Posts Tagged ‘raspberry jam’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie who has been visiting her granny.  It shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother Mauri, who is 99 and 51/52ths years old.  We are going to her birthday party next week.


It was a grey day and I had meant get up and get out early as there was a threat of rain later but it was one of those days when spring and footsteps were not related to each other so it wasn’t until after coffee that I finally got on the road.

Feeling that I had been over the same roads rather too often lately, I chose to head south out of the town to visit a different area of England.

This entailed a hilly route…

garmin route elevation26 July 2016

…which got hillier as I went on and didn’t have much in the way of flat bits on which to recover.  Also, as you can see from the elevation above, the downhills tended to be rather steep and as I am of a cautious disposition (especially on roads that I don’t know well), this entailed going very slowly down some of the hills as well as up them.

All this meant that I was never going to break any speed records and since this was so, I stopped quite a lot to take pictures as I went.

flowers by the road

There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road

I crossed into England over this fine bridge over the Liddle Water at Penton.

Penton Bridge

The ramp on the right of the bridge is a natural rock formation

I crossed back into Scotland by a much less impressive bridge over the Kershope Burn about 18 miles later.

Kershope Bridge

Riparian owners should be prevented by law from letting scrubby trees spoil photographers’ views of bridges.

In between, there was never a dull moment.

Tunnel of trees

I like this tunnel of trees near Catlowdy

I was often up on a ridge with good views.

Lyne valley

Just before I got to Roadhead, I turned left and took a road that was new to me back towards Newcastleton and Scotland.  I was surprised to find a little church in the middle of nowhere.

Bewcastle Reform church

It turned out to be the Bewcastle United Reform Church and has services once a month.

Past the church, I got into some high moorland…

Bewcastle fells

…but it wasn’t long before I was back among flowery verges.

Bewcastle fells

I had met one sharp shower a few miles after I had left Langholm but I had a rain jacket with me and it hadn’t lasted long so I wasn’t discouraged.   As I got near Newcastleton though, I could see a heavy rainstorm over the Langholm Moor, my route home.

As the wind would be against me, this was rather discouraging but I stopped and put my rain jacket back on in Newcastleton and plucked up some resolve and started to pedal up the steep hill out of the town in a steady drizzle.

I was rewarded by the rain stopping almost immediately and the only difficultly that I had in getting up the hill was having to stop and look at orchids all the time.  Mike Tinker had told me that there would be orchids and he was right. There were orchids lining the road the whole way past the golf course.


The hilly golf course itself can best be described as ‘sporting’ ….

Newcastleton Golf Course

..and it really pays to keep your ball on the fairway there.  I never played well on it.

I was having one last look at the roadside flowers…

orchid and pipit

…when I was distracted by the cheeping of a meadow pipit on a fence post.  It may have been hopping mad.

I toiled up the long and straight road to the county boundary….

Hill road

Looking back

…but the wind wasn’t as bad as I had feared and I finally reached the summit.  The ground there was liberally sprinkled with yellow flowers.

yellow flowers on Langholm Moor

I would welcome a suggestion as to what they might be.

Coming back down to Langholm from the county boundary is not the breeze that it should be as you have to cross the Tarras Valley on your way…

Tarras valley

The valley is marked by the line of trees.


..and this involves yet another down and up but at least the monument is in sight and you are not far from home.

Looking down the valley from the far side, I could see Cronksbank, a childhhood memory for one of the blog’s regular readers.


Although I had only done 35 miles by the time that I got home, I had climbed about 3000ft so it was no surprise that I had struggled to keep my average speed above 10mph.  This was 4 miles an hour slower than I had managed for the whole 100 miles on Saturday and only increases my respect for the Tour de France professionals who fly up hills faster than I can go along the flat.

It had been rather chilly on the cloudy ride with a nip in the wind and temperatures only in the high fifties so it was a bit annoying that the sun came out just as I turned into the drive.

Still, it gave me the motivation to have a walk round the garden.


The phlox is really beginning to cut loose

dahlia and knapweed

Mrs Tootlepedal had been visiting Gretna in the pursuit of shopping bargains while I was out and after she came back, I went off in the car in search of wild raspberries.  I found enough bushes to pick a pound and while I was doing this, I saw a striking caterpillar on a ragwort plant.  When I looked closer, every ragwort plant seemed to have its own caterpillar (or two).

ragwort with cinnabar moth caterpillar

A little research when I got home told me that these are cinnabar moth caterpillars.

