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Posts Tagged ‘poppies’

Today’s unusual guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen.  He
is currently in Melbourne. Last night he attended an opera performance in the Melbourne Arts Centre – the blue-lit building on the left of his picture. He took the shot while walking back to his hotel after the performance. The shot takes in the Yarra River, and the central city area.

melbourne at night

Since it is a panorama shot, a click on the picture will be rewarding.

We woke to a grey and drizzly morning and darkness fell on a grey and drizzly evening.  In between, it was grey and drizzly.

We were not discouraged though and spent most of the morning in the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work and I helped out when I could.

There is no doubt that the garden is past its best, but there is still a lot of colour to be found.  This fine plant was bought as low growing but it must like it here as it has got very tall.

rudbeckia

The verbena behind the bench is rather sparse with well spread out flower heads on spindly stalks so it doesn’t offer much to a photographer as a whole plant, but each head is very attractive.

verbena

And I managed to find another dahlia that hasn’t been nibbled to death.

dahlia

This poppy is the reddest flower in the garden and I was pleased to see that it had a little friend in the damp conditions.

poppy with hoverfly

The delicate honeysuckle on the fence has survived the heavy showers very well…

honeysuckle with stamens

…and the perennial wallflower is living up to its name and providing an endless steam of flowers on the end of ever lengthening stalks.

perennial wallflower

Mrs Tootlepedal recently bought a new phlox and has found a home for it.  It looks quite happy there.

new phlox

A variety of colours is available in the bed beside the front lawn.

three bright flowers august

I checked on the dam just in case, but it was still in a very calm mood.

calm dam after storm

While Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed hedges, I trimmed the second box ball at the far end of the front lawn.  In a perfect world, both balls would be the same size and shape but this was the best that I could do.

trimmed box balls

As it happens, the slight imperfection doesn’t matter too much as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to savagely cut them both back later in the year.  They will be reduced to short and stubby twigs, but if the ones at the other end of the lawn are anything to go by, they will soon start growing again.

regrowing bocx balls

These will need clipping quite soon.

I took a picture of the perennial nasturtium that grows on our yew….

tropaeolum

…which was just as well as the yew was next in line for clipping and the nasturtium got short shrift.

trimmed yew

The yew is not yet quite in the shape that we would like it to be but considering that it too got a savage clip a couple of years ago and looked like this….

yew

…it hasn’t done too badly.

There is a clump of poppies beside the bridge over the pond and they looked very dainty and fragile today…

dainty poppies

…but in fact, they are very resilient and are holding up well.

dainty poppy

We dug up some more potatoes and found some that were so large that it was obvious that baked potatoes were just the thing to have for our lunch.

After lunch, Sandy rang up to say that his new electric bike had been delivered.  In spite of the light drizzle, he was keen to give it a go, so not long afterwards he appeared at our house…

Sandy and his bike

…and obligingly posed for a picture before we set off.  Because the weather wasn’t very welcoming, we agreed that a three mile jaunt up the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse would be a good test run and off we went.

My worst fears were realised and as we went up the first hill on leaving the town, Sandy sailed up it serenely and had to wait for some time until I came puffing up to join him.  It is gently uphill to Wauchope Schoolhouse, and pedal as hard as I could, Sandy rolled away from me every time we hit one of the shallow slopes.

Considering that he is not currently able to walk any distance and he hasn’t cycled for quite a long time, it is obvious that an electric bike is a brilliant solution to getting out and about and taking as much as exercise as he wants while he is doing it.

In fact, he enjoyed the outing so much that when we got the Schoolhouse, he suggested going up a couple more hills to the top of Callister.  He gave me a good start and cruised past me on the lower slopes of Callister.  He kindly waited for me at the top.

Now I was in my element as his bike is limited to about 15 mph while using power assistance and I had gravity and a gentle wind to help my legs for the six mile return journey.  Going back down to the town, I had to wait for him a couple of times.  Honour was satisfied.

We had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when we got back and then Sandy left to see how well his bike would get him up the steep hill back to his house.

