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Posts Tagged ‘Rosy Cheeks rose’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who took it while  flashing past Stonehenge on a double decker bus.  There was no time to stop as she was off to London for a march to demand a second referendum.  One of my sisters, my brother and his two sons also attended the march so it was an important affair.

stonehenge

It was a bright and calm morning here today but it was also decidedly chilly and I was in no hurry to get my bike out until the temperature reached at least 7°C.  This gave me time for coffee and the crossword as as it was after eleven o’clock before the target was reached.

Mrs Tootlepedal advised me that blackbirds were bathing in the dam behind the house and there might be a photo opportunity.  I went to check but found a blackbird that was waiting on the edge but not willing to take the plunge.

blackbird by dam

I put on a great many layers of cycling clothing and finally got going.  When I got to ten miles and stopped for a drink of water, I noticed that a tree which had had leaves last Friday but which had lost them now.

tree no leafs

But it was a fine day and as you can see there was so little wind that the turbines at Minsca were not turning at all.

still windmills

I had a lot of clothes on and just turning my legs over was quite a task in spite of the still conditions but I plugged away and passed trees with leaves on near Eaglesfield….

trees with leafs eaglesfield

…and stopped for a buttered roll with honey under the cavernous motorway bridge near Kirkpatrick Fleming (my bike ignored the no parking sign)…

motorway bridge KPF

…and paused for a smaller bridge near Gretna.

bridge over burn near gretna

The bridge’s arch was framed with bright red berries.

red berries

As I got back on my bike and was just getting going, another fairly elderly cyclist passed me without stopping for some civil conversation.  Just to annoy him, I caught him up and pedalled along silently a few yards behind him.  He knew I was there and occasionally pushed a bit harder to try to shake me off but he couldn’t and in the end I passed him …with a few civil words about the lovely weather.  I could see him in my mirror, hanging on about twenty or thirty yards behind me even when I pushed a bit to try to shake him off.  Mercifully we took different routes at the first junction we came to, and we could both relax.

I had taken my route in the hope of seeing migrating geese near the border and a loud honking directed my attention to a big flock foraging in a field.

geese at Englishtown close up

There were a lot of them.  I think that they are greylag geese

geese at Englishtown

I waited for a while, hoping that they might take off and give me a flying shot but they remained firmly on the ground.  Resisting the temptation to say boo to a goose, I pedalled on home.

The wind had got up enough to make the wind turbines at Gretna turn very slowly but it was mostly behind me by this time so I was able to do my 40 miles with two minutes in hand before the three hour mark arrived.

I had put a mixture into the bread maker earlier in the morning and Mrs Tootlepedal had taken it out while I was pedalling.  The bread maker had done a fine job and some vintage plum jam was on hand if needed.

bread machine triumph

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy gardening so I heated up a mug of celery and Stilton soup and went out to see what was going on while i drank it.

In spite of the chilly morning, the roses were going on very well.

Crown PrincessRosy Cheeks

A rudbeckia was looking a little part worn but as it has been looking like that since it first started flowering several weeks ago, I think it deserves credit for trying.

rudbeckia

I saw a dunnock…

dunnock on edge

…and nearly caught a flying dunnock of the day but it was too sharp for me.

flying dunnock

Honeysuckle berries and nasturtiums caught my eye…

honeysuckle and nasturtium

…and the perennial wallflower and the lamium look as though they will never go over.

perennial wallflower and lamium

My flute pupil, Luke turned up and mindful of the truth that if a pupil is having difficulty with something, it is the fault of the teacher, I upped my game a bit and we made some serious progress in counting.

After tea, I went off to the camera club meeting where Sandy helped me to set the projector and screen up.

Once again we had a rather small but very select group of keen photographers and once again we had some most enjoyable images to look at.  With pictures from a royal palace in St Petersburg and raptors from a park in Keswick, local wild life and memories of our trip to Beamish in the summer, we were well supplied with things to enjoy.  One of our members had been having a very creative time with his photo editor and he produced results which defied belief.  All in all, it was a satisfactory meeting and we agreed to meet again next month, with the hope of a few more members turning up.

