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Posts Tagged ‘sparrow’

Today”s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  Looking through my files I see that I didn’t use this one from his highland holiday earlier in the year.  I thought that it should have gone in then so I have put it in now. It shows keen canoeists in Plockton.

oznor

We had a pleasant and mostly sunny day and it was filled with interesting things to do.  Fortunately they came at a leisurely pace and well spread out.

I started the day with a conversation with a neighbour over the garden fence.  As we chatted, blackbirds flew into the rowan tree and munched away on the berries, quite unconcerned about our presence.

blackbird in rowan

After we finished our conversation, I went in and got my other camera out and spent some time recording blackbirds wondering where the berries had gone, checking out the berries that were there…

birds berry

…and then eating them.   It will not be long until they are all gone.

Our neighbour has a rowan with yellow berries and he pointed out that they  have not been touched yet.  I wonder if the birds just don’t think that they are ripe.  Maybe they are not so tasty.

Then it was time for coffee and excellent treacle scones with Dropscone.  He has been busy playing golf and visiting his new granddaughter so I hadn’t seen him for some time.  It was good to catch up with his news.

When he left, I wandered round the garden doing some dead heading and looking at flowers, both individually…

four single flowers

There was plenty of evidence of yesterday’s rain

…and in clumps.

four flower bunches

Then, thinking that I had better do something useful while Mrs Tootlepedal was busy at a meeting, I trimmed one of the garden hedges and the hedge along the road.

clipped hedge

This should be the last time this year that the hedges need trimming I hope.

On my way back inside, I noticed that a nerine had come out…

nerine

…and I watched a sparrow watching a passing insect.

sparrow on stalk

I don’t know if anyone was watching me.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting and we had a light lunch.

After lunch, I got my bike out and pedalled quietly round my customary 20 mile Canonbie circuit.  Yesterday’s visit to the physiotherapist confirmed previous advice that I shouldn’t cycle up steep hills so I shall continue to pedal along tried and trusted familiar  flattish routes.  This means that cycling photos will continue to be on the dull side.

I was pleased to finally get a reasonably sharp photo of some clover today.  I have been trying and failing all summer so it was only right that the clover should be going over when I finally caught it.

old clover

Looking over the Hollows Bridge, there was just the faintest suggestion that leaves are beginning to turn.

hollows esk

Following a previous picture of beech nuts, I took two more shots of beech trees, one on each side of the bridge at the Hollows just to show that almost all our beech trees are heavily laden this year.

beech nuts hollows

I have passed the laughing poodle tree many times this year on my bike rides so I thought that I might record it once again as it always amuses me as I see it.

poodle tree

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal relaxing after some hard gardening while I had been out.

I had a quick butterfly hunt after I had had a cup of tea and was pleased to find three different kinds on the go, red admiral, painted lady and peacock.  I had hoped for a small tortoiseshell as well but had to make up the panel with a plain fly on the sedum.

three butterflies and a fly

Crown Princess Margareta has flowered but she has turned her back on her public and I had to wade into the border to get this shot.

crown princess margareta rose sept

I went in and had a shower, and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal was cooking our evening meal, I went out for a short walk.  The physiotherapist has said that I should walk as much as I can.

Some dog tooth peltigera lichen appeared on a wall shortly after I set out…

peltigera lichen

…and my next stop was to look at the bridge over the Becks Burn.

becks brodge

I stopped again at the Auld Stane Brig, the next bridge along, to admire a small garden on the bridge parapet and a lichen jungle on the fence post at the end of the bridge.

auld stane brisge flower and lichen

I walked back to the town along Gaskells Walk.  There were plenty of fine ferns to admire as I walked along.  I looked at the front of some…

fern gaskells

…and the back of others.  This is a buckler fern.

fern spores gaskells

There were fruits as well as ferns.

three fruits gaskells

I finished by walking along the path beside the park wall.  I was hoping for more lichen but it hasn’t developed yet or I wasn’t paying enough attention.

park wall sept

I will look again soon.

The day was rounded off by a visit from Mike and Alison and Alison and I played old and new favourites including Telemann, Vivaldi, Marcello and Finger while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike once again set the world to rights.  We may have to check on their methods as things have not improved much as I hoped since they set the world to rights last week.

Among the many blackbirds visiting the ‘birdberry’ tree was this one, who just managed to qualify as the flying bird of the day.

flying blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She visited the Haynes International Motor Museum with my sister Mary and saw many wonderful motor cars, including this 1900 Clement Voiturette.