I settled down to put another parish magazine onto the Langholm Archive Group’s website and then had a last look round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal has a very fine mint growing beside the greenhouse.

mint

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a very tasty lamb and lentil dal for our tea and that rounded off a day which had been much more enjoyable than the weather.

There is no flying bird today but to take its place, here is Sandy, flying up the Galaside on his way home, as his new bike (and quite a lot of pedalling) whisked him up the hill.

Sandy whizzing up galaside

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Today’s guest picture comes from my former colleague Ada and comes as a reminder of the Tour de France.  She tells me that she was sipping coffee in a cafe at the bottom of the mountain when her husband had this picture taken at the top of the Col du Tourmalet.  Hats off to him.

Tourmalet

I didn’t think of cycling in the morning here as it was a grey and drizzly day, and as it wasn’t a day for gardening either, we went off in the car to top up our supplies.

My requirement was for sunflower hearts for the birds as the siskins and sparrows have nearly finished my current stock.  Mrs Tootlepedal was after a little colour for the garden as her Sweet Williams are almost all over now.  Luckily we could combine both needs in a short circular tour and we were back home in time for lunch.

I filled the feeder with the last of the old seed and a sparrow took a very dim view of my camera’s intrusion on his meal.

staring sparrow

It was soon joined by more sparrows and the new seed will obviously be needed soon.

three sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal bought three boxes of flowers, begonias and dianthus, to plant out and left them out until she is ready to stick them in.

new flowers

She was busy in the garden after lunch and I lent a hand where I could and took the occasional picture too.

Another zinnia has come out.

zinnia

…and a new set of privet flowers have appeared.

privet

The first mallow has appeared.

mallow

I took pictures throughout the afternoon of various clematis and you can see that the rain stopped and things dried out as the day progressed.

four clematis

Some flowers seem to retain raindrops longer than others.   I took this poppy at the same time as the mallow above.

spotted poppy

As well as feeding the birds, I gave Zoe a top up feed too.

car with nosebag

There weren’t any tortoiseshell or peacock butterflies about but the garden had plenty of insects buzzing around.

two insects

And a rather scruffy blackbird hopped around while Mrs Tootlepedal was working in the hope of picking up a disturbed worm or two.

spotty blackbird

I went to sit on our new bench for a rest at one point and liked the picture made by a triple shoot of the verbena behind it.

three verbenas

Mrs Tootlepedal cleared some space in a border and planted out a new rose which she had bought in the morning.  This is part of her policy to get some less heavy headed roses into the garden.

two new roses

I was surprised to find runner bean flowers of two different colours on the vegetable garden fence but Mrs Tootlepedal told me that she had bought a mixed bag of beans so that explained it.

two beans

The weather gradually improved as the day went on and I took the opportunity to top up my monthly mileage with another twenty miles round my Canonbie circuit.  There was quite a brisk wind and my legs were less keen on the whole topping up  business than I was so I had to work quite hard to get round and mostly kept my camera in my back pocket…

…but I did wonder what the tall tree had said to its friend to make it feel quite so crushed.

distant trees

My legs could have done with a rest but there is rain in the forecast for every day in the week ahead so I thought that I was well advised to take advantage of this dry spell.

I looked for butterflies when I got back but only saw a single white butterfly on the buddleias.  It is a problem of taking pictures with a pocket camera that it sometimes thinks that I am more interested in focussing on the leaves in the background than the glaringly obvious subject of the photo dead centre in the foreground.

out of focus butterfly

A couple of our main crop potato plants looked a bit unwell, so although it was too early, I dug the plants up.  The potatoes seemed sound enough and we had some with lamb mince for our tea.  They had a very acceptable taste.

main potatoes

It was not the most exciting day of the summer but the temperature remained at a perfect level (around 20°C, 70°F) and the rain was very light so we should count ourselves lucky.  All the same, there is no doubt that there is a slight feeling in the air that it is not that long till Christmas now.  Summers fairly whistle by these days.

One of the sparrows is the flying bird of the day.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda’s grandfather Francis.  He was there to watch Matilda trying out Mrs Tootlepedal’s restored rocking horse a day or two ago under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Eileen.

