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Posts Tagged ‘rose’

Today’s guest picture comes from one of our son Tony’s walks with his dogs.  He met a fine crop of fungus in a wood.

more fungus from Tony

I had a busy morning which started with a visit to the Buccleuch Centre with Mrs Tootlepedal to attend the producers’ market where stocks of meat, fish, cheese and honey were obtained.  The cheese vendor looked at me as I packed my cheese purchases away and said, “You must eat quite a bit of cheese.”  I thought that he was very perspicacious.

When we got home, I had enough time to notice a redpoll on the feeder, looking rather disapprovingly at a pair of argumentative siskins….

redpol; looks on

…before we had a cup of coffee and then went out to do some useful gardening.  It was very grey but reasonably warm and dry so it was a good day to get some work done.

We are preparing beds for soft fruit so while Mrs Tootlepedal prepared the ground and planted out a new gooseberry bush, I dug up the old autumn fruiting raspberries which have run their course and are being replaced.

It had rained overnight so the ground was soft and relatively easy to dig.

When we had finished with the berries, we turned to pruning a rose….

rose shoots with rain

…which has some promising new shoots.  We took off the old shoots and Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed and organised the new shoots until everything looked very neat and tidy.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the result.

There are signs of growth all round the garden.

spring buds

By the time that we had gone in and had lunch, it had started to rain and I took this as a hint to have a quiet day before going to Manchester tomorrow.

Out in the garden, the idea of a quiet day was alien to the siskins and they continued in full active mode.

siskins threaten siskins

And the chaffinches found time to argue with each other too.

chaffinches squabble

The rain got harder and harder, the wind got stronger and the day got darker so we were happy to sit in front of the telly while the birds got wet outside…

siskins and redpoll in the rain

…and in this way, we passed the rest of the day, though Mrs Tootlepedal found some time to work on a patchwork rug which will cover the rocking horse when it is finished.

The flying bird of the day is a suitably fuzzy siskin to reflect the miserable weather outside.

fuzzy flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who visited Birmingham for an organ recital and took some time out to enjoy the canals while he was there.

Birmingham canal

We had what was possibly the last of our run of fine sunny days today and once again we started off with frost on the ground.

The frost was melting away when I crossed the suspension bridge on my way to visit the shops after breakfast…

suspension bridge frosty moprning

…and was retreating from the front lawn under the assault of the sun when I got home again.

lawn defrosting

I checked on the frogspawn in the pond and found it hard to tell whether it had been damaged or not…

frogspawn after frost

…but the early daffodils are certainly made of tough stuff and are standing up well to alternate bouts of warmth and cold.

daffodils after frost

I noticed that Mrs Tootlepedal has made use of some surplus woollen packaging as a mulch round one of her roses.

woollen mulch

My morning coffee was enhanced by the presence of Dropscone bearing scones and I enjoyed mine with some two year old blackcurrant jelly which Mrs Tootlepedal had found in the back of the jam cupboard.

Dropscone revealed that he had won a golf competition at the weekend but he was honest enough to admit that as it was in a  field of three, it wasn’t the most hard won victory of his long and successful career. Still, a win is a win.

When  he left, I had a moment or two to watch the birds where an incoming greenfinch was racing  a chaffinch to a vacant  perch….

two incoming birds

…and two greenfinches, having won a place at the feeder, were putting the wind up a siskin.

#greenfinches scare siskin

Then I sat in front of my computer and had a remote session with my speech therapist.

We decided that the exercises that she had given me had worked well enough for me to be discharged from her care and after giving me some sage advice as to how to proceed in the future, we signed off.  The remote consultations have worked very well and saved me a lot of time and expense which driving to see her the hospital in Dumfries would have entailed.

