Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘poppies’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone, who has recently been playing golf in Girona in Spain.  Clearly, there was no rain in Spain while he was there.

Spain

There was no rain here today either but not quite as much sun as Dropscone has been enjoying.

I had to take the car to the garage early in the morning to get its brakes fixed.  The view from the suspension bridge as I walked back was a marked contrast with yesterday’s mist.

View from suspension bridge in autumn

It was a little chilly when I got home so I dawdled about and had a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal before finally setting off to make the most of a good day.

I had a bit of a moan after my ride on Sunday about losing speed on my cycle runs thanks to increasing age.   Many well intentioned readers advised me to stop moaning, live with the years and just enjoy cycling and taking pictures without bothering about average speeds.

I always take good advice so I pottered about today for the first twenty five miles and took many pictures on my ride.  Of course, it may have been the brisk wind in my face rather than the sheer enjoyment of going slowly that made me take so long but I was very content to stop and take pictures as I went.

I should say that I had a bit of time on my hands in the evening and some of the photographs from the ride may have been enhanced by the use of filters.   I don’t usually do much of this but the light was rather flat today and the pictures came out as less attractive than they were in real life.  I may have gone a bit further than real life with some of them.

Churches were my first subjects.

Johnstone Church

The Johnstone UP Church, Ecclefechan

This very fine set of hinges caught my eye as I turned onto the road to Hoddom in Ecclefechan.

Not far away, I came to the ruins of the church at Hoddom Cross.

Hoddom Cross

The church was destroyed by fire in 1975 and stands as a picturesque ruin in a graveyard that is still in use.  In the old part of the kirkyard, I found an ivy covered mausoleum.

Hoddom Cross church

The ivy is covered in flowers and will be of great interest to bees when the flowers come out.

My interest turned from churches to bridges and I went under an unusual one as I cycled on towards the River Annan….

Tree Bridge near Hoddom

…followed by something more traditional when I got to the river.

Hoddom Bridge

I cannot find out when this bridge was built but it is obviously of some age and has lasted very well considering that….

Hoddom Bridge

…things like this go over it every day.

I crossed the Annan using the bridge myself  and cycled down towards Brydekirk, where I crossed back over the river.

River Annan bridge at Brydekirk

This bridge was built in about 1800 and is one of several fine bridges that cross the River Annan.

Not far from the bridge, I came across a splendid gateway to a fine house.

Near Brydekirk

No filters were used on this picture. It really did look like this.

I turned off the road from the bridge onto a side road.  I had hoped that a beech hedge along this road would be worth a look but it was disappointingly green still…

Brydekirk road

…but the hedge did serve the useful purpose of sheltering me from the brisk cross wind along this stretch.

Once I had turned left when I met the road from Annan to Eaglesfield, I had the wind behind me and I did the next fifteen miles in 55 minutes of cycling time without having to try very hard at all.

I did stop on the way to admire a different kind of bridge though.

Kirtlebridge Viaduct

The viaduct carrying the West Coast main line crosses the valley of the Kirtle water….

Kirtlebridge Viaduct

…which I crossed on a more modest bridge.

Kirtle bridge

I had crossed the Kirtle Water near its source much earlier in my trip and I had now crossed both the Kirtle Water and the River Annan twice.

I felt the need for some refuelling so I headed down the old main road from Kirtlebridge to Gretna where I stopped for egg and chips at the Old Toll Bar.   A couple of raindrops landed on my head as I left the cafe and nearly made me regret my stop there but it was only a couple and the rest of my ride was dry and easy with the encouraging wind giving me a friendly push and keeping me going.

I went home by way of Longtown and Canonbie, meaning that I was following the course of the River Esk now and before I got home, I had crossed the Esk no less than six times.

The Esk was looking quite autumnal when I stopped at Byreburnfoot.

Byreburnfoot River Esk

And at my feet as I took the picture was a good crop of fungus which grows out of a patch of grass beside the road.

fungus at Byreburnfoot

I stopped as I crossed Skippers Bridge to note the contrast with yesterday’s misty shots.

Langholm Distillery in autumn

When I got to the town centre, I found that I had done 47 miles and I was seized with decimal fever and pedalled on through Langholm and out the other side, crossing the High Mill bridge and going half a mile up the road beyond it.

