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Posts Tagged ‘red admiral butterfly’

Today’s guest picture is another from Tom in South Africa and, appropriately enough since he is a great rugby man, it shows some springboks.

springbok

The first named storm of the year was visiting Britain overnight and we were warned that Aileen would bring heavy and persistent rain overnight and well into the morning so it was no surprise to find the sun shining when we got up.

It turned out that Aileen had stayed well to the south of us.

I went up to the town to do some business and then walked round the garden.  The variety of Mrs Tootlepedal’s poppies never fails to delight me.

poppies

And they continue to attract bees in numbers.

poppies with bees

And of course, some of them are simply beautiful.

poppy

As well as some good weather, the morning brought Dropscone, complete with a batch of excellent scones for coffee.  He has recently been to Aberdeen on golfing business so it was good to see that he had got back without losing another wheel on the way.  He had crossed over the new Forth bridge on his trip but told us that it was far less exciting to drive over than to look at from a distance as it has tall panels each side of the roadway which severely restrict the driver’s view.

When he left, I got the mower out and mowed the middle lawn.  After the overnight rain, the lawn was fairly squelchy and the mowing involved quite a lot of worm cast squashing as Mrs Tootlepedal kindly pointed out to me when I had finished.  All the same, if you didn’t look too closely, which I didn’t, things looked quite cheerful.

Middle lawn

Rudbeckia, lilies, cosmos, nasturtium and poppies are still giving the lawn a colourful border.

There are three colours of potentilla in the garden.  They are not all flowering freely but if you look hard, you can find them.

potentilla

All through the day, sudden heavy rain showers interrupted the better weather….

clouds

The next shower lining up

…..and the gardening was a very on and off business.  In spite of quite a lot of sunshine, the rain was heavy enough when it came to make the garden soggier at the end of the day than it had been at the start.

Even so, the nerines round the chimney pot are doing very well.

nerines

We managed to repair the wires on the espalier apples and turn all the compost from Bin B into Bin C and then from Bin A into Bin B so we are ready to start the whole composting cycle again.

The wet roads and the constant threat of a shower put me off proper cycling but I did go out on the slow bike later in the day to see if I could see a dipper by the river.

I could.

dipper

It was on the same rock as last time.

I saw another even more patient bird while I was out.

carved owl

As the rain was holding off, I cycled along to Pool Corner and watched the Wauchope flowing over the caul there.

Pool Corner

It is very soothing watching running water but the road out of the town…..

Pool Corner

…looked inviting so I pedalled up the Manse Brae and along the road at the top….

Springhill

…just far enough to be able to turn off and get a good view of Warbla and the Auld Stane Brig.

Warbla

Those are grey clouds and not blue skies behind the hill so I didn’t push my luck and turned and pedalled back down the hill while it was still sunny.  I was not best pleased therefore when it started to rain quite hard out of a blue sky and I scuttled back home as fast as I could.

But……every cloud has a silver lining they say and this rain had a multicoloured bonus for me.

rainbow over Henry Street

I was happy.

After tea, I went off to the first meeting of the new season of the Langholm Community Choir.  There was quite a good turnout and some new music that I liked so it was an enjoyable evening and a good start to the new session.

Instead of a flying bird of the day, I am showing two pictures of butterflies.  There were plenty of them about today between showers.  I don’t know where they go in the rain but it can’t be far away because they appeared almost immediately after the sun came out. It was  day for red admirals.

This one may have been drying its wings after a shower.  The symmetry is astonishing (to me at least).

red admiral

This one was getting stuck in.

red admiral butterfly

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce, who is on the island of Arran where he visited the Blackwater Foot harbour.  A harbour, a bridge and a waterfall in one shot is very good value.

Blackwater foot

We had a lovely sunny morning.  This was a great joy after such a gloomy day yesterday but, as is the way in life, I had to spend it sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office putting data into the Archive Group newspaper database and welcoming only two visitors to the office, both of whom were locals.

As I left to walk home, a light drizzle appeared as if by magic.

