Mrs Tootlepedal plans a trip

Today’s picture is a detail from a very nice photo of a dragonfly which Gavin kindly sent to me.


After several weeks of fine weather, the rain arrived today.  In fact it had rained all through the night as well but so dry has the garden been that it soaked all the water up without complaint.  The rain persisted throughout the morning  in that annoying way of seeming to stop and then as soon as you go out, starting again. 

I did manage to sneak out without it noticing long enough to take a picture of an apple.

Looking good.

Mrs Tootlepedal also got out for long enough to wonder how she is going to pick the runner beans that have climbed up the telegraph pole.

runner beans
We are wondering if this another case of runners on performance enhancing substances.

Mostly I stayed indoors and looked out of the window at birds both small….


…and large….

starling and blackbird

…and, of course, in argumentative mood as usual.

siskin and sparrow
A siskin and sparrow contest the same space.
siskin and greenfinch
A greenfinch rises above siskin provocation

The forecast said that after lunch the rain would subside so Mrs Tootlepedal had a cycle trip planned.  I checked the forecast map on the internet and it gave us the all clear so we got the bikes out and… started to rain heavily.  I went back and checked the map again and they had changed it from fine to heavy rain during the five minutes that we were getting ready.  We sulked.

Mrs Tootlepedal is not easily put off though once she has made a plan so as soon as the rain looked like letting up, we set off again.

The results of the prolonged rain could be heard and seen in the rivers and streams that we passed.

The Wauchope flowing strongly

We  were pedalling into a stiff breeze and up some steep hills but Mrs Tootlepedal was undaunted.  Could this have had anything to do with it?


It had.  This was our destination.  The congregation of the church at Waterbeck were running a fund raising cream tea event and very well attended it was too. The village hall was full and tea and cakes were disappearing at a great rate.  We did our part and had plenty of conversation as well as munching as we knew quite a number of the tea drinkers in the hall.

I was very pleased to be there, apart from the fancy cakes of course, because my great uncle John had been a minister in the church for a number of years in the 1930s.  We went to look at the church and I was able to find his picture on the walls among all the other ministers of recent times.  The church, which was formerly a UP congregation, is now independent of the Church of Scotland which tried to close it and is being being well looked after by the present congregation.

Waterbeck Church

Great Uncle John is the top right minister in the frame.  He died in Carlisle shortly before I was born.

The pleasure of this little bit of family history and the excellent cream tea was enhanced by the fact that the brisk wind was behind us on the way home and the sun came up too.  here we can see Mrs Tootlepedal going over Callister in the style of Alberto Contador.


I had stopped to take a picture of some of the roadside flowers that brightened our route.  The blue flowers are harebells and the yellow flowers are either trefoil or vetch.

hare bells and yellow flower

Later on the way home, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out some orchids in the verge.


By the time we got home, after an enjoyable 20 mile trip, it was such a lovely evening that I rang up Sandy and suggested an excursion to the sand martin colony at Canonbie.  He agreed and after a short drive, we were soon walking past the churchyard by the River Esk.

grave yard at Canonbie
The new and old burial grounds.


Canonbie church
The church seen from the river bank.

We strolled along the bank of the Esk enjoying the scenery.

Esk at Canonbie

It wasn’t hard to spot the sand martins as there were a great many going to and from their nests.  They nest in holes in the sandy bank above the river just below where the sheep are grazing.

Sand martin nest site

They move very quickly and it would take more time and care than we had available to take good pictures of them but it was very agreeable just to stand and watch them flitting across the river. I did try to take some pictures.

sand martin

Just as we were leaving, a goosander landed with a splash.


When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had kindly cooked my tea fro me.  A day that had started rather gloomily thus ended very cheerfully.

Unsurprisingly, the flying bird of the day is a sand martin.

sand martin
















Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Mrs Tootlepedal plans a trip

  1. How special for a family historian to see the pictures of great uncle Johnnie in his robes, a picture that I haven’t seen before. The orchid was a delight as well

  2. I had an Uncle John who was a minister, too. As a kid I liked their visits till it came to the close, and we had to kneel on the hard linoleum to pray. He was a long prayer. 🙂

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