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Posts Tagged ‘rosebay willowherb’

Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa, who sent me this view taken on his morning walk.

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There was a threat of rain in the morning and the promise of sunshine in the afternoon, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went shopping in Carlisle in the morning.  The rain came and went but we stayed dry as we shopped.  It rained heavily again after we got home and then, as promised, the day  improved and there were some pleasantly sunny moments.

I had time for a quick look round the garden in a dry spell before we went shopping.

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The privet is filling the garden with its scent and pulling in the bees in a wholesale way.

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I liked this knapweed.  It has a cheery air about it.

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I took two shots of poppies and friends.

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We got back to Langholm from Carlisle just in time for me to collect a camera and walk up through the town where people were gathering to watch the cornet lead a procession of horsemen  galloping up this steep hill at the start of the Castle Craigs ride out, the last of several rides out which take place in the week before our Common Riding week.  (By tradition, this ride out is a men only affair although other rides out and the Common Riding procession itself are open to all.)

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I didn’t stop to watch the riders there but headed on up the Kirk Wynd, past massed ranks of rosebay willowherb…

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…and onto the open hillside.

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I had time to admire the flowers on the hill…

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…before the cornet and his followers appeared below.

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They too left the wynd and headed up onto the hill.

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Henry, our cornet, is also the church organist and choirmaster so I was pleased that he had a moment to wave at me as he passed.

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The cornet is always accompanied by the cornets of the past two years who make up the ‘front row’ and they stopped to let the mounted followers catch up, and had a small refreshment as they waited.

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I admired the view until…

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…the company was united.

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After a short rest, they set off again…

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…following a track that would lead them..

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…up the hill and past a cairn.

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I was impressed by the colour co-ordination among the horses…

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The cavalcade made a fine sight as it snaked up the path towards the shoulder of the hill.

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The riders were pursued by some foot followers…

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…and an unfortunate horseman whose saddle had slipped further down the hill and who was now going up at his own speed.

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As the procession disappeared from sight on their way to visit the Castle Craigs on the far side of Whita…

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…I headed back down the hill, alarming some sheep…

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…and keeping my eye out for interest on the way.

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I arrived by a roundabout route at the Kilngreen where black headed gulls were jostling each other in an attempt to be recognised as flying bird of the day.

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The riders had got a grand day for their outing.

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Not having done much walking on the hills lately, I was ready for a sit down when i got home and once again, a stage of the Tour de France offered the perfect excuse.

When the stage had finished, I picked myself up, shook myself down and went for a 16 miles circular cycle ride.  It was a grand day for cycling as well as horse riding.

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When I passed Hollows tower near the end of my ride, I noticed that they have constructed an extensive new balustrade round the top of the tower, presumably  to allow visitors to walk safely there.

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In 1972, Neil Armstrong, the astronaut stood there when he visited Langholm.

from our collection

I got home safely and while I was in energetic mode, I mowed the middle and front lawns, picked some sweet peas and a few raspberries and strawberries and kept an eye out for small tortoiseshell butterflies.

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As I was now ready for another sit down, it was very fortunate that Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared a tasty evening meal for me to eat while I sat.

I apologise for the excessive number of pictures but I have tried to keep the text down to a minimum.

This was the black headed gull that won the prize for flying bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from camera club member Peter who not only helped with serving the cream teas at Waterbeck yesterday but also kindly sent me this picture from our camera club trip  to Beamish last week.

Peter's beamish

The forecast seems to be pretty certain that it will rain all day tomorrow so I was very happy to make good use of another fine and warm day today.

I started with a look round the garden after breakfast where flowers seemed to be singing in trios…

four triple flowers

…and then I drove south into England where I saw this fine display of rosebay willowherb…

rosebaywillowherb

…and had a very satisfactory singing lesson.  I have reached the stage where I can now sing well enough for my teacher to be able to tell me that I am singing badly.  This may sound paradoxical but good teachers will know that you never tell a pupil who is doing something badly that they are doing it badly as that only discourages them.  You tell them that they are doing very well.  You only tell them that they are doing something badly if they are actually doing it quite well and can improve.  I was very encouraged.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz setting the world to rights from the comfort of our garden bench.

Mrs T and Liz on bench

Appropriately enough, since they are both grandmothers, not far away I could see that the Special Grandma rose has come out.

special grandma

When Liz left, I had a walk round and was pleased to see the first flowers on one of our buddleias.  I hope that it will soon attract butterflies.

buddleia

It was a good day for some hard work in the garden so I gave Mrs Tootlepedal a hand with the settling in of the second of our new garden beds to replace the one crushed by the digger when the electricity pole was put in.

