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Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who noticed that some keen guerrilla gardener had embellished one of the trees in her street.

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The forecast was for light winds and a dry, cloudy day here today, so I formulated a more realistic plan than yesterday.  It had exactly the same result.  I went out cycling at about eleven o’clock having disposed of a leisurely breakfast, the crossword and some coffee.  I like it when a plan comes together.

I also added to my plan a slightly less challenging route than yesterday.  The downside of that was less scenery as I was ploughing a familiar furrow.  However, it was a good day for cycling as there was not enough breeze to get the wind turbines turning.

When I stopped after ten miles for a banana and a swig of water, I thought that the bare tree, the grey clouds and the power lines made for a somewhat gloomy picture…

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…but a look in another direction from the same spot brought a little more colour into the day.

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Every now and again, there was a touch of genuine colour to enjoy.

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As you can see in the picture above, the verges and the hedges have been thoroughly trimmed so there is not a lot to see there and the only bit of flower colour that I passed was on the edge of the motorway between Gretna and Carlisle.

When they  built the new motorway and the service road that runs beside it which I use, they planted a lot of shrubs and sowed many wild flowers.  As a result it is often more colourful than some of the long established country roads.

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I paused at the old Toll House at Gretna and fuelled up on a plate of egg and chips and a latte.  Thus refreshed, I cycled down into England and enjoyed this little scene at Blackford before I crossed the main road and began my journey home.

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I stopped at the bridge over the River Lyne at Cliff for a tuna sandwich and tried to catch a reflection of the birds flying above the water to use as flying bird of the day.  I didn’t capture a flying bird but I quite liked the reflections of the trees anyway.

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And bridge parapets are often interesting places…

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…if you look closely.

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My final stop was only a few miles from the end of my ride.  I took this picture to show the continued tree felling at Irvine House.  The road will look quite different when they are finished.

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Then I turned and headed over the bridge and back to Langholm.

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I was overcome by decimal fever when I got to the town and pedalled on through it for  a couple of miles to bring my total for the day up to 55 miles and the total for the last two days up to 100 miles.  This seemed a good round number.

Thanks to the flattish nature of my route, I was able to maintain a better average speed today than yesterday.  I was aiming to do the first forty miles in under three hours which is par for the course for me these days and I achieved this target by the handsome margin of ten seconds.  Rather to my surprise, I kept the same average speed up for the rest of the journey, helped by the fact that the breeze had strengthened a bit by this time and was pushing me up the hill.  As I left Longtown on my way home, the wind turbines were just creaking into action.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal taking tea and shortbread with our neighbour Liz and her dog Riley.  Liz had very kindly brought over a tin of shortbread as a present from Riley for looking after him for a few days last week.  He is a thoughtful dog.

After tea and biscuits, I went out to see if I could find a flying bird in the garden.  There were still plenty of flowers (and a colourful leaf) about…

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…and even a bit of interesting fungus on a fallen branch…

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…but the birds were keeping their distance…

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…so I was just thinking of getting Mrs Tootlepedal to throw Mr Grumpy’s wooden cousin up into the air for a trick shot…

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…when fortunately a flying bird passed overhead in the nick of time.

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Here is a map of today’s outing and those interested can get further details by clicking on the image.

garmin route 15 Oct 2019

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew.  As well as the moon, Derby has been visited by the sombre ‘Knife Angel’, an artwork designed to highlight the problem of knife crime in Britain.

knife angel

Autumn gave us a sharp reminder that it is here with a chilly start to the day, not far above freezing.  But having nudged us in the ribs, it then provided us with a beautifully sunny day to cheer us up again.

All the same, it was too chilly to spend much time outside early on as my cold has not given up altogether.  I did pop out into the garden from time to time to enjoy the sunshine and watch birds…

chaffinch, blackbird, starlings

…and check that the flowers hadn’t been knocked out by the cold morning.  In general, the flowers had survived very well…

argyranthemum, cosmos, nasturtium

…and as the day warmed up…

verbena and nerine

…insects came out to enjoy the flowers too

insects on flowers

There were not many butterflies about but seeing any was a bonus.  I didn’t see any in October at all last year and 10th Oct was the last that I saw any in 2017 so we are right at the end of the butterfly season.

