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Posts Tagged ‘Powfoot’

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to the Taunton Flower show.  They really know how to enjoy a good time there.

Taunton flower show

Unfortunately, Sandy’s new bike did not arrive on schedule so with nothing better to do, I set out on a solo ride, hoping that the good weather that had greeted the day would last.

There was plenty of evidence of the wet weather of the weekend to be seen as I left the town.  Above the Auld Stane Bridge, trees were scattered casually around, high on the river bank…

washed up trees auld stane brig

…and a mile or two further along the road, I had to stop at a traffic light to get past this landslide.

landslip wauchope road

We seem to have had the worst of the flooding though because after that the roads were dry and clear.

At least they were dry until I got caught in a rain shower which started at ten miles and lasted for the next three miles.  I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t last long and was able to look back it from a sunny spot before I got too wet.

clouds behind me

I had a good rain jacket with me and since I was wearing shorts and my legs are pretty waterproof, I was able to take a little rain without crying.

This was lucky, because after passing the ex nuclear power station at Chaplecross where the demolition continues at a snails pace (unsurprisingly)…

chapelcross demolition

…I encountered another rain shower at twenty miles and this too lasted for three miles.

The rain had stopped by the time that I got to Powfoot, a little village on the shore of the Solway Firth, but another shower was hiding England from sight on the far shore.

solway with england obscured

The contrast couldn’t have been more clear; gloom in England and sunshine in Scotland.

white row powfoot

Looking further down the firth, I could see another shower on our side but I decided to pedal on anyway.

next rainstorm solway

There has been a lot of verge mowing so I didn’t see many wild flowers but I liked this one on the shore at Powfoot.

wild flower powfoot

Since I had encountered rain at ten and twenty miles, I was fully expecting to meet some more at thirty miles but although I passed some large puddles in fields…

large puddle near ruthwell

The verges here were thick with Himalayan balsam

…the sun was still shining as I got to my turning point at the Brow Well, famous as a place where Robert Burns came to drink the waters shortly before his death.

brow well

I didn’t drink the waters but I did stop on the handy bench and ate an egg roll.  I needed the sit down as I had been cycling into the noticeable wind for thirty miles by this time.

I had taken the back road out but took the inland road back.  This involved crossing under the Annan to Dumfries railway a couple of times.

railway bridge near powfoot

With the wind behind me and the sun shining, I whistled along the road through Annan pretty cheerfully.  I stopped for a banana near Eastriggs, and some of my good cheer evaporated when I turned my head to the left and looked across the fields.

rainstorm off eastriggs

Still, the rain was on my left and the wind was coming from the right and behind so I reckoned that the clouds would be blown away safely.

However, I must have cycled too fast and the road must have changed direction a bit because when I got to Longtown, the heavens opened and in seconds the road was awash.  As I was on the main road by this time, I wasn’t only getting rained on from above, but I was getting a good soaking from the passing traffic as well.  I therefore decided to turn off and take the slightly longer but much quieter route through Canonbie, and in spite of having to pedal through a large puddle on my way, this was a good choice.

large puddle north lodge canonbie

It became an even better choice when the next shower turned out to consist of hail stones which gave me such a good pinging that I was forced to take shelter under the trees at Byreburnfoot.  I would have been very exposed on the main road.

I got going again when the hail turned to rain and rode the five miles home in a series of fitful showers which rather annoyingly stopped as soon as I got to Langholm.

My jacket stood up to the weather very well and I arrived home relatively dry and quite cheerful.  Riding through the rain had been quite tiring though, so I was very glad of the cup of tea that Mrs Tootlepedal made for me.

I had a walk round the garden in the sunshine after my cuppa and enjoyed a fine sunflower in the back bed.

sunflower back bed

We both like the pure white flowers on this hosta.

white hosta flowers

There was quite racket of birds in the garden, most of it coming from starlings perched on our new electricity wires.

convocation of starlings

The loudest of them all though was a lone starling sitting on top of the holly tree. Perhaps it was complaining about the prickles.

starling on holly

I was standing on the lawn looking at the starlings when I was nudged out of the way by this blackbird hunting for worms.

close blackbird

I gave way gracefully and went in, passing a rare unnibbled dahlia on the way.

good dahlia

Because of the rain, my feet had got a bit cold and my legs had got a bit stiff so I retired for a hot bath before our evening meal.  This was a feast of vegetarian sausages accompanied by peas, runner beans, carrots, courgette and new potatoes all from the garden.