Still, it was a lot better than yesterday and the drizzle soon faded away and let me mow the greenhouse grass and Mrs Tootlepedal hang the washing out.  Almost as soon as the washing was on the line, it started to rain again.  How we laughed.

Once again, it was only teasing and the washing dried in time and I was able to finish the mowing and enjoy the garden.

The ornamental strawberry has been flowering for ages.  It is very good value.

strawberry

The return of the sunshine brought a crowd of butterflies with it.

Michaelmas daisies with butterflies

Now that the buddeias are almost over, the Michaelmas daisies are the flower of choice for the discerning Red Admiral.

red admiral butterfly

Butterflies seem to be able to cope with quite a bit of damage to their wings.

The butterflies had to share the Michaelmas daisies with bees and hoverflies and the whole clump was literally buzzing.

bee on Michaelmas daisyhoverfly on Michaelmas daisy

A peacock butterfly was making the most of the very last of the buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

At the other end of the garden, different butterflies were to be found on the dahlias.

small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterfly

A small tortoiseshell joins a red admiral

That was the first small tortoiseshell I have seen since one in July and as that was the only other one to visit us this year,  this one was very welcome.

Nearby, a clump of dahlia flowers looked around for customers but only one hoverfly found them attractive..

dahlias

I moved on and admired the poppies….

poppies

…who looked grateful for the sunshine.

After a last look at the tropaeolum, looking redder than ever if that is possible…

tropaeolum

…I went inside to put some cycling gear on….

….and it started to rain.

Once again, it was a tease and by the time that I was ready to go, the rain had stopped again.  Just to make sure that it wouldn’t start up while I was out cycling, I put on a heavy rain jacket and that kept it dry while I cycled 27 miles in my ‘outdoor gym’.

It was pretty windy and I had to battle quite hard to get up the road but, of course, that meant an easy roll back down again.

When it is windy, I tend to keep my head well down to improve the aerodynamics while cycling into the wind so I didn’t see much on the way out and on the way back, I was often going too fast to stop in time when I did notice something so it was a quiet ride photographically.

I did stop to check on the sloes near Cleughfoot which I had seen looking a bit scabby early last month…

sloes

….and they were still looking scabby now….

sloe

…though there was fairly healthy looking fruit as well.

At my turning point, I was pleased to see that the farmer had his barn well stocked….

Cleughfoot

…though less pleased to see the black clouds looming up behind it.

They came to nothing though and the sun continued to do its best….

Glencorf burn

…to help me to ignore the brisk northerly wind.

In May, I had stopped to admire the hawthorn blossom on the road back to Langholm…

hawthorns

…and today, I stopped to admire the berries.

Hawthorn

When I got home, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker and then, after a shower, it was time for a visit from Luke for a flute lesson.

He has been practising so the lesson went well.

I hope to be in a better position to make use of a promised sunny morning tomorrow than I was today.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who failed to get to a windfall quickly enough.

apple with slug

In spite of a better forecast for the day,  it was raining at breakfast time.  I made good use of the time indoors by making a lamb stew for the slow cooker and by the time that I had finished, it had cleared up outside and we got out into the vegetable patch sooner than had looked likely.

We dug up the rest of our potatoes today and although we got a satisfactory crop, several slugs had got there before us and not all the potatoes will make their way to our table. Still, considering what a very soggy summer it has been, we were quite pleased to find the majority of the crop was untouched.

With the potatoes laid out to dry, there was time for a look round the garden.

poppy

Wet or dry, this is currently my favourite of the poppies

carder bumble bee

I think that this is a carder bumble bee. Its favourite flower today was a dahlia

Then it was indoors for coffee and a quick whizz through a very easy prize crossword before I got the cycling gear on and set out on the fairly speedy bike.  I had waited a bit in the hope that the temperature might rise but it was only a rather cool 14°C when I left the house.  On the plus side, the wind from the north was very gentle.

