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Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Today’s guest picture comes from Bill, a blog reader, who was pleased that we enjoyed his creative poppy plantation on our recent walk. Nature got a helping hand! He has sent me this picture of a ceanothus which rivals the cotoneaster as a bee magnet.

Our spell of dry, warm and sunny weather continued today, and it was, if anything, warmer than it was yesterday. On the hand, there was a stronger cooling breeze available so we were all pretty happy.

Our neighbour Margaret, the senior citizen in our socially distanced street coffee morning set, was the beneficiary of the slight loosening of the lockdown when her son and daughter-in-law visited her for coffee today, bringing their own seats with them. Mrs Tootlepedal and our other morning coffee neighbour Liz joined them but I, thinking that five was a crowd, went off to have coffee with Sandy instead.

He had acquired a new cafetiere so we sipped good coffee together and watched a pair of very industrious blue tits bringing food for the family to the nest box on his shed.

Judging from how busy the parents were, there must be quite a few nestlings in the box.

The skies have got busy too lately, and we watched a plane leaving quite a trail as it passed overhead.

Sandy has a handy flight tracking app on his phone and he was able tell me that this was an Airbus jet going from Aberdeen to London.

When I got home, the street coffee morning was just breaking up, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I went into the garden.

There was aerial activity there too, but this time it was two young starlings pestering a fed up parent for food.

A check on a rose that appeared in yesterday’s post showed me that the pink tinge was in fact the proper colour for this rose…

…and it was the early white flowers that were non standard.

Mrs Tootlepedal has discovered a single plum on the plum tree that was not killed by the frost, but we are keeping its location secret for security purposes. She is very pleased to see new shoots on the plum tree after the quite severe pruning we gave it.

I mowed the middle lawn and the weather has been so kind that I was able to run the mower over the grass without using the collecting box. This is good for two reasons, the mowing is quicker and easier and the grass cuttings act as a mulch to improve the health of the lawn.

Then it was time for lunch.

After lunch, I mowed the front lawn, again without the box on, and then we had a sit down on the new bench in the shade.

There was more starling action as a youngster perched hopefully on the top of the holly tree looking this way and that for someone to come and feed it. There were adults about but they didn’t seem interested in helping this particular youngster.

I filled the pond and while it was filling, I checked on the bees on the Limnanthes. They were diving in.

The tadpoles were very happy with the new water level.

The temperature was up to 25°C (77°F) by this time but the breeze was frisky enough to suggest that a walk might be good thing. Mrs Tootlepedal however felt that it was an afternoon for staying in, so I went for a walk round the Pheasant Hatchery by myself.

As I left the house, I noticed that more of the big red poppies had appeared along the dam.

There was a tremendous disturbance when I got to the suspension bridge. It turned out to be oyster catchers objecting to people coming to close to their nest. Further up stream, another oyster catcher was much calmer.

There were more people about than there have been lately, which not surprising considering that it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, but it meant that I couldn’t hang about waiting to see wagtails on the Kilngreen and I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed up the Lodge Walks towards the pheasant hatchery without delay.

The felling of trees along the Lodge Walks in recent years mean that it is no longer quite such an attractive scene for photographers but the trees on the other side of the Castleholm are always a treat at this time of year…

…so I took them instead.

Once I had got round the pheasant hatchery, the walk back along the bank of the Esk was delightful…

…with small pleasures on one side…

…and large ones on the other.

There is a good still pool in the river beneath the Duchess Bridge and I thought that I ought to be able to get a nice reflective shot but the banks are steep and tree lined so I could see half the bridge and half a reflection…

…or more of the bridge and no reflection…

..or more of the reflection and none of the bridge.

It was very frustrating. I needed a drone camera.

The picture above is a bit confusing but I am looking down past a tree straight at the river. You can see the tree and the stones on this side of the river at the bottom of the frame but all the rest is reflections in the water.

In the picture below, you can see the stones on the far bank and trees on the near bank. In between is the river.

It was good to be out on such a day.

I got back in time for a cheerful Zoom meeting with my siblings and after our evening meal (slow cooked stew with spinach from the garden and bubble and squeak on the side), I got a special treat. Mrs Tootlepedal invited me to go with her to collect some horse muck from a stable at the Stubholm.

