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Posts Tagged ‘Wauchope Water’

Today’s guest picture is another from Tom in South Africa and, appropriately enough since he is a great rugby man, it shows some springboks.

springbok

The first named storm of the year was visiting Britain overnight and we were warned that Aileen would bring heavy and persistent rain overnight and well into the morning so it was no surprise to find the sun shining when we got up.

It turned out that Aileen had stayed well to the south of us.

I went up to the town to do some business and then walked round the garden.  The variety of Mrs Tootlepedal’s poppies never fails to delight me.

poppies

And they continue to attract bees in numbers.

poppies with bees

And of course, some of them are simply beautiful.

poppy

As well as some good weather, the morning brought Dropscone, complete with a batch of excellent scones for coffee.  He has recently been to Aberdeen on golfing business so it was good to see that he had got back without losing another wheel on the way.  He had crossed over the new Forth bridge on his trip but told us that it was far less exciting to drive over than to look at from a distance as it has tall panels each side of the roadway which severely restrict the driver’s view.

When he left, I got the mower out and mowed the middle lawn.  After the overnight rain, the lawn was fairly squelchy and the mowing involved quite a lot of worm cast squashing as Mrs Tootlepedal kindly pointed out to me when I had finished.  All the same, if you didn’t look too closely, which I didn’t, things looked quite cheerful.

Middle lawn

Rudbeckia, lilies, cosmos, nasturtium and poppies are still giving the lawn a colourful border.

There are three colours of potentilla in the garden.  They are not all flowering freely but if you look hard, you can find them.

potentilla

All through the day, sudden heavy rain showers interrupted the better weather….

clouds

The next shower lining up

…..and the gardening was a very on and off business.  In spite of quite a lot of sunshine, the rain was heavy enough when it came to make the garden soggier at the end of the day than it had been at the start.

Even so, the nerines round the chimney pot are doing very well.

nerines

We managed to repair the wires on the espalier apples and turn all the compost from Bin B into Bin C and then from Bin A into Bin B so we are ready to start the whole composting cycle again.

The wet roads and the constant threat of a shower put me off proper cycling but I did go out on the slow bike later in the day to see if I could see a dipper by the river.

I could.

dipper

It was on the same rock as last time.

I saw another even more patient bird while I was out.

carved owl

As the rain was holding off, I cycled along to Pool Corner and watched the Wauchope flowing over the caul there.

Pool Corner

It is very soothing watching running water but the road out of the town…..

Pool Corner

…looked inviting so I pedalled up the Manse Brae and along the road at the top….

Springhill

…just far enough to be able to turn off and get a good view of Warbla and the Auld Stane Brig.

Warbla

Those are grey clouds and not blue skies behind the hill so I didn’t push my luck and turned and pedalled back down the hill while it was still sunny.  I was not best pleased therefore when it started to rain quite hard out of a blue sky and I scuttled back home as fast as I could.

But……every cloud has a silver lining they say and this rain had a multicoloured bonus for me.

rainbow over Henry Street

I was happy.

After tea, I went off to the first meeting of the new season of the Langholm Community Choir.  There was quite a good turnout and some new music that I liked so it was an enjoyable evening and a good start to the new session.

Instead of a flying bird of the day, I am showing two pictures of butterflies.  There were plenty of them about today between showers.  I don’t know where they go in the rain but it can’t be far away because they appeared almost immediately after the sun came out. It was  day for red admirals.

This one may have been drying its wings after a shower.  The symmetry is astonishing (to me at least).

red admiral

This one was getting stuck in.

red admiral butterfly

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Our daughter sent me today’s guest picture just to show that there are good looking bees in London too.

London bee

The wind moved round to the east today and brought a little touch of coolness with it so although the day was agreeably sunny again, it was much more pleasant to be out and about.

All the same, it looked as though it was going to be hot enough to make serious cycling hard work in the afternoon so I got up early and went for a ride in the cool of the morning.

I had an appointment at ten o’clock and this time pressure limited me to my usual twenty mile run down to  Canonbie and back.  I had my camera with me and might have had time to take a picture or two if I hadn’t realised after I had gone a mile that I had forgotten to put my helmet on.

