then we got to eat the cake made by Matilda and her dad and enhanced with some jam and cream by her mother, so a proper family affair.  It was delicious, a credit to then all.  We were allowed to take some home with us in a box.

All too soon it was the moment for Matilda to go to her bath and for us to catch the bus back to the station.  The train was on time and we got home safely.

We looked up at the sky when we got out of the car and for once, we could see the stars very clearly in spite of the street lights all around.  This was tempting so I got my camera out, stuck it on a tripod and pointed it hopefully at the sky.  I was impressed by how many more stars it could see than I could with my naked eye.

stars

stars

If we get another clear night, I will go out of town to find a darker spot and have another go.  There are obviously a lot of stars to photograph out there.

The flying bird of the day is a sweet pea ignoring the recent rains and reaching for the sky.

sweet pea

 

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Today’s guest picture from my South African correspondent, Tom, shows a jackal.  Not something we see round here at all!

jackal

My day was conditioned by an awful warning of heavy rain;  one of those warnings that comes with a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in the centre.  We were to expect rain so I expected rain.

It was a pleasant sunny and dry morning,  a little breezy to be sure and not warm by any means but fine for cycling so I cycled; but I expected rain by lunchtime and when I saw some very dark clouds looming up, I took the hint and cut a putative 35 mile ride down to 25 miles.  Some cows took a dim view of my cowardice (or prudence).

tarcoon cows

I stopped on the Hollows Bridge to record the first turning of the leaves….

hollows bridge view

…but my camera misinterpreting my wishes, kindly slid the incipient yellows back to light greens so the effect was less impressive than I had hoped.

Still, I got home dry and warm;  but still expecting rain….the forecast had put it back to three o’clock by this time.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a slice of bread and raspberry jam and went out to mow the drying green grass before the rain came.

Bees, butter and hover flies were having fun on the Michaelmas daisies beside me as I mowed…

insects on daisies

…and the the poppies looked gorgeous as always.

poppies

The large lilies are developing and I wondered if they would attract a butterfly or two.

They did.

peacock butterfly on lily

I saw an odd thing at the other side of the garden….

peacock butterfly

…a peacock butterfly with only one pair of eyes.  It must have had its second wing tucked under its first.  I have never seen this before.

After I had finished my cycle ride, I had arranged with Sandy to go for a walk (before the rain came) and he arrived on cue and drove us to the top of Callister where we intended to walk round the forestry plantation.  We were discouraged when we found that there were fierce signs telling us not to enter on account of forestry operations but a queue of cars emerged through the gate and one of the drivers kindly told us that there were no operations going on today and that we could proceed with care.

We proceeded with care.

Although we were in the sun, there were dark clouds about….

Callister walk

…and depending on which way you looked, sometimes very dark clouds.

Callister walk

We walked on expecting rain.

I led Sandy down the middle of a wide forest ride.  It was very tussocky and hard going and if you lifted your head to see if there was anything interesting to see, you tended to fall over.   We therefore didn’t see much until we went into the forest beside the ride to see if the going was better.  There we saw fungus…

fungus

…and when we emerged back on to the ride, we saw a very unusual set of fungi, pressed like buttons on a sofa in the peaty side of a drainage ditch.

fungus

We battled on to the end of the ride and joined a track.  It is fair to say that I enjoyed plunging through the heavy going a good deal more than Sandy did.  I used to do a lot of orienteering and ground like this was second nature to me.

We came to a pond beside the road….

callister pond

…which would have looked better, I thought, without the telephone pole at the end of it.

callister pond

And it started to rain.  I was so appalled by this that it soon stopped and disappeared apologetically.

We continued our walk expecting rain.

We were walking round a small valley and crossed the stream that flowed out of it.  It dropped into a dark and mysterious pool as it flowed under the track.

callister pool

Strange spirits might dwell in a pool like that.

