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Posts Tagged ‘oak tree’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who felt that he could prove that East Wemyss has fine trees as well as seemingly eternal sunshine.

East wemyss

For a change, we had some sunshine here too today, but as it came hand in hand with a very gusty and nippy east wind and a drop in the temperature, it was not quite as welcome as it might have been.

I had intended to go cycling, but it wasn’t appetising, and I had  coffee and a ginger biscuit with Sandy instead.  Mrs Tootlepedal had a very busy morning of meetings so when Sandy had left, I had a quiet time.  I did go to visit our translated corner shop though.

two shops

The new shop (on the left in the panel) is bigger, brighter and has a nifty new sign but the old shop was on a proper corner so I shall miss it.  Still, my cycle route to the new shop takes me along the river and I hope to be able to catch a few waterside bird pictures from time to time when I go to get my groceries.

The better weather brought more birds to the feeder….

busy feeder

…and the better light let me capture a pair of greenfinches coming and going.

flying greenfinches

Even occasional light showers didn’t put the birds off…

chaffinchlanding rain

..and flying chaffinches were ten a penny, rain or shine.

flying chaffinch panel

I made some leek and potato soup for lunch (leeks and onions from the garden but we have had to start buying potatoes again after 5 months of eating home grown).

After lunch, I went out for a walk, touring the garden before I went.

There is still a little colour, fresh from the jasmine, medium from the wallflower and faded from Rosy Cheeks…

jasmine, wallflower, rosy cheeks

…and some interesting greens too, the perennial nasturtium in the yew, unseasonable leaves still on a clematis and promise of flowers from a sarcococca by the back door.

yew, clematis sarcococca

I started out on my walk just after two o’clock and the sun was already setting behind the hill, so one side of the river was already in shade.

esk in November

I directed my feet to the sunny side of the street and went up a bit of a hill too in an effort to keep in the sun.

The wall, as I went up Hallpath had a good deal of interest with hart’s tongue fern, spleenwort and ample supplies of moss on some sections.

three wall hall path

I looked up from the wall and admired a lofty tree.  A man gardening nearby told me that it is a Wellingtonia.

wellingtonia

As I walked on, the sun was getting lower all the time and I had to walk tall to get my head warm as I passed between a wall and a beech hedge.

beech hedge hallpath

I took the track along to the round house and passed a tree which has been gradually eating a ‘neighbourhood watch’ plaque.  It looked like this in 2016…

tree eating notice…and it looked like this today.

tree eating sign

I wonder how long it will be before the plaque disappears entirely.

The sun had all but disappeared by the time that I passed the round house…

round house…and headed on down through the little oak wood….

oak branch mossy

…to the old railway and took the path back towards town.  There was a lot to see on the short stretch of old railway.  The green lichen was surprisingly bright and the script lichen on the tree was comprehensive if not comprehensible…

four thing son old railway fungus

…and the leaves came from a very young sapling but I don’t know whether the growth on the fallen branch was another lichen or a fungus.  I would happy if a knowledgeable reader could shed some light for me.

I passed Skippers Bridge by without stopping to take yet another picture….or maybe I didn’t and succumbed to temptation…

 

skippers bridge end of november

…and a sheep looked at me as I walked along the Murtholm track with a hint of censoriousness in its gaze as a result.

sheep murtholm

Perhaps I shouldn’t have dallied at the bridge because although I could see sunlight on Meikleholm Hill…

meikleholm evening sun

…it started to rain on me as I walked along.

It was patchy rain.  I could still see sunlight picking out a house on the hill to my right…

sun on house

…but I was in the patch where it was  definitely raining so I hurried home without taking any more pictures.

Mrs Tootlepedal was in the garden when I arrived back so we had a walk round (the rain had stopped) before going in.

We discovered a Lilian Austin flower and there were a lot of buds still forming on the bush.  A cowslip was also flowering….

lilian austin and cowslip november

…but as we are due to have quite  sharp frost tonight, maybe that will be that for both of them.

