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Posts Tagged ‘recorder playing’

Today’s guest picture comes from my fellow veteran cyclist Paul.  He likes the Lake District and visited this very fine looking vegetable garden at Lingholm in the summer a couple of years ago.

veg garden Lingholm

It was much calmer when we got up than we had feared it might be, and it soon became apparent that the storm had passed us by.  In fact, I was just thinking that I perhaps ought to have gone for an early cycle ride rather than inviting Sandy round for coffee when a sudden very heavy shower persuaded me that I had made the right decision.

The shower had stopped by the time that Sandy came and we had a pleasant chat over coffee and biscuits.  It started to rain again just as he left and it kept raining, with occasional  short breaks, for the rest of the daylight hours.  I stayed indoors.

The birds didn’t like the weather much and there was no sign of them until a small flock of goldfinches suddenly settled in the walnut tree around midday.

goldfinches in walnut

Even then they were reluctant to come to the feeder and it took a couple of minutes until the first one flew down.

goldfinch in rain

But it soon got onto the feeder…

goldfinchon feeder in rain

…and within another minute, it was all action…

busy feeder in rain

…with queues.

busy feeder and pole

It was still a miserable day though.

siskin in rain

I made some soup for lunch and then spent a happy afternoon at my computer  transposing some trios down a fourth to suit a different set of recorders.

The reason for the transposition was that that one of the usual recorder quartet was poorly and there were only three of us at our monthly tootle tonight.  With due respect for the missing member, it was quite a treat to play some different music and the three of us had a most enjoyable time.  As a result, it didn’t feel like a wasted day in spite of the rain.

All the same, we are badly in need of a spell of settled reasonable weather.  Sadly, the forecast is for more changeable windy and wet weather so I don’t know when another cycle ride will take place.  I just can’t summon up much enthusiasm for cycling when it is cold, wet and windy.

I hope to squeeze a walk in between showers tomorrow.

I did manage to catch a rather gloomy goldfinch as flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She felt that the size and quality of bridges on the blog needed moving up a notch or two.  She was boating on the Thames recently and thought that this one would do the trick.

Tower Bridge

Having said in a recent post that there were few blackbirds in the garden, the blackbird community set out to prove me wrong.  There were several blackbirds in the garden today and this one made sure that I didn’t overlook the fact.

blackbird close up

It was dry and cool and exceedingly gloomy when we got up so that it almost felt as though it was still night time as we ate our breakfast.

In an attempt to lighten the gloom, I checked to see if Sandy was up for a cup of coffee in spite of his bad back.  He was and although he was, like the weather, a bit gloomy when he arrived, which anyone who has suffered from a bad back can well understand, coffee and conversation with the Tootlepedals perked him up a lot and he was smiling cheerfully as he left.

We then addressed ourselves to Christmas matters by addressing a good number of Christmas cards and while Mrs Tootlepedal was finishing the job, I made some leek and potato soup for lunch.

While the soup was cooking, I checked on the birds.  The light had improved enough for me to be able to a picture or two.

A siskin and a goldfinch had spotted something interesting over there.

siskin and goldfinch looking

A male and female chaffinch exercised their wings.

greenfinch and chaffinch wings

Flying chaffinches were to be seen coming from above….

high flying chaffinch

…the middle…

middle flying chaffinch

…and below.

low flying chaffinch

An unsuccessful fly through by a sparrowhawk put paid to any more bird watching and I went and had the soup.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I discussed a walk but I felt that my legs were in need of a cycle ride and in the end, we both went out on our bikes but individually and separately.

I settled for some boring miles up and down to Callister and Mrs Tootlepedal chose a more interesting five mile route round Potholm.

The sun was out as I started the ride and things looked quite good as I passed a favourite tree near Bigholms.

bigholms tree

When I looked at the wall beside the road, there was even a touch of spring about.

sring in the air

However, by the time that I got to the top of Callister, the blue sky was retreating and clouds were coming up from the south…

callister as evening falls

…and the light was fading again.

callister tree

I wanted to get twenty miles in before the light faded entirely so I scurried back down the hill to Langholm and then came back up the road for a couple of miles to make up the distance.

The sun was almost gone as I turned…

blochburn sky

…and a light sprinkling of rain added wings to my heels for the last two miles home.

We had a second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fish pie for our tea and then, having had my pedal, it was time for a tootle as the other members of the recorder group arrived for the last play of 2019.  Mrs Tootlepedal left us to it and went off to watch a screening of the Nutcracker Suite at the Buccleuch Centre.

We had a most enjoyable tootle and we are already looking forward to the fist tootle of 2020.  Jenny and Sue who have a 20 mile drive to get home may not be enjoying that so much as it was quite foggy on their way here tonight.  During the day I was on the phone to my brother and he told me that the temperature in Derby hadn’t got above two degrees all day because of winter fog, so we were lucky here.

