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Posts Tagged ‘rain’

Not the best of days

Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony who is photographing a lot more now that he lives in the country and not in the city.   He must have a very steady hand.

tony's moon

We were promised rain today and we got it.  I managed to get along to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast before the rain came but it started soon after I got back and continued all day well into the evening.

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge was showing 3½ inches when I looked at it this evening and as we have had a pretty dry spell recently, most of this has come in the past two days.  I did mean to check the gauge every week but I keep forgetting.

After we had had a cup of coffee, we decided to improve a very gloomy day by going to get Mrs Tootlepedal’s new reading glasses, buy some bird food and visit a garden centre to get a new honeysuckle for the garden.

The glasses and bird food acquisition went well but trying to buy a plant in the garden centre was up hill work as it was full to the brim with Christmas tat and plants had been relegated to the outer regions.  We tried a second garden centre and failed there too but Mrs Tootlepedal had been able to pick the very tulip bulbs that she wanted at the first centre so it wasn’t a total write off.

After lunch, I tried to take a bird picture but there were few birds to be seen and those that were about were not doing any unnecessary flying.

wet saturday chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked through the rain to the church to attend an organ recital in aid of the fund to restore our church organ to its full glory.  The recital seemed rather gloomy too, not helped by the organist telling us not applaud as he thought that it was silly.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off afterwards to help out at the Buccleuch Centre and I settled down to full time resting as I had tweaked my leg muscle again while walking to the church.  It is really hard to find the balance between gentle restorative exercise and making things worse.  I am not getting it right at the moment.

Then I made the mistake of watching a bit of the Scotland v Wales rugby international and the sight of Scotland reverting to old habits and losing comfortably made the day seem even gloomier.

No flying bird of the day so I am finishing with a picture which shows that it wasn’t raining all over Scotland today.  On the east coast today.  Tony and Dylan spent some happy time digging up a large tree root and were justifiably proud when they succeeded in getting it out of the ground.

Tony, Dylan and the root

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who was more adventurous than me and went for an outing in the rain.  His reward was a picture of the Byreburn in full flow over the Fairy Loup. (I have put a little video that he took at the bottom of this post for those who like loud noises.)

fairy loup

As you can see from Bruce’s picture, there was a lot of water about today.  It had started raining before two o’clock in the morning and it rained until it got dark in the evening.  At that point 35 mph winds started to blow so it wasn’t in general a very pleasant day.

Dropscone arrived with bonus scones as he had left his hat and gloves here yesterday  and we had a cup of coffee before we went off with them firmly in his grip.

While we were sipping, there was a mass flight of birds from the feeder and when we looked, we could see the reason for the excitement.

sparrowhawk in plum tree

The sparrowhawk lurked in the plum tree for some time but no little birds were foolish enough to come back to the feeder and it eventually flew off.

As it had been raining for 8 hours by the time that Dropscone went off to do some shopping,  I walked down to the river under a capacious umbrella to see if the water was high.  It was surprisingly low…

Wauchope fairly full

…and you can see from the grass on the far bank that it had been higher yesterday after a much shorter but much heavier shower.

Two goosanders found it calm enough to paddle about.

goosanders on wauchope

…and I noticed the usual autumn outbreak of fungus around an old tree stump next to the church wall.

church mushrooms

The rain started to come down a bit more vigorously so I went home and looked at the birds as there was nothing much better to do.

Although the rain was very persistent, it was quite light at times and the birds didn’t get as soggy as they sometimes do in the wet.

I don’t know if we just have one coal tit who visits a lot or several coal tits who come one at a time but I never see more than one at the feeder though I do see it/them a lot at present.

coal tit paying flying vivit

We had a good number of greenfinches today and at times they dominated the feeder, shouting at sparrows…

greenfinch being rude to sparrow

…and grumbling at other greenfinches.

greenfinches squabbling

Between the greenfinches and the sparrows, goldfinches could only sulk in the background.

goldfinch sulking

Some sparrows tried enchantment to get rid of a fellow sparrow on a perch…

greenfinch witching

…while others took a more direct route to eviction.

sparrow kicking sparrow

A greenfinch…

greenfinch on arch

…and a goldfinch rose above the bad behaviour.

goldfinch on arch

A touch of class was brought by the arrival of some collared doves…

collared dove

…but sadly, in a sign of the times, even the doves fell to fighting each other.

fighting doves

I couldn’t look any longer and went off to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practise some singing as I will have two choirs tomorrow.

Since it was still raining in the afternoon, I went down to look at the rivers again but although the water in the Esk was high, it was still lower than it had been yesterday.  I was surprised…

esk fairly full

…but it shows how well our rivers drain the rain away. There was plenty of water going under the bridge…

town bridge with water

…but not enough to wash away a tree which has been stuck under one arch for some time.