We are very pleased with our shiny new electricity pole but we are even more pleased with the new beds.

new veg beds

After lunch, I did the crossword and then set off to pedal a few miles on my bike.  Mostly I pedal very gently and even on long rides, I eat enough so that I weigh the same when I get home as when I set off.  However, the energetic pedal on Saturday had had the pleasing effect of causing me to lose a little weight so I resolved to get my head down and pedal as hard as I could today.  This meant only two stops for pictures, one of the broad road….

Old A7 Granstonehead

…and one of a narrow path.

bike path with daisies

It is good to see unmown verges and flowery banks.

The effort put into the ride was very worth while as I enjoyed the pedal down to Canonbie and back and sweated off a little more weight.

When I got home, I had time to have a shower and then my flute pupil Luke came for the last lesson before a summer break.

When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I dug up another of our early potatoes.  They are producing an excellent clean crop which is not helping my weight loss programme at all but they were very delicious with an otherwise cold meal for our tea.  While they were cooking, I mowed both the front and middle lawns, a task which by happy coincidence takes just the same amount of time as new potatoes take to boil.

It was a pity that such a good day was then spoiled by the extremely capricious behaviour of my computer.  It thought it would be amusing if it took several minutes to complete each and every operation so that the preparation of pictures for this post took me longer than my twenty mile bicycle ride had taken,  Far longer.  It was most annoying but at least it has spared the weary reader yet another picture of the salvia, as I had lost patience long before I came to it.

During the afternoon, I found a moment to watch sparring siskins at the feeder…

arguing siskins

…and had another go at taking a picture of St John’s Wort.  The camera just doesn’t like them at all.

st john's wort

As well as potatoes, we should be getting to eat peas and beans in the not too distant future.

pea and bean

And there were roses looking as close to perfection as a gardener could wish.

four roses

If it does rain tomorrow, the garden will be grateful even if I will be a bit morose.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin intent on higher things.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture was sent to Mrs Tootlepedal who passed it on to me.  It shows her brother and his wife (and several family members) roughing it on their holiday on Tresco in the isles of Scilly.

tresco

We can’t run to palm trees in Langholm but we did have another lovely summer day in Langholm and the temperature had got up to 25°C (77°F) before midday.

I did a little gardening after breakfast but I couldn’t spend long because it was soon time to go to church. Our little choir (18 strong) sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah for the anthem today and it went off not too badly.  It was more a rehearsal than anything else as we are singing it again next week at the Common Riding service when the church will be a great deal fuller.  The choir should be a bit larger too.  Our organist and choir master had been among among the riders on the Benty ride-out yesterday but managed to play very well in spite of some aching muscles.

When I got home, I prepared a beef and mushroom stew for the slow cooker and then spent an enjoyable time showing the daughter-in-law of one of our neighbours round Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden.  She has just started a small vegetable garden herself and was impressed by the amount of work that Mrs Tootlepedal puts into her garden.

I did some more gardening when she had left and then retired from the heat for lunch and Tour de France viewing.

After the cycling was over, I didn’t succumb to the temptation to watch more than a bit of Wimbledon or the World Cup final and went out to both water and photograph some flowers.

The zinnia is unfolding more tubes into petals…

zinnia

…but the beautiful moss roses are folding up and I think that these may be the last two flowers of the summer.

moss roses

In spite of some constructive neglect, the nasturtiums at the front door are producing more flowers every day…

nasturtium

…and the clematis beside them is doing the same.

clematis

I watered them both today so they will probably die now.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s stock of miniature nicotiana are continuing to provide some bright colours in pale pink….

pink nicotiana

…lime green…

green nicotiana

…and shocking red.

red nicotiana

The wind had risen a lot during the day as the pressure fell steadily on the barometer but I felt that another day with no cycling would be a bad thing and got my new bike out.

The wind was strong, 16 mph base with gusts of well over 20 mph, but it kept me cool even if it slowed me down a lot.  I took 12 more minutes to go round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit than I did last Thursday.  If I had been in a race with myself, I would have been more than two miles behind.

I stopped to admire the view back towards Langholm from Chapelhill…

view of whita from tarcoon road

All the clouds behind Whita Hill had passed over the town without depositing a drop of rain on us as they passed.

