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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 our son Tony and shows one of his dogs relaxing in his garden.  He tells me that he sun (almost) always shines in East Wemyss.

cof

When I woke up this morning, I was very happy to find that the sun was shining and my feet were not hurting.  Life was good and it got better when I went out into the garden after breakfast and found a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) sunning itself on a Sweet William.

painted lady on sweet william

Things improved even further when Dropscone arrived for coffee, bringing scones of the highest quality with him.  Add to that a passing visit from our friend Gavin who stayed for a cup of coffee and happiness was to be found all around.

In the garden, when the visitors had departed, there was plenty of cheerfulness too. We have three different astrantias and they are all doing well…

three astrantia

…and the painted lady was back showing both sides of its wings.

painted lady panel

On the feeder, a siskin stood for a moment before getting a seed.  (This is a rare siskin picture for me as it wasn’t taken through a window.)

siskin not through window

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the garden equivalent of housekeeping after the pole excitements when she found this quite unexpected but very pretty iris in the middle of a bed.  Where it has come from is a mystery, as she didn’t plant it.

new yellow iris

Long established irises should not be overlooked though.

old blue iris

Two days of warm sunshine had brought life to the garden and plants asked to be photographed, both in the form of Jacobite roses…

Jacobite rose

…and the butter and sugar iris.

butter and sugar iris

The painted lady returned to another Sweet William and let me get a close up.

painted lady on sweet william 2

The tropoaeolum has burst into flower as well.

tropaeloum flower out

In between running around snapping at flowers, I mowed the front lawn and lent a hand with the garden tidying until it was time for Mrs Tootlepedal to drive off to Newcastleton for an embroiderers’ lunch.

I made a pan of soup for my lunch, did the crossword and then headed out on my bike to see how my legs were feeling after yesterday’s effort.

I chose a route where the wind would be across and hoped that bends in the road would mean that it would frequently change from hostile to helpful as I went along as I didn’t fancy another long spell of battering into the brisk breeze.

I chose a more hilly route but my legs were unfazed and carried me along without complaint.  My windy plan worked well and I didn’t have any long struggles into the teeth of the breeze, but all the same, I adopted a very gentle pace and stopped to take many pictures as I went along.  Here are a sample.

A mown field and a variety of greens made a interesting picture as I cycled down the hill from Peden’s View.

mowed field

There was a pretty selection of hawkweed and daises at Bentpath village (and another painted lady which didn’t get into the picture).

wild flowers at Bentpath

The Esk looked serene when viewed from the Benty Bridge.

esk from benty bridge

The shadows on the back road past Georgefield look attractive but they are a snare for cyclists as it is hard to spot potholes among them and there are plenty of potholes on this section.

road ar Westerhall

I got through safely though and was able to admire this small prairie of buttercups near Enzieholm Bridge.

filed of buttercups enzieholm

When I looked more closely, I found that below the buttercups, the field was also full of yellow rattle.

sweet ratle in buttercup filed

There was a lot of traffic on the road on my way home…

sheep on Benty road

…but I got back in good spirits after fifteen very pleasant miles.

Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her lunch and was busy in the garden again so I joined her in a supervisory role and took more flower pictures from time to time.

six brilliant flowers

It was a perfect day and all the better because we have had so few good days lately.

The only fly in the ointment came in the evening with the news that Scotland had failed to hang on to a three goal lead in a crucial game in the Women’s World Cup football tournament.  I wisely hadn’t watched the game because I wasn’t in the mood for needless suffering.

I didn’t find the necessary time to catch a flying bird today as it wasn’t a good day to spend a lot of time indoors, so a sitting blackbird of the day takes the position instead.

blackbird on fence.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was impressed by this polite message on an Edinburgh tram…especially as the delay was only for three minutes.

tram message

The jet stream is currently rushing down one side of the British Isles and up the other, trapping some quite chilly air over the top of us and bringing some brisk winds and unsettled weather with it.

Under these circumstances, today was a pretty good day, quite cool for the time of year and windy too but dry from morning till night.  As I was expecting far worse weather it took me some time to get adjusted to the reality but I managed to get going in the end and went for a cycle ride, mowed the drying green, sieved some compost, did some dead heading and shredded a lot of hedge clippings arising from the activities of Attila the Gardener so I didn’t waste the day entirely.