I passed another very similar crop of fungus on a different tree stump on my way home.

more fungus

And that more or less completed the events of the day though I did have some stewed apple and custard for my tea which was quite exciting.

The flying bird of the day is one of the greenfinches…..

flying greenfinch

…and the flying water comes courtesy of Bruce and the Fairy Loup.

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from a splendid set that my brother sent me after his visit to Shugborough Hall near Stafford a week ago.

shugborough bridge

We awoke to find it was still raining after a night of rain and a check on the scientific rain gauge showed two centimetres had fallen.  This is a fair amount of rain for us and it is an indication of how dry things have been that the garden wasn’t awash with puddles.

It was too wet for gardening though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a beef stew for the slow cooker and then watched the birds for a while.

A rather anxious looking sparrow appeared first.

worried sparrow

It was probably right to be anxious as there was quite a lot of demand for a seat at the table.

chaffinch incoming

incoming sparrow

flying chaffinch

I was pleased to see a blue tit among the sparrows and chaffinches. The sunflower seeds are too big for a blue tit to chew whole so they usually take one off and trap it under their feet on a handy tree nearby while they peck at them….but sometimes they just drop them.

bluetit dropping seed

The rain soon eased off but it was still pretty wet and when I put the camera away, I stayed inside and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

This took me up to lunchtime and after lunch, I nearly succumbed to the temptation of watching more of the European Championships on the telly but I managed to pull myself together in the nick of time and put on my cycling gear.

I was punished for saying there weren’t many insects about by being bitten by a horsefly when I had stopped for a breather on my bike ride but there are still not many of them in the garden.

I took this one by accident when I was shooting the dahlia of the day while wasting time before cycling…

dahlia

..and zoomed in for a closer look.

hoverfly

There are still geraniums about although they haven’t been at their best this year.

geranium

A close look at a rose mallow revealed a very fluffy interior.

rose mallow

The second flowering of the orange hawkweed goes from strength to strength.

orange hawkweed august

In the end, I stopped looking at flowers in my cycling gear and actually got on my bike.

It was an odd sort of day.  It looked very autumnal, gloomy and  grey and overcast but it felt rather summery with the temperature at a very pleasant 20°C so I  went off wearing shorts but with a rain jacket packed just in case.

After the overnight rain, I checked on the little cascade near Wauchope Schoolhouse and was not surprised to find quite a bit of water splashing over the rocks.

Wauchope cascade

There were a lot of wild flowers growing near the river, some familiar…

wauchope wild flowers

…and one which was quite new to me.  I have no idea what it is.

white wild flower

When I stopped after ten miles to admire the view…gair road

…and have a drink and a nibble of guava jelly, I found that my lost water bottle was back on my bike again.

two water bottles

I had had a reasonable idea of where I had lost it on my previous ride and wondered whether it would be visible today.  It was just resting quietly in the grassy verge on top of Callister.  I took it home with me and though it will have to go in the bin, at least I haven’t left litter beside the road.

There is a stretch of this striking grass beside the road near Springkell and considering how full the seed heads are, I am surprised that I don’t see more of it about.

seedy grass

I saw a bright yellow flower in the verge at one point and wondered what it was.  A closer look makes me think that it is a bird’s foot trefoil but it has come rather late in the season if that is what it is.

trefoil

The weather gods played an amusing game with me over the last ten miles of the trip.  They sent down enough light rain to make me think about stopping and putting my rain jacket on and then, just as I was about to stop, the rain stopped.  And then, of course, a mile or so later, it started again.  This went on for some time and they only got fed up when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to stop even if it rained quite hard  (which it did for a few minutes) and they went off to annoy someone else.

I managed 35 miles at a modest pace and got home in time to have a walk round the garden before tea.

There were pale pink sweet peas to be seen today.

pink sweet peas

I picked a plum from the plum tree (a good place to look for a plum)…

first plum

…and went inside for a shower.  The plum will need to ripen for a day before it is ready to eat.

With more rain forecast for every day next week, I am glad to have got some miles in this weekend.  I still have plenty of archiving work to do so perhaps it will be a case of every cloud having a silver lining, a statement with which I do not agree in general.

I was spoiled for choice as far as flying birds went but the poor light didn’t let me get a very good picture.

flying sparrow

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  As the rain poured down today, it was good to be reminded of our sunny Common Riding which this enthusiast observed from beside the Castleholm.

common riding spectator

It rained so heavily during the night that it woke us both up.  Luckily it didn’t rain that heavily for long but my scientific (even though it has a leak) rain gauge had recorded the shower(s) when I checked at breakfast time.

rain gauge morning

It didn’t take long for the rain to start again and it more or less rained for the rest of the morning and afternoon and only stopped in the early evening.

