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Posts Tagged ‘Monument’

Today’s guest picture comes from my ex colleague Marjorie who sent me this picture of a misty Schiehallion taken during her highland break over the festive season.

schiehallion

We woke to another chilly grey day here but the weather forecast suggested that a little sunshine might be available in the afternoon.  This turned out to be one of the forecasters little jokes but it didn’t matter as we had our own little ray of sunshine today in the form of a visit from our friend Sue.

She came in time for a coffee and not only were we pleased to see her, but we were pleased to see a small flock of birds at the feeder to entertain us as we sipped and chatted.

busy feeder

There was a constant coming and going for a while…

birds coming and going

…with visits from jackdaws to the fat ball feeder as well.

jackdaws in elder

In order to work up an appetite for lunch, we went for a walk to the top of Whita Hill after coffee.  Well, in fact, we went for a drive up to the White Yett and then walked the three quarters of mile up the easy track…

sue and mrs t on whita

…to the summit.

The track has a fine collection of boulders with colourful lichens at the bottom….

lichen at mcdiarmid memorial

…and an even more colourful set of lichens on the wall at the top.

lichen at whita summit

I took a worm’s eye view of the lightning conductor that is embedded in one side of the monument…

worms eye view of monument

…looked over the wall at the mist shrouded valleys to the south….

view over tarras

…and then we walked gently back down the track and admired the MacDiarmid memorial outlined against the Ewes Valley.

mcdiarmid memorial and ewes valley

The memorial celebrates the life and work of Langholm’s most famous poetical son, Hugh MacDiarmid.

mcdiarmid memorial

The sculpture is in the form of an open book and is constructed in Corten steel and bronze. Corten is a weathering steel which oxidises on the surface; it forms a protective skin and therefore requires no maintenance and to my eye, it looks thoroughly at home among the hills which MacDiarmid loved.

When we got home, Sue tried out our new bench and declared it to be very comfortable even in January.

 

sue and mrs t at bench

We marvelled at the rosemary, which thanks to the protected spot that it lives in, is still in flower…

december rosemary

…and then we went in to a lunch of curried parsnip soup and cheese flan provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sue is one of the recorder group with whom I have played for many years and after lunch, she and I played a selection of duets while Mrs Tootlepedal got on with the crochet blanket she is making.

All too soon, it was time for Sue to head for home and while Mrs Tootlepedal continued with her crochet, I made an unavailing effort to solve the Saturday prize crossword.  Usually these crosswords yield to concentrated effort but today’s one has got me baffled.  I shall sleep on it and try again tomorrow.

All being well, we shall see Sue again tomorrow as she sings in our Carlisle choir and it meets for the first time in 2019 tomorrow afternoon.  I am looking forward to it.

There are not one but two flying birds of the day today which is cheering.

two flying goldfinches

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Today’s guest picture from my brother Andrew shows what was on the other side of the lake at Locko Park.

Locko Park (2)

It was zero degrees when we got up and -1 when I came to write this post.  In between it crept up to +1 in the middle of the day.  I didn’t go cycling.

I thought that the chill might bring in more birds and there were a few chaffinches about..

two chaffinches

..but not many.

straight up chaffinch

For one reason or another, we had a very lazy morning with a late coffee.  Then I made a pot of vegetable soup for lunch and I ate a lunch of soup, bread and cheese.  Then, since the sun was shining, I thought that I ought to go for a short walk just to stretch my legs after yesterday’s hilly effort.

It was almost windless and the pool at Pool Corner was a reflection of that state of affairs.

reflections at Pool Corner

The contrast between the cheerful sun shining through moss on a tree branch…

sunshine through moss

..and a frozen fence post beside the road to the Auld Stane Brig was very marked.

icy fence post

As a result, I thought that it might be just the sort of day to find hair ice  if I knew where to look.

hair ice gaskells (2)

I didn’t find much but there were a couple of really good examples.

hair ice gaskells

I could see the cattle that I had avoided yesterday enjoying the sunshine on Meikleholm Hill across the valley…

cattle on Meikleholm

…but on the whole, it was too chilly to spend a lot of time looking round so I took a picture of some dilapidated fungus on a tree and headed home.

decrepit fungus

The reason for the short walk was to make time for a shopping visit to Carlisle to buy supplies to fill up the serious date and prune gap in our storage cupboard.  Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to acquire some crochet hooks as she is going to learn to crochet this winter.

