Posts Tagged ‘Round House’

Today’s guest picture comes from Stephen, my sister Susan’s friend.  He used to live  in New Zealand but has moved to Sydney in Australia where he sees a lot of ibis on his way to the gym.

two ibis

We had another dry day here but there was a cold wind blowing which made it feel far from springlike if you were out and about.

The tulips took the view that staying tucked up was the best policy.

chilly tulips

I had a quiet morning in and even when the sun came out, it was quite cold enough to make me happy to be looking out of the window.

two chaffinches plum blossom

Some goldfinches were concentrating hard on getting lined up correctly for landing…

well aligned goldfinch

…while others were trying to get a perch freed up.

goldfinches fighting

I made some soup for lunch and when Mrs Tootlepedal went off for an embroiderers’ Guild meeting, I thought about a short cycle ride but it was grey and the wind was very mean so I settled for a woolly hat and gloves and went for a short walk instead.

My feet were a bit sore and it was so cold that I almost gave up before I had gone half a mile, but a cheerful bank of daffodils in the park kept me going…

daffs and garlic

..and I soon found myself going along the riverside path among a blanket of wild garlic.  The bench in the picture above will be not for the faint of nose soon.

I could see the garlic buds among the leaves and there were other subdued signs of spring too.

four subdued wild flowers

There was a bit of colour here and there but it was cold enough for the script lichen to be obvious.

anemone. script lichen, dandelion

I plodded on towards Murtholm farm and Skippers Bridge and was rewarded when rather unexpectedly, the sun came out, showing up the yellow algae on a concrete fence post beside the road at Skippers.  It looks as though it should be slimy from a distance but it turns out to be quite fluffy when you look closely.

algae on concrete

I saw the algae when I was climbing over the low fence on my way down to the river bank to enjoy one of my favourite views.

skipers bridge April

The little ripple just above the bridge was looking charming with the water level being as low as it is at the moment.

river esk above skippers

I crossed the road beside the river and climbed up the steps that lead to the old railway and walked along the track below the embankment…

birch wood

…until I got to the gate that leads onto the hill. It was a completely different day by now and as I was sheltered from the malignant breeze, I was very happy that I had kept going.

oak tree in field

I walked up to the Round House, originally built as a gazebo  by a local landowner so that he could enjoy…

approaching round house

…this view of the town and the surrounding hills.

view from round house

From the Round House, I took the track back to the town….

track from round house

…and fell in with three cheery fellows from Hawick who had caught the bus to Langholm and walked nine miles round the back of Whita Hill.  They were pleased to be out of the wind too and looking forward to catching the bus back home.

The Embroiderers’ Guild members  were still meeting as I walked past the Day Centre.  I like their banner which is there to attract any passing needlewomen who might like to drop in.

embroiderers sing

The lonesome gull, who stands on the rock in the river between the bridges, had found a friend.

two gulls

My pocket camera has more menu items than I can possible ever use but I noticed one that offered settings for ‘Sparkling Water’.  There was a river with water and some sunshine so I tried it out.

This was the result.

sparkly water

I don’t know how the camera got that effect and I am amazed that some software engineer thought it was worthwhile to write the code to make the camera do it. It looks like an ad for toothpaste.

I put the camera back on more normal settings and took a picture of the daffodils beside the Wauchope Water along Caroline Street.

daffs along caroline street

They are just beginning to go over so I thought I ought to record them before they are gone.

When I got back to the garden, the sun had been warm enough to persuade some of the tulips to unbutton a bit…

red tulips evening

…but it was still pretty chilly so I didn’t do any gardening but went into to watch the Melrose Sevens on the telly.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and joined me in watching the rugby until it was tea time.

As the evening coincided with the third round of the Masters Golf from Augusta, which is worth watching for the fine grass and lovely flowers alone, the day ended very quietly.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, caught in a sunny interval in the morning.

flying chaffinch

The forecast says that it is going to be frosty both tonight and tomorrow night and then it may get warmer.  The tulips and I both think that that would be a good thing.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone in Malta and shows the difficulty of finding a parking spot in Valetta.


The overnight snow had settled down when we woke up and it was thick enough and the forecast poor enough to suggest that it might be a good idea for Sandy and me to suggest cancelling our evening meeting Canonbie since travelling didn’t look a very sensible activity.   Large numbers of motorists had spent the night trapped on our local motorway and more snow was forecast.

The organiser agreed and I was relieved because I am still far from feeling up to hard work.  We hope to be able to rearrange the event later on.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I are finding the process of recovery is painfully slow and she retired to bed for the day in the hope that some rest would be helpful.