Regular readers will perhaps be asking why we were not in Edinburgh visiting Matilda as it is a Thursday today and they would be right to ask.  We should have been in Edinburgh but half the children at Matilda’s school have fallen victim to the winter virus and Matilda is in the unlucky half.

As we neither wanted to catch the virus nor bring it back to Langholm, we wisely stayed at home.  An evening phone call revealed that Matilda, after an unhappy morning, was making good progress so we have our fingers crossed that neither she nor her parents will be too badly affected.

There was no hint of sun left by the time we had had a cup of tea so the rest of the day was spent indoors doing little tasks.

The sunnier weather did let me catch a much improved flying bird of the day even though it was raining when it flew past me..

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture finally reveals Bruce’s horses in all their beauty.  They are the Kelpies at Falkirk  and well worth a visit if you haven’t seen them yet.  They are huge.

kelpies

Our spell of sunny weather continued and the drop in temperature continued too, with the thermometer struggling to get over 2°C today and a brisk northerly wind making it feel even colder.

I went for a short walk in the morning, wearing several layers of clothing but still feeling a chill if I was out of the direct sunshine.

I was pleased to come out of the woods beside the river and get onto the track…

Murtholm

…along the Murtholm fields.

Murtholm

The light was golden once again but the sun struggles just as much as I do to get up in the morning so we are living in a world of long dark shadows.

Still, some recent tree felling means that I got a much better view of Warbla as I walked along than used to be possible.

P1050791

The strong sun and dark shadows make taking photos of ‘things’ difficult.

distillery

The contrast is too much as the two pictures from and of the Skippers Bridge show.

skippers bridge

The lichen on the bridge parapet was easier.

skippers lichen

skippers lichen

There was plenty to choose from.

I climbed up the wooden steps from Skippers Bridge onto the old railway track and made my way home past an old oak…

oak tree

…and the view from the Round House…

View from Round House

When I got home, I found that our new neighbour Irving had got someone to trim down the top of the holly tree at the end of his garden.

holly tree clipping

It still looks as though there is plenty of room for birds in it.

After lunch, we set off to drive (very carefully) to Lockerbie to catch the train to see Matilda and her parents.

As I was waiting on the platform (the train was a few minutes late as usual), I noticed the clocks on Lockerbie Town Hall.  It is good to have several clocks to help you tell the time but it would be even better, I thought, if they both showed the same time.

holly tree clipping

The train journey was very smooth and comfortable and I took the time to shoot three shots through the window as we travelled.

At the top of Beattock summit, we pass through a perfect forest of windmills….

view from train

I read on the internet that there are over 200 windmills on this stretch  of hills and there are few hills untouched.

P1050813

A little further on, I saw a small amount of snow on the Tinto Hills.

P1050815

We arrived safely in Edinburgh and were warmly welcomed by Matilda, who regards flash photography with justified suspicion.

Matilda and Al

However, she borrowed some dice from her father and we enjoyed rolling a couple and counting the total spots shown.  She has promised to teach me the rules for shooting craps soon.

After some more play, Al and Clare and Matilda took Mrs Tootlepedal and me out to a very nice Italian restaurant on Leith Walk and treated us to a splendid joint birthday meal.

Feeling very well fed, Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked off a few calories on the way to the station and caught a very punctual train back to Lockerbie.  As the thermometer was showing 0°C when we got to the car, we took a slightly longer but wider and smoother route home.

I failed to take a flying bird of the day and don’t have anything to put in its place.  Oh the shame.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was walking along the Thames last week when she came to Tower Bridge at low tide.

Tower Bridge at low tide

We had another day of sunshine and showers here today but in an improvement on yesterday, there was more sunshine and less rain and when the rain came, it came less ferociously.

The day started early as I picked up Sandy and we took our photograph down to Canonbie to put them on the boards in the village hall, ready to be judged at the Canonbie Flower Show.

On our way home, it rained heavily and we feared for the worst as the flower show has many outdoor activities on the playing field beside the hall.  In the end though, that was the worst rain of the day and things went ahead as planned.