I took a couple of pictures of chaffinches before we set off to Carlisle and I got my camera setting badly wrong and wasted this rare opportunity to get a respectable flying bird of the day…

noisy flying chaffinch

…but I quite liked the pointillist effect that I got by accident.

misty flying chaffinch

The sun was still shining when we arrived back in Langholm so before we went home, we drove up to the White Yett to see if we could see anything interesting.  The light was pretty mellow as we looked up the Ewes Valley on our way up the hill….

burst

…and it was absolutely gorgeous when we got to the top and looked over the moor towards Tinnis Hill.

dig

We dropped down into the Tarras valley in the hope of seeing some of the wild goats but saw none.  Our reward was to see the sun sinking behind the monument as we drove back home…

dig

…well satisfied with our little excursion in spite of the absence of birds.

Although the setting sun made it feel like evening, it was only mid afternoon when we got in and we sat down to a nice cup of tea and a slice or two of sourdough bread which had fallen into our shopping bag while we were out.

Sandy has been hard at work and I put a couple of 1967 Langholm Parish Church magazines, which he has scanned and formatted, into the Archive Group website.  I note that 448 people attended the communion services in November 1967 and yet the minister was still inclined to complain about poor church attendance from time to time.

It looks as though we are in for a pretty cool spell of weather in the coming days but with little or no rain about,  a good deal more walking than cycling may well occur.

I did manage to get the camera more or less correct on one occasion this morning so there is a flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture is from our son Tony and shows that the temperature was lower in Fife than it was here this morning.

frosty wemyss walk

We had been promised a day of freezing fog so it was a pleasant surprise to find no fog and a temperature of two degrees above zero when we got up.   It was still too cold for cycling though as I am resolved not to risk hitting any icy patches this winter so I had a relaxing morning of chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal and making ginger biscuits.

I had a good deal of time to stare out of the window and was happy to see one or two birds making a welcome re-appearance at the feeder.

I caught a great tit in the plum tree…

great tit in plum tree

…a redpoll on the feeder…

redpoll in december

…and a blackbird on the ground below.

blackbird head

There were visits from a robin and a blue tit too but these went unrecorded as they were too quick for me.

The jackdaws were back again…

jackdaw on chimney

…but there was still not a great number of finches.  I met two neighbours this morning, one of whom reported that his garden was short of small birds and the other who had many sparrows but no finches.

It was still only 2°C at lunch time but it was such a nice day that a walk was in order even if cycling was not on the menu so after  a cheese and chutney sandwich, I set off to walk up to the monument.

There were no flowers to be seen except the occasional gorse bush but some bright lichen on a small bush beside the track caught my eye.

lichen on Kirk Wynd

I was resolved to see if I could walk up the hill to the monument without stopping but one or two views compelled me to pause for a second or two.

ewes valley december

This is what lay ahead.

up to the monument

Although the ground looks a bit rough, there is a path all the way to the top and I was soon looking back on the lower hills across the valley…Castle hill

…and it didn’t take me too long to get to the top of the hill and look over the wall across the Tarras valley.  The camera makes it all look rather flat but it would be very hard work to walk across the moor, down across the river and then up to that hill in the distance which is quite a bit higher than Whita.

tinnis hill

Looking out to the west, I could see Criffel, 30 miles away, rising above a sea of mist over the Nith estuary.   We were obviously getting the best of the weather.

Criffel above mist

Looking around I could see a mixture of commercial forest and sheep grazing grounds.  It seems as though we are going to have more forestry and less sheep round here in the future as the grants system makes timber more profitable than meat at the moment.

grazing and woodland

I took a zig zag route back down the hill as the direct route is steep and would have been hard on my knees and as I walked down the track towards the White Yett, the low sun picked out these heather clumps…

heather lumps

…and I cast a long shadow as I went.

big shadow on whita

I didn’t go right down to the road but followed the track that the riders come up at the Common Riding back down towards the golf course.

