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Posts Tagged ‘wild flowers’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was tempted by this large pre-Halloween spider mallow shortcake but a quick look at the nutrition information revealed that he would have to take two or more days to eat it to stay within his health guidelines, so he gave it a miss.

halloween mallow

I had a rotten night’s sleep and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a business meeting, I was more than happy to idle the morning away with nothing more demanding than the crossword, sweeping the leaves off the middle lawn and washing the car,  Those who know me well will be amazed to hear that I washed our car, but when you carelessly buy a white car, even the most dirt blind person can’t avoid noticing when it turns brown.

I also spent a little time stalking the garden birds.

starling, chaffinch, robin and sparrow

Once again, a dunnock is my pick of the day, though the robin ran it close

dunock on lawn

We have had a small but tasty crop of autumn raspberries and the very late hosta is a continuing delight.

raspberry and hosta

There are some good survivors among the humble flowers and the Crown Princess has perked up again.

daisy, yarrow, sweet rocket and rose

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal looked at the fine weather and suggested a walk.  She likes to go somewhere away from my regular walks if possible, so we drove to the top of Callister and checked out a track there.

It was alright at the beginning as we passed this little bridge under the road which we had just driven along…

conduit

…but the track soon became very soggy so we retraced our steps and tried walking in the opposite direction.  It looked as though a weather front might be looming up…

view from callister

…but we kept walking until we got to the end of the track about half a mile on.  There was plenty to see on both little walks.

I think that the yellow flower is a prickly sow thistle, the painted lady looked a bit pale and battered but flew about quite cheerfully…

lichen, flower, painted lady and clover

…and the clover and lichen were both doing very well.

There was fungus and more lichen beside the track…

fungus and lichen

…and some larches turning to gold among the spruces.

larch callister

The track led us towards an artificial pond that was made when the area was first planted with trees.  It was said that it was to attract ducks but it looks neglected and overgrown now, more marsh than pond….and not a duck in sight.

 

pond callister

We strolled back to the car and drove a few hundred yards along the road back down the hill.  There we parked and took a forestry track along the other side of the road.

The track was rich in wild flowers, including this very impressive multi stemmed dandelion look alike.

big yellow flower

And although the clouds were still looming, the sun stayed out and made things look very colourful.

fungus and dandelion with insect

There were lichens of many kinds on our way….

four lichens

…and lots of colourful details too.

four items along westwater track

We went far enough along the gently climbing track to enjoy some splendid views over the neighbouring hills…

westwater track view 1

…with the sun shining on the monument six miles away…

westwater track view 2

…and the Solway plain lying below us with the northern English fells in the distance.

westwater track view 3

I liked the way that seemingly arbitrary larches had sneaked in among the regulation spruces.

westwater track view 4

When we had enjoyed the views for long enough, we turned to go back to the car, passing tiny forests of moss and a smooth clump of deer grass….

moss, mold and deer grass

…and two very interesting patches of something slimy or moldy (or both) on the track.

The track, which was was rather bare and severe when it was first put in a few years ago, has grown into the landscape now and it was a pleasure to walk along it in the late afternoon sunshine.

Westwater track 5

As we turned the corner into the sun, we had the choice of the yellow brick road…

westwater track view 6

…or the straight and narrow.westwater track view 7

We probably didn’t walk much more than three miles at the most but it was a very worthwhile excursion and we felt that we thoroughly deserved our cup of tea and a biscuit when we got home.

We would normally have been in Edinburgh on a Thursday afternoon visiting Matilda but both her parents are a bit poorly and her other grandparents were visiting already so we didn’t feel a visit would really be a good thing.

On our walk, we found ourselves under a fairly busy flight path for a while so the flying bird of the day is a bit bigger than the normal ones.

flying plane callister

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And bridge parapets are often interesting places…

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…if you look closely.

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

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

P1190097

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

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

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

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

_DSC5173

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

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…but the birds were keeping their distance…

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

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

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

garmin route 15 Oct 2019

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows more of the East Wemyss mini hydro scheme.  They are very enterprising there.

Wemyss waterworks

The morning was dry and reasonably warm as I pedalled along to the producer’s market at the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast.  We are looking after our neighbour Liz’s dog while she is away for a couple of days, so Mrs Tootlepedal was out walking with Riley while I stocked up on meat, fish and honey.