I had a late breakfast when I got home and and after a leisurely time sitting and doing not much, I finally went out for a short walk before lunch.

The sun was shining when I started….

Saw Mill Brig

…but it was too good to last and I had to put up with occasional drizzle as I went round.

Still, there was a lot to look at.  There were sparrows, headless ducks and a sitting bird as I went along the Kilngreen.

sparrows, duck and heron

I wonder if Mr Grumpy is feeling his age a bit.  He seems to have created quite a worn patch on the bank where he has been sitting the last two times that I have seen him.

On the wall beside the Sawmill Brig, I saw spleenwort and turned a frond over to look at the back.

spleenwort

Elegant whichever way you look at it.

On the Lodge Walks I saw fungus.

fungus

The patches of fungus by the felled tree stumps are getting bigger and bigger .

As I walked back along the path by the river, I saw oak leafs with galls and on another oak nearby, a pristine acorn.

oak leaves and acorn

There may be two different galls on that leaf

I met a very handsome husky taking its owner for a walk.

husky

Other things appealed to me.

nettle and nut

Although it looked as though the heavens might open, the clouds passed by with the merest sprinkling of rain, and I got home quite dry.

After lunch, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in a walk round the garden.

The honeysuckle is going over but Lilian Austin is producing a few late flowers.

honeysuckle rose

This is therefore a honeysuckle rose combination. Cue for song.

Two butterflies were defying the rain showers and a stiff breeze.

red admiral and peacock butterflies

The perennial nasturtium which lives among a yew tree has spread across a flower bed and appeared in the hedge behind the yew as well…

perennial nasturtium

…and rather cleverly, it has found a bamboo stick in the middle of the bed and grown up that too.  You can see it in the centre of the picture above.

After a while, I drove back down to Canonbie to see how the flower show was going on.

On the playing field, a chainsaw carver was demonstrating his art….

chainsaw carving and static engine

…while a patient static engine whirred endlessly nearby.

Equally patient donkeys were doing good business offering rides.

donkeys

A brief moment of repose.

Around the field, vintage tractors and old cars were drawn up for inspection.

Canonbie show cars and tractors

You know that you are old when you realise that you drove the classic cars which you see at a show when they were first brand new.  That Triumph Herald is very familiar.

I left a demonstration of dog agility and obedience to look after itself in some light rain and went in to see whether my pictures had attracted the attention of the judges.  I was delighted to find that a Lake District view and a garden blackbird had won their classes and one of our garden poppies had got a third.  I did get another first and a second place too in another class but as mine were the only pictures in that class, this was a not entirely unexpected.

The photos at the Canonbie show are always given plenty of room among the flowers…

Photos and flowers

I took this after some of the pictures and flowers had already been removed at the end of the show.

…so it a pleasure to exhibit there.

There was splendid fruit and veg to admire and many beautiful flowers too and I had an enjoyable time looking round.  When I had had a good look, I went back to the field and had a cup of tea and a fancy cake with Sandy, who was at the show with a friend and his wife and then I went off for a walk along the river before it was time to collect the pictures and go home.

I was lucky with my walk and dodged the rain completely.  I walked down towards the river bank at the bridge and came across a large clump of these tall yellow flowers.

yellow flowers

They were hard to photograph because they were waving about in the brisk wind but they are handsome plants.  I have no idea what they are.

Once I had got the water’s edge, I looked up at the Canonbie Bridge itself.

Canonbie Bridge

I drove over that bridge to work for thirteen years.  The bridge is narrow and the overhanging footpath is a fairly recent addition to allow schoolchildren to get back to the village in greater safety.

I crossed the bridge, passed the church and made my way down to the other bank of the river.

The Esk runs past some red sandstone cliffs at the village…

Dead Neuk

…but it soon opens out into a broad stretch that will take it down to Longtown and the Solway Firth.

Esk at Canonbie

The powers that be have put power lines over every nice view in Eskdale.

The church was looking at its best, picked out by the sun against the rain clouds behind it.

