Posts Tagged ‘moon’

Today’s guest picture comes from Sharon’s trip to Orkney.  Her shot shows the famous Skara Brae site.

Skara Brae

It is a brief post with few photographs today as the morning was perfectly miserable with nothing but a few soggy dahlias to look at from the shelter of the front door…

wet dahlias

…and buckets of that thin but penetrating rain drifting across the garden.


I put up my brolly and walked up to the town to see the physiotherapist.  I have been fairly religiously doing the back exercises that she gave me last month and they have been very beneficial.  She gave me some more sound advice on what to do and what not to do and I will see her again next month, by which time I hope that some better weather will have given me some walking opportunities.

It was still miserably wet as we drove across to Lockerbie in the afternoon to catch the train to Edinburgh.  However, as the train was only two minutes late leaving and bang on time in arriving, and the rain had stopped by the time that we had got to Edinburgh, we arrived at Matilda’s in very good order.

On our way down, we passed this magnificent display of hanging baskets on  the front of the Theatre Royal Bar.

Edinburgh hanging baskets

I have to admit that I actually took this picture when we passed it last week in the sunshine rather on the grey day today.

Matilda was in a very sunny mood when we arrived and we enjoyed spelling out words and playing cards with her before having another excellent pasta alla Norma from Alistair for our tea after which we Matilda treated us to a very enjoyable display of improvised ballet. So we had a good time.

The weather had cleared up by the time that we went to catch the bus back to the station and I could almost have said that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, except that there was one.

single cloud

The train back was punctual and our drive home was illuminated by a lovely moon at which I had a close look when I got home.

No flying bird of the day today because of the rain but a high flying celestial object does quite well instead.

nearly full moon

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Today’s guest picture is another from Tony’s seaside views.  This one was taken on his phone.

another wemyss view

Today’s post may be a little more incoherent than usual because I had a restless night.  The forecast had been for cloudy skies so I went to bed without making any preparations to view the much talked about supermoon.  In the event, guided by fate, I woke up and decided that it might be worth pulling back the curtains and was amazed and delighted to find a clear sky and the shadow of the earth just beginning to fall on the left side of the moon.

I scuttled about trying to shoot handheld shots while collecting my tripod and working out apertures, focusing and shutter speeds. I woke up Mrs Tootlepedal too with some trepidation but she was grateful to see the unfolding lunar drama.

I took many, many shots but ended up with just a few usable efforts showing the eclipse starting, the red moon at the full eclipse and the gradual brightening as time went by.  The first of these shots was taken at 3.28 am and the last at 5.53 am and I have to admit that I may have dropped off from time to time between taking them.

red moon

It was well worth the interruption to my sleep to see such a sight.

I got up late and found that a crisp frost had the garden in its grip.  Under the circumstances, I was happy to have a quiet morning in doing nothing more energetic than walking to the shop 200 yards away and putting some bread ingredients in the bread maker.

I looked at the birds and found that chaffinches were having a hard time landing. One was just hanging on…

chaffinch hanging on

…and this one missed the perches altogether.

chaffinch missing perch

Occasionally they got it right.

chaffinch hitting perch

I was encouraged in idleness by small outbreaks of snow.

snow falling

However, the snow came to nothing and the robin popped up to pose for me.

robin on arm of chair

In the end, since the snow had stopped I went for a walk to keep my foot mobile.  It was gloomy but dry so I set off with hope in my heart if not with a spring in my step.

However, I had just passed some attractive catkins….

long catkins

…when it started to drizzle.

I cut short any thoughts of interesting places and took the shortest route home.

stubholm track

By now, it was raining quite steadily so after a look down to see the Mission Hall where the camera club would be meeting in the evening…

mission hall community centre

…I limped home as fast as I could. The colourful backs of the ambulances outside the Hall, which has an ambulance service base in it, were by far the brightest thing to be seen anywhere.

