Posts Tagged ‘Paddockhole’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen.  He came across this striking flower on a walk in Sydney.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is a passion flower.  I looked it up and it is a Passion Flower caerulea – Passiflora.

australian flower

The original forecast for today had been for warm, calm and sunny weather but after some heavy overnight rain, the actual weather was warm, calm and wet.  Meatloaf sings that, “Two out of three ain’t bad,” but that was small satisfaction to one who had been hoping for a cheerful pedal.

As I went along to the monthly producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre, I heard a passer by describe the day as ‘dreich’ and I thought that he had hit the nail on the head there.

I filled my (Canadian) shopping bag with venison, liver, fish and honey and cycled home, drying off the saddle of my slow bike before doing so.

Once home I was able to pass some time doing the prize crossword and watching  the second half of a rugby game where the main tactic seemed to be to kick the ball up in the air and chase after it in the hope that the other side would make a mistake.  In the end though two smart tries late in the game put a satisfactory gloss on South Africa’s well deserved win.

By the time that the game had ended and we had had a cup of coffee, the forecast had begun to look a little better and I walked round the garden noticing that we had still got colour from various sources.  Because I like alliteration, I like to think of this as bloom, berry and bush.

bloom, berry and bush

I could have gone cycling there and then but the early gloom had knocked some of the enthusiasm out of me so I heated up some soup and had lunch instead.  Then iIwas distracted by seeing six collared doves in a row along our power line.  I didn’t have my six dove camera to hand so had to settle for two of them together and an individual portrait.

collared doves on wire

Down below, the feeders were busy and I was pleased to see a greenfinch…

greenfinch november

…though a sparrow, waiting its turn on Mrs Tootlepedal’s artificial tree, seemed less pleased to see me peering at it.

sparrow in bogus tree

The sun came properly out and lit up a dunnock…

dunnock under feeder

…and a chaffinch…

chaffinch under feeder

…both scavenging for seed knocked out of the feeder by birds above.

sparrow and goldfinch

Two sparrows on the plum tree tut tutted about wasteful eating habits.

two sparrows chatting

I saw a blackbird on a garden chair getting ready for action…

blackbird fluffing

…and taking the hint, I got my cycling gear on and set off up the Wauchope road, where the larches were being picked out by the sun.

larches at Bigholms

A few days ago, I had seen the vehicle carrying the ingenious device which paints white lines down the middle of roads driving through the town and off up the Wauchope road.  I hoped that this might be a sign that a very bad patch of potholed and rutted road eight miles away had been resurfaced.

Because I haven’t cycled that way for a long time as the surface has been so poor, I thought that it would be a good idea to check if this was the case.

I cycled over Callister hill and down the other side and found a transformation.

new road near quarry

Where there had been ruts and potholes, now all was smooth and serene.

I stopped to admire the road and a tree which looks down on it from the hillside above…

bare tree near quarry

..before pedalling on a mile or two, passing this ruined cottage…

ruin at quarry

…and arriving at Paddockhole Bridge, where I paused for a moment.

paddockhole bridge

It was such a pleasant day by this time that I thought of crossing the bridge and taking the long way home but I had started too late and the days are getting shorter now so I turned and rather unadventurously cycled back the way I had come.

I was going to take a little diversion to Waterbeck on the way but the road was closed.  I hope that this means that this road too will soon be resurfaced.  I haven’t cycled along it since I fell off when I hit an unexpected icy patch on a water filled rut a couple of years ago.

Going over Callister from the west is a stiffer challenge than from the east and I am always happy to stop to admire the view up the side valley….

winterhope view

…so that I can have a breather before tackling the rest of the hill.

road up callister

There was a nice tree on the other side of the road  to admire while I was there.

callister tree

The wind was very light and although it was in my face on the way home, I still managed to cover the last 6 mainly downhill miles back to Langholm at 17 mph without trying too hard.  This made for a good finish to a most enjoyable outing.

I was welcomed home by a cheerful calendula.  It may not last too long….

calendula november

…as Mrs Tootlepedal is clearing the front beds and planting them with tulips for next year.

tulip bed

I did think of going for a short walk but the sun went behind a cloud and it got too dark to take pictures so I had a shower and practiced some hymns for church tomorrow instead.

We had fish from the producer’s market for our tea and then settled down to watch Strictly to round off a gently enjoyable day.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow on its way to the feeder.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s highland holiday.  The weather wasn’t always what he would have wished but you can’t fault the views.