I went for a short walk in the hope that a little exercise might help me.

It was a black and white sort of day…

Wauchope in snow

…though occasionally, a little blue sky showed up.

Once again, I adopted a very uncharacteristically slow pace and made sure that I took things really easily.  I walked through the woods along the river….

Easton in snow

…and was much taken by the decorated fence posts when I got to the Murtholm.

Murtholm fence posts

I saw an unexpected shape further along the track and when I got my zoom lens on the go, I found out that it was a heron, standing in the middle of the road.

heron on Murtholm track

It let me get quite close before flapping lazily off into the trees.

Looking behind me, I could a see a little sunshine on Timpen Hill and once again, I felt sad that I was confined to the flat areas by the river.

sun on snowy timpen

I looked up river from Skippers Bridge and then…

distillery in snow

….I dropped down to the river below the bridge and looked downstream at the snowy trees on the bank….

snow on Esk trees

…and back up towards the bridge itself.

skippers bridge in snow

I was feeling well enough to climb the steps up to the old railway line where a young beech tree added a touch of colour…

beech leaves in winter

…and then I walked along the line to take the track past a fine old oak….

snowy oak

…up to the Round House.

round house in snow

There was a bit of sunshine about so I congratulated myself on a sound route choice….

view from Round House winter

…although the nearby bench didn’t encourage me to sit down and enjoy the view.

bench in snow

I walked back towards Hallpath and looked across the valley to the plantations on the far side of the river offering a varied pattern of snowiness.


My pleasure in my route choice was soon seriously diminished as a heavy shower of sleety snow caught me just as I got back to the town and stayed with me all the way home.

snow at toll house

I arrived back feeling a bit damp and disappointed as I had hoped for some winter wonderland shots on my way.

I  also wanted some good light for snowy bird shots but the snow persisted.

I took another virtual black and white picture…

blackbird in snow

…and had fun watching a succession of chaffinches defying the weather.

flying chaffinches

The colour of the fence in the background set off the snowflakes very well.

flying chaffinches

There was plenty of action but I didn’t have a lot of patience for waiting around so I…

busy feeder

….made us some soup for lunch and then settled down to put another parish magazine onto the Archive Group website.

Although the snow stopped and the sun made a late appearance…

sun in snow garden

…I was feeling rather poorly by this time and stayed hunched over my computer for the rest of the afternoon.

I am not good at sitting around so  I have enjoyed my short and gentle walks lately but I don’t think that they are doing me any good as I felt worse today than I did two days ago.   I am hoping that Mrs Tootlepedal’s day of rest will benefit her but as we both sat dozing and not watching the telly in the evening after our evening meal, neither of us felt very optimistic about the near future.

A few warm dry days might help.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch among the snowflakes.

flying goldfinch


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Today’s guest picture is another blast of sunshine from my sister Mary’s visit to Bath.

The river Avon at Pulteney Bridge

We had some sunshine of our own today and very welcome it was.  It was still chilly in the morning in spite of the sun and my cold has not given up yet so I was happy to stay in for a cup of coffee with Sandy.  Later in the morning we got a visit from our old friend Dr Cat Barlow who used to mastermind the Moorland Project and was responsible for the comfortable hide at the Moorland Feeders which I often visit. She is working with golden eagles now.

In this way, the morning passed very sociably and I rounded it off by making some potato and carrot soup for lunch.

I did look out of the window from time to time.

The sparrow with white markings was back.

white headed sparrow

And I had put out some fat balls which attracted a beady eyed jackdaw.


We have had blue tits and great tits in recent days and today we added a coal tit (or possibly two).

coal tit

I liked this sparrow trying to blend into the background on a bush while waiting for the feeder to be free.


On the whole though, there weren’t many birds about again.  There must be plenty of food in the countryside still.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents.  I thought it best not to pass on my cold to others and stayed at home and went for a gentle walk in the sun.  It would have been a perfect day for a long cycle ride as it was warm, sunny, dry and almost windless but a rare outbreak of good sense kept me off the bike while my chest was not in good condition.  That and Mrs Tootlepedal  saying, “How many people have said, ‘Oh, I am perfectly fit’ and gone out running or cycling with a cold and dropped dead.”

My walk was a treat so I didn’t mind too much.

I walked through the town and up the Kirk Wynd….

Kirk Wynd gate

When I got to the hill, I turned along the Quarry track which contours along the face of the hill.  It offers lovely views back over the golf course and the town.

Viw of langholm from Whita

You will notice that the windmills on the hill are absolutely stationary, a very rare thing this year and as a result, I had to unbutton my jacket as I walked along as I was too hot.