1900 Clement Voiturette

When you look back at them, there are some days which seem to rather slip through your grasp and you never really get a grip on them.  This was one such day.  Although we did quite a lot, nothing much seemed to happen.  As a result, if this post is somewhat disjointed, it will match the day very well.

We had a slow start after breakfast but then we drove down to the bike shop in Longtown to recover my set of car and house keys, which were still in my bike pannier along with my rain jacket.  My bike won’t be ready until Friday at best so we drove quietly back home, giving a lift to a local man who had just left his bike for repair at the bike shop and was intending to catch the bus back.  As he would have had to wait half an hour before the bus came, he was quite grateful.

It was a rather grey and gloomy day but still reasonably warm so we had a walk round the garden when we got back.  A blackbird on the fence caught my eye.  It had picked up a fallen rowan berry from the ground.

blackbird on fence with berry

It was just as well that it hadn’t been tempted by these St John’s Wort berries near by and they are poisonous to livestock and probably not very good for birds.

st john's wort berreis

Most of the Sweet Williams are past but this one, lurking in a vegetable bed, still looks rather attractive with its dainty blue boots.

sweet william

The honey suckle on the vegetable garden fence is doing well.

honeysuckle

I went in and put a grey day to some use by entering two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, making a small dent in my backlog.

Mrs Tootlepedal occupied herself in making some plum chutney.  She tells me that we won’t be able to sample it for six months.

In the afternoon, I considered the weather and the forecast and the threats of heavy rain, and then went out for a short ride on my borrowed bike.

It was a day for cloudscapes…

cloudscape wauchope 1

…and no matter where you looked, there were plenty of clouds to see.

cloudscape wauchope 2

I had gone about four miles, when the view behind, with a hint of sunshine, looked a lot better than the view in front, and as it started to rain, I decided to race the rain back home.

cloudscape looking back to langholm

Although it continued to drizzle on me, the wind was coming from behind, so I didn’t get very wet at all. It was dry when i gt home.

I put the bike under cover and walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She has recently put down some grass seed to grow as green manure on the now empty potato bed, and this is of great interest to the sparrows who lurk in every convenient tree and hedge…

two sparrows

…and eat the seed whenever our backs our turned.

When  we came out, they flew up in a great cloud and some of them settled for a while on our neighbour Betty’s garage roof.  This is just a portion of the flock who were pecking at the grass seeds.

sparrows on betty's garage

I had a look at some flowers.  The lobelias round the chimney pot are in fine fettle…

lobelia at chimney

…and the late Lilian Austin rose, featured yesterday, has been joined by two more blooms.

three Lilian Austin roses

I tend to look at the phlox as a cloud of colour but this single flower was worth looking at by itself, I thought.

phlox blossom

After a while, the clouds seemed to have passed over, so after a last look at these zinnias, one with a miniature garden at its heart….

two zinnias

…I set off to complete my intended mileage for the day.  It started to rain almost as soon as I had left the house but I had my rain jacket with me, so I put it on and pressed ahead.

This was a good plan because the rain soon stopped and in spite of some impressive clouds over Callister…

callister cloudscape

…it turned into a sunny day as I came home from the top of the hill.

callister view

Although there was a break in the middle, I aggregated the two rides into one and recorded 20 miles for the day in my mileage chart.

When I got home, I walked round the garden for a final time….

striking nastrutium

…and then went in to print out some pictures for our camera club’s forthcoming exhibition.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked an excellent evening meal and we rounded off the day by watching an exciting stage of the Vuelta.

The flying bird of the day was standing very close to me on the lawn before it flew off.

blackbird on lawn

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He took refuge from some foul weather by visiting the museum in Derby where he came across a fine representation of Athenian democracy crafted out of LEGO.

Derby lego parliament

After yesterday’s excitement, we were hoping for a less interesting day today and as far as the weather went, we got one.  Unfortunately, that didn’t mean that it had stopped raining, just that it had stopped raining so hard.  In fact it rained more or less the whole day but luckily it was quite gentle for a lot of the time.

After church, which was quite jolly with some good singing hymns and an interesting address from my cello playing friend, Mike, I went up to check on the ad hoc repair to the sluice at Pool Corner.