It was a lot brighter at the dark pool than it used to be because they are going to build another windfarm to add to our local collection at the far side of the forest and to that end, a lot of tree felling has been taking place.

tree felling callister

…which leaves a bit of a mess to say the least.  It is amazing though how the ground recovers as a look at a new plantation nearby shows.

callister plantation

There were three existing wind farms visible as we walked and we could see the offices for the soon to be built farm beside our track.

windfarms

I welcome these wind farms as we have a tremendous amount of wind round here doing nothing but annoying innocent cyclists so it is good to see it being put to good use.  Each turbine must take a little energy out of the wind and this should make it easier for me to pedal about…..though I do realise that we might need a whole lot more turbines before any noticeable effect could be felt.

The tree felling led to some impressive piles of logs beside the track.

callister logs

Like this heap, quite a few of the piles had ‘chip’ written on them and we wondered of they were going to be chipped for use in the wood fired power station at Lockerbie.

There were some plants to be seen as we walked.

callister plants

callister plants

As we got near to the end of our walk, black clouds over Callisterhall looked threatening.

Callisterhall

It is a pity that this is no longer an inn as our two and a half mile walk had been quite tiring with tough going at the start and some hills on our way back.  A light refreshment would have gone down well.

We had to wait until we got home until we got a much needed cup of tea and a Jaffa cake or two to restore our energy levels.

When Sandy left, I set about sieving the rest of the compost in Bin D and while Mrs Tootlepedal distributed the results around the vegeatble beds, I turned most of Bin C into the now empty Bin D.  When I flagged, Mrs Tootlepedal lent a hand.  As a special treat for those pining for compost bin illustrations, I photographed the result.

compost bins

The contents of Bin C had rotted down well.

We didn’t stay out in the garden too long as we were expecting rain but we did have time to look at some flowers before we went in.

I have picked three favourites.  Mrs Tootlepedal likes the dahlia on the left for its colour, the big bumble bee likes the dahlia in the middle for its pollen and I like the new hellenium on the right for its shape and pattern.

dahlias and hellenium

Everyone was happy.

Dropscone had dropped in before I went cycling this morning with a generous gift of a sea bream which he had acquired on his recent travels and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked it for our tea.  I don’t think that I have ever knowingly eaten sea bream before and I thought it tasted very good.  Dropscone says he will tell me all about where he found it when he comes for coffee tomorrow.

As I sat down to write tonight’s post, the rain finally arrived.  I had been expecting it.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was visiting the Derby Silk Mill when he found that it was an absolutely windless day.

Derby Silk Mill

It was a pretty good day here today too and after I had made a lamb stew for the slow cooker, I went out to see the poppies.

poppies

Not a drop of rain to be seen on them!  Mrs Tootlepedal has got a very good variety of specimens from her packet of mixed seeds.

The bees were exceedingly happy…

poppy with bees

…and were lining up to visit this well stocked larder.

poppy with bees

This poppy was just as beautiful but was less popular, having less to offer.

Poppy with insect

A late Fuchsia is waiting to deliver.

fuchsiaIt was difficult to walk round the garden without being buffeted by white butterflies.  They were everywhere.

white butterflies

As were sparrows.

sparrow

I went upsatirs to get my cycling gear on and when I looked out of the window, blackbirds were taking in the rays down below…

blackbirds

…in a rather anguished way.

I got on my bike fairly gingerly as I didn’t know how things would go but in spite of the odd twinge, I was able to pedal at a gentle pace without any great trouble.

John, the purveyor of all things useful from his corner shop, had suggested that I should look at an arboreal dog near Hagg-on-Esk so I did.

dog tree

I have cycled past this spot many times without seeing the poodle in the trees before.

I chose a very flat route (650 ft of elevation in 27 miles) so I was able to turn my legs over gently without putting any pressure on my back and thanks to a gentle wind, I managed a reasonable speed.

I didn’t want to get off and on the bike more than necessary but it was such a nice day that I stopped for a few photo ops.