I like the rolling nature of our hills and the low autumn sun picks the contours out well..

rolling hills

As always, I was observed.


The track is provided with benches where a man may take his ease for a while and admire the countryside….

whita benches

…but the clocks have gone back and evening comes very early now so I kept going.  I crossed the wall at the quarry by the excellent stile…

quarry stile

This is looking back after I had climbed over the stile.

And followed the path down the open hillside to the woods at the Round House.

oak woods

There is another bench at the Round House….

round house

…and although I didn’t sit on it, I did stop beside it for long enough to enjoy the view over the town that I would have got if I had sat down.

view from Round House

I walked down to the river at Skippers Bridge and in spite of the recent wet weather, the water was low enough to let me get a good look at the bridge from the upstream side….

skippers bridge in shadow

…although the sun had sunk far enough to leave the river in the shade by this time.

There was still a fair bit of water about.

River Esk

I walked home along the Murtholm and saw a dipper on the far bank of the river.  Sadly, the light was too far gone for me to be able to photograph it but it was good to see it all the same.

I did photograph some ivy and the first catkins that I have noticed this autumn.

ivy and catkins

On the bank above the river there was just enough light left to let me have a look back at the Round House, tucked in among the trees.

Round House from Murtholm

On my way home, I dropped in to tell Nancy some archive news and she and Bob kindly invited me in for a cup of tea and a slice of cake so between the views, the gentle exercise and the hospitality, I felt that the afternoon had gone very well.

I was welcomed home by an Icelandic poppy.

icelandic poppy

The hillsides are getting pretty bare now but I had seen two flowers on my walk…

whita flowers

…but these were the only two.  I shall have to look out for others on my next walk.

The espalier apples are the gift that keeps giving and I had stewed apples for my tea. I am determined to eat as many of our apples as I possibly can this year.

As I write this, Mrs Tootlepedal has just arrived back from Edinburgh and that has rounded off a very good day.  I even think that my cold might be a bit better.

A flying chaffinch with a gleam in its eye modestly takes its place as the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch


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Today’s guest picture is another from Mary Jo from Manitoba’s London visit.  This time she met one of the celebrated Tower of London ravens.

Tower of London raven

Our changeable weather is evidently tricky to predict so in spite of forecasts of gales and heavy rain, it was not a great surprise to wake up to merely a brisk breeze with dry spells.

One of the dry spells let me go up to the town after breakfast to pay in a cheque from the railway company to cover the fare for our delayed journey from London last weekend.  I would like to think that this repayment came either from a deduction from the company directors’ own pay packets or a reduction in the dividend to shareholders but I fear that that is wishful thinking.

I dropped in on the data miners at the Archive Centre, took a meter reading there and then booked the car into the garage for a look at its brakes and got home just as it started to rain once more.

After that, I stayed in, did the crossword, made some soup and grumbled.  I didn’t go out again until lunch time when it had brightened up a bit.  I took a look at the garden.

There were plucky flowers smiling through their tears to be seen.



Thanks to relatively warm mornings, there are still plenty of colourful sights about, some more vibrant….

sedum, creeper and clematis

…than others.

poppies and anemone

As you can see from the anemone on the right, there was even a hint of sunshine.

The fuchsias are loving the weather, whatever the other flowers think.


Bees were few and far between but I did find a hoverfly on a dahlia.

dahlia with hoverfly

I was delighted to find that Lilian Austin was still in business in a modest way.

Lilian Austin

I went back in to eat my soup for lunch with no great hope for the afternoon but the sun was still out by the time that lunch was over so I set out for a walk, hoping that any clouds would blow past in the brisk wind and not rain on Langholm.

Things looked promising as I went through the park…

Park in October

There was a great heap of logs at the exit from the park….

felled trees in the park

…and it was apparent that two large trees had been felled and cut up.  I couldn’t tell whether the trees had partly fallen first and then been cut up or whether the felling was precautionary.

I walked on through the wood along the river and came out onto the track along the Murtholm…


…which led me to Skippers Bridge, where I went down the bank to look back at the bridge…

Skippers Bridge

….and then, trusting that the good weather would hold, I took a short diversion up the hill through the oak wood…

Oak wood

…to the Round House.

Round House

If I hadn’t been in a bit of a hurry, I might have sat on the bench there in the sunshine and enjoyed the view over the town.

Langholm from the Round House

As it was, I pressed on, enjoying the golden colour in the bracken beside the track…


…and stopping when a striking crop of fine black berries caught my eye.  When I showed the picture to Mrs Tootlepedal later on, she thought that they might be St John’s Wort….

st John's Wort

…and as I had seen some of these flowers nearby, I expect that she is right.