In spite of the continuing rain, water levels had dropped a lot and it was good to see the board still in place.

sluice protector am

Looking into the main course of the Wauchope, I could see a couple of trees which had come over the caul yesterday, giving some idea of the force of the water.

tree over the caul Pool Cormer

I cycled home and was impressed by the sheer cheek of a sunflower which thought that this was a good moment to show some yellow sun.

sunflower in the rain

I walked round the garden in the drizzle.

wet poppy

The new lilies are standing up to the rain pretty well.

wet lily

As always on a wet day, there are opportunities for the bored photographer.

web with droplets

I took two of them.

web with droplets 2

At one point we did think of going for a walk to visit the landslide on the main road out of town, but just as we were getting ready to go, the rain started to come down more heavily so we gave up the idea and settled down to do harmless indoor tasks instead.

Every now and again, we checked the level of the dam.  It stayed calm.

I put a parish magazine from 1968 on to our Archive Group web pages.  Sandy had scanned and digitised it so it wasn’t a difficult task.

We watched athletics from Poland on the telly and were pleased to see that it was a perfectly lovely day there….well fairly pleased.

From time time to time, I looked out of the door into the garden to see if it was still raining.

It was.

wet blackbird

There were still plenty of birds popping about though.

bird on plum tree

I hope that the birds don’t get the wrong idea and start pecking at our plums.

sparrow in plum tree

In the early evening, I went up to have another look at Pool Corner.  The waters had risen but the board was still holding.

sluice protector pm

The Wauchope was doing a good job of disposing of the surplus water into the Esk.

Wauchope in flood pm

The dam behind the house was reassuringly low.

dam quiet

I took a picture of two rather soggy dahlias just to add a bit of colour to a dull day.

two sad dahlias

All we can do is to hope that the overnight rain is not too heavy and stops as forecast at 3 am.

The flying bird of the day is a passing rook on its way to find some shelter.

flying rook

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  His son has got a scientific rain gauge and it had plenty of rain to measure this morning.

bruce rain gauge

There had been rain overnight and it was still raining hard after breakfast so I went down to the river to see what was what.

It was a grey day!

gloomy day

There was plenty of water coming down the Wauchope but not as much as I expected..

wauchope quite full

…and there was remarkably little coming down the Esk which was still running grey compared with the brown water coming out of the swollen Wauchope.

wichope brown, esk grey

I went home and got ready to receive a visit from our friend Sue who was going to brave the weather and come for lunch.  She arrived safely, having negotiated some rather soggy patches on the way, and we had just finished lunch when our neighbour Jane came round to ask if we had seen what was happening to the dam that runs along the back wall of our house.

We went to have a look.

flooded dam

This was a surprise and not a very welcome one as the water was above the level of the ventilators in our side wall.

Sue thought that this might be a good moment to go home and she left.  We were pleased to get a a phone call later on to confirm that she had arrived safely, only having to make one diversion where the main road to Brampton was flooded.  She did well to leave when she did, as the main road south out of Langholm was blocked by a landslide shortly afterwards and was closed for several hours.

It was obvious that the sluice controlling the flow from the Wauchope into the dam was not closed and it was lucky that Jane was able to contact a man from the business that uses the water from the dam.  He came with an engineer to see what could be done.

I went up to look at Pool Corner where our dam originates at a caul with the sluice. The caul couldn’t be seen at all and it was obvious that that the rain must have been very heavy in the catchment area for the Wauchope as it had risen a tremendous amount since I had checked earlier on.

wauchope spate at pool corner caul

The water was pounding round the corner and not just in the river…

flood at pool corner

…but along the road beside the river as well.

road flooded at pool corner

Looking at the flood wall which has the sluice in it, it was clear that the sluice was broken and not holding back the water at all.  Several sandbags were lowered to see what would happen and they were swept through the sluice in a matter of seconds.

sluice at pool corner

In the end a board was lowered and secured in place…

pool corner after repair

…and as unlikely as it looked, and in spite of continuously rushing waters…

spate over caul at pool corner

…the work did the trick and the dam level went down.

dam less flooded

You can see the water level on the wall of the house…

damp mark on house wall

…and we were grateful to our neighbour Kenny who provided an old table and helped Mrs Tootlepedal to fix it as a protection to our back door when the flood was at its height.

It was a close run thing.

back door protection flood

Kenny also paddled with me along the banks of the dam to the grid which stops rubbish getting swept into the culvert which takes the dam under our neighbouring streets, and he raked as much debris from the grid as he could.

When the water level had fallen, I went along again and cleared the grid again.

Luckily the heavy rain stopped while all this was going on and although it has rained again off and on, the levels have stayed well down and it is not due to rain heavily again until tomorrow afternoon.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that the temporary board in front of the sluice will hold up.