When I had finished, Mrs Tootlepedal took me out into the garden to show me some intriguing green bubbles that had grown on a bucket of sieved compost. The bucket had got very wet as it had been standing under a drip for several weeks which might account for this result.  We have never seen anything like it before.

mould on compost bucket

After lunch, I lent a helping hand in the garden, getting the hedge clippers out and giving a spirea a haircut…

clipped spirea

…while Mrs Tootlepedal prepared the soil and planted the new ground covering rose which she had purchased a day or two ago.

ground cover rose

Although the sun was out, it wasn’t by any means warm and I wrapped up well before going off for a cycle ride.

The reason for the lack of warmth became clear as I cycled along.  There was a thick layer of dirty mist in the air acting as an insulator and limiting any views to my immediate surroundings.

no view

From the top of Callister, I should have had a clear view of the wind farm on the hill three miles ahead but today I could hardly see the hills, let alone the wind turbines.

no windmills

As I am mildly asthmatic, I did think for a moment or two of turning round and going home but in the end, I stuck to my task and pedalled on, keeping my efforts well below the level that required heavy breathing.

I read a  newspaper report which said  that the light winds of recent days combined with the dry weather and some Saharan dust, which may have floated up on the southern airflow that has brought our warm weather with it, may be the cause of this concentration of airborne particles.  It is not often that I think a bit of rain would be a good thing, but I hope that it rains soon.

I managed 27 miles and this took my mileage for February to just over the magic figure of 300 miles, which is my monthly target for this year.  Thanks to the cloudy conditions, I didn’t stop to take any more pictures on my way.

In the evening, I went off to sing with Langholm Sings, our local community choir and we had a very enjoyable session with our regular conductor, who is also my singing teacher.  I did my best to show that I had paid attention during my lesson on Monday.

I didn’t have long to watch the birds today and as a result, I caught my only flying bird of the day just as it head went into the shadow of the feeder.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s non-guest picture is the return of the embroidery of the Wallace Monument just because I enjoyed it so much (and it’s a better picture than the one that I took with my phone).

Mrs T Wallace embroidery

Today’s post is going to crush the two days of our mini-break into one so there are a lot of pictures but I will try and keep the waffle to a minimum.  (Some of this appeared in yesterday’s post so I am sorry if regular readers get a sense of deja vu.)

Matilda and her parents had invited us to walk round the enchanted forest in Faskally Woods near Pitlochry with them and in addition had arranged an overnight stay in Pitlochry to make the 350 miles of driving there and back more manageable.

Day 1: outward bound

So we drove up yesterday, stopping off in Stirling to visit the Wallace Monument, erected in memory of William Wallace, a Scottish hero, who may or may not have been of Welsh stock (he was definitely not American or blue in the face).

The monument sits on a steep knoll, high above the car park…

Wallace Monument from below

…and it was a stiff climb for us to reach it and see the tapestry on display there.  We were rewarded by some fine views over Stirling and the river Forth.

View over Stirling

The castle was opposite us but was not looking at its best as they have got the builders in at the moment.

View over Stirling with castle

After lunching in the cafe below the monument, we drove north, taking the scenic route to Pitlochry through Crieff and Aberfeldy.  If you ever have some time to spare on a sunny late October day, it might be hard to find a better place to spend it.

view of perthshire

Quite apart from the stunning hill and glen scenery and the brilliant autumn colour, the roads in this part of rural Perthshire are pothole free, a real treat for us.

They are narrow and often winding though so there were no chances to stop and record the country.  Indeed, if we had stopped to take every picturesque shot that was worthy of recording, we would never have got to Pitlochry.

Even the main road as we got near to the town was stunning (and it had a lay by too).

A9 near Pitlochry

The view from the hotel car park was good…

view from Piltochry hotel car park

…and the one from our bedroom window was better.view from Piltochry hotel window

We met up with Matilda and her parents at the hotel.  They had been enjoying all the delights of Crieff Hydro for a couple of days and were in very good form.

The Enchanted Forest at Faskally is a highly popular autumn event and requires a lot of organisation to make it work well so we had to be at the appointed place at the appointed time to get ferried to the venue by bus.  Everything went like clockwork and we were soon sitting in a yurt listening to a story teller relating a tale of the hare who rescued the light when evil beings had stolen it.