The temperature was perfect by this point in the day, and while Mrs Tootlepedal collected a couple of buckets of the good stuff, I counted trees.

As a bonus, I was allowed to carry one of the buckets of manure back home. The perfect end to the day.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow heading past the feeder pole with sunflowers seeds in mind.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He sent me this picture of a fine East Wemyss fungus and then went back at my request to photograph the underside too.

The wind finally calmed down here and after a misty start, the skies cleared and we had a very acceptably warm but not too hot day. Mrs Tootlepedal had a Moorland business Zoom meeting after breakfast so I crept about trying to make as little noise as possible while getting ready to get out for the first cycle ride for six days.

After her virtual meeting, Mrs Tootlepedal went out for a real meeting with our socially distanced street coffee drinking neighbours, while I set off to get some easy miles in after my vigorous walk yesterday.

I headed down the A7, the main road out of the town, hoping that the easing of the lockdown wouldn’t lead to more traffic than was comfortable to ride among. There was more traffic but it wasn’t too bad and I pedalled along cheerfully enough until I came to Longtown where I stopped to admire the repaired parapet on the bridge.

I didn’t get the chance to see if they have repaired the hole in the other side of the bridge, but I am assuming that they haven’t done that yet because the traffic light one way system for crossing the bridge is still in place.

My next stop was at another bridge where I enjoyed a view of the peaceful River Lyne and the surrounding pastoral English countryside.

When I came to the bench at Newtown on the Roman Wall after 20 miles, I didn’t stop for a rest as usual but headed on to add a 10 mile loop to my trip.

This took me down over the River Irthing and into Brampton, up the hill out of the town…

…and back down to the River Irthing again, which I crossed by the new bridge. This gave me a view of the old bridge beside it.

It is called the Abbey Bridge because across the field from the bridge is Lanercost Priory…

The priory has an excellent tea room. It would normally have been hotching with visitors on a day like this. Today though, it was closed, so I had half a banana and a ginger biscuit beside the elegant abbey gate…

…and completed my loop back to Newtown by way of yet another bridge.

If there is a down side to a bridge, it is the fact that they tend to live at the bottom of hills. There were two substantial climbs for me to puff up before I got to Walton and headed back down to join the Newtown roa. There I crossed yet another bridge and had to climb back up to the village. In the course of five miles, I had crossed the line of the Roman Wall four times but I had seen no sign of it at all as all the stone must have disappeared into local buildings over the years before conservation became fashionable.

Just before I got to the main road, I passed this fine house set in its own grounds…

…and once again resolved to live in a house just like this when I grow up.

I was pleased to be back on the relatively flat main roads after my hilly loop, and happy to find that the cross wind was offering more help than hindrance as I headed back to Longtown, and even more help when I turned onto the A7 and pedalled home.

I made one stop before Longtown, my second of the day at the bridge over the River Lyne. Like Skippers Bridge, this bridge has been considerably widened to cope with modern traffic.

The farmers were mowing grass and collecting it up for silage all along my route and the recent rain must have helped them get a reasonable crop.

I saw two nice tree combinations on my ride.

It had been a perfect day for cycling but the traffic on the A7 as I headed home to Langholm sent me the message that peaceful days on main roads are probably over. A steady stream of cars and lorries was not dangerous but was enough to make cycling a noisy business. The almost complete lack of traffic has been good while it lasted but it would be selfish to hope that nobody ever went back to work.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden when I got home so I wandered about while she toiled.

She is still fighting the endless war against the depredations of the sparrows in her vegetable garden but her broad beans must not be to their taste as they are looking really healthy.

We will be full of beans soon.

The peonies are coming on all the time…

…and they are being joined by new roses.

The Moyesii (on the left in the panel above) has been badly damaged by the frost and many of the exposed flowers are dead, but those that were protected by foliage are doing well.

There was plenty to see both new and old.

Among the new, a rhododendron which fortunately started to come out after the frost…

…and a nectaroscordum, one of those flowers which require the cameraman to lie on his back to get a shot of the flower itself.

Among old friends, a dancing dicentra…

…a pink aquilegia…

…and my current favourite, a pink lupin.

I didn’t get a chance to catch a decent flying bird shot today so this poor effort is all I have to show.