Below me, I could see that the woodcutters had left the pines standing when they otherwise cleared felled the wood at Hillhead.

pines left at Hillhead

I passed a small tree as i came down the hill.  Trees like this are very scarce where the ground has sheep on it but once the sheep are taken off, trees start to grow quickly.

tree on whita

A little cairn marked my route down the hill…

 

cairn on Birnie Braes

…and I came safely back to the top of the golf course with my knees intact.

Looking down towards England, I could see the Lake District hills in the distance, looming over the mist covered Solway plain.

mist over solway

We were still mist free and the golf course was very peaceful….

5th green

…as I walked down the side of the course without being disturbed by cries of “fore!” or being hit by a golf ball.

I timed my three and a half mile walk well as I got home just as the sun dipped below the hills and a distinct chill came over the town.

Once inside, a cup of tea and some delicious ginger biscuits refreshed body and spirit and I was fully recovered when Luke arrived for some flute playing.  We played the Loeillet sonata which we have been working on and it went very well, with some good ornamentation and some faster tempi.  Although practice hasn’t made us perfect yet, we are definitely making progress.

The forecast is once again offering us fog tomorrow so I hope that we end up with another sunny day like today.

We are well prepared for Christmas Day and intend to have a quiet but jolly time.  I wish all readers of the blog a Happy Christmas and I hope that they have held Santa’s hand firmly when presents were being considered so that nobody is disappointed.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch enjoying the sunshine.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture shows our son Tony’s dogs visiting the castle near his home in Fife.  I may have used this picture before (I can’t remember) but I have put it in regardless to remind myself that Mrs Tootlepedal and I stood in that exact spot last weekend.

dogs at wemyss castle

It was a day of mixed weather but it was dry when I took this shot of a visiting collared dove during coffee and treacle scone time in the company of Dropscone.

collared dove

These may well have been the last treacle scones of 2018 but I hope that there will be many more in 2019.

It had started to drizzle while we were sipping and it was still drizzling when I set off after coffee to put in twenty miles on my bicycle.  By the time that I had gone half a mile, it was raining steadily and I was pleased that I was wearing a peaked cap under my helmet to keep the rain of my glasses.  I persevered though and was rewarded when the rain stopped after twenty minutes.

I had gone out along the Lockerbie road to see if the second of the two repairs to the failing banking had been completed and was happy to find that it had…

second lockerbie road repair

…even if the road patching was a bit rough and ready.   Should we keep on getting inches of rain every week, it will be a tribute to the engineers’ skill if the fence stills looks so regular in the spring.

I went to the top of Callister and then turned back and went through Langholm and out of the other side.  Although the rain had stopped, it was still damp, with wisps of mist rising from little valleys…

misty valley terrona

….and on top of Whita, the monument was swathed in low cloud.

monument in mist

Mrs Tootlepedal was out at a festive lunch with ex work colleagues when I got back so I had a lonely lunch and checked on the bird feeder.

The seed had gone down and there were some lively goldfinches about….

busy goldfinches at feeder

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and set about cooking a plum pudding for our Christmas meal. I saw that the weather had brightened up a bit so I went for a short three bridges walk.

The clouds had lifted from the top of Whita…

whita late december

There are two bridges in this picture, neither of which I crossed.

…and I found a goosander swimming up the fairly turbulent waters of the Esk.

goosander swimming in esk

I love the goosanders’ jagged hair style.

gossander by bank

A gentle sunlight appeared as I walked up to the Town Bridge but I was concerned to see so much debris caught against one of the arches.

trees against langholm Bridge

Once I was on the town bridge, I was able to look up the Ewes Water towards the Sawmill Brig, my next target.  It was hard to remember how gloomy and damp the start of my cycle ride had been, only three hours previously.

Ewes and sawmill brig december

You can see a row of gulls on the posts in the picture above and I was hoping that one would take flight as I walked past them along the Kilngreen so that I could capture a flying bird of the day but they stuck resolutely to their posts.

black headed gull on post

It was really quite a nice day by the time that I had crossed the Sawmill Brig and started walking up the Lodge Walks, admiring this tree on the Castleholm as I went.