By the time that we came out of the tent, darkness had fallen in the forest and we followed the trail, stopping from time to time for food opportunities on the way.

There was a lot to like for children of all ages up to 76.

enchanted forest1enchanted forest 2enchanted forest 3enchanted forest 4enchanted forest 5enchanted forest 6enchanted forest 7enchanted forest 8

After two and a half hours, we had finished our tour and a bus was on hand to whisk us back to our hotel and a good night’s sleep.

Day two: homeward bound

After an excellent breakfast, Matilda took her parents home and we went for a short excursion.  We drove through more beautiful autumn colour, far better than the rather subdued stuff we have round Langholm.  Even on a relatively dull morning, everything was tinged with gold and it was hard to keep my eyes on the road.  Our destination was the famous Queen’s View over Loch Tummel.

We parked the car and followed a path through the woods…

Queens View Loch Tummel 1

…looked across the valley…

Queens View Loch Tummel 2

…and then took in the view…

Queens View Loch Tummel 3

…which was well worth a second look.

Queens View Loch Tummel 4

The eye can cope with dull light much better than the camera can and it is hard to convey just how much pleasure was to be got just by standing and staring.

After drinking in the scene, we walked back to the car…

Queens View Loch Tummel 5

..enjoying the varieties of colour and the luxuriance of the lichen among the trees.

lichen on pilochry tree

We crossed back over the River Tummel…

River tummel from bridge

…and headed for the fish ladder….

salmon ladder Pitlochry dam

…which helps salmon get past the large hydro electric dam at Pitlochry…

Pitlochry dam

…which would otherwise block their return to their spawning grounds.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to visit the viewing  chamber which lets you see the fish as they swim upstream as it is closed but the sight of the trees on the banks of the loch created by the the dam was some consolation.

 

View from Pitlochry dam

We might have gone for a cup of coffee in the cafe and visitor centre above the dam…

cafe Pitlochry dam

…but the call of home was strong and we headed south, avoiding the 2568 (estimated) bends on the scenic route and taking the main roads instead.

The autumn colour was just as sensational and it was a pity to see the colour draining out of the trees as we drove south.  Why the colour should be so much better in Perthshire than it is in Dumfriesshire is a mystery to me.

We stopped a couple of times for a break and a snack on our way and at our second stop, the Annandale Water services, we enjoyed a good view of geese, heading for a swim…

geese at annandale water services

…in the waters that give the service station its name.

annandale water services

There are service stations with poorer views than this.

We got home in good time and in good order, having had a really good couple of days out.  Matilda (and her parents) are really thoughtful people.

I didn’t have the time or energy to find a flying bird of the day today but I was really pleased to find that Crown Princess Margareta is having a final fling for the year so she is the flower of the day.

Crown princess margareta October

 

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Today’s guest picture is a follow up to Dropscone’s picture from Islay.  My South African correspondent, Tom must also have visited the island because he has sent me a round church by way of counterbalance to Dropscone’s square lighthouse. Kilarrow Church is a Church of Scotland parish church, overlooking and serving Bowmore on the Isle of Islay. It was built in 1767

bowmore church

We had a very straightforward day today.  We went to church and sang in the morning and we went to Carlisle and sang in the afternoon.  There wasn’t much time for anything else as the church service was quite long with two baptisms and the Carlisle session lasted several hours because the community choir was auditioning four applicants for the post of musical director.

We were in the happy position in the community choir of having four excellent candidates, any one of whom seemed likely to be able to look after us well.  We were asked to vote for the one we liked best as a guide to the committee who are making the choice and Mrs Tootlepedal and I chose differently but I would be very happy if her choice won.

We did manage to find enough time to make a beef stew for the slow cooker before we went to church and to visit a shop in Carlisle to buy a few necessities (dates, cheese, coffee beans) on our way to the choir.

It had rained heavily over night but the day was pleasant enough.  It so windy though that I was not at all disappointed to be deprived of cycling.