This red admiral looked to be in excellent condition.

red admiral butterfly

Rather annoyingly, the transplanted fuchsia finally showed a flower at the very last moment, much too late to be sensible, and…

fuchsia october

…Mrs Tootlepedal, worried about another cold night coming, picked a spray and took them indoors.

fuchsia indoors

Finally I spotted a butterfly on the sedum.

rd admiral on sedum

I made a leek, onion and potato soup for lunch, all from the garden, though I did add a little shop bought carrot for colour.

It had warmed up quite a bit by the time that lunch was over, so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some business, I got my bike out and tested my chest with a gentle twenty miles round my customary Canonbie circuit.

I wrapped up very well and in the sunshine, it was really a good day for cycling for semi invalids.

I was a bit alarmed to see that my favourite tree has already lost all its leaves…

bare tree bloch

..but other trees are hanging on.

two trees with leaves

It was another clear day and i could see the Lake District hills clearly on the far side of the gleaming Solway.

view over Solway

Canonbie Church was looking at its best…

Canonbie Church

…and when I looked around, the trees at Canonbie seem undecided about changing colour yet.

trees with leaves october

I stopped at Hollows Bridge for a rest and looking down at the rocks in the river, I could just make out…

hollows brodge view

…Mr Grumpy’s Canonbie cousin.

heron at hollows

Some of the route back from Canonbie is on the old A7, now bypassed by a wide new road, and it is hard to believe that this was once a busy main road.  It makes for a quiet ride now, although cyclists have to join the traffic on the main road for the last couple of miles back into Langholm.

old A7 seven sisters

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  Among other things, she is trying to pinpoint an annoying leak in our pond.  This may be an insoluble problem but Mrs Tootlepedal is not giving up yet.

I recorded a visit from a small tortoiseshell butterfly…

small tortoishell butterfly october

…and went off to sieve the last of the compost in Bin D.  When I had finished, I took the cover off the compost in Bin C and started to shift it into Bin D.  However, for one reason or another, the compost turned out to be in excellent condition, and I may be able to use it straight away without more shifting.

I have never managed to make such good compost so quickly before and I would like to know how I’ve done it.

good compost

It might be the steady warm weather we have had this summer, or possibly some careful layering of green and woody materials when it was put into Bin A, or perhaps just the right amount of moisture in the pile, or a combination of all of these things…or possibly pure chance.  Whatever the reason was, it will save a lot of sieving.

In the evening, I went off to the first meeting of the season of the Langholm community choir, ‘Langholm Sings’.  We have a new conductor and a new accompanist but because two concerts have been arranged in early December and we are going to be pushed for time, we are still singing some old and familiar songs.  As a result, the meeting was not quite as exciting as I had hoped.   Still, as hitting any low notes made me cough a bit, some undemanding work was probably a good thing.

As my cold is getting better, Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold has returned.  I hope that this sort of thing is going to stop soon.

The flying bird of the day was being checked out for style by an interested spectator.

flying starling and spectator

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s Highland holiday.  He went to Fraserburgh and saw not one but two lighthouses.

Fraserburgh Lighthouse

It was another tedious morning with lots of rain showers and just enough gaps between them to make you think that they might be stopping….but they didn’t.

After killing time to a background of Beatles music on the pop up radio channel, I went out in one of the gaps to get my new insoles which had been delivered to the Thomas Hope Hospital up in the town.

The rain stopped for long enough to get me up to the town, but having got me there, it rained on me all the way home.  How I laughed.

The birds didn’t think that it was funny either.

wet sparrow on fence

A starling just couldn’t get settled at all.

scrubby starling

I fried some sardines and had them on toast for my lunch and then wasted some more time.

I looked out of the back window and saw that the dam had risen a bit, so I thought that I ought to go and check on how the new sluice gate at Pool Corner was holding up.  It was raining, but it wasn’t windy and it was fairly warm so I took my brolly and set off

There was plenty of water going over the caul but the wall and sluice looked solid enough so I was reassured.

