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Posts Tagged ‘River Esk’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia who visited the very impressive flight of locks at Caen Hill on the Kennet and Avon canal.

Caen Hill Locks

We had another fine and sunny day today, with the temperatures well up into the mid twenties (80F) so it was quite pleasant to go into the cool of the church to sing with the choir in the morning.  The service was led a Langholm man who has led a remarkable life both in Britain and America.  He gave an interesting address and chose excellent hymns, so I enjoyed the whole thing.

When  we got home, the garden was awash with butterflies.  We could count about forty on a buddleia at one point but curiously, they all sat and sipped with their wings tightly closed as you can see in the shot below.

four butterflies

What was most surprising, as we are used to seeing the butterflies with their wings spread out, was the unanimity with which all the butterflies behaved.  I couldn’t get a decent open wing shot at all.  It doesn’t matter so much for the painted ladies who look quite nice with the wing shut or open….

painted lady wings shut

…but the other butterflies are very dull when closed.  Luckily, there were other insects to watch, like this moth on the red buddleia…

moth on buddleia

…and the mint was covered with small flies of a colourful nature.

flies on mint 1

I wish that I had a steadier hand to do these little charmers justice.

flies on mint 2

There was a good variety.

flies on mint 3

I didn’t do a lot of gardening, just some quiet dead heading and wandering around looking at sunny flowers.

sunflower heart

It was just too hot to do much and like this dahlia, I often went in to get a bit of shade.

secret dahlia

The dead heading is worthwhile though and if you dead head the Icelandic poppies, they keep coming for the whole summer and beyond…

icelandic poppy in sun

…and the calendula repay a bit of attention too.

bright calendula

There are still some flowers to come and I liked this low hanging spray of fuchsia showing promise…

fuchis hanging about

…and the sedum is warming up too.

sedum coming

Late in the afternoon, when the sun was getting lower in the sky, I finally got out on my bicycle for a short ride.

I was very pleased to see a metaphor come to life as I passed a farmer making hay while the sun shone.  (In fact he was making silage but I shall ignore that.)

making hay Bloch

I like the way that this bull, in a field covered with grass, chooses to stand in a muddy patch.  It is a creature of habit, I suppose.

bull at wauchope SH

I cycled up to the far end of Callister and when I stopped and turned, I recorded the new road surface which makes cycling so much more of a pleasure than bumping along worn and potholed roads.

new surface on callister road

I had a friend with me as I cycled back.

shadowy cyclist

When I got to Langholm, I took the road along the river bank.  Birds were standing on either two legs or one leg as the mood took them.

gull and mallard by Esk

I clocked up a modest 17 miles but as it took me over 300 miles for the month with a few days still in hand, I wasn’t unhappy….and I was quite hot enough as it was.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gardened sparingly through the day but she had attacked a patch of wild growth and brought another metaphor to life as she had firmly grasped the nettle.  In fact, quite a lot of nettles.

dead nettles

She also cooked a delicious meal of pasta alla norma for our tea.

We were able to watch the totally unexpected highlights of a dramatic cricket test match  in the evening and this rounded off a pleasantly warm and gentle day.   Looking at the forecast, this might well have been the last day of summer.

I spent quite a lot of it wrestling with the intractable prize crossword and in the end I had to ring up my sister Mary for help.  She was very helpful and between us we have got down to the last clue.  It will have to wait.

I did find a single peacock butterfly kind enough to open its wings and pose for a moment…

peacock butterlfy on buddleia tip

…and the flying bird of the day, a young starling,  is ruminating on life among the rowan berries before taking to the air again.

young starling in rowan

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  A friend, a fellow allotmenteer, brought her round some dahlias from Annie’s plot.  They are doing a lot better than ours are.

annie dahlia

We had another unsettled and unsettling day.  It is difficult to have a plan of action when the weather (and the forecast) is so changeable. In the forecast yesterday morning, we had been promised a calm and sunny day today so I was looking for a good cycle ride, staring early.

By the time that I got up today, there was no sign of sun and the forecast was now promising showers in the morning and a sunny afternoon.  I settled down to coffee and the crossword, thinking of an early lunch and an afternoon pedal.

