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Posts Tagged ‘Wauchopedale’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who went to the Taunton Flower Show.  You can read about her adventures here. Sad to say, her favourite arrangement in the ‘At the Garden Gate’ class was disqualified for using artificial grass.

Taunton Flower show

We had quite a lot of rain and wind overnight and it was raining very heavily after breakfast when I had to go up to the Town Hall to inquire about getting a replacement bus pass.  It was a fitful sort of day though, and by the time that I came back, the rain had stopped.  That set the pattern for the day.

Dropscone dropped in with traditional treacle scones to go with a cup or two of coffee. He told me that he had been at a golf tournament earlier in the week and had only managed to get six holes in before the competition was called off because the course was flooded.  The dry spell earlier in the summer seems a distant memory now.

When he left, I looked out of the back door across a rainy garden to see the robin at the far end of the lawn…

sparrow at end of lawn

…and two birds on opposites sides of the great Brexit debate on a neighbour’s rooftop.

two birds not speaking

Badly painted blackbirds are all around…

badly painted blackbird

…though the painter’s work is improving.

better painted blackbird

When the rain stopped, I went out to have a look round and was impressed by Mrs Tootlepedal’s large lily.

bif lily

There are still new flowers coming out and the yellow crocosmia has just started to flower.

yellow crocosmia

The phlox has done so well, undaunted by wind and rain, that Mrs Tootlepedal plans to have even more  next year.  Who could blame her?

fiery phlox

A late honey suckle has come out on the vegetable garden fence.

late honeysuckle

I went back in and made some leek and potato soup for lunch with a leek and potatoes from the garden.  Together with a tomato and feta cheese salad (not from the garden), it made a tasty meal.

After lunch, it looked as though there might be a window in the changeable weather that would allow me to go for a short cycle ride, so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping, I set out to go as far as I could without getting wet.

It was sunny when I started but there was plenty of water running across the road up the Wauchope valley after the morning’s showers, and plenty of water in the little streams rushing down to join the Wauchope Water

bigholms burn

The powers that be have mowed every road verge in the district and there are now no wild flowers to look at, so my camera took a wider view today.

I went to the top of Callister and looked down the other side.

callister panorama

Click for the bigger pic (I may have put this one through a heavy filter.)

The dark clouds coming up from the left told me that it was time to turn and go home.

When I looked back towards the town from the top of the Wauchope Schoolhouse brae, I could see my sunny weather disappearing up the valley

Wauchope view

When I got back to the town, I thought of stopping while the going was good, but it was warm enough and it hadn’t started to rain, so I pressed on and crossed the town bridge and headed north.

 

three arches flood on Esk

I had walked under the near arch dry shod on Common Riding day when I wanted to cross the road which was full of horses.

I kept thinking of those grey clouds that I had seen on Callister and feeling that it would be wise not to go too far, but the road is well surfaced and it was still dry so I went a few miles up the road….

ewes panorama

Another clickable bigger picture.

…and the view is always worth looking at…

ewes view

 

…but I left it a fraction too late to turn round and within a mile of home, the heavens opened and I got wet.  As soon as I got home though, the rain stopped again. Those weather gods like a laugh.

The dry spell gave me a chance to have another walk round the garden.  I was hoping to catch a flying bird…

starlings on wire

….but the starlings stayed rooted to the electricity wire while I watched them and then all moved off in a body as soon as I turned my back for a moment.

A young dunnock tried out the fake tree but sat there quietly.

dunnock on fake tree

I gave up and went in to have a shower.

As we sat down for our tea, the sun came out and it was a glorious evening.  We agreed to go for a walk after our meal but of course, it started to rain again when the time came, so we stayed in.  Then the sun came out as the rain continued and to emphasise what a patchy day it was, when I looked out of the window at the back of the house to try to see a rainbow, I found that it wasn’t raining at all on that side of the house.

I went out into the garden and it wasn’t raining as I went out of the door but it was raining quite hard on the lawn only a few yards away.  I don’t think that I have ever seen quite such local rain.

We have two more days of this sort of weather to come and then, according to a reliable forecast, it is going to get cooler but drier.  It will be nice to be able to plan a day’s activity with confidence.

The flying bird of the day is the dunnock that we saw before.  By the time that I saw it again, it had flown up into the rowan tree.

dunnock in rowan

 

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In the total absence of a guest photograph today, I have had to resort to one of my own to head up the post.  It shows Langholm Parish Church en fête this afternoon.

church fete

Since it was the day of the parish church fête, it is the customary practice of wise old heads to look out their best waterproofs and tie down anything that might be blown away by the gales that seem to accompany this annual event.  This year however, as you can see, the weather was perfect.

I had been at the church to sing in the choir in the morning and although my voice was still a bit rough, the singing didn’t seem to make it worse so I am keeping my fingers crossed and will have another sing on Wednesday.

I had  time to walk round the garden after breakfast and before going to church.

New flowers were out.

The first of the Dutch Irises….

Dutch iris

…and the first flowers on a verbascum.

verbascum

A young blackbird kept an eye on me as I went about.

blackbird

The ornamental strawberries are still showing and  as I took my first picture of one on May 14th, they are lasting well.

ornamental strawberry

The morning sun picked out some Sweet William.

sweet william

When we got back from church, Mrs Tootlepedal was soon back at work in the garden and I did some shredding and compost sieving in an effort to be of assistance.  I mowed the front lawn too and edged both lawns so the grass department is looking quite neat.

I had time to poke about with a camera as well.