(Those wondering about Matilda’s hand gesture are obviously not familiar with Woody from Toy Story.)

dav

We have had several inches of rain this week, either in short, heavy thundery downpours or persistent rain like yesterday’s, so it was good to have a fine and mostly sunny day today.

I went out into the garden after breakfast to find that the bees had been busy visiting our poppies.

opium poppy

It was still very humid and singing in the church choir taxed my breathing skills to the limit so I was glad to have a sit down and a cup of coffee when we got home.

It didn’t take me long to perk up after the coffee and I went out into to the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

I helped her pick the last of our first crop of peas and beans and then I cut as many of the sweet peas as I could before my patience ran out.

Then I had a look round.

Poppies were doing their best to look presentable after yesterday’s soaking…

six pink poppies

…and there is plenty of growth still going on.   Buddleia and rambler roses compete for attention and Mrs Tootlepedal has filled the new bed by the new electricity pole with mustard as green manure again.  I may have remarked before that she is very keen on mustard.

roses, mustard, phlox, sweet peas

The sweet peas are growing faster than I can cut them and we have several vases on the go in the house.  And the phlox is phlourishing.

The garden is full of birds as well as flowers.  We have families of starlings in a neighbour’s holly tree and blackbirds have been nesting in the garden.  This one was standing on our neighbour’s shed roof…

starling and blackbird

…but the biggest gang of birds at the moment is made up of sparrows.

sparrow horde on gfence

After a couple of days of neglect while visitors and rain where about, grass cried out for care so I mowed everything, the front lawn, the middle lawn, the greenhouse grass and the drying green. The combination of warm weather and rain had made the grass grow but it also meant that things looked good when the mowing was finished.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some delicious soup from the peas and beans that we had picked, together with a potato and an onion from the garden, and using some chicken stock that she had made while cooking a meal for our visitors.  This was a meal with food metres rather than food miles.

I had another look round the garden after lunch. I would have liked to go for a walk but my feet are not being very helpful so the garden is the limit for most of my walks at present.

I was pleased to see that the clematis along the back fence is growing well…

clemtais back fence

…and The Wren goes from strength to strength.

wren rose

It was not hard to find butterflies on the two buddleias by the back fence and I was happy to find a couple of peacocks among the small tortoiseshells.

tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies

There were probably more white butterflies flitting about than coloured ones so I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and waited to see if I catch catch one sitting still, or even better, catch one actually flitting about.  Patience paid off.

white butterfly panel

You can never rest on your laurels where grass care is concerned, so after the butterfly capture,  I spread a little of the fertiliser that contains the magic moss eating ingredient on the middle lawn.  I will be most interested to see if I can keep the lawns a bit more moss free over the winter than they were last year.

While I was waiting for the white butterflies to come along, I saw a siskin keeping a wary eye out.

siskin staring

When I went in and looked out, I could see why a wary eye out was probably the thing to keep.  The action was non stop again….

busy siskin panel

…and led one poor sparrow to bang its head against the feeder pole in sheer desparation.

headbanger sparrow

Mrs Tootlepedal sat down to watch the final stage of the Tour de France and I went out for a short cycle ride in the real world.  I was a little worried that it might be too hot but luckily the sun went in and my ride was merely warm.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it rained in the garden shortly after I set off, but I missed that and had a dry run.

My cycling camera is playing up a bit but I liked this family cow portrait at the Bloch farm so I have put it in even though the focus isn’t quite right.

staring cows

I don’t think that I have had a picture of my three favourite trees at Grainstonehead on the blog since they got their leaves on.  They always look to me as though they are about to break into a wild dance.

three trees

New and bigger daisies are out on the Canonbie by-pass and ragwort is appearing all over the place.

daisy and ragwort

I pottered round my habitual Canonbie 20 mile circuit, worried about a brisk wind but finding it more across than against or behind for most of the ride so I was able to enjoy myself.

I had a last look round the garden when I got home and noted the first zinnia of the year..

first zinnia

…and a rather lonely fuchsia flower.

first fuchsia

It has not been a good year for our permanent fuchsias.