I had a quick look round the garden when I got back.  Checking my records, I see that I didn’t get a single rose picture last year after September so as long as the roses keep flowering, I will keeping putting them into posts to celebrate their survival into October this year.

As I may have said before, far as the weather and the seasons go, it has been a funny year.

princess margareta rose

The transplanted fuchsias, which we had given up as complete failures, have both flowered late now.  The fancy ones in the chimney pot have also returned after giving up earlier on.

two fuchsia

I surprised myself both by finishing the prize crossword quite quickly and by actually getting into my cycling gear and going out for a ride relatively early in the day.  The forecast was for rain quite soon, so I didn’t hang about and just pedalled up to the far end of Callister, where I took an autumnal view of the countryside…

view of winterhope

…and noticed that far to the west, Criffel had got is own cloud sitting on top of it.

criffel in cloud

Then I cycled back through the town and out of the other side, where I noticed that which side of a wall it is on is important for grass colour.

wall at ewes

Then I cycled home, completing an undemanding 20 miles.  As I have not quite thrown off my cold, this was just what the doctor ordered.

Mrs Tootlepedal had enjoyed her walk with Riley and after lunch, we put him in the car and drove up the road for a few miles to a spot where Mrs Tootlepedal could cut some more bracken, Riley could have a sniff about, and I could take my pocket camera for a very short walk through a field and wood by the river bank.

There were occasional wild flowers in the field…

three wild flowers

…and lots of variety in the conifers…

three conifers

…and a large quantity of fungus in the wood.  I have often walked along this path before but I have never seen anything like so much fungus.

wauchope fungus 1

It was all sizes…

wauchope fungus 2

…all shapes…

wauchope fungus 3

…and all colours.

wauchope fungus 4

It is a short path, only a couple of hundred yards long perhaps, but it is always a pleasure to walk along it, listening to the chatter of the Wauchope Water.

wauchope water at wood

The bracken was colourful today…

bracken beside wauchope

…and a good gate is always a pleasure.

wauchgote

Walking back through the field to meet Mrs Tootlepedal and Riley, I passed the smallest fungus of the day; this one was no bigger than my thumbnail.

tiny field fungus

When we got home, Mrs Tootlepedal laid the bracken out on one of her vegetable beds where it will protect the soil from rainfall over the winter.

Mrs Tootlepedal had peeled some apples for me while I was out cycling so I cooked a tarte tatin while she was gardening.  We have got the hang of this dish now, helped by our sparkling new tarte tatin pan and some practice, and the result was very satisfactory.  I think that it is now my favourite way to eat the apples from the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal still leans towards apple crumble.

While the tarte was in the oven, I went out into the garden and watched a large flock of sparrows whizz about.  They bathed in the dam, primped in the lilac tree and surveyed the world from the greenhouse.

three sparrows

While I was out, I added the Rosy Cheeks rose to my October collection…

rosy cheeks rose

…and noted that a Welsh poppy had come out in spite of the lack of poppy dead heading recently and another bee was back at the verbena.

welsh poppy and verbens with bee

The forecast rain still hadn’t arrived when we went in for a cup of tea  but as there was athletics to watch on the telly, we didn’t really care what was going on as the darkness fell outside.  (It’s wet and horrible as I write this.)

A quick look at the forecast for the week ahead shows no sign of frosty mornings but plenty of rain to come, so be ready for more rose pictures.

The flying bird of the day prefers to remain anonymous.

flyimg starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Liz.  She went for a walk in the woods today and got a big surprise.  The wood carver has been at work again.

Liz's monster

We had another lovely day today, but in spite of the sunshine it was still a bit autumnal as far as the temperature went.  I walked up to the town to do some errands in the morning because just as I was cycling out of the gate, I met Mike Tinker so I pushed my bike beside me as we walked companionably up to the paper shop.

I had a couple more things to do while Mike walked back, and I cycled back a little later, deciding that any more serious cycle outing could well wait until the sun had warmed things up a bit.