The weather map had shown rain clouds to the east, the west and the south but indicated that there might be a  channel of sunshine to the north so forsaking my usual gentle routes to the west, I set off north towards Eskdalemuir and the hills.

I am not supposed to pedal up steep hills with my tin knee and my chosen route had quite a few today.  I solved the problem by pedalling up any steep hills that I came to so slowly that my knee didn’t notice and I also took the opportunity to stop and admire the view whenever I kneeded to.

The Gates of Eden

My first stop was to admire the Gates of Eden

Whether Eden is on this side of the gates or the other depends on your point of view.  Naturally I think that it is on this side, at least on a relatively sunny day like today.

I stopped again, about an hour later to look across the Esk when I had nearly reached Eskdalemuir.

Esk valley

The fields were gleaming with fresh growth after a crop of silage had recently been taken off them.

Looking north up the Esk valley, I could see the big hills in the background.

Ettrick Pen

At this point, much to my surprise and disappointment, the sun disappeared and it started to rain heavily.  The wind got up and it turned very chilly but luckily I had my rain jacket with me and I soon put it on.  In addition, I was nearly at the turning point of my trip so I shortly had the added advantage of getting the rain on my back and not in my face.  All the same, I was just resigning myself to getting very wet when the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

I stopped as well, this time to look back across the river at a stone circle…

stone circle

…or rather, half a stone circle as the rest has been swept away by the river over the years.

With the wind behind and some occasional sun about again, I pedalled south cheerfully, stopping to admire a cascade of crab apples….

crab apples

….a favourite bridge over the Black Esk….

Black Esk bridge

…and a cascade in the Esk below the bridge just after the junction of the Black and White Esks.

Esk cascade

Shortly after climbing the hill away from the river, I came to the precise middle of nowhere…

Bailliehill

…and took the Lockerbie road over the hill and down the valley of the Water of Milk.

It is very pleasant for a cyclist to see windmills turning….

Ewe Hill wind farm

…because at least it lets you know that the wind which might have been holding you back is producing something useful.   I was slightly worried by the dark clouds behind the Ewe Hill Wind Farm as that was the direction that I would soon take.  However, the wind, as well as producing electricity also blew the clouds away before I got there so I felt doubly blessed.

Once I got to Paddockhole, I stopped going towards Lockerbie and headed towards Langholm.  I was on familiar territory and concentrated on pedalling.  Thanks to going at a very steady pace though, I was able to spot an inconspicuous fungus or two beside the road.

fungus

I stopped to take a view of our hills beginning to turn brown but got distracted by the top of a concrete fence post instead.

moss and lichen

Who knew concrete could be so fertile.

And I couldn’t miss a hawthorn with more berries per square inch than any other tree.

hawthorn

I finished my 34 mile journey over some rather wet roads so those clouds had obviously been moved on just in time.  My average speed was low but my tin knee was pain free so that was fair exchange.

Mrs Tootlepedal was at an Embroiderer’s Guild meeting when I got back so I spent time turning the potatoes over to help them dry out and sorting out the slugged ones and then I had a look for butterflies in the sunshine.

They were not hard to see.  The dahlias were a big attraction to them as the buddleias are almost over.

peacock on dahlia

A peacock butterfly with good colour matching skills

peacock on dahlia

It was hard to resist taking pictures of it.

red admirals

A Red Admiral tries the same dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal returned after an enjoyable meeting.  Not only was there a good turn out of regular members but a new member had arrived, having found out about the group at the stitch-in at the Buccleuch Centre last Saturday.  This was very satisfactory.

I will still full of energy after my ride so I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn.  The grass was rather long as it has not been mowed during the recent rainy spell and the going was rather soggy so by the time that I had finished, all my energy had finished too.

We went in for a cup of tea and a slice of bread.

The lamb stew turned out well.  Shoulder of lamb and a slow cooker are made for each other.

The day was rounded off by a double dose of virtual cycling as we watched highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain.  Our admiration for the bravery and fitness of professional cyclists is unbounded.