Just to add a little colour to this post, I rushed out a took three pictures before we went to church…

red admiral

A single red admiral had ignored the wind and arrived on the buddleia

cosmos with dead heads

The tall cosmos looks good but shows that dead heading has been neglected lately

nerines

And some nerines have arrived very suddenly next to the chimney pot by the bird feeder

 

…and then three more pictures in the fading light when we got back in the evening.

fuchsia

Mrs Tootlepedal has cleared some other plants away so that I can get a good look at the fuchsias.

Special Grandma rose

Special Grandma rose is having a second go.

pink dahlia

The dahlia of the day – perfect in my view.

There was no time to watch the birds.  I will try to do better tomorrow but more strong winds are forecast.

 

 

 

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The guest picture of the day is another from my brother’s northern tour.  This is the grand house which has the cafe with the interesting teapot beside it.  It is Beningbrough Hall, near York.

Beningbrough Hall

The main business of the day was to go to Carlisle in the afternoon and collect Mrs Tootlepedal from her train and then convey her safely back home and I am happy to say that this passed off without a hitch and all is well now at Wauchope Cottage.

There was a certain amount of gardening and tidying up indoors to do in the morning but I was not the only one who was busy.  This was the feeder just after breakfast…

busy feeder

…and this level of activity continued for most of the day.

Siskins abused each other….

siskins shouting

…and chaffinches went….

busy feeder 2

…and came.

chaffinch flying in

Greenfinches shouted at sparrows…

greenfinch and sparrow encounter

…and chaffinches shouted at each other…

chaffinch shouting

…sometimes very loudly.

more chaffinch shouting

I picked the last of the peas and dismantled Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress.  I picked and cooked some more beetroot and in pursuit of another green soup production, picked courgettes and spinach to go with the peas and beetroot leaves.

I tidied up the lupin by the front lawn but left the last spike still flowering.

last lupin

Another thing that has lasted well is the spread of orange hawkweed where a modest second flowering has appeared long after all the originals have flowered and died.

orange hawkweed

The golden wedding rose looked to have gone over but some judicious watering has encouraged a second showing here too.

golden wedding rose

The blue alliums are definitely on the way out…

blue allium going over

…but new poppies are finally appearing every day.

red poppy

I made good use of the trip to Carlisle by stocking up on bird food on the way and purchasing a small mountain of cheese in the market when I got there.

It was very warm but I was in plenty of time so I enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and a toasted teacake in a pleasantly cool cafe while following the Tour de France on a text feed to my phone.

I always like the rather continental ornamental roof on the hotel beside the station….

station hotel

…but feel that it would be improved if they got a gardener in to weed the vegetation at the foot of the chimney.

Having collected Mrs Tootlepedal from the train, we walked through the town to buy food for a celebration meal and then drove home.

Mrs Tootlepedal was relieved to find that the garden was still in relatively good order in spite of the lack of rain and professional care.  I was relieved that she was relieved.

A cup of tea was made and I was able to take the definitive picture of the day…

MRS TOOTLEPEDAL’S BACK IN HER GARDEN

Mrs Tootlepedal's back

All is well with the world.

She was pleased to see a fine nicotiana out…

nicotiana

…although there are still a lot which haven’t flowered yet.

It really does look as though it will rain tomorrow so we didn’t water tonight.

The flying bird of the day is one of the departing chaffinches.

chaffinch flying off

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Somerset where Venetia says it is even hotter than Langholm.  A blackbird in her garden agrees with her.

panting blackbird

After yesterday’s long stint in the saddle, I cycled no further than a few hundred yards today and spent most of the day in the cool of the house.  Our thick stone walls may not keep us very warm in winter but they do keep us cool on hot sunny days.

I had a walk round the garden after breakfast before it got too hot and it was certainly another wonderfully sunny and bright day.

