Posts Tagged ‘painted lady’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle-on-Tyne correspondent and shows her children posing beside Stephenson’s Rocket.

rocket with mengers

It rained several times today but disappointingly not enough to register any amount on Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge.  Still, the lightness of the occasional drizzle and the sunny spells in between allowed me to spend a productive and enjoyable day.

We were both surprised (and pleased) to find that yesterday’s furniture removal work had not had any bad effects and Mrs Tootlepedal was out working in the garden at every opportunity.

I had a wander round while dead heading after breakfast.

I was impressed by the very straight back of the big white lily…

big lily two

…and the fact that its flowers don’t talk to each other at all.

They are big flowers.  By comparison,  a new white poppy looked very modest.

white poppy

The arrival of Dropscone bringing the traditional Friday treacle scones brightened one of the gloomier weather moments of the morning.  It was good to catch up on his news after a gap of two weeks.

When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal decided to stop gardening and go off to buy some more plants and other necessities like fertilizer and bamboos sticks.

While she was gone, I sieved all the compost that was left in Bin D and then turned the contents of Bin C into the empty Bin D.  To save my back a bit, I employed a nifty raking and kicking process which left me with minimum lifting to do.  I haven’t taken any pictures of this as I felt that too much excitement might not be good for some of my more elderly readers.

I went in and had another round in my fight against the whimsicalities of my printer.  I did a lot.  I updated the printer operating system, I muttered imprecations both loudly and under my breath, I turned things off and on.  I worked hard.  The score so far?  Printer 3 Tom 0.

I had lunch (courgette soup) and then set the camera up to look at the birds.  Goldfinches have been scarce lately so I was pleased to see one today.


A rather ragged jackdaw dropped in too.

jackdaw molting

There were plenty of greenfinches again and the contest for available perches was continuous.

flying goldfinch triptych

Mostly the sitting tenants won today.

Birds keep producing young and I saw a chaffinch feeding a youngster in the plum tree.

chaffinch and young

Mrs Tootlepedal eventually returned after visiting two garden centres in order to find what she wanted.  As this meant that she had been able to buy some good cheese for me from the one that has a food hall, I was very happy.

I had a walk round the garden with her and we saw some peacock butterflies on the buddleia but I couldn’t get a good picture.  The weather looked to be set fair for a while so I took a picture of the colourphul phlox…

phine phlox

…and then put my camera away and got out my bicycle.

It was one of those days when the shelter of the garden gives a false impression of how strong the breeze is.  When I got out of town, I found that there was a decidedly brisk breeze in my face.  Not wanting to overtax my legs, I settled for an up and down the road twenty miles so that I didn’t have to face into the wind for too long at a time.

As I cycled towards the bottom of Callister, a buzzard took off and flew lazily up the road ahead of me.  It turned and flew over my head a couple of times and then hovered in the wind above the banking beside the road.  I stopped, got my camera out and pointed it at the spot where the buzzard had been until two seconds before I pressed the shutter button.

wauchope road no buzzard

A buzzard fee zone

Apart from the breeze, it was a perfect day for a pedal, warm but not too hot and with a little shade provided by white fluffy clouds from time to time.

My route took me through the town and out on the north side before I turned back and rounded off the trip with another six miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, keeping in the shelter of the valley bottom.

The countryside is looking a lot fresher after our recent rain.

wauchope view

Looking down the Bigholms Burn

Ewes valley

Looking up towards Ewes

wauchope white bull

The white bull looked just about as happy as can be.

When I got back, I noticed a flurry of movement on the buddleia.  We had been invaded by a small army of butterflies.  There were our usual white butterflies but there were also several peacocks…

peacock butterfly on buddleia

…two small tortoiseshells which I spotted…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

..and a single painted lady which caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

painted lady butterfly on buddleia

It makes the heart sing to see such beauty.

I had time to enjoy the flower of another of the big lilies among the rose mallows….

big lily

…and to reflect on the clematis on the fence which apparently produces flowers with different numbers of petals.

clematis 6 petalsclematis 4 petals

…until you look more closely, before I went in for my shower and a catch up on my correspondence.

