Posts Tagged ‘Rosa Wren’

Today’s guest picture is another from our older son’s visit to Anstruther and shows that he took his friends with him.

Tony's dogs

Another of the regular Moorland bird feeders was away on holiday today so I had a second opportunity this week to act as a fill-in feeder filler so I went up after breakfast to do my duty.  If the weather is good, which it was today, the duty is also a pleasure as it gives me a chance to sit in the hide and watch the birds.  We are not feeding birds in the garden at present so it is an extra pleasure to do a little bird watching from the comfort of the hide.

I had a good variety of birds to watch today.  There was a host of siskins….


…but only one greenfinch and tree sparrow that I could  see.

tree sparrow and greenfinch

Either a jay paid several visits of several jays paid one visit each but one way or the other, there were plenty of opportunities for jay watching.  (I was hoping to get a shot of jay walking but alas, no.)


There were a very few blue and great tits about…

blue tit great tit

…but I didn’t see a coal tit today at all.

My chief entertainment came from some very obliging woodpeckers who came up close to the hide and stayed nice and still and sometimes even ‘watched the birdie’.

My Lumix was on its best behaviour after having refused to work at all and it came in handy.  (It knows that I have ordered a new camera. Too late now.)

greater spotted woodpecker

The one in the bottom left corner was the first arrival.  The other three pictures are all of another bird which arrived twenty minutes later.

After our recent warm weather, it was a lot cooler today and I began to feel a little chilly and left the woodpeckers to it and came home.

I had a cup of coffee, did the crossword and then went out into the garden to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to and to take a picture or two while I was out there.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out new flowers and I looked at some old friends.

Rosa Wren and Rosa Mundi

Rosa Wren and Rosa Mundi

A Rodgersia and a Spirea had a competition to see which could pack most flowers into the smallest space.

Rodgersia and Spirea

I think that the Rodgersia won

At lunchtime, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre which was putting on a show for children and I had some potato soup and cheese to get my strength up and went out and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and then sieved some compost.

There was a lot of buzzing so I paused from time to time to look at the cotoneaster and the astrantia which are still attracting a lot of interest.


Mrs Tootlepedal came back and got straight down to some more planting and tidying and I lent a hand and did some dead heading and tidying of my own.   I even did some weeding on the middle lawn.   The large amount of grass and flower pollen floating about at the moment is not helping my breathing so any work I do is done at a very gentle pace with regular visits indoors for a little rest.  Mrs Tootlepedal on the other hand just carries on regardless.  She is a human dynamo in the garden.

She notices things too and called my attention to a red admiral butterfly sunning itself on a path.

red admiral butterfly

Like the woodpeckers earlier in the day, it sat very still for its portrait.

red admiral butterfly

I love the little torches it has sticking out of its head.

I took a last set of flower pictures….

melancholy thistle

Melancholy thistle, Martagon Lily and just about the last pale blue Iris Siberica

…and then we went off shopping to stock up on food and supplies.  By great fortune, our food shopping managed to include some scones and clotted cream.  We are not quite certain how this happened but we managed to get rid of them when we got home by eating them with the recently made strawberry jam.  We haven’t had a cream tea for ages so this was a real treat.

I was considering an evening cycle ride in the hope that the wind, which had been boisterous all day, would have died down by then but the fresh wind persisted so I went for a walk instead.

It was a lovely evening as long as you could keep out of the wind.  I chose a sheltered route and enjoyed my stroll a great deal.

I divided my attention between things that were close….

slow worms at Pool Corner

A heap of slow worms at Pool Corner

yellow wild flower

I would welcome a suggestion as to what this pretty flower might be called

….things that were a bit further away…

A sandpiper on the Esk

A sandpiper on the Esk

Stables on the Stubholm

Stables on the Stubholm (Arty shot)

….something that was quite far away…

The round house seen from Easton's Walk

The round house seen from Easton’s Walk

…and some views.

Wauchope graveyard and Warbla in the background

Wauchope graveyard and Warbla in the background

Castle Hill

Castle Hill

Stubholm and Whita Hill

Stubholm House and Whita Hill

It was a much better choice than battering into a strong wind on my bike and getting depressed.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had her tea and was back out in the garden trimming hedges when I got home.