Canonbie Church

I watched a patient fisherman casting on one bank of the river while goosanders, great fishers themselves, snoozed on the opposite bank while they waited for their chance.

Canonbie fisher goosander

After  glance at a sign of autumn…

elderberries

…I returned to the hall, enthusiastically applauded the many trophy winners (not me), collected the pictures for myself and Sandy and drove home.

The final business of the day was a quick shopping trip with Mrs Tootlepedal and then I was happy cook my evening meal and to sit down and eat it.

It had seemed like a long day.

The flying bird of the day was still waiting to take off when I saw it in the morning after breakfast.

blackbird

 

 

 

 

 

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There is no guest picture today because I do not have one and so a gallery from the Moorland Feeders will take top billing instead.

coal, blue and great tit

We were threatened with wind, rain and snow as storm Doris came to visit us today but after a night of rain, we were largely untroubled by her  during the day.  Since there was heavy snow to our north and gales and flooding to our west and south, once again we seem to have got off lightly.

It was quite wet when I went up with Sandy to help him fill the Moorland Feeders but in spite of the rain, we spent a little time on the hide.  We weren’t rewarded with anything special in the way of interesting birds but there was constant activity so we weren’t bored.

Among the throngs of great, blue and coal tits, siskins and chaffinches, we noticed a greenfinch and a woodpecker or two…

woodpecker and greenfinch

…but this bedraggled pheasant really summed up our visit.

soggy pheasant

Sandy stayed for a cup of coffee when we got back and when he went off, I spent a moment or two looking at our own birds….

blue tit

…and was pleased to see that some pink pellets had tempted a blue tit to come to the feeders.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent quite a lot of time considering whether it was a good idea for Mrs Tootlepedal to brave the floods and snow and travel to Edinburgh to see Matilda but as the Edinburgh train service was disrupted by floods between Carlisle and Lockerbie, we thought that it would be wise not to risk it and she went off to Carlisle in the car to do some useful shopping instead.

While she was out, I went for a short walk to check whether the repair at Skippers Bridge had survived its first angry river test.

It had.

Skippers Bridge repair

I am sorry about the branches in front of the bridge but it wasn’t a day to get too close to the water’s edge!

Skippers Bridge

Seen from the downriver side, you realise how much of the force of the river hits the central pillar when the water is high.

On my way down to the bridge, I kept my eyes open.  I usually look at walls and rocks for my lichen shots but today I was looking at trees and saw both script lichen, probably on a beech…

script lichen

…and this fine colourful selection on a silver birch tree trunk.

lichen on birch

There was plenty of water that was not going down the rover.

flooded gate

On my way back from the bridge, I walked up through the oak and birch wood…

oak tree

…and this gave me the chance to look back down on the bridge from above….

skippers bridge

…and it also took me past a wall where I could be sure of seeing some blue green algae (which is often yellow).

The New Hampshire Gardener had a wonderful picture on his most recent post showing how unexpectedly fluffy this algae is and I wanted to check this out.  Although it was very damp, our algae looked quite fluffy too….

blue green algae

…though my pictures weren’t very good.   I will come back on a better day and have another look.   It is very educational reading other people’s blogs and I learn something on most days.

After playing about with the buttons on my camera on my last walk, I met another wall further on today on which gave me the same colour effect but without any pressing of buttons on my part.  The wall really does look like this.

red brick

My walk had been remarkably pleasant in spite of a light drizzle and I took a last look at the river before I crossed the suspension bridge…

River esk in flood

…and went home for a nice cup of tea and a slice of toast and marmite….and a final look out of the kitchen window.

goldfinch and chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Carlisle which was encouraging as later in the day, Susan arrived to take me down to the city  to play with our recorder group.  The day had calmed down completely by this time and there was even the odd star to be seen.