There was rain.

Having finished the coffee and the crossword, I ventured out into the garden.

There were no butterflies to be seen but we were not short of other insects.

I saw a hoverfly vising an Icelandic poppy

hoverfly icelandic poppy

…and a bee well into a poppy…

bee in poppy

,,,while another hoverfly had caused a small pollen storm.

hoverfly in poppy

Another bee took a more refined approach to a geranium.

bee on geranium

Not every small creature was so welcome though.  Our turnips have taken a bit of a bashing.

nibbled turnip

Mrs Tootlepedal hasn’t planted as many cosmos as usual because the plants have tended to suffer from disease in recent years, but there she has some and they are just coming out.

cosmos

Although the bird feeders are not out at present, there are still plenty of birds about, particularly starlings…

fluffy starling on holly

…and blackbirds.

blackbird on bench

I looked at the forecast just before noon.  The sunny afternoon had disappeared and rain showers were back in.  I did put my cycling clothes on but cycling was once again postponed and we were busy out in the garden, looking at some ominous clouds, when a pair of strangers appeared at the front gate.

Were we the owners of Wauchope Cottage, they asked.  We confessed that we were and the man said that he had come especially to see the house as his name was Wauchope too and he had often seen pictures of our garden when he researched Wauchope on Google.

We invited him and his partner Cassandra in to tour the garden in real life. They turned out to come from New Orleans and were in Scotland to find as many Wauchope connections as they could.  They had been to a Wauchope family mausoleum in an Edinburgh churchyard and now they had come to visit the mighty Wauchope Water and Wauchopedale in all its glory.

After their garden tour, they sat our bench for a moment’s rest before continuing their adventure.

Mr Wauchope

When they left, I took a picture of the work that Mrs Tootlepedal, in the guise of Attila the Gardener, had been doing in the garden when the visitors came.  The age of the salvias is ended and they are no more.

no salvias

However, I shredded them all and they are now serving a useful purpose as either garden mulch or an addition to the compost bin.

As the weather continued to look gloomy, I went back indoors and did some work on the computer until finally a good forecast and some fine weather actually coincided and I went out for a cycle ride.

Nothing is perfect though, and a stiff breeze made cycling into it more of a duty than a pleasure so I cut my intended distance down and settled for a comfortable 20 miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.

In spite of the wind, it was warm enough to make being out and about enjoyable, and as I pedalled along, the clouds were being blown away and the sun shone for the whole of my trip.

retreating clouds

The River Esk drains well and there was little sign of the recent rain as  I looked over the bridge at The Hollows.

esk at hollows

I stopped when I got to the old A7 just before getting back to Langholm and enjoyed the view across the valley.

view from old A7

Beside the road, an umbellifer was playing host to a crowd of insects.  I can count seven but there may be more.

umbellifer and insect

The amiable sunshine made even a very ordinary dock look rather gorgeous…

dock close up

…and  I was able to find some refreshment before getting back on my bike again.

brambles

The blackberries were delicious.

When I arrived back, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy cutting down  potentillas at the back of the house along the dam while i had been away.  After the recent flood had put water through the ventilators under our floor, she thought that clearing away the vegetation in front of the ventilators would allow more flow of air which could only be a good thing.

This provided me with an opportunity to do a lot more shredding and more beds were mulched and the compost bin was once again enhanced.

I just had time to some black and white photography of nicotiana..

three nicotiana

…and our strikingly dark pansies…

black pansies

…before going in to cook baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce for our tea.

In the evening, we were visited by Mairi, the camera club member whose pictures I had printed.  She had framed them, and she brought them back so that they could be part of our next camera club exhibition.  She stayed on for a while to chat to Mrs Tootlepedal and we soon had the world put to rights.

The flying bird of the day is a gull which I caught when it was passing over the garden near midday.

flying gull overhead

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Today’s guest post comes from my brother’s latest group walk.  They covered eight miles with enough climbing to offer some fine views like this one over the village of Crich.

crich

It was another day of frequent heavy rain showers and brisk winds here, and we chickened out and drove the few hundred yards to the church to sing in the choir to avoid getting soaked before we sang.