The first thing that I did was to take the new camera out into the garden and have a poke about with it.

A red poppy stood out, the first of the year.

red poppy

I was looking straight down on it so my feet also figure in the shot

Ironically, this is not one of the many that Mrs Tootlepedal is nurturing with great care in the flower gardens but one that came up of its own accord on a path in the vegetable garden.  Such is the gardener’s life.

The ligularias are just beginning to show….

ligularia

….and Crown Princess Margareta (top left in the panel) has come to join the other roses.

roses

The philadelphus between the lawns is a great sight…

philadelphus

…but there are other varieties in bloom too.  This one is in the back bed.

philadelphus

I took a walk round the vegetable garden where there are encouraging signs that Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress is paying dividends.  I hope to be able to provide pictorial proof of this soon.  Meantime, the blackcurrants are colouring up…

blackcurrants

…and it will be a race between me and the birds to see who can get most of them as it is too much trouble to net them.

The potatoes are flowering freely….

early potatoes

These are the early potatoes

early potatoes

And this is a main crop

We have had radishes, lettuces, assorted leaves, beetroot, spinach, turnips, strawberries and gooseberries already so on spite of a cool dry spring, things are going reasonable well.  If it wasn’t for a voracious flock of sparrows, Mrs Tootlepedal’s bêtes noir, things would be even better.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair and left me looking very well groomed.

She then went off to help with the lunches at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a bowl of soup and got the fairly speedy bike out.   I had watched my neighbour Ken set off for a 30-40 mile ride in the morning but my ambitious were more modest in view of the brisk easterly wind and I settled for a run round my 20 mile Canonbie route with stops for wild flowers.

The wind was strong enough to make me hold on to the handlebars pretty firmly as I went across the exposed hilly section of the route but by good luck, the wind mostly came at me from one side or the other and I hardly had to pedal straight into it at all.  The result was a most enjoyable ride.

I saw that the orchids in the verge which Genghis the Grasscutter had missed were developing well….

wauchope roadside wild flowers

…and they had company too so I was able to take all four photos within a few yards of each other.

The wind was very favourable as I went down the Canonbie by-pass so I admired the many orchids there in passing.  I would like to have got some pictures as there were some fine flowers but stopping after you have seen a good subject when you are doing 20mph means that you have always gone too far beyond the photo to make it worth while walking back.

I waited until I got to a slower section where Genghis has not yet visited with his cutter before I stopped again.  This is what a verge should look like.

wild verge

I saw a fine thistle….

thistle

…the first rosebay willowherb….

rosebay willowherb

…and lots of both of these.

umbellifer and meadowsweet

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got back and this was when I did the mowing and sieving.

And a little more flower shooting.

delphinium, sweet william and Rosa Mundi

Delphinium, Sweet William and Rosa Mundi providing ‘Glorious Technicolour’

I had taken my old Lumix with me on the cycle ride as I thought it might rain and I didn’t want to get the new camera wet and these garden pictures were also taken with it.  It is on its best behaviour just now and I will keep using it on cycle rides until it gives up entirely, as being stuffed in a sweaty back pocket and bumping up and down on poor road surfaces is probably not the best environment for a camera.

The nectaroscordum have finished flowering and are looking a little bit like the turrets on French Chateaux now.

nectaroscordum

The plums are looking promising….

plums

…but we will need a bit of warmer weather to bring them along.

The bee population on the astrantia had changed today and there were a great number of white tailed bumble bees tucking in.

white tailed bumble bees

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to enjoy a screening of Verdi’s Otello from Covent Garden at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing at a practice for Henry’s compact Common Riding choir.

We both enjoyed ourselves very much in our own way.

Thanks to the cooler weather, the bees were less flighty today so the non flying non bird of the day is one of the bumble bees on the astrantia.  It posed for my macro lens on the Nikon.

white tailed bumble bees

I would like to thank all those who commented on yesterday’s post.  You can imagine how good is it to receive such encouraging remarks.  I will try to live up to them.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who met these sea creatures while on a walking holiday in the west.

sea creatures

According to the forecast, the weather for the rest of the week and beyond is going to be cold, wet and windy so we tried to make good use of a very pleasant day today.

