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Posts Tagged ‘Yew’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who felt that he could prove that East Wemyss has fine trees as well as seemingly eternal sunshine.

East wemyss

For a change, we had some sunshine here too today, but as it came hand in hand with a very gusty and nippy east wind and a drop in the temperature, it was not quite as welcome as it might have been.

I had intended to go cycling, but it wasn’t appetising, and I had  coffee and a ginger biscuit with Sandy instead.  Mrs Tootlepedal had a very busy morning of meetings so when Sandy had left, I had a quiet time.  I did go to visit our translated corner shop though.

two shops

The new shop (on the left in the panel) is bigger, brighter and has a nifty new sign but the old shop was on a proper corner so I shall miss it.  Still, my cycle route to the new shop takes me along the river and I hope to be able to catch a few waterside bird pictures from time to time when I go to get my groceries.

The better weather brought more birds to the feeder….

busy feeder

…and the better light let me capture a pair of greenfinches coming and going.

flying greenfinches

Even occasional light showers didn’t put the birds off…

chaffinchlanding rain

..and flying chaffinches were ten a penny, rain or shine.

flying chaffinch panel

I made some leek and potato soup for lunch (leeks and onions from the garden but we have had to start buying potatoes again after 5 months of eating home grown).

After lunch, I went out for a walk, touring the garden before I went.

There is still a little colour, fresh from the jasmine, medium from the wallflower and faded from Rosy Cheeks…

jasmine, wallflower, rosy cheeks

…and some interesting greens too, the perennial nasturtium in the yew, unseasonable leaves still on a clematis and promise of flowers from a sarcococca by the back door.

yew, clematis sarcococca

I started out on my walk just after two o’clock and the sun was already setting behind the hill, so one side of the river was already in shade.

esk in November

I directed my feet to the sunny side of the street and went up a bit of a hill too in an effort to keep in the sun.

The wall, as I went up Hallpath had a good deal of interest with hart’s tongue fern, spleenwort and ample supplies of moss on some sections.

three wall hall path

I looked up from the wall and admired a lofty tree.  A man gardening nearby told me that it is a Wellingtonia.

wellingtonia

As I walked on, the sun was getting lower all the time and I had to walk tall to get my head warm as I passed between a wall and a beech hedge.

beech hedge hallpath

I took the track along to the round house and passed a tree which has been gradually eating a ‘neighbourhood watch’ plaque.  It looked like this in 2016…

tree eating notice…and it looked like this today.

tree eating sign

I wonder how long it will be before the plaque disappears entirely.

The sun had all but disappeared by the time that I passed the round house…

round house…and headed on down through the little oak wood….

oak branch mossy

…to the old railway and took the path back towards town.  There was a lot to see on the short stretch of old railway.  The green lichen was surprisingly bright and the script lichen on the tree was comprehensive if not comprehensible…

four thing son old railway fungus

…and the leaves came from a very young sapling but I don’t know whether the growth on the fallen branch was another lichen or a fungus.  I would happy if a knowledgeable reader could shed some light for me.

I passed Skippers Bridge by without stopping to take yet another picture….or maybe I didn’t and succumbed to temptation…

 

skippers bridge end of november

…and a sheep looked at me as I walked along the Murtholm track with a hint of censoriousness in its gaze as a result.

sheep murtholm

Perhaps I shouldn’t have dallied at the bridge because although I could see sunlight on Meikleholm Hill…

meikleholm evening sun

…it started to rain on me as I walked along.

It was patchy rain.  I could still see sunlight picking out a house on the hill to my right…

sun on house

…but I was in the patch where it was  definitely raining so I hurried home without taking any more pictures.

Mrs Tootlepedal was in the garden when I arrived back so we had a walk round (the rain had stopped) before going in.

We discovered a Lilian Austin flower and there were a lot of buds still forming on the bush.  A cowslip was also flowering….

lilian austin and cowslip november

…but as we are due to have quite  sharp frost tonight, maybe that will be that for both of them.

Regular readers will perhaps be asking why we were not in Edinburgh visiting Matilda as it is a Thursday today and they would be right to ask.  We should have been in Edinburgh but half the children at Matilda’s school have fallen victim to the winter virus and Matilda is in the unlucky half.

As we neither wanted to catch the virus nor bring it back to Langholm, we wisely stayed at home.  An evening phone call revealed that Matilda, after an unhappy morning, was making good progress so we have our fingers crossed that neither she nor her parents will be too badly affected.

There was no hint of sun left by the time we had had a cup of tea so the rest of the day was spent indoors doing little tasks.

The sunnier weather did let me catch a much improved flying bird of the day even though it was raining when it flew past me..

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who found herself, with a crowd of other musicians, singing the European National Anthem very loudly outside the Houses of Parliament to indicate their support for free movement for  musicians after any Brexit.  This is niche protesting brought to a fine art.

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There were no protests here today and the temperature was comfortably above freezing at 4°C when I walked up to the health centre after an early breakfast to give a thimbleful of blood for testing.  This is to check my iron levels which were a bit low a few months ago.

In a way, I would be obscurely pleased if the levels were  still a bit low as it would give me a medical excuse for being frequently tired as opposed to a well founded suspicion that this might be down to a general dilapidation of mind and body on account of having had too many birthdays in the past.  Mind you, it might just be the onset of winter.

It was  grey day and when I got home the light meter on my camera told me that it wasn’t just grey, it was really grey so while Mrs Tootlepedal put in some time on her bike to nowhere, I did the crossword and occasionally looked out of the window, hoping that the temperature might rise a degree or two and that things  might brighten up.