Pool Corner spate

Since I was out and about with a brolly and I had my new insoles in my shoes, I kept walking.  There was plenty of water coming down the Becks Burn…

Becks Burn spate

…but I thought that I would be safe enough to cross the little wooden bridge across the burn  higher up and took the road up the hill.

Looking back down at the Auld Stane Brig, the scene looked autumnal.

auld stane brig early autumn

I had hoped to see some fungus on my way, but some animal had got to this one before me.

eaten toadstool

By the time that I got to the bridge across the burn, the rain had stopped…

becks burn bridge

…but not long after I had crossed it, the rain started again, first with a little pitter patter and then with some serious intent and by the time that I got home, it was hammering down.

I settled down indoors to watch some cycling but after a while, I looked up and saw that the day had brightened a bit and the rain had stopped again.  I felt that I ought to give my new insoles a good work out, so I put them in different pair of  shoes and set off to see how far I could go before it started to rain again.

I had a quick tour round the  garden before I left just to show that the rain hadn’t flattened everything.

four soggy flowers

It was good to see that there are still buds ready to open.

One thing that the rain had done was to knock a few walnuts off our walnut tree.

dish of walnuts

I took the walnuts inside and while I was there, I spotted an old acquaintance through the window.

robin on drive

Leaving the robin to entertain itself, I walked down to the river.  It was fairly full but far from being in flood.

esk with water

I walked across the suspension bridge and up the road where I met another old friend on the Kilngreen.  He was surrounded by ducks.

kilngreen residents

I walked round the new path on the Castleholm.  An oak tree had a good collection of interesting things to show.

oak tree details

…and even after all the rain, an umbellifer was providing food for a hoverfly.

hoverfly on umbel

And then, out of the blue, the sun came out.

early autumn colour

It did point up how much some trees are changing already…

early autumn castleholm

…but it cheered up my walk a lot.

new path castleholm

The Langholm Agricultural Show is on tomorrow on the Castleholm and they must have been very worried by how much rain that there has been this week.  The news is that the show will go ahead regardless of the weather tomorrow and the stylish tents were positively sparkling in the welcome sunshine this evening.

Cattle show tent

Once again, the sun picked out the turning leaves in the trees behind the tents.

cattle show tent and trees

I didn’t want to overdo the new insole trial so I stuck to the short route home and got back without being rained on this time.

I was welcomed in by that spider.

spider

Looking at the very latest forecast, it seems that the Agricultural show could have a mostly sunny day tomorrow.  If that turns out to be true, I might put my new insoles into my wellies and pay a visit.  It will probably be quite muddy.

A starling is the flying bird of the day again.  They have very elegant wings I think.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He is visiting Aranjuez in Spain.  It is 30 mins from Madrid and is a town built around a Royal Palace.  His picture shows one of the rooms in the so called ‘Labourer’s House’.  I don’t think that the labourer lives there any more.

Aranjuez

We had a busy morning, and straight after breakfast we had to drive off to Annan where I had an appointment with the podiatrist in the hope that she would be able to suggest ways of getting me walking comfortably again.

While I went to the clinic, Mrs Tootlepedal passed the time with some shopping at a handy supermarket.

The podiatrist was sympathetic, very thorough and helpful.  She told me to stop doing one or two things that I have been doing and to start doing one or two things that I haven’t been doing and, more importantly, suggested that a certain type of shoe might be a sensible purchase.  As it happened such shoes are available at the Gretna shopping village and we had already planned to visit Gretna on the way home so that Mrs Tootlepedal could buy a skirt.  That was handy.

When we got to Gretna, there was a good selection of the ‘walking trainers’ with stiff soles that the podiatrist had recommended and I bought a pair that had the added advantage of being marked down to a very reasonable price.  Mrs Tootlepedal found a suitable skirt, so we drove home in a cheerful frame of mind.