In a vain effort to improve my brain power, I had fish cakes for tea.  It hasn’t helped my typing.  I could get the blog done in half the time of i didn’t have to correct eevry other wird.

The flying bird of the day is the jay seen from a distance……

flying jay

…and I normally would have been quite happy to finish a post with it it but it is outshone today, in my view, by a relaxed greater spotted woodpecker.

greater spotted woodpecker








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Today’s guest picture is the town hall of Ripon.  My brother, who was visiting,  was much taken with the inscription.


We had a day of pleasantly cool but sunny weather today and if I hadn’t had quite a strenuous pedal yesterday, I would have been out on my bike.  As it was, I spent a quiet morning in the garden checking out insects.

The bees have been joined by hoverflies.


Mrs Tootlepedal has some very pretty sunflowers coming out…


…and they are real insect magnets.


I was busy with a little dead heading when the garden was suddenly invaded by a team of expert rose clippers.

rose pickers

They attacked our ramblers with ready secateurs and in no time they had a crate filled with blooms.  When they left, I followed them on my bike and trailed them to their lair.  They were part of a gang which was hard at work in a shed.

The crown

The object of all this activity is the ceremonial crown which will be carried through the town among the other emblems as part of our Common Riding procession on Friday.  It is an honour for our roses to be part of it.

Once the roses are trimmed and prepared, the crown maker Les binds each one individually to the framework which has been precovered with moist sphagnum moss to keep the roses fresh.

Les making the Crown

This is the most painstaking work, taking many man and woman hours and I shall look at the crown with new respect when it is paraded  round the town on Friday.

When I got back home, Attila the gardener was starting the job of taking down a small tree which is steadily dying and I helped out by shredding the branches.

After lunch, I printed out some more pictures to go on cards which will go on sale in the town. They raise funds for the Archive Group and the last lot sold quickly which was pleasing.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal headed off to Carlisle for some shopping and I took advantage of the continuing sunshine to go for a walk.

My plan was to walk along the ridge between Castle Hill and Potholm Hill and then descend to the road for the return journey.

It had rained quite a lot last night and I wondered whether the going might be a bit too soggy for fun but the hill was in very good condition and I followed my plan to the letter (well almost).


There was no chance of waving at Mr Grumpy on my way as the Kilngreen is given over to the shows for the next few days so I went straight up the hill.

Castle Hill

The hill was covered with wild flowers…

Castle Hill

…and the walking was delightful.

The views weren’t bad either.

Panorama from Castle Hill

You can click on this panorama to get the bigger picture.

I soon got to the summit of Castle Hill and the ridge stretched out in front of me.

Castle Hill

I walked along the ridge…

Ridge from castle hill

…looking to the left….

Esk valley

The Esk valley

…and the right…

Ewes valley

The Ewes valley

…and sticking to the wall as I went.

Castle Hill ridge

As well as the views, there were things of interest closer to hand.

fungus and heart's ease

Fungus making use of a handy drop of dung and Heart’s Ease sheltered against the wall.

I got to the end of the wall and there was a handy stile to get me onto the next part of my route.

stile on Potholm Hill

All was going well until I got to the top of the next summit and  spotted a group of cattle grazing further along on my route.  I don’t like to get too close to hill cattle so I cunningly dropped down the side of the hill and contoured along with a view to reaching the fence and then walking up it to the next gate, having bypassed the cattle.

My plan was not very successful.  I dropped down out of sight of the cattle quite successfully but the cunning beasts knew what I was up to and when I looked up the hill, they were cantering along the ridge and soon formed up in front of the gate I was hoping to get to unobserved.

I wasn’t going to argue with them so I changed tack and followed the fence downhill until I came to a second gate which gave me access to the track which I would have joined in the first place so all was well.  I took a look at the very picturesque cottage at Henwell…


…and then went down to Potholm Bridge and walked home along the road.

