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Posts Tagged ‘pigeons’

Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce.  He sent me this shot of the three bridges over the Forth as seen from the ship that was about to take him to Sweden.

three forth bridges

We were due to go to Edinburgh today to visit Matilda but I got up early and cycled twenty miles and got home in time to mow the middle lawn, have a cup of coffee and look at a few flowers, including the first orange hawkweed of the year…

Orange hawkweed june

…some Rosa Complicata (a very simple rose as it happens)….

rosa complicata

…one of the Rosa Moyesii which are doing the best of our roses at the moment…

rosa moyesii

…a very bright oriental poppy…

oriental poppy

…some delicate ornamental strawberries with don’t seem to mind the rain at all…

pink strawberries

…and an astrantia, always one of my favourite flowers.

pink astrantia

The cotoneaster still has a good number of bees buzzing about it, so new flowers must be opening every day.

bee on cotoneaster

Jackdaws are very busy at the peanuts these days.

jackdaw on peanuts

And today’s hedge sitter was a young blackbird.

young blackbird on hedge

We went off to Edinburgh earlier than usual as we had a shopping visit on the schedule and this meant driving to Tweedbank to use the Border Railway.  The train was on time and when we got to Edinburgh, we walked down to John Lewis.  As well as doing some successful shopping, we had a cup of coffee in what must be the department store cafe with the best view in Britain.  My phone can’t do it justice at all.

sdr

After we had done our shopping we went to Matilda’s house.  As it was such a sunny day, she was very happy to show us her local park.  It is called Lochend Park and this is the end of the loch in the park.

dav

I didn’t have a good camera with me which was a pity as there were two sorts of geese, gulls, moorhens and ducks to look at, not to mention a fine doocot.  The moorhens put on a fine show of ducking and diving and swimming underwater.  Matilda was impressed.

She was also impressed by the roundabout which turned very smoothly…

dav

…and the intricate web of ropes which gave her an opportunity to show her adventurous nature.

dig

We were impressed by the wild irises growing along the banks of the loch.

dig

We had a very  cheerful time sitting on the benches thoughtfully provided by Edinburgh Corporation for the relief of the elderly while Matilda spun and climbed and slid.

The road to the park from Matilda’s house is called Butterfly Way so we were able to remark (many, many times) that we had had a lovely day on Butterfly Way.

Alistair cooked us a tasty meal involving roast aubergines, cherry tomatoes and rigatoni so we were two happy people as we caught the train home.

Going to Tweedbank, rather then Lockerbie means a much longer drive, but there is still so much novelty in driving the electric car that the time passed quickly enough.  We had done 97 miles since the last charge by the time that we got home and when I plugged the car in, it said that there was just under half the charge left in the battery.  This gives us a very satisfactory range for summer driving although we realise that it will be considerably less in the cold winter months.

The flying birds of the day are a very unsatisfactory phone picture of pigeons returning to the doocot in Lochend Park.  I will take a proper camera next time I visit.

dig

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was driving past the Silk Mill in Derby and thought that it might be the sort of picture that I would enjoy.  On reflection, I think that he was right.

silk mill Derby

We were promised a cooler, cloudier day today but when we got up, it was as sunny as ever.

I was intending to go for a bike ride and once again found it hard to get going so I was happy to enjoy a stroll round the garden and admire the sunlit garden flowers after breakfast.

garden flowers

The strong light took some of the darkness away from the ‘black’ iris.

The sun didn’t last for long and by the time that I had had an early cup of coffee, the skies had clouded over.  It was still pleasantly warm though and with a light wind, it looked like a perfect day for pedalling.

In the end, I ran out of excuses and got my new bike out and set off, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal toiling in the garden.

It was a perfect day for pedalling.

For some reason which is obscure to me the road verges seem to attract different wild plants in different spots even though the growing conditions look very similar.  There is a section of the road just before the top of Callister that is perennially home to a very fine collection of curly dock (as always my naming of plants is open  to correction).

curly docks

It grows elsewhere of course, but this section of about fifty yards has the best collection by far.