There I turned for home and having crossed the Canonbie, Hollows, Skippers and High Mill Bridges already, I crossed the High Mill bridge again and finished by crossing the Langholm Bridge which joins the Old and New Towns of Langholm.

While I was crossing rivers. Mrs Tootlepedal had been immersed in canals as she had been in the Buccleuch Centre at a screening of a film of the current Canaletto exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

It was hard to say which of us had had the better time.

There was enough time left in the day for Mrs Tootlepedal to do some gardening and for me to collect the car, mow the middle lawn and take a flower picture or two.

October daisies

Mrs Tootlepedal has borrowed one or two of the thousands of October daisies from the river bank which appeared in yesterday’s post and they have settled in very well in our garden.

perennial nasturtium

The perennial nasturtium or tropaeolum is still flowering

Japanese anemone

The bees seem to have discovered the Japanese anemone

red admiral butterfly

The red admiral butterflies keep coming.

Before the screening, Mrs Tootlepedal had been helping in the cafe in Buccleuch Centre over a very busy lunch time so we didn’t spend too long in the garden and retired inside for a well earned rest and a nourishing evening meal.

The good weather is not going to last and we are promised heavy rain overnight and tomorrow morning so I am glad to have got some miles in while the going was good.  My moaning and the subsequent good advice which I received seems to have purged my cycling melancholy and I really enjoyed today’s pedal.

The flying bird of the day is two of our more delicate poppies.

two poppies

Anyone interested in the details of the ride can click on the map below.

Garmin route 10 Oct 2107

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  She has been volunteering at the Somerset Rural Life Museum and was struck by the enormous crop of windfalls from the apple trees there.  The sheep seems rather disappointed with them.

Somerset apples

After the brilliantly clear moon when we went to bed last night, we weren’t surprised to wake up to a chilly morning.  There was no frost by the time that we looked out but early risers tell us that there had been some, although the temperature did not drop to zero.

At 5°C (40°F) it was a bit too chilly for cycling after breakfast so I lazed about doing the crossword while Mrs Tootlepedal went off for coffee with her ex work colleagues.  I stirred my stumps in the end and went out to see whether the cold had done any harm in the garden.

All was well.

It was a beautifully sunny morning and the poppies looked at their best.

poppyP1030718poppy

A nasturtium leaf caught my eye too.

nasturtium with droplet

Droplets of all sizes.

I put on my walking shoes and went for a walk.

A goosander showed off her elegant orange feet as I walked along the river bank.

goosander

I left the riverside and walked up to the Lamb Hill  from where I could see the other hills above the trees…

View of Timpen from Lamb Hill

…and then I walked down the road to Whitshiels.  I had enough time to take a short diversion up the track through the woods before setting off back home.

There was fungi to be seen by the road and track…

fungi

…and colour was provided by a late rosebay willowherb flower and a bramble leaf…

bramble and willowherb

…and there were other things of interest too.

British soldier lichen

The red coats of British soldiers lichen, Cladonia cristatella

oak galls

Perfectly formed oak apples or galls

On my way home, I stopped at the Sawmill Brig, which I thought was looking at its best….

Sawmill Brig

…and enjoyed the very varied life on the wall on the other side of the bridge…

spleenwort, moss and algae

…and then walked round the Castleholm, passing the castle on my way.

Langholm Castle

There is not much of the castle remaining but what is left is getting engulfed by vegetation.

If I looked carefully, I could see some autumn colour here and there….

autumn colour

…and there was a patch of moss on a gate post which pleased me.

moss on gatepost

When I got home, I had time to admire a clematis in the garden….

clematis

It was laughing at the morning frost.

…before Mrs Tootlepedal and I got into the car and drove off to have lunch at The Hub in Eskdalemuir.  This had been arranged earlier in the day on a bit of a whim but the drive was delightful and the lunch and the company we met there were very enjoyable so we felt that this had been a whim well worth whimming.

I even got the bridge beside The Hub to add to my collection.

Eskdalemuir Bridge

Because of the good conversation over lunch and a visit to the art exhibition there, we spent more time in The Hub than we had expected and we drove back with no time to stop and admire the views.

Mrs Tootlepedal was anxious to get out and do some guddling in the garden and I was anxious to get my bike washed and cleaned and then put a few miles in while it wasn’t raining.