The flying bird of the day is that reluctant swimmer.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from Simon, a camera club member who is working on the continent.  Knowing that I like bridges, he sent me this historic example by which one can cross the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Swiss border bridge

I had such a dull day that I was very tempted to copy the famous occasion on 18th April, 1930 when the BBC news reader announced that there was “No news today” and played music for the rest of the bulletin.

But I cracked.  So here is a very little news.

It was a wet, windy and miserable morning.  I am still not sleeping very well and Mrs Tootlepedal had gone out to an all day Embroiderers’ Guild workshop so I saw no good reason to get up until after lunch.  I watched a good game of rugby on the telly with New Zealand showing how the game should be played before lunch and then I watched an exciting horse race from Ascot where the hot favourite was beaten a centimetre after lunch.

I finally got enough interest in real life to go out into the garden in a fine drizzle and sweep the leaves off the lawns and pick up some walnuts.

I did a little shredding and welcomed Mrs Tootlepedal back from her meeting.  We had a walk round the garden which tried its best to cheer me up…

rosy cheeks roselush fuchsiawinter jasmine

…and then we went in and had a cup of tea.

I watched a rather glum blackbird perching in the rain…

blackbird in the rain

…and then, in the search for thrills, I drove down to Co-op to recycle our old newspapers and cans and do a little shopping while I was there.

The recycling went well and the shopping would have gone better if I had taken any money with me.

The second visit was more successful.

And that was the day.

There were hardly any birds about in the garden today and those that were there were keeping a very low profile.  In desperation, I looked up and saw two passing rooks so I do have a double flying bird of the day with which to end a dull post.

two flying rooks

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  He has left the country with his wife and seems to have turned up in Helsinki where they saw the cathedral.  (They will be back.)

helsinki cathedral

A brief post today as it is late again as I sit down to write  because I have been to Edinburgh.

We had a day of occasional showers but it was dry enough in the morning to let me see some sparrows who exemplified the divisions in the country by simultaneously sitting on the fence and looking in two different directions at the same time.

sparrows looking both ways

It stayed dry as I went across the suspension bridge on my way to see the physio…

 

town bridge in autumn

…who is patiently trying to sort out my general stiffness with a well judged programme of exercises.

On my way back I stopped to check on our resident rock-standing gull and wondered if it had slept badly last night or was perhaps trying some new eye shadow.

gull with eye shadow

I walked round the garden when I got home.  The continued warmish weather (11 degrees C in the morning) has brought out some unseasonable flowers on the weigela…

wiegela october

…is keeping the fuchsia flourishing…

fuchsia

…as well as the cosmos…

cosmos clump

…and the Japanese anemone, which is managing very well without any dead heading from me.

anemone clump

The roses continue to delight.

princess margareta rose

Rosy Cheeks is making Mrs Tootlepedal very glad that she has added it to our stock.

rosy cheeks rose

There are even a few campanulas stills ringing a bell…

campanula october

…and I was pleased to see a bee hard at work among the fuchsia flowers.

bee on fuchsia october

I had time for a very short walk before lunch.  The poplars in the park are a favourite at this time of year.

poplars from park

The view of the trees at the far end of the Murtholm sums up the uneven autumn that we are having.

 

murtholm view october

The sheep don’t mind though as long as there is grass…

sheep grazing

…and it has been a good year for grass.

I spotted what I think is a Herb Robert flower..

herb robert

…and I was just walking along this path when the battery in my camera expired…

stubholm path

…leaving the other interesting things that I passed unrecorded.  I didn’t see much of interest to be honest.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a meeting in the evening so after lunch, I went to Edinburgh by myself.

I drove to Lockerbie in the rain and was relieved to find that at least the train was running this week.  It was twenty minutes late getting into Waverley Station but I suppose I must be thankful for small mercies because I had a very enjoyable time with Matilda, another delicious meal and a good conversation with Matilda’s mother, Clare after the meal.