I rather liked the subdued light.

tarcoon road trees

As I approached Canonbie, I nodded at a couple of old friends.

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…and stopped to take a picture of one of the many banks of fireweed that are lining  our roads just now.

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This weed is one of those photographic oddities where the camera and I see things in a very different shade.  To me it is pink or even red but to the camera is is much more purple.

When I got home, I set the tripod up in the kitchen to keep an eye on the birds and a greenfinch kept an eye on me in return.

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We are getting regular visits from greenfinches which is very encouraging.  In recent years, they have been subject to a deadly disease and numbers dropped a lot so it is good to see healthy looking birds back on the feeder.

greenfinches

Once home, I set about eating the stew and doing more watering (not at the same time).  The forecast claims that there is a 75% chance of noticeable rain tonight.  I would be much obliged if this turns out to be true but I am not holding my breath.

The flying bird picture of the day shows that even if they are flapping their wings furiously, siskins keep their heads very still as they approach the feeder.

flying siskin

 

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Today’s guest picture is a cabbage from our daughter Annie’s allotment.  Possibly the best cabbage ever, I think that you will agree.

cabbage

We had a forecast of persistent rain all day so I resolved to put the day to good use by doing things that needed to be done.

It was indeed raining when we got up.

I started off by grasping my umbrella and setting off to the town, taking some of the Archive Group postcards to the paper shop where they kindly sell them for our funds and following that up by a visit to the Archive Centre to collect some more weeks of the data miners’ work.  Then I went down to the Langholm Initiative office to put in a bill for sales of Langholm Archive stuff at Welcome to Langholm.  Here my busy morning was somewhat waylaid by meeting an old friend, Dr Barlow from the Moorland project, whom I hadn’t seen for some time and having a cup of tea and a chat with her.

This meant that the morning was quite well advanced by the time that I got home.  The rain, on the other hand, had retired and it was now a pleasant morning so I walked round the garden.

Both day lilies and lilies that last more than a day are  doing very well.

lilies

New hosta flowers and old lupins added a bit of delicacy.

lupin and hosta

The blackbirds were no more cheerful than they were yesterday.

blackbirds

I walked round to the back of the house and looked at the splendid set of flowers along the dam.

Damside flowers

potentillas and crocosmia

Potentillas and crocosmia

Somehow lunch time slipped past without much happening and I went out to help Mrs Tootlepedal who was attacking the yew with her new secateurs.

They yew is on one side of the pond and she thought that she might have disturbed a frog.  Sometime later I looked at a curious brown spot on the box ball on the other side of the pond.

box ball with frog

She definitely had disturbed a frog.

box ball with frog

I have heard about a bird in the bush but I have never seen a frog in a bush before.

I spent quite a lot of time during the day mounting and framing some photos for a friend in preparation for a camera club exhibition later this month and followed that by selecting and printing a few of my own pictures for the show.

This is a tedious business because trying to pick six or eight pictures out of several hundreds is very hard and when you have picked one, it never seems to print out just as you would like.

And then there was tennis to watch. To celebrate Andy Murray’s victory, Mrs Tootlepedal made some scones and we had them with strawberry jam and some cream, which appeared as if by magic.  Mike Tinker’s scone radar was working well and he arrived in time to have one too.

It is annoying when the forecast rain doesn’t appear after you have made plans for a rainy day but it was a pleasantly warm and still day in the garden so I picked another pound of blackcurrants and took a picture of a rain battered poppy….

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…which still looked quite exciting.

In the evening, as it seemed that the rain had gone for good, I went for a walk round Gaskell’s.

There was loosestrife and a hint of a good blackberry crop to come at Pool Corner…

loosestrife and bramble

…and a beckoning hand to encourage me up the Manse Brae.

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The verges on the way to the Auld Stane Brig were alive with red campion…

red campion

…and the path through the woods was lined with this flower….

blue flower

…whose name I have forgotten.

I do know that this is St John’s Wort…

St John's Wort

…because kind readers told me so when I saw it on my last walk round Gaskell’s.

But I don’t know what this is…

yellow wildflower

…but I thought that it was well worth a closer look.

yellow wildflower

It looks a bit like birds foot trefoil but it was growing on the end of quite a long stalk.  It might be a yellow vetch of some sort, I suppose.

The willowherb is coming along nicely and the path should soon be ablaze with it.

willowherb

A foxglove did its best to stop me in my tracks.

foxglove

…but I sneaked past.