I ate wild raspberries from the hedgerows and clicked away as I went but there have been too many pictures already so I will just put in a sign of the times that I passed.


Crops starting to ripen in the fields

…and a chaffinch that was hopefully looking for seed in the garden when I got home…


…and that will wrap up the day nicely.

It was a walk of just under 6 miles and it is a tribute to both my new knee and the exercises which the physio gave me for my troublesome hip that I could do it at all.  Two or three years ago I was quite certain that I would never be able to walk over the hills again so I count this a great blessing.

The chaffinch wouldn’t fly to order so there is no flying bird of the day but Rosa Wren more than makes up for this deficiency in my opinion as it appears as flower of the day.

Rosa Wren







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Today’s guest picture comes from my neighbour Liz’s recent jaunt to Spain.  She saw the point.


The morning radio was full of talk of heat waves and burning sun but when it came to our part of Scotland, low cloud and a pleasant warmth was the order of the day.  As I am not very fond of very hot weather, this was fine by me and I was able to do quite a lot of useful work in the garden after we had had coffee with Liz and Ken and mastered the art of getting Spanish pictures from her phone to mine.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Carlisle to do some shopping and I turned Bin A into Bin B, edged the lawn, sawed some logs and trimmed the front hedge along the road.  I felt quite good about this and rewarded myself with a tomato and feta cheese salad for my lunch and a good sit down afterwards.

At various times during the morning I wander ed round the garden looking at flowers.  I often concentrate on single poppies and cornflowers so today, I took a more generous view.




The perennial nasturtium is going to seed…

perennial nasturtium

…but I like the little green berries as much as the flowers.

I was just enjoying a little snooze (and watching the Tour de France at the same time), when I was disturbed by the phone ringing.  It was a welcome call from my daughter who was sheltering indoors from the fierce heat in London.

I was just settling back when the phone rang again and this time it was an even more welcome call.  What could be more welcome than a call from our daughter? It was the power company ringing up about the Archive Centre electricity supply.  At last, after months of delay, a person who knew what he was talking about to talk to.  This may be connected to the fact that I had told the customer service man last week that I would go to the ombudsman if no one contacted me.

After some conversation, he wiped off the amount that they claimed we owed them, reduced our monthly payments, assured me that our meter was now telling the truth and that readings could  be successfully submitted and promised me that we could go to another supplier without penalty.  Oh frabjous day!  It has only taken since November for this happy state of affairs to come about.  Mind you, I wait for the written confirmation of all this before I open the champagne.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back from Carlisle, she was quite impressed by my industry in her absence except in the matter of edging the lawn.  It turned out that although my lawn trimming looked neat enough, there was still a large fringe of grass overhanging the actual edge and this needed remedial action by an expert.  She did it quickly and efficiently.

The sun had come out by this time but it was still far from unbearably warm so we sat and had a cup of tea under the walnut tree.  I looked at the vibrant honeysuckle behind the bench and the fading euphorbia in front of me.

honeysuckle and euphorbia

I had taken a picture of the Rosa Wren in the morning and looking at the flower as we sat and sipped, I was impressed by how much a good day had brought it on.

Rosa Wren

Six hours work

But not everything had improved in the same time.  I took a picture of a new poppy in the morning and looked in vain for it in the afternoon.


Not great value. There was a breeze but not a gale.

Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to some pinks that she had been given by our older son Tony and his partner Marianne on Mother’s Day back on May 6th.  They came in a fancy little wicker basket and after keeping them for some time, Mrs Tootlepedal planted them out.  They are doing very well indeed.


That’s what I call a good present

After the tea had disappeared, I went off on the slow bike to pursue a flying bird.

I passed the oyster catchers in their favourite spot on the bank of the Esk.  They were having their tea too.

oyster catchers

I soon found an obliging gull or two by the Ewes.  Once again they came straight to the point.


I pedalled over the Saw Mill Brig, across the Castleholm and then over the Jubilee Bridge.  I have often mentioned it and I thought it deserved a portrait on such a nice evening.

Jubilee Bridge

The sides really do lean in, it is not a camera aberration.