Between drinking coffee and not finishing the crossword, I walked round the garden.  The pale yellow dahlia looked rather chilly in the shadow of the house….

pale yellow dahlia

…but elsewhere the sun  made everything look very cheerful…

nerine, begonia, euphorbia

…especially the poppies.

bright red poppy

I have been dead heading the Icelandic poppies and they have repaid me with several new flowers.

morning icelandic poppy

I liked this leaf of a variegated dogwood which looks as though nature has been out and about doing some hand quilting.

embroidered leaf

Once again, the most conspicuous element in the garden was the flitting about of butterflies.  There were lots about, including this white on a spirea…

white butterfly on spirea

…and all four of our regular coloured types – the peacock…

peacock butterfly

…the small tortoiseshell…

tortoiseshell butterfly on daglia

…the red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…and the painted lady.

painted lady on sedum

It wasn’t hard to find two or three together, jostling for space on the same flower.

three butterfly pairs

There weren’t as many blackbirds about as there have been, probably because the rowan berries have nearly all been eaten.  This blackbird was reduced to foraging for fallen berries on the ground.

blackbird with scavenged berry

A pale astrantia reached up to the sun.

pale astrantia

After lunch, with the thermometer at a heady 12°C, I got my bike out, spoke severely to my legs and set off to see how far I could go.

For once, the wind had dropped and although there was still a very light breeze, it wasn’t a great help or a great inconvenience.

The good forecast had encouraged farmers to cut more grass.

cut grass mid september

I cycled down to Longtown by back roads and dropped in at the bike shop there.  My bike has had a squeaking problem which had baffled the best brains among the bike shop boffins and although they hadn’t cured it when it was last in the workshop, they had made the bike ride-able again.  When the problem reappeared on a recent ride, I followed up on the mechanic’s suggestion and applied a little WD40 to a crucial point.  This had cured it, so I went to thank the mechanic.

He was very pleased to find the cause of the problem and undertook to provide a more permanent fix next time my bike comes to the workshop.  As it was, I was lucky that I was carrying the WD40 with me because when I went over a very dirty section of the road a few miles further on, the problem raised its ugly head again.  A good squirt cleared things up though, and I was able to pedal on without a problem.

From Longtown, I went past Arthuret Church…

Arthuret Church

…and enjoyed this little carving on a gravestone.

Arthuret Church carving

I then took a short off road section of National Bike Route 7.  It follows an old railway line across the River Lyne on a new bridge which they plunked down on top of the old piers..

NR 7 bike path

Although I had to duck to avoid brambles hanging over the path, and the final section was both muddy and very narrow, I reached the artistic signpost  at the far end of the track safely and rejoined the road gratefully.

I wound my way round the flat roads of North Cumbria, and then headed home past Gretna and through Canonbie

I paused for a drink as I crossed the main railway line near Gretna.  I love the geometry of railway lines.

railway geometry

I didn’t stop a lot to take pictures on my way but there were wild flowers to enjoy when I did stop.

three biking wild flowers

I was hoping to manage 50 miles but I came to a compromise agreement with my legs and settled for 43 miles instead.  The forecast is still good for tomorrow so I didn’t want to discourage my legs by doing too much today.

I had a cup of tea and some toast with plum jam when I got home and then had a last walk round the garden.  The calendulas are hanging on well.

evening icelandic poppy

I am off to see the podiatrist tomorrow to see if I can do something about getting walking comfortably again.  Cycling is all very well but you don’t see anything like as much detail as you do when you are walking.

The non flying bird of the day is a starling, standing fearlessly among the mess of wires on the top of our new electricity pole.

starling among wires

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin.  He and his wife Gaye (pictured beside the train) spent 18 hours on this train from Salt Lake City to San Francisco.  He tells me that route took them through the Utah Salt Desert, Nevada Desert, and then finally the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was spectacular but the accommodation and food on the train left a bit to be desired. He thinks Gaye was delighted that the journey was finally over.

zephyr train

I spent a very quiet day today, partly because my legs were not in the mood to be co-operative and mainly because the wind blew vigorously and relentlessly all day so it wasn’t an attractive cycling day.