We had a fine and sunny day here today so October was very welcome.  The temperature is autumnal and the garden was quite soggy when we got up but it dried up nicely during the day.

I had a leisurely morning with the high spot being a visit to the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre to stock up on the necessities of life.  Fresh fish and vegetables, good cheese, properly looked after meat and local honey all disappeared into my shopping bag and I pedalled home on the slow bike (solid tyre, no punctures!) in a cheery mood.

There was any amount of dead heading to do as we try and keep the flowers going as long as possible.  Lillian Austin is flourishing with no help from me at all.

Lilian Austin

…and the poppies in front of the pond are standing up very well too.


I dead headed a hundred stems and then Mrs Tootlepedal went round and did all the ones that I had missed and then I went round and did the ones that she had missed.  What fun we had.

She is busy doing gardening at the moment and the morning’s project was replanting an azalea in a new place as part of a border redesign.  She digs these hefty shrubs up, carries them to their new home and puts them in with no help from me at all.  I just stand and marvel at the results.

The morning involved coffee and a crossword too and a moment to enjoy the sparrows at the feeder.


After lunch, I had another look out of the window….

dunnock and chaffinch

Neither the dunnocks or the chaffinches fly up to the feeder at the moment, just scavenging for scraps below.

chaffinch and blue tit

A chaffinch spent some time in the plum tree considering its options but a blue tit got stuck in straight away.

After a good deal of dithering, I finally got out the fairly speedy bike, cleaned the chain and set off for a ride.

Yesterday I had gone up the Wauchope road, turned left and and circled round to approach the town from the south.  Today I went up the Wauchope road, turned right, circled round and approached the town from the north.  As usual, my route choice was determined by wind direction as I always like to have a friendly wind on my way home.   It is good to have a choice of two rides of almost the same distance.

I had noticed patches of bright green lichens on one particular short stretch of wall on recent rides so I stopped today to record one of them.

Green lichen

This colour is not common round here where the walls are usually covered in grey or brown lichens.  Maybe different stone was used on this section of the wall.

A calf on the other side of the road had nothing to say on the matter.


The hills may be turning a bit brown but the cultivated grass fields are still as green as ever…


Looking back on the Wauchope road just after my right turn

Water of Milk

My road ahead following the valley of the Water of Milk

This road winds steadily uphill for most of its four miles and as it was into the wind today, I was pleased to arrive at Bailliehill….


…at the top of the hill where I turned right and followed the River Esk back to Langholm.

At Bailliehill there is a slightly mysterious pond and summerhouse.

Bailliehill pond

Both pond and structure were made quite recently but I have never seen any sign of life there.

My route home wasn’t helped quite as much by the wind as I had hoped that it would be but it wasn’t hindered by it at all so I rolled along the road home at a good speed for me.

When I got back, I found that not content with shifting the azalea, Mrs Tootlepedal had continued her work of garden improvement by levelling out the path from the drive to the front lawn.

garden path

As this involved shifting and re-laying several large and heavy concrete slabs, I was distinctly impressed.  The dahlias in the picture were among the plants dead headed this morning.  They were all grown from seed this year but some of them are making really good looking tubers and Mrs Tootlepedal is contemplating taking some of them up and keeping them over winter.

Before I had my after-ride cup of tea, I put the speedy bike away and then got the slow bike out and pedalled down to the riverside to see what I could see there.

headless flying bird

A headless flying bird….

herring gull

…turned out to be a herring gull

A very late family of ducks was swimming close to the river bank.


There were some fine clouds on the horizon…


…but nothing else came within range of my lens so I pedalled home past two fierce lions….

square pump

Water providers on a public pump in Buccleuch Square in times gone by

…and had my cup of tea.

A meal of fish and courgette fritters rounded off a good day very well.

The flowers of the day are two nasturtium caught in the damp morning….


…and the flying bird is a determined sparrow.


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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s visit to Sydney on his way back to the UK from NZ.  He said it was hot there and here is the proof.

hot birdIt was far from hot here this morning and the thermometer was only just grazing 5°C when I set out for a pedal after breakfast.  Dropscone is enjoying the fleshpots of the south west of England on holiday so I was on my own and this was lucky as it took me a long time to warm my old muscles up in the chilly weather.

Once I got going though, I enjoyed myself without trying to go too fast.  I took a route that avoided any possible hedge trimmings and ended up at Paddockhole bridge which was looking quite pretty.