Mrs Tootlepedal used some of our courgette mountain to make courgette fritters for tea and then Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday visit.  Before we played, Alison told me that their buddleia too had been covered on butterflies this afternoon.  This is good news as there were worries that the butterfly population might have been hit by the cold late spring this year.

The music was as enjoyable as ever and sometimes we both played the right notes at the right time and this created a very pleasing effect and rounded off a good day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch










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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s continental excursion and shows a fine bridge over the Schlei at Kappeln in Schleswig-Flensburg.  Dropscone points out that it is just the same as Tower Bridge in London….but without the towers of course.


Our spell of warm weather continued today and it was up to a  most unseasonal 20°C by mid morning and when the sun came out, it became positively hot.

The fat balls on the feeder have become sparrow magnets.

sparrows at feeder

But I managed to tear myself away from the kitchen window and get the final stage of my Archive Group  charity return to the regulators completed. This was a weight off my mind.    It is one of those tasks, quite simple in itself, for which the word procrastination is designed.  I suffer from chronic formophobia but I should have learned to overcome this by now.  Still, it is done.

After a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal, I spent some time cleaning my fairly speedy bike as it had been wheezing and groaning a bit on my last ride.  When this was done, I sat on it and went for a pedal.

I was back home three minutes later as I had forgotten my bike glasses but this worked out well as Mrs Tootlepedal, who was toiling in the garden,  pointed out a painted lady butterfly….

painted lady and red admiral butterflies

…and I noticed a red admiral not far away.

I was going on my standard 20 mile pedal down to Canonbie across country and then back by the old A7 and  I stopped to add a picture of the bridge over the Esk at Canonbie to my recent bridge portfolio.

Canonbie Bridge

The rather ugly railing was added when the footway was widened a few years ago.

Although it was a lovely morning and the river was busy but not full, a glance at the bank above where I was standing….

Esk at canonbie

…showed just how high the Esk had been on Friday night after some heavy rain.  The level would have been above my head as I stood on the edge of the water.

All was quiet today though and I had a last look through the bridge….

Canonbie Bridge

….and then pedalled home in very good humour on dry roads in the warm sunshine with little or no wind.

There were more butterflies to be seen when I got back.

red admiral and peacock butterflies

The painted lady had been replaced by a peacock.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy doing some severe plant shifting requiring a pick axe while I had a light lunch and then we set about trimming the hedge along the road.  It had got a bit hairy…

hairy hedge

…although it only seems like yesterday that I gave it its last trim.

As you can see from the wires along the pavement, we were intending to use our electric hedge trimmer but the rotten thing wouldn’t work and after trying every connection, we gave it up as a bad job and settled for hand powered shears.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been working too long in the sun though by this time and had to go in and lie down in a darkened room for a moment so I clipped away by myself until, providentially, the sun went in and Mrs Tootlepedal came out again.

Together we got the job done….

Trimmed hedge

…and though it is not a thing of dead straight lines and knife edge creases, we look at it as a creative work of art reflecting the troubled world that we live in and we are content.

Mrs Tootlepedal kept the shears at work by trimming a yew bush in the garden…

yew clipping

…while I snapped a few flowers….


…and spotted more butterflies.

red admiral butterfly

When you see one close up, you wouldn’t want to argue with it.

I am very happy about the number of butterflies appearing now.  It is not as large as in some previous years but it is more than we were expecting after cold weather at a crucial time.

I looked at some other flowers too and thought that the buds of a Fuchsia, hanging like lanterns, were perhaps just as pretty as the flowers in this light.


I always enjoy an astrantia and our pale variety has produced some late flowers.


On the edge of the freshly mown lawn, gently green nicotiana blended with yellow crocosmia.

nicotiana and crocosmia

I was able to pick apples for stewing and enough of our autumn fruiting raspberries to have a plate of raspberries and cream at tea time.  The front lawn had dried out enough to make mowing it a pleasure and  I even did a bit of dead heading in an effort to keep the dahlias and poppies going.  Some aspects of gardening are most enjoyable.