In the evening, I turned the wild raspberries into two jars of raspberry jam while my tea was cooking.  Raspberry jam is brilliant as it only takes about ten minutes to make it.  The downside is that using this ‘quick’ method means that it has to be eaten quite soon. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks she may be able to bear up under the strain.

There is no flying bird of the day but I think that the crocosmia, the flower of the day, looks remarkably bird like so that should make up for it.


Those interested may click on the map below for details of the ride.  It is a lovely route.

garmin route 26 July 2016



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Today’s picture shows a member of the cleaning staff at a café in Nottingham encountered by my brother.


After I posted last night’s blog, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to the White Yett to do some stargazing.  We were hoping to see some meteors and we did, though not as many as we had hoped.  We also saw the International Space Station zooming across the sky which was a first for us.  It was a very clear night and the Milky Way was spread across the sky above us.  I had hoped to be able to take some streaky photos but the meteors were too few and far between to give me a chance.  It was a long time since I had been out in the dark, away from town lighting and it was a very satisfying experience.

It was still clear in the morning and as Dropscone was off playing in a golf tournament at Hawick for old men, I took the opportunity of the fine sunny weather to go cycling with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We took a fifteen mile tour round Enzieholm Bridge, taking our time and admiring the scenery as we went.

Church at Bentpath

The church at Bentpath



We made several unscheduled stops to admire the wild raspberries too (and eat a good few of them as we went).

raspberry eater

We couldn’t help notice the ongoing construction of the new primary school as we passed.

primary school

It looks very alien in the middle of a stone built town but maybe the finished product will look all right.

It was a very enjoyable trip and another chance to try out the new glasses.  When we got home, I walked round the garden and met some new flowers.  There is a fresh Shirley poppy out just to show that there was some variety in Mrs Tootlepedal’s seed packet.

shirley poppy

And a striking new lily has appeared in the back border.  It has an appropriate name after last night’s activities..



Just to prove me wrong yet again after I said that the roses had finished, three new flowers have bloomed.

late roses

I am always pleased to see blue tits in the garden.  We seem to have at least one family at the moment.

blue tits

And I was delighted to see the first coloured butterfly of the year.

peacock butterfly

A peacock butterfly

After lunch, I went to the tourist information point where I was impressed by the hanging basket outside the door.

TIP hanging basket

It has been a good year for hanging baskets.

I was able to give information to two tourists and I was visited by Sandy who kindly came in to stop me getting too bored.

After I locked up, I bought an ice cream and sat by the river while I ate it.

young black headed gull

I watched the black headed gulls.

I filled the car up with diesel and then went to pick up Sandy.  We had arranged to go wild raspberry picking as I had felt that there were plenty to go round as we passed them on our morning ride.  We spent about three quarters of an hour and picked three pounds of fruit between us.  (We actually picked a bit more than that but I dropped my bowl and spilt some.)

When we had had enough picking, we walked up a small hill nearby.

Peden's view

The little knoll was our objective.

We were looking for a good view of the town.



It was a bit annoying that the sun had gone in by the time we were taking our photographs but photo editors can always help.

blue sky

Blue sky, nothing but blue sky

We also looked back up the valley along which Mrs Tootlepedal and I had cycled in the morning.

Esk Valley

The large house in the foreground was built for the owner of a mill in the town which has finally closed this year.


Sandy on top of the world.

Sandy has posted some very nice pictures of our walk yesterday which you can find here.

When I got home, I just had enough energy to shift a bit more of the compost from bin A into bin B before collapsing in front of a delicious meal cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal.

After tea, I made some jam from the raspberries that Sandy and I had picked.  it looks all right but the taste test will come tomorrow.

raspberry jam

Waiting to cool before putting the lids on.

Three for him and three for me.

The flying bird of the day is one of those black headed gulls I was watching with my ice cream in hand.

flying gull










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Today’s picture shows the Regent’s Park heron.  Its rather dark colour may be explained by it being in London and not in our clean country air or it may be a different sort.  It was sent to me by my sister Mary.