The rain gauge recorded that too.

rain gauge afternoon

Mrs Tootlepedal went to church and heard the minister announce that he is hoping to move to a new parish soon.  This is sad news for us and he will be missed

As it was too wet to do anything more interesting, we went out to visit a couple of garden centres at lunchtime and an indication of how dry the ground has been was given by the fact that the river Esk had hardly risen at all.

Still, there was no need to think about watering the garden today.

dahlias in rain

I had a walk round before we went out in a drier moment.

The verbascum has come to the end of the road with only a single flower lefty on the very tip of each strand.

final verbascum flower

Many of the phlox blossoms have been beaten to the ground.

fallen phlox

(Notice how nobly I resisted the temptation to say that many of the phlox phlowers had phallen off)

The tropeaeolum seems unaffected by drought or rain.

tropaeolum wet

I hope that the weather will be kind to this lily…

lily

…which looks very promising.

Our trip to the garden centres was productive as we got stuff for the garden at one and a good lunch at the other.

When we got home, it was still a miserable day with the clouds so low that they were banging on the pavements as we drove through the town.

I set up the bird watching camera and watched the birds.

Once again I was surprised by how well damp birds manage to fly.  We had no shortage of visitors to the feeder in the rain.

Chaffinches appear to be more waterproof…

perching chaffinch in rain

…than greenfinches…

soggy greenfinch on feeder

…which all had rather soggy heads.

soggy greenfinch on feeder 2

There was constant traffic while I watched.

busy feeder wet day

And this led to some more inconsiderate  behaviour.

An impatient chaffinch gave a greenfinch a kick…

chaffinch kicking greenfinch 1

…and finding that it didn’t budge, it drew back…

chaffinch kicking greenfinch 2

…and had another go.

chaffinch kicking greenfinch 3

All the birds began to look a bit bedraggled….

wet flying chaffinch

…but these two took the prize.

very soggy goldfinch

The evening turned out to be quite dry so perhaps they will have a chance to recover before it starts raining again.   At least the temperature is going to stay above 10°C overnight and the the persistent rain forecast for tomorrow is supposed to be light.

After our sleep disturbed night, we were very happy to be able to relax on the sofa in the afternoon and watch the Welsh Wonder officially win the Tour de France.

After the cycling was over, I thought about going for a cycle ride in a brisk wind on wet roads and stayed inside and put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.  This effort finally finished off the work for 1897 and if the rain continues, 1898 will soon be under way.

I made a stew for our tea and was able to make use of some ingredients from the garden for the meal.

turnip runner beans and carrots

We can confidently say that for this year at least, Mrs Tootlepedal’s battle against the carrot root fly has been won.  The rain has brought the runner beans on with a vengeance and we will be full of beans again.

It was sometimes difficult to tell the birds apart in the rain but I think that the flying bid of the day is a sparrow.

flying sparrow in rain

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited the south coast of England  yesterday and saw the not quite so famous white cliffs of Brighton.

The white cliffs of Brighton

After the excitements and activity of yesterday, today was very restrained.

The only noticeable activity of the morning was eating some iced buns which Dropscone kindly bought with him when he arrived for coffee.  Dropscone had plenty to relate as he has had a busy time lately, playing golf, refereeing a golf tournament, organising a golf tournament of his own  and visiting the science museum in Glasgow.  He had survived all this very well but I was quite exhausted just listening to his adventures.  He certainly gets about.

It rained heavily while we sipped and chatted but it stopped when it was time for him to go home.

I went out to look at flowers just once in one of the sunny spells.

dahliasdahliaspoppies

The only activity in the afternoon was a drive to the council dump at Annan to get rid of our old dishwasher.  This was made even more exciting than a normal visit to the dump by the fact that we had to pass through several torrential downpours with added thunder and lightning on our way there.

It was fortunate that the downpours were reasonably brief, as in the space of a minute on each occasion, the roads turned into rivers and driving became quite dangerous.  Happily on each occasion, we soon found ourselves back in bright sunshine…although we could see the next shower coming towards us at speed quite clearly.

With heavy showers and bright sunshine alternating rapidly, it wasn’t a day for cycling, walking or gardening so I took the opportunity to give my back a really good rest.

The ironic sunflower is progressing well in spite of the rain…

sunflower

…but the theme of the day was summed up by this large puddle outside the back door.

puddle

It was our younger son’s birthday today and Clare, his wife, sent me this picture of him being terrified by his birthday cakes.  It is acting as the flying bird of the day.

Al birthday cakes

It is the Canonbie Flower Show tomorrow and we are hoping for some better weather.

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Puddled

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother-in-law Mike and shows that they have fungus in the south too.  He spotted this in Bisham.

bisham fungus

We had a thoroughly wet and miserable time here again today which severely limited the opportunities to take our visitors out to enjoy the scenic beauties by which we are surrounded.