Mike Tinker dropped in for tea and offered some sound rocking horse advice and then Mrs Tootlepedal prepared a magnificent dish of cauliflower cheese while I entertained young Luke for some fluting duets.  It was one of those evenings when we both realised that more practice would have been a good thing before the lesson.

After tea, I went off to set up the projector and screen for the camera club meeting.  Luckily the members are very helpful so we were soon ready and ten members enjoyed a really excellent selection of pictures.  Seven of us had brought in selections to show and  as there was no theme this month, we had a fine mish-mash of pictures from Africa, continental Europe, the southern borders of Scotland and the heart of Langholm.

As usual ideas and experiences were swapped over tea and biscuits at half time so the meeting went well and we all look forward to meeting again next month.

Mrs Tootlepedal had some fun during the day applying her first ever coats of gesso to the rocking horse.  It was a voyage into the unknown and it didn’t go quite as well as she might have hoped but it turned out that that was probably down to the fact that the temperature in the garage where she was working was too low for proper drying of the layers.  The horse is back indoors now and looking a lot better for a bit of warmth.  I hope to have a picture of progress tomorrow.

There are two eager flying birds of the day today, a sparrow for a bit of a change…

flying sparrow

… and a chaffinch for some continuity.

flying chaffinch

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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?


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…


…and a coal tit coming….


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


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


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.


The phone

There was some heavy traffic on the track to negotiate.



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



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…



…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.




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.



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…



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



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.



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



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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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Today’s guest picture shows an elegant little lighthouse at Fleetwood on the Irish Sea coast.  My brother Andrew was visiting the town.


After several weeks of good weather, it was very unfortunate that for the weekend of the Muckeltoon Adventure Festival, a feast of mountain biking and trail running today, we should have got a miserable day of rain.

I was hoping to go and get some good action pictures but it was raining too heavily to make that any fun.

wet goldfinch

The goldfinches took badly to the rain too.

As a result, I spent a very quiet day inside until the rain stopped in the afternoon and I didn’t do much after that either.

The wet weather gave me a chance to watch the birds during the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s windowsill treats are still drawing in  sparrows….

sparrow on windowsill

…and the seeds were going down regularly on the feeder.


A stylish goldfinch keeping things tight to avoid the raindrops

busy feeder

More birds than perches leads to arguments

redpoll and siskin

Wet redpoll, wet siskin, bad temper all round.

incoming siskin

There was almost always a siskin in the offing


I got some Archive Group work done in the morning which was a bonus and I went out to check on the flowers when the rain stopped.

The roses were soggy but surviving…

wet roses

…and when the sun came out, the low lying plants looked positively cheerful

sunny flowers

…and I was happy to see that the Ooh La La clematis had stayed together.

clematis ooh

After some time to dry, things were looking good again….

wet flowers

…and I went for a very short walk to stretch my legs before any more rain came along.

You wouldn’t know that it had been such a miserable morning.

parish church

River Esk between bridges

Although the river was up a little bit, there was still plenty of gravel for the oyster catchers  and their chicks to patrol.

oyster catchers

young oyster catchers

young oyster catcher

It was such a dull day that I even found myself watching a bit of a World Cup football match.  The game seemed to consist of muscular Danes barging over skilful Peruvians and I was sorry to see that the Peruvians squandered every good chance that they got and let the Danes win.

I looked out of the window as I was writing this post in the evening and was impressed enough by a new(ish) moon to get my tripod out and as a reward to get bitten by a thousand midges.

new moon

The flower of the day is one of the durable peonies.


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Today’s guest picture is a reminder of summer.  It shows two shots of a dragonfly spotted by Mike Tinker on holiday in Wales.


Although some of the snow had melted away from yesterday, there was enough about to make some icy spots on our local roads and to keep our hills still looking pretty white.

I was in no hurry to rush out and fall over so I checked to see if Dropscone was in treacle scone making mode.  He was and arrived for coffee bearing scones so freshly baked that the butter melted on them.