It was another dry day, though not very sunny, and we had a look round the garden before we had lunch.  The sedums were very busy hosting various small life forms…

insects on sedum

…while the butterflies had spread out over the garden, some on the sedum, some seeking the sun and some sitting on stone.

three butterflies

The sunflowers are doing  very well, and all these five flowers come from a  single stem.

four garden flowers

After lunch, which was sweet corn and a sardine sandwich, I got my bike out and went off for a pedal.  The wind was light so I thought that I might risk going on a slightly hillier route than usual and headed north out of the town.  This involved going  up a couple of steep but short hills right at the start of the ride.  I went at them so slowly and cautiously that time lapse photography might have been needed to detect any progress.

Still, it meant that I got to the top of the hills in very good order and with no unnecessary creaking in the knees. so it was worth it.

I rode along, still going pretty slowly and with an eye out for a photo opportunity.  The Gates of Eden on a day of sunshine and shadow is always an opportunity not to be missed.

gates of eden spetember

(I checked and they have appeared on the blog at least nineteen times over the past nine years.)

Further up the valley, it became obvious that as the weeks go by, we are losing the green on the tops of our hills and colour is beginning to gently fade away.

Esk valley

I followed the Esk up stream and stopped to admire this stark example of timber management.

tree felling

When I had got to Bailliehill, my turning point at ten miles, I looked back down the Esk valley and took a little panorama of one of my favourite views.

bailliehill panorama

A click will give the bigger picture.

Coming back down towards Langholm, a colourful tree stood out among the green.

Tree above benty

And I couldn’t pass by the church and bridge at Bentpath without taking yet another shot of them…

benty church

…and as I was standing beside a wall while I was taking the picture of the church, I looked at it too.

three benty lichens

I had forgotten to take my phone with me so I was naturally expecting to be overtaken by a mechanical or human catastrophe with the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service unavailable, but I got back home without any unwanted adventures to find that the rescue service herself was resting after some hard work in the garden.

After a cup of tea and a shower, I thought that it would be a good idea to put my new walking shoes to the test so I went out for a short, flat walk round three bridges.

It can’t be ignored any more, autumn is definitely in the process of arriving.

riverside autumn leaves

At the Kilngreen, a duck was admiring its reflection in the water.

sombre duck ewes

On the Castleholm, some trees are getting ahead of themselves as far as autumn goes.

This tree always turns early….

 

tree turning castleholm

…but normally we would be waiting for October to come before we see any significant change in leaf colour.

castleholm trees seprember

I came home by way of the Duchess Bridge and found this little crop of fungus growing on a dead tree stump along the path.

riverside fungus

Our neighbour Liz’s garage rounded my walk off with a full blown burst of autumn colour.

liz's garage

My new shoes seemed to be quite satisfactory for a first go.  The podiatrist is going to send me some insoles for them which should make them even better, so I am cautiously optimistic about being able to get a bit more walking in before winter comes.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked lamb chops for tea and that rounded off a varied, useful and enjoyable day.

The flying bird of the day is having a little sit down.

sparrow on fence

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who was spotted by a deer on one of his walks.

ant's deer

It was another grey day today but although it promised to rain for quite a lot of the day, we got nothing worse than a few spots every now and again.

I went off to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast and was very disappointed to find that neither the  fishmonger nor the cheesemonger were present.  I made do with some stewing steak and honey and made my way home again.

As it wasn’t raining, I mowed the front and middle lawns and was pleased to find a fair amount of grass growing on both.  Then, following up a suggestion from the gardener, I went into the greenhouse to check on the argyranthemum.  It was a surprise to me to find that it has such a cheerful flower.

argyranthemum

I look forward to seeing it out in the garden in due course.

Things were generally looking quite cheerful in the garden in spite of the cloudy weather and the two and half inches of rain which we have had this week.

six flowers

I went out to look at the hedge along the road and found that it need trimming.  While I was there,  I looked back into the garden and saw the view which the passer by gets.

garden from road

I looked at some of the paler flowers…

four yellow and white flowers

…and went indoors to look at the birds and have lunch.