It was a breezy but fine day this morning and with Dropscone playing golf, I was able to have a late breakfast and get the fairly speedy bike out at my leisure.   The temperature was in the mid fifties so it was far from warm but it was very pleasant to be out on the bike pootling around.   I went on my customary route over Callister but was sadly just too late to see what passes for a fox hunt these days crossing the road.  I did catch up with a friend who was walking up the hill, with a rifle slung over his shoulder and stopped to talk to him for a while.  As well as being a country sports enthusiast, he is an ex competitive cyclist and had been over to Dumfries to watch the stage finish of the Tour of Britain there.

I pedalled on to Paddockhole, battling against a stiff breeze and then, because the day was sunny and the breeze would be behind me, I added a couple of miles to Corrie Common to my trip.  This involved a 1.3 miles climb of 300ft at 5% but with the wind behind me and a very steady gradient, it was no trouble at all.  I was rewarded by a fine view down the valley of the Water of Milk and could see the road I had followed on the other side of the river a couple of weeks ago.


At Corrie Common, I turned and came back the way I had gone out.

Corrie Common

I like the little floral touch at the village sign.

The pedal home was a pleasure with the wind helping and apart from about 50 yards of madness when I tried to rush up a small hill, I kept to a speed that didn’t require any heavy breathing at all and the twenty five miles took me just under two hours and left me in good condition.

After a shower and lunch, I had time to look out of the window…


Always a welcome visitor

..and a walk round the garden.  The white rose has really come up trumps.

white rose

The stiff wind had in the main kept the butterflies away but there was one out and about sharing a sedum with a white tailed bumble bee.


The sedum paled into insignificance compared to the traffic on the Michaelmas daisies.  Almost every one of the dozens of flowers had an insect of some sort on it and some had two.

Michaelmas daisies

Among the long lasting flowers that have given us pleasure over the so called summer, I should include this astrantia.


Mrs Tootlepedal has two varieties side by side and between them they have done well.

I went in and made myself a cup of tea (and stared out of the window of course.)


The wind was so strong that the birds were tacking into it to come into land.

The coal tit, which can’t eat a seed while on the feeder, lurks on the fat ball fortress until a seat is free, darts in, picks up a seed and darts off again.  You have to be on your toes to catch them.

coal tit

I didn’t want to waste this rare bit of friendly weather, so I picked up the camera and went for a walk round Gaskells.  My first stop was the old Wauchope graveyard.


A commodious tomb, perched on the river bank and in danger of slipping into the river over time.

tree in kirkyard

A tree with as much of a slant as many of the old gravestones beside it.

I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and walked back along the other side of Wauchope Water.  I find the bedrock endlessly fascinating where it gets exposed.


It makes you consider how short man’s existence on earth has been compared with the steady passage of time involved in the laying down and solidifying of these layers of rock.

Still I don’t let it weigh on me too much.

Various organisations and individuals have planted seats at strategic points round Langholm for elderly walkers to take a rest and admire the view.  This one…

seat with limited view

…must have been out there by a tree lover.

The stock of wild flowers to accompany my walks has greatly diminished but there are a few about still.


A clump of knapweed

And even the ones that are over can still offer visual entertainment.

Rosebay willowherb

Rosebay willowherb

As I came back through the park, I saw a better sited seat.

seat in the park

I might have sat on it for a while if the wind hadn’t been so strong.

When I got back, I found Mrs Tootlepedal sitting and reading the newspaper in the warmth of the greenhouse. I wandered about a bit…


I realised that I had been overlooking this euphorbia in my flower count

This time, the flock of bees on the sedum was amazing. They are all white tailed bumble bees. I counted nine on this patch alone.

sedum with nine bees

Other unexpected small flying objects have landed on a box ball.  I think the tiling conundrum may have got too much for Mrs Tootlepedal and she has been asking for help.

There are fairies at the bottom of my garden

There are fairies at the bottom of my garden

I then got a bowl and picked enough raspberries to make three more jars of raspberry jam.  They are growing well at the moment and given reasonable conditions, there may be more jam to come.  That’ll be jam today and jam tomorrow.

I have been looking at the forecast for our forthcoming trip to France and it says that it is probably going to rain a bit but at least it should be a lot warmer than it is here.  We are looking forward to it.

In the evening there was an introductory programme on the telly for Strictly Come Dancing but fortunately for Mrs Tootlepedal it doesn’t start properly until we come back from holiday so she wont have to miss a step.  I enjoy it too.

Today’s flying chaffinch is trying to stop in time before crashing downwind into the feeder.

flying chaffinch











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