Footnote: After the recent welcome rain, we are back to a dry spell and have had to start watering in the garden again.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who once again managed to extend her permitted walk as far as Regent’s Park where she found a favourite restful corner to enjoy.

It was still grey and drizzly this morning, but the heavy winds of the past two days had eased off a lot and when the drizzle stopped, it was quite a suitable day for wandering round the garden.

I wandered from time to time.

The frost survivors among the rhododendrons and azaleas are still doing their best to cheer us up…

…but the gap that the frost has left in the garden is still hard to bear.

The recent rain has now got up to an inch and half as recorded by Mary Jo’s rain gauge. This is fine for the broad beans which are looking good but the peony and tulips have found it a bit much.

A burst of heavier rain put paid to the morning street coffee meeting and I watched the birds instead.

Greenfinches and sparrows were the flavour of the morning…

…and a sparrow was happy to watch a greenfinch trying the seed before having a go itself.

The rain stopped and we went out into the garden to do useful tasks (Mrs Tootlepedal) and footle about looking for raindrops (me).

The view down the back path is always rich at this time of year.

When I had finished footling about, I went in and did something more purposeful. I made some potato and carrot soup for lunch and while it was cooking, I made 30 ginger biscuits. There was a bit of a snack crisis as the boiled cake had been polished off when we drank our coffee earlier in the morning.

After lunch, I went for a short walk to fill in the time before our virtual Carlisle Choir meeting.

I chose a familiar route. After two months of lockdown and about thirty local walks, there is no other option than to choose a familiar route and this makes it harder than usual to try to find something unfamiliar to see as I go along. If the truth be told, I am probably finding it harder to look too as I subconsciously feel that there won’t be anything much new to see even if I did look carefully.

Looking down, I did notice the more noticeable today…

…and looking around, i couldn’t miss the frost damaged trees among the spring greenery.

As I was walking along the Becks track, I was considering whether I would have time to walk up to the track on Warbla on my way home, but a glance across the valley revealed cattle sitting right on the path across the grass that I would use to get up to the track…

…so when I had crossed the Auld Stane Brig…

…I went through the frost damaged trees along Gaskell’s Walk instead.

When I got to the Stubholm, I checked on a blackthorn to see if there are going to be any sloes this year. The signs are good and as a bonus, there was some interesting lichen on the branch that I was inspecting.

Instead of going straight home when I got to the park, I walked down to the Esk to see if the oyster catcher was still on its nest.

It was…

… but a bit further up the river, I found another adult with a very young chick. The adult made it hard for me to see the nipper, and the chick didn’t help by turning its back on me…

…but in the end, they co-operated.

I got home in good time and Mrs Tootlepedal and I settled down in front of my laptop to see what a virtual choir practice would be like on Zoom. It was very well organised and well over 50 choir members had logged on to take part. Ellen, our energetic director, had done a lot of preparatory work and everything went very smoothly and we were encouraged to sing, but there is no doubt that singing by ourselves at home while hearing only only one other singer (Ellen at the piano) is not really choral singing. Still, it was fun to see the other choir members and the virtual meeting had the feeling of an occasion, even if not a choral one.

The weather had greatly improved by the time that we emerged into daylight from peering at the computer and I did think of going for a cycle ride but the call of lawn maintenance was strong and I mowed the greenhouse grass, the drying green and the middle lawn instead. We then had our second Zoom meeting of the afternoon when we chatted with my brother, one of his sons and my sisters.

After our evening meal, I went out into the garden to enjoy the sunny evening…

…and the colour matching between car and clematis.

The wind had dropped and I was sorry that the day hadn’t worked out so that I could have enjoyed these ideal conditions, but you can’t have everything.

Not all the colour in the garden is floral…

…but the late evening light was kind to the colours and the bees were really enjoying the cotoneaster on the wall of the house…

…while I enjoyed an Icelandic poppy.

I hope to get back to cycling tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day was not one that the greenfinch approved of.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon. He has been taking walks round Canonbie during the lockdown and wonders why anyone might prefer city life to scenes like these.

It was not a promising morning today here in any way, being windy and wet from the start. I did pop out into the garden when the rain was very light and have a look around. Mrs Tootlepedal has a choisya which she doesn’t think is looking well but it is producing flowers to join the ranunculus…

…and a Rodgersia which is is looking healthy. Just to prove me wrong, the clematis by the front door has produced more flowers but it is hiding them behind its leaves to annoy.