PaddockholeOne advantage of the late season is that when the leaves come off the trees, you can see the bridges better but….

leaves on road….the down side is that many of the leaves fall on the road making for slippery surfaces where the aged cyclist has to take care.

I took care and got home safely.

The birds were in a topsy turvy mood.

chaffinchesFor once the weather was well behaved and it waited until I was snugly indoors before it started to rain.  I idled the rest of the morning away over a tricky crossword and a packet of ginger biscuits.

After lunch (I am currently addicted to goat’s cheese and tomato open sandwiches), the weather behaved well again and the rain stopped so, since Mrs Tootlepedal and I were in the mood for some fresh air, we went for a walk round the Becks.

The larch trees are very attractive just now…..

larches at pool corner

Larches on the bank behind Pool Corner

…..and I am enjoying them a bit more than usual because there is a larch disease sweeping the country and the local estate is busy cutting down most of their larches as a preventative measure.  This may well be the last golden larch autumn for some time in our area. As we walked up the road to Hallcrofts, we passed several trees  so covered in lichen that you could hardly see any wood on them at all.lichenI had Mrs Tootlepedal on special interest look out and she spotted the first catkins of the season that we have seen.catkinsOnce we were in the woods and across the Becks Burn, there were plenty of fungi to be seen, even if there wasn’t much light to see them with.  (I had intended to bring a torch to brighten up any items of interest but it will come as no surprise to you to learn that I forgot to put it in my pocket.)

fungi on trees at Becks

There were fungi of all sizes on the trees.

fungi on ground at Becks

And others growing out of the ground. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that the white ones may be cap-less fungi

Once we got up to the path that runs along the hillside, the light was a little better.  Once again the weather was in mellow mood and although it had been drizzling while we were in the shelter of the trees, it stopped when we got out into the open.

I like this track.  It has some fine examples of rural architecture….

huts….oak trees…

oak tree…interesting tree stumps….

tree stumps….fine views of Warbla in late autumn….

warbla….and more fungi and even a wild flower.

flower and fungiAs we got to the end of the track, we could see low mist creeping up the Esk valley from the south and resting gently over the town.

Mist over Langholm

I may have given this picture a little tickle-up treatment.

Our way back took us past some more interesting fungus/slime mold/lichen?? on a tree stump….

curious growthsAnd there were occasional colourful leaves to entertain the eye.

leafleavesOnce home, there was just enough light left to enjoy Crown Princess Margareta…..

rose…and to watch the last set of leaves being blown off the walnut tree.  This proved too exciting and I had to go in and watch some paint dry.

I did some more idling in the gloaming as the light faded swiftly away and then in the evening went to Carlisle to play recorders.  I drove down by myself because Susan is on holiday with her father in the south.  We  had an excellent evening of playing which made a very pleasing finale to a day of gentle activity and refreshing resting.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.  There’s a novelty.

flying sparrow

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Today’s picture shows Marlow Lock on the Thames and was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal on her phone with a slightly smudged lens.

Marlow Lock

Figures released today show that we had 35%  more rain here than our yearly average in 2012.  Considering that we had two pretty well rainless months in spring, it says a lot for the amount we have had since then.

2013 has started relatively dry but very grey and today was no exception.  It has been very warm though and I looked forward to getting out with Dropscone for a morning pedal for the first time in a good few weeks.  He turned up bang on time and off we went.  It may have been warm but it was also very windy and I was pleased to be well wrapped up as we went over Callister.    We took our time battling the breeze on the outward journey to Paddockhole  but the return trip was correspondingly easy.

Still, we had worked up enough appetite to enjoy the traditional Friday treat of treacle scones with the coffee.   It was good to be back in a familiar groove.

I hadn’t taken my camera with me on the ride and it was so gloomy that capturing busy small birds was hardly worth while…though I did try.

greenfinch shouting

A greenfinch warns a goldfinch off


A chaffinch thinks better of trying to boot a greenfinch off

I soon gave up and went to have a shower.

After my shower, I had enough energy to go for a little walk round the Kilngreen and the Castleholm.  On the Kilngreen, the ducks were lining up for a fly past…

flying mallard

…or a swim past.

mallards swimming

I like this futuristic picnic bench echoing the swirling waters of the Ewes.

bendy bench

As I walked on, the great variety of shapes, sizes and patterns of the trees that I passed tempted me to take a snap (or two).




Even the fence posts were getting in on the act.

fence posts

I like the visibility winter gives to the  organisation of a tree’s trunk and branches.

sprouting from the trunk

Looking like the foot of a giant dinosaur.



