Transatlantic visitors

Today’s picture was sent by Dropscone who has been refereeing at an international competition for young players from all over the world near Edinburgh.  A nice finish to a swing from this seven year old lad.

Kids golf 2013

We were forced to endure another day of beautiful weather today whether we liked it or not.  We liked it.

I made an early expedition into the garden in search of colour.

daffodil and anemone
The very last daffodil and a brilliant new anemone
back path
Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite spot at the moment.
The first three azaleas
colourful quartet
geranium, euphorbia, aubretia and cornflower
The potentilla along the back of the house is in full swing.

The birds were as colourful in the sun as the flowers.

greenfinch and goldfinch
Greenfinch and goldfinch

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in  church as usual and when she returned, she brought some visitors with her.  This was our neighbours Gavin and Gaye with their son Fraser, his wife Lesley and their children Ellie and Thomas.  Fraser, who now lives in San Francisco,  is our younger son Alistair’s oldest friend and as boys they spent many a happy hour playing games on their computers in a darkened room and annihilating each other’s orc armies on the carpet.  By unfortunate coincidence, Alistair is on holiday in America just as Fraser is on holiday over here.  Such is life.

We had a nice cup of  coffee and an iced fairy cake with them  in the garden.


Where is Thomas?

Thomas on the lawn

Here he is.  Ellie soon joined him.


Frogs were examined, greenhouses explored and every corner of the garden was visited before it was time to go.  Just one more “cheese” for the camera….


…and off they went by various means of transport.   Fraser toils away in the belly of that modern day Leviathan, the Apple Corporation and through the good example of his wife has become a keen skier and hiker as well as remaining the same charming and unassuming lad we knew in times past.  It was good to see him and his family.

The day went a little flat when they all left so I cheered myself up with a picture of a lily of the valley which has appeared by the front door.

lily of the valley

My spirits were further restored by a splendid roast chicken and two veg Sunday lunch prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal.  So well did this make me feel that after lunch, I jumped onto the speedy bike and set off north up the A7.   I stopped on my way to Mosspaul to enjoy the views.

Ewes valley
Potholm Hill
The road north
The road north at Fiddleton

I was on a main road rather than my usual side roads but the traffic was light so I had a pleasant pedal up the hill.  The road climbs gently up by 600ft in the ten miles from Langholm to Mosspaul but thanks to an unexpectedly strong following wind, it was easy pedalling and I had no trouble in averaging 15.5 mph.

The col at the top of the hill is visually undistinguished except for the line of pylons running through it….


…but it has the geographical distinction of being the watershed between the Irish Sea and the North Sea coasts of Scotland at this point.  If I get a nice day this summer, I might try to cycle from sea to sea.  It could be done with a few good rests on the way.

I stopped to get my breath back and admire a very right angled wall with an offset communications mast on the top of the hill beyond it.

wall at Mosspaul

If I was an artist of the sort that has smart ideas rather than creates anything, I might say that this picture represents the disjunction of the ancient and modern way of life of the area but as I am not, I shall merely remark that it is a wall at Mosspaul.

I was dallying a little because the ease of my journey up the hill promised a hard struggle to get home against the wind even with gravity on my side.  So it proved and only by pedalling as hard as I could, did I just squeeze my average for the whole trip up to 16 mph exactly.  Luckily there was still a fairy cake left to refresh me when I got home.

I didn’t have  long to settle down before we were on our way again.  This time I was on foot and accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal and her mother as we went to the Buccleuch Centre for a gathering to celebrate the 35 birthday of the Langholm Concert Orchestra.  We had  sandwiches and a sausage roll and  a slice of very fine birthday cake.  I was a founding member of the orchestra though I don’t play in it any more and I was asked to say a few words to mark the occasion.  For once I managed to confine myself to a few words.  Everyone was very pleased.

We stayed on for the concert which had a cheerful mixture of popular film and show melodies interspersed with songs from three talented youngsters.  The orchestral members come from far and wide and as a result it can’t rehearse quite as much as it would like to.  It also has too few string players to match its formidable array of brass and woodwind players but in spite of these handicaps, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  Arthur, the conductor moved everything along  at a good pace and the music was right up my street.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother enjoyed the show too and she has chosen a good week to visit us with two very different  concerts to entertain her.

The new fat ball feeder is working its magic and it had a steady stream of visitors through the day.

blue tit, coal tit and sparrow
Blue tit, coal tit and sparrow

We had a lot of visits from a great tit too and I took many photos of it.  I chose this  picture to represent  them.

great tit

The moss killer has been working on the front lawn and I thought it only fair for once to show you the lawn looking bad as I usually only show pictures of the middle lawn at its best.

Front lawn
Work in progress

Catching a flying bird gets more difficult every day but I did manage to sneak a shot of a siskin leaving the plum tree.

flying siskin






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Transatlantic visitors

  1. The treeless hills are so odd but also beautiful to someone who lives in a forest. Everytime I see a photo of them it maks me wish I could just sit and look at such a large, open expanse of pasture. The gardens are beautiul and the front lawn doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as many that I’ve seen.

    1. I love open hilly country but forests have their charm too. By far the majority of our surrounding tree cover is coniferous plantations and not very exciting.

  2. Sounds like an enjoyable day was had. I don’t usually pick out the flying bird of thew day but since it’s background was the plum tree it gets my vote for favourite picture.

  3. lovely pictures of Fraser and family.
    Glad you had an enjoyable ride and managed such a good speed.
    The garden looks splendid, and the lawn a hundred times better than mine.

  4. Your front lawn looks wonderful, you should see mine, only the moss and weeds are keeping it green 🙂

  5. Hear hear for more general garden views please – the individual flower shots are always super but, especially at this time of the year, it’s lovely to see some wider shots too.

  6. Great shots of the children. I showed Eleanor and she requested we go back to visit, the day long journey already forgotten. We are home to discover the vegetable garden and fruit trees have made a lot of progress in our absence.

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