The original flower is going over in style.

I didn’t linger long and was soon back inside wasting time on trivial but time consuming activities. Once again, we felt grateful that the weather has been fine for most of our lockdown as two months of wet and windy weather would have been very hard to bear.

I did spend some time trying out Google Meet with my sister Susan but it didn’t work satisfactorily so we will probably stick to Zoom for our regular meetings.

When I stopped doing the trivial things, the birds were there to keep me entertained.

The feeder was busy all day and new birds were constantly arriving to the disapproval of the incumbents…

…and this led to some collisions and cantankerousness.

I think that my current favourites among the visitors are the redpolls in their spring get ups.

We have many young sparrows in the garden but I haven’t seen many young blackbirds. I wondered if this was a teenager. It looked as though it wouldn’t mind being fed but no one came.

We had planned to go for a walk after lunch but the rain persisted and we didn’t start until after three o’clock in the end. We went out with some trepidation as there was still a light drizzle and the wind was boisterous to say the least.

A trail of leaves littering the track up to the Stubholm told the story of how strong the wind has been.

We met some friends at the Stubholm and they told us that they had abandoned their intention to walk up the Warbla Track because of the strong wind and advised us to keep to low level sheltered spots.

We were headed down to the Murtholm and Skippers Bridge so we were able to follow their advice without changing our plan. We passed this fine tree on our way.

We crossed the bridge and walked along the road beside the river as far as the track that leads up Jenny Noble’s Gill. A movement ahead caught our eye and we spotted a grey squirrel, and it froze for a moment as it climbed a tree.

Lovers of red squirrels have been trying to keep grey squirrels at bay for some years but I fear that they are fighting a losing battle as I see more and more greys all the time.

The walk up the gill among the birch trees was lovely….

…and the seed heads of the grasses were whispering to each other as we passed.

The track back to the town was as delightful as ever, even on a dull grey day….

…but it didn’t seem as windy as it was when we set out so we left the track and ventured out of the woods onto the open hill…

…and after passing through some bluebells, we soon enjoyed good views over the valley and town below us.

The church stands out now that it has been released from the shadows of the trees.

The golf course is waiting for the arrival of keen golfers like Dropscone as soon as the traps are opened in a day or two.

Dropscone is looking forward to it in spite of his advanced age. (He advanced another year yesterday and is now officially older than me for the next six months.)

As well as the views, there were other things to look at as we went along.

We saw wild strawberries, small cow wheat (not a thing that we have seen before), a patch of white flowers which Mrs Tootlepedal told me “is that weed which grows on your lawn”, and a bunch of smiling buttercups.

An old leafless tree caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

We had had to climb up a pretty steep hill to get above the golf course and we were happy to have reached a point as we passed that tree when it was all downhill on the way home.

We walked past Whita Well and pressed on until we reached the Newcastleton Road. This let us descend gently back to river level and we walked back to Langholm along the main road from Whitshiels.

I noted some of the points of interest that we saw on our way: exuberant crosswort, fresh green hazel leaves, herb Robert and a real novelty these day, an actual puddle.

As we crossed the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge and home, the sun actually came out…

…and just as promptly, it went in again and we had to increase out pace as a light rain encouraged us to get a move on.

It had been a strenuous five mile walk and never has a cup of tea and a slice of cake been more welcome.

That finished the day off for us as we had not an ounce of energy left for anything else except a small plate of rhubarb and custard as a late supper.

The flying bird of the day is one of the young sparrows who frequent the garden at the moment.

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Today’s guest picture comes from a reader in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. Spurred on by my biscuit making efforts, Lisa has produced her own Garibaldi biscuits which are very nicely presented.

It was a day of constant wind here today, often gusting at over 40mph. As a result, apart from going out for a very short street coffee morning, we had a quiet day indoors as there was definite danger of being blown over if you were not paying attention when you were in the garden.

To be truthful, I did spend a few moments in the garden after coffee seeing if I could get plants to stop waving about for long enough for me to get a picture. One or two obliged.

There were dancing feet to be seen on a Jacob’s Ladder….

…and a Veronica.

More flowers that survived the frost are showing which is a cheerful sight.