After breakfast I had a little business to do on the computer and then I went up to the Archive Centre to pick some more of the sheets that the industrious data miners had piled up ready for entering into the database.

After that, I spent as much time out of doors as I could.  Mrs Tootlepedal spent all day out in the garden, planting, trimming, tidying and generally providing me with as many beautiful things to photograph over the next few months as is humanly possible in our climate.

I spent time shredding hedge clippings, trimming the clematis over the back door so it doesn’t get into the gutter….

clematis

…sieving compost and mowing lawns.

The front lawn is still very mossy so I got the scarifier out and scarified it for the third time this year.  I am anxious not to have to re-seed the lawn so I have the scarifier on a gentle setting but Mrs Tootlepedal was still impressed by how much moss came out.   I was rather de-pressed.  We shall see in a week or two whether the work was worthwhile or not.

I had plenty of time between tasks to appreciate the fruits of Mrs Tootlepedal’s labours.

philadelphus

The philadelphus between the two lawns is superb this year.

philadelphus

There are other varieties around the garden.

The white Scotch roses are looking well too.

scotch roses

I trimmed one side of the yew before the perennial nasturtium crept round the corner….

tropaeolum

…but I can’t trim this side at the moment.  The nasturtium is growing furiously.

tropaeolum

Today Wauchope Cottage, tomorrow, the world.

The Rosa Goldfinch is also thriving and makes a grand sight from a distance….

rosa goldfinch

…and from close up.

rosa goldfinch

As well as the usual crowd on the astrantia there were visitors elsewhere in the garden…

rose and insect

hawkweed and bee

…and there was a very satisfactory buzz about the place.

The violas and ox eye daisies in the bed round the bird feeder are doing exceptionally well this year and they continue to provide a feast of colour…

violas and daisies

…with the help of some geums and Welsh poppies.

For added colour, more coral peonies are coming into flower.

peony

I was anxious not to waste what might turn out to be the last decent cycling day of the month so I got the fairly speedy bike out and pedalled gently up and down the Wauchope road for 22 miles.  This brought my monthly total to 400 miles.  This means that even if I don’t get out again before July comes, I have covered enough miles to hit my target for the month of June.

I stopped on my way up the road to admire a spiky yellow wild flower….

spiky yellow wild flower

…which Mike Tinker tells me is agrimony.

Nearby, an umbellifer had the inevitable visitor.

umbellifer with insect

If you find one of these on a dry day without a friend or two, it is most unusual.

And there was also this to catch the eye.

thistle

Three flowers for the price of one stop was very good value.

I made a second stop when I was pedalling along the banks of the Esk in the town to have a look at two oyster catchers beside the river.

oyster catchers

I wonder if this is mother and child

I did stop again on my third lap when, out of the corner of my eye,  I saw that Genghis the grass cutter had failed in his attempt to slaughter every orchid beside the road.

orchid

I hope that this one will survive.

I got home in time to pick a few strawberries to make some more jam as the last batch has proved very popular and is disappearing rapidly.

My flute pupil Luke came and we did some more work on our Haydn trio.  Working out the timing for a slow movement with a good mixture of demi-semi quavers, semi-quavers, quavers and crotchets (with the occasional triplet thrown in) requires a lot of hard work and concentration but we are progressing.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and playing works by Telemann, Boismortier and Mozart gave us great pleasure.

If this does prove to be the last day of good weather for some time, at least we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

The flying bird of the day hasn’t quite taken off yet.

oyster catcher

The third oyster catcher beside the river this afternoon

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a very nice bridge that my sister Mary met in the Lake District last week.  You can see Lancrigg Hotel in the background.  She tells me that Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry there.

Lancrigg Hotel in the background where Wordsworth used to sit and write poetry.

After our brief burst of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, we were promised a day of continual rain and temperatures of no more than 13°C to start the new week off.  I was prepared to spend a day indoors, well wrapped up, doing those useful tasks which had been neglected while the great outdoors had been so tempting recently.