The river looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth when I came to cross the suspension bridge on my way home.

Esk in October

I waited for a moment or two to see if the dipper was around but it was not to be seen so I took an arty pictures of some leaves…

autumn leaves beside Esk

…and went home.  I couldn’t resist a few pictures of flowers enjoying the welcome sunshine.

daisy, calendula and dahlia

I didn’t have long to wait in as I had an appointment to get my flu jab at the health centre as well as my three-monthly vitamin B12 injection so I was soon out and back across the bridge, this time by bicycle and returned home thoroughly needled….in both senses of the word as it started to rain as I left the health centre.

Once back, I received a visit from a camera club member who had come to collect his photos from the exhibition.  He was very cheered to find that he had sold a couple of them.

Then it was time for a visit from my flute pupil Luke.  He has been practising again and it showed.  He told me that he had played with our local orchestra yesterday and found it a ‘learning experience’.  Orchestral flute playing is very tricky.  I tried it for a bit and didn’t enjoy it much so I hope he does better than I did.

After an excellent tea which had been cooked for me by Mrs Tootlepedal consisting of mince with bashed tatties and neeps from the garden, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.   We had a most enjoyable play and found once again that Mozart is a cure for many ills.

When I got home, we watched a weather forecast which showed that the jet stream is currently crossing the Atlantic in a series of beautifully shaped waves, each one containing a high or a low so the changeable weather looks like a permanent fixture for the foreseeable future.  I will just have to look out my wet weather cycling gear and grit my teeth.

The flying bird of the day is in pre-flying mode.




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I apologise for today’s guest picture but it is another from the St Bees Sportive and I have put it in because I paid good money for it so I am going to use it.

St BeesI also apologise for breaking my own rule about how many pictures I should put in a post.  I was surprised by the weather today and took far more photographs than I thought that I would and then had some difficulty in choosing which ones to throw away so if you are pushed for time, look away now.   I will keep the words to a minimum.

I started the day by scarifiying the front lawn.  I did the proposed paths yesterday and the proposed meadow parts today, using a more ferocious blade.

front lawn

There is still any amount of moss left sadly.

After the scarifying, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did a lot of reorganisation in our upstairs rooms following the end wall work.  Mrs Tootlepedal managed to get a saw and resize a desk in no time.  She says she is never going to do a major reorganisation again…ever.

After this the sun came out and I went out too.


hyacinths  and bees

Some smaller than usual bees were enjoying the grape hyacinths

lawn bird

In spite of my scarifying efforts, there was still enough left on the middle lawn to keep various birds interested.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiders’ Guild meeting and I lounged around.

After she came back, she went into the greenhouse to plant seeds and I went for a walk.  It immediately started to rain.

I kept going regardless and as I walked up the Kirk Wynd past the golf course, I could see distant sunshine.

Distant sunshineI paused in the rain to capture two prickly subjects…

gorse and bramble….had another look at the prospects…..

distant sunshine…took my courage in both hands, ignored the rain and walked up onto the open hill.  As I got there, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

WhitaThe rest of my walk was in perfect sunshine and I will put the pictures in from it without comment for the most part.

Quarry track

Esk valley south of langholm

The view down the Esk valley

WhitaWhitasheepsheeplambIt is a grand walk for views of the town.

LangholmLangholmEven the sheep were looking from the viewpoint.

sheepAs I walked along the track I spotted what I think is a raven circling above my head and giving out discordant calls.


No doubt some kind person will tell me if I am wrong

My immediate target was the wall at the quarry.

wall on whitaI clambered over the wall using a stile and then followed the track down to the path to the Round House.

spring trees

The trees are now coming into leaf

woodI came to the round house.

round house

This was built by a local landowner to be a place to sit and admire the view but it was vandalised many years ago and is now shut up. A bench has been provided for view lovers instead.

Even the walk along the road when I got to it was very pleasant, as it was rich in roadside flowers.nettle and forget me not feverfew and dandelionI walked back along the river hoping to see a goosander.  I did…but it flew past me as such speed that I couldn’t catch it.  I had to make do with more static targets.

Esk at LangholmLangholm Parish ChurchAs you can see, it was a perfect evening by the time that I got home and warm enough to walk without a jacket on.

If you have lasted this long, I hope that you have enjoyed coming along with me on the walk.  You can probably see why I took so many pictures today.

I didn’t have a very good time trying to get a flying bird of the day today but I nearly got a very good one.


It had just landed before I got organised.

A regular chaffinch in one of the gloomier moments of the day will have to do.

flying chaffinch

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