I thought that you would be interested to know that.

Once over Callister, I set my course for the flatter lands of the Solway coast as my tin knee has been a bit creaky lately and I wanted to give it kindly treatment today.

I crossed the Kirtle Water for the third time as I got near Eaglesfield.

Eaglesfield bridge

My route then took me past Chapelcross, a retired nuclear power station which is being (very) gradually dismantled.  Each time that I pass it, a little more of it has disappeared.

Chapelcross

August last year

Chapelcross 2018

Today

The power station sits on a hill looking over the Solway and looking down, I thought that for once the sea might be on duty…

Solway view

….and I was pleased to find when I got to Brow Houses, that I was right.

Brow houses

I paused and had my lunch and a little walk among the wild flowers on the grassy slope down to the water’s edge.  There were plenty to enjoy.

Brow houses wild flowers

This was my favourite.

Brow houses flower

The farms are cultivated as near to the edge of the Firth as possible and the cows were interested in what I was doing.

 

Brow houses cow

Refreshed by an egg roll and a banana, I pressed on to Gretna and then into England.

I had to stop and let a train go up the main line….

TP Express

…before I could cross the level crossing and head down to Rockliffe and then by way of the new Carlisle by-pass start heading home through the lanes of North Cumbria.

One of the lanes had a wonderful hedge of roses….

roses beside road

…which were a delicate shade of pink.

hedge roses

As I was going up the main road from Longtown to Langholm, I took a break from the traffic and visited Kirkandrews-on_Esk, where there is a neat church and an old tower, still lived in as a family home today.

Kirkandrews on Esk

The church, as its names implies, sits on the bank of the River Esk and there is a bridge to allow the churchgoers on the other side of the river to get to the services and a sundial to tell them if they are on time.

bridge and sundial Kirkandrews

I took the picture of the sundial at just about 3 o’clock BST which is two o’clock GMT so the sundial is still keeping pretty good time after 100 years.

It is a picturesque spot….

Kirkandrews on Esk (2)

…and the river was looking beautiful in the little bit of sunshine which had come out to brighten the day.

Kirkandrews on Esk (3)

The bridge is a delicate construction and sways alarmingly when you cross it.

Kirkandrews on Esk bridge

It didn’t take me long to get home and by dint of sprinting through the town as fast as I could pedal, I just managed to keep my average speed for the 61 miles to 14 mph, a tribute to the warmth of the day, the flatness of the route and the kindness of the light winds.

Mike Tinker was taking a cup of tea in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal when I arrived home and he remarked that he and his wife had seen plenty of lightning yesterday.  This was very odd as Mrs Tootlepedal and I had looked hard and seen none and he only lives about 100 yards away.   Maybe we just weren’t looking in the right direction.

I had another look round the garden when Mike went and was able to admire the very neat lawn edging which Mrs Tootlepedal had done while I was out.  She had done quite a lot of other things too.

I had my camera in my hand of course and was spoilt for choice.

garden flowers in afternoon

in the garden

When we went inside, we could watch a small flock of wood pigeons being disagreeable.

pigeons

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and added weight to my suspicion that he has been secretly practising.  We did a lot of good work.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden is looking very healthy and she was able to pick more spinach to go with a second helping of the slow cooked sausage stew for our tea.  Considering how much I disliked spinach when I was a child, it is amazing how much I like it now.

The flower of the day is the first look at my favourite peony, taken in the early evening.

peony

Note: I received a message from our health centre while I was out cycling and I rang the doctor when I got home and was very happy to hear that my chest x-ray had come back clear of any problems.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who came across this Jersey Tiger moth while visiting the garden at Greys Court in Oxfordshire.

Jersey tiger moth Greys Court

I had a strange visitor today.  When I looked out of the kitchen window, I found Dropscone measuring himself against the sunflower.

Dropscone and the sunflower

Dropscone is the taller but the sunflower is the more handsome.