In spite of the layers of flying chaffinches, a goldfinch is the flying bird of the day because I like its ‘Look mum, no hands!’ attitude.

flying goldfinch no arms

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s canal walk with my sister Mary.  I like a bridge with legs.

regent's canal bridge

After a chilly night, we had a chilly morning followed by a chilly afternoon.  Sandy, who dropped in for a coffee told me that his thermometer showed an overnight low of -7°C which is unusually cold for November for us. Indeed, we have had some mild winters lately so this came as a bit of a shock to us.

The temperature hardly crept above zero all day so I was happy when Dropscone also dropped in for a coffee as it was far too cold to go out for a bicycle ride.

In the end  though, I had to stop drinking coffee and lend a hand about the house as we are expecting a visitor tomorrow.

I did find time to check on the birds, but the cold weather had affected them too and there were not many about.

I got a fleeting glimpse of a chaffinch…

shy chaffinch

…and after a while, a goldfinch appeared.  The reflection in  the window made it look a bit as though it was dropping down a glass tube.

descending goldfinch

The robin paid several visits to the feeder area in pursuit of fallen seed…

robon panel

…but in general there was not a lot to look at, so I made some lentil soup for lunch instead.

After lunch, I went for a walk.  The skies were rather leaden by this time, but there was hardly a breath of wind and it was not icy underfoot, so it was pleasant enough for a stroll, especially as I was well wrapped up.

I checked the ice crystals on a sedum in the garden…

ice on sedum

…and saluted a hardy perennial wallflower before I left.

perennial wallflower late november

The larches are rapidly going  over and only the needles at the very tops of the trees are left to give a little late colour.

last of the larches

There was more colour on this tree growing out of a memorial in the Wauchope graveyard.  It is doing severe damage to its host.wauchope graveyard

I had a look at my favourite lichen garden on the fence post beside the Auld Stane Brig.  The pixie cups had been bejewelled….

pixie cxup lichen ice

…while other lichen on the same post was unaffected by ice.

fence post lichen

The moss on the bridge parapet was almost invisible under its icy coat.

moss with ice

It was too cold to hang around taking many pictures and I had an appointment fairly soon so I was pleased that the path was easy to walk on…

gaskells frosty

…even though there was ice on every plant beside it…

frosty leaf

There hadn’t been much melting during the day!

ice crystals

The smoke rising lazily from the chimney at Stubholm showed how still the day was….

stubholm view november

…and there were still a few colourful leaves to be seen when I had passed the house.

top of park steps

When I got home, I was amazed to see the phlox was having a phinal phlourish.  This is the plant that looks as though it will never die.

last phlox

Nancy, the Archive Group treasurer came round to show me  the accounts for the year.  They are in a very satisfactory state and we should be able to go on with our work during 2020.

In the evening, Sue, Susan and Jenny, the other three members of our recorder group arrived and we had a very enjoyable hour and three quarters playing early music.  The selection of music was good and we played it quite well.  Who could ask for anything more?

The weather  has warmed up a bit during the evening and it looks as though we might have a day above freezing tomorrow.  It will still probably be too cold for me to cycle so I am going to get indoor cycling sorted out as I haven’t had a pedal for ages thanks to the cold spell.

Flying birds were few and far between today and I didn’t get many good pictures so I was tempted to use a fancy filter on my photo editor to make the best of this female chaffinch…

posterized chaffinch

…and this male will be the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  Not long ago he was in Glasgow where he was very impressed by the Doulton Fountain, the largest ceramic fountain ever built.  It was one of the most popular attractions at the 1888 International Exhibition in Kelvingrove Park.

Doulton fountain

It was raining heavily when we woke up, but it very kindly took a break while Mrs Tootlepedal went for her morning walk with Riley.  While she was out, I set off for England and a singing lesson and drove through many a sharp shower on the way.  It is noticeable that colder temperatures and more use of lights, heaters and wipers reduces the amount of miles that we can get out of a full charge of the battery in the Zoe, but as it still gives us well over a hundred miles, we are not too despondent.

When I got home, slightly light-headed from doing so much proper breathing during the singing lesson, it was time for lunch.

In the afternoon, I looked at the holly tree just as the sun came out to emphasise the iridescence of a starling’s plumage…

irridescent starling

…and while the sun was shining, I took a short walk round the garden.