Sadly, the sun had disappeared by this time but it was warm enough at 11° for cycling and gardening with appropriate clothing.

Because of the late start caused by the time spent cleaning my bike, I kept my head down and did 30 miles without stopping for pictures on the way.  It was so grey by now that I wasn’t much tempted to stop anyway, other than for a nibble of guava and half a date every now and again.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was out and she had made a start on the path to go with the new square corner on the lawn.

new path

Only people who have laid paving stones on earth will know how much skill and effort goes into making them straight and flat.

Even on a grey evening, the last of the fuchsias to come out this year was looking superb.

fuchsia

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for a short visit.  They are getting ready to go on holiday tomorrow but I was pleased that they found time to come as Alison and I had a very enjoyable time playing sonatas with  a burst of Greensleeves to a Ground to round things off.

This has been the second day running without rain.  We are being spoiled.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Mary Jo from Manitoba’s London visit.  This time she met one of the celebrated Tower of London ravens.

Tower of London raven

Our changeable weather is evidently tricky to predict so in spite of forecasts of gales and heavy rain, it was not a great surprise to wake up to merely a brisk breeze with dry spells.

One of the dry spells let me go up to the town after breakfast to pay in a cheque from the railway company to cover the fare for our delayed journey from London last weekend.  I would like to think that this repayment came either from a deduction from the company directors’ own pay packets or a reduction in the dividend to shareholders but I fear that that is wishful thinking.

I dropped in on the data miners at the Archive Centre, took a meter reading there and then booked the car into the garage for a look at its brakes and got home just as it started to rain once more.

After that, I stayed in, did the crossword, made some soup and grumbled.  I didn’t go out again until lunch time when it had brightened up a bit.  I took a look at the garden.

There were plucky flowers smiling through their tears to be seen.

nasturtiums

poppies

Thanks to relatively warm mornings, there are still plenty of colourful sights about, some more vibrant….

sedum, creeper and clematis

…than others.

poppies and anemone

As you can see from the anemone on the right, there was even a hint of sunshine.

The fuchsias are loving the weather, whatever the other flowers think.

fuchsia

Bees were few and far between but I did find a hoverfly on a dahlia.

dahlia with hoverfly

I was delighted to find that Lilian Austin was still in business in a modest way.

Lilian Austin

I went back in to eat my soup for lunch with no great hope for the afternoon but the sun was still out by the time that lunch was over so I set out for a walk, hoping that any clouds would blow past in the brisk wind and not rain on Langholm.

Things looked promising as I went through the park…

Park in October

There was a great heap of logs at the exit from the park….

felled trees in the park

…and it was apparent that two large trees had been felled and cut up.  I couldn’t tell whether the trees had partly fallen first and then been cut up or whether the felling was precautionary.

I walked on through the wood along the river and came out onto the track along the Murtholm…

Murtholm

…which led me to Skippers Bridge, where I went down the bank to look back at the bridge…

Skippers Bridge

….and then, trusting that the good weather would hold, I took a short diversion up the hill through the oak wood…

Oak wood

…to the Round House.

Round House

If I hadn’t been in a bit of a hurry, I might have sat on the bench there in the sunshine and enjoyed the view over the town.

Langholm from the Round House

As it was, I pressed on, enjoying the golden colour in the bracken beside the track…

bracken

…and stopping when a striking crop of fine black berries caught my eye.  When I showed the picture to Mrs Tootlepedal later on, she thought that they might be St John’s Wort….

st John's Wort

…and as I had seen some of these flowers nearby, I expect that she is right.

The river looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth when I came to cross the suspension bridge on my way home.

Esk in October

I waited for a moment or two to see if the dipper was around but it was not to be seen so I took an arty pictures of some leaves…

autumn leaves beside Esk

…and went home.  I couldn’t resist a few pictures of flowers enjoying the welcome sunshine.

daisy, calendula and dahlia

I didn’t have long to wait in as I had an appointment to get my flu jab at the health centre as well as my three-monthly vitamin B12 injection so I was soon out and back across the bridge, this time by bicycle and returned home thoroughly needled….in both senses of the word as it started to rain as I left the health centre.

Once back, I received a visit from a camera club member who had come to collect his photos from the exhibition.  He was very cheered to find that he had sold a couple of them.