It didn’t help that all this took place on a Saturday afternoon and there will quite a few phone calls to the owners of the dam on Monday morning.

A blackbird kept an eye on the comings and goings…

balckbird om hedge

…and I noted the one cheerful item along the dam, this fuchsia which we passed on our way to clear out the grid.

fuchsia on flood day

It was a very warm and muggy day and when it stopped raining, the birds soon appeared in the garden.  The sparrows stayed in pairs…

two sparrow panel

…but the blackbirds stood alone.

blackbird on bench

Flowers had survived…

cle,atis on flood day

…and looked surprisingly well…

clematis flood day

..and there were even new flowers to be seen.

rudbeckia

We kept a nervous eye and ear out for signs and sounds of more rain but as I write this, things are calm and the dam has stayed quiet.  More rain is still forecast for tomorrow afternoon but we hope that it won’t fall in the same spot that it fell today.

The almost flying bird of the day is a blackbird taking a running jump rather than using its wings.

jumping blackbird

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was taking some refreshment in Russell Square when she noticed that she was being watched.

Susan's owl

We had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine and light winds, ideal for pottering about the garden so this is what I did.  I thought of going for a bike ride from time to time as it was also a perfect day for cycling but by the time that I had pottered about the garden all morning and a bit of the afternoon too, the heat of the day had rendered me too melted to pull myself together enough to go cycling.

Through the day, flowers caught the eye, both singly…

four bright flowers

…and in clumps…

four bright clumps

…and they caught the eyes of insects too and the garden was loud with buzzing.

bee and hoverfly on poppy

In the face of hot competition, this was my favourite single flower of the day…

calendula

…though for a knock ’em dead effect, it was hard to ignore the phlox…

phlox phlurry

…which is phlourishing greatly.

another phlox phlurry

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I was picking beans and digging potatoes in the morning.

We had a good selection today:

A red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…a peacock…

peacock butterfly

…a painted lady…

painted lady butterfly

…and a small tortoiseshell…

small tortoisesgell butterfly

…and lots of plainer butterflies too.

white butterfly

There were several of each variety and it was hard to miss the butterflies as they flew about the garden.

It was pretty warm in the sun so I had to go inside from time to time just to cool down.  Not being able to stand the heat outside at one point, I went into the kitchen and made some soup for lunch using potatoes, beans and an onion from the garden.

Later, I spent some time inside watching the birds and was pleased to see a few goldfinches about.

goldfinch sparrow siskin

The number of siskins has decreased lately so they must be moving on but the goldfinches still had to wait for a free perch…

goldfinch perching

…. because there are a great number of sparrows about and they are very boisterous…

sparring sparrows

…very boisterous indeed.

squabbling sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal had been at a series of meetings in the morning but she buckled down to some serious gardening in the afternoon and only paused when these three wise men appeared at our gate.

three old men

Gavin, Mike and Charlie had been out on the hills checking on one of the Langholm Walks routes and replacing marker discs on the guideposts where necessary.  Their voluntary work is valuable as the walks bring many visitors into the town.

I mowed the front lawn and then I did some compost sieving.

As I found that I had emptied Bin D when I had finished, I shifted the compost that hadn’t gone through the sieve and which had been resting in Bin C back into Bin D and then, after a short sit down, I shifted the contents of Bin B into Bin C.

This is exciting work but I needed another sit down after it so I took a camera in hand and sat on a chair beside the front lawn.  I was greatly entertained as I rested by the persistent demands of a young blackbird to be fed by its long suffering parent.  One worm was never enough.

blackbird feeding young

Then I went in and made incessant demands of my own until Mrs Tootlepedal made our evening meal.

I haven’t done much walking lately, as I am trying not to make my feet worse but it was such a lovely evening after tea, that it seemed a crime not to go for a short walk, so I went.

A reflection in the dam caught my attention as I crossed the bridge when I left the house.

dam reflection

The park and the river beside it were full of children swimming in the river and cycling round the park so in Langholm at least, the idea that all children these days spend their time sitting inside staring at their screens is obviously not true.

The park was looking at its best.

 

Buccleuch Park

Several of the poplar trees along the river bank had to be cut down in recent years but the ones that remain look good on a day like today.