Old tulips are fading away gracefully while the Welsh poppies are doing their best to fill any gaps

A shy ranunculus has just come up. Its delicate colour is a challenge to my camera but the dull light this morning was helpful.

I couldn’t miss a second flower on the clematis at the front door. The front door variety may not have the huge number of flowers that the back door clematis has but each of its flowers packs a bit of a punch.

It didn’t take me long to get back inside out of the wind and I frittered away much of the rest of the morning reading newspapers, doing the crossword and looking at birds (and occasionally mentioning to Mrs Tootlepedal that there was a bit of a wind out there).

There were plenty of birds to watch. While the feeder was not very full, sparrows congregated on the bottom plate…

…and when I filled it, a siskin sensibly took the high road.

During the afternoon, a tentative beak appeared…

…which was followed by the rest of the bird…

…and a hearty snack ensued.

Now you know what a happy rook looks like

We did think about going for a walk after lunch but several punishing gusts of wind in quick succession, persuaded us that the chance of fun was strictly limited and we found more things to do indoors.

I put some accompaniments onto the computer so that I can play trios without breaking any isolating rules.

We have been cooking for ourselves since the lockdown began but following a suggestion from a friend, we applied to a local hotel for a hot meal to be delivered this evening, and bang on schedule delicious portions of fish and chips and vegetarian lasagna arrived from The Douglas, fully as tasty as they would have been if we were eating in their dining room.

However, this was a much more substantial amount of food than we have been used to eating, so afterwards I felt the need to ignore the elements and go for a walk to shake the meal down.

Luckily the wind had dropped a bit and the sun had come out and it was by no means a hardship to do a quick three bridges.

The church was looking good without the trees in front of it…

In spite of an inch of rain recorded by Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge over recent days, there was still not much water in the river but there were plenty of oyster catchers and a wagtail to be seen.

The nesting mother, the anxious father, and another pair further upstream The wagtail was wagging its tail.

I saw a goosander but as it had its head continuously under water and was trawling at speed, it didn’t offer a photo opportunity.

The brisk wind made things a bit chilly and I didn’t hang about too long as I went round the new path on the Castleholm and crossed the Jubilee Bridge…

…but as always, there were things to see along the way, like a thrush in the Clinthead Garden

It was very tame and hopped about until I had got my picture.

…and some neat planting there….

….trees and flowers on the Castleholm and Scholars’ Field…

…and the the heavily tree lined banks of the Esk as I crossed the bridge.

I was pleased to have taken some exercise, especially as the wind is due to continue for a day or two, so cycling is not on the menu until Monday at the earliest.

The flying bird of the day is one of the many sparrows about at the moment.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He came across this very colourful field on one of his permitted walks.  He can’t say what it is that the farmer is growing.

andrew's red field

My day started with a Zoom visit to Australia. My sister Susan’s friend Stephen has contributed guest pictures to the blog and as she was scheduled to talk him, she thought that I ought to take this opportunity to visit him digitally too.  The technology is amazing and there seems to be no difference at all in talking to someone in Edinburgh or someone in Sydney.  My sister and I had a very enjoyable conversation with Stephen and his wife and I hope to get more guest pictures from him when he is able to get out and about freely again.

It was very cold here today and there had even been a little rain overnight.  A very brisk and cold wind was making an urgent case for a return to winter clothing and this was particularly annoying as it was the 89th birthday of our socially distanced street coffee morning participant Margaret.  We had hoped to give her a socially distant street birthday party.  In the end, it was a rather brief and huddled experience but we sang Happy Birthday and ate cake so we did our best.

All being well, we will have a really good street do for  Margaret’s ninetieth next year.

Although it wasn’t really a day for gardening, some gardening needed to be done.  Things needed watering as the overnight rain was pathetic, and things needed to be propped up and protected from the cold wind, and of course, things needed to be photographed.

I like the contrasts that Mrs Tootlepedal has between the softness of cow parsley and honesty and geums, and the brilliance of hostas and rhododendrons.

rhododendron, wild garden flowers, hosta

And I liked the prospect of lettuce and marmite sandwiches for lunch today and mashed potato in the future.

lettuce and potato

We didn’t stay out for too long and I was soon looking out of the window at the birds on the feeder.