However it seems that changing weather patterns have made it harder than usual for the big predicting computers to grind the data accurately enough to give a reliable ‘day ahead’ forecast and in real life, we enjoyed a dry-ish day with occasional bits of rain and a  very tolerable 17°C temperature.

As a result, I only did some of the useful tasks that I should have done and not quite as many as I would have liked. Walking round the garden and getting out further afield kept interrupting my work flow.

I did spend most of the morning putting a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, catching up with correspondence and memorising songs for Sunday’s concert and I only got out into the garden just after midday.

I took a few pictures with my phone camera to see how it took to flowers.  I tried it on a wide view…

lupins

…and a close up…

geum

A fancy geum

…and on a decorative shrub…

spirea

A spirea

…and I thought that it did quite well.

My Lumix is getting quite unreliable as the zoom keeps sticking and I am thinking about a replacement.  An article I read suggested that compact cameras have had their day now that phone cameras are so good and it is true that when conditions are perfect, a phone can do a good job but you don’t have anything like the control that you need when things are not so helpful.

I couldn’t take a satisfactory picture of some white flowers with it at all.

I made and ate some potato soup for lunch and then went out and mowed the middle lawn and took some more flower pictures with the Lumix.

I found a pretty flower in one flower bed just the like the wild one which I had found beside the road a day or two ago.  I was very pleased…

vetch

…but Mrs Tootlepedal was most unhappy.  “That’s vetch,” she said, “It’s a pest, get it out of there.”

I pulled it all up as best as I could and realised that it was indeed a bit of a problem as it had crept and crawled all over the bed.

I turned my attention to safer plants.

spirea

Another spirea showing an elegant curve

chimney pot

The chimney pot has just got its annual implant

There were a few bees buzzing around.  This one was sampling the comfrey.

bee on comfrey

In spite of the forecast, the weather seemed to be set fair for a bit so Mrs Tootlepedal and I ventured out on an unexpected cycle ride.  Once again we went up the Wauchope road but on this occasion we added a little extra by visiting Cleughfoot and did eight and a half miles.

I got some additional exercise by stopping to take flower pictures….

geraniums

Wild geraniums lining the roadside near the Auld Stane Brig

…and then racing to catch up Mrs Tootlepedal who, as you can see in the picture above, wastes no time in disappearing into the distance.  Still, when I do catch her up, she is a very useful extra pair of eyes scanning the verges.  She spotted this fine thistle.

thistle

I spotted one of those dandelion-like flowers which are not dandelions.  It is probably a hawkbit….

hawksbit

…and I was not the only one to have spotted it.

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t spot lichens but I do.

lichen

Wall art

It wasn’t very windy so it was very enjoyable cruising through the countryside looking at nature.  The scenery was sometimes pastoral…

Cleuchfoot valley

The road to Cleughfoot

…and sometimes watery.

Wauchope Watery

Wauchope Water at Bessie Bell’s

We stopped for a while at Bessie Bell’s so that Mrs Tootlepedal could marvel at the changes that time and rushing waters have brought to a favourite picnic spot when the children were young.

I looked at wild flowers.  They weren’t hard to find.

broom, geum, crossowort and buttercups

Broom, geum, crossowort and buttercups

The broom has just come out so it can be described as a new broom, I suppose.  It is very yellow indeed.

broom

The birdsfoot trefoil nearby had a lot of red about it…

birdsfoot trefoil

…and was looking very pretty.

When we got home, we were joined by Mike Tinker for a cup of tea and a biscuit and by large numbers of sparrow families who were enjoying the fat balls outside the kitchen window.

sparrows

After tea, i went back to the song learning and put one into the computer which helps by playing the music for me so I can’t cheat and look at the words which  I tend do if I am picking out the part on our keyboard.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we started work on a Haydn trio sonata.

I was out in the garden doing some deadheading yesterday when I accidentally knocked the head off an iris.  Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it might flower indoors if she could find a suitable vase and she was quite right.  I took a picture of it on the kitchen table and we were surprised to find that two of my cameras thought that it was quite a different colour than we did.  It still looked good though.

iris

It looked a much darker purple to us.

The sharp eyed will notice that somehow or other, a greenfly has got to the flower.  How it had manged this, when the flower was brought into the house completely unopened, is a mystery.