A pigeon was taking time out on a garden seat…

pigeon ion chair

…while the sparrows rushed busily about.

two sparrows incoming

After lunch, we went to a recital by our church organist Henry, seen here consulting with his page turner.

henry at the organ

He played the recital which he used for his degree examination recently.  Mrs Tootlepedal had heard him play it in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh last month but it was new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The recital is part of a series held to raise money for the restoration of the church organ.  I hope that they succeed in raising the substantial funds required as the organ is a delight to listen to, very clear and mellow in tone so that the audience doesn’t get the battering that some of the bigger cathedral organs administer.

We enjoyed a cup of tea and some dainty cakes after the performance and then we went home.

Once home, I spent some useful time practising the songs for our Carlisle Choir concert which is coming up next week and then I checked the weather forecast as I was thinking about a cycle ride.  Unfortunately the forecast was very gloomy, promising heavy rain shortly so I gave up the idea of pedalling and sieved some compost instead and had another walk round the garden.

A rhododendron which has been threatening to flower for some weeks, has finally got its act together.  It was worth the wait.

late flowering rhododendron

And on every side, hostas are growing.

four hostas june

In spite of the forecast, it didn’t  rain so I decided to put a brolly in my pocket and go for a walk until it started.

The recent rain has put a little water into the rivers but they are still pretty low as this view of the Kirk Brig shows.

daisies beside Wauchope

Beside the Esk, I spotted a pair of ducks.  The male was looking very calm while the female was making a big splash.

drake and duck

I crossed the river and walked along the Kilngreen under the supervision of a black headed gull.

black headed gull on post

The clouds were well down on the hills round the town…

cloud on Timpen

…but on the Castleholm, a cricket match was in full swing.

cricket in prgress

I didn’t stop to watch the game and turned to admire an ornamental horse chestnut tree instead.

red chestnut

I continued round the new path and enjoyed the new growth all around me, both looking up..

cones and wildflowers castleholm

…and down.

It was gloomy in the corner by the two noble fir trees and female and male fruits had an air of mystery about them.

noble firs castleholm

There were flowers beside the path including a lot of crosswort…

wild flowers castleholm

…and an unknown (to me) yellow flower and a superb hawthorn.

As I walked over the Jubilee Bridge and round the Scholars’ Field, the trees were full of interest…

tree fruits castleholm

…and there was lots to see at ground level too.

four wild flowers scholars

When I got home, I was amazed at how many pictures I had taken on such an unpromising day.  I have bunged a lot of them into the panels in spite of the poor quality of many of them just to show what I saw.

I was also rather annoyed to find that as time went on, there was no hint whatsoever of any of the forecast rain and much as I had enjoyed my walk, I could easily have gone for a decent cycle ride which would have done me more good.

Still, the lawns are cut, the compost buckets are full and I saw a lot of interesting things on my walk so I should regard it as a day on the credit side of the great ledger of life even it didn’t have a pedal in it.

The poor light made getting a good flying bird picture tricky so I have put in a gender balanced pair of sparrows today.

twi flying sparrows

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friends Mike and Alison.  They are on holiday on the shore of Loch Feochan in Argyll and this is the view from their front window.  They have chosen a good week for their trip.

Loch Feochan

We had a day of perfect weather here too, although there was still some winter chill left in the breeze.  The recent spell of dry weather means that pollen has been very heavy recently and our shiny new car often ends the day covered in a fine film of powder. This doesn’t help my asthma and although it doesn’t leave me gasping in the gutter it may explain why I found myself trying to sing a different hymn from everyone else at one stage during the morning’s church service.  Still, I managed to get home safely after the service and prepared a beef stew for the slow cooker.

Looking out of the kitchen window while I cooked, I watched our siskins monopolising the feeder again.

siskins

…or rather , nearly monopolising it, as the occasional sparrow did sneak in.

sparrow on feeder

I noticed something quite unusual going on beneath the feeder.  A greenfinch was diving in and out of a mini jungle of old daffodil leaves and guddling about furiously.  I don’t know what it was looking for at all.

greenfinch among daffodil leaves

When the stew was on, I had a short walk round the garden.  Pulsatilla Corner was looking quite exciting.

pulsatilla seehead

…and I spent quite a lot of time waiting for a male orange tip butterfly to settle down for long enough to let me take a picture.  It was too restless for me though and I had to make do with a female who did hang around for a few seconds.  Although the females don’t have orange tips to their wings, they are beautifully decorated all the same.

orange tip butterfly female

It was such a pleasant morning that I thought that I would try a little more gentle cycling therapy to stretch my sore ankle and took the slow bike out for a seven mile potter up and down the Wauchope road.