After church, we went shopping and bought a Sunday newspaper, and reading this kept us occupied for the rest of the morning.  We have been getting some good sized potatoes from Mrs Tootlepedal’s potato patch, so I had a baked potato for my lunch.  After lunch, I made some ginger biscuits for want of anything better to do.

By mid afternoon we were feeling a touch of cabin fever,  so when we found a moment when the sun was shining and the forecast offered a mere 20% chance of rain over the next two hours, we decided to go for a walk.  As we left the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal sagely pointed out the looming clouds on the horizon but I laughed them off and we continued.

I was laughing on the other side of my face half a mile later when we sheltered under some trees as torrential rain fell from the grey skies above us.

We waited for some time and then got bored and headed home, getting quite wet as we went.

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge was showing 5 inches of rain for the week.  This was the second week running with 5 inches of rain in our rain gauge.

Of course the sun came out half an hour later but we were discouraged by then and stayed at home.

I did walk as far as the garden.

I was surprised to see that a red admiral had the flying power to get into the garden in one of the dry spells in the afternoon in spite of the strong wind and heavy showers.

red admiral butterfly august

Some flowers seem impervious to bad weather and the Abyssinian gladioli are flowering away very well.

abyssinian gladiolus

There is still colour about but not a lot…

anemone, foxglove, zinnia, poppy

…although the Michaelmas daisies are getting more plentiful by the day.

michaelmas daisies

Mrs Tootlepedal came out in the late afternoon and we dug up most of the rest of our potato crop.  She was very impressed by this nine inch long specimen which was by no means unique.

nine inch potato

I cut up the haulms and added them to the compost in Bin A.  The bin is getting quite hot and the haulms looked quite healthy, and as we won’t add the compost to any potato bed next year, it should be safe enough.

full compost bin

We keep on filling the bin to the top and it keeps going down so it must be decomposing quite well.

Nearby, the apples look to be ripening well.

ripening apples

Since the sun was out after our evening meal and the wind had dropped, I took the opportunity to go out for a quick walk round three bridges.

The fact that the Wauchope Water was flowing a lot more strongly than the Esk during the recent spates has led to the Wauchope dumping a lot of gravel well out into the bed of the Esk.

gravel brought down by wauchope

Even though the Esk had not been very high, it had still washed a small tree under the Langholm Bridge.

tree under town bridge august

As I got to the Kilngreen, the sun came out from behind a cloud and lit up the mallards who were resting on the bank.

ducks at sunset

The light was mellow all around.

lodge cottage

I crossed the sawmill brig and…

sawmill brig sunset

…enjoyed the light on the other side too.

trees on castleholm sunset

The cricket ground was looking very peaceful after what must have been a very poor day for cricketers.

cricket ground sunset

My walk wasn’t all plain sailing as I had to keep an eye out for large puddles…

puddles on path

..but I negotiated them all with care and got home dry shod.

I took a picture of the corydalis growing out of a crack in the wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field and was pleased to get home without encountering another heavy shower.

corydalis park wall

The flying bird of the day had come to earth.

blackbird on lawn august

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She went to the Haynes International Motor museum in Yeovil with her friend Venetia, and her eye was caught by this shiny Morris Oxford 6 saloon from 1930.

haynes motor museum

I got up intending to have a quick breakfast and go cycling but like so many of my good intentions, this one was unrealised.  In the end, I had a slow breakfast, did the crossword, waited for a rain shower to pass, checked on the butterflies in the garden…

more butterflies

….and then finally went cycling.  By this time the wind had got up and was blowing pretty forcibly so I reduced my intended route distance from 30 miles to 12 and even then had quite a hard time cycling the six miles up hill and  into the wind to my turning point.

The grass is pointing to my way home.

 

blowing grass

I was freewheeling along a flat section at 25 mph with not a breath of wind in my face at one time on my way home, and that gives some idea of the briskness of the breeze.  Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have managed even 12 miles.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had done some serious lawn edging.

edged lawn

I had another walk round the garden and was pleased to find that lots of flowers had survived the four inches of rain that we have had during the week…

six garden flowers

…and that bees were busy visiting some of our newer blooms.

two bees

After lunch, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to do some more gardening in the sunshine, I drove down to Canonbie to visit the flower show there.