Zinnias, roses and fuchsia enjoyed the better weather.

zinnia, rosy cheeks, fuchsia

Although the perennial wallflower and Michaelmas daises are nearing the end of the line, a new clematis has come out to keep the purple colour going a little longer.

perennial wallflower, daisy, clematis

Later in the afternoon, our guest Riley took us for a walk…

riley walk

…so we could enjoy some autumnal delights, like fungus on the track round the Scholars’ Field…

fungus on scholars

…and a small patch of brightly coloured leaves beside the new path on the Castleholm.

autumn leaves

I had a look at the Castle ruin as we passed…

castle in autumn

…and saw that something had been doing some serious nibbling on Noble Fir cones…

noble fir cones eaten

…in a rather selective way.

noble fir cones eaten (2)

The piles of scales under the tree makes it likely that squirrels had been at work.

There is a very colourful tree beside the path which does its best to brighten up early autumn very year.

autumn colour new path

The sun came out as we walked along and it was very pleasant as we passed the Sawmill Brig…

sawmill brig from castleholm

…and admired the fine crop of spleenwort on the wall nearby…

spleenwort wall

…as well as enough beech mast to feed a good few pigs as we turned up the Lodge Walks.

beech mast

It was a grand day for a walk after a very unpromising morning.

view of timpen from castleholm

We crossed back over the Jubilee Bridge and were surprised to find Mr Grumpy standing in the shallow water below us.

heron at jubilee bridge

We took the narrow track behind the school on our way home and found things to look at as we went along it.

snowberry, tree seeds, daisy

Our neighbour Liz, Riley’s owner,  has been attending a passing out ceremony for one of her grandsons who is now a fully qualified agricultural machinery engineer.  She got back this afternoon and came over to collect Riley just after we had returned from our walk.  It has been a pleasure to have such a well behaved visitor in the house.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a very satisfactory meal of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans for our tea, and a good day was rounded off by a meeting of our recorder group.

Although our weather here had been calm, the two ladies who drove up from Carlisle to play had come through torrential rain with the roads awash with water on their way.  We have been seeing some very heavy rain in the area lately but luckily Langholm has escaped the worst.

We had a good time playing some testing quartets and followed that up with a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit.  I hope that the travellers got better conditions for their drive home.

Once again, the elegant wings of a starling feature on the flying bird of the day.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal who used her new phone to take this handsome group portrait of her brother, sister-in-law, niece and great niece whom she was visiting while on her jaunt to the south.  As she had visited her mother too, she had seen four generations in one day.

mike frankie and manny

Unlike yesterday, when coffee and bun on the bench in the sunshine was the way to go…

iced bun and coffee

…there was no respite from continuous rain all day today.

puddle

It was raining in the morning when I drove down into England for my singing lesson which was enjoyable and useful, and it was raining in the afternoon when Sandy and I drove up to Eskdalemuir to put up our camera club exhibition there.

the hub

It took longer than we expected to hang the 30 odd pictures but the result looked satisfactory and the Hub manager was very pleased with the show.  Seven members of the club are taking part.

It was still raining as we drove back, but things did begin to brighten up a bit until Sandy most unwisely remarked that it was looking better.  At this point it began to rain very heavily.

It was still raining when my flute pupil Luke came.  He showed clear evidence of having practised and played with some very nice tone today.

I had some more sausage stew for my tea and was not surprised to find that it was still raining when the recorder group assembled in the evening for our monthly playing session.  We had a hard working and enjoyable time, but as it was still raining when we had finished, they made tracks for home and I will be forced to eat all the biscuits which I had bought for our post-playing cup of tea.

All in all, in spite of the miserable weather, I had a pretty good day.  Photographically, it was a day for standing in the shelter of the front door to take a flower picture across the drive and luckily, the dahlias didn’t seem to mind the rain…

dahlias in bed

…and at least I got a little sun.

soggy sunflower

It is going to rain again tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary and shows one of the glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly at Kew gardens.

(This is the second of his glass sculptures to appear in the blog as Mary Jo from Manitoba sent me another when she was on her London visit earlier in the  year.)

a glass sculpture by Dale Chiluly

As has frequently been the case lately, the weather here was a good deal better than the forecast and we had another warm and often sunny day today.  It might have been a day for a cycle ride but I had non cycling business in hand and went off to England to have another singing lesson from our ex Langholm Sings conductor, Mary.

She is endlessly patient and helpful as well as being very knowledgeable and I am trying my best to take on board the useful things she tells me, with variable success.  Still, practice makes perfect so I haven’t entirely given up hope yet.

I had time for a walk round the garden before lunch when I got home.

I noticed a bee making itself very much at home in a zinnia…

zinnia with bee

…and after seeing  a good variety of butterflies over the last few days, there were only peacocks today….peacock butterfky

…though there were a lot of them and a lot of whites too who were too flighty to pose for a picture.

Mrs Tootlepedal has put her Abyssinian gladioli out into the flower beds still in their pots as they will need to be taken in over winter, but they seem to be enjoying themselves all the same.