There are those who claim that helmets make no difference to cycle safety but they are wrong so I went back and started again with my helmet clamped firmly above the space where my brains should be.

(As far as the safety argument goes, my thought is that there are no conceivable circumstances when I am in the middle of falling off my bike that I would ever say. “Thank goodness I am not wearing a helmet.”)

The conditions were just about perfect – warm, sunny and with a light cooling wind – and I got round in good order and at a brisk pace for me and was showered and ready for my appointment in good time.

I even had time to check on some of the blue-ish flowers in the garden before I went.

blue flowers

delphinium

The heart of a delphinium

dutch iris

A Dutch iris

The bees were so noisy that I went to have a look at what was attracting them.

cotoneaster

It was the cotoneaster. It does look inviting.

bee on cotoneaster

Getting stuck in

I got back from my appointment and had another walk round the garden.  This time, I had a mower and not a camera with me and I mowed the drying green and then adjourned for a cup of coffee.

It wasn’t long before I was out again.

There were roses to look at….

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the bottom right rose is a Ginger Syllabub and not a Golden Syllabub as I have been calling it……but a rose by another name looks just as good in my view.

Mrs Tootlepedal was helping to serve lunches at the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar and while she was away, I picked some strawberries, sieved some compost, trimmed a hedge and mowed the middle lawn.  You can tell that the weather was a lot kinder today.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back, she had a little work to do in the garden and while she toiled, I admired the flowers.

Sweet William

I love the contrasting delicate pale purple of the stamens compared with the zing of the petals

I thought that I had seen an orchid or two beside the road a mile or so out of town  on my morning pedal so we decided to go out on our bikes to check if my eyesight had deceived me or not.

It turned out that I had seen literally only two orchids and not fully out at that….

wauchope orchid

…so the orchid hunt was less than exciting.

So we pedalled on a bit and left the bikes while we took a short walk through woods and fields along the Wauchope.

We were serenaded by a buzzard circling high above us, emitting its characteristic plaintive cry.

buzzard

We walked.

manure mountain path

It was a good choice.  The path through the woods is delightful and we paused beside the river…

Wauchope water

…in the vain hope of seeing kingfishers, otters and deer.  Even without exotic wild life, the scene was a balm to the soul.  Mrs Tootlepedal blended in with the scenery…

Mrs T in the woods

…while I roamed around looking for things to photograph.

I found a gate.

Gate beside wauchope

Leaving the wildlife to laugh at us behind our back when we  were gone, we used the gate and walked back to the bikes through the field.

If you like meadows full of wild flowers and grasses….

wauchope field

I would welcome a name for the tiny flower on the left.

…fringed with interesting trees…..

conifer

conifer

…this was the place to be.

We cycled gently home, grateful for the cool breeze in our faces and enjoying the warm sun on our backs.

The garden had not been idle while were out.

Lilies were on the move.

martagon lily

A Martagon lily was showing the first Turk’s Caps of the year.

Day lily

And a day lily had decided that this was the day

Both had come out while we were walking. It is amazing what some sunshine will do.

After tea, I set my hand to making a couple of jars of strawberry jam.  Time will tell but I fear I may have overboiled the jam a bit.  It was not entirely my fault.  I was keeping a careful eye on it when I was summoned outside by Mrs Tootlepdal to look at a kite in the sky.  A sharp eyed neighbour had spotted the bird upsetting the oyster catchers in the park and come to tell us.

By the time that I had fetched my camera, the kite was high above us in the evening  sky but although the resultant picture was poor, it does show the characteristic shape of the red kite.  I hope that we will see many more as time goes by.

Here then is the rather distant flying bird of the day.

red kite

It was worth spoiling the jam a bit to see such a glorious bird.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Devon where they make walls in their own particular way.