If all the forecast cold and wet days are as nice as this one turned out to be, I won’t complain at all.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Gavin who is in the North East of England where he caught Lindisfarne Castle glowing in the evening sunshine.

Lindisfarne Castle

We had plenty of sunshine to glow in ourselves today as it was a really pleasant summer day, sunny without being too hot and with an occasional cloud to add variety.

It should have been a good day for a pedal and our neighbour Ken had a worthwhile 60 mile outing but I had things to do as we are going away tomorrow for a week.

NB:  While I am away there will be no posts and this will be the first time in six years that I haven’t made an effort to post something every day.  The fact is that my right hand has got quite painful with arthritis in my thumb joint and so I am going to take the opportunity of the trip south to give my hand  a complete rest from photography, mouse and key board work and cycling in the hope that a short break will let it calm down.    I hope to resume hostilities next Monday.

It may be stating the obvious but it would be helpful if no one added any comments to toady’s post as I don’t like to have unanswered comments on a post and I will not be in a position to answer any.  I will take as read your inconsolable grief at not having to look at any more poppy pictures for a while.   As I won’t be reading anyone else’s posts, I would ask that authors of those that I read regularly shouldn’t do anything very exciting this week that I would be sorry to miss.

Meanwhile, I was busy hurting my hand in several ways today.

I took a lot of photographs in the garden.  The dahlias are having fun.

dahlias

The garden was full of insects.

beees and hoverflies

Nearly every flower seemed to have one of one sort or another…

yarrow and privet

….and some had two….

poppies with insects

…or even three.

Apart from a break to entertain Dropscone to a cup of coffee or two, we were out in the garden a lot making sure that things were as neat and tidy as possible.  There was a lot of dead heading and some uprooting and I mowed the middle lawn with the cutters a bit lower than usual.

I stopped to admire a colourful corner and get my breath back.

Colourful corner

The purple clematis on the fence is causing me to worry a bit.  The flowers seem to have four, five or even six petals and I wondered if there were different plants growing side by side…

clematis

…but Mrs Tootlepedal says that she thinks it is all the same one.

While I was looking at flowers, a dunnock scurried by and dashed under a bush.  They are very shy birds but we have at least one family in the garden.

dunnock

We also got our thoughts regarding packing in order and Mrs Tootlepedal checked my intended attire for Granny’s birthday party to ensure that it complied with regulations.

There was a glimpse of tortoiseshell butterflies but they were too quick for me to get a good shot.  Even the white butterflies were not in co-operative mood today.

butterflies

After lunch, with the garden under control and packing well in hand, we went for a drive to the Tarras Valley to make good use of the fine weather.  We drove as far up the valley as we could and when we reached Lodgegill, we got out for a short walk.  Two valleys meet at Lodgegill.

Byrecleuch Burn

The Byrecleuch Burn valley

Tarras Water valley

Tarras water valley

We chose to walk up the Tarras Water.  It is sheep country as you can see from the complete lack of trees or bushes.  On a sunny day in summer, it is a beautiful place for a walk, peaceful and calming.

There were things to look at as we went along and back again.

Lodgegill Sheds

Lodgegill gate

Lodgegill bridge

We went as far as this bridge

Tarras water

There were quite a few electric fences to be seen but there were some fine examples of dry stone dykes as well…

Dry stone dyke

…and this one had a fine lichen on it.

dry stone dyke lichen

Because of the sheep, there were no meadows of wild flowers but there were some to be seen…

wild flowers at Lodgegill

That was the only orchid we saw

Even the sheep leave the thistles alone.

thistle at Lodgegill

I stopped as we drove back down the road to capture a bridge with an accompanying ford.  We took the bridge.

Bridge at Cooms

It was a very satisfactory short walk but not one that I could do justice to with my camera.  The camera can’t look round and take in the whole scene as a walker can.