I was hoping to see some fresh fungi but had to settle for some fine old specimens.

fungi

Gin drinkers will be encouraged to see that it looks as though we should have a good crop of sloes this year.

sloe

When I got back, we had mince and tatties for our tea.  This was made extra good because the tatties were from the garden and they were accompanied by some tiny carrots and three small beetroot from the same source.

Rather unexpectedly, there was still tennis to watch after tea, as the last set of an exciting match between Muller and Nadal went on for over two hours.

We are promised a warm, still and dry day for tomorrow.  I hope that the good forecast for tomorrow is more accurate than the bad forecast for today was, as I intend to go bicycling.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona.  She took the family to the seaside at Cullercoats on the east coast.  Sharp eyed readers will notice some sea bathers who can be counted as pretty hardy folk.

CullercoatsIt was a blue sky treat of a day today, cool and dewy in the morning but pleasantly warm as the day went on.

I would have gone cycling after I had put a lamb stew in the slow cooker but I had an important appointment instead.  Mike Tinker’s son-in-law, Lorne had promised to come and spike my lawn and he made good on his promise today.  He is a fit young fellow and with my knew nee new knee letting me spike the odd hole or two myself, the job was finished in an hour.  The task of sweeping some sand into the holes was undertaken by William and Sara, Lorne’s children who arrived at an opportune moment.

The result may not look spectacular….

lawn spiking…but it will mean a better looking lawn next year.

Once Lorne and the children had left, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had come back from singing in the church choir, got busy gardening and I wandered about with a camera in hand.

The poppies had perked up…

poppies…and one had acquired a friend.

poppiesEven with the sun well out, there was a lot of the morning dew still to be seen on the flowers.

clematis and dahlia

Clematis and dahlia

The nasturtiums have been adding a lot of colour to the garden lately.

nasturtiumsI admired a couple of colour combinations.

poppies, cosmos and crocosmia

Poppies, cosmos and crocosmia

rudbeckia and nasturtium

Rudbeckia and nasturtium – poppies and cosmos too.

And a lot of different colours from one plant.

Virginia creeperAs well as flowers, there was other colour in the garden today.

red admiral butterfly

A red admiral butterfly posed for me…..

red admiral butterfly

…and also gave me a chance of a portrait.

I was a bit unsure as to how my legs would respond to the spiking efforts but it was too good a day not to have at least a short pedal so, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal  to her delving, I went off on the slow bike.

I went along cautiously enough to have time to check out the verges.  There were some expected things and other surprises.

campion and rose hips

The red campion is not normally a September flower but the rose hips on the other side of the road are bang on cue.

webs

A shady stretch provided a wealth of jewelled webs

The fireweed or rosebay willowherb is over but these bare stems were so colourful that I thought they were late flowers at first.

fireweedI only went as far as Westwater at four and a half miles before turning for home.  I stopped and looked over the new bridge there and marvelled at how quickly the banks of the streams have recovered from being completely stripped during the renovations.

This is the scene today….

Collin bridge…and this was taken in April last year.

stream at Westwater

Quite a contrast.

I stopped on the way back to see how good the new phone would be at capturing my favourite lichens on a concrete fence post beside the road.

lichensPretty good.

Once home, there was time for lunch and a sit down before we went off to try a newly opened discount supermarket just a few hundred yards from the church where our Carlisle choir meets.   This happy circumstance helped us to metaphorically hit two targets with one arrow as first we shopped and then we sang.

Our conductor and accompanist were delayed by the vagaries of our railway system so I got the chance, with the assistance of another choir member on piano, to practise my warm up and conducting skills while we waited for their arrival.  To say that our conductor was ragingly angry when he finally arrived would be a bit of an understatement but our excellent singing and close attention to his instructions soon restored his good humour.  I just hope that their train home was on time.

The slow cooked stew turned out well and later in the evening, we went out to a concert by our local amateur orchestra at the Buccleuch Centre.

Warning: This part of the post may contain references to sax and violins

There was a good turnout of musicians, including about a dozen string players, two saxophonists, one each of clarinet, flute, oboe and bassoon as well as two horns, two trumpets and two trombones so when they were all playing, the orchestra made a rich sound.They were playing a selection of pieces by composers of musicals and after a shaky start, they hit their stride well and a local girl, Zoe, obliged with some excellent vocal solos to add variety to the evening.  The concert featured some very jolly and competently played solos from members of the brass section and the whole thing was good fun.