Devon wall

I was expecting to retire to bed at my usual time last night and to get up in the morning to be greeted by what would be, from my point of view at least, a rather depressing election result but we turned on the the telly late in the evening to get the exit poll result and it was so unexpected that I found myself still sitting glued to the telly seven hours later at 5.30 in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cracked and gone off at 3.30 but I stayed up until the final result was almost certain.  For those interested in this sort of thing, I chiefly watched the ITV election coverage and it was excellent; calm, with no gimmicks, with excellent guests and with a pleasingly light and un-portentous touch….and much to my surprise for a commercial channel, with no interruptions for advertisements all night.

As far as the results went, my feelings were mixed.  On the whole though, I am quite pleased that the results both in Scotland and the UK in general look as though they might force politicians to pay a little more attention to the voters and a little less to their own MPs, financial backers and media barons so that should be a good thing.  Readers of the blog from abroad can have no notion of how truly terrible much of the British press is, with no commitment to balance, truth, fairness or even the well being of its readers. If this election has knocked a little bit off the influence of the press barons, that can only be a good thing.

Anyway, getting up after only three hours sleep meant that I have been a bit tired and emotional today and I even turned down the chance of treacle scones as I was still in my dressing gown at coffee time and, in the end, only got dressed after lunch.

When I did get dressed, it was into my cycling clothes though and I went out for a 27 mile gentle spin up and down the road to Cleuchfoot in a brisk wind, stopping for photo opportunities.

There was still plenty of water in the Wauchope……

bessie bell's cascade wauchope water

My favourite cascade

…and in the Bigholms Burn too.

Bigholms Burn and Logan Water

Bigholms Burn joining Logan Water

When I went down to see the cascade at Bessie Bell’s, I passed a small group of friends hobnobbing.

flower with flies

A popular meeting spot

The wind  wasn’t quite as strong as two days ago and I got a better shot of a wild iris as a result.

wild iris

This little ride took me over 2000 miles for the year and in spite of a very light cycling month in June so far, I am on schedule for my annual target.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden and I took a walk round to look at the results of her work.

The pale peonies are just getting going.

peony

peony

And there are more still to come.

I had fun looking at irises.

iris

iris

And the weigela.

weigela

The honeysuckle is looking good this year….

honeysuckle

…and it is a good place to look for bees.

honeysuckle with bee

…of which there were a lot more to be heard and seen in the garden today.

bee on lupin

This one was on the lupins by the front lawn.

lupins

They have really enjoyed the weather this year

A combination of roses and philadelphus in a corner makes not just for a pretty picture but a good smell too.

rose and philadelphus

In spite of the heavy rain yesterday, the flowers seemed undaunted today and everything was looking strong and healthy.

astrantia, clovery thing and sweet william

A little yellow allium has arrived on the edge of the front lawn.

allium

I popped in and out of the house to check on the progress, or lack of it, of Andy Murray in the  French Open tennis and was sad but not surprised to see him fade away in the fifth set against the excellent Stan Wawrinka.

When things on court were going badly, I consoled myself with the promise of treats to come…

strawberry

…and the sight of flying floral tadpoles.

tropaeolum

My view is that I shall sleep well tonight as I am getting too old for late nights now and I am feeling distinctly tired as I type this.

The flying bird of the day are two oyster catchers on the Logan Water trying to see the political situation from both sides.

oyster catchers

Note: I know that they are not flying birds but we are living in a post truth world these days.  They are however probably more strong and stable than some people I know.

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Today’s guest picture was sent by our daughter Annie and shows the ‘fruits’ of her labours in her allotment.  She benefits from being 300 miles south of us so she is well ahead in her growing season.

annies veg

After two days of rain, as recorded by our scientific rain gauge….

rain gauge

…we were treated to a pleasantly sunny day today which was very welcome.  Somewhat less welcome was the boisterous wind that came with the sunshine.

As I haven’t cycled at all in June so far, I would have liked to have made use of the sunshine to put a few miles in but just as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills with my new knee, it is probably not a good idea to cycle long distances into a very strong wind.  I made the sensible choice and cycled up and down the four miles to Cleuchfoot three times so that I got a break from the wind every four miles.