The temperatures have dropped a lot now and there was distinctly autumnal feel about the morning and the garden is beginning to lose its summer glow.

One of the starlings on the wire rose to the occasion and is the flying bird of the day.

flying starling

Curious readers may find out more about my very slow pedal by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 13 Aug 2019

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Today’s guest picture comes from camera club member Simon.  He suggested the theme for tonight’s meeting and then found that he couldn’t come.  He sent me this contribution  in lieu.  Prizes (token) for telling me where he was.

IMG_0007

Yet another grey and windy day welcomed us when we woke.  Everybody I met had the same thought in mind, “Why does it feel so cold when the thermometer says it should feel fairly warm?”  A brisk and mysteriously chilly south wind, which should be bringing up warm air, was the culprit.

After breakfast, there was a brief sunny interlude. I had to go and collect a key for the camera club meeting and was pleased to spot oyster catchers beside the river on my way back.

P1160973

We have got quite a number now, circling above the town with their strident calls.  Those who live along the banks of the rivers have mixed feelings about the oyster catchers as the birds often fly around in the middle of the night, waking the residents up with their piercing shrieks.  It is a high price to pay for the coming of spring.

Talking of spring, I saw the first blossoms appearing on the riverside trees…

P1160974

…and the daffodils are starting to come out in earnest in the garden.

P1160975

I fixed up an appointment with my physiotherapist for the afternoon and settled down to do the crossword, have coffee, practise a song or two and watch the birds.

A plump greenfinch turned up…

seated goldfinch and plump greenfinch

…and looked to be rather aggrieved at the seeds on offer.

plump greenfinch

Several siskins also arrived and hung about on top of the feeder…

siskins on top of feeder

…while below, a greenfinch threatened a goldfinch’s peace of mind.

greenfinch and goldfinch

The siskins soon got down and dirty and joined in the fun.

siskin and chaffinch at feeder

I thought that I ought to test my foot so that I could givea good explanation of where it was hurting to the physio so I went for a short stroll.

My foot was sore but usable so I pottered round Gaskell’s Walk.  It was getting greyer all the time and the views weren’t very exciting….

dull whita scene

…so I kept my head down and looked for a variety of mosses.  They weren’t hard to find.

Top left and right were growing on walls, bottom left on the ground and bottom right on a tree stump.

four gaskell mosses

I couldn’t pass the lichens by without a nod in their direction.

Top left and right on a fence post, bottom left on an old tree stump and bottom right on a wall.

four gaskells lichens

As I got to the end of my walk, the white duck flew past and settled in the Wauchope.  He had a conventionally coloured lady friend with him but they flew off before I could take the pair of them together.

white duck in wauchope

The theme for the camera club meeting was street scenes so George kindly posed for me with the dog who was talking him for a walk to the park.

George with dog

It wasn’t long after I got home that it started raining but it didn’t come to much so when I had to drive to Powfoot to see the physio after lunch, driving was no great trial and the rain had stopped by the time that I got to the sea shore.  I did see a few birds with my binoculars but they were too far off to photograph.

powfoot seascape

The physio listened to my report, shook her head in a rather thoughtful way and decided that some traction might be a good idea.  I have suffered from a niggling back for many years so a little traction usually does me some good and I was happy to get stretched out on her infernal machine.  It certainly made my back feel a lot better and only time will tell if it has had a beneficial effect on my foot but I feel a visit to the doctor coming on if things don’t improve.

I hadn’t been home long before Mrs Tootlepedal called out that there were big birds in the garden.  She was right.

Two partridges were pecking about under the feeder.  The partridge shooting season is over now so these birds can feed without running into danger.  This one looked as though it might have difficulty getting off the ground.

partridge in garden

While I was away, Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy with her paint brush.

horse with paunted ears

Dappling is the next thing on the rocking horse restoration menu.  This is a nervous business and Mrs Tootlepedal is giving it a lot of thought.