Even the remains of felled trees were looking picturesque to me today.

Tree stump

Not to mention the wounds from fallen branches.

branch wound

It was a walk of about a mile on a grey day in January but it provided me with a feast of visual interest and considering that three or four years ago I would have walked round the same walk and seen nothing much, I am very grateful to have bought a camera.

After lunch, which was an epicurean treat of sardines on toast, I went down to Longtown to pick up the belt bike from the bike shop. The bike had been serviced and repaired and had  had a more durable tyre fitted to the rear wheel after my puncture of a few days ago.  One of the down sides of the belt drive is that taking the rear wheel off is a bit fiddly so I hope that the new tyre will prove to be puncture proof.

Then I went on into Carlisle where I dropped some music off for my recorder playing friend Jenny and after a cup of tea and a slice of Christmas cake, I motored on to the station to pick up Mrs Tootlepedal who was arrivimng back from the deep south.

Carlisle Station

The train was a bit late so I had time to practise a night shot.

When we got home I made a celebratory meal of mince and tatties and that rounded off an excellent day.  It was good to have had a morning pedal with Dropscone, it had been fun to catch a flying duck in action and it was wonderful to have Mrs Tootlepedal for company again and to have all that rounded off with a good meal means a definite entry for the day on the credit side of the great ledger of life.   (For those of a serious turn of mind, I should point out that having Mrs Tootlepedal home was in fact better than having mince and tatties for tea.)

Today’s flying bird is another of those passing ducks.



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Today’s picture shows our visiting wood pigeon pulling itself up to its full height.

standing pigeon

It wasn’t freezing and it wasn’t raining this morning and the wind was less than gale force. All in all, it was a pretty good day and I naturally got the slow bike out after breakfast and set out on a old favourite circlular tour.

The map of the route can be seen here.

I started by going up the B709 to  Bentpath.  On the way I stopped above the Craig to show the mixed winter colours of spruce and larch up the Douglen Cleuch.  You can see a glimpse of James Ewart’s racing stables’ workout track in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Douglen Cleuch

As you can see, it was a lovely morning.  The wind was a bit stronger than I had hoped but it was coming from the north west so I was partly sheltered by the hills on my left.  At Bentpath, I crossed the river and went past Georgefield, before crossing the river again at Enzieholm Bridge and heading uphill past Lyneholm for Bailliehill.

At this point, I had turned more into the wind which was gusting heavily and at one stage, I looked at the speedometer to find that I was making all of 3 miles an hour in a particularly heavy gust.  Luckily I got a bit of shelter from a passing hill and made it to the top, albeit very slowly.

At the top of the hill, I stopped to take a picture of a small man made pond and building.

pond at Bailliehill

Is it a summerhouse? Or a scientific research project? Or a carp pond?  Why is it stuck out here in the middle of nowhere in a very exposed spot?  Can anyone tell me?

Cottage at Bailliehill

These are the only other buildings nearby

At the top of the hill, I turned left for Paddockhole and now, I was at the mercy of a stiff cross wind.  I was pleased at this stage to be on the slow bike because its wider handlebars let me keep the bike steadier in these conditions.  At times I had to keep my wits about me to avoid being blown off the road.

I got safely off the top of the hill and into the head of the valley of the Water of Milk.  There I was able to stop to take a picture or two to show why this is one of my favourite rides when the sun is out.

View up the valley

View up the valley. I think that the farm is Capelfoot

The Water of Milk

The Water of Milk (but no honey)

View to the east near Pearsby Hall

View to the east near Pearsby Hall

Looking towards the Langholm Road

Above Paddockhole. You can see my road home on the right of the picture.

From Paddockhole, it was an easy 10 miles home with the brisk wind now behind me.  I got back to Langholm just as a fine drizzle started to fall so in every way, except for the strength of the wind, it was a good morning out.  Once again the trip was about a marathon in distance but because of the hills and the wind, I would have probably been beaten by Paula Radcliffe and only managed a meagre 11 mph.  On this occasion speed wasn’t important and I cycled purely for the pleasure of it after so many days of indifferent weather.

I just had time to snap a pigeon…


Possibly the only bird that is wider than it is tall

…and have a couple of marmalade sandwiches for lunch before the sound of savage shouting alerted me to the fact that a football match (soccer) was being played on the Scholars’ Field.  I had been wanting to try my camera out at a sports event so I scuttled round to the field.  Just to show that I am not alone in being affected by the weather, a supporter told me that this was the first time the team had been able to play since November.  They certainly looked a bit rusty and their fitness faded badly towards the end of the game.  Football is not an easy game to photograph as the players are well spread out and the pitch is large.  I did my best to give a flavour of the action.  Langholm (black and yellow) were playing Selkirk (blue) in a cup game.