Castleholm tree

The little ‘tin church’ was looking very demure behind its picket fence…

Episcopalian church

…and it is just a pity that no use can be found for this charming building.

I continued up the Lodge Walks for a bit..

Lodge walks late december

…and enjoyed the sun picking out some fresh moss…

moss on lodge walks

…and I looked for little splashes of colour on lichen on a gate post.  The spots of red are so tiny that they are hardly visible to the naked eye.

lichen on gate Lodge walks

As I crossed the Castleholm on my way to the Jubilee Bridge, I looked up at my favourite lichen clad tree and wondered once again at the fact that a more or less complete coating of lichen doesn’t seem to affect its ability to produce seeds and new buds.

licheny tree

I didn’t linger too long though as the sun was getting low….

castleholm trees catch late sun

…and the clouds were re-assembling on the top of Whita.

monument in cloud later

Still, considering it is the shortest day of the year, I can’t complain as I had had scones, a cycle ride and a walk.

The only thing missing was a tootle in the evening but Mike Tinker came round to tell us that his wife Alison, my Friday night orchestra, has not sufficiently recovered from dislocating her shoulder to be able to play sonatas yet.  I hope that it will not be too far into 2019 before we can start playing again.

We had a test morsel of Mrs Tootlepedal’s plum pudding in the evening and it was delicious, light, fruity and very tasty.  I am really looking forward to Christmas day.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.

flying goldfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who found this slightly unlikely windmill.  It is not producing flour but dispensing curried sausages in the market square in Nottingham.  Well I never, what next?

20181116_100441

We had a chilly day here but it was dry which was a relief after some overnight rain.  My leg rehabilitation is going well and I did half an hour of boring cycling on the bike to nowhere in the morning.  It didn’t give my leg any problems but I found it quite tiring after so long with no exercise.

We had coffee wen I had showered after the pedal and then I mixed doing the crossword with some bird watching.

I managed to catch a blue tit going…

_DSC8709

…and a coal tit coming….

_DSC8697

…among the many chaffinches and goldfinches who kept each other on their toes.

_DSC8704

There were moments of peace and quiet though the goldfinch on the left scored no points for good table manners.

_DSC8700

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a service in church to celebrate the life of one of our local businessmen, a great philanthropist, who died recently after a long illness.  I had spoken to him at the last producers’ market a week or two ago and he was in good spirits so it was a great shock when he died soon afterwards.

I would have liked to go to the service myself but unfortunately it clashed with an appointment with the speech therapist and as this was already a bit overdue, I didn’t want to postpone it further.

Normally I would have had to drive the 40 miles to Dumfries to see the therapist but she was trialling a video calling service so instead of getting into the car, I sat down in front of my computer and had the session remotely.  It was very satisfactory as the technology worked flawlessly and the speech therapy advice was clearly transmitted and received.  As it was the first time that either I or the therapist had used the system, we were both relieved to find it so easy to use and efficient.

After the session was over and Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from the church, I went for a short walk to stretch my legs and check if the morning’s efforts on the stationary bike had done any good or harm.

It had done some good and I was able to walk with no inconvenience at all which was very satisfactory.  I took my new phone and the Lumix with me in spite of the fading light and tested them out in poor conditions.

I went along the track to check on the state of the felled wood at the Becks Burn.

We haven’t had enough gates recently.

sdr

The phone

There was some heavy traffic on the track to negotiate.

P1150658

Lumix

There any amount of small sheds and stables along the way.

P1150659

Lumix

Men have been busy clearing the small branches from the floor of the wood that were left when the usable tree trunks were taken away…

P1150662

Lumix

…and there was a great heap on the far side of the burn, waiting to be taken off to Lockerbie to be used as fuel in the wood burning power station there.

 

P1150661

 

I was happy to see that people were already busy planting new trees and there was a plentiful supply of little saplings and the protective tubes that they are planted in.

P1150663

Lumix

It was too muddy to walk through the felled wood so I turned back and went down to the road by the Auld Stane Brig through the field.