The flying bird of the day is a questioning cow.

cow

I append the map of my route today.  You can see from the elevation that it was much more hilly than my customary routes hence the slow speed but it had better views by far.

garmin route 9 Sept 2017Click on the map if you want.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my South African correspondent, Langholm exile Tom.  He has passed on a picture of a Strelitzia taken by a friend of his.

strelitzia

I started the day by going up to the Archive Centre and meeting with Sandy and Nancy.  Recent work by a plumber required access to a little used cupboard filled with ‘stuff’ and as this ‘stuff’ was now spread all over the place, it looked like an ideal opportunity to sort the ‘stuff’ out and throw most of it away.

Quite a lot of it went into the back of my car and I drove off with it while Nancy did some heroic work with a hoover and a damp cloth.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with a paint pot and brush when I got home so I had time to have a coffee, do the crossword and, since it was dry for a while, walk round the garden.

As usual, the poppies caught my eye.  Some have had their centres battered by the bee onslaught….

poppies with bee

…but new pollen providers are always coming on stream.

I sieved some compost while I was out.

It was a changeable day and having checked out the weather, I hung some washing out to dry.

Then I took it in again as it started to rain.

After lunch, we took the Archive Centre ‘stuff’ to the council dump near Annan.  It was sunny when we went out to the car so we walked round the garden before setting off.

There were less bees than usual today, perhaps because it had been chilly and wet again but other insects were available.

poppies with hoverflies and flies

They had visited the sedum and dahlias too.

sedum and dahlia with flies

A touch of colour caught my eye just as we were getting into the car.

red admiral butterflies

Red admiral butterflies were visiting.

I took a close look at one.

red admiral butterfly

You can’t tell me that it doesn’t have little electric light bulbs built into the ends of its antennae.

Leaving the butterflies to feed, we set off to the dump and passed through a heavy shower of rain almost immediately after we had left the town.  It had poured down on our last visit to the dump but we were luckier this time and it had faired up by the time that we arrived.

The drive back was very pleasant and I had a quick walk round the garden….

sweet peas

…..but it started to rain again not long afterwards so I abandoned any thoughts of cycling and waited until a promising gap in the clouds appeared and went for a short walk instead.

I admired a striking dahlia on my way out of the garden.

dahlia

It was sunny when I started out and in spite of any amount of threatening clouds….

Langholm and Kirk Wynd

…it remained dry for my two mile outing.

I had hoped to find some fine photographical fungi on my way but others had got there first…

nibbled fungi

Yellow flowers proved a good substitute.

yellow flowers

I liked this yellow flower in particular.

yellow flower

It seemed to float rather than to be attached to its plant.

I walked through the park on my way to the Stubholm and saw what looked like a flock of ominous birds perched on top of a tree….

noble fir

…but a closer look revealed that it was some birds and a lot of noble fir cones.

My walk took me along a picturesque track….

stubholm

…and past a slightly ramshackle set of stable buildings which I thought might look better as an oil painting.

stubholm stables

I arrived at Skippers Bridge and paused for the obligatory photo op…

Langholm Distillery

…and noticed that Colin, one of our neighbours, was indulging in his favourite occupation down below me.

colin fishing

A man of great patience.

Walking back from the bridge on the road side of the river is less interesting than the walk down but there were more yellow flowers to be seen….

yellow flowers

…along with some vivid red berries….

red berries

…and a dipper below the suspension bridge.

dipper

When I got back, I put the some of the accompaniment for the new piece which Luke and I are learning onto the computer and that largely concluded the business of the day.

It had started to rain again after I got back from my walk so my timing was good.  I had met a friend while out walking and conversation naturally turned to our miserable summer weather but in light of events in Houston and the Caribbean, we agreed that it was definitely better to be permanently mildly distressed than to be overcome by a catastrophe.  We counted our blessings.

The flying bird of the day is Mrs Tootlepedal’s completed butterfly.

embroidered butterfly

 

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I am in the market for guest pictures again and at the moment I am relying on my brother and sister.  Today’s picture is from my brother’s visit to the Lake district and shows a splendid view of Coniston Water.