As I had a little time in hand, I pedalled on up to Pool Corner, which was also looking quite mellow.

Pool Corner

I checked to see if the slow worms were in their warm spots.

slow worms

They are very companionable animals. Youngsters on the left and adults on the right.

The phlox was looking very fine when I returned.


It has stood up well this year.

When I got home, I heated up yesterday’s chicken in a gravy with mushrooms and peppers and it went down very well with another of our large new potatoes.  There was some gooseberry fool left for afters.

In the evening, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and we had a good time playing sonatas by Boismortier, J C Schickardt and Telemann.  There isn’t a large repertoire of pieces for flute, cello and piano so we have to play the same pieces several times over the year.  Tonight we felt that we might actually have played one or two of them better than ever before.  There may well be room for more improvement though.

The flower of the day is a day lily…

day lily

…and the flying bird is a young black headed gull.

blackheaded gull


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Today’s guest picture shows the main bridge over the river in Mechelen, a Belgian town visited recently by my brother Andrew with my sister Mary.


We had the promise of some good weather today so when Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to church, I armed myself with a marmalade sandwich and two bananas and set off to see where my fairly speedy bike would take me.

The wind seemed quite gentle in the garden before I set off but once I was out on the road, I found it was quite brisk and it got brisker as my ride went on.

I took my usual route down the main roads to Newtown on Hadrian’s Wall but instead of coming back the same way after eating my sandwich, I turned into the teeth of the wind and battled across country to the banks of the River Eden at Rockcliffe.

I passed Newby Grange on my way.

Newby Grange

This is the sort of house I am going to live in when I grow up.  What fun the mowing must be.

Nearby was the sort of pub which tells you that the world can’t be all bad whatever happens.

The Stag Inn

Once I had got to Rockcliffe, the wind had done its worst and it was either across or behind me for the rest of the trip.

I have been dipping lately into one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s books which reveals the origins of the  English landscape and this led me to realise that at one stage on the route to Rockcliffe, I was cycling along one of the roads that was built at the time of the enclosures.  It is typically very straight and has wide verges.

Enclosure road

It makes for a very fine back road for cyclists.

On my way back from Rockcliffe, I passed a fine bunch of rosebay willowherb…

rosebay willowherb

…and had to wait at the level crossing yet again.

level crossing

Considering how few trains there are on a Sunday, this was bad luck.

I stopped at Gretna for a late lunch of egg and chips and while I was drinking my coffee, a lady came up and introduced herself as a keen reader of this blog.  It turned out that she was the one who had made an embroidery based on one of my photographs and when I was sent a picture of it, I was careless enough to put it in a post upside down.  She was very forgiving and I hope she will send me a guest picture of the day soon.

I passed  both sheep…


Why do Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder come to mind?

…and cattle.


This time it is Tommy Steele

The day was dry and warm enough for a really long ride but the punishing wind kept me down to 60 miles and I was quite pleased to have a sit down when I got home.

Those interested in the details of the journey can click on the map below.

garmin route 17 July 2016

After a pause to recover (and watch the end of another stage of the Tour de France), I went out to mow the front lawn and look at the garden while I was out there.

The Special Grandma rose, which Mrs Tootlepedal was given as a present to mark the the birth of Matilda, is flourishing.

special grandma

And there was plenty of colour to go with it.

lily and marigold

phlox and Queen of Denmark

And two new flowers.

clematis and Rosa Wren

A clematis and Rosa Wren

And then I went off on my slow bike down to the river to see if I could find a flying bird of the day.

I passed an inevitable oyster catcher admiring some wild flowers in the river bed…

Oyster catcher

…and was rather surprised to be able to add a flying rook to the usual ducks and gulls on the Kilngreen.


There was no shortage of gulls coming from all directions…

black headed gull

…perhaps because a couple were entertaining their child by putting some feed out…

black headed gull

…though I am not sure how good chips are for a gull’s diet.

I got home in time to see a very healthy crop from a single potato which Mrs Tootlepedal had just dug up.