 

abyssinian gladiolus

I was very happy to see a little robin on the lawn, the first that I have seen in the garden for some time.

august robin

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on her shopping bike.  This time she was actually going shopping, though she combined it with some business too.  While she was out, I mowed the front lawn and then attacked the greenhouse grass.  Although it is not cut to the same standard or by the same mower as the front lawn, it provides a cheerfully green welcome to the vegetable garden.

greenhouse grass

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and we had a quick stroll round before it was time for afternoon tea.

The Wren keeps producing flowers in a very satisfactory way…

rose Wren

…but the dahlias haven’t done so well this year yet as something seems to be nibbling at them.  One of the plants is producing flowers but they are hanging their heads.

hangdog dahlia

The Sweet Williams are over and Mrs Tootlepedal has replaced some of them with dianthus which she bought the other day.

new flowers

When the tea and biscuits had gone to a good home, I had to get ready for my flute pupil Luke who was coming to play after taking a short break.  As he came in, I noticed that the white clematis by the front door, which has long been over, had mysteriously produced a lone late flower.

last clematis front door

Luke and I knocked a few cobwebs off our flute playing and when he left, I had a last tour of the garden before our evening meal.

The rowan berries are getting more colourful every day…

rown berries ripening

…and underneath the rowan tree, the snow berries are reminding us of what is to come.

snow berries

A reminder of things past is provided by the lupin next to the greenhouse which has got some side shoots still producing flowers.

late lupin

And the evenings now provide the delightful scent of nicotianas.

nicotiana

The pond has a leak which Mrs Tootlepedal can’t find and so we had to top it up again today but the water lilies don’t seem to mind their up and down existence.

water lily

My recorder playing friends arrived in the evening and the four of us enjoyed a varied evening of music from J S Bach to Scott Joplin.

A brisk wind had been blowing all day so I was quite pleased that I had had good musical excuses not to battle into the breeze on my bike.

The non flying bird of the day is that robin which appeared again in the early evening.  I hope that it will be a permanent garden resident from now on.

august robin 2

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He has been on a tour of the north east with my sisters Mary and Susan.  They returned home by train today and he drove back to Derby by way of Fountains Abbey.

Fountains Abbey

Mrs Tootlepedal and I also came home today, leaving Evelyn Rose with some sadness but the heat and hurly-burly of London with less regret.  Our train was punctual to the minute and as a result we were able to catch the bus home without delay.

Our first thought was for a reviving cup of tea…

…and our second was to look round the garden.

lawn on return

It had survived without us very well, though as you can see, the grass on the lawn was far too long.

The salvias are glorious and Mrs Tootlepedal is thinking of planting some more for next year (but perhaps not quite so many).

slavia

A lot of poppies needed dead heading but there were a few still in flower…

brilliant poppy

…and the hosta was in ebullient form.

hosta in full flower

There had been no heavy wind or rain to knock the delphinums over…

delphinum ligularia

…and in general, there are still plenty of things to catch the eye.

four lovely flowers

There were not a lot of new flowers about but the first dahlia of the year has appeared.

first dahlia 2019

The roses are enjoying themselves this year and Special Grandma was appropriately well lit up in its shadowy place in its bed.

special grandma lit up

At the other end of the lawn both The Wren…

Rose Wren

…and Lilian Austin were showing different stages of development.

Lilian Austin pair

At the other end of the garden, the Common Riding rose has burst into flower while we were away.

commin riding rose

The call of the lawns was too strong to be resisted so I knuckled down and got the mower out.  The recent feed that I gave the front lawn has been very effective and the grass had grown strongly in the time that we were in London.  I took a wheelbarrow full of grass off it on the first cut and then ran over it again in a different direction to get a smooth finish.

mown front lawn and barrow

Because of the lush growth, it was  hard job job on a warm afternoon, so I had one or two shady and fragrant rests on a handy bench at the end of the lawn while I toiled away.  The shade was provided by the walnut tree and the fragrance was supplied by a combination of privet and honeysuckle.

privet and hioneysuckle

Then I mowed the middle lawn.

mown middle lawn

Although it may look like a bit of a monocultural desert, the middle lawn has a good many weeds in it, including some self heal which  grows so low to the ground that the flowers duck under my mower blades and can still be clearly seen even after this trim..

Elsewhere in the garden, we have clover in the grass.

clover lawn

A good day was rounded off by the arrival of three recorder players after tea and we sat and played recorder quartets both ancient and modern with great enjoyment as the sun set  in the clear sky outside.

As they left, after a cup of tea and a biscuit, we could hear the swifts calling high above the house.

No flying bird of the day today, so one of the many sweet peas that needed picking stands in instead.

sweet pea

We would like to thank everyone who has sent us good wishes on the arrival of our new granddaughter.  We receive them with gratitude and they have been forwarded on to Annie and Joe.

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