Then it was time for a visit from my flute pupil Luke.  He has been practising again and it showed.  He told me that he had played with our local orchestra yesterday and found it a ‘learning experience’.  Orchestral flute playing is very tricky.  I tried it for a bit and didn’t enjoy it much so I hope he does better than I did.

After an excellent tea which had been cooked for me by Mrs Tootlepedal consisting of mince with bashed tatties and neeps from the garden, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.   We had a most enjoyable play and found once again that Mozart is a cure for many ills.

When I got home, we watched a weather forecast which showed that the jet stream is currently crossing the Atlantic in a series of beautifully shaped waves, each one containing a high or a low so the changeable weather looks like a permanent fixture for the foreseeable future.  I will just have to look out my wet weather cycling gear and grit my teeth.

The flying bird of the day is in pre-flying mode.

blackbird

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture most unusually comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She took this picture of our neighbour Liz hard at work in the dam.

Liz in the dam

Unlike yesterday, I hardly stirred from the house and garden all day.  I did pop up to the town after breakfast to oversee the transfer of some unwanted stacking chairs from the Archive Centre to the Langholm Initiative.  As this involved merely opening the door and watching as two strong young men whisked the chairs out into a van and then locking the door again, it wasn’t very taxing or time consuming.

Once I got home, the day became all action.  It was dry and warm, even if it was cloudy, and too good a day not to get busy around the garden.

Because some work was being done elsewhere, the sluice to our dam was shut and this gave our neighbour Liz the chance to get busy cleaning out the part of the dam that runs along her garden and when I say busy, I am understating the case.  When she had finished, with a little help from Mrs Tootlepedal….

Dam cleaned

…the dam was auditioning for the role of Langholm’s first deep water port.

When most of the work was done, I made coffee for the workers and Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were joined by another neighbour, Margaret and between us, we cured many of the evils that are besetting the world at the moment.  It is just a pity that no local or world leaders were present to take our sage advice.

I hadn’t been entirely idle while the waterworks were going on and had managed to mow a patch of grass or two….

middle and front lawn

…trying my best to ignore signs which may indicate that Attila the gardener has plans to mangle my sward.

lawn works

Then I dead headed a lot of dahlias, calendula and poppies.  The poppies are still looking a fresh as when they first appeared….

poppy

…or even fresher.

poppy

One poppy had something that was not a bee on it and I was curious and took a closer look…

poppy

…without being much wiser as to what it was.

 

Perhaps because it wasn’t sunny, the poppies were not being pestered by bees to the same extent as they have been recently but there were still quite a lot about…

poppy with bees

…and on the dahlias as well.

bumble bees on dahlia

The large bumble on the left loves this dahlia and stayed on it for hours today.   There are so many different kinds of bumble bee that I can’t identify this one.

***Spoiler alert***

Infantile humour arriving.  Beware!

One I can identify, thanks to my knowledge of Rachmaninov, is this one….

bee

…which is of course, the bum of the flightlebee.  (Sorry)

***normal service has been resumed***

The Special Grandma rose, which is well sheltered from the elements, is going bananas.

Special Grandma rose

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz started on the dam behind our house on our side of the road and I did some more mowing….

green house grass and the drying green

….with the flymo…

….checked out a red admiral in profile and full wing…

red admiral

It is hard to recognise these pictures as the same butterfly

…..and then set about trimming the hedge along the road.

Before….

hedge

…and after.

hedge

As I explained to a passer by, I wasn’t aiming for geometrical precision.  Having just been to the south of France where the post impressionist painters worked, I told her that I had been inspired to create a post impressionist hedge, a hedge which didn’t look exactly like a boringly real hedge but a hedge which gave an impression of a hedge as an artist might see it, possibly while slightly drunk.  She seemed to think that I had succeeded admirably.

When I had finished the hedge, I went to see what the workers were doing.  Attila had her team beautifully regimented…

Dam team

…and their work rate was impressive.  The plan was to cut back the potentillas and thin out the dead wood until the side of the dam was clear, leaving the possibility of some variety next year. The plan was comprehensively executed….

potentilla clearing

…as were the potentillas.

I helped by barrowing away the prunings and offering helpful advice wherever it was needed….

fuchsia

…though I took time out to admire the fuchsia on our back wall….

bee and butterfly

…and celebrate the peaceful sharing nature of bee and butterfly on a sedum while I was dropping off a barrowload of branches.