While I was clipping the hedge, my trio playing fried Mike had appeared with a new Mozart trio which he has just bought.  It is an arrangement of the trio in E flat K.498 (Kegelstadt) for oboe, bassoon and piano and will do very well for our flute, cello and piano trio.  Music for our combination is hard to come by.  I looked at it when I got in from the garden and enjoyed what I saw.

I went to make a cup of tea for the gardener and me and looked out of the window while we were sipping away….


…and received a hard stare for my trouble.

The jackdaw flew off however and was instantly replace by squabbling sparrows…


…while a dunnock was happy to scavenge for tidbits under the feeder.


If you have a glut of courgettes, I can heartily recommend courgette fritters.  Mrs Tootlepedal has a good recipe for them, and they are delicious, like potato latkes but better.   I could eat them every day which is handy as we have a lot of courgettes to get through.  Visitors almost always leave with a courgette or two with them.  We had some fritters for our tea with the last of the venison stew.

Later on we enjoyed some stewed apple and custard.  It was a good eating evening.

The flower of the day is a sunflower which Mrs Tootlepedal found bent over to the ground behind some other plants.  She has staked it up and it is looking none the worse for its adventures.


The flying bird of the day is one of the disputatious sparrows, flapping furiously as it approached the feeder..

flying sparrow



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Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal.  She bicycled off after church to help with some archaeological surveying at a Roman camp near the town and noticed this painted lady butterfly on the way.

painted lady

I was in a rather creaky state when I woke up and after breakfast I resolved to see if some vigorous activity would be beneficial in easing things off so I scarified and then mowed the middle lawn.

Although I was quite able to do this without any trouble, it didn’t have any lasting effect and I resolved to spend the rest of the day at rest.  I did have a quick walk round the garden first though.

Some flowers are useful as well as decorative and these are beans and potatoes in the veg patch.

beans and potatoes

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out a lot of Sweet Williams and they are just beginning to make a show in various beds round the garden.

Sweet William

There is plenty of white to set off the other colours in the garden and here are clematis round the back door, cosmos planted out by the front door and pinks beside the pond.

clematis cosmos and pink

For the first time this year, there was quite a lot of buzzing to be heard all round the garden today which was good news.  I watched one bee visiting a foxglove.

bee on foxglove

Going, going…gone

Mrs Tootlepedal has planted up the chimney pot beside the bird feeder….

chimney pot

…and it wasn’t long before I was inside and looking out at the feeder.  I was pleased to see a blue tit, quite a rare visitor this year.

blue tit

As I had sitting down in mind as my chief occupation for the afternoon, it was very fortunate that the television kindly provided me with the exciting final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine followed by both the men’s and women’s world cup triathlon events from Leeds.  This kept me fully entertained until Mrs Tootlepedal returned.  She had had a busy time moving measuring ropes to mark out a grid for the magnetometer operator to follow for the survey of the fort site.

She is going back tomorrow to have more fun.

It was quite hard work and she followed my example and did a little sofa surfing while I made her a cup of tea.

The day had stayed dry and cloudy and it was pleasantly warm so I decided to stir my stumps and stretch my joints with a little walk over the Jubilee Bridge.

There were plenty of birds to be seen as I walked along the Esk from the suspension bridge.

black headed gull, heron and rooks

There were more to be seen on the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen but as they were wagtails and the light was fading, they were hard to catch.  There were both pied and grey wagtails and they didn’t stop long when I got near. This is a grey wagtail.

grey wagtail

The sheep on the Castleholm were more placid.

sheep on castleholm

A pastoral scene

I saw knapweed beside the river and ornamental red horse chestnut flowers beside the cricket pitch.

horse chestnut and knapweed

We are pretty well at peak green now.  Indeed, it is hard to see how things could get any greener….


…although there is a lot of yellow about too.


I didn’t dawdle too long as there were some threatening clouds about and I crossed the bridge and headed home.  The nuthatches seem to have gone but there were plenty of other things to look at, some beside the path round the school playing field…

wild flowers

….some in the minister’s garden as I passed…

minister's flowers

..and a Philadelphus perfuming the evening air as I approached our gate.