I was able to have my evening meal and still be in time to watch the very final moments of the final stage of the Tour de France.  It has been one of the best tours to watch for some time and we will miss it now that it has gone.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch which appeared among the clouds of siskins.

flying greenfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda’s ‘other grandfather’, Francis.  He took this shot of Matilda aboard the good ship Alistair, waiting for the horses to gallop up the Kirk Wynd this morning.

sdr

We were awakened by the beat of the big drum of the flute band pounding round the town at five o’clock in the morning as the band reminded us that it was Langholm’s Great day and called on us to join them in going up the hill to watch the hound trail, an invitation that we ignored and rolled over to go to sleep again.

We got up at a more normal time and Matilda greeted me from an upstairs window as I checked on the weather.

matilda at window

We were joined by Francis and Eileen, Matilda’s other grandparents who had being staying in Canonbie, and after a light breakfast, we all went along the road to see the procession of emblem bearers, the Town Band, the cornet and his mounted followers come down Thomas Telford Road to ceremonially circle the old pump there.

CR 2019 a

The Town band members go on foot…

CR 2019 b

…and the cornet and his followers on horseback by a slightly more circuitous route.

CR 2019 c

Once round the pump, the front three waited for the road to clear…

CR 2019 d

…and led the procession back towards the Old Town…

CR 2019 e

…crossing the river on their way.

CR 2019 f

I had lingered behind the rest of the party to take pictures and when I got to the far side of the bridge, I came up with Alistair and Matilda who were standing on the steps of the old church counting the number of horses.

Al and Matilda CR 2019

There was some argument about the exact number but it was as near 150 as made no difference.

Our party headed to the top of the Kirk Wynd to watch the cornet lead the gallop up out of the town and I left them there while I walked a little further up the wynd to make sure that I could get a clear shot of the riders without a hundred heads in between me and them.

I had time to admire the view of a rather misty but dry and warm day….

view CR 2019

…and count the blades of grass beside me…

grass CR 2019

…before the cornet and his right and left hand men appeared.  Henry was proudly flourishing the town’s standard.

CR 2019 g

Shortly afterwards the other 147 (approximately) riders came along too….

CR 2019 h

…and they were soon streaming out onto the hill, where they would visit the Castle Craigs and the Monument before descending back to the town.

CR 2019 i

I left them to it and went straight back to the town myself where I joined the townspeople and visitors in walking along the traffic free High Street (watching where we were treading with great care).

CR 2019 j

When our party assembled at home, we had a delicious brunch prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal.  In a normal year, we might have gone back to the High Street to hear the fair crying or gone to the Kilngreen to watch the crossing of the water, but this year dancing was the major business of the afternoon.  Matilda’s cousin Lola had arrived with her mother Cathy, and Matilda and Lola were due to start dancing at one o’clock so as soon as brunch was over, we headed to the Castleholm where the dancing takes place.

Matilda and Lola looked as smart as paint in their Highland dancing costumes.

 

lola and matilda clare

Photo kindly contributed by Clare, Matilda’s mother.

Before the dancing started, we had time to watch the two entrants in the pony race whizz round the track in fine style.

CR 2019 pony race

And then I went to see the start of the 90m open sprint race.  These are top athletes and nine seconds later, the man nearest to us, far from landing flat on his face as might seem likely from this picture, had dashed down the track and was £500 pound richer.

CR 2019 sprint start

The foot races continued all afternoon, hotly contested…

CR 2019 sprint finish

…by athletes of all ages and both sexes.

CR 2019 sprint juniors

Owing to getting my camera settings very wrong, I totally failed to get a usable picture of Matilda  actually dancing.  In fact photographing the highland dancers is a tricky business as they spend most of their time facing the judges and with their backs to the audience, so you will have to taken my word that this is Lola at work getting some good height.

CR 2019 lola dancing

In between the dances, I was able to watch more handicap foot races…

CR 2019 athletics

…and enjoy the thrill of being close to horses and jockeys racing at a fearsome pace round the sharp corners of the track on the Castleholm.

CR 2019 racing a

There were good fields in all the races that I watched today.