Woodhouselees

I lied the sheep marching along below the ha-ha at Woodhouselees.

Penton road

The trees near Longtown definitely seem to be getting an autumn tinge

Monkey Puzzle

A monkey puzzle tree commands the view over the Knottyholm

Hollows Tower

The roof of Hollows Tower rising above the trees

I took another look at the ‘poodle tree’ on my way back.

prancing horse

More like a prancing horse with rider perhaps from this angle

I got home in time for a late lunch.  I looked at a poppy before I went in.

poppy with crocosmia

The crocosmia is trying its hardest join in.

I had made some more baps yesterday with the help of the breadmaker and they were just as good as the first lot.  I had one with lettuce and marmite for my meal.

After that, it was back out into the garden for an afternoon of useful, gently paced work.

I strimmed the clippings of the rambler rose which Attila the Gardener was attacking with her new secateurs, I mowed the green house grass, I sieved a couple of buckets of compost, I mowed the green house grass and I emptied the strimming receptacle into compost bin A twice.   In all, this was about half to three quarters of an hour’s work spread over three hours so it wasn’t quite the hard labour that it might seem.

Then I had a last walk round with a camera.

Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies arriving well before Michaelmas

The evening sun was catching the poppies…

poppies in the sun

…but it caught this one the best, I thought.

poppies in the sun

The lamb stew turned out very well after Mrs Tootlepedal had worked a little magic on some last minute flavouring.

The breadmaker makes dough for more baps than we can eat at one go so I had saved half the dough from yesterday and kept it in the fridge  over night.   I knocked it back and made another set today and we were pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.  They went very well with the stew in place of potatoes.

Sadly, the very good weather of the day had clouded over by the time that I wrote this so our chance to watch the meteor shower had gone.  I did wake up at three o’clock last night when there was a clear sky but I couldn’t make myself get up and go out and just rolled over and went back to sleep.  I am sorry about that now.

Tomorrow, it says, it is going to rain all day so I am glad that I made good use of today.

No flying bird but I did catch a flying butterfly as it passed a nasturtium.

flying butterfly

 

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Today’s guest picture, from Mrs Tootlepedal’s tablet, shows Matilda wondering when her father will stop paying attention to his phone and start paying attention to her.

MatildaWe woke to another wet and horrible day and I was happy to welcome Dropscone, who was back from a trip to Aberdeen, for a cup of coffee.  The forecast was for the rain to stop by midday and on cue, it stopped.  Dropscone went off to play golf and I took a moment to put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive database and then went out to buy some honey and more of the pink pellets.

Before I left, I had a quick look to see what was going on the garden.

There were some rather morose Michaelmas daisies…

daisies…which were so discouraged by the bad summer weather that they waited too long before coming out and have not done well.

At the back door, a depressed winter jasmine was looking soggy.

winter jasmineThere was not a lot  of action at the seed feeder today but, as always, there were some birds about.

chaffinch

A chaffinch approaches the feeder and realises that there isn’t a perch there.

chaffinch

But the chaffinches are very good at timing their approach to be able to sneak a seed and depart.

There were some small signs of sunshine to raise our hopes.

chaffinchFeeling the need for a bit of excitement after lunch, I put some of the newly purchased pellets out on the lawn feeder and enjoyed a flying display from the jackdaws.

JackdawThey are very delicate for large birds and nip the pellets off the cage with great precision.  Two can land on the feeder at the same time.

JackdawI was interested in the bird on the right because it has the little feathers on the front of its wings raised up and this seems to happen a lot….

Jackdaw…and you can see it again in the picture above.  Perhaps some knowledgeable bird person can tell me what is happening.  Is it some sort of flap system when the birds slow down?

Jackdaws can fly backwards when they want.

JackdawThe bird on the left is going backwards while the one on the right is coming forwards.

They can also do a fan dance.