When he left, I had time to stare out of the window.  One good thing about the snow is that it improves the light…


…and another is that it brings in siskins.


I was pleased to catch the robin at work….


…because I was beginning to worry that a cat might have caught it napping.

We had been promised a bright and chilly sunny day but we had a rather cloudy day instead but I thought that it was still worth a walk and rang up Sandy.  After a very light lunch, we met at the Langholm Bridge and walked along the A7 towards Whitshiels.

You can’t pass the Kilngreen without looking around.

There was a flotilla of ducks on the river….


…and a single black headed gull among some light snowflakes in the air.

black headed gull

Fortunately, the snowflakes didn’t come to anything and we got round our walk in pleasant conditions.

From the Whitshiels, we walked up the track, keeping an eye out for interesting things.

There is a tree stump under the trees covered in something white and today for once the light let me get a good picture of it.

tree stump with white growth

I can’t make up my mind whether the white stuff is lichen or fungus or something else entirely.

I am quite sure that the the tiny red dots that you can see in this picture of a gatepost if you look very carefully towards the bottom on the left…

gate post with lichen

…are British Soldier lichens (Cladonia cristatella) as a closer look reveals.

British Soldier lichen Cladonia cristatella

I will have to take my macro lens up the track one of these days to try to get a better picture of it.  It is tiny and my Lumix finds it very hard to pick it out from the background. There was a remarkable amount of soldiers at their post.

There was ice on one side of the track and hints of spring on the other.

ice and bud

Further up the track, the view opens out and bare trees appear…

Bare Tree Whitshiels track

We walked out onto the open hill where we were the first people to have trodden since the snow fell…but not the first creatures. There were a number of tracks about but we liked this one a lot…


There was a nice set of these neat four holed footsteps which were on the path that we followed  and a little research when I got back tells me that they were probably made by a hare.  The fact that we saw a hare running across the hill in front of us was a help in suggesting what to look up.

The weather had brightened up a bit by this time and there were plenty of good views to be had  looking up the Ewes valley to the north…

Ewes Velley

…even if the hills were showing through the snow a bit more than they were yesterday.

To the west, there were some big skies available.

Looking south west from Whita

We got onto the hill road to Newcastleton and were very pleased that we weren’t driving on it as it looked very icy.  We were staggered to see a cheery cyclist free wheeling very gently down it.  He told us that he had hoped to cycle on the hill but big snowdrifts had scuppered his plan.   He was a much braver man than me.

Cyclist coming down White Yett road

We crossed the road and continued our walk along the side of Whita Hill towards the golf course and the Kirk Wynd.  The hill sheep were coping well with the snow, finding things to eat here and there.

hill sheep

Although the sun had occasionally been shining, it was low in the sky and haunted by thin cloud.  It made for interesting light.


We were in dog walking country by this time

bare trees on Whita

The sun was still picking out the hills to our north.

Ewes Valley

And I kept looking back and we went along.


We got onto the Kirk Wynd and came down the hill into the town where Sandy stopped to catch the town bus back to Holmwood and I walked down to the river in the hope of seeing a dipper.

I saw another strange bird instead.

John Hills

This is my friend John, a great nature lover, who is always telling me where I might see interesting things if only I had the patience that he has.  I caught him relaxing in a very natural pose as you can see.

I didn’t see a dipper today, although John told me that I had just missed one, but I did see a blue tit when I got home…

blue tit

…which made for a very good finish for an enjoyable outing.

As it turned out, Dropscone, who was unable to play golf for obvious reasons, had gone for a walk on Whita this afternoon as well but we didn’t see him.  He has sent me a picture which he took and which should appear as guest picture tomorrow.  He was higher up the hill than we were.

I lent a hand to Mrs Tootlepedal who was busy taking wallpaper off the ceiling in the hall when I got back.  I may not be a very competent decorator (I am not a very competent decorator) but there are times when simply being tall is good enough.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and we shared a bottle of wine which was given to me as a Christmas present and Alison and I played Rameau, Corelli and Hook.