We had a good play, followed by an excellent biscuit with our tea and drove home thoroughly relieved to have avoided any of the scenes of storm related accidents and disasters being shown on the news programmes.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in the drizzle.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker’s NZ trip and shows Nelson Cathedral.  He tells me that as it is in NZ,  it has an earthquake policy, the final line of which says: ‘if the earthquake is a gentle event (i.e. no creaks in the building) services will continue’.  I hadn’t thought that there might be a gentle earthquake.

Nelson Cathedral

Our good weather continued today, although it was a bit windier than it has been lately.   Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have an excuse not to go cycling as we were expecting a visit from our friend Sue for lunch.

There was a complete lack of birds in the morning and it was a bit annoying that they appeared in the garden just as Sue arrived.  I was listening with my full attention to every word that was spoken over coffee and at the lunch table, even when I might have been distracted by movement outside.

If I had been rude enough to get up with camera in hand in mid conversation, I might have seen this….

robin, chaffinch and goldfinch

Three poseurs

…or this….

goldfinches

Two more poseurs

…or even this…

goldfinches

Impending violence

Sue noticed the arrival of a greenfinch so I make no excuses for having seen this finch festival.

greenfinch, goldfinch and chaffinch

After lunch, we piled into the car and headed up to the hide at the Moorland Project bird feeders, where we sat for a while watching a terrific amount of activity.  Unfortunately, apart from a brief and unrecorded visit from a brambling, there were no unusually exciting birds to be seen.

It is always fun to see a greater spotted woodpecker though and there were a lot about today, pecking away at various feeders and chasing each other up and down trees.

greater spotted woodpecker

The great, coal and blue tits were in sharing mode.

great tit, coal tit and blue tit

And there were dozens of chaffinches around.

chaffinch

Those pink pellets are always popular

chaffinch

The brisk wind was ruffling a feather or two

There were several raptors flying over the hill when we came out of the hide but they were too far away to identify with confidence.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been suffering from a sore foot so she drove the car back while Sue and I walked the two and a half miles home from Broomholmshiels.

The weather stayed dry and there was even a hint of sunshine as we strolled along looking for things of interest on the way.

I always like  a gate and this brand new belt and braces job caught my eye soon after we left the farm fields.

 

Broomholmshiels gate

And bare trees are favourites.

oak

Sue has been going to classes on plant recognition and had a keen eye for the ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi that we passed on our way once we had got into the oak and birch woods…

sue T

Oak wood

There were a lot of things to see just on the trees.

moss and lichens

turkey tail fungus

We saw fine displays of mosses beside the track in the wood and many spleenwort and ferns on walls when we got nearer to the town.

We finished out walk with a stroll along the river bank and since I had told Sue that we might well see a dipper as some point, I was very pleased when we found one singing its heart out near the suspension bridge.

dipper

The light had faded quite a bit by the time that we saw it.

We also met Sandy, who rather annoyingly told us that he had seen a tree creeper at the Moorland site when he was filling the feeders this morning.  Where was it when we needed it?

We had a cup of tea and some of Sue’s delicious home made biscuits when we got home and then, after we had put the world to rights, it was time for Sue to head off back home.  It had been a delight to have her company.

I rounded off a very good day by making curried cauliflower for our tea.

No plant of the day today but I did manage to catch a flying chaffinch out of the corner of my eye while we were having lunch.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my friend Bruce, who was on a trip to the east of the country. He had climbed all of the 132 steps up a dark, narrow, spiral staircase to get to the top of the  the Garleton Monument  and was rewarded by this splendid view of the country stretching out to the Firth of Forth.

lothians

We woke to a frosty scene with the temperature just about on zero but with a bright sun shining.  Under these circumstances I  forced myself to reject a very tempting offer of traditional Friday treacle scones from Dropscone and got myself organised to go for a walk instead.

I paused for a while to let the temperature rise to 2 degrees and while I waited, I watched the birds.

The feeders were very busy…

busy feeders

…and the finches flew busily around snapping up a spare perch or trying to bully the sitter off an occupied one..

chaffinches

It has been generally rather damp recently so I was worried in case the paths and tracks turned out to be icy.  It was still very chilly when I got to the park…

Park

…but for reasons that are not clear to me, there was not a spot of ice to be met anywhere on my whole walk.