As well as jams, jellies, needlework, art, flowers and vegetables, there are always other attractions at the show and this year, there was a modest display of falconry.  It was slightly hampered by the very strong winds but a couple of patient birds sat on their perches taking an interest in what was going on.

This is a Harris Hawk..

harris hawk

…but I can’t remember what this striking bird was.

falcon canonbie

There are usually some static engines on display and this fine oil engine was the star of the show this year.

static engine canonbie

Some more mobile vehicles were to be seen as well.

two tractors canonbie

When I went into the hall to see the photographs, I was surprised to find that I had managed to acquire two first prizes and a second ticket from my twelve entries.  Sandy had been in the prizes as well and we shared  a trophy with yet another exhibitor for most points in the coloured photo classes.  We all had had a first and a second.

There were a lot of pictures on display and quite a number of different people had caught the eye of the judge.  This is very satisfactory and should bode well for the entries next year.  I would like to thank Linda for taking my pictures down to show and putting them up for me.

After a tour round the flowers and vegetables, I went for a walk along the river.  As I crossed the bridge, I saw a dipper below.

dipper in esk canonbie

A started my walk at the church and was pleased to find sheep safely grazing in the glebe fields.

sheep canonbie church

I felt that I was being laughed at as I took the path down to the river but it was only a conifer covered in strange fruit.

pine fruit

It was very peaceful walking along the grassy bank of the Esk…

esk at canonbie

…although a little waterfall splashing down the banking further on showed how wet it has been.

waterfall at canonbie

I was going to walk along the river for a good bit but the path became very muddy and as I didn’t have suitable footwear, I had to turn back and go back to the hall by the route that I had taken on the way out.

I met Sandy there and he kindly offered to bring my pictures back after the show had ended, so I was able to drive home and find out what Mrs Tootlepedal had been up to in my absence.

She had lifted the onions.

onions 2019

We had a cup of tea and then we drove up to the White Yett and walked up the track to the monument on Whita Hill.

It was still very breezy but the sun was shining, so I expected to get some good views.  Once again my expectations were unrealised as it was pretty hazy, but when the sun shone in the right place, views of some sort were available.  This is the Ewes valley.

ewes valley august evening

There is a plan to put a lot of exceedingly tall wind turbines on the top of these hills and although I am a supporter of wind power, we think that this is a step too far.  We can already see about 60 turbines from the monument but they don’t impinge on the views too dramatically,  These huge turbines would overwhelm the valley altogether.

They are several times the height of our monument.

monument sugust evening

When we arrived at the monument, we were being buffeted by the wind to such an extent that we didn’t stay for long.  I did look over the wall and down onto the Solway plain which stretches between our hills and the English hills which you can just see though the haze in the distance.

view of Solway plain from whita

When the sun came out from behind the clouds, the monument cast a long shadow over the moor.

shadow of monument

As we turned to go back down the hill, a patch of sunlight played on the top of Castle Hill across the valley.

castle hill august evening

As we went back down the hill to the town in our car, we passed several notices calling for care and warning of sharp bends and sudden steep sections.  When I checked, I found that there is a cycle sportive coming this way tomorrow from Hawick.  I just hope that the wind drops a bit or it will be hard work for the cyclists.

After a busy day for us both, we were refreshed by corned beef hash and rhubarb crumble with custard for our tea.

The falconer at Canonbie was able to fly an owl over a very short distance in spite of the wind so I have got quite an unusual flying bird of the day today.

flying owl canonbie

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who met Aethelflaed, (daughter of Alfred the Cakes Burner), Queen of the Mercians standing in front of Tamworth Castle. He tells me that she led the successful military assault on Derby in 917, which was so decisive, that it resulted in Mercia being fully recovered from the Vikings.

Aethelflaeda

It was generally a rather grey, drizzly and miserable morning here which wasn’t made any better by the departure after breakfast of Mrs Tootlepedal on a two day visit to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  I was cheered up by some bright flowers in the garden…

three raindropped flowers

…and the arrival of Sandy for coffee.  We exchanged news, sympathised with each other’s foot problems (his are worse than mine) and talked Archive Group business.