After a refreshing cup of tea and a slice of bread and lemon curd, a gift from our Friday visitors, I went out into the garden again and mowed the front lawn.  In a rather mean way, I am hoping that the weather stays nice and cool in Langholm while we are away so that there is not too much growth to cope with when we get back.  Pushing a push mower through long grass is hard work.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and he played a piece that he been practising with very good results.  We then set about a Telemann sonata for two flutes in canon which is going to need some hard work.    When the dark nights come, practice will be a more agreeable way to spend time than it is on lovely summer days.  We are never going to be maestros.

No flower of the day, no flying bird of the day, just a subdued farewell to blogging for a week.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Alistair and shows what Attila the Gardener can do when she visits her granddaughter with a pair of shears in her handbag.

Al and Clare's hedge

We had another grey and generally rainy morning today and I was happy to stay inside and prepare a lamb stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.  What made me even happier was that I was able to use the first onion of the year from the garden and one of the little white turnips in the cooking.

The gloomy weather made me think that an indoor picture might be good insurance in case going out was not going to be suitable for flower shots.

sweet pea in kitchen

The sweet pea was in the kitchen and outside the window, the feeder aerial ballet was relentless…

siskins

…and the sparrows and siskins had emptied the feeder before Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from church.

Happily, the rain eased off and I was able to go out.  The packets of dahlia seeds have produced a good variety of shape and colour in their flowers.

dahlias

Various lilies are doing well in spite of the cool damp weather.

lilies

I visited the vegetable garden and admired the flourishing main crop potato plants.

potatoes

The trouble with potatoes of course is that you never know how good they are, no matter how good they look, until you dig them up.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.  (Not that we use potatoes in puddings.)

As it stayed dry, I shifted a bit more compost from Bin C into Bin D and might have completed the job if Mrs Tootlepedal, back from church and needing coffee, and a heavy shower of rain hadn’t arrived at the same time.

I went in and prepared the bread maker to make a dozen rolls.

After lunch I had intended to go across to the Castleholm and watch some horse racing there but a persistent drizzle and a severe lack of light for action shots persuaded me that watching another potentially exciting stage of the Tour de France followed (hopefully) by the end of Andy Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon might be a better bet.

This was a good decision.

The cyclists had an interesting day of weather starting with searing heat at 30°C and ending up pedalling up a mountain at 10° in a torrential hailstorm.  They seemed very cheerful afterwards in spite of it all.

Andy Murray won without giving his supporters a heart attack, a very rare event.

After the tennis was over, I looked out of the window and seeing that the rain had stopped, I went off for a short walk.

The Sweet Williams made a gloomy day look very cheerful as I left the house.

Sweet William

There was plenty of water in the Wauchope as I went past the caul at Pool Corner….

Pool Corner

…and plenty to look at as I went round Gaskell’s Walk.

capillaris smooth hawksbeard

If I had paid more attention on our recent wild flower field day, I might know what this is.  There was a lot of it about and I am going to plump for Crepis  capillaris or smooth hawks-beard.  Our lecturer at Maryport told us that he had once given a well attended whole day class purely on ‘little yellow flowers that look like dandelions’ so I don’t feel too bad about not being certain.

As usual, it paid to give the flowers a close look.

insects on flowers

The Umbellifer on the left has a tiny insect on nearly every other flower when you look carefully.  The flower on the right is meadowsweet.

The umbellifer below had more than tiny insects on it.

umbellifer with hoverfly and red soldier beetles

I was pleased to see that there should be plenty more red beetles for me to photograph in the future.

Some things were easier to spot.

Thistle

And I could even see the Monument today as the clouds lifted.

Monument

The weather seemed to be quite good for the moment so I dawdled along taking anything that caught my eye…

stubholm gate

…until I got back down to the Esk at the park.

Esk

The wet weather after the warm and sunny month before has ensured that everything is growing at full belt.

I disturbed a family of ducks who paddled off rather crossly…

ducks on Esk

…before getting home just in time to take a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal’s latest poppy….

poppy

Yes, it is a poppy and not a peony. Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like it much. I had to hold its head up.

…before dashing indoors as another heavy shower of rain arrived.

The weather is set to look up in the week ahead so a couple of quiet days won’t do me any harm as long as I can get out on my bike again soon.

The (wild) flower of the day is a ragwort which I met on my walk.

ragwort

And the flying bird is one of the seed demolishing siskins in the light drizzle.

flying siskin

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