There were plenty of other things to be seen though.

I walked along the Murthholm track, stopping to greet Mr Grumpy….

heron

…and then crossed over Skippers Bridge (many photos taken but none put in here today) and went down to the water’s edge.

River Esk

If you look closely, you can make out the circle of ripples in the middle of the river caused by a fish leaping out of the water a second before I got my camera in focus.  As a consolation, behind me on the bank there was a splendid outbreak of fungus on a fallen branch.

fungus

I scrambled back onto the road and there can be few better roads to walk down on a sunny morning in November than this one.

Tarras Road

As I turned the corner and started to climb the hill, the warmth of the sun was causing gentle steam to rise and catch the sunbeams.

Tarras Road

As usual the walls and trees beside the road here were full of interest.

Tarras Road

Beyond the entrance to Broomholm, almost all of the trees on the bank beside the road have been felled and what was previously a very dark and dank stretch of road is now completely transformed….

Tarras Road

…with a fine view from the top.

I had brought a banana and a coffee éclair with me for sustenance so I decided to visit the Moorland feeders where I could sit down and eat them in the hide while being entertained by the birds.

I enjoyed this view on the way….

View from Broomholmshiels

…and it wasn’t long before I  was nearly at the small wood that shelters the feeders.

Moorland feeders

There was plenty of action to keep me entertained while I ate my snack and I tried my best to capture it with the Lumix.

blue tit, great tit, greenfinch and woodpecker

I went back to the town by way of the track from Broomholmshiels and enjoyed the oak and birch woodlands on the way.  There was more fungus and lichen to be seen…

fungi and lichen

…and I picked up a few acorns on the way as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to try to get some acorns to germinate this year.

The track through the woods was very lovely in the sunshine…

Broomholmshiels track

…and I liked this last glimpse of autumn colour at Longwood.

Longwood

Any walk is enhanced by a view like this at the end of it….

Langholm Bridge

…but on this occasion, pretty well every step of the five miles had been rewarding.

In spite of the sunshine, the thermometer was still only registering 4°C when I got home just before one o’clock so I was glad that it had been an almost windless day.

I was able to refresh myself with a cup of tea from a brand new 2 cup teapot which had only been delivered this morning…

new teapot

…following the untimely demise of our previous pot.

I had time to take another look at the birds after lunch….

robin

…but even on a fine day, the light was already fading and the robin had to really stretch to get itself into the picture.

I was well entertained though, as Mike and Alison Tinker came round.  They are recently back from a most enjoyable holiday in New Zealand and are recovering gradually from jet lag so they came to see us in the afternoon instead of their customary evening visit on a Friday.   We should be back to playing sonatas next week which will be very welcome.

After they left, it wasn’t long before Dropscone arrived.  Instead of treacle scones and coffee in the morning, we had drop scones and tea in the afternoon today but we survived the shock pretty well.  He told me about the trouble he is having with his car.  The fan belt snapped and fell off and as a result he is currently going nowhere.

The leaf of the day is one of the golden box balls at the top of the front lawn.

golden box ball

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch about to give a blue tit a surprise.

chaffinch and blue tit

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Today’s guest picture comes from the Edmonton busker and bicyclist, Tuckamoredew, a man who sings gaily to himself while pedalling through deep snow in subzero temperatures in the dark.  But even he was a bit alarmed when he passed these two characters at night.

Edmonton statues

The wind was still from the east today and the day was colder and greyer but the Scandinavian high is stoutly keeping us safe from any Atlantic fronts and there has been no  sign of frost so we aren’t complaining (much).

I had a quiet spell after breakfast with only a few small birds to distract from an intractable crossword.

coal tit, robin and blue tit

Things perked up when Sandy arrived for coffee and we arranged to go for a walk in the afternoon.