The wind was gusting at well over 30 mph and I was grateful for the shelter offered by the Wauchope valley but I still had to pay attention, as once or twice I was buffeted by an unexpected gust that threatened to tip me into the gutter.  All the same, it was good to be out on the bike and there were plenty of excuses to stop and take a picture.

Wauchope Water cascade

The Wauchope was in an ebullient mood

Logan water

Its tributary, the Logan Water, was more peaceful

I saw a crop of fungus by a rotten tree branch…

fungus

…and the first signs of wild irises and hedge roses.  There are a lot of thistles around.

iris, rose and thistles

An old friend was once again standing on the sluice for the dam at Pool Corner.

heron

The road to Cleuchfoot is a picture on a day like today.

road to Cleuchfoot

Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden when I got back and I walked around to see what there was to see.  The rain and wind had done remarkably little damage but I was grateful for a lost petal on a poppy that gave me a good view of the internal workings of the flower.

poppy

There were quite a lot more bees and hoverflies about today and I spent some time chasing them but the strong wind blowing the flowers about made finding a bee still enough to photograph almost impossible.

There were several tree bumble bees about and I think this is the first year that we have seen them in our garden so I have put them in in spite of being a bit fuzzy.

tree bumble bees

Tree bumble bees in the centre and right hand pictures

I had more luck after lunch with a frog in the pond. (With apologies to my Blackpool reader who really doesn’t like frogs at all.)

frog

I mowed the front and middle lawns and then enjoyed the sight of the orange hawkweeds turning their faces to the sun…

orange hawkweed

…before waving Mrs Tootlepedal goodbye as she went off with an armful of books to visit a friend recovering from  a badly broken leg.

Once she had gone, I got my walking poles out and headed off for a walk to summit of Warbla (275m).

I was walking up the track through the fields at the Stubholm when I was confronted by a small animal standing firmly in the middle of the road giving me  a hard stare.  I got my camera out, fully expecting that it would run away before I could focus and was greatly surprised when it headed straight towards me.

brown hare

It paused for a moment a few yards in front of me to get a proper picture taken and then plopped gently into the bushes beside the track.  I am not an expert on wildlife but I think it was  a young brown hare.

I passed a number of hawthorn bushes on my way to the open hill.  The glorious blossom of a week or so ago has gone but they are still interesting to look at….

hawthorn

…to me at any rate.

I plodded on up the track, greatly aided by my walking poles, and was soon able to look back on some splendid views.  I took a panorama from the summit and those who wish can click on the picture to get a better view.

Warbla panorama

I had a bit of difficulty using the camera as the wind was so brisk that my eyes were perpetually full of tears but I took a more conventional shot as well.

Langholm from Warbla

(I  might have used a filter on that picture.)

I could also make out the oldest graveyard in the town, lying beside the Kirk Wynd (up which the horsemen gallop on Common Riding day).

Auld Kirk Yard

The church (now demolished)  that stood beside the graveyard had no flooring and parishioners who wanted to keep their feet dry on muddy days had to bring their own plank to rest their feet on.

I couldn’t get a very sharp picture of it because although the churchyard wasn’t moving, the strong wind meant that the slightly tottery photographer on the top of the hill was waving about a lot.

The ridge leading from the summit to the west was covered in bog cotton to the extent that it almost looked as though it had snowed.

bog cotton

On my way down, I took a view of the monument on Whita Hill where I had walked last week.

Monument from Warbla

I have ‘disappeared’ the unsightly police mast further along the summit.

I got back just after Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her sick visit so we had a cup of tea and I finished the crossword.

After our evening meal, we went up to the town to sing with a small choir that has been formed to sing three songs in the Common Riding concert.  Various commitments meant that many prospective members weren’t there but there were enough of us there to have a go and I had the pleasure of singing the bass line for change, as there were no other basses present.  Luckily, it was quite an easy line and didn’t go too low.

The flying bird of the day is a bee leaving a philadelphus.

bee

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Today’s guest picture from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia, shows what is going on on the street….or to be more accurate, a sunset in the churchyard in the village of Street in Somerset.