New potatoes

While I was in the garden, I picked a pound of gooseberries and went inside and stewed them.  I then added some custard and when that mixture had cooled down, I folded in some whipped cream and in this way made a fool for myself.  It was very tasty.

While I mowing the lawn and shooting flowers, Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off and bought a chicken so we had roast chicken with new potatoes and gooseberry fool for our tea and  it is hard to think of any kings and princes who could have dined better than us.

The flower of the day is a knock out  poppy…


…and the flying bird of the day is another gull.

black headed gull

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Today’s picture shows a tree pretending to be a dinosaur which recently caught my sister Susan’s eye.

Greys Court, a tree pretending to be a dinosaur?

We spent the day here waiting for it to rain.  It looked as though it was going to rain and it felt as though it was going to rain and the ever present threat of rain stopped us from doing much that was productive outside during the morning.  In the end it didn’t rain properly at all and the only thing that I had to show by lunch time was a few photographs from the garden.

purple poppy

The purple poppy has gone a deeper colour. The raindrops show that it did rain a tiny bit every now and again.


There has been a family of young dunnocks around but they don’t stand still often. This was the best that I could do today.

A new flower has appeared.

knautia macedonica

A Knautia Macedonica, another flower with a lot of little flowers.

It stands next to a knapweed.


The clematis on the vegetable garden fence is flourishing.  We think that there are two different plants here (four petal and six petal varieties) if not three.


The phlox, another sign of the passing of summer, is getting into its stride.


Note the inevitable little black insect which always appears when you are snapping white flowers.

I wrongly called a rose Lilian Austin yesterday .  It was a Rosa Wren.  It had a friend today.

rosa wren

It was looking radiant in spite of the gloomy weather.  By contrast the hosta flowers always seem a bit gloomy.  This one called to mind a Victorian funeral.


In honour of the cooler morning, I made a pan of lentil soup for lunch and then it was time to go off to the tourist information point at the Kilngreen.  I actually had seven visitors but as they came in two groups and neither wanted any information, my afternoon was not very productive.  It still hadn’t started to rain by the time I locked up and by now it was quite warm again so I bought an ice cream and sat by the river to eat it.  By chance I had my camera with me.

The gulls obviously though that I had some food for them and came up very close.

black headed gull

A standard black headed gull

black headed gull

I think this curiously hunched bird is a juvenile

I nearly got three very nice flying pictures as the birds approached me but in each case they came a fraction too close and the tip of a wing was just out of frame.

flying gullsI did get a flying picture but it wasn’t nearly as good as the three I missed.

flying gull

When I got home, I couldn’t believe my eyes.   I found that some vandal had stolen a large part of the middle lawn.

middle lawn

About three metres had disappeared.  I went in to tell Mrs Tootlepedal about this only to find that she was the culprit with some help from Mike Tinker.  It is part of her endless cycle of improvements and by the end of the day, it looked like this.

new middle lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it now provides more sympathetic angles for the drive.  I am sure that she is right.

Anxious to help, I scarified and mowed what was left of the lawn and then clipped the last bit of the front hedges.

I took a picture of a chance combination of colours that pleased Mrs Tootlepedal near the front lawn.

poppy and clematis

The poppy seeded itself.

After tea, I set off to Carlisle with Susan to play with the recorder group and we finally met the rain…and then some.  It absolutely lashed down and we were soon navigating round huge puddles and sailing along rivers running along the road.  It was exciting but we arrived safely and enjoyed a very good evening’s playing while the rain battered on the windows.   This will be our last play for a month as we are taking a break until September.

By the time we left, the rain had stopped and the roads had dried up but as we approached Langholm, we could see lightning flashing and clouds sitting right down on our hills. Luckily though, it had stopped raining by the time we got home.  Mrs Tootlepedal reported that she had enjoyed a fine thunderstorm while we were away.

It is still pleasantly warm and the garden and the countryside needed rain so we are not complaining about the change in the weather….yet.

A sparrow took the flying bird of the day spot.

flying sparrow















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Today’s picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  It has been very hot indeed in London and it looks as though the majority of the population of that great city were out dangling their toes in the water at Parliament Hill Fields on Sunday.