Coniston

I was a bit wrong footed by the weather today.  It had rained during the night and it was still gloomy and damp when we got up and the forecast had suggested quite a lot of rain during the rest of the day.

As a result, I had no great plan to do anything interesting and with quite a lot of things needing doing indoors, I was even looking forward for an excuse to get on with them.

In the end, I fell between two stools and when it didn’t rain, I didn’t get all the things that I should have  done indoors done but I didn’t get out for a walk or a cycle ride either.

I did take time to look at the dahlias.  They have not enjoyed our weather but some have battled on…

dahlias

…without ever looking very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone for some with spikier petals than normal this year…

dahlia

…and the spikiest ones are looking a bit wild eyed…

dahlia

…and are growing with their heads down and their backs turned to the wind.

More clematis are arriving and we have now got quite a nice set of blue/purple ones.

clematis

We have still got one more clematis waiting to come out.  It hasn’t flowered before but it has buds on it so we are quite excited.

The weather brightened up after lunch but unfortunately, I had an optician’s appointment ten miles away in Longtown, bang in the middle of the afternoon and there wasn’t really time to cycle before it or enough good light to take a walk after it.

Instead, I helped Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden and mowed the front lawn.  I went for an unusual pattern of mowing today…

front lawn

…and quite liked the result.

The top left corner flowerbed remains stubbornly poppy free although there are plants there.  They just won’t burst into flower for some reason.

The Japanese anemones behind the hedge are doing well and Mrs Tootlepedal is thinking of expanding them right along the back of the garden.

Once again, we were well supplied with butterflies.  A red admiral visited the sunflower again.  I wonder if it is the same one as yesterday.

red admiral on sunflower

It wouldn’t spread its wings for me but one on a buddleia was more co-operative.

red admiral butterfly

I like the way that their antennae apparently have little light bulbs on the end.

The peacock butterflies seem to be wanting a bit more heat and I have been finding them resting on stones or wood with their wings spread out to the sun when they get the chance.

peacock butterfly

I have been keeping an eye on the Michaelmas daisies because they are great butterfly magnets but they have only provided with me bees to look at so far this year.

bee

I also kept an eye for blackbirds but for once the garden was not full of them and I settled for a collared dove from above.

collared dove

We dug up a couple more of the Sarpo plants and they have cropped well with good clean potatoes.  We only found one with slug damage.

I had one for my tea and it tasted good too.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike chatted over a bottle of beer, Alison and I played music, often playing the right notes at the same time as each other.  This created a very harmonious effect and we enjoyed ourselves.

The flying bird of the day was very low and noisy.

helicopter

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s walk along the Thames.  She saw these two unusual boats in a dock near Tower Bridge.  Not the usual rich people’s yachts.

A splash of colour

I have a wonderfully shiny bruise on my arm so I thought it might be a good plan to have a very quiet morning.  It had rained heavily overnight again so things had time to dry out while I lazed about.

Apart from a quick visit to the corner shop for milk, I didn’t poke my nose out of the door until after lunch when Mrs Tootlepedal summoned me out to see a red admiral butterfly on a marigold.

red admiral on marigold

I looked around and found that it wasn’t alone.  There were several Red Admirals and Peacocks on one of the buddleias.

butterflies

One flew off to bask on a wooden plank.

It is very cheering to see the butterflies just when we were beginning to think that they might not arrive at all this year.

peacock

I looked at the greenhouse grass and decided that arm or no arm, it needed mowing and got the hover mower out and did some of it.  Mrs Tootlepedal offered a cup of tea so I left some still to do and went inside.

It was fairly sunny by now and Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a trip to the Langholm Moor to look for interesting birds and kindly finished the mowing while I collected my cameras.

We saw plenty of harrier and buzzard action when we got to the moor but they were in teasing mood today and would fly quite close to the road until we stopped the car at which point, they gently eased themselves into the middle and far distance, no doubt chuckling in a raptor sort of way as they flew off.

harriers

Not a bad day for binoculars but not much good for cameras.  I looked at the view down to the Solway instead…

Solway Firth

…but it wasn’t much better with a lot of haze and a curiously flat light.