In the gloom, I could pick out a dunnock scavenging for fallen seed..

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…and a party of greenfinches, peacefully munching away on the feeer.

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The peace didn’t last long….

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…as chaffinches and sparrows barged in.

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It is always fun to see the concentration needed for landing safely on a perch.

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I don’t know whether the gloomy weather makes it harder for birds to judge the landing but this chaffinch looks as though he is working hard.

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I was frustrated to find that although the temperature had gone up a degree or two before lunchtime, it had also started to rain in a morose but persistent way so I gave up thoughts of cycling or walking, had some soup and turned to music practice and preparation to fill my day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy on some errands but when she got back, she thought the day was good enough to plant out the last of her tulips.  I went out to offer her some light supervision and was delighted to find that one of the perennial wallflowers still had a flower or two on show…

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…though it was so dark that I had to use my flash to capture it.

Our ever patient heron was on guard at the pond and I liked the pattern that the perennial nasturtium’s leaves made on the yew behind it.

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(I had an appalling panto thought: It’s a behind yew.)

Next to the greenhouse, the rosemary bush is in very perky form…

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…and one or two enterprising shoots have pushed through the ventilator into the greenhouse itself where they are putting out a few flowers.

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In the early evening, seven members of the Archive Group assembled in our front room for our AGM.  You may think that AGM stands for Annual General Meeting but I have been taking lesson from you know who and can tell you that AGM stands for A Great Meeting …and not just a great meeting but a really great meeting, a really, really great meeting….probably the best meeting in the world.

At any rate, we were happy with it as we have once again done a lot of work and met with appreciation for our efforts.

After our evening meal, I pulled myself together and spent a gentle half hour on my bike to nowhere in the garage and that rounded off a quiet but useful day.

The flying bird of the day can be seen pushing through the miserable drizzle.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Tom in South Africa.  He was in a position to see the famous Table Mountain but found it covered by the cloud known as the Table Cloth.

Table Mountain

We had another dry and cloudy day here today.  In theory it was quite warm but in practice a real chill in the wind made it feel decidedly parky and it was a day for keeping a coat on if you were outside.

Mrs Tootlepdal went off to Hawick after breakfast on embroidery business and I entertained Dropscone to a cup of coffee (accompanied by some of his traditional Friday treacle scones, still warm from the stove).

After he left, I went out and did some grass cutting and compost sieving.  I am trying to get Bin D emptied so that I can start the process of turning the other bins.  I am getting two new bins made to replace Bin A and Bin B which are showing the same signs of dilapidation as their owner so I need a bit of space to get the new bins into position.

They should be here next week so I am quite excited.

I found a moment or two to watch the birds. They are still in deep discussion about the merits of Brexit and the Trump administration.

chaffinch and goldfinch

Sometimes things get heated….

siskin and redpoll

…and there are signs of a hard landing…

siskins

…but other birds are anxious to join in the debate…

Goldfinch leaving plum tree

….it was rare but sometimes harmony broke out and birds flew side by side instead of straight into each other.

side by side flying

The chilly, sunless weather over the past few days has put flower development on hold for the most part but the daffodils are still looking good…

daffodil

…and a marsh marigold has appeared in the pond.

marsh marigold

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Hawick in time for a bowl of red soup for a late lunch and when she had finished, she went out into the garden to take advantage of the dry spell.  I made a loaf of bread in the bread machine and got the fairly speedy bike out and set off to do the same 20 mile ride as yesterday.

I did stop for a photo or two today.  The interesting cow at Canonbie was resting…

Canonbie cow

…but it had arranged for a substitute to be available for passing photographers.

Canonbie cow

I stopped near Irvine House for a banana and a drink of water and fortunately chose an flourishing piece of wall to lean my bike against.

It was the wall that had everything.

moss and lichen on wall

It was mostly covered with moss…

lichen

…but where a stone was exposed, it was covered with lichen….

canonbie lichen

….of varying colour…

Canonbie wall

…and varieties.

The wind was cold but not unhelpful and after grinding into it up the hill for the first five miles at a snail’s pace, I did the last 15 miles in well under an hour.  Interestingly (to me at least) I ended up doing the ride in the same time as yesterday to within a minute.   I may be slow but I am consistent.

When I got back, I had a look at the yew topiary in the middle of the garden and signs of nibbling made me feel that Attila the Gardener might have been at work….

yew bush

…and a look round the other side, showed that drastic surgery had indeed been undertaken.

In my role as  Onegesius, Attila’s loyal assistant, I lent a hand in sawing off the ball on top of the bush, clipping a bit here and there…

 

yew bush

… and soon the bush was transformed.  I then helped in tidying up the debris and in no time, everything looked quite calm again.

yew bush

Mrs Tootlepedal gave the ravaged bush some TLC and we have every hope that the side that has been trimmed savagely will soon start to grow again.

It was getting too tall for us to clip easily and it was also encroaching on the path to the bridge over the pond so action had to be taken.

Mrs Tootlepedal had purchased some mutton chops from a traditional butcher in Hawick and she cooked these for our tea.  They were very good.

In the evening, Mike and Alison Tinker came round and Alison and I had one of those hours of playing where we were definitely better than the last time we played the same pieces. It is always enjoyable to play good music but it is more enjoyable if you play better than the week before so this rounded off the day very well.

We are promised a little sunshine tomorrow which will be very welcome.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

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