The large lake, Parliament Hill Fields

I didn’t have time to dangle anything this morning as Dropscone appeared on schedule for a morning pedal.  As there are currently a set of temporary traffic lights on the Town Bridge, we decided to go off in the opposite direction and enjoyed an uninterrupted visit to Waterbeck.

There was a light breeze in our face on the way out and, luckily for us, it didn’t get any stronger until we turned for home when it picked up quite a bit and was most helpful.  Our general pace was modest although we enjoyed a burst of speed over the last five and a half miles home which were downhill and with the wind behind us.  We hit 35 mph coming down Callister which is quite fast enough for two old men.

Over coffee and scones, I learnt about Dropscone’s latest golfing victory.  He is in a rich vein of form at the moment.  He also told me that he had been out twice on the bike over the weekend so he has had a busy time.

After he left, I got myself cleaned and smartened up and went up to the High Street to meet a most important visitor who was coming from Edinburgh by bus.

This was Meg, the mother of Julie Goyder whose blog I have followed with laughter, sorrow, sympathy, pride and many emotions in between over the past few years.  Meg had come all the way from Australia just to visit Wauchope Cottage and we were honoured.  She was also fitting in an attendance at her granddaughter’s wedding in Peebles so that was convenient for her.

We got her safely installed in the B&B rooms and then Sandy arrived. He too had a cup of coffee and he and I walked round the garden.  There was plenty to look at.

Danish Flags

The Danish Flag poppies may go over quickly but more arrive with commendable speed.

Rosa Mundi

The rosa mundi was looking very cheerful

Rosa Wren

A new rose, Rosa Wren, has made an appearance.

day lily

I hope that that this is the first of many day lilies


The cosmos plants will soon be out all round the garden.

Meg had brought us a gift from Julie in Australia.  It is a bottle stopper and came in a bag that told us all we needed to know about it.

Julie's gift

We were very touched by her kind thought.

Meg is making light of a fractured pelvis and several fractures in her left arm which she sustained in a fall from her bike.  When she had got settled, she went off on foot to visit the High Street and get a bit of lunch.

While she was out, I spent a little time bird watching.  There were several close encounters of the bird kind.

bird encounters

A greenfinch gave things a sideways look.


And a family of sparrows tucked in at the fat ball cafeteria.


Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and when Meg returned, she went for a short rest while I mowed the front lawn.  Then I took Meg for a motor tour of the area.  We went across the hill to Newcastleton, passing Sandy who was hen harrier watching by the roadside, and returned by way of a fleeting visit to Hermitage castle…

Hermitage Castle…and back down the A7.  I was too busy acting as a tour guide to take any pictures of the trip but the countryside was looking at its best and Meg got a really good  short tour of the western border country of Scotland.

Once back home, she took a walk round the garden and then retired to write up her diary while I finished the task of turning the compost from bin B to bin A and trimmed  a short section of hedge.  I had another camera tour of the garden.  In places, there are literally masses of flowers.


A spirea.


A white potentilla


The weigela by the road has never looked better.

And another new iris has appeared.


I like white plants that grow in shady corners.

I did some shopping and then Mrs Tootlepedal returned from work and prepared a splendid roast chicken evening meal for which Meg joined us.  The chicken was garnished with potatoes, turnip and broad beans from the garden, as we are just reaching the home grown vegetable part of the year.  We polished the meal off with strawberries, ice cream and cream and I fear that all this may have put the Tootlepedal diet plan somewhat into reverse.  It was worth it.

It has been a really good day as it was very nice to meet a real life person from the world of the blogs that I read and to have some flesh put upon Julie’s digital  bones.  I expect her ears were burning even so many thousands of miles away.

After our meal, Mrs Tootlepedal took Meg on a tour of the garden and I snatched a picture of them in a rare moment of repose.

Mrs Tootlepedal and Meg

You would never guess that Mrs Tootlepedal hates having her picture taken.

I thought that the evening light would show Crown Princess Margareta up well but the insects had beaten me to it.

rose with flies

The flying bird of the day was one of the sparrow clan.

flying sparrow














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