We are promised a lunar eclipse and a big red moon tonight but as it requires me to be up and out of the house at three in the morning if I want to see it, I took a shot of the moon when I came back from the concert just in case I don’t make it.

moonThe sun is getting low in the sky at this time of the year and if it is out in the morning, it casts a big shadow on the bird feeder with the result that taking satisfactory pictures of flying birds in the shade is nearly impossible….

flying chaffinch

This one needed a lot of work in the editor even to get it to this stage

…so it is lucky that I  have a flying insect of the day in the sunshine instead.

flying insect

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent who has deserted our cool damp weather for the blazing sun in California while she visits her brother who lives there.  She sent me this picture of her children suffering from the heat there and being comforted by their cousin.

Hannah, Elinor and LeoWe had another day of continuous rain here, the only variety being in the amount coming out of the sky at any one time.

I had an appointment in Carlisle to get  two watercolour paintings which have been entrusted to the Archive Group valued and Mrs Tootlepedal came with me to make sure that I didn’t run off if they turned out to be worth millions.

The valuer was a very charming man who was pleased to see the paintings which are by W H Nutter, a  Victorian artist, well know and admired in Cumbria.  He said that he had never seen paintings of Langholm by this artist before and added that this would oddly make them less valuable as it is the Cumbrian pictures that are most sought after.   You can tell by the fact that I am still here, that they were valued at less than millions (or indeed thousands) but they are valuable enough to make sure that we look after them well.  I have had them framed and the next thing will be to see if some restoration can be done at a reasonable price.

nutter distilleryWe made good use of the trip to Carlisle by adding a little necessary shopping to the morning. Because I have been asked to provide two copies of one of my local photographic views to a friend, frames and mounts were on the list and we added some French, Italian and English cheese to these so the morning was well spent.

I had a walk round the garden when we got back, as it was one of the moments when the rain was quite light.  Mrs Tootlepedal recently bought and planted a buddleia for me which I hope will attract butterflies.  It is growing well but has only got as far as attracting bees at the moment.

buddleiaThe poppies are suffering badly in the wet…

poppies…but nasturtiums and hostas are not such wimps.

hosta nasturtiumAt the bird feeder, queues were forming.

bird feederAbout three o’clock, another lull in the rain gave me a bit of hope and, clutching an umbrella to protect my cameras, I went on a short walk up the Wauchope road to see an unusual thistle.  I had passed it while cycling and I had taken Mrs Tootlepedal to visit it in the car when we came back from Carlisle because she hadn’t quite believed what I had actually seen it but when she saw it herself, she was convinced.

It was a white thistle.

white thistleThere were quite a few of them about among a field of more conventionally coloured thistles.

thistlesThey are definitely white flowers and not just washed out old pink ones because you can see white buds waiting to come out.  We have never seen these before.

I was distracted by lichens on walls and fence posts as I walked.

lichensWhile I was up the road, I walked a few hundred yards further and took a look at my favourite cascade…..

Wauchope cascade…and found a bit more water going over the rocks than on my last visit.

I turned for home and took the path along Gaskell’s Walk as a change from the road.  Considering that it looked like this four years ago…..gaskells…it has recovered well…

Gaskells walk…and the bank is covered in growth.  Rosebay Willow Herb is in fashion at the moment.

There were fungi to be seen…

fungi…both small and big and plenty of wild flowers too.

wild flowersI came back down through the park and stopped to look at the fruit on a cypress tree beside the war memorial.

cypress treeIn spite of the rain, there was colour both at the back of the house when I got back….

crocosmia

Crocosmia hanging over the dam.

…and in the garden.

Rambler roses

Rambler roses hanging over the fence

During my walk, I was conscious of agents keeping an eye on my movements.

Cow

A cow at Wauchope Castle checks me out

cow in thistle

Another keeps a low profile among the thistles

Sheep on Stubholm

Sheep on Stubholm give me a hard stare. The one on the left apparently has no eyes and the other apparently has four.

The rain got heavier after I returned home and that was the end of that.

In the evening, our neighbour Margaret took us to a pre Common Riding evening at the Masonic Lodge where the chief speaker was her grandson.  He did an excellent job and as he was joined by a competent and varied lot of local singers as well as other good speakers, we had an enjoyable evening.  It had the added advantage of not going on too long which was very welcome.

I don’t want to get too excited but the forecasters say we might get a glimpse of the sun tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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