Posts Tagged ‘walnut tree’

Today’s guest picture comes from a walk on The Edge in Derbyshire which my brother Andrew shared with his walking group….and some cows….and some very nice weather.

The Edge

Our weather improved today but it was still pretty damp in the morning. I didn’t go out to take a flower picture until nearly midday.


Oddly, many of the poppies were facing the wrong way and I had to go out into the road and look into the garden from over the hedge to see these two pairs.


Yellow crocosmia have just started to come out and they should blend with the poppies if we get some warmth.  The dahlias also need warmth but the nasturtiums are doing very well in the cool and damp.

crocosmia, nasturtium and dahlia

Along with the weather, my back was quite a lot better too and I was able to trim a box ball and prune the espalier apples…

box and apples

…which are cropping well this year.

After lunch I did a bit more work in the garden and admired a hosta and an indefatigable Icelandic poppy which will keep flowering as long as I keep dead heading it.

hosta and poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal spent as much as time in the garden as she could but I went in to give my back a rest and watched a bit of the World Athletic Championships.  I was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when it started to rain but the rain didn’t last so I went off for a walk to see how my back would hold up.

It held up well as I pottered down to Skippers Bridge and back, a distance of two miles which took me exactly an hour.

It wasn’t sunny but at least I could see the hills today.


There was plenty more to see on the way.




Flowers present and past

Garden escapes by the river

Garden escapes by the river

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

Skippers Bridge was looking as good as ever….

skippers bridge

The recent repair is holding up well at the moment.

I thought that the trees were starting to get an autumnal tint when I looked through the bridge.

skippers bridge

There was enough water coming down the river….

River esk

…to keep me well back from the edge.

On the way back there was more to see.


I hope that it not time for the swallows to leave already

leaf problems

Problems on the leafs of trees

fly on ragwort

A ragwort with visitors

It was almost sunny as I walked back…

Castle Hill

…and it was a very pleasant evening to be out walking.

I tried a black and white shot of the walnut tree when I got back to the garden….

Walnut tree

…as I liked the pattern of the trunks.

We are promised some sunshine tomorrow and that will be very welcome.  If we get it, I will try my back out on a short bike ride.

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Today’s guest picture is another bridge on the Brecon Canal from Irving, this time a rather more modern construction.


After a night of wind and rain, the morning of the shortest day was only marginally better with the occasional heavy shower and very overcast skies.

It was brightened by the arrival of Mike Tinker for coffee and some thoughtfully posed birds outside the kitchen window.

dunnock and robin

Goldfinches provided today’s landing demonstrations.


I went out and dug up a leek to make leek and potato soup and by the time that I had cooked and eaten it, an amazing change had come over the day.  In an instant, it seemed, the clouds were swept away and magically replaced by clear blue skies and bright sunshine.

Birds, both big and small, basked in the sun’s rays.

pigeon and robin

Though always welcome of course, the low winter sun does give me some problems when it comes to taking pictures at the feeder…

chaffinches in sun and shade

After lunch, I rang up Sandy to see if he would like a walk in the sun and he said that he had a little business to attend to but would be down as soon as he could.

While I waited for him, I popped down to the Kilngreen on my bike in the hope of seeing a dipper.

Timpen at the Winter Solstice

The rain had put a bit more water into the river and although I did see a dipper, it was either more or less completely submerged or flying off as there were no handy mid river rocks to perch on.


As Sandy and I were setting out on our walk, Mrs Tootlepedal, who was working in the garden, pointed out a curious growth on the front lawn….

lawn fungus

…which seemed to be a fungus outbreak.  I don’t think that I have seen anything quite like this before.  I hope it isn’t anything too bad.

The elusive dippers had been my first disappointment.  The second came from the route that I chose for our walk.  I had hoped that we would be able to walk along the river to Skippers Bridge and back in the sun but we had left it too late and although the sun was still on the hills…

Whita in December

…our walk was in the shade for its whole length.

Even a splendid show of pixie cup lichens on the park wall…

pixie cup lichens

….couldn’t make up for the deep shade.

This was one day when we should definitely have taken to the hills.  Mind you, it was quite chilly in spite of the sun and we were in a stream of what the forecasters call “fresher” weather behind the departing cloudy front.  It would have been sunny on the hill but it might have been uninvitingly cold as well up there.

We stopped at the Skippers Bridge to admire the flow of water…..

Esk and heron at Skippers

…and looked more closely at a white dot on the river bank.

The sunlight picked out the background behind the distillery in a way which emphasised our poor route choice.


We needed to be 100ft higher!

In general it was a dull walk with not much to see, except the odd interesting tree stump…

tree stump at Lands' End

Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a small flock of long tailed tits in the garden in the morning but they had flown off before I could get hold of a camera.  A friend had told me that they were often to be found in the scrubby trees along the river bank which we would pass on our way back from Skippers.  We kept a good eye out and saw none.

The sun on the hills teased us….