The morning was given over to late rising, a crossword, coffee and a little light mowing of the greenhouse grass.  I wandered about dead heading and looking at flowers.  The poppies continue to surprise me with their tenacity…

four red poppies

…and here and there, bright colours stand out…

four flowers

…though I had to hold the rose’s head up with my hand to get the picture of it.

I found a break in the wind to capture gentian, crocosmia and perennial wallflower.

three flowers

And there were insects about too, although the butterflies were very scarce.

insects on two flowers

The rowan berries are getting very scarce too….

few berries on rowan

…and jackdaws decided that plums were a better bet.

jackdaw on plums

I dug up a couple of leeks and made some leek and potato soup for my lunch and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her monthly Embroiderers Guild meeting and I did a little shopping.  Among the things that I acquired was a pan suitable for making tarte tatin.  My first effort a couple of days ago had no been very successful and not having a suitable pan had not helped.  We have got a good lot of apples about to ripen so I thought that I ought to have another go.

The new pan made things a lot easier but I still slightly overcooked the caramel sauce…

tarte tatin 2nd effort

…and I need to improve my apple packing skills but once again, it didn’t taste too bad and things can only get better with experience.

While the tarte was cooking, I mowed the front lawn and edged both it and the middle lawn.  A neat edge always makes a lawn look better.

When the tarte had come out of the oven, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to recover from her meeting, which had gone very well, and set off to shake a little of the cussedness out of my legs with a two mile walk.  In spite of the strong wind, it was fairly warm and I didn’t need a coat or an umbrella.

I took a familiar route along the track to the Becks Burn and back by the Wauchope road and I passed plenty of fruit and seeds along the way.

becks fruits

Crab apples, unknown seed head , elderberries and rose hips

The rose hips on the hedge roses have really come into their own at the moment and there were flashes of red all along my walk.

These cones and seed heads were near the end of my walk.

cones and seeds

There were some flowers along the way too.

becks flowers

I kept an eye out for fungus but the only example that I saw was this good spread on top of a tree trunk.  I think that these are turkey tails.

becks turkey tails

When I got to the track down to the Becks Burn itself, I was very impressed by this sea of grass, tossing in the breeze.

lush grass becks

By the time that I had crossed the burn and walked up the slope on the far side, the sun had come out so I turned and looked back at the track that I had walked down on the far side of the little valley.

becks track view

And I took a panorama of the bigger picture…

Becks wood view

…which will expand if you click on it.

In the course of my walk, I photographed two gates, one near the beginning in dull light…

becks gate

…and one near the end when the sun was out.

springholm gate

I ended my walk by looking to see if there were any slow worms in their favourite spot at Pool Corner.

There were.

slow worm

And as my sister Susan, likes fuchsias, I took this picture of a really fine specimen just as I came back into the town.

lush fuchsia

I turned the tarte tatin out of the tatin pan when I got back and we had it as pudding after our evening meal.

Even though I hadn’t cycled myself, we were able to watch the highlights of great men cycling furiously in exciting stages of both the Vuelta and the tour of Britain to end my day.  It was quite exhausting just watching their efforts.

The flying bird of the day is a composite of a jackdaw that flapped across the garden in a relaxed way.

flying jackdaw

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He cycled from Derby to Belper (about 10 miles) to enjoy this slice of joy in the book cafe there.  Then he cycled home again.

belper book cafe

We had a generally sunny day today and I tried to make the best of it.

I started off by putting a load of washing on before breakfast and hanging it out before going to church to sing in the choir.  By chance, we had a lot of very sunny hymns to sing so that fitted very well with the day.  There were only five of us in the choir so I don’t suppose that we made a lot of difference but I enjoyed the hymns.

The washing was almost dry by the time  I got home.  I left it on the drier and went for a walk round the garden.

I looked up at the very tall sunflowers and thought that I ought to go and see what they looked like out of an upstairs window, the only way to see them properly.  It was a bit of a disappointment.

taall sunflowers two views

I came back down and had a close look at a geranium and an argyranthemum…

geranium, argyranthemum. mustard nicotiana

…and a wider view of some nicotianas and Mrs Tootlepedal’s latest mustard crop. (She’s very keen on mustard, as I may have mentioned before.)

My favourite was this poppy.

late poppy

In spite of the sunshine, there was a flurry of rain and I worried about the washing.  The flurry came to nothing though and I was able to cut the greenhouse grass and get the washing in without any bother.