The light was fading fast but there was enough left to see a bare tree behind me…

P1150667

Lumix

..and Warbla across the valley when I looked ahead.

dav

Phone

The phone was impressive in the gloom and when I zoomed in on the Graveyard below, it politely asked me to hold the camera still while it sharpened up the shot after I had taken it.

dig

Phone

I tried it on another gate and without asking, it brightened up the scene considerably.

dig

Phone

I considered walking home along Gaskell’s Walk but I thought that it was too cold for that to be much fun and took the direct route back along the road instead.

This impressionist reflection of the trees in the pool at Pool Corner was my reward.

P1150670

Lumix

None of the pictures along the walk would win any prizes but I was very pleased with both the camera and the Lumix as they had managed to create a reasonable record of a gloomy (but very enjoyable) short stroll.

It was soon dark and when I went upstairs later on to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was getting on with her dressmaking, my eye was caught by the brightness of the moon beaming through an upstairs window.  It was low over Whita Hill so it loomed large and I got my bird watching camera out and started shooting.  I was rather annoyed to find that something was getting in the way of my shots and impinging on the lunar disc.

_DSC8717

It dawned on me after a while that it wasn’t a bit of a window frame but that the moon was passing behind the monument on the top of the hill.  As soon as I got set to take a shot, I found that the moon had moved so  I moved too from window to window trying to catch the monument in the dead centre of the disc.  You don’t realise how fast the moon shifts through the sky until a moment like this but I did my best.

_DSC8720

I didn’t have time to fiddle about with the camera settings or fetch a tripod so these hand held shots had to do.

From start to finish, the moon passed behind the monument in about four minutes, getting higher as it went so it was a click and hope situation.

_DSC8723

I may not get such a chance again so I was pleased to have seen it.

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a lecture about a local Roman fort and I went off to sing with the Langholm choir.  The speech therapy and the singing lessons are helping my voice a lot but sadly, they haven’t entirely helped me to sing the right note every time. More practice is required.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch caught in the brief period when the sun was out.  It has a beady eye.

_DSC8694

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone’s niece Hilary.  It is of an Egyptian Vulture.  It was taken at Zurich Zoo on Saturday and makes Mr Grumpy look like a little ray of sunshine.

It is of an Egyptian Vulture. Taken at Zurich Zoo on Saturday.

Little rays of sunshine were in short supply here today as this was the view when we got up.

snowy garden

It wasn’t even good quality snow, just a soggy flump which turned to slush as it fell.

wet snow

It snowed quite a lot more during the day without adding to the sum total of snow on the ground at all.

Sandy came round for coffee as we are going to give an illustrated talk about the Archive Group in Canonbie tomorrow and we had to settle the details.  After he left, I walked through the slush up to the Archive Centre and made some copies of a DVD of the History of the Mills and Railway in Langholm.  We are going to show the DVD tomorrow and with luck, we might sell a copy or two for funds.

I had a look at the birds when I got back but things were still pretty gloomy.

goldfinch

The snow hadn’t stopped birds arriving but there weren’t very many.

busy feeder snow

I was pleased to see a couple of greenfinches.

greenfinches

After lunch, there was a moment when the sun came out so I put on my wellies and went for a short walk.

Whita snow

The hills looked better with a hint of sun on them…

snowy monument

…and if I had been feeling better, I would have rushed up to the monument while the going was good.

As it was, the recovery is still a work in progress so I settled for a very slow walk at a low level, taking my puffer before I set out and creeping up the only hill on my route.

Although it was very slushy rather than crisp, there was still a scenic view or two to be had.

Langholm Bridge snow

Sadly the sun didn’t make much of an effort and it soon clouded over.

Snowy scene

But snow brightens things up.

Ewesbank stream

It was an odd sort of walk.  There were fairly snowy bits….

Pathhead path

…with extensively snowy views to the left…

snowy whita

…but when I turned the corner at the end of the field, there was hardly a flake of snow to be seen.

path along top of woods

I was glad to have the shelter of the trees for the rest of my walk as it started to snow again and the wind got up so I would have been thoroughly wet if i had been in the open.

As it was, I kept my head down, admired a striking jelly fungus in the heart of the wood….

jelly fungus

…and got home, reasonably dry and content.

