Summer Fair

Dropscone has sent me a picture of his bruised leg for picture of the day but it was ruled out on the grounds of good taste and decency.  It looks very sore indeed. Here is a picture of the Holmwood rooks startled into flight by the pipe band instead.


For one reason or another, I didn’t feel very well in the morning and I sat around reading the paper and doing the crossword until it was time for coffee. I did check on the new feeder.

business as usual
Business as usual

I hope that the starlings find it hard to get into because as you can see, they are recklessly wasteful feeders.

extravagant starling
Fortunately flocks of chaffinches clean up the discards below


I stepped out into the garden for a moment because Mrs Tootlepedal had told me that two poppies were out together.  I found the poppies…

two poppies

…and I caught two of my neighbours enjoying a joke.

Liz and Bruce
We have an unusually good humoured street

Liz came in for a cup of coffee and a natter and after downing two or three cups myself, I felt a great deal better. I didn’t have any coffee yesterday so perhaps I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I shall have to reduce my coffee intake if that was the case.

During the morning, Ross and his men came in to replace the glass in some upstairs windows where the old double glazing had let moisture in between the panes. The new windows look very good but it did mean the old windows beside them needed cleaning.


My poor head for heights mean that this is the sort of job that I leave for Mrs Tootlepedal. I gave her moral support and took some pictures of the plants at the back of the house.

croc host back
Crocosmia and hosta
damside group
Potentilla, aubretia and alchemilla beside the dam
wauchope st group
Looking along the house towards Wauchope Street

I took some group pictures in the garden as well.

fence group
Cosmos, spirea, hawkweed, crocosmia and rambling rose. The fence is under negotiation with our neighbour.
greenhouse group
Looking in the other direction from the same spot. Phlox and delphinum.

The first michaelmas daisy has just showed its face.

michaelmas daisy

The garden is full of young birds at the moment.

young starling
Young starling
young blackbird
Young blackbird
chaffinch pair
Young chaffinch

The blackbirds have been very active and indulge in a lot of shouting at each other. This one looks as though it has come of worst in some sort of scrap.

blackbird ragged tail

On the flower front, the day lilies appear all over the garden.

lily astrantia
This one is among the astrantia

As well as birds, the insects are thriving. Hoverflies seem to like the Stachys for some reason.

We call this one Ernie (check out the hairy legs)

In the afternoon, I cycled down to Longtown to buy some strawberries for our Common Riding visitors. I went down the A7 cycle track to see if my telephone calls and e-mails have had any effect. They haven’t. I imagine that if a motorist rang up to say that there was a fallen tree across a road, he or she would not have to wait for very long before it was removed, certainly not more than three weeks. Respect for people who keep themselves fit and who do not pollute the air by cycling is almost non existent among the transport authorities in this country. In spite of this, I managed to get to Longtown safely. I had hoped to  buy local strawberries but the early season’s crop was over and the late ones are not fruiting yet so I bought some very nice fruit from Dundee instead. I cycled back by way of Corrie’s Mill and Glenzier. It started to rain at Glenzier and I came up the main A7 rather than risk the cycle track in slippery conditions.

I took my little camera but there was too much traffic on the way down and too much rain on the way back so it never came out of my back pocket.

In the evening, I drove over to Lockerbie to fetch our visitors from the train from Edinburgh. There is something that appeals to me about the simple geometry of the railway tarck.

railway geometry

Lockerbie’s fine old station has been uglified by an expert hand.

Lockerbie Station

There is a phone helpline on the platform with a notice saying that people using the helpline will be photographed by CCTV which may be used in any prosecution. The imagination boggles. What do they get up to in Lockerbie?

Our visitors arrived bang on time.

Clare and Al
Alistair, our son with his wife, Clare after a hard day at work.

After a small feast prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal, we went out to watch the flute band marching by. For the uninitiated, the flute band parade on Summer Fair night to meet returning exiles off the last train. This is a notional activity as the last passenger train ran to Langholm in the 1960s.This and tomorrow are the only two times in a year that the flute band appears.

flute band

flute band
The flute band of 1925 from the Archive Collection

There were a good deal more players this year than then. It seemed as though there might be over 50 band members.

The flute band are followed round the town by the pipe band.

pipe band
Langholm Pipe Band turning right into Walter Street

After all this excitement, it was time for an early bed to prepare for Langholm’s Great Day tomorrow.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

One thought on “Summer Fair

  1. Glad you felt better as the morning progressed, probably the conversation helped.

    Have a wonderful day today and give my love to Alistair and Clare, I hope it doesn’t rain.

    Has there ever been a film made of all the activities at the time of the Common Riding and how many towns in the Borders have such a festival?

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