In spite of the efforts of the council to mow down every wild flower in sight, there are some about.

wild flowers up wauchope

And there were any amount of male orange tip butterflies too.  I kept on stopping to try to snap one but they kept on going and once again, I had to make do with more stable female specimens. As they were flying alongside male orange tip butterflies, I naturally assumed that they were females orange tips but when I looked at the shots on the computer, it became plain they they are green-veined white butterflies.

green veined white

This may explain why the male orange tip wasn’t hanging around.

To add insult to injury, a male orange tip actually came right up to my bicycle when I stopped at Wauchope Schoolhouse to take a picture of the locals there…

two bulls at schoolhouse

…and it actually sniffed at my front fork before heading off seconds before I could get my camera to focus on it.  I’ll get one, one of these days.

The trip back to Langholm was very enjoyable with the wind behind and the sun on my back.  I went down to the river before I went home and was happy to see an oyster catcher on the gravel beside the Esk.

oyster catcher by esk

I got back in time to have a plate of soup for lunch with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She has been doing some heavy spring cleaning over the past two days.  Spring has a lot to answer for.

After lunch we had the pleasure of gliding down to Carlisle in the the zingy little white thingy and in the sunshine, life felt very good.

Our choir practice was good fun.  Our conductor is always cheerful and full of zest but the fine weather had topped up her energy levels to “extra high” and she was on sparkling form and drove us onwards and upwards.  Two of our more senior choir members got married this week and in celebration, they came out to the front and the choir serenaded them with the appropriately entitled “O Love”.  They were much touched.  We were moved too.

The journey home was as enjoyable as the trip down.  For some reason, the air, which has tended to be rather hazy in recent weeks, magically cleared up today and the views were every fine.

I had a walk round the garden when we got back and found flowers old and new enjoying the day.

four eveining light flowers

This is the  first allium to make it to a perfect sphere.

allium sphere

When we had finished disposing of some of the stew with parsnips for our evening meal, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to spring cleaning and I went for a three bridges ‘walk’ on my slow bicycle to enjoy the evening light.

It certainly was enjoyable.

from Town Bridge evening light

And because the wind had dropped, it was still quite warm.

reflections in Ewes

I met a bunch of cyclists on the Kilngreen.  They were packing their bikes back into cars after a group outing.  They had just completed a hilly 102 mile ride round St Mary’s Loch.  I felt envious but a bit guilty too because we had done pretty well the same trip with Sandy not long ago but had needed a car to get round.

I pedalled gently on and was submerged in a sea of green

trees in spring

It was balm to the soul and banished any negative thoughts from my mind.

trees on Castleholm

I cycled back along the new path and enjoyed the variety of shapes and colours among the pine and fir trees that I passed.

An elaborate candelabra on a pine…

pine candelabra

…and the incipient cones…

noble fir female

…and packed male flowers on the noble firs.

noble fir male

And the best thing of all about the day was the fact that the gentle cycling seems to have eased off my sore ankle a lot.  It is now only mildly painful and quite supple.  If this remains true tomorrow morning, I will be very happy indeed.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin, getting ready to kick a friend off the feeder.

flying siskin in attack mode

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a fine display of wisteria spotted by my sister Susan on her way to catch a bus.

london wisteria

We had a frosty morning here, followed by a fine but chilly day with a brisk  and biting north wind.  If you were out of the wind, everything in the garden was lovely and if you weren’t, you got out of it as soon as you could.