 

There were innumerable barrowloads of clippings and I was happy to pause again to admire the nasturtiums and cosmos at the front gate on one of the trips.

nasturtiums and cosmos

In the end, even the indefatigable Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal proved human and work was stopped for the day.  To celebrate, I provided a large pot of tea and made some toast.  The toast was all the better for being eaten with some Saskatoon Jelly.  This had been very generously given to me by my Canadian correspondent Mary Jo when she met us in London at the weekend.

It was delicious.

Interestingly, although I had never heard of Saskatoon Jelly, it turns out to come from the plant Amelanchier alnifolia and Mrs Tootlepedal thinks there is a variety of Amelanchier  growing in a neighbour’s garden.

Throughout the day, I was keeping an eye out for walnuts which had fallen from our walnut tree.

walnuts

In spite of, or perhaps because of,  our cool summer, the are plenty of nuts around and quite a lot of them are full of nutty goodness.  Jackdaws pick them from the tree and then often seem to drop them so that neighbours quite a distance away sometimes come upon walnuts in their own gardens.

There was a certain sagging at the end of a busy day but I was sufficiently refreshed by the last of the venison stew to get myself out for a Langholm Sings choir practice.  It was very well attended and as the music was varied and enjoyable, I was pleased to have made the effort.

During the day, I visited Liz to check out her electric lawn mower.  It seems both efficient and easy to use.  I am thinking of declaring our Flymo past its use by date and her mower looks like a good type of replacement.  As well as the mower, I couldn’t help noticing a very pretty rose growing on a trellis on her wall and it is the flying bird of the day.

Liz's rose

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who went back to the low countries after our visit to Marseille.  He was surprised to find a local pipe band in Ghent.  They are wearing McKenzie tartan kilts, our mother’s clan.

ghent pipe band

The forecast was for a calm and often sunny day.  I made a plan to pedal based on the forecast.  The forecast turned out to be correct and my plan came to fulfilment.   Two unusual things on the same day.

Before I left, I printed out a copy of yesterday’s guest picture of the day for our neighbour Liz.  She is entering it in an informal competition so I hope it does well….

…and then I had a quick look round the garden.

The internally lit dahlia is still giving its best…

dahlia

…and it has a little competition.

dahlia

The insects were out in force again today.

hoverfly and bee

This was the destination of choice.

poppy with bees and hoverfly

Not quite as many as yesterday but still impressive.

I finally ran out of cycle avoidance excuses and set off with a plan to see how my legs were doing after a very light cycling month.  I chose a route that started out over the hills and then headed down towards England and the coast.

It was sunny but hazy….

view near gair

…and there were signs of autumn both in Scotland…

Sprinkell trees

…and England.

Rockcliffe trees

Regular readers will know that I like a tree tunnel…..

near Rockliffe

…and this one, near Rockliffe, is one of my favourites.

The wind was light but persistent and I found it quite hard work cycling into it so I was happy to stop after 30 miles to visit a pub for a half pint of draught beer (very good) and a plate of egg and chips (absolutely excellent) at the Drover’s Rest in Monkshill.

The road that the pub is on was closed, though I was able to pedal through the works quite easily, so I was the only customer.  In a sign of the times, cooking the egg and chips, which were not on the menu, was no problem but finding out how to record the sale on a computerised till, which didn’t have egg and chips on it, caused a lot of head scratching.

The Drover’s Rest had an interesting notice in the bar.

state management notice

I hadn’t realised that the state management of brewery and pubs had stretched out of Carlisle.

I pedalled on down to the Solway shore.  I had the intention of showing readers a lovely scene of the Solway sparkling under a blue sky but this scheme didn’t go well for two reasons.

  1. The sun went in
  2. The tide was out

I settled for some marsh cattle grazing peacefully.

marsh cattle

You can see the Scottish shore in the background but no sign of the Solway in between.  Drovers who knew what they were doing were able to walk across to Scotland in the old days.

The cattle were finding the marsh grass very much to their taste…

marsh cattle

…but I could definitely have done with a bit more water than the trickle that was available.

Solway shore

More of a river than the sea

Further along the coast, when I had passed through Bowness on Solway, a flash of white caught my eye.

little egret

It was at the limit of the Lumix’s capabilities but I stopped because I don’t think that a little egret has appeared on the blog before.