The heather was looking good in parts and at one stage, we stopped opposite one of the peat banks which are cut for fuel.

Heather and peat

We were hoping to see goats but they were obviously well away from the road so we went down into the Tarras valley and parked for a while there.

Mrs Tootlepedal watched a couple of harriers hunting across the hill while I went to look at the river.

I walked along the narrow road to find one of my favourite spots.

Tarras road

Tarras cascade

There was plenty of water coming over the cascade after the night’s rain.

In spite of a sunny appearance to the day, there seemed to be a hazy sky and the light was very flat indeed so I went back to the car, took a picture of the bridge….

Tarras Bridge

…and then we went home.

We stopped on the way back down to take a picture of Castle Hill where I had photographed the charity horse riders on Sunday.

Castle Hill

I walked up that ridge from left to right and considering how hard it is to climb, it looks amazingly gentle when seen from the side like this.

When we got home, I had a look round the garden.

sunflower

The sunflower is enjoying the warm spell

new plants

Two of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new plants looking well set

yew

The yew, which after yesterday’s pruning is mainly acting as a sort of clothes hanger for the perennial nasturtium.  It will come again.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal set about doing some major pruning to a rose so I helped out with the shredding and there was so much material that the box had to be emptied three times.  There is no doubt that looking after a flower garden takes a lot of doing.  I am glad that I live with someone who is not afraid of hard work.

From time to time, I checked on our blackbirds, hoping to get a shot of them eating the rowan berries.

blackbirds

Getting ready to pounce

blackbirds

Almost there

….but I was never quite at the right place at the right time.  Most of the berries have already been eaten so I may have missed my chance for this year.

I was tempted into using the colour picker on my Lumix to take an arty shot of the fuchsia.

fuchsia art

…but perhaps I should have resisted the temptation.

My arm was a little sore so I went in and caught up on my correspondence for a while while Mrs Tootlepedal finished clearing up after the rose pruning.  When she came in, I went out and mowed the middle lawn (very slowly and carefully).

I was tempted by the colour picker again….

clematis

…but I think that I like the full colour version of the clematis by the front door in the evening light better.

clematis

Mrs Tootlepedal came out to enjoy a sit in the garden in the sun while the tea was cooking and we were overlooked by a half finished robin.

robin

In spite of the overnight rain, the weather at the end of August is looking a lot better than the first half of the month (no doubt because the children have gone back to school) but unless we get a very dry spell soon, everywhere is beginning to have that slightly soggy autumn feeling even on a sunny day.

Still, my back is much better and I have reached my minimum cycling mile target for the month so mustn’t grumble.

And a poppy in some sunshine is always a cheerful thing.

poppy

As a point of minor interest, the bread making machine and I made a set of rolls recently and since there were too many for us to eat at once, I froze a couple, something which I have never done before.  We let them unfreeze naturally today and they were as good as new.  I was was very pleasantly surprised and will definitely try freezing rolls again when I next make them.  I realise that this will not be big news to people who freeze bread regularly.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone and shows the roadside repair man fitting a new wheel to Dropscone’s car after he had inadvertently lost the original while driving along.

Dropscone's car

Dropscone arrived for coffee today with a tale of woe.  He had been driving back from a golf event up the borders at the weekend, when he suddenly found himself one wheel short of a full set.  He managed to get the car safely off the road and called for assistance.

Sadly, however hard he looked while the spare wheel was being put in place, he couldn’t find the errant wheel.  It had disappeared into the undergrowth, never to be seen again.

Still, the car (with Dropscone)  was brought back to Langholm on a trailer and it is currently receiving some TLC in a garage and will soon be back on the road.  Dropscone seemed very calm about the whole affair but it would make me lose a bit of confidence in my car if it happened to me.

While I was waiting for him to arrive, I had a walk round the garden.  It was pleasantly warm and still for once but it had rained overnight and there was an air of dampness all around.