I started the day with some shopping at our producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre where the essentials of life such as honey, cheese, haggis and fish were popped into my Canadian (courtesy of Mary Jo of Manitoba) shopping bag.  Then after another excursion to top up supplies from our corner shop, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to visit our friends Mike and Alison.  Their daughter Liz had arrived with her chainsaw to help Mike cut down the cherry tree at the front gate which had grown too big for its situation and which is due to replaced by a rowan.  They were making a good job of it but kindly broke off for long enough for Alison to offer us coffee and ginger biscuits (and a potted plant to take home with us)..

Later in the day, three bags of shreddings and sawdust arrived in our garden for which we will find very good uses.

When we got back, I took a walk round the garden in the sunshine.  A bee which should have been busy on the apple blossom was wasting its time on a dicentra, a new ranunculus, one of batch purchased at a very advantageous price by Mrs Tootlepedal, was looking sublime and one of the last of the tulips was trying to open wide.

dicentra, ranunculus tulip

It has been an odd year, and I noticed when I looked back at a blog of a year ago, that we still had lots of daffodils out and the tulips were at the peak on this day then.

Now almost all the daffodils are gone and most of the tulips too.  We are in a pause, waiting for azaleas and alliums to appear.  I saw a very fine spider’s web, the sole rhododendron flower that is fully out, a hosta that is developing well and some mustard grown for green manure whihc is coming up in the vegetable garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal is very keen on mustard.

hosta mustard web and rhodie

In the absence of much bright colour, the greens are doing their best to keep me entertained.

fern and euphorbia

A pair of blackbirds appeared on the front lawn…

blackbird pair on lawn

…and a pond skater stopped skating for long enough for me to take its picture.

pond skater

Although my feet are still not co-operating properly, I felt it was too cold and windy for a pleasant cycle ride so I went for a walk after lunch.

There was plenty to take my mind off my feet as I went along.  Daisies and cherry blossom lined my walk along the bank of the Esk between the bridges.

daisies and cherries beside esk

And a pair of oyster catchers looked as though they might be setting up home on the gravel bank above the town bridge.

oyster catchers on gravel

In spite of the chilly wind, a cricket match on the Castleholm pitch reminded me that it is May and the season has well and truly got under way.

langholm cricket club

Sound defence with a straight bat was the order of the day.

LCC match

I walked on up the Lodge Walks with any amount of flowers to keep me company.

lodge walk wild flowers

I had met my friend Nancy as I was crossing the Langhom Bridge and she told me that she was going to check out the bluebells in the woods above the Lodge Walks because she is leading a visiting group of walkers on a bluebell hunt next week.  Taking the hint, I walked up a path through the wood.  She will have plenty of bluebells to show the visitors.

bluebells in lodge walk wood

It has been a good spring for bluebells.

bluebells above holmhead

As I went along the path at the top of the wood, I could see more bluebells mixed in with other wild flowers.

six lodge walk wild flowers

I came back down to the waterside and walked back along the bank of the Esk.  The paths are at their best.

two castleholm paths

Looking across the field, I saw the sun pick out a small tree surrounded by larger specimens.  I liked the way that grazing cattle have kept the bottom of the tree looking so neatly trimmed…

castlholm tree

…and looking around, I saw that it was not the only one.

cattle cropped trees

I came back to the cricket ground to find the game still going on and watched a fielder at long leg doing what cricketers do a lot of, standing around.  He had found a good spot for standing around though, surrounded by fine trees and with the ruins of Langholm castle in the background.  He had plenty to look at if the game got boring.

outfileder and castle

A dandelion clock told me that time was getting on so I headed for home…

dandelion clock

…passing my favourite sight of the whole walk.  It was almost as though nature had taken up flower arranging.

saplings scholars

The wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field has a good crop of flowers growing out of cracks and crevices.  I saw ivy leaved toadflax, wild strawberries and corydalis.

wall flowers

I was ready for a cup of tea when I got home and then we got into our new little car and went off to collect some more wood chips.  On our return, we put the wood chips onto one of the paths in the remodelled part of the vegetable garden…

chipped paths

…and parked the little white thingy.  It hadn’t gone far enough to need charging.

renault

We had fish for our tea and I made some chips (potato not wood) to go with my helping. We finished the meal with the last of the lonely sticky toffee pudding.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin flaps down

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