Once again, I was able to take the exercise without any trouble but it didn’t stop the creaking when I went to sit down afterwards.  A good night’s sleep should sort it all out.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow slipping past the feeder pole.


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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my old teaching colleague Ada.  She and some of her family have just spent time in France.  Guess what her husband, sister and brother-in-law did.

Mont Ventoux

I went cycling myself this morning and climbed a hill too.  It was slightly less awesome than Mont Ventoux though as it was just ten miles and a few hundred feet of climb up to Mosspaul.

It was just as sunny here though and I was glad to be cooled down by a brisk wind as I cycled up the ten miles to the hotel.  They have a fine monkey puzzle tree in their garden.

Monkey Puzzle

My favourite crossword setter, now deceased, used this tree, the Araucaria, as his nom de plume .

It was quite hard work against the wind so I was pleased to be able to turn at the top and look back down at my route home.


Just follow the power lines!

I went up the gentle hill at an average of 11 mph and went back down at 21 mph, which made the return journey very enjoyable.

I had a little time for a walk round the garden and a cup of coffee before we had to set off for Carlisle and the last concert of the choir season.

The garden was looking as though it was enjoying the fine weather too.


The alliums are getting very spherical.


There are still not nearly enough bees about but those that are here are keeping busy.

bumble bee

I was thinking pale and pink today.



The first rose of the season…

The second rose of the season

…soon joined by another


Looking up at an Aquilegia

I did take one look at a stronger colour.


I had just enough strength left after pedalling to chase round the garden after the painted lady butterfly which was making a return visit.

painted lady

I hope that it is joined by a friend or two soon.

Our trip to Carlisle for the Carlisle Community Choir summer concert went well.  We have been a bit short of practice for some of the songs in the programme as we have been concentrating on the competitions that we took part in but we had a good go through them before the performance and things went pretty well.

A friend, who has sung in many choirs over the years, came to listen and she thoroughly enjoyed the concert and gave us a very favourable report whihc was very heartening.

We had had to leave our unlocked car in a public car park for five hours while we sang so it was an added bonus to find it still there when we went to look for it.  This perhaps is one advantage of driving a car which discerning car thieves would not be seen dead in.

We had a walk round the garden when we got home and I was impressed by signs of growth in the strawberries.


Mrs Tootlepedal likes the colourful ornamental strawberry on the left. I am thinking of eating the real ones on the right in the not too distant future.

Now that both of our choirs have finished for the summer, we will have more free time so we expect the weather to take a turn for the worse as we always seem to get the best weather when we have to go to a choir practice.  Such is life.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.


PS: We shed a tear for Andy Murray, beaten again by the inexorable Novak.





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A coal tit approached the problem from a different angle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today we had red admirals…

red admiral butterfly…small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly…and painted ladies…

painted lady butterflyThe painted lady gave me a profile shot.

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

There were butterflies and bees wherever we looked.

butterfliesIt seemed that every flower had an insect friend.

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

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

poppyI will miss the poppies when the season ends.

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

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle’s correspondent’s trip to California, where she visited Stanford university.

Stanford UniversityWe were pleased and surprised to be presented with another fine, dry day today and we are beginning to feel that we could easily get used to this sort of thing.

I started the day with a visit to the Moorland Feeders where I was filling in for anjother volunteer who was away.  I sat for a while in the hide and the feeders were busy but there was nothing of great note to record….just a woodpecker or two…

woodpecker….and a blue tit which I was very pleased to see.

blue tit and nettle

I took the nettle during a dull moment. It was right in front of the window.

I stopped for about half an hour and then made my way home.

Once again, Mrs Tootlepedal had made use of the good weather by continuing her work in the garden and she was busy there when I got back.  I mowed the grass round the greenhouse and the paths on the front lawn.  The plan to have some areas of wild flowers on this lawn is proceeding very slowly but we are still hoping that it will come to pass.

A beautiful blue cornflower is the first wild flower actually to appear and it was matched by a salvia in a nearby flower bed.

salvia and cornflowerThe Crown Princess Margareta which has been looking promising, finally fulfilled that promise in the sunshine today.