Even a short walk is lot to take on at the moment and I found myself fast asleep in front of the telly for most of the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening, I had to decide whether I was fit enough to sit through a live screening of Rigoletto from Covent Garden at the Buccleuch Centre.  Mrs Tootlepedal was not up for a night out yet so I hummed and hawed about going and in the end, at the very last moment, decided that it might be worth the trouble.

I make a lot of decisions of variable quality but this was one of the very best that I have made recently.

The first scene in this production is appalling, treating the audience as if they are incapable of any imagination and showing the actors no respect at all but thereafter, the brooding setting and singing of Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto and Lucy Crowe as Gilda transformed it into an evening of wonder and emotional satisfaction for me.

And when I came out, the town was carpeted with a fresh blanket of crisp white snow.

Henry Street in snow

The flying bird of the day was a tricky proposition and the only one that I could find was hiding.

busy feeder snow

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who found plenty of sunshine when she went to visit the Limehouse Cut Canal a couple of days ago.

Limehouse Cut canal 27.10.17 008

We had some pleasant sunshine here today as well but as it came with a brisk and chilly north wind, I thought it better to go for walk after making a venison stew for the slow cooker rather than venture out on my bike.  I have had a bit of a froggy throat for a few days and with a choir practice coming up in the afternoon, it seemed more sensible.

After my walk with Sandy up to the monument on Friday, I headed for the opposite side of the valley today and walked up Warbla.

I kept an eye out for fungus and lichen at the start of my walk and saw both.

lichen and fungus

There is some autumn colour left….

Autumn colour

…but there are more leaves on the ground now than on the trees on general.

I wasn’t following a yellow brick road as I climbed up the hill but I did have an emerald green grassy track to guide me to the summit…

warbla track

…and plenty of views if I needed an excuse to catch my breath for a moment.

Becks Farm

It wasn’t as windy and cold as I feared it might be when I got to the top of the hill and I stopped for a while and had a good look around.

Larches lightened up a wood on the far side of the river.

view from Warbla

There was a mixture of sunshine and cloud and I enjoyed this view of the monument just catching a bit of the sunshine.

monument from Warbla

There was a well sheltered spot below.

View from warbla

And the play of light and shade up the Ewes valley was good to see, both in close up…

View from warbla

…and in the wider view.

View from warbla

In spite of the chilly wind, I found myself in company at the top of the hill.

warbla trig point with family

There was no question as to who was the king of the castle but they all had fun.

warbla trig point with family

I left them them to it and walked back down the track until I dropped down the side of the hill and into the Wauchope valley.

Wauchope valley

I often cycle along the road in the picture and you can that it is very well sheltered which is why I use it as my outdoor gym on very windy days.

The hawthorns in the foreground are very bright and cheery with their red berries but as you can see most of the other trees are bare now.

One good thing about this is that it gives me a better chance of taking bridge pictures.

Becks burn bridge

A cow took a dim view of me as I walked past when I got to the road.

wauchope cow

After a last picture….

manse brae hedge

…I arrived home just as Mrs Tootlepedal got back from singing in the church choir.

She got to work on her path and I enjoyed the flowers.

poppies

roses

There are fewer every day but the survivors are still looking good.

Then it was time to go in and have lunch and, of course, to set up the camera at the kitchen window.

In spite of the sunshine, or perhaps because of the sunshine, there weren’t many birds about today and they were coming and going to the feeder for very quick visits so I didn’t get much satisfaction.

dunnock, chaffinch and sparrow

A dunnock, chaffinch and sparrow not visiting the feeder.

A neat blue tit did arrive.

blue tit

The blue tits often find the sunflower seeds a bit too much of a mouthful

After lunch there was time for more work on the path and I did a bit of slightly pointless dead heading and was impressed with the hardy nature of a red admiral butterfly which was haunting the dahlias but unfortunately not posing for pictures.

Soon it was time to go to Carlisle and sing.  My croaky throat just lasted the course but I will need to find some soothing mixture for it tomorrow.

The forecast is for slightly frosty weather overnight but then a return to warmer nights again so it will be interesting to see what survives in the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, concentrating hard as it approaches the feeder.

chaffinch

 

 

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