There were contrasts there too, between small greenish birds having a nibble…

greenfinch and siskin

…and very big black birds eating us out of house and home..

rook on feeder

We went back out into the garden to check on a new bench.  It had been delivered with such expert social distancing that we didn’t even realise that it had arrived.

new bench

It will replace an old favourite which unfortunately has started to fall to pieces becuase people will insist on sitting on it.  As this one has been made long enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to stretch out and relax on it during those lazy, hazy days of summer still to come, we think that it might need another plank on the seat to stop her falling through the crack at the back.

While we were out, I noted the first flowers on a Sweet Rocket…

sweet rocket

…more euphorbia madness….

euphorbia

..and some lilac blossom.

lilac blossom

Not everything in the garden is full colour though.  There is always an element of greenness about too.

green garden

Then it was back inside for lunch and another look at the birds.

There was considerable goldfinch and greenfinch traffic…

goldfinches

…and one naughty goldfinch thought that it could hide behind the feeder pole and behave badly undetected.

goldfinches kicking

The forecast had been very gloomy and the morning matched the forecast, but by the afternoon, the sun was shining brightly enough to persuade Mrs Tootlepedal to go out for a walk, ignoring the still very chilly and brisk wind.  As it wasn’t an attractive day for bicycling, I was more than happy to go with her.

We stood on the town bridge and looked down. The rocks appeared under the clear water in the shadow of the bridge and the sun glinted on the ripples beyond giving this curious result.

reflection on bridge

We saw a gull, a small tortoiseshell butterfly and a thrush all enjoying their moment in the sun as we walked along.

gull, small tortoiseshell, thrush

We headed up the hill for the track along the top of the wood above the Lodge Walks and marvelled at the freshness of the colour…

track abive pathhead

…and the bluebells which were to be seen on every side.

bluebells near north lodge

I showed Mrs Tootlepedal the track above the North Lodge which I had followed for the first time a few weeks ago.  It ended at this beautiful tree.

bright tree

Going along the forestry road at the end of the track, we passed a lot of this lysimachia nemorum or yellow pimpernel.

lysimachia nemorum

I haven’t seen it anywhere else this year, but perhaps I haven’t been looking carefully enough.

There has been tree felling here, and as is often the case, the timber company has left one or two lone trees still standing.

tree above longfauld

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a particularly strong violet and it made the blues of the bluebells and bugleweed look a bit pale in comparison.

bluebell, violet and ajuga

We dropped down through another patch of bluebells…

bluebell woods longfauld

…and joined the track back to the Castleholm, passing any number of lovely trees on the way.

trees on castleholm may

If we had stopped for every photo opportunity on our walk, we would never have got home in time for a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit or two.  (I had providentially made the biscuits during the morning.)

The walk was three and a half miles of pure springtime pleasure, and it was all the more enjoyable because we hadn’t expected the weather to let us get out for a walk at all, let alone one that was so sunny and relatively warm (when we were sheltered from the wind).

I had my second Zoom conversation of the day with my brother and sisters and then enjoyed an excellent evening meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal (I did the washing up).

Looking at the forecast, we are due for another near freezing morning tomorrow but there is still no proper rain in sight so it looks like more watering in the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, probably searching for someone to kick.

flying goldfinch

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I have had a rush of good guest pictures sent to me recently but I thought that the most appropriate one to celebrate the warmest day of the year here in Langholm today would be this one from Mary Jo in Manitoba.  It shows her weather today.  She is a bit fed up to say the least.

Mary jo may snow

Apart from the absence of a friendly shower of rain, it was another perfect day here.  There were a few fluffy clouds about in the sky but it was genuinely warm and the socially distanced street coffee morning nearly had to be cut short because we were too hot from sitting in the sun rather than too cold from a nippy east wind.

Before coffee, I had had a look at the back of the house and found plenty of colour looking in both directions along the dam from our new bridge.  Only the blue aquilegia is ours, the other fine plants are the work of neighbouring gardeners.

three damside flowers

Back in the garden, yellow was the centre of attraction.  I was pleased to see some white on the poached egg plant flowers.

three yellow flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal had kindly given me a haircut after breakfast so I was looking very spruce at coffee time.

After coffee, we went back into the garden and there was once again a good deal of watering to be done, this time mostly in the vegetable garden.