Crown Princess margaretaOn the whiter side, a clematis over the archway to the veg garden has produced some of its curious green and white flowers, while on the other side of the garden, the privet flowers are a bee magnet and you could hardly hear yourself think near them because of the buzzing.

clematis and privetAlong with some shredding and compost sieving, this took up the morning (though there might have been a prize crossword in there too).

It seemed like a good time for an outing after all the hard work that Mrs Tootlepedal had been doing so we went out for lunch at Newcastleton.  Mrs Tootlepedal was very keen to show me a very pretty flower bed she had passed in Rowanburn on her way to a meeting  recently so we went by that route.

The flower bed was worth a look.

Rowanburn flowersWe drove on to Newcastleton where we had a light lunch in the Olive Tree.  We didn’t have a plan for the afternoon but it was such a nice day that we decided that a walk would be a good idea.  We drove down to the bridge across the Kershope Burn….

Kershope Bridge…and started our walk from there.

By crossing this bridge we moved from Scotland into England and we turned to walk upstream along the English bank of the Kershope burn.

Kershop forestThe Forestry Commission had provided us with an excellent track to follow.

There wasn’t a dull moment as the prospects were lovely….

Kershope Burn…and the track was lined with wild flowers in profusion.

dock and ragged robin

Dock and ragged robin

White wild flower

We didn’t know what this beautiful flower was.

self heal and bedstraw

Self heal and bedstraw

As well as the flowers, the were butterflies and fungus as well.

The butterfly is a painted lady but I found so many possibilities in my fungus book that I gave up on it.

As often seems to be the case just now, the umbelliferae were very attractive to insects but some were more attractive than others…

umbellifera and dragonflyThe dragonfly (damselfly?) on the right is the first that I have ever photographed and as a result, although the picture is pretty poor, it is a triumph for me.  It might be a skimmer.

If I had taken pictures of all the insects and wild flowers that we saw, this post would never finish….and we would never have finished our walk.

Half way along our walk, we crossed the Kershope Burn again and walked back into Scotland.  This bridge was not quite so elegant as the previous one.

Kershope bridgeThe Scottish side was very similar to the English side….

Kershope burnAfter a while, we were offered a choice of routes….

I don't know what the bush had done to annoy the sign writer.

I don’t know what the bush had done to annoy the sign writer.

We took the right hand fork which kept along the bank of the stream but we didn’t go far before we turned back.

Among the many wild flowers we passed, a host of orchids stood out and one patch in particular impressed us the most.

orchidIf you were looking for orchids, this was the walk for you.

We made our way back to the car and then drove home over the moor, stopping to look (in vain) for harriers or short eared owls.  We did see a lot of this bright yellow flower….

yellow moor flower…which was growing in large patches beside the road above the Little Tarras.

We got home feeling that we had been on a very good outing.  While I went in for a quiet sit down, the indefatigable Mrs Tootlepedal couldn’t resist a little more gardening.  She did well to work hard while the day was warm and dry because there is a hint of rain about while I type this and there is a possibility of more tomorrow.

I was pleased that my legs stood up to the walk very well although at about 4km, it wasn’t very long.  I am hoping that a  mixture of gentle cycling and short walks will soon get me back to full fitness.  Having made the mistake of cycling far too far too soon after my fall, the trick will be not to go too far or too fast too soon again….which is easier said than done.

I didn’t have much time to look out of the kitchen window today so once again a rather fuzzy siskin will have to do as flying bird of the day.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture is another from my daughter Annie and shows two of her friends deep in conversation in her Brixton garden.

parakeetsThis weekend the Muckletoon* Adventure Festival is in full swing with a cycle hill climb yesterday, mountain bike rides, guided walks and trail running today and 30, 60 and 90 mile cycle sportives tomorrow and a host of other supporting events as well.  In previous years I have done the 60 mile sportive while Mrs Tootlepedal did the 30 miles, taken part in the cycle hill climb and rushed about taking photos but this year I decided that I would take a break.  I was due to take some pictures of a bird ringing session tomorrow but this has been cancelled due to the threat of rain.