After Sandy left, I got down to some serious work and prepared 14 copies of a DVD of the ‘Heritage of Langholm: The Mills and the Railway’ which are on sale in the Information Hub in the Market Place.  They have been selling well lately and help to raise funds for the Archive Group.  (We have a disk copier in the Archive Centre which copies seven disks at a time so that explains why I produced 14 copies.)

While the DVDs were being copied, I chased up an article on the newspaper microfiches about the dedication of a stained glass window in our parish church in 1925.  Scott, the minister had asked me for this and I delivered the DVDs to the Information Hub and the article to him on my way home.  I felt very virtuous as a result and celebrated by making some potato soup for lunch.

I had time to walk round the garden before I made the soup.  Our small sedum has come out too late for any butterflies I fear but the bees are enjoying it.

bee on sedum

There is still colour around and some of it is in the vegetable garden.

chive and mint

That is the second flowering of the chives this year

dahlias

Mrs Tootlepedal stuck a couple of surplus dahlias in a veg bed.

honeysuckle

The honeysuckle seems confused about the season

In the flower beds, there are more second blooms.

Weigela and poppy

And there is plenty of pink about…

phlox and poppy

…and a little blue too.

lobelia and clematis

Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a blackbird having a bath in our pond.  It popped out onto the side when I approached.

blackbird

After lunch, Sandy arrived on cue.  We sampled the cool temperature, grey clouds and blustery winds and settled on a mainly sheltered walk through the woods above the River Esk below Skippers Bridge.

The first part of our stroll was through oak woods…

Jenny Noble's wood

…which never fail to be pleasing at any time of year.

Jenny Noble's wood

There is a sudden glut of acorns and many of the trees were covered with them.  We saw a lonely rowan tree among them.

rowan and acorn

On the far side of the oak wood is a birch plantation.  The leaves are coming off the birches, leaving them almost bare.

birch wood

We came to the top of the wood….

Jenny Noble's wood

…and walked along the track to Broomholmshiels.

We were not unobserved.

sheep

Although the trees are still mainly green, there was enough colour to catch the eye here and there but we felt that it needed a bit of sunlight to do it justice so I shall wait for a better day and come back again.

I saw an old thistle and some fresh gorse as we went along.

thistle and gorse

It started raining lightly when we went through the farmyard at Broomholmshiels so we picked up the pace as we walked back down the road to the car.

A pair of fresh white fungi shone through the gloom of the trees beside the road.

fungi

And as we went down the road….

Broomholm road

…we found a lot to enjoy….especially as the rain had stopped again.

autumn colour Broomholm

There was a splendid range of greens, oranges and yellows

lichens broomholm

Lovely lichens

ferns

And fascinating ferns

We get to the car and then stopped again at Skippers Bridge where I took far too many pictures while we stood right beside the river and watched trout swimming past.

I have selected the traditional view.

Skippers and the distillery

In spite of the gloomy conditions, I enjoyed our outing so much that I took well over  a hundred pictures trying to capture the best of the walk.  Readers have got off lightly.

The forecast is a bit gloomy at the moment but there may  be a bit of sun every now and again.  I am hoping that it doesn’t come too early in the morning.

In the evening, we had another operatic treat as the Scottish Opera’s touring company arrived at the Buccleuch Centre to give a live performance of L’Elisir d’Amore by Donizetti sung in English.

On a long tour with a cast of nine and a mini orchestra of five (violin, viola, cello, French horn and guitar) the staging had to be neatly designed, the  director had to be inventive and the conductor had to be sympathetic to do justice to this popular opera.  Luckily for us, the staging was very attractive, the direction was very sensible and imaginative and the singing and acting was first rate throughout.  The little orchestra was brilliant. It helps a fellow like me who doesn’t speak Italian to be able to understand what is going on.

I last saw this opera at Glyndebourne in 1962 in a production by Zefirelli with the leads being sung by Mirella Freni and Luigi Alva so it was not too soon to see it again.

There are quite enough pictures already today so no flower of the day but I did catch a glimpse of a flying sparrow.

flying sparrow

 Sandy has posted a description of our walk too.  You can find it here.

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