Sunshine in the dark

Today’s guest picture shows my mother-in-law standing beside her daughter  whom she is visiting in southern France.   They were attending the apple festival in the town of Mirepoix.


I enjoyed a lazy breakfast and a quiet sit with the crossword after it while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to song in the church choir.  I did find a few moments to watch a variety of small tits grappling with some big seeds.

great tit

blue tit

coal tit

There were chaffinches about as well.


Mrs Tootlepedal  is in cycling mode at the moment and as soon as she had had a cup of coffee on her return, she suggested a short pedal up to Wauchope Schoolhouse.  It had been raining heavily overnight but it was quite bright for the moment so we put on precautionary wet weather gear and set off hopefully.

In the event, the wind was light, the temperature mild and there was even an occasional sunbeam to be seen so we enjoyed ourselves.  I stopped to take a picture while Mrs Tootlepedal picked up a discarded pop bottle.

Sitting bull
Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that this must be the famous Sitting Bull.

I pedalled a few yards past Wauchope School before turning for home to give myself the opportunity to take an overview of our route home.

Wauchope dale
One of the few well surfaced bits of road in our vicinity.

We found plenty more discarded cans and bottles to pick up on our way home.  We need some sort of clever mechanism so that we can sweep them up without stopping and getting off all the time.   Of course it would be better if motorists didn’t keep chucking the litter out.

I had a quick walk round the garden when we got back.

October colour
Yet another new blue clematis has appeared alongside old favourites.

While I was on the bike, I received a text from Sandy suggesting an afternoon camera excursion.  That was agreeable to me and after lunch, he he came down to pick me up for a tour round Eskdalemuir.

The first piece of notable colour that we encountered was an amazingly pink berried tree at the Benty Bridge.

Pink tree

Shortly afterwards, we met another strange sight.

Georgefield bird
Definitely not a quail.  Any suggestions?

One of the reasons for our route choice was a comment from a correspondent  on yesterday’s blog that there was more colour to be seen north of Westerkirk than around Langholm.  She was right.

Autumn colour at Billholm.  Thanks to Sandra for telling us about it.

By coincidence, the lady herself has kindly  sent me a picture without realising that I would be passing myself during the day.

The chance of fine photography was somewhat dimmed by a really heavy rain shower which engulfed us as we headed for Eskdalemuir.  We made our way home along the opposite bank of the river and the rain relented enough for me to poke the camera out of the car window.

Looking across the river to our outward route.

We stopped when we got to the meeting of the Black Esk and the White Esk and the rain obligingly stopped as well.

Esk meeting
It was good to see a bit of water in the rivers today.
A favourite bridge

We had one more stop on the way down from Bailliehill when we met a fiery looking hedge along the road.

Hedge at Bailliehill

More delicate colours were also to be seen.

tree at bailliehill

We had arranged to go to the pictures in Carlisle in the early evening so we didn’t have time to to sit around waiting for the sun to come out after the shower but had to make our way back to Langholm.  If the weather permits, a trip round the same roads in a week’s time should pay dividends.

Sandy joined us for the trip to the cinema where we went to see a film called Sunshine on Leith.  This does for the music of Charlie and Craig Reid, aka ‘T’he Proclaimers’ what Mama Mia does for the music of Abba.  The only difference is that Sunshine on Leith has a better plot, a better cast and better music.

(The original songs by Abba are very fine indeed but the singing and dancing in the film were pretty ghastly.  The Proclaimers music is excellent too and this time, the music on the film was superb and did it justice.)

Sandy, Mrs Tootlepedal and I came out of the cinema with a light heart and a cheery smile.  I can’t think of a film that I have enjoyed more for years.  Of course it helps that the film was set in Edinburgh and showed the city off well.  It is very rare for us to see films which are concerned with recognisable people and places and this all added to the pleasure of the evening.  If you get the opportunity, it would, in my view at least, be worth walking 500 miles to see it.

I must admit that it was charmingly old fashioned in that it had no bad language, no gratuitous violence, no nudity, no noticeable CGI, no wobblycam (my pet hate) and no panicky jump cuts.   You could hear every word of the dialogue, the actors on the whole avoided overacting and there were several really good jokes.