When he left I was motivated by our archive talk to go and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  This took some time because the edition was unusually full of content.

Before I sat down at the computer, I had a look at the birds.  The rain came and went every few minutes as I watched the sparrows.

sparrow on nuts

There are several sparrow families on the go at the moment.

sparrow feeding on feeder

This sparrow, using a sunflower as an umbrella, hadn’t noticed that the rain had stopped again.

sparrow with umbrella

I made myself some scrambled eggs for lunch and after listening to the news (nothing about Langholm on it today), I went out into the garden to check on the weather.

It was raining sparrows.

They rose from the ground in a cloud when I went into the veg garden and settled on our neighbour Betty’s garage roof.

sparrows on Betty's roof

This was just a fraction of the flock.

The weather looked set fair for a bit and the forecast was good so I decided on a cycle ride.  The was a blustery wind coming from ENE and as my usual route starts by going west, this would have meant cycling home into the wind.  I therefore decided to head north today, hoping that getting a crosswind in both directions wouldn’t be as bad as pedalling straight into the wind for half my trip.

This proved to be a sound decision as the bends and twists in the roads gave me a nicely varied diet of cross, behind and ahead breezes and added variety to the journey.

I still went very slowly though as it is quite a hilly route…

Road to benty

…but going slowly can be a good thing if you want to look at the view and keep an eye on the verges,

harebells

Harebells

The ride is not short of views…

meeting of the Esks

The junction of the Black and White Esks

…and includes my favourite bridge, not so much for the bridge itself, which is neat but modest, as for its setting in the surrounding countryside.black esk bridge

Once over the bridge, I cycled along one of my favourite roads.  It has a reasonable surface, no traffic, gentle gradients, fine trees…

road to castle O'er

…and verges rich in flowers and with snacks available every so often.

Castle oe'r verges

The route is part of the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail and I passed three hill forts as I went along, Bailiehill, Castle O’er and Bessie’s Hill, which are all worth a visit if any local blog reader has not visited them before.

I didn’t have time to stop and visit today and I pressed on through the village of Eskdalemuir until I came to our little bit of Tibet in Dumfriesshire.

It comes as something of a surprise when you first see the statue of the god Nagarjuna in the garden of the Kagyu Samye Ling Centre but you soon get used to it.

statue at Samye Ling

There were some lovely water lilies in the pond surrounding the god.

lily at Samye Ling

And the stupa was as impressive as ever.

Stupa at Samye Ling

I had a close look at one of the flags beside the path.  Research on the internet tells me that the flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.

tibetan flag at Samye Ling

There was plenty of wind today so perhaps we should put out more flags.  We need a lot of goodwill and compassion at the moment.

On my way up to Eskdalemuir, I had followed the west bank of the Esk so on my way home, I decided to cross the bridge at Eskdalemuir….

bridge at Eskdalemuir

…and follow the east bank back to Bentpath.

I was a little tired by this point on my journey as it was quite a hilly route, but I was nothing like as weary as this lot, flat out in a field beside the bridge.

tired sheep

I had a last look north along the Upper Esk valley…

views upper esk valley

…and headed south.

I stopped near Georgefield for this view of the river…

esk near Westerhall

…and had a final stop for some guava jelly and a drink at Bentpath.  I was very impressed by the lichen on the wall…

lichen at benty

…and this use of an old wheelbarrow.

barrow at Benty

I was aiming to do thirty miles to bring me up to four hundred miles for the month and ended up doing thirty two miles so I was very pleased with my ride.  Even a little shower of rain in the last mile or so did not dampen my spirits.

The rain didn’t last and I was able to mow the front lawn when I got home and pick yet more sweet peas.  A reader asked for evidence about the great number of sweet peas I claim to have been picking, so here is the current collection.

sweet peas

Many bunches have been given to neighbours and many vases have been emptied and the dead flowers thrown away so this represents only a fraction of this year’s crop.

In the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal, I am having a very quiet night in.