CR 2019 racing b

I didn’t see Matilda dance but I did see her in the line up at the end of her classes (she is second from the left with her back to us of course) getting a presentation from the organisers.

matilda CR 2019 line up

I went right round to the other side of the dancing arena and peered over the judges’ shoulders to get a view of Lola in her next dance…

loca dancing CR 2019

…before going off to watch the start of the big race of the day, a hotly contested event with a first prize of £2000 pounds…

CR 2019 racing c

…which this horse won, having stolen a march on the rest of the field up the back straight…

CR 2019 racing f

…and hanging on as they chased him home.

CR 2019 racing g

While the horses had been racing, Alistair had bought Matilda a unicorn balloon.

CR 2019 matilda and balloon

She showed it to Francis.

CR 2019 matilda and balloon and Francis

Lola had magically transformed from Highland Dancer to Hello Sailor and was now performing a hornpipe with great gusto.

CR 2019 lola hornpipe

After the last dance, there was a chance to see one more horse race..

CR 2019 racing h

…and once again to admire the skill and courage of both horses and riders…

CR 2019 racing i

…before it was time to head for home and a cup of tea.   Then Lola and Cathy drove back to Edinburgh where they had another social engagement and the rest of us had a family meal.   After the meal, Francis and Eileen also drove off to Edinburgh and we were left to have a sit down to recover from the day.

Matilda and her parents go home tomorrow and we shall be very quiet when everyone has gone.

The Common Riding colours were pink this year so it is fitting to end this post not with a flying bird of the day but with six fine pink poppies in the garden this morning.

pink poppies

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Today’s guest picture comes from camera club member Peter who not only helped with serving the cream teas at Waterbeck yesterday but also kindly sent me this picture from our camera club trip  to Beamish last week.

Peter's beamish

The forecast seems to be pretty certain that it will rain all day tomorrow so I was very happy to make good use of another fine and warm day today.

I started with a look round the garden after breakfast where flowers seemed to be singing in trios…

four triple flowers

…and then I drove south into England where I saw this fine display of rosebay willowherb…

rosebaywillowherb

…and had a very satisfactory singing lesson.  I have reached the stage where I can now sing well enough for my teacher to be able to tell me that I am singing badly.  This may sound paradoxical but good teachers will know that you never tell a pupil who is doing something badly that they are doing it badly as that only discourages them.  You tell them that they are doing very well.  You only tell them that they are doing something badly if they are actually doing it quite well and can improve.  I was very encouraged.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz setting the world to rights from the comfort of our garden bench.

Mrs T and Liz on bench

Appropriately enough, since they are both grandmothers, not far away I could see that the Special Grandma rose has come out.

special grandma

When Liz left, I had a walk round and was pleased to see the first flowers on one of our buddleias.  I hope that it will soon attract butterflies.

buddleia

It was a good day for some hard work in the garden so I gave Mrs Tootlepedal a hand with the settling in of the second of our new garden beds to replace the one crushed by the digger when the electricity pole was put in.

We are very pleased with our shiny new electricity pole but we are even more pleased with the new beds.

new veg beds

After lunch, I did the crossword and then set off to pedal a few miles on my bike.  Mostly I pedal very gently and even on long rides, I eat enough so that I weigh the same when I get home as when I set off.  However, the energetic pedal on Saturday had had the pleasing effect of causing me to lose a little weight so I resolved to get my head down and pedal as hard as I could today.  This meant only two stops for pictures, one of the broad road….

Old A7 Granstonehead

…and one of a narrow path.

bike path with daisies

It is good to see unmown verges and flowery banks.

The effort put into the ride was very worth while as I enjoyed the pedal down to Canonbie and back and sweated off a little more weight.

When I got home, I had time to have a shower and then my flute pupil Luke came for the last lesson before a summer break.

When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I dug up another of our early potatoes.  They are producing an excellent clean crop which is not helping my weight loss programme at all but they were very delicious with an otherwise cold meal for our tea.  While they were cooking, I mowed both the front and middle lawns, a task which by happy coincidence takes just the same amount of time as new potatoes take to boil.

It was a pity that such a good day was then spoiled by the extremely capricious behaviour of my computer.  It thought it would be amusing if it took several minutes to complete each and every operation so that the preparation of pictures for this post took me longer than my twenty mile bicycle ride had taken,  Far longer.  It was most annoying but at least it has spared the weary reader yet another picture of the salvia, as I had lost patience long before I came to it.