Another new flower has appeared but this time in the vegetable garden.  The potatoes are looking quite healthy.

potato

The Ooh La La clematis had a bad attack of clematis wilt but parts of the plant have survived and there are plenty of the striking flowers still on show.

Ooh la la clematis

The Rosa Wren was looking very fine and…

Rosa wren

..to continue the avian theme, the Goldfinch rose is flourishing too.

rose goldfinch

Among the real birds, this greenfinch looked as though the warmth of the day might be a bit too much of a good thing.

goldfinch

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the fête where she was helping to sell raffle tickets.  I followed along and bought a raffle ticket (in vain as it turned out) and had a couple of goes at the coconut shy in an effort to win a coconut to put out for the birds in the garden.  My efforts here were in vain too with my throws being well shy of the target.

I cheered myself up by listening first to the Town Band…

town band at fete

…which played a very nice selection of tunes in the sunshine and then to the pipe band…

pipe band at fete

…who sensibly found a large tree in the park to provide a bit of shade for their selection.

The plant stall was being looked after by two archivists and a bass from the choir and was doing a brisk business.

plant stall at fete

Mrs Tootlepedal had taken some plants along for the stall but couldn’t find a buyer for all her Doddering Dillies so she had to bring three home and plant them in the garden.  (Some times I think that she makes these names up to entertain me.)

I left a bit early and went along the river to see if the oyster catcher family was still there.

It was.

oyster catcher young

One of the  youngsters

oyster catcher adult

One parent lying low…

oyster catcher one leg

…and the other standing on one leg

When I got home, I felt that it was too hot for a comfortable bike ride so I went inside and in the cool of the house, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

By the time that I finished, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned and the sun was low enough in the sky to encourage me out for a twenty mile circuit of Canonbie.  It was a lovely day…

Bloch view

…but I had already taken plenty of pictures already so I settled for this view back over Wauchopedale and concentrated on cycling for the rest of the journey.

Once again the breeze was brisk enough to make me faster on the way back up the hill when  it was behind me than I was battling into it down the hill.  We are promised calmer days next week which will be welcome if it is true.

As I had no guest picture of the day at the head of the post, I am going to end abruptly with no flying bird of flower of the day at the foot.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, taken by Alistair, shows Matilda and her mother Clare enjoying a good book.

clare and matilda

The miserable weather gave us a break today and we even got a sunny spell.  It was quite a bit cooler but as it kept a few degrees above freezing, no one was complaining.

After some early dancing with Matilda at the keyboard and work at the keyboard while Matilda danced, I found a moment to fill the feeders and have a look at the birds.

The colder weather had brought them back in good numbers.

I can count thirteen waiting in the plum tree for a seed opportunity.

 

plum tree birds

There was no standing on ceremony at the feeder itself although as you can see there was some standing on chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

A starling got small reward for its visit.

starling

There was constant activity and the chaffinch rightly looked a little worried as a siskin bomb approached him.

chaffinch and siskin bomb

A dunnock wisely kept out of the way in a nearby bush.

dunnock in bush

Al and Clare took advantage of the better weather and went off for a walk and with Matilda politely keeping Mrs Tootlepedal engaged with some painting tasks, I took advantage of the better weather to go off for a bike ride.

I had to spend quite a bit of time before I left in cleaning my bike and getting rust off the chain.  The downside of winter cycling is the amount of maintenance a bike requires which is why many cyclists put their bike on a rack and retire to the gym at this time of year.

Still, I like fresh air and there was plenty of it about today after all the mist and clouds so I was happy to hit the road.

From the look of the hills, we had only just missed a white Christmas.

snowy hill

You might think from that picture that it was a rather wintery day but the more the camera pulls back to the bigger picture….

snowy hill

…the better….

snowy hill

…the day looks.

Wauchopedale

Although it was only 4°C, while the sun was out it felt pleasantly warm.  Sadly, the sun didn’t last all the way round but the roads were quiet and basically dry and the wind was light so it was a good day for a pedal.

I went round my usual loop to Canonbie and back and stopped at some familiar spots.

grainstonehead

Liddle viaduct

The viaduct is 1.2 miles away and proves what a good zoom the Lumix has.  The picture was hand held and is not cropped.

There was plenty of water coming down the Esk at the Hollows….

Esk at Hollows

..and plenty more joining it.

Esk at Hollows

I thought that if I cycled through the town when I got back and went a mile or two up the Ewes valley, I might get a snowy view of the hills but it was disappointing with only the highest hills in the distance showing white.

Ewes valley with snow

I managed to add 23 miles onto my annual total and I have now cycled more miles than last year which is satisfactory.   I have five days left to meet the target which I set myself at the start of the year but the forecast is not very encouraging with either frost or rain for the rest of the month.

In the afternoon, Al and Clare took Matilda off to visit the parents of Alistair’s best friend from his school days.  The friend now lives in California but his parents are always pleased to see Alistair and gave Matilda and Clare a warm welcome.

While they were out, I had another moment to bird watch and I liked the very smart reaction time of a chaffinch at the feeder.

chaffinch and siskin

The siskins were once again out in force.

siskins

We had an excellent evening meal of cold cuts, roast vegetables and small portion of sticky toffee pudding but only tiny inroads were made into the cheese mountain caused by some over optimistic purchasing by me.

I have had an email from my Manitoba correspondent, Mary Jo which included a picture of the sort of clothing needed for a cheerful walk when the temperature is miles below zero and I have joined it to a picture of the sort of cycling gear needed when the temperature is only just above zero.  It is hard to tell who is the more elegant.

Mary Jo and me

All right, it isn’t hard.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin looking for a perch.

flying siskin

 

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