It had friends close by.

lapwing and gull

The bird in the left is a lapwing.  We used to see lots of them in the fields round Langholm when we first came to the area forty years ago but we hardly ever see one now.  I don’t know what sort the gull is.

Out on the mudflats far beyond the egret, a group of curlews was calling and scratching…

curlews and heron

…and a heron flew lazily past.

A good pair of binoculars  and a long lens would have been useful.

After a last look at the little egret….

little egret

….I pedalled on round the radio station at Anthorn and came into the estuary of the Whampool where a large flock of lapwings was sitting in the shallows.

lapwings

I do know this gull. It is a black headed gull like the ones on our Kilngreen.

The skies had clouded over a lot and the River Whampool was looking mean, moody but not quite magnificent.

Whampool River

I had done 50 miles by this time and the issue of getting home before dark was raising its head so I gave up thoughts of 100 miles, which would have required an earlier start to the day, and settled for a fairly direct route home.  Unfortunately this required cycling straight into the light wind for the first part and then some steady uphill work for the last part so the camera stayed in my pocket as I concentrated on getting home.

I was feeling a bit feeble and I stopped at Springfield for a delicious ice cream and then battled my way back by Milltown of Sark and over the Bloch.

I was unusually tired when I got home and  a visit to the scales showed that I had lost 2kg on the trip which means that I had not managed to get a balanced food and liquid intake on the ride (the first time this year on the longer rides) and that would explain the fatigue.

I did have the energy to take a picture of the Virginia Creeper on the fence at the end of the drive, which is very striking….

virginia creeper

…and I went to check on the bees’ favourite poppies.

poppy

The bees had been busy

poppy

Very busy

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy too,  helping at the Buccleuch Centre when I got home but she soon returned and made me a nourishing evening meal for which I was extremely grateful.

When I had helped her out with her accounts yesterday, she assured me that she would love me for ever but a remark or two today after certain humorous efforts of mine indicated that there might be a conditional element in this.

She has been considering major improvements to the flower beds round the middle lawn and I want to put it on record that I regard any such plans as being a really good thing.

Anyone interested in details of the ride can click on the map below.

garmin route 26 Sept 2017

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz.  She enjoyed this misty view on one of her morning walks recently.

Mist on Whita

There were no views at all when we woke up this morning, as the hills were shrouded in clouds and a fine drizzle was falling.  Luckily I had a stint in the Welcome to Langholm office to do so the miserable weather didn’t trouble me.

I was kept very busy putting  data into the Archive Group database while entertaining Dropscone, who had news of a recent golfing triumph to pass on and John, another friend, who was recovering from a visit to the physiotherapist nearby.  What with golf and creaking joint talk and two visits from tourists seeking a welcome and the computer work as well, the two hours passed in a flash.

It had stopped raining by the time that I got home but  I found Mrs Tootlepedal engrossed in the tricky matter of balancing some accounts rather than gardening.  After we had had a cup of coffee with our neighbour Liz, I foolishly offered to lend Mrs Tootlepedal a hand with her accounts and the afternoon was well under way by the time that the figures on both sides of the ledger had obediently fallen into place.  Although it is very annoying when columns don’t add up, it is very satisfying when they finally do.

Still, a lot of quite good weather had gone by unused which was a pity.  We went out into the garden and while Mrs Tootlepedal got down to work, I looked around.

nasturtiums

A couple of cheery nasturtiums beside the front gate

Cardoon

A last look at a cardoon before Attila the gardener gives them the chop soon

I did a little much needed dead heading and upset a good number of bees and hoverflies who were looking for pollen.  At one moment, almost all of them chose the same poppy.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

We stood for some time watching the crowd, our mouths open in astonishment.

poppy with hoverflies and bees

After all, it was quite an astonishing sight.

Because my flute pupil Luke was due in the early evening, I didn’t have time to go for a cycle ride but it was such a pleasantly warm and calm day by now that I left Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work and went off for a short walk.

Beside the river I stopped to enjoy a wagtail wagging its tail and a dipper dipping.