And the train back was on time and it wasn’t raining as I drove home.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s meeting had gone well so it had been  satisfactory day.

I took a picture of a flying starling this morning, and it would have been the flying bird of the day…

flying starling

…if I hadn’t caught a bee in mid air too.

flying bee

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  Not long ago he was in Glasgow where he was very impressed by the Doulton Fountain, the largest ceramic fountain ever built.  It was one of the most popular attractions at the 1888 International Exhibition in Kelvingrove Park.

Doulton fountain

It was raining heavily when we woke up, but it very kindly took a break while Mrs Tootlepedal went for her morning walk with Riley.  While she was out, I set off for England and a singing lesson and drove through many a sharp shower on the way.  It is noticeable that colder temperatures and more use of lights, heaters and wipers reduces the amount of miles that we can get out of a full charge of the battery in the Zoe, but as it still gives us well over a hundred miles, we are not too despondent.

When I got home, slightly light-headed from doing so much proper breathing during the singing lesson, it was time for lunch.

In the afternoon, I looked at the holly tree just as the sun came out to emphasise the iridescence of a starling’s plumage…

irridescent starling

…and while the sun was shining, I took a short walk round the garden.

Zinnias, roses and fuchsia enjoyed the better weather.

zinnia, rosy cheeks, fuchsia

Although the perennial wallflower and Michaelmas daises are nearing the end of the line, a new clematis has come out to keep the purple colour going a little longer.

perennial wallflower, daisy, clematis

Later in the afternoon, our guest Riley took us for a walk…

riley walk

…so we could enjoy some autumnal delights, like fungus on the track round the Scholars’ Field…

fungus on scholars

…and a small patch of brightly coloured leaves beside the new path on the Castleholm.

autumn leaves

I had a look at the Castle ruin as we passed…

castle in autumn

…and saw that something had been doing some serious nibbling on Noble Fir cones…

noble fir cones eaten

…in a rather selective way.

noble fir cones eaten (2)

The piles of scales under the tree makes it likely that squirrels had been at work.

There is a very colourful tree beside the path which does its best to brighten up early autumn very year.

autumn colour new path

The sun came out as we walked along and it was very pleasant as we passed the Sawmill Brig…

sawmill brig from castleholm

…and admired the fine crop of spleenwort on the wall nearby…

spleenwort wall

…as well as enough beech mast to feed a good few pigs as we turned up the Lodge Walks.

beech mast

It was a grand day for a walk after a very unpromising morning.

view of timpen from castleholm

We crossed back over the Jubilee Bridge and were surprised to find Mr Grumpy standing in the shallow water below us.

heron at jubilee bridge

We took the narrow track behind the school on our way home and found things to look at as we went along it.

snowberry, tree seeds, daisy

Our neighbour Liz, Riley’s owner,  has been attending a passing out ceremony for one of her grandsons who is now a fully qualified agricultural machinery engineer.  She got back this afternoon and came over to collect Riley just after we had returned from our walk.  It has been a pleasure to have such a well behaved visitor in the house.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a very satisfactory meal of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans for our tea, and a good day was rounded off by a meeting of our recorder group.

Although our weather here had been calm, the two ladies who drove up from Carlisle to play had come through torrential rain with the roads awash with water on their way.  We have been seeing some very heavy rain in the area lately but luckily Langholm has escaped the worst.

We had a good time playing some testing quartets and followed that up with a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit.  I hope that the travellers got better conditions for their drive home.

Once again, the elegant wings of a starling feature on the flying bird of the day.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and makes the point that we are not the only ones with buddleias and butterflies.  The painted ladies did not stop at Langholm and have continued north.

ant's butterflies

As she went off to sing in the church choir this morning, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that when seen from an upstairs window, the front lawn looked good.  I checked.

front lawn diamonds

I like to mow in a different direction every time.