JackdawAs soon as the jackdaws left, there was a spell of starling mayhem.

starlingsIt had been quite breezy in the morning but the wind was getting progressively lighter in the afternoon so I waited for as long as I could before going out for a pedal.

I spent some time while I was waiting, looking through my picture files to try to find some pictures to print out for our forthcoming camera club exhibition and after having looked through the last two months’ pictures from the blog, I can only apologise for the inordinate number of poppy and chaffinch pictures which patient readers have had to put up with.

In the end, I left it a little too long and had to put my rear light on when I was pedalling home as the light was rapidly failing.

Although the thermometer said it was 11°C when I set out and I was wearing three layers, it still seemed remarkably cold and it was a struggle to get my muscles warmed up and moving.  It certainly didn’t tempt me to stop and take pictures, especially as it was rather grey overhead.  Annoyingly, I could see blue sky in the distance but it was too far away for me to enjoy it.  Still, I was pleased to get another 20 miles in before the end of the month.

In the evening, I went off with Sandy to the Archive Centre and put another week of the index into the database.  This got me fully caught up with the data miners.

The flying bird of the day is one of those jackdaws.

flying jackdaw

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Today’s guest picture is another of my sister Mary’s studies of the lakes and ponds of London’s parks.  This one is the small lake in Parliament Hill Fields

The small lake in Parliament Hill FieldsWe woke to the coldest morning of the autumn so far at a meagre 4 degrees C and to find the town well covered in mist.  It took some time for the mist to clear but by lunchtime, the sun had broken through and the afternoon was well up to recent sunny standards although it never got very warm.

I started the day with a visit to the health centre to get some blood taken for tests which I hope may give me an excuse for stopping taking statins.  While I was there, the nurse took the opportunity to give me my annual flu jab thus hitting two targets with one arrow.

When I got home, it was time for a late breakfast as I had not been able to eat for twelve hours before the blood test.  Then, in an effort to keep up with Mrs Tootlepedal, who was wielding the vacuum cleaner to great effect, I tidied everything off all the surfaces in the front room.  Looking around as I type this in the evening, many things have mysteriously materialised out of thin air and covered some of the surfaces again.  Tidying up is  not my forte.

I had time to make a pot of coffee and stare out of the window though.

blue titsI had put some brightly coloured pink bird food out in the covered feeder and it attracted the blue tits.

blue tits and pink foodI admire the way that blue tits cope with food that is too big to swallow in one go.

A coal tit approached the problem from a different angle.

coal titThere was an early visit from two goldfinches.  I was pleased to see them but I don’t think that they returned the compliment.

goldfinchesWe were intending to go to a garden centre straight after coffee to get some sand for the lawn but there was a slight hiatus while we searched for my debit card which had disappeared.  For a moment, we wondered whether it had been mislaid on the Edinburgh train on Tuesday and this involved a catch 22 conversation with that grand misnomer, ‘customer services’.  The Edinburgh lost property number was faulty and not working so I was advised by a kind lady in Fort William, who was working, to leave a message on the answer-phone at the Glasgow lost property office, the head office for lost property, and they would ring me back.  Luckily the astute Mrs Tootlepedal had found the offending card before they rang and we set off for the garden centre and lunch.

I got the reply from Glasgow later in the day on my answer-phone.  It said, ‘Please ring the Edinburgh Office.’

The visit to the garden centre went well in spite of the fact that they had no suitable sand.  We bought lunch, a moveable bird feeder, some bird food, some peat and logs for the stove in the front room and a small potentilla so we hadn’t wasted our time going there.

By the time we got home, the  sun was in full swing and the garden was full of bees and butterflies.

bees and butterflySomeone suggested that counting the bees must be difficult but as you can see in the picture above, the bees are behaving rather like sheep and are steadily grazing on the sedum rather than buzzing about.  There were well over a hundred here again today.

Unlike yesterday though, there was a good turnout of butterflies too.  There were well over a dozen flitting about, though there were none of the peacocks that looked so pretty yesterday.

