Posts Tagged ‘poplars’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  He wants us to know that the sun is still shining in East Wemyss.

sunshine in wemyss

Our spell of chilly mornings and warm afternoons continued, and as the sun was out all day in a cloudless blue sky, it was no hardship to get dressed a little earlier than usual and go out and enjoy the garden.

I did so in company with a dunnock.  It was darting round the rhododendrons singing lustily as it went.

dunnock on rhododendron

I had a look around and was  happy to see the first potential fruit on one of the espalier apples.

first apple bud

The reason for the early rise was that I had promised to take a couple of tea cakes up to Sandy.  He is still imprisoned in his house while recovering from a foot operation.  If we have felt the lockdown  to be occasionally a little tedious, have pity for Sandy who has not been able to get out and about for two months.  He was remarkable cheerful under the circumstances.

On my way up to see him, I found that the track up the hill is now lined by dandelions and where you get dandelions, you get friends of the dandelion…and notification of the inevitable passing of time.

up Jimmy's Brae

When I got back down the hill, the on street, physically distanced, socially interactive coffee morning was in full swing and I joined it for a while before going in to to see if our own dandelions were popular too.

They were, though they had to share the attentions of the insects with other flowers too.

insects on dandelion

The new fritillary may be somewhat sober on the outside, but look inside and there is a world of fun.

inside dull fritillary

New, more delicate tulips are arriving to join the showy ones already out…

four new tulips

…but the showy ones are still well worth a look…

inside a yellow tulip

…especially on a sunny day…

four luminous tulips

…and in combination with the last of the daffodils.

lawn and bed

As I roamed round the garden, I met charming accidental flowers (aka weeds)…

weed in garden

…and stunning intentional ones.  Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a second Bordeaux anemone, this one looking towards the sun.

anemone in bloom

Although the grass in the garden has been very reluctant to grow, I mowed the middle lawn and then gave it a good watering.   I will do the same to the front lawn tomorrow if time permits.  They both need feeding but I am waiting until the soil warms up.

After lunch, I went for a cycle ride for my permitted exercise.

I had hoped to go a good distance as the day was set fair and the wind was supposed to be not too strong.  This turned out to be optimistic and as I cycled down the main road south, it was obvious that the breeze was as boisterous as ever.  When I got to Longtown and turned straight into the wind, I found that it was just too strong to make cycling fun so I gave up and headed back to Langholm.

The sight of many dandelions in the verges cheered me up…

dandelions on A7

…and the blue skies and an empty road made up for the breezy conditions.

top of new road

In fact I was so cheered up by the time that I had crossed the town bridge and enjoyed the poplars in the park…

poplars from bridge

…that I added a few more miles to my trip by cycling up to Cleuchfoot and back.

It really was a lovely day.

trees at cleuchfoot cottage

In the end, I managed 33 miles, not quite my original target but still not bad for a windy day.

And I got home in time to join my brother and sisters in a Zoom chat.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a lamb stew with dumplings for our tea and as somewhere in all this, I had found time to look at three crosswords, it must go down as a very satisfactory day.

It was still light after our meal and when I looked out of the window, I saw a collared dove considering the possibilities of the seed feeder.

dove on feeder 3

Unlike many current politicians, it made a good effort…

dove on feeder 2

…to look at both sides of the problem.

dove on feeder 1

While it was battling away, the flying bird of the day, a goldfinch, was peering cautiously round to see if there was a way of getting at the seed without being buffeted by the dove.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who walked though five villages the other day and looked at one of them across a valley. This is Holbrook seen from Horsley.

Holbrook from Horsley

I was expecting a wet day today but after some heavy rain overnight, it was quite dry and calm in the morning and Dropscone was able to cycle round with treacle scones at coffee time.

I had a quick look round the garden before he came.

A couple of frosty mornings while I was away have done for a lot of the flowers but the nasturtiums under the protection of the front wall of the house are still looking excellent.


Sadly, only a very few fuchsias are left standing…or more accurately, hanging.


Dropscone has been checking on the well being of his tin knees which are now ten and twelve years old.  He got them put in at different hospitals and as a result, he had to go to two different places to get them x-rayed as one hospital couldn’t possibly x-ray another hospital’s knee.  This was rather annoying but he is pleased that the check has been completed.

I put the camera on its tripod at the kitchen window and took a variety of shots during the morning, while the weather was still dry.

A small flock of goldfinches were keeping the usual chaffinches at bay today…

goldfinch and chaffinch

…although one chaffinch at least made it to the feeder.

landing chaffinch

The birds have been complaining to their agents that I do not do them justice with my obsession with grainy shots of them in flight so I took some grainy head and shoulder shots today instead.

portrait goldfinch


portrait greenfincj


portrait sparrow


They are all very handsome.

It was still dry when Dropscone left after coffee so I had another look round the garden…

delphinium october

veg garden flower

…and then I took a chance and went for a short ‘three bridges’ walk to seek out autumn colour.