We had another lovely day today and the butterflies were about bright and early.

three butterfly panel

We had a walk round the garden when Mrs Tootlepedal came back from church and I liked the delicate colours of a hosta flower and the salvias.
hosta and salvia

Mrs Tootlepedal’s new rose has settled in very well.  It is a pretty flower and the only thing wrong with it is its name, Rosy Cheeks.

rosy cheeks rose

Although I did not go to church, I did have a religious moment during the morning (religion – definition: a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion) when I mowed the middle lawn for the first time after giving it a dose of the fertiliser with alleged magic moss eating properties.  The fertiliser part certainly works well and I feel that the moss eating has worked too but we will see whether it has done lasting good when the winter comes.

middle lawn after buck up

I then edged the lawn to complete the effect.

We were having a cup of coffee after our walk round the garden when Mrs Tootlepedal surprised me by asking if I felt like a ten mile cycle ride on hilly roads with some rough tracks to negotiate on the way.   This is not her usual choice of parcours.

There was a threat of a thunderstorm later in the afternoon but we had time to get round before it was due to arrive so I agreed, and we got our bikes out and set off, having fortified ourselves with a cheese toastie before we left.

It was warm and sunny and we went up the hill to the Moorland Feeders at the Laverock Hide in good order.  We didn’t stop at the hide, even though Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a woodpecker as we cycled past, but continued on along the narrow but well surfaced road that took us down to the bridge across Tarras water.

road to Tarras

There were things to see as we went along, including some of the first heather in flower, insects on ragwort and wild mint.

wildflowers broomholm road

Once we had crossed the bridge (which we did when we came to it), we cycled along the flat beside the river for a bit and I kept an eye out for a patch of horsetail which I knew grew somewhere beside the road.  When we got to it, it was hard to miss.

horsetail clumb

It was in very fine form.

horsetail detail

When we got to the end of the short flat, we had a steep hill to climb to get up to Cronksbank but we were rewarded with good views of the Tarras Valley…

view near Cronksbank

…and we could soon look down at the little farmhouse on the other side of the river.

Rashiel

Passing through Cronksbank and then Perterburn, we descended very carefully down a bumpy track to the Tarras Water.  This time there was no bridge for us to cross and Mrs Tootlepedal fearlessly led the way across the ford.

perterburn ford

Local readers may well realise that the picture above is slightly unsatisfactory as Mrs Tootlepedal is clearly cycling back towards Perterburn.  This is true and the picture is staged as I missed the first crossing and Mrs Tootlepedal kindly agreed to cycle back and re-enact the crossing.

The road up from the ford has some fine pine trees beside it.

pines at Middlemoss

The track from Middlemoss up to the tarmac road across the moor was in much better condition than we expected, and we were able to cycle most of the way up it.

Middlemoss road

It is steep in places though, and I was happy to stop to take a picture of bee hives, probably put out in anticipation of the heather flowering soon.

bee hives on moor

The heather is looking quite healthy at the moment but when we stopped to talk to a local naturalist and his wife who were walking on the hill road, he showed me a clump of heather that had been affected by the dreaded heather beetle…and he showed me the larva of the beetle which he shook from a dying plant.

heather beetle larva

It was interesting to see something about which I had read a lot but which I had never seen before.

It looked as though the forecast rain might be on its way, so we didn’t stay chatting for long but pedalled on towards the White Yett…

wall at white yett

…and the welcome sight of the road down the hill back home.

road down hill to langholm

In fact, the forecast rain didn’t arrive until later on in the day and our ride was a great pleasure.

We were not on mountain bikes (Mrs Tootlepedal was on her shopping bike and I was on my road bike) so progress on the bumpy tracks was slow and cautious and the narrow roads on the downhill sections called for a careful approach too, so we took some time to make the circuit but we were still pleased with our progress and thought that we had certainly earned our cup of tea when we got home.

Luckily we were able to watch the Ride London pro cycling event on the telly when we had had our cup of tea and that gave us a good excuse to do very little for the rest of the day.  They went a lot faster than we did.

A panorama of the Ewes Valley, taken from the White Yett is the metaphorical flying bird of the day.

 

ewes valley panorama

Click on the pic for a wider view if you want.

 

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