Street

I felt rather weedy in the morning with very little get up and go in evidence and as a result when Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing in the church choir and I had made a allegedly Bulgarian chicken dish for the slow cooker, I didn’t take advantage of  a very calm and pleasant day to do anything energetic at all.

I did manage to take my lethargy for a walk round the garden late in the morning.

The shrub roses are doing us proud.

shrub roses

I lifted my eyes from the flower for long enough to notice a row of starlings practising a Leonard Cohen number….

starlings

With some good one-legged work in evidence

…but soon got back to looking the flowers.  It is a wonderful time of year with new flowers appearing almost every day.

philadelphus and weigela

Philadelphus and weigela

dark irises

These irises appear nearly black in real life.

The later rhododendrons are coming into their own.

rhododendron

rhododendron

One bee was enjoying the Japanese azalea…

bee on Japanese azalea

…and another one was tucking into an Iris…

bee on iris

…showing the white tail which give the bee its name.

In spite of the good weather, the garden has not been full of bumble bees as I would have expected.  I really had to search around for these two.

.I hope that we will see more soon.

There are any amount of aquilegias to see though, which makes me very happy.

aquilegias

I am very impressed by the beneficial effect Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress  has had on the peas.  If you keep the sparrows off, then you get good results.

pea fortress

Some flowers can look interesting even after the petals have fallen off….

fancy buttercup

…but most probably look better with the petals on.

fancy buttercup

Although I enjoy loud flowers, I like soft ones too.

pale pink flowers

The comfrey on the right is grown as green manure and will be cut down soon.

I was greatly perked up by a light lunch and felt a good deal more cheerful as we went to Carlisle for the final rehearsal with the Carlisle Community Choir before its end of term concert next Sunday.

As always, it was a pleasure to work hard under the eagle eye of our conductor, Andrew Nunn but there is no doubt that I will have to do a good deal of work at home over the next week to drum the songs that we have to learn by heart into my reluctant brain.

Although I may think that I have learned a song at home, when the time for actually singing with the choir comes round and I am trying to remember to shape the vowel sounds correctly,  get the volume right and relax the space inside my head to avoid any hint of tension on the voice, it is all to easy to forget what song you are singing, let alone whether this is the moment when you go up instead of down.

I am going to be a soprano and sing the tune when I come back in my next life.

When we got home, I was happy to find that I had remembered to turn the slow cooker on and the Bulgarian style chicken went down well for our tea.  I even had enough energy to mow the middle lawn while the potatoes were cooking.  It always looks at its best on a sunny evening…

middle lawn

…but you can still see the holes that the jackdaws made in the middle of the lawn.

Since the forecast for tomorrow is for temperatures ten degrees lower than recent days (and with added rain), Mrs Tootlepedal and I thought that we should mark the end of the short good spell of weather by going for a little cycle ride after tea.  Sadly, the sun failed to live up to the moment and hid behind thin clouds just as we set out.  Still, it was warm and the wind was light so we enjoyed our 6 mile pedal.

To make up for the lack of sunshine, a heron posed for me at Pool Corner.

heron

It had very good balance to be able to stand on a sloping caul with a good flow of water going over it.

I couldn’t help noticing the hawthorns again.  The banks along the road are lined with them for much of the distance up to Wauchope School.

hawthorns

The verges were interesting too.  We saw Helvetian bugle (ajuga)….

bugle

…and lesser yellow rattle…

rattle

…among the crosswort, silverleaf, trefoil, campion and clover which have appeared in recent posts.

We also saw dippers on the river and hares in a field but the fading light combined with the speed of the creatures meant that they went unrecorded.

As the leaves grow on the trees, getting good shots of rivers and bridges becomes harder.

Wauchope

The Wauchope Water seen from the School bridge

A good sing, a nourishing meal and the sight of some new wild flowers left me feeling a great deal better at the end of the day than I was feeling at the beginning and I look forward to next week, even though it has two choir concerts in it, with renewed vigour.

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who was half way up Snowdon in Wales when he saw this view yesterday.  He says that the best thing about climbing Snowdon is that you can get a cup of tea at the top but the view is pretty good too.