Dahlia

A hint of sparkle caught my eye and when I looked closely, I saw that among the plants, there was a spider’s web suspended….

spider's web

…with the very diminutive manufacturer in residence at the heart of it.

I took a lot of shots, trying to capture the best general view of it….

spider's web

…and of the tiny spider itself….

spider's web

…which was suspended in an almost invisible filigree net.

spider's web

I even went to the length of getting a tripod out and setting the camera up on it but what I really needed was some sunshine to make everything sparkle.

Still, it was fun trying.

The bees were busy trying to find poppies that had survived the rain.  These two had found a rich seam of pollen…

bees on poppies

…but other poppies held no attraction.

poppy soaked

They are pretty but fragile.  Later in the day I dead headed over forty poppies.

Mrs Tootlepedal joined me and noticed a green fly and bee combination on the the dahlia…

bee and greenfly on Dahlia

…and was generally a bit discouraged by how wet things were.  She did think the raindrops on the crocosmia leaves were very pretty though.

crocosmia

Dropscone brought a large mound of drop scones with him and we ate our way through it as he related his adventures.

When he had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to help with the lunches and I got my bike out and went round my 20 mile Canonbie circle.  It was warm enough for me to expose my knees to the public and at 70°F or 20°C, it was hot enough to make me careful to drink sufficient water as I went round.  A novel experience this summer.

It was a day when I could have gone further but although my back is improving, my arm had a nasty swelling so I thought it wise to take things gently.  I did take one picture as I went round to show off a quietly green corner of the ride…

Old A7

….but the muggy conditions had steamed up the lens on my phone camera so it wasn’t very successful.  The old main road, now a cycle track, is being gradually narrowed by the encroaching greenery, year on year.

I gave my bike a good good wash and clean when I got back as I have been pedalling on damp roads lately and then had a late lunch and a shower.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back from the Buccleuch Centre and started work in the garden.   My arm was a bit sore so I wandered about taking a few photographs instead of mowing or sieving.  In spite of the warmth, it had not been a drying day.

spirea and sedum

Spirea and sedum

More sparkle attracted my attention.

raindrops

The yew bush was covered in small webs which had caught the raindrops.  I processed the picture so that the web on which the drops are suspended is visible too.

raindrops

I thought that it looked a bit like one of those neural network maps that scientists produce to show how your brain works.

It was lucky that I had taken the picture when I did because later in the afternoon, Attila the Gardener attacked the bush with loppers and secateurs and all the webs went off to the shredder along with the branches that held them.

Mrs Tootlepedal took great care of the tropaeolum which lives in the yew and it should thrive on the greatly reduced bush.  She found some of the bright blue berries which follow the red flowers.

tropaeolum berries

A garden colour like no other.

I noticed a new clematis in a philadelphus…

clematis

…and I took a couple of pictures of a poppy and a cornflower which brightened up a rather gloomy day.

poppy and cornflower

Then I took my sore arm, which had swollen up slightly alarmingly overnight,  off to visit the doctor.  He diagnosed a haematoma on my biceps caused, he suggested politely, by being a bit old and not having very good muscle tone.  However, as I had feared that I might have torn something serious, this minor injury diagnosis was quite a relief and the advice that it will take several weeks to heal itself was not too hard to bear.

The doctor was not my regular physician and he called for a second opinion just to confirm his opinion that there was no serious damage and this doctor, knowing me well, advised me not to fall off my bike for a bit.  I am going to try to pay very good attention to that helpful instruction.

Once back in the garden, I was able to put the ex yew bush trimmings through the strimmer and so heartily had Mrs Tootlepedal approached her task, that we had to empty the box three times.  It all went back on the garden as a weed suppressing mulch.

Now I know that I won’t do any harm to my arm, I hope to get out for a longer ride before the end of the month as soon the days will be shorter and colder.

No flying bird of the day today but another welcome butterfly visitor stands in.

red admiral butterfly

 

 

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