The flying bird of the day is being shouted at in a very rude manner.

flying sparrow (with siskin)

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  There are caves near his house in East Wemyss which have a rich history dating back to the Picts and some archaeologists are currently having a dig around to find out more.

smacap_Bright

It has been getting steadily warmer here, although nothing like the heatwaves in the USA and mainland Europe and although the morning was grey, it was quite warm enough to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to put on her wellies and do some heavy clearing of old plants from the dam behind our house.

I was so busy wheeling barrow loads of soggy stuff round to our compost bins that I forgot to take any pictures of the activity, though when were finishing, I did spot a duck swimming in the part of the dam that our neighbour had previously cleared on the other side of the bridge.

duck on dam

When that task was finished, we had a cup of coffee and then Mrs Tootlepedal set about other garden business while I took a few pictures.

The poppies had perked up after being battered by the wind yesterday…

three poppies

…and I was pleased to find a lot of the taller flowers were still upstanding.

colourful border

A hosta flower stuck out its tongue for me…

hosta stamens

…and the St John’s Wort berries positively gleamed.

st johns wort berries

I was going to sit down on our new bench for a rest when I noticed that a verbena had sneaked though from behind the seat.

verbena and bench

The privet is a hive of activity.  Not only is it filling the garden with its scent, it has a continuous hum as you approach it, so full of bees is it.  I managed to spot a few today (and a butterfly out of the corner of my eye).

privet with bees

The individual flowers are very fancy with their rolled back petals and they cover the ground below the branches like snow when they fall.

Above the privet, the walnut tree is full of nuts again this year.  Whether the weather will be fine enough to ripen them is another question, but they are looking good at the moment.

walnuts

I noted the first crocosmia in the garden…

crocosmia

…and then went in for lunch, having picked masses more sweet peas and some garden peas to add to our summer soup.

As Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out, we could just keep the soup pot going for quite a time by adding more fresh veg every day, but we probably won’t.

I noted a couple of greenfinches had come to join the crowds on the feeder…

two greenfinches

..but once again, the chief seed eaters were siskins.

passing siskin

By the time that lunch was over, the wind had calmed down a lot and there was the promise of sun for the rest of the day.  I was almost waylaid by a stage of the Tour de France but as it was a flat stage with all the excitement in the last twenty seconds and still some hours away, I pulled myself together and went off to do some pedalling myself.

I did have a choice, since it was such a pleasant day, of a more hilly scenic ride or a slightly more boring and flat ride.  Luckily I chose the boring flat ride as it turned out that while my legs were very happy to co-operate while the going was easy, as soon as I hit a rise, they started to grumble tremendously.

There were no interesting views so I stopped occasionally if I saw something interesting in the verge…

wild flower with bee

…like this great burnet or sanguisorba officinalis.  There is a lot of grass about and I had a bit of trouble in finding a burnet flower without some grass in front of it.

great burnet and grass

The grass and its many seeds may be part of the reason that my legs were a bit unhelpful as grass pollen doesn’t help my breathing.

Still, as my route was largely flat after the first eleven miles, I plodded on down into England where I saw just about the most silver silver birch that I have ever seen.

silver birch

Still in England, I stopped beside the River Esk in Longtown to have a honey sandwich and admire the handsome bridge over the river.

Longtown bridge

After the recent rain, there was enough water in the river to to tempt a fisherman to put on his waders and have a go.

fisherman at Longtown

Thanks to adopting a very sensible speed, I managed to do fifty miles exactly before sinking into a chair in the kitchen and having a reviving cup of tea.  At a bit over 20°C (70°F), and with the sun beating down, it was as hot as I can cope with these days so I was pleased to find that the house was quite cool.

When I had finished my tea, I went out into the garden in pursuit of butterflies.  I had seen quite a lot of them on my ride, so I thought that there were bound to be some in the garden.

I was disappointed.

The fancy roses are trying to prove that Mrs Tootlepedal is wrong to think of replacing with them with simpler varieties…

rose in sunshine

…though these little red charmers which live very close to the ground would probably survive a cull anyway.

roses on ground

The astilbes were beautifully back lit.

backlit astilbe

I went in to enjoy a tasty evening meal, cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal, and then rather collapsed for the rest of the evening for some incalculable reason.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It must have been feeling the heat too as it needed a friend to blow strongly just to keep it in the air.

flying siskin blown up

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from the camera club visit to Beamish late last month.  Peter took this charming shot.