The river was up…

Esk in flood

…not too far to and the only fun to be had for Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda on their morning walk was splashing through a puddle…

Matilda and a puddle

…or two.

Matilda and a puddle

It was such good fun though that the playground equipment went unused and not even the temptation of a swing could get Matilda out of the puddles.

Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda went off to look at the a little stream tumbling down the hill….

tumbling stream

…and the big river as it rumbled past the park.

Matilda and Mrs t

This is what they were looking at.

River Esk

This was the highlight of the day as far as the great outdoors went.

The rest of the day was spent playing with Matilda as she built towers with bricks and  sketched on her art centre….

Matilda sketching

Photo courtesy of Alistair.

…her face, her hands and anything else that was nearby.

The arduous task of finishing off the left overs began with some useful work at lunch and tea time, though the cold turkey at tea time was rounded off with a delightful peach flan on filo pastry made specially for the meal.

Once again Langholm has been lucky with the weather in spite of all the rain as there are serious floods not too far to our south and many flood warnings to the north.  Add to that the tornados in America and bush fires in Australia and our rainfall hardly figures at all on the list of things to complain about.

Still a few dry days would be welcome and the forecast is offering just that for the next three days so we are keeping our fingers crossed (and our umbrellas handy just in case).

It wasn’t a day for bird photography but there were still visitors to the garden which was a cheering sight.

goldfinches and greenfinch

Three goldfinches and a soggy greenfinch

It was far too dark for a flying bird.

flying chaffinch

I told you so.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows that it isn’t raining everywhere.  It is another in our series of exiled grandchildren of Langholmites and shows one year old  Elliot,  grandchild of our neighbour Gavin, sledging in America under the eagle eye of proud father Fraser.

Elliot sledging

There was no sign of snow here on midwinter day as it was another warm, windy and wet day.  We were woken during the night by a positive battering ram of rain beating on the roof with all the zest of Ringo Starr at his drummiest.

I went to see what the river looked like in the morning….

Esk in flood

…and found it full but not overflowing.  The cutwaters on the town bridge were earning their money…

Town Bridge

…but the rain had stopped and there was no cause for alarm.  It was reported later that two towns in the Lake District had suffered a second bout of flooding and with more rain forecast, you have to feel really sorry for them.

I looked at the meeting of the waters….

Meeting of the waters

…stopped to snap a fungus by the waterside…

fungus Mary Street

…and went home.

Some birds were neatly paired in the garden.  Two jackdaws….

jackdaws

…and two starlings.

starlings

Others were more haphazard.

chaffinches and blue tit in plum tree

There were preparations to be made for family visits over the festive period but they didn’t take too long so after a light lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I combined a walk down to Skippers Bridge with some shopping.

The puddles in the Murtholm fields were big enough to be classed as ponds and the nearest one had two herons….

herons

…who rudely flew off without waiting to be photographed.

Someone had told me that the roads maintenance men were standing on Skippers Bridge earlier in the morning anxiously peering over the parapet at the damaged cutwater but it seemed no worse than it was when we looked at it last week.

There was still a good deal of water going under the bridge as they say.

Skippers Bridge

I enjoyed the shape made by steps and stream beside the road at the bridge.

steps and stream

On our way back, we passed a little stream gushing down the hill beside the road….

stream at distillery

…it passes not only under the road but also under the old distillery on the other side of the road as well and then out into the Esk through a pipe.  I am not sure that I would be entirely comfortable with a stream running through my house but the distillery building has been there a long time so perhaps it is all right.

Further along, another stream ran under the roots of a tree before spilling over the wall onto the road.

A7 stream

More little landslips seem inevitable if this rain goes on.

On the other side of the road, there was no dipper to be seen on this occasion, only rather depressed trees.

trees under water

When we got home, I plunged into a hot bath in a vain effort to ease away some aches and pains in my hip.  Still a good laze was very welcome.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see one of the ‘live’ streamed theatre pieces which they show there.  This was  a performance of the Nutcracker by the Royal Ballet from the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal, who loves ballet, enjoyed the performance very much.  I went with every hope of enjoying it but unfortunately Tchaikovsky’s music actively annoys me for some obscure reason and as the classical dancing style doesn’t really speak to me at all, I found it very dull.

The camera work made things worse by being much too close to the dancers who were almost always filling the centre of the shot so that although I could appreciate the skill and strength on show, I couldn’t get a good sense of the movement about the stage.

Still, I shouldn’t grumble as it was interesting to see a top quality work in our own town and at a very modest ticket price.  You can’t expect to appreciate everything.

The lack of rain combined with things to do, has put back my review of the year in pictures.  I apologise.

I found a flying chaffinch in the morning.

flying chaffinch

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