Today we had red admirals…

red admiral butterfly…small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly…and painted ladies…

painted lady butterflyThe painted lady gave me a profile shot.

painted lady butterflyLovers of the 1980s will appreciate the deely boppers which butterflies sport.

There were butterflies and bees wherever we looked.

butterfliesIt seemed that every flower had an insect friend.

poppy and daisy with insectsastrantia with insectsI was dancing about with glee like a little boy allowed a free run in a sweetie shop.

I calmed down enough to take a shot of a poppy for the poppy parade.

poppyI will miss the poppies when the season ends.

We were expecting Mike and Alison to come round for their usual Friday evening visit for music and conversation but Mike rang to say the Alison was unwell and had retired to bed.  This was sad but at least it let me practice a little choir music and write a business letter that had been waiting to be written for nearly a month so some good came out of it.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who is hanging around in Brazil focussing on jaguars.  She made a very good job of focussing her camera on this one.

JaguarWe were focussed on the Eskdale Agricultural Show, commonly known as the Cattle Show, for most of the day today.  I started off by cycling up to the field with Sandy’s and my entries for the photographic classes.

Things both great and small had already started on the show field with ponies being led out to be shown to critical judges and shiny new tractors parked to be shown off to prospective purchasers.

pony and tractorsThen I cycled home again and not long afterwards, cycled back with Mrs Tootlepedal do some judging of children’s classes.  There are always a lot of children’s entries and I was a bit worried about the workload ahead.  It turned out though that several judges were being employed and Mrs Tootlepedal and I had just a small section of the whole thing to do.  Across the table, our friends Bob and Nancy were judging some edible entries.

Bon and Nancy judging the cakesMrs Tootlepedal and I managed to agree on the prizewinners in our classes and we had time to look around the tent.  Experts were rating the adult baking classes and Bob and Nancy seemed to be weighing up a bit of broccoli.

judging at the showOur job done, we went for a bit of a wander around.

There were pretty  flowers in the tent and big beasts outside.

flowers and cowThere were sheep of all sorts…

sheep at the showAnd this brightly coloured one was a champion…..

champion sheep…which would be worth a bit of money if properly handled, the judge told us in a confidential aside.

There were lots of horses too.

horse and ponyThere were old hands at one end of the ground and pony club members at the other.

horse and pony clubThere were veteran cars and tractors on show.

morris minor and tractorAnd a bunch of crooks in the tent.

crooksBeing judges, we were treated to a free lunch which was very welcome and then we went home for a sit down.  The secretary had asked me whether I had returned the trophy from last year and after some discussion, we agreed that I had and that she probably had somewhere about.  All the same, I got a bit uneasy and a search through the house when I got back, uncovered the trophy lurking in a corner so I whizzed back up to the show ground with it and arrived just in time to miss the prize giving.  I was rather embarrassed.

There was still quite a bit of time before the tent closed and I could retrieve my photos so I bicycled back home once more and looked around the garden.

The poppies are very battered…

poppies…but a bit of brighter weather had brought a cloud of insects out on the sedum and Michaelmas daisies.  There was so much buzzing that I could hardly hear myself think.

sedumThe sedum was covered in bumble bees, mostly white tailed ones I think.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I counted well over forty on the flowers beside the bird feeders.

There were a few other sorts of bees about.

beesThe Michaelmas daisies were very busy too but they had more hoverflies and flies than bees.

Michaelmas Daisy with bugsThough they did have a pretty butterfly too (but only one).

butterflySome birds looked on.

great tit and robin

A glossy great tit and an untidy robin

And some birds were too busy to notice us.

chaffinchesThen I made my final visit to the field to pick up my pictures.  They hadn’t attracted much attention from the judge with a second place and a highly commended being all I had to show for my efforts.  Sandy had done better with a first in one class and lesser tickets in others..

By the time that I came out of the tent, the top of the field was deserted….

Castleholm…and only a few ropes remained as a memento of a great day’s entertainment.