In spite of the sun, it was a bit cooler than it has been so the butterflies needed to spend as much time as possible getting some warmth as well as feeding and  they were spread out all over the place on any convenient flat surface.

four butterflies getting warm

I was able to sit out on the garden seat and have my coffee and the last iced bun, but I had to shift the butterfly which is bottom left in the panel above before I could sit down.

Although they are nowhere near fully out, the sedums have enough flowers open to attract traffic already.

forst bee on sedum

It always seemed touch and go as to whether we were going to get wet as you can see from this picture showing sun on the rowan and very dark clouds just behind.

garden weaher contrast

In the end, the wind turned out to be in just the right direction to send the rain clouds past us and not over us, so all was well.

Readers may wonder if I am managing to look after myself in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal who is living the high life in the south, so I thought I would use a picture of my lunch to show that I am not starving. (Home made soup, home made bread, butter from a farm and a cheerful cheese board, with a small side dish of beetroot from the garden.)

lunch alone

I will survive!

After lunch, I checked the forecast and ignored its warnings of the possibility of rain and went out for a walk.  I did take a waterproof jacket with me.

I drove a couple of miles before I started my walk and walked up through some woods just in case it did actually rain.  This chestnut tree, possibly afflicted by a disease of chestnut trees, gave an early warning of the seasonal changes to come.

chestnut turning

The recent rains have brought life back to the mosses and encouraged fungi.

moss and fungus longwood

I walked up through a birch wood…

jenny noble path

…and then came to an oak wood.  The sun persuaded me not to take the short route back to the car through the oak wood…

oak wood jenny noble

…but to walk on past this butterfly enjoying the sunshine…

buttefly on hill

..and take a track along the open hill.  When I looked back along the track, all was fine…

oak on path to Broomholmshiels

…but out of the blue, a shower of rain started up.  I put my rain jacket on but I hardly needed to have bothered as the shower only gave me gentle kiss and didn’t embrace me at all.

I walked on under sunny skies, happy to see a few elderberries and some rose hips.  Hooray.

elderberries and hips

As it looked set fair for a while at least….

road to Hide

…I walked up this road to the Laverock Hide at the Moorland bird feeders…

Laverock hide

…and watched a very busy collection of small birds at the feeders while I rested my feet.

I saw great tits, coal tits, blue tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins, a robin, blackbirds and a nuthatch (which unfortunately saw me at the same time as I saw it it, and flew off before I could get the camera up), but no woodpeckers or pheasants today.

four birds laverock hide

A buzzard flew down the clearing and all the little birds disappeared as if by magic so I left the hide and walked back down the road to the car.

The countryside was looking at its best…

view from Bromholmshiels

…and there was a lot to look at as I went along.

wild flowers broomholm road

My route took me down this road which used to be lined by sombre conifers.  They were felled for timber though and the road is now a different place.

broomholm road

Half way down the hill, I came to my favourite mossy wall, home to ferns, mosses and lichens.

moss and lichen broomholm road

I managed to stop taking pictures in the end and arrived back at the car after a walk of under two and a half miles, a short walk but one which had offered enormous variety on my way.

When I got home, i was pleased to find a starling keeping an eye on things.

starling keeping watch

Under its supervision, I mowed the middle lawn, edged the front and middle lawns and trimmed a small hedge.  Then I made a sausage stew and prepared a small loaf for the bread making machine.  While they were cooking, I got out my borrowed bike and cycled to the top of Callister and back.  As I had already taken over seventy pictures, I resolved not to take any more on my cycle ride unless I met something really interesting like, say, a charging rhinoceros.

Rather disappointingly, charging rhinoceroses were thin on the ground so my camera stayed in my pocket while I battled uphill against a brisk wind, and whooshed down the hill back home.

The stew turned out to be OK and I followed with it stewed plums and custard for a pudding so in the end, I probably didn’t take nearly enough exercise during the day to offset all the eating.

There is a genuine flying bird of the day today but not a very good one.

flying rook

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who knowing my taste for bridges, sent me this handsome example from the Kennet and Avon Canal at the Caen Hill locks.