Peter's Beamish

There was heavy rain overnight but the garden seemed strangely dry when we went out for a look.  Some strong winds had done damage though, and Mrs Tootlepedal had a good deal of propping up and clearing away to do.

I took the opportunity to put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive group database and found the first entry regarding a motor car in Langholm that I had come across.  This was 1900 so it must have been an early model.

I went out into the garden to give Mrs Tootlepedal some moral support and the occasional helping hand too.  We picked some peas, beans, turnips and potatoes to make a summer soup and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted this moth among the potatoes.

potato moth

She found a home for it and just hoped that it isn’t a dangerous potato eating insect.

I had a look around before going in to cook the soup.  It was rather a dull day and the very brisk wind made getting flower pictures a bit tricky so I was pleased to catch not just one poppy in mid sway…

red poppy grey insides

…but another one as well.

open poppy

I like the different centres that the poppies have just as much as I like the different colours and textures of their petals.

The clematis at the front door is more sheltered and offered less of a problem.  It has come on very well after a slow start and I like its multi coloured petals.

front door clematis lots

While I was in the garden,  I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and got a different angle on the bird feeder.

The siskins were keeping a sharp eye out for competition and a sparrow thought better of trying to get some seed.

siskins keeping eye out

In general, it was a busy scene.

busy feeder from outside

I went down to the river to see if the rain had put some water into it.  It was far from full but there was a lot more flow than we have had recently…

river up

…and all three arches of the Langholm Bridge had been called into action.

three arches Langholm Bridge

The vegetable soup (with added barley) turned out well, with a nice fresh taste.  It went well with some new bread and a selection of cheeses.

I was so perked up by the soup, that after lunch I decided to brave the wind and go off for a cycle ride.  It was tough going into the teeth of a breeze gusting at over 30 mph so I stuck to doing two laps of the seven miles trip to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, hiding from the wind in the bottom of the valley.  This gave me the chance to visit the little cascade near the schoolhouse…

wauchope schoolhouse cascade

…and to stop and check for riverside birds when I went along the Esk on my way through the town.  There was a small collection of oyster catchers…

Three oyster catchers

…one of whom posed nicely for me…

oyster catcher on rock

…and a dipper living up to its name.

dipper dipping

My legs were quite cheerful so I added a short three mile trip over the bridge and out of the other side of the town after my two laps and ended up with 17 miles more than I had expected to ride when I had read the forecast yesterday.

The seventeen miles were accomplished at a steady pace but they took me up to 270 miles for the month, so although I still can’t walk any distance without upsetting my feet, at least I can keep going on my bike.  Mustn’t grumble.

I  sat down for a cup of tea when I got home and we were joined by Mike Tinker.  Like Mrs Tootlepedal, he had spent quite a bit of time in  his garden repairing the ravages of wind and rain and cutting back excessive growth so we were all pleased to rest a while for refreshment and conversation.

When Mike left, I mowed the two lawns, sieved a bit of compost and had another look round the garden.

I like nasturtiums.

nasturtiums's mouth

This is the very last of the flowers on the rosa complicata.

last rosa complicata

Although some of our heavily petalled roses survived the wind and the rain, like this Wren…

rose Wren

….many were looking rather soggy.  Mrs Tootlepedal gets a bit sad when these roses show the effects of our damp climate and ‘ball up’, so she is thinking of planting more of the simple roses, which are perhaps better suited to our garden.

It was brighter now than it had been earlier in the day, but the sun had not quite come out so I had another go at the white astilbe with better results.

white astilbe

Nearby, a yellow potentilla flower winked at me.

yellow potemtilla

It is impossible to miss the rambler roses which are sensational this year.  We hope that some of them will appear in the rose crown at the Common Riding on Friday but if ours are anything to go by, there should be so many about that the crown builders may not need to come to us at all.

red rambler roses

Later in the evening, I leaned out up of an upstairs window to greet the sun which had finally appeared, and enjoyed a general look over the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been clipping the hedges.

the garden in the evening

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow using every limb available to persuade a siskin to give up its seat at the table.

flying sparrow flailing

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