Getting cross

Today’s picture shows the sea front at  Brighton taken by one of my sisters (Mary, I think)  last year.


The forecast had promised rain all day and it was correct up to the point that it rained in the morning, the afternoon and the evening but it didn’t rain all the the time and Dropscone and I were able to get round the morning pedal in one of the gaps without more than a sprinkling.  It was one of those days when I certainly wouldn’t have got on the bike unless Dropscone had appeared to get me motivated so I have to thank him for that as well as the excellent treacle scones that seem to have become traditional on a Friday with our coffee.

We went round at a seriously leisurely pace but I still felt a bit creaky so I had a good soak in a bath after coffee and that took me nicely through to lunchtime.  Sometimes the pain of being retired is very easy to bear.  (It’s good all the time to be fair.)

I did have a moment to look out of the front windows and take a picture or two before my ablutions.

Two chaffinches consider one perch.
Two goldfinches have the same problem.

The exact placement of the upper goldfinch’s beak behind the head of the other bird gives a strangely artificial look to the picture.

I also glanced out of the back window for once and saw this fine potentilla blossom.


I was thinking of taking the camera for a walk after lunch but Mrs Tootlepedal had itchy feet and wanted to go beyond the confines of the town so we got in the car and went up to the moorland bird feeders with a view to watching a few birds and taking a short walk.  This plan failed on two points, firstly there were no birds to be seen and secondly, I had forgotten to put my camera in the car.  We resorted to Plan B and drove down the back roads into England.

We were driving along with no particular aim in mind when the idea of visiting the Cross at Bewcastle arose.  My sister Susan was there recently and as we have never visited it and were halfway there already, we thought that this would be day to do it.  The gently rolling country was looking very fresh in the sunny spells between the showers and the trip to Bewcastle was worth an outing in itself.

Mrs Tootlepedal had her little camera with her and was struck by this moss covered wall where we parked our car.


Then we went through the gate and she took  pictures of the church…

Bewcastle church
The church is old in parts and restored in others. It is very narrow.

…and the cross which stands in the churchyard.  I have made a composite picture of the four sides.

Bewcastle Cross

..and the nearby impressively big castle which was built on the site of a Roman fort.

Bewcastle castle
They hadn’t mastered the art of putting in windows when they built this.

For those interested, Wikipedia has articles on the fort, the castle and the cross.  You may find them here.

The pleasant drive continued as we made our way back to the Brampton-Longtown road and from there it was not long before we were home for tea and toast.   Mrs Tootlepedal considered that the gentle drive along picturesque roads, including some entirely new to her, the visit to the  antiquities and tea and toast on our return had qualified the trip as a first class day out even though it had only taken an afternoon.

When we were about to turn into the drive, we noticed the duck and ducklings in the dam.  An evil intentioned cat was creeping along the bank near them and a neighbour chased it away.  I went out once we had parked the car to see if they were all right.  The cat was still about but the duck had taken cover with her brood.

This is a grating where the dam runs under the road.

Since I was outside and it wasn’t raining, I took a picture of the lilac which Mrs Tootlepedal had pruned…


…and then for good measure, included a rhododendron…


…and two tulips, one fresh and one blown.

fresh tulip

blown tulip

Then I got my tea and toast.

After tea, I thought that I might go for my walk along the river and search for swallows but it started to rain again so I looked out of the window instead. The birds were as active as ever.

A shoal of siskins.
chaffinch and siskin
A chaffinch giving a siskin a really hard stare.
female chaffinch flying
A contender for chaffinch of the day
A tit turns its back on fame
A tit turns its back on fame
goldfinch flying away
As does a goldfinch.

It was election night in the town. This is when the townspeople elect a young man to carry the flag round the town’s historic boundaries on the last Friday in July at the Langholm Common Riding.  The town band encourages people to remember to vote by marching through the streets.  Here they are squeezing past the parked vehicles in our street as they go on their way.

Town band
Town band

The eventually chaffinch of the day demanded to get the position most vocally.

male chaffinch flying



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

13 thoughts on “Getting cross

  1. I kept waiting for you to get cross until I realized what the title meant – silly me! How interesting that you have such wonderful places so close by. We don’t have that kind of history here, just umpteen wineries. A lovely post as usual and I can’t get enough of those flying, squabbling birds of yours!

  2. I enjoyed the trip to Bewcastle very much, from the mossy wall to the narrow church to the famous cross and the castle riding atop the fort. That cross is at least a thousand years older than any surviving structure in the entire state of Michigan.

  3. That cross is amazing. I often feel like there’s a 1000 yr gap in historical stuff down here in the south of France (between Roman and Romanesque) and something dating from the 8th century is pretty hard to come by. Adding this to the list of reasons to visit you!

    1. We have have large gap on this side of the border when the area round Langholm was given over to cattle thieving. The English side has more continuous history.

  4. An interestering trip. It is entirely possible the castle architects knew how to build windows but chose not to as they are significant weak points in a fortification.

    I hope your choice won the election and will now patiently wait for photos of the Langholm Common Riding.

  5. I love seeing the stonework. Reading the wikipedia articles eventually lead to debating historical matters with my wife.

    We need something like a marching band around here to get people to vote, I think.

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