As I approached my first bridge, the pedestrian suspension bridge across the Esk, I couldn’t fail to be struck by the poplars beside the church.

river esk oct 12

And as I walked along towards my second bridge, this colourful garden hit me in the eye.

bar brae garden

I didn’t cross the town bridge today but I did look back at it from the Kilngreen…

autumn over the town bridge

…and I looked up the Esk from the same point.

esk from meeting of waters

I was pleased to see that for once I had all my ducks in a row.

ducks in a row

The Sawmill Brig over the Ewes Water was my second crossing.

sawmill brig october

And once across, I could admire the Langholm Castle ruins on the Castleholm…

castle in autumn

..and the glow of the trees at the start of the Lodge walks.

lodge walks oct

Across the playing fields, the trees on the far bank of the Esk were well worth a glance…

Castleholm trees oct

…or two.

castleholm trees oct (2)

Although not as brilliant as the maples that draw the tourists to New England in the fall, they give me a lot of quiet pleasure.

As the rain was threatening to come, I crossed the Duchess Bridge as my third bridge…

duchess brig in autumn

…and scuttled home as quickly as I could, propelled onward by a short but sharp little shower that encouraged me not to linger and look for fungi.

I did see this little specimen as I went through a gate on the Castleholm…

fungus on gatepost

…but mostly I had eyes only for yew deciduous trees on my walk today.

I got home in good time for lunch and shortly afterwards, the rain started in earnest….

feeder in the rain

…and kept going for several hours.

It has stopped as I write this but if the forecast is to be believed, it will start again in the early hours of the morning and rain until tea time tomorrow.

I will have a quiet day in.

Mike Tinker braved the rain and dropped in for a cup of tea and he told me that there has been an invasion of chaffinches from the continent.  I should recognise them if they arrive in the garden as they are more colourful than the natives.

Mrs Tootlepedal is doing well in the south but is looking forward to coming home next week and getting to work on preparing the garden for the winter.

I tried to catch a flying goldfinch but only managed another chaffinch today to be the flying bird of the day. They hover very obligingly.

flying chaffinch





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Today’s guest picture shows the world’s greatest small person in reflective mood at a party.

MatildaAfter breakfast, I waved good bye to Mrs Tootlepedal as she set off to Dumfries with three colleagues from the Ewes WRI group to take part in a competition for 15 minutes of prose and poetry readings on the theme of childhood.  This competition covered groups from the whole of the South of Scotland and was a new venture for the Ewes group who were asked to enter to represent their larger local area.

I got a text from her in the afternoon to say that the group had won the handsome trophy, surprising no one more than themselves.  However, having heard all the other entries, Mrs Tootlepedal did feel that there had been no luck about the outcome and the four ladies were quietly pleased that their hard work had borne fruit.

In her absence, I spent a second very peaceful day, lazing about the house and only going for a short walk after lunch.

I had all the time in the world to admire the blossom on the plum tree.

plum tree with chaffinchI set up the camera on a tripod at the kitchen window and sat at the table with the wireless remote to hand doing the crossword and snapping birds simultaneously.

wet feederThe rainy morning helped me to avoid any strenuous activity.  The rain stopped from time to time and the light was reasonable.

chaffinchThe rain had brought a few siskins to the feeder and they were as rude as ever….

siskinsiskin and chaffinch…though not always successfully.

The weather took a turn for the better after lunch and when the sun threatened to come out, I went for a stroll round Easton’s Walk.  We have some way to go before everything is green….

Stubholm track…but I was delighted to see a bluebell (completewith insect visitor) in the woods beside the track…

bluebell…the first of a multitude to come I hope.

By the time that I got back to the park, the sky was blue and the poplars beside the river looked very fine, both when I was looking up to them….

poplars…and when I was walking along under them.

poplarsWhen I got home, there was time for a garden inspection.  Mrs Tootlepedal is aiming for a stream of hyacinths flowing through the flowerbeds round the front lawn.  The plan is developing well.

stream of hyacinthsI inspected the potential fruit crop and was happy to see gooseberry, apple and blackcurrant all looking promising.

fruitThe sound of bees was reassuring.

I chopped a few more logs for our wood pile and then mowed the grass round the greenhouse and on the drying green.

I had one last look at the plum blossom….

plum blossom…and a blackbird….

blackbird…before it was time to welcome Mrs Tootlepedal home, have a cup of tea and set out for a visit to Cockermouth in Cumbria.

We were going to see a performance by an amateur group.of a version of the Beggars’ Opera, with music adapted from the version written by Benjamin Britten.  The reason for our interest in this show was the presence of  no less than three of my fellow tenors from our Carlisle choir among the cast.

The drive down in the evening sunshine was glorious with the Lake District hills looking at their best so the forty miles passed very pleasantly.  We brought a sandwich to sustain us, admired the blue clock faces on the handsome church beside the car park…

cockermouth church…and went into the small theatre for the show.

The small size of the stage was a definite handicap to the production which lacked a bit of pace as a result but my three choir colleagues all did their bits with enthusiasm.  I can’t say that I think that Britten’s approach to the songs suits the show and the musical director’s rather careful tempos didn’t help.  The end result was a certain lack of out and out gaeity in the satire which is probably needed to contrast with the more sentimental moments.  The cast worked really hard though and the audience appreciated their efforts wholeheartedly.

The drive home in the dark was accomplished safely and unsurprisingly, Mrs Tootlepedal was quite tired when we got back.

The flying bird of the day is a down to earth chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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