Poplars in Buccleuch Park

I walked nervously past two monsters…

two monsters Buccleuch Park

…and through the wood until I got to the Murtholm.

murtholm

It was such a lovely warm night that I was tempted to walk along the river bank to Skippers Bridge and back on the far side of the river but good sense prevailed and I turned back and walked home along the track on the top of the bank above the river.

easton's walk

This is the last post for some time in which birds on the feeder will appear, as the warm wet weather and the tendency of siskins to spill seeds when they eat has made the feeder area too smelly for comfort and I am pausing the feeding for a while.  There is plenty of other food for the birds about.

So the flying bird of the day today is a farewell sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce who is in the north east of Scotland.  He had a warm and sunny day yesterday when he visited Haddo House, a Scottish stately home located near Tarves in Aberdeenshire.

Haddo House

We had a warm but far from sunny morning here as the rain made its presence felt.

I was happy to stay in out of the rain because I was expecting a call from an engineer who was coming at some time between eight and twelve to install smart meters in the house.  Life likes to play little pranks on unsuspecting old people so when the phone rang and I was expecting the engineer to answer, I was quite surprised to find it was the hospital.  I was even more surprised when after waiting three months for an appointment with the physio, they told me that they had had a cancellation and I could see the physio today.

Oh joy….but then, the appointment was for one o’clock and I couldn’t take it as, with Mrs Tootlepedal away in Edinburgh, I had to be present while the meters were being fitted and I couldn’t guarantee that it would be finished by one o’clock.  The charge for cancelling the meter fitting at short notice was £130.  Oh calamity….and then, the cream of the jest…. when the hospital had rung off, the engineer rang soon afterwards to say that he was on his way and in the end the job was finished before half past ten…but the appointment had gone.  How I laughed.

Still, Dropscone came round for coffee bringing with him a pile of his fine drop scones so life wasn’t all dust and ashes.

After Dropscone left (with added rhubarb), the rain continued and I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group website.  Finally things dried up and after a light lunch, I went up to the Laverock Hide to fill the feeders in my capacity as a fill-in feeder filler for friends who were absent.

I took this shot of the hide with its slightly tousled toupee and its eyes closed as I walked back up to it after filling the feeders.

Laverock Hide

I went in, opened a window and sat down but I might as well have left the window shut for all the birds that I saw.

A blackbird was slipping and sliding about…

blackbird moorland feeders

…and a chaffinch perched for a moment in front of me…

chaffinch moorland feeders

…but that was all the excitement for the day.

A beautiful orchid outside the hide cheered me up as I left.

Orchid laverock Hide

I walked round the garden when I got home, doing a bit of dead heading as I went and enjoying some raindrops caught on a fine web…

droplets on web

…and a very soggy bee hard at work…

soggy bee on knapweed

…and noting that the berries on the tropaeolum are turning blue.

tropaeolum blue berries

It started to rain again, so I went in and watched our own birds.

A greenfinch looked as though it thought very much the same as me about the weather…

glum greenfinch

…while a sparrow just concentrated hard on nailing the landing.

landing concentration

The weather lightened up and a jackdaw arrived to stock of the situation…

jackdaw under feeder

…while I went out into the garden again.

The sweet peas looked…

sweet pea in garden

…very pretty…

looking up to sweet pea

…and the Charles Ross apples are coming on well.

apples getting ready

When the sun came out, I went on a butterfly hunt and spotted a painted lady straight away.

painted lady butterfly on buddleia

If you want to know what a painted lady looks like from straight behind, this is it.

back view of painted lady butterfly

Later on, I had another look and saw a couple more.

painted lady butterfly panel

I even saw a peacock butterfly as well.

peacock butterfly

Then it was time for the main business of the day, a drive to Lockerbie Station to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up from the Edinburgh train.  My timing was perfect and I walked onto the platform as the train drew in.  Mrs Tootlepedal alighted and we drove home.

She had been watching Matilda dance in a competition in Musselburgh and reported that Matilda had done well.

When we got back, she noticed that the acidanthera which she is growing in pots have also done well and the first flower on one of them had come out while she had been away.  The internet tells me that this delightful flower is also called the Abyssinian gladiolus so it has come a long way.

acidanthera

Our new smart meters seem smart enough to let our electricity and gas keep working so that is a relief.  The little gadget that comes with the meters to let us monitor our consumption in real time doesn’t work yet so they are not that smart.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin threading its way through the rain to the feeder.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who met Aethelflaed, (daughter of Alfred the Cakes Burner), Queen of the Mercians standing in front of Tamworth Castle. He tells me that she led the successful military assault on Derby in 917, which was so decisive, that it resulted in Mercia being fully recovered from the Vikings.