Snowdon

Our spell of dry and windy weather continued today with both more sun and more wind than yesterday.  It seems a long time now since we had any serious rain.

The garden is enjoying the weather and doesn’t seem to be needing rain yet though.  It is hard to beat a sight like this when I went out into the garden after breakfast.

apple blossom

It is apple blossom time.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s front beds don’t get the sunshine until a bit later but the mixed tulips were quite bright enough without any help.

tulip beds

I had intended to go for an early bike ride but I wasn’t feeling very perky, probably because my asthma was playing up a bit and definitely because the wind seemed to be very strong so I idled quite a bit of the morning away before I finally chased myself out of the house.

I was glad to be out.  It was a sparkling day and the wind blew me up the hill and made the start of my ride very easy.  Because of the stiff breeze, gusting at well over 25 mile an hour at times, I decided to use my valley bottom ‘outdoor gym’ and cycle 25 miles by repeating the four mile trip up to Cleughfoot and back three times.

The wind was so strong that I took more or less exactly the same amount of time to cycle up the hill as I did to cycle back down again and on the third iteration of the route, I set my fastest ever time for the three uphill miles from Pool Corner to Wauchope School.

I also stopped for photos, as my modest speed let me keep an eye for points of interest like these bright things on a conifer.

Spruce flower cones

Spruce flower cones

I couldn’t miss the gorse which is as good as I have ever seen it this year.

gorse

There were lambs bleating in every field.

lambs

And the blackthorn blossom at one point was sensational.

blackthorn

My favourite cascade on the Wauchope has been reduced to a mere trickle…

Wauchope cascade

…but this did let me appreciate just how bent the rocks beside it are.

bent rocks

Our peaceful countryside has been the subject of some powerful forces not so long ago.

I had another look at the apple blossom when I got back to see if there were any bees about.

bee on apple blossom

Good work.

The bird seed was going down at the usual speed.

redpoll, siskin and goldfinch

A redpoll looks rather disapprovingly at a goldfinch tucking in

Mrs Tootlepedal had been helping out with the lunches at the Buccleuch Centre so we had a late lunch when she got back and while she had a well deserved rest, I pottered around the garden, dead heading yet more daffodils and some of the early tulips.

I roused Mrs Tootlepedal and we drove down to the animal feed shop south of Longtown where I get my bird seed.  I bought a big bag of seed which I got free, courtesy of a generous bribe from BT in the form of a prepaid card which they gave me when I changed my internet supplier to them recently.   I may well repay them by changing to another supplier when my cheap first year runs out.

We stopped in Longtown on our way home and I took a quick walk along the river.  The bridge of many arches was looking good in the sunshine.

Longtown Bridge

In fact it was looking so good that I thought I might try taking three pictures and merging them using Photoshop, a technique I learned at the last Camera Club meeting.

This was the result.

Longtown Bridge 2017 photomerge

You can click on the picture for a larger view.  The technique works pretty well. I couldn’t see the joins.

The river looked inviting….

River Esk at Longtown

…so I strolled down the riverside path…

Longtown path

…and in the shelter of the trees, it was a beautifully warm day.

I was delighted to see an orange tip butterfly and even more delighted when it thoughtfully posed for me.

orange tip butterfly

A small tortoiseshell was not so obliging.

There were wild flowers on view as well.

nettle and silverweed

Some sort of dead nettle and the aptly named silver weed

umbellifera

Various umbellifera which I should be able to identify but can’t

Between the cycle ride, pottering about the garden and the riverside walk, I took far too many pictures today but the weather is due to be fine again for the next two days so I will have plenty of opportunity to take many more.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Archaeological Society meeting and I went to sing with the Langholm Community choir.  When I came out, there was a very beautiful sunset to round off an enjoyable day.  Luckily I didn’t have my camera with me as I think that the 80,000,000 pictures of lovely sunsets already on the internet are probably more than enough….but it was a particularly good one.