Sunny hills

…on our way out and on our way back…

Castle Hill

…and gave the hills a golden tinge.  When we looked up at the monument, we could see an unexpected flash of white.  The zoom lens revealed….

Monument with van

…that it was the top of a large white van.  What it was doing up there is a mystery.

I got home just in time to catch the last few rays of the sun on our walnut tree…

Walnut tree in December

…where a gap in the hills let some light squeeze through.

Then it was time to go back up to the High Street to collect the car which had been satisfactorily repaired in very quick time.  I did think for a moment of driving to the top of a hill and taking a picture or two but then I remembered that I hadn’t got a camera in my pocket so I drove home and had a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

The shortest day lived up to its name and it was soon dark.  I sank into sloth in front of the telly until it was time to cook my tea and then to post this blog.

The leaves of the day are on a Cotoneaster in the back bed….


…and the flying birds are two very active goldfinches.

Goldfinches flying

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent who visited a LEGO exhibition where she saw this magnificent if highly coloured model of St Pancras.  Rather strangely, it was in the  Woodhorn colliery museum.

LEGO St PancrasWe started the day off here with a visit to the Moorland Feeders as I am a relief feeder filler for Gavin, the usual volunteer who is swanning around California at present.

It was chilly but bright….

Moorland Hide…and I was hoping for a constant stream of interesting small birds.  Mrs Tootlepedal remained in the car and scanned the skies for interesting raptors.  We were both somewhat disappointed.  I saw a great many chaffinches in the middle distance….

chaffinches…and one great tit close up…

great tit…while the best that Mrs Tootlepedal could do was a buzzard in the far distance.

The trip wasn’t a total write off as we combined it with some shopping and refuelling the Kangoo on the way home.

There were more chaffinches when we got home.  They were lining up at the feeder.

flying chaffinchflying chaffinch….sometimes mob handed.

flying chaffinchWe were having a refreshing cup of coffee when Sandy arrived from a walk just in time to have a companionable sip with us.

It turned out later that Mrs Tootlepedal had had an appointment which she missed by going up to the feeders and it has had to be re-arranged.  Forgetting to check the wall diary before going out is one of the perils of old age.

I had a wander round the garden to seek out new buds but once again the only colour was a crocus.

crocusOne of the pleasures of a sunny day in the winter in our garden is the pale bark of the walnut tree when it catches the sunlight.

walnut treeI took a couple of pictures to show the progress on the wall as the workers are having a well deserved rest over the weekend.


The window coming on nicely and a glimpse of the fiddly work required to meld the old with the new.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did a bit of cycling on her bike to nowhere and then went out to continue preparing the garden for the new season and Sandy and I went off for a short walk.

My ankle tendonitis has been greatly improved by my calf stretching and I was happy to give it a test.  We walked thought the town and then up the hill behind the High Street on a track that I have never used before.  It was well looked after and had a fine wall along it.

TrackAs we climbed the hill, we looked back over the town to the hills beyond.

Town and TimpenThe reason why I had never walked along it before became apparent when the track stopped abruptly after only a few hundred yards.  We went forward by crossing a small field to a gate that led onto the golf course.

golf course gateFortunately there were no golfers on the course and we were able to walk along to the clubhouse without getting on anyone’s way.

Langholm Golf Course

The short ninth seen from the forward tee with the clubhouse in the background.

We went into the clubhouse where we discovered Dropscone and two other golfers who had just completed their round in the winter competition.  They told us that the fine weather hadn’t been mirrored in their performance.

We left the golfers to their sorrows and walked on down the road to the Kilngreen.  There were the usual gulls in attendance…

black headed gull…but we were excited to see the first oyster catcher of spring zip by us.

oyster catcher

I had heard one crying in the dark last Wednesday on my way to choir but this was the first visible one.

We continued along the new path to the Jubilee Bridge and so home.  It was a walk short on photo opportunities but very pleasant as a winter walk on a sunny day.  Just for the sake of it, I stopped to survey some moss.

mossSandy went straight home and I did some pro resting after the walk.  I am happy to say that my ankle stood up to the test of the short walk very well so I will have to make sure that I don’t slack off on the calf stretching.

In the evening, we walked along to the Buccleuch Centre to listen to the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Tommy Smith play a program of the compositions of Billy Strayhorn.

They were on a brief three stop tour.  As the other two venues were The Queen’s Hall,  Edinburgh and the Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow, we felt particularly blessed to have them in our modest small town venue.

The fifteen strong band provided music right up my street.  Their sound was sumptuous and the blend was smooth.  They were able to play with great tenderness and well as with plenty of fire and gave us a very varied programme of pieces with arrangements of Greig and Gershwin mixed in with more typical Ellingtonian numbers.  The playing was crisp and rhythmic throughout and the sound levels and balance could not have been bettered.   And all this only a few hundred yards from home.

The flying bird of the day is one of the obliging gulls.

blackheaded gull

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