Everyone was very grateful for the recent spell of good weather becuase the show had been within a whisker of being cancelled if the summer rain had continued for much longer.

I met Mike Tinker on the field with his daughter, her husband and their children clutching several prizes between them and was delighted to find out that his son-in-law Lorne is going to come round tomorrow and spike my lawn for me.  This is kindness far beyond the call of duty and I mowed the  lawn when I got home so that it will show up the spike holes well.

Amidst all the excitement of the day, I managed to find a flying bird in a sunny moment.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from my friend Sue’s cycle tour in the Hebrides.  It is not a sign that you see often.

hebridean signA busy day started with a before breakfast drive up to Bentpath with Sandy to put our photo entries in to the Westerkirk Horticultural Society’s annual show.  It didn’t take long for us to arrange them and we were soon in our way home.  We stopped for a moment to chat to one or two locals who were standing about but they were strangely uncommunicative.

Benty ShowAfter a bite of breakfast, I went along to the Buccleuch Centre to the monthly producers’ market there and was very pleased to find that a keen and well stocked cheese monger has taken a stall and will be coming regularly.  I bought four or five tasty looking pieces of cheese, mixing some goat and sheep with the more usual cows milk varieties.

Additional purchases of fresh fish and venison, together with some apples and a small tub of the minister’s wife’s Sundae Special home made  ice cream meant that I got home as a very satisfied shopper.

Then there was just time for a walk round the garden….

fuschsias

Fuschsias in their pomp

Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies trying hard

sunflowers

Sunflowers are beginning to go to seed.

Lilian Austin rose

Lilian Austin rose blooms at contrasting stages of development.

…followed by a cup of coffee and a wrestle with a tricky but rewarding crossword and then it was time to get things ready for our recorder group concert in the evening.  The reason for the early preparations is that we had been called for a rehearsal in the hall at a quarter past four, some three hours before the concert.

I did find time to pause and look out of the kitchen window for a moment.

blue titWhen my  preparations were completed, I just had time to nip back up to the Benty Show to see whether any of my entries had caught the judge’s eye.  It was a perfect day for a country show.

Benty Show

Benty Show

There is a section for sheep too.

I was pleased to find that a couple of photos from my entries had pleased the judge:

bull

I pass this bull by on my bike on many days.

flower red poppy

And one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden poppies

I didn’t have time to stop for the hound trail or the terrier racing or any other of the joys of the day and was soon shooting back down the road, passing Sandy who was cycling up in the other direction.  He too had caught the judge’s eye several times, though neither of us had done well enough to win the overall cup this year.

Once home, a picnic meal was packed up and we headed south, picking up Susan on our way, to visit Newbiggin Hall near Temple Sowerby.  Google Maps, in a very precise way,  had suggested that we might need an hour and one minute for the trip and we did in fact take exactly an hour and one minute.  We were very surprised.

Newbiggin Hall was a very appropriate venue for our music for much of the hall dates from the time when the music we were playing was written (1550-1650) and some from even earlier.  I was asked not to take any pictures of the hall which was disappointing.

We had a practice and enjoyed tea on the lawn before eating our packed meal and getting changed into our tootling outfits.  Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to visit a National Trust garden nearby while we were puffing away. 

The concert had been organised as a chance for a local and very talented five member early music vocal consort to run through some material which they are taking on a short tour of Germany and we were there to provide some dance music in contrast to their songs.

It took place in the big hall of the house and with an audience if about twenty five filling the heavily panelled room, the atmosphere felt just right for the occasion.  I was very pleased that some of my favourite composers (Byrd, Dowland, Morley and Purcell) figured in the singers’ programme. We played well, the singers sang very well and the audience seemed pleased so everyone was happy.  It took us and hour and two minutes to get back home (it was dark by then).

Once again, I have a double dose of mixed gender flying birds of the day to show how cheerful I am.

flying chaffinchflying chaffinch

 

 

 

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