Still, sunflowers don’t make treacle scones and Drospcone does so he was very welcome.

He had harrowing tales of golf disasters to relate but the scones and coffee eased the pain.

Before he arrived, I had had time to admire the flourishing fuchsia…

fuchsia

…take today’s poppy potpourri…

poppies

…and watch a busy bee in a sweetie shop.

bee on poppy

When he left, I mowed the middle lawn and sieved some compost and then had to leave the good weather outside to set about selecting and printing the photographs for the Westerkirk Flower Show which takes place tomorrow.

I shouldn’t have left this task so late as there is a lot of work involved and  it was a pity to waste a good day by being indoors.  Still, I made a selection and my new printer worked well.

After a late lunch, I got out into the garden again and was once again bowled over by the numbers of butterflies about.  They were all peacocks…

peacock butterflies

…and red admirals…

red admiral butterflies

…but there a lot of them.  It was hard to find less than two on a buddleia flower cluster and there were often three.

red admiral butterflies

I did find one by itself…

red admiral butterfly

…but that was on a Michaelmas daisy which only holds one butterfly at a time.

I looked at some spiky dahlias.

dahlias

Mrs Tootlepedal wanted some pages printed for her Embroiderers’ Guild which is having an informal meeting tomorrow and when I went to print them out, the printer told me that it had a firmware update available and asked if would like to install it.  There are some invitations that are irresistible so I gave it the go ahead and all went well and encouraging messages were delivered.

Unfortunately, the update had ensured that my computer could no longer actually talk to the newly updated printer so a good deal more of a lovely day was wasted in muttered oaths, head scratching and a few well placed kicks.  Whether it was the kicks or some random button pressing I can’t tell but after a while order was restored and the print outs completed.

I went outside again.  It was such a good day that I decided to go for a walk up Meikleholm Hill.  I gave Sandy a ring to see if he would like to come too but he told me that he was relaxing in the garden with a cool beer and the crossword and was quite comfortable where he was…..but before I could put my phone back in my pocket, he had weighed up the beauty of the day against the charms of some cool beer and decided to come with me on the walk.  It was that sort of day.

The cattle are still off the hill and it is a wonderful place to walk at the moment, rich in wild flowers…

wild flowers on Meikleholm

…and golden with hawkweed and tormentil among harebells and others.

Meikleholm meadow

Along the path we took round the side of the hill was a new crop of blue flowers which I had come specially to see.

scabious

I couldn’t remember what they are called and had to look them up when I got home.  They are scabious but I couldn’t find any pictures of one surrounded with a little halo of leaves like this one…

scabious

…but it looks like the others so I think it must be  a scabious too.

There were hundreds of them on this particular part of the hill but very few elsewhere.  Curious.  Unfortunately they grew too far apart to make a carpet so I can’t give a very good impression of what it was like to walk among them.  You will have to take my word that it was very enjoyable.

When we got to the top of the hill, there were any amount of views to be had….

Esk valley

Looking up the Esk valley

Bigger hills beyond the valley

Bigger hills beyond the valley

View from Meikleholm

Looking across to the northern English hills

…and there were big skies too.

View from Meikleholm

On my way back home after leaving Sandy, I saw a small flock of homing pigeons resting on their loft.

homing pigeons

They too had been taking a little exercise.

Sandy and I agreed that it had been a walk worth worth getting out and about for.

My neighbour Liz’s garage was looking very colourful as I got back to the house….

Liz's garage

…and the garage owner herself was in the kitchen enjoying a cup of tea and chat with Mrs Tootlepedal.  I joined them and had a slice of another oat, ginger and plum bake which Mrs Tootlepedal had made earlier in the afternoon with the very last of our plums.

The plums have made excellent eating and we are waiting for the apples to ripen.  It shouldn’t be long now.

I added one of the views which I had taken on the walk to my entry for the Westerkirk Show and I had just finished printing it out when Mike and Alison came round.