My flute pupil Luke came.  He is still recovering from a bad cold so we took things easily after missing a couple of weeks.  It was good to be back playing duets again.

After tea, I went off to the camera club where we had an excellent selection of pictures once again.  Most of the other members had taken the theme a lot more seriously than me and as they are a well travelled lot we had street scenes from Majorca, Tenerife, Madagascar, Cuba, Edinburgh, India, Thailand and more.  In addition we had some beautiful pictures of local scenes in the recent snow so we were very well entertained.

And there were biscuits.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some home made ginger biscuits during the day so any chance of losing a little of my additional winter weight has gone out of the window for the time being.  They are delicious.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch with its eye on a perch.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture is another look at the supersized crazy golf course in Nottingham.  My brother Andrew passed it on his way to classes at the university.

nottingham golf

I was hoping for a bright day today so that I could take some seaside picture when I went to visit my physio who lives on the Solway coast.  There has been a lot of loose talk lately about a ridge of high pressure with warm temperatures and sunny skies but wherever that was taking place, it wasn’t here.  We were stubbornly stuck in single figures, under very grey skies and blasted by stiff winds.

The opportunity to sit indoors in the morning and admire the birds at the feeder was scuppered by two fly throughs from the sparrowhawk with the result that birds were very few and far between…

chaffinch behind feeder

…and mostly hiding when they did arrive.

I walked round the garden but there was not a lot to see.  The winter aconites are trying to open out…

winter aconites

…and the new sarcococca is doing well.

sarcococca

But that was it.

In the absence of interesting birds or flowers, I went off and did some singing practice in disgust and then after an early lunch, we set out to combine the visit to the physio with some shopping.

I picked up a big bag of economically priced bird seed on the way to visit a garden centre near Carlisle.  Once we got there, Mrs Tootlepedal acquired some interesting seed potatoes and an azalea and I purchased a selection of cheeses.

Then we headed off to Annan where I had intended to do some more shopping and take a picture or two.  Unfortunately, the middle of the town was clogged up with road works so we gave up and drove out to Powfoot…

powfoot cotttages

…. to see the sea.  It was gloomy but a dog was having fun…

dog walkers powfoot

…which may have helped to account for the complete absence of any interesting sea birds…

solway on a grey day

…although the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal did spot a lone lapwing.

I missed the lapwing and took a picture of some seaside gorse instead.

gorse at powfoot

The visit to the physio was useful and interesting but did not in the short term do anything to ease my foot troubles.  She thinks the pain may well stem from injury to the tendons in my ankle as it is swollen.  She wiggled my foot in many directions and was unable to find any other cause so that may well be the right answer.  Unfortunately this means that I will have to wait for ‘time, the great healer’ to do his work but she did say that gentle but regular exercise is prescribed so that cheered me up.

She has put a tape down the back of my calf and along the bottom of my foot to give me some support so I shall try a little walk tomorrow and see how it goes.

I picked up a few walnuts in the garden today and found one or two ripe ones which Mrs Tootlepedal ate.  She said they were very sweet. It is a pity that I don’t like nuts with so many lying around.  This one seemed appropriate for St Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

walnut hearts

In the evening, I went off to the Langholm choir where we had an enjoyable evening of singing.  Our current set of songs are tuneful and not too hard which is just what I need at the moment.

While I have been idling about over the past weeks, Mrs Tootlepedal has been very busy.

She has got the first covering of undercoat onto the rocking horse….

rocking horse repairs paint

…and has been very busy with her crochet hook.

crochet blanket

The main body of the blanket is now complete and she is waiting to get the instructions for finishing it off with a border.

The winds are due to ease off over the next couple of days so I hope to get out on the bicycle again.  A little sunshine would help.

The supply of flying birds was very poor today and this was the only one that I captured on camera.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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A long sit

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our friend Sandra and shows her her husband Jim keeping company with the famous Molly Malone.  Those who know their cockles and mussels will realise that Jim and Sandra were having a good time in Ireland.

Jim and Molly Malone

Our hot weather continued but I had run out of excuses for dawdling about in the garden so I dawdled about all day on my new bicycle instead.

Before I left, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of two sorts of poppies in the garden this year.

A Shirley poppy…

shirley poppy

…and an opium poppy.

opium poppy

If you think the the background to the opium poppy looks a bit odd that is because it is a bit odd.

greenhouse poppy

Somehow or other, it has sowed itself, along with some friends, on the floor of the greenhouse and Mrs Tootlepedal has let it grow.

My plan was to bicycle until exhausted and I imagined with the temperature forecast for the mid twenties by the afternoon, that that might not take too long. However, I adopted a very regulated behaviour scheme and stopped every five miles for a minute or two to have a drink and stretch my legs and on the ten mile stops, I took a little longer and had a snack as well.

I had two water bottles and I had put an isotonic tablet into each and I took some guava jelly in tablet form which I had cut into nine little squares and I ate one of the squares on my ten miles stops. On top of this, I stopped for a cafe lunch and by dint of all this sensible behaviour, I stretched my ride out to 100 miles.  Even when I  finished, I was not entirely exhausted though I am a little tired as I write this so I hope that indulgent readers will, forgive a little incoherence.  It was decidedly hot by our standards.

On many of my stops and at some other interesting points, I tried to take a picture or two and here are some of the results.

pine cone

Not a pineapple but a pine cone.

powfoot

Sun, sea and sand at Powfoot

anthorn from powfoot

A welcome haze was keeping the most direct sun off me.  I could just  see the radio station at Anthorn, a few miles away across the Solway but not the hills behind it.

rider at powfoot

A horse rider on the beach at Powfoot. In a sign of the times, the rider is checking her mobile phone.

emu type bird

There are unusual animals to be seen near the caravan park at Powfoot.  There was one of these….

lamas

…and several of these.

bankend tower

I had another look at the tower at Bankend and from the side, it is just a hollow shell.

glencaple

The car park at Glencaple was full again today.  For a fairly dull place it has a lot of secret allure.  A good cafe helps no doubt.

bindweed

I went down to the shore of the Nith estuary, passing this bindweed flower on the way.

Nith tanks

And once again wondered about these two storage tanks on the opposite bank.  What are they storing and why?

nith reeds

I would have stayed longer but a couple were unable to restrain a very irritating jumpy-up sort of dog so I made my was back through the reeds to the road..

Caerlaverock Castle

And moved on to Caerlaverock castle where there is a cafe.

Here, I made one of the two mistakes of the day and ordered soup and coffee.  The coffee came but not the soup.  I waited…and waited…and waited.  Very occasionally a bowl of soup appeared for other diners and finally after about 50 minutes, I was the next in line.

The cook appeared from the kitchen and came up to the table.  Was she going to offer an exciting addition to the soup? Parsley perhaps?

“I’m very sorry, sir, but the soup has run out.”

They didn’t charge me for the coffee.

I went a few miles down the road and found soup freely available at the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust cafe.  Luckily it was very tasty and I bought an extra roll so I was in a much better frame of mind as I set out on the next 50 miles.

cummertrees church lych gate

There is a rather unlikely memorial lych gate at Cummertrees church but it offered some welcome shade for a little sit down and snack

Justice town road

I had to go into England to get my mileage up and I enjoyed this tunnel of shade near Justicetown.

I really enjoyed almost every mile of the ride but the heat had melted the tar on the back roads near Scaleby and that made cycling for the next few miles a pretty hard task. When I got back to the main road, I popped into the pub at Smithfield and had half a pint of fresh orange juice and this kept me going for the last few miles.

hollows bridge view

My last ‘five mile’ stop was on the Hollows bridge.

Those interested can get further details of the ride by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 26 June 2018

You can see that it was a very flat route after going over Callister near the start.  The temperature was a lot higher than 63 degrees as I was in the open sunlight the whole way round but my eating and drinking was quite well managed and I only lost about 1kg on the ride, not bad for such a warm day.  The wind was mercifully light and that meant that I was cycling into a bike generated breeze for the whole trip which helped to keep me relatively  cool.

The actual cycling took me seven and a half hours but the elapsed time for the trip was nearly ten hours, partly because of the long wait for the non existent tomato soup which meant that I took an hour and a half for lunch and partly because of the 19 short breaks that I took along the way.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a rather frustrating day wandering about the garden thinking of things to do but finding that it was too hot to do them.  In the end, she did a little planting out and a lot of watering.  I had more fun than her today.

I looked at a couple of roses in the garden when I got back.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that my favourite rose should just be called The Wren….

rose Wren

…and here it is with the inevitable little black flies on it which I didn’t have the energy to dislodge.

This means that the flower of the day is Lilian Austin.

lilian austin

I dislodged her little black flies on the computer.

 

 

Observant readers may note that I claimed to have made two bad decisions but have only mentioned one.  The other was falling gently but in a very undignified way off my bike when I misjudged the height of a pavement as I stopped near Dornock.  Nothing was hurt except my pride fortunately.

 

 

 

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The guest picture of the day comes from my neighbour Liz.  She has been on holiday in Spain but must have strayed into Portugal because she tells me that these are Portuguese fishermen mending their nets.

net mending

It was rather chilly and the cloud was clamped on the hills when I got up.  It was nearly windless so I thought very hard about going for a cycle ride and had to weigh up the damp, cold conditions against the lack of wind.  My cough has not disappeared.  At one stage, I got into quite a heated argument with myself but in the end, sense prevailed and I invited Sandy round for a cup of coffee instead.

After coffee, I checked on the garden birds….

chaffinch

…and then I went out for a short walk with the hope of finding some misty shots involving bare trees for dramatic effect.  I found a dipper, a dripping conifer and some birch leaves….

dipper

…but no dramatic misty treescapes.

However, there was some curiously striped mist about…

misty view

…and a hint of a hilltop above the mist…

misty view

…and this was enough to suggest that a drive up to the White Yett might provide a shot worth taking or two and so, on a whim and a prayer, off I went.

Things looked promising as I went up the hill…

windmills in mist

…and more promising the higher I went…

mist from Whita

…higher and higher…

P1050358

And the promise was fulfilled when I got to the car park.

mist from Whita

I don’t think I have seen mist in such well defined streams before.

mist from Whita

I decided that a walk up to the monument was called for and as I went up, I kept snapping.

Timpen hill was like an island in an icy sea.

 

mist from Whita

The mist was filling the col between Timpen and the windmills on Craig and Ewe Hill

P1050378

On the other side of the town, the mist had smothered the Wauchope valley and I was very glad that I had decided not to cycle there earlier in the day.  It would have been dark and damp.

mist from Whita

The stripes of mist were most unusual and thanks to the cool and very still day, they stayed where they were for long enough for me to enjoy them thoroughly.mist from Whita

Once at the top of the hill, I expected to see the Solway plain full of mist too but it was pretty clear so that I could see the Gretna wind farm on this side of the firth  and the Lake District Hills on the far side. ..

Solway Firth

…but as you can see, they had some low level mist on the English shore too.

I could have sat up there for some time but I had an afternoon appointment so I reluctantly came back down to the car, taking a shot or two on the way of course…

windmills and mist

…including a panorama to try to give an impression of how neatly the mist was wrapped round the hills.  You can click on the panorama for a closer look.

mist panorama

As I came down, I saw two things of interest.  The first was a bird perched on a snow pole.  When I looked at the picture for the first time, I thought that it was only a stray chaffinch but a closer look tells me that it is something else.

bird on pole

(Helpful readers have told me that it is a stonechat,  I am grateful to them.)

The other interesting sight was Sandy.  I had sent him a  text to say that there was interesting mist and he had come up for a look for himself.

I didn’t have time to stay and chat as that afternoon appointment was looming up and I needed to have lunch before I went.

I combined lunch with staring out of the window.

There was the usual charm offensive…

blue tit and robin

….and an offensive charm too (goldfinch flocks are called charms)…

goldfinch and siskin

…but the siskins can more than hold their own when it comes to being offensive.

siskin and goldfinch

I couldn’t stay for long as I had to drive over to Powfoot on the Scottish side of the Solway shore to visit my physiotherapist.

The local health authorities have made it almost impossible to see an NHS physio so it was lucky that I know and have used the services of an excellent private physio, even though it costs me money.

A few weeks ago, I injured my left bicep by reaching gently behind me to pick something off a shelf and in the process, damaged my long head tendon.  Two visits to the doctor hadn’t provided me with either much information or a referral to an NHS physio so I was in search of good advice and, if possible, a miracle cure.

I purposely arrived in enough time to go down to the Solway shore.

The tide was out, there was no wind and the scene was eerily quiet.

solway and lake district

I don’t think that I have ever been able to see the reflections of the Anthorn radio masts in the sea before and may well never see them again.

Anthorn

It was hard to choose whether the views from the hill or the shore were better but it was a great privilege to have been able to see them both in one day.

I went to my appointment and discovered that the tendon was irreparably burst and wasn’t going to miraculously join up again so that my bicep would never recover its natural good looks.  This dashed my hopes of appearing in the Mr Universe competition.

On the up side, it turns out that as there are other tendons about, the  loss of one is not a disaster and I should, with care and attention, not do any further damage and be able to gradually improve the situation with judicious light exercise.

As the physio then eased my arthritic shoulder and freed up my neck so that I can actually turn my head now, I considered it money well spent and drove back very cheerfully.

I might have stopped on the way and waved at the starlings at Gretna but I hadn’t brought the right lens with me so I went straight home.

In the evening, I went out to the Langholm Sings choir practice and got shouted at by the pianist.  Deservedly.   But I was tired and my cough hasn’t gone away so I felt a bit hard done by.

I did get a flying goldfinch of the day before I went to Powfoot.

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture is another from Mike Tinker’s recent visit to NZ.  It shows an elegantly silhouetted shag (he tells me that all cormorants are called shags in NZ).

NZ cormorant or shagAfter a spate of cool, windy days, we had a calm and warm day today and with my back well rested by some well judged idleness, cycling was an obvious choice.

After two days of aches and pains (and considerable groaning and moaning since I haven’t mastered the art of suffering in silence), I started cautiously.  However, I was happy to find that the two hilly 50 mile rides that I did last week had put quite a lot of stuffing in my legs and the warm dry weather suited my breathing well and as a result, I felt really good.

For the first time this year, I was able to push on a bit without having to have a big rest straight away.  I had also chosen a very flat route and with very light winds, I was able to roll along at a much better speed than of late.

My target was the little seaside village of Powfoot on the Solway shore and my aim was take some moody pictures of the sea.  I should have read the tide tables.

Powfoot solwayThere was no sign of the sea at all.  The extensive mudflats made it look as though you could walk across to the English shore in your slippers.

There was plenty of sky though so I took a picture of that.

Powfoot solwayThe old houses by the shore looked very pretty.

powfootIt was a perfect day for cycling.  The lack of sun meant that I didn’t  have to bother about sun cream or glare or about getting too thirsty and the wind was obliging enough to strengthen just a touch when I turned for home and had it it at my back.  These beneficial circumstances and my largely hill free route meant that I managed to get my average speed above 15 mph for the 50 mile tour and this was easily my best effort with my new knee.

Since I was quite busy pedalling, I didn’t pay too much attention to the wild flowers in the verges as I went round but I enjoyed these dandelions at the border, where I stopped for a banana before the final push for home.

dandelions

The verges have been covered with dandelions for weeks. They must enjoy the present weather.

The curious can see the route details here.

Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the morning altering some curtains while I was off cycling and was relieved to be able to get out into the garden in the afternoon.  The lack of new flowers which should be out by now made us all the more grateful that the primulas have enjoyed the cool weather a lot.

primulasprimulasprimulasI was very pleased to see some bees visiting the apple blossom….

apple blossom with bees…but we will need more if we are to get a good crop.

The tulips are nearly over but not quite.

tulipstulipI was going to put some buck-u-uppo on the middle lawn but the ingenious bottle, which should be attached to a hose so that it can spray the fertilizer, was so old that its fittings were jammed tight and I couldn’t get it to work.  For some reason, the thought of lugging watering cans full of water all over the garden didn’t appeal to me much so I picked up a camera and went on a brief cycle tour instead.

Mr Grumpy was in hunting mode at the Kilngreen.

Mr GrumpyHe wasn’t looking in the water but in the long grass on the bank.  He plunged his beak into a hole but only came out with a very small insect.

Mr GrumpyI rather think that he may have been after a frog.

I left him to his prey and went on to the sawmill brig to see if the dippers were about.  They were.  dippersThere was a pair of them visiting a hole in the bank so I assume that have a nest in there.

dipper nest

All mod cons including a shower.

I moved on to see if the blue tits still had control of the nesting hole at the Jubilee Bridge.  I think they have as I saw a blue tit visit…

blue tit…but it came out again very quickly (too quick for me) and didn’t return while I was watching so I don’t think that there are any young yet.

I cycled on home and had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal who had finished her work in the garden by this time,

In the evening, we went to our local choir, Langholm Sings, and sang.  We have two concerts coming up with them and we are working hard.  Some of us are even watching what the conductor is doing.

The flying bird of the day is Mr Grumpy making off with his insect.

heron

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Today’s guest picture, taken by my sister Mary on one of her walks, shows an artwork at the Tower of London.  It consists of ceramic poppies and when it is finished, it will surround the tower with a flood of poppies equal to the number of British and Commonwealth casualties of the First World War.  It is very striking but it makes me feel uneasy through its literalness.  It is as though the artist thinks I have no imagination myself and everything must be spelled out for me.  I feel bludgeoned.   I also question making an artwork out of a fountain of blood.

Cascade of poppies at the Tower of London

It was a day of frequent showers and I kept my bicycle hidden away out of the rain.  When it wasn’t raining, it was warm and humid and on the brief occasions when the sun shone, it was a lovely day…..but they were brief.

I had a task to do which took me a lot of the morning.  I would have been able to do it more quickly if I hadn’t had to grapple with a misbehaving printer.  While I was muttering and mumbling imprecations in my office, Mrs Tootlepedal was engaged in a committee meeting meeting in the kitchen.  It was a meeting of the local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, looking at the programme for the forthcoming season.  They were a very cheery bunch and from the gales of laughter echoing through the house, it would be appropriate to remark that they often seemed to be in stitches.

When the committee disbanded, I watched the birds for a while….

blue tit

A blue tit paid a flying visit to the feeder.

…and walked round the soggy garden.

poppy, geranium, marigold

I am still waiting for the arrival of coloured butterflies and have to make do with many white ones meanwhile.

white butterfly

After lunch, it was time to go to Powfoot to visit my physiotherapist to see if she could provide a bit of help, either in the way of advice or treatment.  Mrs Tootlepedal came with me for the outing and we left in enough to time to park on the Solway shore and enjoy the sea view.

solway

Well, we would have enjoyed the sea view if there had been any sea to view but we had arrived at low tide and we could look at the radio station in the haze on the English shore opposite without seeing any water in between.

solway

Even at low tide, we admired the courage of some dog walkers far out on the mud flats.

solway

It was blowing a gale on the shore so we didn’t venture out for a walk ourselves before driving off to the physio.    Once there, Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car and read an interesting embroidery book while I was stretched out on the rack indoors for a little gentle traction.  This turned out to be a good plan as I was relaxed for the first time for days when I stood up.  Although some pain had returned by evening, it was not so bad and it is encouraging to know that it can be banished.

The showers and sunshine continued to alternate when we got home and I took advantage of one sunny spell to try to catch a flying bird.  I was too slow.

siskin and sparrow

Almost.

I gave up and popped back out into the garden to catch some glowing poppies….

poppies

….a sharply outlined lily….

lily

…and a pair of clematis.

clematis

The last of the ligularia flowers stems have been cut back but the foliage continues to please the eye.

ligularia

I spent some time during the day trying to pick out possible entries for the round of photographic classes in flower shows which are coming up and this gave me plenty of time to reflect on how very poor my filing system is and how badly I have managed the backing up of the original shots which appear on this blog at a reduced size.  I may learn some day.

I did catch one flying chaffinch during a rainy spell in the morning.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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