More poppies have come out.  This opium poppy was where it ought to be, in a  flower bed and not in the greenhouse…

poppy

…and the colourful poppy had acquired a friend.  Mrs Tootlepedal is no longer absolutely sure that these are Shirley poppies but I like them whatever they are.

poppies

The roses were looking wonderful today.

rose

rosa complicata

And the peonies are enjoying the still, sunny weather too.

peonies

The  stachys is getting steadily covered with more and more little flowers.

stachys

And I think that this can be fairly described as a colourful corner.

colourful corner

Among the new flowers is this lovely philadelphus…

philadelphus

…and these two nasturtiums, the first of many.

nasturtiums

After a final shot of the clematis at the front door which lives in almost perpetual shade and seem to like it…

blue clematis

…I went in to have coffee and scones with Dropscone.

Then Scott the minister arrived.  His scone radar was malfunctioning as he arrived just after we had polished off the scones but his coffee radar was working well and he had a cup with us.

Dropscone went off to play golf in the searing heat and Scott revealed that he had brought two bags of coconuts, surplus from the coconut shy at the church fete, as a gift for me and the birds.  I collected the coconuts from his car and cut one in half and hung the two halves up in the garden.  I expect it will take a bit of time for the word of these treats to get around the small bird world but I hope to see birds visiting them soon.

After coffee, I took another turn round the garden.

Although half the plant has succumbed to the clematis wilt, the other half of the Ooh La La continues to flourish and it is fortunate to have a bit of shade to stop it getting burned up.

ooh la la clematis

The potatoes are getting regular watering and are looking very healthy at the moment…

potato flowers

…but you can never tell until you dig them up how well they tubers are doing under ground.

The flowers on the spirea beside the new bench are so closely packed  that it is hard impossible to get a good picture of an individual.

spirea

As regular readers will know, my flower and plant identifications are more enthusiastic than accurate and Mrs Tootlepedal points out that the white roses which I said were Scotch roses yesterday are in fact Jacobite roses.  They are looking good whatever they are.

Jacobite Rose

The Martagon lilies are dancing all over the garden…

martagon lily

…but the water lilies are relaxing in the pool.

water lily

Another Dutch iris has flowered.

dutch iris

For a treat, we cycled off to the Buccleuch Centre for lunch and I am happy to report that our food arrived promptly and was very good.

After lunch it was siesta time.  I watched tennis and football on the telly but made two forays into the garden to cut the middle lawn and the front lawn with a substantial recovery period in between.  The combination of watering, feeding, sunshine and regular mowing is having a very good effect on the lawns and there are now quite a lot of places where there is more grass than moss.

In the early evening, we watered the garden and then had a salad for our tea before cycling off to the church for a practice with organist Henry’s Common Riding choir.   There was a good turn out and we had an enjoyable time.  My voice is still a bit thin but I was able to sing for an hour with no ill effects which was heartening.

I hope to get out and about a bit more tomorrow, although it is going to be just as warm.

The flower of the day is a peony.

peony

 

 

 

 

 

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A long sit

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our friend Sandra and shows her her husband Jim keeping company with the famous Molly Malone.  Those who know their cockles and mussels will realise that Jim and Sandra were having a good time in Ireland.

Jim and Molly Malone

Our hot weather continued but I had run out of excuses for dawdling about in the garden so I dawdled about all day on my new bicycle instead.

Before I left, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of two sorts of poppies in the garden this year.

A Shirley poppy…

shirley poppy

…and an opium poppy.

opium poppy

If you think the the background to the opium poppy looks a bit odd that is because it is a bit odd.

greenhouse poppy

Somehow or other, it has sowed itself, along with some friends, on the floor of the greenhouse and Mrs Tootlepedal has let it grow.

My plan was to bicycle until exhausted and I imagined with the temperature forecast for the mid twenties by the afternoon, that that might not take too long. However, I adopted a very regulated behaviour scheme and stopped every five miles for a minute or two to have a drink and stretch my legs and on the ten mile stops, I took a little longer and had a snack as well.

I had two water bottles and I had put an isotonic tablet into each and I took some guava jelly in tablet form which I had cut into nine little squares and I ate one of the squares on my ten miles stops. On top of this, I stopped for a cafe lunch and by dint of all this sensible behaviour, I stretched my ride out to 100 miles.  Even when I  finished, I was not entirely exhausted though I am a little tired as I write this so I hope that indulgent readers will, forgive a little incoherence.  It was decidedly hot by our standards.