The title of the blog today refers both to the wind, which was hard to beat when I pedalled against it in the morning, the beautiful river views at Longtown in the afternoon which were looking as good as I have ever seen them and finally the speed at which our conductor in the evening took one of our pieces.  A beat that I found it was very hard to keep up with.

I didn’t have much time for flying birds today and this goldfinch, threading its way towards the feeder, was the best that I could do.

goldfinch

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After yesterday’s guest picture of the old Trent Bridge, I thought it only right to put my brother’s photograph of the new one in as well

Trent bridge

As it was Sunday, a certain ritual was observed today.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made  a venison stew for the slow cooker and then went off for a pedal and then, after lunch, we both went off to sing with our Carlisle choir.

After a night of rain, the morning soon brightened up and although we both enjoy singing with our choir, it is a bit annoying when it coincides with weather which would be ideal for cycling and/or gardening.

Still, it was very pleasant when I rolled out of the drive on the slow bike for a short ride before lunch.  I went off up the Wauchope road with a plan to take the single track road over the hill and then go down towards Canonbie.  This plan was rapidly modified when I found that I had been passed by a dozen cars in the first mile and I remembered that Skippers Bridge was closed for repair so a lot of traffic would be going up and down my proposed route instead.

I didn’t fancy meeting cars on the single track road over the hill so I just cycled five miles up the Wauchope road and then turned back again.  I made a little diversion up the Cleughfoot road and took a picture of the bridge that I had to cross at Wauchope school.

Wauchope school bridge

One of our newer bridges

It is at this point, as it passes under this bridge that the Logan Water, having been just joined by the Bigholms Burn, magically transforms itself into the mighty Wauchope Water which then runs the full length of its three and a bit miles into the Esk.

The Logan Water was looking very pretty today…

Logan water

…and the road beside it was hung with catkins.

catkins

I think that these are willow catkins.

When I got back to Langholm, I pedalled on down to Skippers Bridge to see if it really was closed.  It was indeed shut but not much work was going on which may be why the chap that I spoke to was so cheery.

Skippers Bridge

I spoke to a lady engineer too and complimented her on the good looking repair to the cutwater which her team had completed and she was delighted by the compliment.  She told me that her team was very proud of the work that they had done.

Maybe because of the works, some trees beside the river seemed to have been cleared and I got a better view of the bridge from the main road to the north than has been possible lately.

Skippers Bridge from the north

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was back from church and we had a walk round the garden.  Once again, there were both frogs and bees to be seen.  I took a picture of the whole of our very little pond so that you can see that when I say that it is full of frogs,  I am nearly speaking the literal truth.

pond with frogs

I can count about 14 or 15 in this shot and some had already dived as I approached.

This was the most handsome potential prince in the  pond today.

frog

The bees were drawn to the crocuses.

crocus with bee

If you look very closely, you can see the bee’s knee

The crocuses are very pretty at the moment, either in clumps of the smaller Crocus tommasinianus…

Crocus tommasinianus

…or more sturdy  single Dutch crocuses.

Dutch crocus

A few of other colours can be seen here and there.

yellow crocus

We have two Hellebores on the go and the morning sunshine had persuaded this one to hold its head up enough so that I didn’t have to crouch much to look it in the eye.

hellebore

There were very few birds about today and as I didn’t have much time to look out of the window,  this starling….

starling

…and two chaffinches were all that I had to show for any time that I did spend.

chaffinch

chaffinch

We had to leave early for the choir because of the closed road which meant a cross country trip and some extra miles but it was such a nice day that the driving was no hardship.  After plugging away at competition songs for the last few weeks, it was good to get onto two new songs today.

Our conductor was very pleased with our performance in Manchester and was kind enough to say that he thought that we had sung as well as we possibly could have done.  Since we knew before we went that we had no realistic chance of winning, it was good to know that at least we had done ourselves justice.

We have three months to go before our summer concert so the pace should be a little more gentle for a few weeks at least.

The stew turned out well and there was an Italian bike race with a British winner to watch on the telly afterwards so the day ended very satisfactorily.

This was my best effort at a flying bird today.  Must try harder.

flying chaffinch

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