A forecast of wet and gloomy weather had helped me make up my mind and it was soggy when we got up.  Still, it was warmer than we expected so we put  rain jackets in our bags and set off for a very gentle ride far from the energetic competitors of the main events.

We were keeping an eye on the roadside  verges and Mrs Tootlepedal reckons that if you go over 9mph, you can’t check them out properly so, by and large, we maintained a modest pace.

It paid off.

Our route took us up quiet back roads…

Barnglieshead…past belted Galloways, our local breed of cattle….

belted galloways…and through many displays of red campion, geraniums, geums, trefoil, cow parsley, silverweed and…

two clovers

….two sorts of clover

rattle and bedstraw

…and rattle and bedstraw

We were just at the highest point of the 14 mile ride and on our way home, when Mrs Tootlepedal said, “It’s starting to rain.” It was.  Two minutes later, I said, “The sun has come out.”  It had and greatly to our surprise (and delight), the rain vanished and the sun remained out for the rest of the day.

It was warm and the garden looked fresh and welcoming.

lupin and anemone

Colours shone in lupin and anemone

astrantia and rose

Understated class


Frogs basked in the sunshine

After lunch, I mowed the middle lawn in celebration and Mrs Tootlepedal continued planting out the flowers that she has been raising in the greenhouse.  In the end, I decided it was too good a day not to go for a walk so, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal slaving over a hot trowel, I set off to visit the top of Warbla to enjoy the views.

It was a beautiful day, warm but not too hot and with a cool breeze in my face.

Pool CornerMy route took me past Pool Corner where I stopped to check on the slow worms.

slow worm

They were enjoying the warmth too.

I had taken a picture of a geum in the garden before I left and I found a wild one in the hedgerow as I walked up the Manse Brae.  The contrast between the two shows the skill of the plant breeder.

geumsI crossed the Auld Stane Brig and turned up onto the hill.

WarblaI was soon looking back down the hill, first to a lovely wood on the side of the hill….

warbla wood…and then down into the town from the top of the hill.

LangholmAt the very top of the picture of the town, you can see the rugby ground which is the headquarters of the Adventure Festival.

I looked up the Ewes Valley…

Ewes valley…and took a small panoramic picture of the view north from the hill which Photoshop kindly stitched together for me from two photos.

Langholm panoramaWarbla sits on the edge of the hills above the Solway Plain with extensive views to the south, east and west but the view to the north is the best.

There were other things to look at as well as the views.  I saw quite a few butterflies and even managed to photogrpah two of them, a painted lady and an orange tip.

painted lady, orange tip butterfliesThere have been reports of an invasion of painted ladies this year so I was very pleased to see one fluttering about on the very top of the hill, impervious to the brisk breeze.

There were birds singing galore and one hopped down the track ahead of me as I left the summit.  It kept a few yards in front of me so I suspect that I must have been near a nest.  I am not very knowledgeable about birds but I think that this one is a lark.  It kept just out of range of a clear picture.

larkThere were sheep grazing on every side and a mother and child posed for their portrait as I passed.

sheep and lambIf I was a poet this account of my walk could correctly be described as a pastoral idyll.

Warbla TrackAs I neared the end of my walk, I was intrigued by a little bird popping about on a fence beside the track,  I took several pictures and I thought that I was always looking at the same bird but….

bird on fence…the two pictures here look rather different.  Can any expert tell me what the bird is?  And are both pictures of the same bird?

Nearby, an old stable was in danger of being swamped by buttercups.

stableWhen I got home, the early evening was so beautiful that Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a cup of coffee out into the garden to sit and drink while Pocketcam scurried off to take our picture.

TootlepedalsI finish the post with a double picture, the soggy iris taken after breakfast and the hosta taken in the evening sun.  I think that they sum the day up pretty well.

iris and hostaIn spite of the excitements of the ride and the walk, the flying bird of the day is a domestic sparrow.

flying sparrow*Muckletoon: The ‘big town’,  Langholm of course.

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