(There are quite a few of these pictures which I took for my own interest and if you are bored, skip to the end of the blog where there is another tasty marmalade photo.)

soccer photo

The crowd were small and frozen in the chilly wind and light drizzle

A midfield tussle

A midfield tussle


The excellent sponsors of the Langholm team

Heid the ba'

Winning the ball in midfield


Looking for the telling cross

Looking for the telling cross

The goalie tipped this shot over the bar

The Selkirk goalie tipped this shot over the bar


Langholm Goalie

The Langholm substitute goalie was a remarkable 48 years old

A goalmouth incident

A goalmouth incident

At one stage it looked as though Langholm had forced the ball across the goal line but the referee waved play on and anxious spectators asked me if I had captured the moment to prove him wrong.  Of course I hadn’t.  They were very disappointed and made remarks.

dirty knees and determination

Dirty knees and determination

In spite of Langholm pressing hard, Selkirk broke away and scored and with the score at 3-1 to them with not long to go, I made an excuse and left the field.  I was frozen.

When I got home, I warmed myself up by making another batch of fine cut marmalade.  It ended up between the first two lots in colour so we have now got a good variety for the coming year.

third marmalade

Fine cut

We have made 34 pots so far, leaving us to make another 18 to reach our target.






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Today’s picture shows autumn colour near Kenwood House in London.  It is another from my sister Mary’s morning walks.

autumn Kenwood

November is starting very well and today was the third pleasant, warm day in a row.  The weather gods have kindly arranged for it to rain during the night if it is going to rain at all and the month so far is a great improvement on October.

Dropscone wasn’t available to take part in the morning pedal as he was having solar panels fitted to his garage roof.  The government, in a rare display of good sense, provides a feed in tariff subsidy to encourage the take up of this technology.  Of course it was too good to last and the they are taking the subsidy away just when it was beginning to work in establishing a vibrant solar industry.  Dropscone has just got in before the axe fell.  We are all going to go round to his house to try some of his free electricity.

I went out on the speedy bike by myself and rode in warm sunshine over Callister to Paddockhole.  Here is the view from the bridge without Dropscone intervening.


On this occasion, the wind which had been gently behind me on the way out, gained in strength as I pedalled home by way of Waterbeck and I had to try quite hard to squeeze my average up to 15 mph for the 25 mile trip.

When I got home, I found that a great scaffolding had been erected against our end wall.


This is part of the scheme to stop the rain coming into the house through the end wall during our not infrequent south westerly gales.  We don’t like to think what we will do if this doesn’t work.

While I had the camera in my hand, I took a picture to show the development of the new section of lawn.  It is progressing as well as I could hope.

Two tone lawn

I can assure you that two tone lawns are the latest thing in gardening fashion.

I don’t know whether they don’t get on with goldfinches or whether it is just the time of year but as the goldfinches visit the garden in greater numbers, the sparrows have faded away.  There are still some but nothing like the crowds we have had over the summer.

Goldfinch chaffinches

Two chaffinches wait for a goldfinch to nibble its full.

goldfinch arriving


In the absence of sparrows, the garden is full of blue tits, coal tits and great tits


There are occasional visits from greenfinches

The weather is quite unseasonable and we are worried in case flowers think it is spring already and poke their heads up only to be clobbered by frost.    However, it has encouraged the yellow rose.

yellow rose

There is a frost forecast for Sunday night so I doubt whether it will be joined by its friend.

yellow rose bud

The red rose is still trying but it is in a shady spot for this time of year and is never without a raindrop even on a fine day.

red rose and raindrop

I am struggling to come to terms with the dark evenings now the clock has gone back.  In the afternoon, I did some preparatory work on a searchable index for some 1864 maps of the parish for the Archive website and when I had finished, it was so dark that I thought it must be time for my evening meal.  It turned out to be only half past four so I had a cup of tea and a slice of toast instead.  I then spent and hour and a half mooching around waiting for it to be time for tea.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy and we did a power of work between us.  A shorter than usual visit to the Douglas Hotel rounded off the day in traditional fashion.

I don’t have to go far to see some autumn colour.  This tree is just over our back fence in a neighbour’s garden.

neighbourhood colour

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