During the afternoon, I found a moment to watch sparring siskins at the feeder…

arguing siskins

…and had another go at taking a picture of St John’s Wort.  The camera just doesn’t like them at all.

st john's wort

As well as potatoes, we should be getting to eat peas and beans in the not too distant future.

pea and bean

And there were roses looking as close to perfection as a gardener could wish.

four roses

If it does rain tomorrow, the garden will be grateful even if I will be a bit morose.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin intent on higher things.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from one of my brother Andrew’s Heart Walking Group’s outings.  They found themselves near Robin Hood’s Stride, a spectacular tor of gritstone rocks perched on a ridge in the Peak District.  My brother thought that he might nip up to the top of it but was thwarted by its steepness and waved at the camera as he came down.  He didn’t tell me who took the picture.

Robin Hood's Stride

I started the day with a visit to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre with Mrs Tootlepedal.   I bought fish, meat and honey but was thwarted in my desire to buy cheese as the cheese man was not present.  I fear he may have deserted us.  This is a tragedy as a good cheese is a hard to find locally.

Mrs Tootlepedal left me to do the purchasing and set up a table where she and several members of her embroiderers’ group sat and stitched and chatted to shoppers for several hours.

While they were busy, I mowed the front and middle lawns and, though I say it myself, I am quite pleased with the state of the middle lawn after some good weather and a lot of mowing.

mown middle lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased by the border on the right hand side of the lawn so we are two happy people when we take in this view of the garden.

The stachys is out and as furry as ever.

stachys

And a large ornamental clover is peeping out from underneath the big rose bush.

big clover

Among the new arrivals are thousands of flowers on a variegated euonymous.

euonymous

Meanwhile new poppies keep popping up…

four poppies

…and day lilies appear every day.

two day lilies

Sometimes we have too much of a good thing and the luxuriant tropaeolum is going to make it very hard to clip the yew underneath…

tropaeolum flush

…and a profusion of plums is threatening to break branches on the plum tree.  We have already thinned out many more than a hundred plums but there are still big bunches hanging on high branches which we cannot reach.

too many plums

Roses are thriving and today I saw that lurking in the shade of other plants, the very first Special Grandma is just about to come out….

special grandma

…while up above, the Rosa Complicata which has been magnificent this year is reaching the end of its run.

roses going over

Other roses are still at their peak.  The moss roses have loved the weather this year…

moss rose

…and even though Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is not doing well where it is, Frau Dagmar Hastrup keeps trying to prove her wrong.

frau dagmar hastrup

And the salvia sclarea Turkestanica continues to astound me every day.  I am going to have to try to stop taking endless pictures of it but in the meantime, I took another today.  I thought that this one looked like a baroque fountain in an Italian city.

salvia

I had planned an adventurous cycle ride but mowing the lawns and taking garden pictures left me feeling a little tired so I dawdled over a very tricky prize crossword and waited until Mrs Tootlepedal came home from her stitching fest to have lunch with her.

Then I got organised and went off for a rather dull, flat pedal down the main roads to Newtown on Hadrians Wall and back.  The advantage of this ride is that it has generally good road surfaces and no significant hills, except for a very short one as you leave Langholm.

This means that on a day like today, when there is not much wind, I can just put my nose to the wheel and pedal along with a very steady rhythm, not looking out for views and wild flowers as I go.

I still stopped after every ten miles to stretch my legs as my joints are not at their best and this gave me the chance to note how low the river Esk was at Longtown where there were more rocks than river.

dig

I stopped again after twenty miles when I got to my favourite bench at Newtown on Hadrian’s Wall.

To my horror, there were people sitting on it.  However it turned out that they were two very affable Americans, now resident in Panama, who were ‘walking the wall’ and they kindly squashed up and made room for me to sit down too.

dav

They had taken the wise step of summoning a taxi to take them to their overnight stop in Brampton which was off their direct route as they didn’t fancy being harassed by traffic on the narrow road down to the town.