Wagtail

The dipper was in all action mode, disappearing under the water for ages at a time and dabbing about vigorously when it emerged.

dipper dipping

It did pose for me for a brief moment though.

dipper

At the Kilngreen, I saw a lonely herring gull….

herring gull

…and some restful ducks.

ducks in the grass

This was my favourite.

duck

Occasional sunshine brought out the colours which are beginning to appear all around.

Esk

Although there are plenty of fallen autumnal looking leaves about….

autumn leaves

…there are still many more on the trees.

leaves

The combination of many greens and some red and yellow meant that there was always a delight for the eye as I walked along.

early autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholmearly autumn on the castleholm

I kept my eyes open for other smaller things.  This fungus on a tree stump interested me greatly.  I don’t think that I have seen anything like it before.

tree stump fungus

They growths are tiny and I thought that they were sprinkled crumbs when I first saw them

It was a really pleasant walk and I was sorry that I didn’t have the time to be out longer.

When I got back to the house, I reflected that it was lucky that we don’t shut the front gate very often…

nasturtiums on front gate

Our friend Mike Tinker was chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and she was telling him of great plans for improvements for next year.  I look forward to photographing the results.

I had a last look round…

fuchsia

…and was pleased to spot a red admiral butterfly on a rudbeckia.

red admiral butterfly

We read in the paper this morning that it has been an exceptionally good year for red admiral butterflies and we have certainly seen a great many in our garden in the last few weeks.

Then I had to go in to get ready for the flute lesson which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was quite pleased to have no further obligations for the day as I am feeling a little tired after dashing from end to end of the continent last week.  Somehow sitting in down in trains, although it is very enjoyable, is also quite tiring.

An early night won’t do me any harm.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Sandra who lives on the opposite side of town.  She has a fine crop of fungus on a tree stump on her drive.

IMG_5219

It was Sunday so, as is traditional, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I prepared a venison stew for the slow cooker.

Before I started the cooking though, I took some time out to see how the garden had been doing during the absence of the gardener.

The nerines have thrived.

nerines

The sedum is out and attracting business.

sedum with bee

The dahlias badly need dead heading but there are a lot still going well, both neat…

dahlia

…and rather shaggy.

dahlias

There were a lot of takers for dahlia pollen.

dahlia with bees

The poppies also need dead heading but there were still a good number of them too which was gratifying…

poppiespoppies

…both for us and for many insects.

Some had given all they had to give though.

poppies

Other flowers are doing well as we don’t seem to have had much in the way of cold mornings while we have been away.

fuchsia

clematis

Japanese anemones

cornflower

There a lot of poppies still to come.

 

The large lily and the rudbeckia area bit past their best.

lily and rudbeckia

There is even a new flower, Leycesteria formosa…

Leycesteria formosa

…commonly known as Himalayan honeysuckle and which can be quite a pest.   It looks very nice though so I hope Mrs Tootlepedal lets it some of it stay.

All in all, things don’t look too bad although there is a lot of tidying to do.

I went in and made the stew and then came out to give the greenhouse grass a light mow before finally getting into my cycling gear to see if I still remembered how to use a bicycle.   I have hardly done any cycling this month for one reason or another so although I didn’t have a lot of time, I thought it was a good idea to do a few miles.

I went for a shortened version of my customary Canonbie circuit which worked out at 16 miles and this was quite enough for a gentle reintroduction to the art of pedalling after two days of sitting in trains.

The country is gradually turning brown….

Bloch

…and some of the trees are following suit.

Chapelhills

…so I stopped for a couple of riverside shots on my way.

Hollows Bridge

The view from Hollows Bridge

Irvine House

Irvine House

Skippers Bridge

The view from Skippers Bridge

It was warm, the wind was light and my legs worked reasonably well so I enjoyed my ride. I didn’t have long after I got back before it was time for a quick lunch and a trip to Carlisle for a Carlisle Community Choir practice.

We are taking part in a concert in the Cathedral next Saturday with a celebrated Glasgow Choir and as a result we had a very hard working session.  I am happy to say that with two exceptions, I was nearly able to remember both all the words and the tenor parts for five of the seven songs we are singing from memory at the concert.  There will have to be a lot of work on one in particular of the other two before Saturday.  I only wish that I liked this particular song a bit more and then the work wouldn’t be quite as hard. It is our conductor’s favourite though so I will try to do it justice.

The flying bird of the day is a bee visiting a poppy.

bee and poppy

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »