Posts Tagged ‘puddles’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone and shows his fine looking grandson Leo, who was visiting last weekend.


The letters WWW may have a common meaning in today’s wired up world but to us in Langholm they stand for Warm, Wet and Windy and we had another WWW day today.

The morning was so well supplied with the wet and windy elements that I spent it wandering about the house, kicking the furniture and exclaiming, “I’m bored.”

Mrs Tootlepedal was fully occupied with bathroom tile removal so she rightly had little sympathy.

I did look out of the window from time to time.


You may think that the male chaffinch was getting ready to sing a love song to the lady below….


…but in fact, he was just thinking of some choice abuse to hurl at her.

There were other birds hanging about too.

siskin and great tit

I made some soup for lunch and an earnest perusal of the forecast made me believe that there might be a gap in the rain straight after lunch.  I made up my mind to go for a walk and while my confidence was slightly dented by a humungously heavy shower of rain as soon as I had made up my mind, I nevertheless put on my great big waterproof boots, coat and trousers and when the rain stopped, went out for my walk.

I chose a two and a bit mile walk up the Hallpath to the Roundhouse and back by Murtholm and along the river.

It didn’t rain but the gloom was Stygian and taking pictures was hard work.  The occasional berry made up for the lack of flowers…


…and there was always the merry gurgle of a stream to keep me company.

wet path

This one was running down a path off the hill.

Stream at Skippers

And this one was running off the hill and onto the road at Skippers

There wasn’t much of view to be had….

Langholm from Round House

…even though there was an occasional hint of blue in the sky.

I have been neglecting the abundant moss that covers anything that doesn’t move round here….

Mossy log

There is a tree stump under there if you look closely.

…and I keep meaning to take a set of pictures to show the great variety of mosses that we have.

I took a few pictures of Skippers Bridge but none that deserved readers’ attention and crossed the bridge and took the track home along the river.


We have a great many puddles at the moment and a couple on the fields past the farmhouse gave me the chance to be reflective.  Black clouds behind me.

Murtholm puddle

A hint of blue skies ahead.

Murtholm puddle

My pace quickened though as the the black clouds from behind overtook the blue sky ahead and only a pretty leaf lying on the path….

fallen leaf

…and a final gurgling stream…


…made me stop for long enough to get my camera out.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was just taking the final tiles off the floor so I turned my attention to making some Chelsea buns.  My last effort had produced tasty but inelegant results.  This lot looked a little (but not much) better….

chelsea bun

…but they were still quite tasty and have been put under lock and key to ensure that there are a few left for tomorrow.

While they were cooling, we went off to a choir practice for Langholm Sings.  We had to work jolly hard as the musical director rattled through the songs at a crisp pace while we struggled along behind her.  We were pleased to be able to refresh ourselves with two scones each and a nice cup of cocoa when we got home.

We are nearing the end of our spell of WWW weather so I was glad to have found the right moment for a walk today.  It will be hats, mufflers and gloves by the weekend.

I found a very gloomy flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture from my sister Mary shows some reflections on the Regent’s Canal.

regent's canal

The day started with s stiff breeze and a good deal of rain but the breeze was quite a lot less strident than yesterday’s near gale and the garden was full of goldfinches as a result.  They didn’t always seem very happy about the rain though.

goldfinch and siskin

This one was joined by a lone siskin visitor.

I had to go up to see my friend Arthur on a matter of computer assistance and by the time that I returned, the rain had begun to slack off and the light had improved enough to make watching the goldfinches with camera in hand a sensible thing to do.


Some were very busy…


…and others were more chilled out.


…but mostly they were busy.

There were chaffinches about too in typically feisty form.


You can see from the pictures that there was even a hint of sun so I stepped out to visit the froggery.


This one had a minder in the background.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work again in  order to keep me in the style to which I am accustomed and I got the speedy bike out and resolved to see how strong the wind was.

garmin 24 Feb 14It was very strong in gusts but the gusts were reasonably far apart and the base wind speed was tolerable.  I was feeling a lot better than I was when  had to give up on Saturday and had enough energy to jump off the bike on several occasions to take a picture (or two).

I hadn’t decided how far or where to go before I set out but as the ride went on, the reasonably warm temperature (8 degrees C), the moderate wind and the high clouds with occasional patches of blue sky led me on and on and I ended up doing a loop of thirty miles.  The wind  got stronger as I went round but fortunately by the time it was at its fiercest, I was heading for home with the wind behind me.

The first 6 miles uphill and into the wind took me a good length of time as I pedalled well within myself to avoid getting too tired.  This led to a slow overall time but an amazingly pleasant ride as I had plenty of energy left even when I had finished.

My first photos were on a watery theme with two of my favourite little cascades on the Wauchope and a picturesque puddle being ruffled by the wind.

wauchope cascade

wauchope cascade

There was plenty of water going down the river.


And in the fields all round my journey.

I passed this ruined cottage between Kennedy’s Corner and Chapelknowe.

ruined cottage

After passing through Glenzier, I decided to take the morning run route home past the Kerr.  There had been signs saying that the road would be closed and I wanted to check this out.  The road past Ryehills was closed and I had to take a small diversion past Tomshielburn and Barnglieshead.  This road had been closed earlier and I was keen to see what sort of job had been done on it.

Parts had been gloriously resurfaced….

Tomshielburn road

…but parts had been left without improvement at all.

The ways of the roads department are a mystery to us all.

There were more puddles to be seen along this stretch…


horse and puddle

The horses at the back would have come to see me but they had lost their water wings.

…and some fine lichen on an old gatepost.


You could read all sorts of things into these patterns.  I can see Punch and Judy.

I finished my ride with a look at the Esk in langholm.  In spite of all the rain and puddles, the river hasn’t looked like flooding.


It is quite full though.

I dropped in on Maisie’s grandparents who have returned from New Zealand and was greeted with a cup of tea and some welcome ginger biscuits.

I took a picture to prove that they had got back safely.  You can tell from their naturally relaxed manner just how good I am at putting my portrait subjects at ease.

Mike and Alison

They are not at all jet lagged.

In the evening, I went across to Newcastleton with Sandy for a meeting of the camera club.  We both had several pictures in the competition and the judge truly loved out work.  He said so several times.  Sadly, he loved others’ work even more and we didn’t trouble the scorer as they say.

He showed us some of his own work as an entrant in top competitions and as they included a great shot of a goldfinch, I considered him a wonderful photographer.  It was a treat to look at his pictures and to hear his remarks ab0ut ours so Sandy and I came home well satisfied.

In spite of all the goldfinches, a neat chaffinch sneaked in as flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch













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The landscape photography book which I have been reading says that I should avoid the mundane and aim for the mysterious.


The mystery for the spectator can be one of four things; what is it? what does it mean to me? does it touch my emotions? why did the photographer take the picture?  In this case as far as I can see, the answers to these questions will be very obscure, especially the last one.    Does this make it a good picture? It’s a mystery.  (Please do not try to help me out here as this will only raise more questions.) I am going to have to stop reading books which make my head hurt.   Note for certain male readers:  the photograph shows items on the draining board after being washed up.  I realise that this will make the mystery only deeper for you.  You thought that things washed themselves up and then put themselves away.

The last day of the year threatened to be as bad as any that had gone before.  When I woke up, the wind was howling round the house and it was raining.  When I went downstairs, water had leaked through the window and the back wall.  I was just working up to a really thoroughgoing rant with a choice range of selected swearwords of a kind suitable for old gentlemen in a temper when my day brightened.  The rain let up and Sandy and Dropscone came to join me for coffee.

Dropscone had just taken his daughter to the dentist in Hawick and he arrived bearing gifts of a bakery nature.  We couldn’t exactly say what they were but Dropscone did point out that they were the first things that he had ever  brought to eat with our coffee that either he hadn’t made himself or which he hadn’t purchased at a discount on account of them being very close to their sell by dates.  We were suitably grateful.  They had a hint of cheese about them and were very good, whatever they were.

No birds had come to the feeder in the early part of the morning because the wind was just to strong for them but it let up after coffee and I took a picture or two.

coal tit

A coal tit was dwarfed by my new peanut feeder.

chaffinches in the rain

It started raining again.

The birds seemed nearly as cross as I was.

birds at the feeder

One brambling simply couldn’t wait at all amid scenes that resembled the January sales.


I had resigned myself to another wasted day until I looked up after lunch and saw that there was some blue sky about.  I thought that the wind would be still be strong but it had dropped away.  There was no excuse.  I got the winter bike out, tucked my trousers in and set off up the road to Bentpath.

This route involves a short but stiff climb at the start and I was worried that I might not be up to it but all was well and I floated up the hill on a wave of euphoria brought on by the unexpected pedal.

Although the day was dry, the surrounding countryside was anything but.

watery wall

This little river was running over a wall and across the road in fine style and I was pleased not to meet a car coming the other way while I was splashing through it.

The fields had puddles in every dip.


There were glimpses of sun to be had but I had no need of sun cream as they were far off.


I made a point of stopping regularly on the way out as I was pedalling into what was still quite a noticeable breeze and this gave me the opportunity to take some illustrative pictures as I went.


A typical farm yard

Esk at Bentpath

This is the Esk at Bentpath and the picture shows how very flat the valley bottoms are among the steep sided hills.

Esk at Bentpath

I liked the contrast between the serene water below the trees and the river in full flow behind

The puddles weren’t just in the fields.

road puddle at Georgefield

Luckily, I was going so slowly that there was no danger of getting myself soaked as I went through.

I had to look twice when I saw these.


Not the sort of thing you see every day round here.

I’ll go back and try to take a better picture of them next time if they are still there.

I had just crossed the Meggat Water….

Meggat Water

…and reached the furthest extent of my ride at Enzieholm Bridge when a wobble of the handlebars indicated that something was wrong.  I had a puncture.  This was annoying as I didn’t fancy a seven and a half mile walk home.  I looked rather nervously in my back bag and was pleased to find two tyre levers, a spare tube and my little pump.  This was a bonus as I don’t always carry spares because my usual Schwalbe tyres are so hard wearing that I haven’t had a puncture for ages.

I set about changing tubes and to my amazement and delight, I managed it and, what is more, without hurting my thumbs to any great extent.  I was also very heartened to be twice offered assistance, once by a passing pedestrian and once by a couple in a car.  My morning gloom was entirely dispelled by now and I cycled home down wind and at peace with the world.

The turkey mountain having now disappeared, I am setting to work on reducing the cheese mountain and so I enjoyed a plate of macaroni cheese for me tea.  It will be sad not to have Mrs Tootlepedal here for seeing in the New Year but thanks to the wonders of technology, I managed this.

A glass of wine and thou

I think that as the poet says, that should be ‘paradise enow’, though I couldn’t run to a jug of wine since I am restricted to a glass per week.

Modified rapture.

Since the night was calm and clear and the next competition at the camera club is night photographs, I went out to have a try.

Henry Street

Henry Street

The temperature had dropped a lot.

The temperature had dropped a lot.

war memorial

I don’t feel that I have understood the point of night photography except for catching badgers playing since photography is writing with light and there isn’t much light at night but I will persevere.

One of the things about night shooting is that you can’t use your auto focus and mu eyesight is so bad I can’t tell whether the shot is in focus or not until I get home, which is too late.

I notice that many other bloggers have posted a retrospective look at 2012 so I had better do mine:

2012: very disappointing.
The final flying bird of the year.

flying chaffinch

I wish a very good and successful new year with all that you wish and deserve in it to all of those of you who have persevered as far as this down to the post.





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Today’s picture, sent by Joyce from Canada, gives a vivid impression of her current weather conditions.  She thinks we ought to stop moaning about a little drop of rain.

williamstown fair entry 17

We had a much better day here and not before time.  It hardly rained at all and from time to time it was possible to catch a glimpse of a patch of blue sky.  On the minus side there was an extremely strong wind in the morning.

Capturing bird pictures was a lot easier today.

chaffinches at feeder

While Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I took advantage of the slightly better weather to catch a chaffinch or two in flight…..

flying chaffinches

…or indeed, six or seven….

chaffinch and brambling

I was as happy as a sandboy.

I thought about this phrase after I had written it and realised that not only didn’t I know why  a sandboy should be happy but I also didn’t even know what a sandboy is or was.  They turn out to be the people who took  buckets of sand for the floor round to public houses in  spit and sawdust times and they were happy because they had been rewarded for their labour with a drink.  I was happy but sober so I probably wasn’t as happy as a sandboy.  I was happy though.

Not all the birds were in the air.


A jackdaw has bitten off more than it can chew


A blackbird shyly introduces itself.

After lunch, I took advantage of the better day to go for a walk.  Mrs Tootlepedal gave me a lift as far as the Co-op and then I ventured to the Round House before coming home by the Murtholm.  Although I like Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden a lot, I am sometimes envious of people who live on the edge of town because of the greater variety of birds that visit their feeder.  I saw a nuthatch on a feeder near Skippers Bridge but it flew off into a bush as soon as it saw my camera.


I had to make do with a great tit which was more amenable to being photographed.

great tit

A dripping wall beside the A7 showed that although it was a dry day, it hadn’t been dry for long.

A7 wall

The winter does have the advatnage of improving the views of bridges as the leaves disappear from the trees.


Not just the water from the wall but all the rain that falls for miles around disappears through this narrow exit.

I was intending to walk a little further than I did but it didn’t take much clambering up a hillside to make me turn for home.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed taking a few pictures, even though my outing was brief.

Tree at Longwood

A fine tree in the fields at Longwood

moss on the wall

While I was taking the tree, my eye was caught by this tiny red patch among the  moss on the wall.

When I got to the Round House, a rare shaft of sunlight picked out Meikleholm Hill.

Meikleholm Hill

And the sun was still out as I walked back down through the wood.

Tree in sunlight

I am a sucker for moss covered branches. This tree appealed to man and dog alike.

As I went home along the Murtholm, I took this picture of Murtholm Farm.  The estate had obviously laid its hand on a job lot of maroon paint at one time as you can see facing boards painted in this colour all around the area.  The sun on the hill behind had already disappeared.


I was able to admire the many huge puddles left by the summer rain both in the fields….

reflective sheep

…and in the woods.

beechy plain puddle

A puddle in the Beechy Plains

I took the last two pictures when I reached the Buccleuch Park at the end of my walk.  They show the wall beside the Park Brig and a patch of moss on it.

Wall at the Park Bridge

A colourful selection of lichen


A jungle of moss on the wall.

When I got home, I didn’t have to wait long before Alistair and Clare arrived for a welcome visit.  Clare and I made tea cakes while Alistair nursed an injured elbow and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some spaghetti for tea.

After tea, we played a traditional round of Oh Hell (Clare won easily) and ate a toasted tea cake or two.  Oh Hell goes by a variety of names and a website tells me that it can also be called Blackout, Blob, Nomination Whist, Elevator (l’Ascenseur in France), Bust and Up and Down the River (in Australia and New Zealand), Boerenbridge or 10 op en neer in the Netherlands and German Bridge in Hong Kong. Under any name it is a great game.

Tomorrow, being Christmas Eve, it will be time to put the Christmas tree up and decorate the room.  The decorations and tree will stay up until Twelfth Night, bringing a hint of cheer to the darkest days of the year.

I kept one brambling back to star as flying bird of the day.

flying brambling




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