On many of my stops and at some other interesting points, I tried to take a picture or two and here are some of the results.

pine cone

Not a pineapple but a pine cone.

powfoot

Sun, sea and sand at Powfoot

anthorn from powfoot

A welcome haze was keeping the most direct sun off me.  I could just  see the radio station at Anthorn, a few miles away across the Solway but not the hills behind it.

rider at powfoot

A horse rider on the beach at Powfoot. In a sign of the times, the rider is checking her mobile phone.

emu type bird

There are unusual animals to be seen near the caravan park at Powfoot.  There was one of these….

lamas

…and several of these.

bankend tower

I had another look at the tower at Bankend and from the side, it is just a hollow shell.

glencaple

The car park at Glencaple was full again today.  For a fairly dull place it has a lot of secret allure.  A good cafe helps no doubt.

bindweed

I went down to the shore of the Nith estuary, passing this bindweed flower on the way.

Nith tanks

And once again wondered about these two storage tanks on the opposite bank.  What are they storing and why?

nith reeds

I would have stayed longer but a couple were unable to restrain a very irritating jumpy-up sort of dog so I made my was back through the reeds to the road..

Caerlaverock Castle

And moved on to Caerlaverock castle where there is a cafe.

Here, I made one of the two mistakes of the day and ordered soup and coffee.  The coffee came but not the soup.  I waited…and waited…and waited.  Very occasionally a bowl of soup appeared for other diners and finally after about 50 minutes, I was the next in line.

The cook appeared from the kitchen and came up to the table.  Was she going to offer an exciting addition to the soup? Parsley perhaps?

“I’m very sorry, sir, but the soup has run out.”

They didn’t charge me for the coffee.

I went a few miles down the road and found soup freely available at the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust cafe.  Luckily it was very tasty and I bought an extra roll so I was in a much better frame of mind as I set out on the next 50 miles.

cummertrees church lych gate

There is a rather unlikely memorial lych gate at Cummertrees church but it offered some welcome shade for a little sit down and snack

Justice town road

I had to go into England to get my mileage up and I enjoyed this tunnel of shade near Justicetown.

I really enjoyed almost every mile of the ride but the heat had melted the tar on the back roads near Scaleby and that made cycling for the next few miles a pretty hard task. When I got back to the main road, I popped into the pub at Smithfield and had half a pint of fresh orange juice and this kept me going for the last few miles.

hollows bridge view

My last ‘five mile’ stop was on the Hollows bridge.

Those interested can get further details of the ride by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 26 June 2018

You can see that it was a very flat route after going over Callister near the start.  The temperature was a lot higher than 63 degrees as I was in the open sunlight the whole way round but my eating and drinking was quite well managed and I only lost about 1kg on the ride, not bad for such a warm day.  The wind was mercifully light and that meant that I was cycling into a bike generated breeze for the whole trip which helped to keep me relatively  cool.

The actual cycling took me seven and a half hours but the elapsed time for the trip was nearly ten hours, partly because of the long wait for the non existent tomato soup which meant that I took an hour and a half for lunch and partly because of the 19 short breaks that I took along the way.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a rather frustrating day wandering about the garden thinking of things to do but finding that it was too hot to do them.  In the end, she did a little planting out and a lot of watering.  I had more fun than her today.

I looked at a couple of roses in the garden when I got back.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that my favourite rose should just be called The Wren….

rose Wren

…and here it is with the inevitable little black flies on it which I didn’t have the energy to dislodge.

This means that the flower of the day is Lilian Austin.

lilian austin

I dislodged her little black flies on the computer.

 

 

Observant readers may note that I claimed to have made two bad decisions but have only mentioned one.  The other was falling gently but in a very undignified way off my bike when I misjudged the height of a pavement as I stopped near Dornock.  Nothing was hurt except my pride fortunately.

 

 

 

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