Alison and I enjoyed playing Rameau, Telemann and Loeillet and that rounded off a busy and enjoyable day.

I even got a few flying birds when the homing pigeons obligingly did a fly past for me.

pigeons

So far the weather in September has been very good!

 

 

 

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Today’s picture was taken especially for the blog by my brother as he pedalled along the Erewash Canal in Nottinghamshire.  Very nice it is too.

Erewash canal

map31july13 Dropscone and I enjoyed a pedal ourselves this morning.  It was a lot cooler than it has been lately but the  absence of any wind made it very pleasant as we cycled across Callister, past Gair and through the farmlands around Chapelknowe and Glenzier. (Click on the map to see the details.)   We were additionally cheered by the fact the the council seems to be busy mending some of the worst sections of the roads.

We went on this slightly longer than normal morning ride because I was keen to do 25 miles to get my total for the month up to 500 miles.  This is the most that I have done in a month since September 2011 and brings my total for the year to 2761 miles.  I am very pleased to have managed this but it compares poorly with the 4888 miles that I had done by this time in 2011.  Judging by how tired I feel, there is little chance of ever getting back to that sort of distance.  All the same, I am enjoying the cycling that I am doing  and I am very pleased to be able to do it thanks to some very effective medicine.

My spreadsheet tells me that I have done 168 miles with Dropscone  at an average of 15 mph, 70 with Mrs Tootlepedal at 9 mph and 263 by myself at 14.5 mph.  The 168 miles with Dropscone probably means that I have eaten 16 of his scones after cycling and as he has brought round treacle scones on at least two non cycling days, that brings the total up to 20.  It’s a good thing to go cycling with a retired baker.

After he left today, I wandered round the garden as usual.  There are pink and blue phlox coming to join the white ones.

phlox

And cosmos of many different shades

cosmos

The rose with many heads is progressing.

rosa princess margareta

It makes dead heading a little tricky.

Shirley poppies are coming in various shades as well.

shirley poppies

Altogether, there is quite a lot of colour in the garden if you know where to look,  Some of it is well hidden.

lilies

Lilies in the long grass

Some is quite obvious.

sunflowers

It’s a pity that they didn’t all grow to a nicely matched height.

After lunch we headed off to Carlisle, stopping on the way at the bike shop at Longtown to collect a couple of new pedals for me. Our main task was to pick up a B&B duvet which was being cleaned professionally but Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like to miss a chance to go to an embroidery shop so after picking up the duvet, we headed into the centre of town.  As we passed under a railway bridge on the way to the car park, we thought we heard the sound of a steam engine on the line above us.  Once through, we looked back.

45231

We had heard a steam locomotive.  It was a Black 5 Stanier

Like the canal at the top of the post, it too had a Nottinghamshire connection.

Sherwood Forester

It puffed off towards the station and was soon followed by its modern equivalent.

Pendolino

The London bound Pendolino

Somewhat astonished by all this, we pulled ourselves together and went off shopping.  The widely held view is that the British town centre is dying but Carlisle people obviously don’t know about this and the town was absolutely hotching with people busy visiting shops.  Carlisle has a broad pedestrianised High Street with room for street cafes and entertainments so that is maybe one reason why people come to it. It still has a good range of shops too.

We got home and as the weather looked a bit threatening, we took the onion crop which we had laid out to dry and hung it in the greenhouse.

onion crop

Part of the crop

Mrs Tootlepedal fears that we might have been a bit hasty in bringing them in and wonders if the crop will keep well.  Time will tell.

I snapped a dahlia which is growing beside the greenhouse while I was there.

dahlia

The evening got darker and darker and in the end, it started to rain.  I spent some time trying to catch a flying bird before it got too gloomy.  I cheated a bit.

hhoming pigeons at exercise

This was a passing flock of homing pigeons at exercise.

As the month has gone on, the goldfinches have disappeared and the siskins and greenfinches have thinned out considerably and we are left with our most regular visitors, the chaffinches.

chaffinches

One of them obliged for flying bird of the day.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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