Kennet and Avon Canal

We had a very pleasant day today, and when the sun shone, which it did quite a lot, it felt much like summer again.

My day started with an early visit to the physiotherapist for my long awaited appointment.  It turned out to be very worthwhile and I left with some sound advice, a list of exercises and a referral to the podiatrist in the near future.

Just in case the exercises don’t work out as well as hoped, I also have another visit to the physio booked for next month, so I am well covered.  The view is that my back is a cause for concern and is affecting a lot of the rest of me.  This is not news as I have had a back problem since 1978 or thereabouts, but the exercises are aimed at strengthening things where they need to be strengthened and I am optimistic.

One of the really good bits of advice was to start walking again on a regular basis, making sure not to get ahead of myself by walking too far.   As a result, after a chat with Mrs Tootlepedal and a cup of coffee, I armed myself with my walking poles and put the advice into action.

I started off by checking out the state of the sluice at Pool Corner.

nes dam gate

A repair has been made which should keep all but the most exceptional floods at bay.

Old machinery is still in place though.

old dam gate

Walking along the road, I marvelled at how much growth has appeared on the top of a memorial in the Wauchope graveyard.

wauchope graveyard

I was keeping an eye out for interest on my walk.

bee on knapwed

Although I complain about cutting the road verges, I was grateful to the person who had been along the path on Gaskells Walk with a strimmer as otherwise it would have been a soggy experience.

Gaskells path

As it was, I was able to walk with confidence and look about as I went.

Fungus is beginning to appear and I was pleased to see a tiny oak sapling growing as they are quite unusual.

fungus, oak, fireweed

The rosebay willowherb is coming to an end and the recent heavy rains have knocked almost all the seed heads off,  This little patch was an exception.

There was any amount of ferns to enjoy…

fern and moss

…and the recent wet weather has brought along the moss which had been discouraged by the previous dry spell.

The best wild flowers that I saw were in this mini forest of yellow.

yellow forest

When I got up to the  Stubholm fields, I found a single sheep on its feet while all the rest were enjoying a lie down.

sanding sheep

An oak tree had an insect, an acorn and some mildew all on the same set of branches.

oak tree panel

I could find sloes and haws…

sloe and haw

…and wild flowers both fierce and and gentle….

three purple wild flowers

…but the most striking thing was this pattern, looking for all the world like a snake, but in fact turning out to be a fallen branch.

snake branch

When I got back to the garden after my short but enjoyable walk, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work.

Mrs T in the garden

Since the forecast was for more showery days to come, and I was due to spend the afternoon sitting down in car and train as we went to visit Matilda, I took the opportunity to mow both the lawns and edged them too.

I also walked round the garden with my camera in hand.

I love a bit of symmetry.

two lilies

These are the very last flowers on the salvias.

salvia height

There were shades of purple on all sides…

three purple garden flowers

…and it was very satisfying to see a painted lady butterfly back in the garden after a few days absence.

paintd lady butterfly

There are still plenty of peacocks about.

peacock butterfly

After lunch, we drove to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.  It was late as usual but on this occasion it was not only late but full to bursting as well, and we had to stand for the hour long journey to Edinburgh.    Luckily we were on what must be the smoothest running train in the rail company’s fleet, so standing was not quite the trial it might have been if the train was rocking about.

Our natural good humour was perhaps slightly strained by the sight of four much younger people happily sitting in the seats reserved for the frail and elderly and ignoring us.  It was a tribute to our youthful good looks of course, but the fact that they studiously avoided catching our eye at any time tells another story.

Our visit to Matilda went well.  She had just spent her first morning at school and had survived very well, so well in fact that she beat me and Mrs Tootlepedal at Go Fish, and won the Pelmanism by miles.  Needless to say, I was thoroughly beggared once again when we played Beggar my Neighbour.

Alistair provided us with another good evening meal, and as we had popped into a nearby supermarket on the way and stocked up on coffee and cheese, it was a very satisfactory visit all round.  Then the train back home was on time, and there was wonderfully large and deep red moon on the horizon as we drove home, so it was a very satisfactory day all round.  Definitely one that could be registered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying jackdaw of the day was resting on the park wall when I passed it.

jackdaw on park wall

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