Treacle scones in the morning, a walk in the middle of the day, corned beef hash for tea and a glass of wine, good conversation and some music in the evening may not be exactly setting the world alight but it was quite good enough for me.  A day firmly on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch at the feeder.

flying goldfinch

An addendum to today’s post is a shot of the moon which I took when I went to bed last night.

January moon

It sneaks into today’s post because it was after midnight when I took the shot.


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Today’s guest picture is another from Mary Jo’s London visit.  She has discovered that she really likes Regent’s Park and I don’t blame her.  It is a lovely park.

regent's park

I spoke too soon about our dry spell of weather because when we woke up this morning, it was raining heavily and it continued to rain while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I made a spaghetti sauce for the slow cooker.

There were moments when there was a hint of a blue sky behind the rain….

chaffinch in the rain

…but they didn’t last and all was soon quite grey again.  Tempers were flaring in the feeder world…


…even though there were spare perches to be had.  Perhaps the birds have been infected by the rank political climate of the times.

I didn’t have long to enjoy staring out of the window at the rain though because as soon as Mrs Tootlepedal got back from church, we headed off to Carlisle to do a little shopping before an extended meeting of our Carlisle choir.

It was a ‘singing day’ when we get some specialist singing help from tutors who come down from Glasgow for the afternoon as well as extended work with our conductor on some of the pieces we are currently singing.  It was tiring but enjoyable and I have made a resolve to try to sing every day so I can put the things that I learned today into practice.

It was still raining when we got home so I don’t think that we missed much fun in Langholm.  The temperatures are much lower than they have been until this week so I shall have to get adjusted to cycling in miserable conditions.  I have been very spoiled lately and am finding it hard to get motivated at the moment.

The flower of the day, taken in the rain, is a marigold….


…and the flying bird, taken in the gloomiest part of the morning, is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

I took so few pictures today that I am taking the liberty of sneaking in one which I took last night after I had posted the blog.   We had no big firework celebration in the town yesterday and this was the only light in the night sky when I looked.


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Today’s guest pictures were sent to me by Langholm exile Tom and show that the South Africans are just as good at spoiling beautiful scenery with power lines as we are.


We enjoyed the last day of our good weather today and I had a busy but uneventful time.

It started when Sandy came round to borrow my trimmer to trim his entries for the Canonbie Flower Show (who rather annoyingly use a non standard size for their entries).

Then I popped out for a quick 20 mile bicycle ride (and because of the very light wind, it was quite quick by my standards).

Then there was time to look round the garden and see some of the new flowers which have arrived, some quite routine…



…and others, more exciting.




The first hint of colour in the cardoons

There is a lot of colour in one of the beds along the front lawn.

Special Grandma at her best

Special Grandma at her best



dahlia and astrantia

dahlia and astrantia

There are clematis flowers to be seen elsewhere.  One is a curious green and white affair where it is hard to tell the flowers from the leaves and the other is in the wrong place or so the gardener tells me.


And the Golden Syllabub has finally produced a reasonable bloom.

Golden Syllabub

So in spite of it being the season of berries…


…and seeds….

next years poppies

Next year’s poppies being prepared

…we are still in cheerful mood.

Especially as I ate the first plum of the year today.

The rest of the day was spent going to Edinburgh to visit Matilda, who was in excellent form.


A little football on the lawn revealed that she has an excellent left foot and can shoot straight.

We had a good time playing in her tiny garden and enjoyed a meal of various curries before walking back through the town in a very mellow evening light…

Calton Hill

…and catching the train home again.

Our drive from Lockerbie to Langholm was illuminated by a generous moon and I took a picture of it when we got home.

full moon

In fact, I took two pictures with different exposures and very different results.

Full moon

A tree just got into the picture in this shot.

The flower of the day is one of the prolific poppies (and friend) which brighten our garden up at the moment.


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