I mowed the drying green and the green house grass and did some garden wandering too.

Another ornamental strawberry flower has come out to join a new and fancy dicentra, while our lone pulsatilla flower tries to keep our attention with its seed head.

three garden flowers

Tulips and primroses represent the old guard while allium and aquilegia are the coming generation.

four garden foiwers

A friend came round with his camera, complaining that it was habitually overexposing his pictures and wondering if I could help.  Greatly to my surprise, I was able to help while keeping our social distance and not even having to handle the camera.  He went off very cheerfully.

After lunch, I went for a walk.  Mrs Tootlepedal considered coming with me but thought that it was probably too hot for comfort and stayed at home to do some useful gardening and enjoy some of the wonderful flood of arts programmes appearing on YouTube during the lockdown.

As far as I could, I chose a shady route and after passing Skippers Bridge, which was looking almost overcome by springtime…

skippers brdge from garage

…I strolled along shady lanes beside the river…

penton road

…and up the hill out of the Esk Valley…

road to broomholm

…and I walked down into the Tarras water valley.

The water was low and just trickling over the characteristic little steps in the river bed as i crossed the bridge and walked along the river bank on the far side.

tarras bridge

As I walked along the track beside the river, I could see a good example of where those little steps in the river bed come from.

seams tarras water

It is fascinating to reflect on the different conditions which led to these strata being laid down perhaps 350 million years ago when this part of the world lay around the equator.  (I may not be totally accurate about this as one of the many things that I wish I knew a lot more about is geology.)  It does make you feel that we are only very temporary visitors when we tread upon the earth’s surface.

Still, I was very happy treading on the earth’s surface today as it was a beautiful day, the surface was dry underfoot and the woods were delightful….

tarras walk track

…totally delightful.

tarras walk

I was heading for the next road bridge over the Tarras to make my return journey so I didn’t cross this footbridge when I came to it…

 

footbridge tarras

…nor did I attempt any bungee jumping.  I can never quite make up my mind whether the person who affixed the notice (inset) to the bridge had a great sense of humour or absolutely none at all.

The track between the two road bridges is of very variable quality and in normal times would require boots or even wellies to negotiate the many boggy bits along the way.

Today, I could bound over dried up bogs and skip merrily over trickling streamlets.

wall and ford near rashiel bridge

Near the second bridge, there is an impressive stand of reeds and a large spread of wild iris.

reeds and irises tarras

I hope to come back and see the irises when they are in flower.  In a good year, they are a spectacular sight.

I was welcomed by a spread of speedwell and some bristly crosswort when I got to the road.

violet and crosswort

I crossed the river and began the walk up the road towards the now unused bird hide.  Out in the open, the sun was beating down and I got good views across the trees towards the Lake District hills.

lake district from bird hide

I took the track from Broomholmshiels back to Langholm and in spite of the brilliance of a new broom flower…

broom flower

…and the glory of the view over the oaks towards Warbla…oak wood

…I was very pleased to be back in the shade again.

jenny noble's path

I sat for a moment on the bench at the Round House and enjoyed the view over the town while I had a drink of water and a revitalising date.

view of Langholm from round house bench

Thus refreshed, I pottered home, stopping only to note an oyster catcher in the river below the Suspension Bridge when I got back to the town.

oyster catcher esk

Once again, I hadn’t checked the distance of my walk before I set out and I was very pleased to find that I had managed just under eight miles without getting any complaints from my feet.  A measure of the warmth of the day was the fact that when I checked, I found that I had lost three pounds in weight since I weighed myself after breakfast.

A couple of date rolls and an excellent meal of fuselli pasta and meat sauce cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal followed by rhubarb and custard should have put that back on again.

I spoke to Dropscone on the phone in the evening and was happy to find him in good form.  He is walking and cycling a lot as well as doing a regular half hour on the bike to nowhere in his garage every day.  He will be fit as a fiddle when the golf season is finally allowed to start again.

The flying bird of the day is a heron which flapped past me on my walk today.

flying heron tarras

Footnote:  There are wild rumours of as much as a millimetre of rain overnight and the temperature is going to be 10°C or more colder tomorrow than it was today (and with a brisk north wind), so I am very happy to have made such good use of the sunshine and wamth today.

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