For a bit of balance I append the first para of a review from Variety:

Twee, sentimental and boisterous in ways that might as well have followed official Scottish Tourist Board guidelines, “Sunshine on Leith” is a stage-to-screen jukebox musical that some will find irresistible, others highly resistible. Like the Proclaimers’ songbook, which it builds a formulaic laughter ‘n’ tears story around, it’s a chirpy heart-on-sleeve confection that’s populist in a somewhat generic way. Outside the U.K., where the film opens Oct. 4, biz will likely be spotty.

I would add that if they think that the Proclaimers’ songbook is a chirpy heart-on-sleeve confection then they haven’t actually listened to any of it.

For a change, a goldfinch makes flying bird of the day today.






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Sunshine in the dark

  1. Wonderful post glad my reader worked so I did not miss another one 😦 I took chrome off old computer maybe I can not miss so many or that is the hope 🙂 Very nice post. 🙂

      1. I deleted Chrome and have firefox and IE praying she lasts long enough to sell some prints and buy a NEW ONE 🙂

  2. I think your pink berried tree might be a Pink Hupeh mountain ash, or rowan (Sorbus Hupehensis.) If it is the berries should turn white in winter. I don’t know what the large bird could be. It looks like an albino ostrich.

  3. What’s this viral infection that causes motorists to chuck things out their windows??? I thought it was a US trait, and am discouraged to find it international. Another sign of a failed species.

  4. I believe that the bird in question could be a domestic emu, you didn’t happen to count its toes, did you? Ostriches have two, emus have three.

    Are you sure that Sitting Bull wasn’t really his wife, Sitting Cow?

  5. Wonderful photograph of mother-in-law and daughter at the apple festival!
    The autumn colours are coming along nicely, I particularly enjoyed the bridge picture.
    Glad to hear about the film – I had heard it was good.

  6. I’m late in viewing your excellent post about this stunning valley.
    Another new bird is a rhea! Not native to Westerkirk, but another introduction by a fancy bird fanatic! Seeing it does make one do a double take!

      1. I think just for they’re for the fun of having them on around the place, but can’t say I’m certain about that.
        I’d meant to say that the pink rowan berries almost look like blossom, were it not for knowing the time of year. These trees were planted by a man who was President of the Royal Horticultural Society, until his untimely death. He was a very keen horticulturalist, and had a real passion for trees. He planted up, what we know as ‘Worship Knowe,’ with trees, azaleas and rhododendrons. Stunning they are too.

  7. I love the train made out of apples! Maybe you should come up with some bottle picking up device and patent it, who knows, it might make you rich! I saw the Proclaimers film advertised on a TV programme recently and thought it might be quite good, especially as I was quite fond of Mama Mia. Rather than the flim though, I saw it in the West End, where the singing was wonderful and the atmosphere much better than the cinema.

  8. Wonderful Autumnal tree colours 😀 I thought the bird was an albino Ostrich as the beak was definitely not an emu’s. Emu’s feathers are unlike this birds also. I adore all the photos of your mother in law that you post. I love her youthfulness and love the Apple train. I wonder if Mirepoix was the namesake of where the mixture of Celery, onions and carrots diced finely comes from that is also called a mirepoix?

  9. Impressive apple train! I like the favourite bridge and the smoooth pavement begging to be cycled on.

    I’m no fan of shakey-cam myself, a horribly overused trick. I do, however, think it’s hilariously funny when they simulate shakey-cam with a steady-cam (a miracle of misplaced effort).

  10. Spent a good time visiting with you today, Tom. As always I loved the bike tours, but my favorites were the red mushroom, the swans, the little fluffy pony, the “Obligatory Shot”, and that perfect red poppy with the black background! Oh yes, and I liked your description of the perfect little square cakes. Who knows why? However, noticing the time, it is past lunch, may explain my fondness for your little cakes. 😉

    1. They might not have seemed so attractive to someone who wasn’t needing a constant source of energy from something light enough to carry easily. Thank you for taking time out from all your tasks to visit the blog and comment. It is much appreciated.

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