When their taxi came, I set off for home. I stopped again at the thirty mile mark and had a look at this peaceful stretch of the Esk just above Longtown.

dig

I noted from a nearby hedge, that it looks as though we should be in for a good display of haws shortly.

dav

I made an unscheduled stop at the top of the little hill before Langholm partly to record the lushness of the wild flowers beside this section of the road…

 

sdr

…and partly to have a breather as I had pedalled as hard as I could to get up the hill.

As an exercise in steady pedalling, the ride was very successful and I was at an average of 15 mph at each of my ten mile stops, a much faster speed than I usually manage these days and I actually managed the return journey a whisker faster than the outward leg.

Luckily, Mrs Tootlepedal was watching a catch up recording of the first day of the Tour de France when I got home so that gave me a very good excuse to sit down quietly and not do anything energetic. These boys were doing 50 mph as they came towards the finish which put my modest efforts into perspective.

I took several quite brilliant pictures of flying birds today but unhappily they were all totally out of focus when I looked at the results so a static blue tit going nuts is the best that I can do for a flying bird of the day.

blue tit going nuts

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s Highland holiday.  He has sent me a lot of good pictures but this one gets my seal of approval.

Tonys highland seal

We had another fine day and I had hoped to get some useful cycling in, but a sore back when I got up put paid to any expansive ideas.  As it happened, it was just as well that I was at home as the power company men turned up to put up a new fence.  The old one had been knocked down when they replaced one of the poles in our garden.

They turned out to be as handy with hammer and saw as they were with big poles and the new fence was soon in place.

new fence

While they worked, I hobbled round the garden doing some weeding, dead heading and snapping.

There was a lot to look at.

I was pleased to see a red admiral butterfly…

red admiral butterfly

…though I would be even more pleased to see more than one.

Poppies and an anemone caught the eye….

poppies and anemone

…and Bobbie James has come out to join  Goldfinch on the fence between the middle lawn and the vegetable garden.

bobbie James and goldfinch roses

I picked some sweet peas and thought that this one was the pick of the bunch.

sweet pea

Mrs Tootlepedal’s new Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica (to give it its Sunday name) proves to be a very interesting plant with a lot going on.

salvia turkestanica

And as always, the astrantias attracted me….

astrantia

…and a great number of wasps as well.

wasp on astrantia

We haven’t found out where the wasps’ nest is yet and just hope that it isn’t in some hole in the roof.

Looking up at the walnut tree, I could see that we should have walnuts to eat again this year.

walnuts July

After the power company men left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did some watering in the vegetable garden and then I mowed the front lawn , and then it was time for lunch.

Mrs Tootlepedal had Moorland business to attend to after lunch and went off to collect more signatures of interest in the possible purchase while I watched the birds.

A goldfinch took poorly to being menaced by a greenfinch…

goldfinch and greenfinch

….but was fast asleep a moment later to the possibility of getting a rude awakening from a sparrow.

sparrow kicking goldfinch

I got a message from Mrs Tootlepedal that she had forgotten something so I was galvanised into action. I got my cycling gear on, delivered the item and then kept cycling southwards.

I took the main road out of town and stopped to admire the substantial field of daisies on one side of the road…

daisies on new A7

…and two orchids on the other.

orchids at Auchenrivock diversion

I didn’t stop again for a while, as a kindly wind was blowing me down the hill to the end of the Canonbie bypass and I was going too fast to notice much as I passed.

The way back was a slower business altogether, uphill and with an unhelpful wind so I was happy to stop to note hedges thick with honeysuckle and privet…

honeysuckle and privet in hedge

…and a field of interested bullocks.

a load of bullocks

I usually do this route in the opposite direction so I am often whizzing down this hill without looking.

kerr wood road

Today I had time to look and the inclination to take a breather.

kerr wood road wood flowers

The wind helped me along the last three miles and I arrived home after 20 miles in a cheerful frame of mind, considering how sore my back had been when I got up in the morning.

I had a wander round the garden….

foxglove trumpets

…before Mrs Tootlepedal came home and then I went to have a shower.

That concluded the business of the day apart from rather gloomily watching England’s ladies not quite being up to the task of winning their semi final in the world cup in spite of the USA kindly offering them some chances to do so.  The better team won.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow with its eyes on the prize.

flying sparrow

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