Aethelflaeda

It was generally a rather grey, drizzly and miserable morning here which wasn’t made any better by the departure after breakfast of Mrs Tootlepedal on a two day visit to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  I was cheered up by some bright flowers in the garden…

three raindropped flowers

…and the arrival of Sandy for coffee.  We exchanged news, sympathised with each other’s foot problems (his are worse than mine) and talked Archive Group business.

When he left I was motivated by our archive talk to go and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  This took some time because the edition was unusually full of content.

Before I sat down at the computer, I had a look at the birds.  The rain came and went every few minutes as I watched the sparrows.

sparrow on nuts

There are several sparrow families on the go at the moment.

sparrow feeding on feeder

This sparrow, using a sunflower as an umbrella, hadn’t noticed that the rain had stopped again.

sparrow with umbrella

I made myself some scrambled eggs for lunch and after listening to the news (nothing about Langholm on it today), I went out into the garden to check on the weather.

It was raining sparrows.

They rose from the ground in a cloud when I went into the veg garden and settled on our neighbour Betty’s garage roof.

sparrows on Betty's roof

This was just a fraction of the flock.

The weather looked set fair for a bit and the forecast was good so I decided on a cycle ride.  The was a blustery wind coming from ENE and as my usual route starts by going west, this would have meant cycling home into the wind.  I therefore decided to head north today, hoping that getting a crosswind in both directions wouldn’t be as bad as pedalling straight into the wind for half my trip.

This proved to be a sound decision as the bends and twists in the roads gave me a nicely varied diet of cross, behind and ahead breezes and added variety to the journey.

I still went very slowly though as it is quite a hilly route…

Road to benty

…but going slowly can be a good thing if you want to look at the view and keep an eye on the verges,

harebells

Harebells

The ride is not short of views…

meeting of the Esks

The junction of the Black and White Esks

…and includes my favourite bridge, not so much for the bridge itself, which is neat but modest, as for its setting in the surrounding countryside.black esk bridge

Once over the bridge, I cycled along one of my favourite roads.  It has a reasonable surface, no traffic, gentle gradients, fine trees…

road to castle O'er

…and verges rich in flowers and with snacks available every so often.

Castle oe'r verges

The route is part of the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail and I passed three hill forts as I went along, Bailiehill, Castle O’er and Bessie’s Hill, which are all worth a visit if any local blog reader has not visited them before.

I didn’t have time to stop and visit today and I pressed on through the village of Eskdalemuir until I came to our little bit of Tibet in Dumfriesshire.

It comes as something of a surprise when you first see the statue of the god Nagarjuna in the garden of the Kagyu Samye Ling Centre but you soon get used to it.

statue at Samye Ling

There were some lovely water lilies in the pond surrounding the god.

lily at Samye Ling

And the stupa was as impressive as ever.

Stupa at Samye Ling

I had a close look at one of the flags beside the path.  Research on the internet tells me that the flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.

tibetan flag at Samye Ling

There was plenty of wind today so perhaps we should put out more flags.  We need a lot of goodwill and compassion at the moment.

On my way up to Eskdalemuir, I had followed the west bank of the Esk so on my way home, I decided to cross the bridge at Eskdalemuir….

bridge at Eskdalemuir

…and follow the east bank back to Bentpath.

I was a little tired by this point on my journey as it was quite a hilly route, but I was nothing like as weary as this lot, flat out in a field beside the bridge.

tired sheep

I had a last look north along the Upper Esk valley…

views upper esk valley

…and headed south.

I stopped near Georgefield for this view of the river…

esk near Westerhall

…and had a final stop for some guava jelly and a drink at Bentpath.  I was very impressed by the lichen on the wall…

lichen at benty

…and this use of an old wheelbarrow.

barrow at Benty

I was aiming to do thirty miles to bring me up to four hundred miles for the month and ended up doing thirty two miles so I was very pleased with my ride.  Even a little shower of rain in the last mile or so did not dampen my spirits.

The rain didn’t last and I was able to mow the front lawn when I got home and pick yet more sweet peas.  A reader asked for evidence about the great number of sweet peas I claim to have been picking, so here is the current collection.

sweet peas

Many bunches have been given to neighbours and many vases have been emptied and the dead flowers thrown away so this represents only a fraction of this year’s crop.

In the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal, I am having a very quiet night in.

The flying bird of the day is being shouted at in a very rude manner.

flying sparrow (with siskin)

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