I do look a day older

Today’s guest picture was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal who had accompanied me on a birthday walk to the top of Warbla.

On top of the world, Ma.

It was my birthday today and it was celebrated in traditional style with a single candle in the middle of my plate of porridge and a small gift of bird seed from my daughter.  I was much touched.

Outside in the cold blue light, the chaffinches were talking about what to give me as a present.


And the moon was only going down very reluctantly.

moon in morning

The weather was fine but only just above freezing so a birthday pedal was out of the question  and Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided to walk up Castle Hill.  However, a quick inspection of Castle Hill showed that it was covered in grazing cattle so we changed our plan and took the familiar track to the top of Warbla instead.

It was cold in the shade of the trees at the start of our walk but the sunshine beckoned….

sunshine through trees

…and we were soon out in the open looking back at the track that we had come up.

Looking down at the Stubholm

We saw a small flock of bullfinches in the trees beside the track as we walked up but I didn’t have the right lens to catch them for posterity.

There was also a small flock of cattle being fed further up the track so we made a diversion onto the open hillside and although we found that ploughing more directly up the hill over tussocky ground was hard work, we finally made it to the summit.  There we found a man even higher than we were.

tv mast repairs

He was half way up the TV mast repairing a broken electrical connection.  Considering how chilly it was at ground level, he was remarkably cheery.

We both had cameras with us and we spent a moment or two taking pictures from the trig point on the summit.

Langholm Bridge from Warbla
We were looking straight down the river Esk as it runs through the middle of town.  The Kilngreen where I visit the gulls is in the background.
Rugby ground

You can see that flat land is at a premium for farming and for building in Eskdale and it is a mark of its importance to the town that the rugby club beyond the Kilngreen has a prime piece of it.


The town itself has had to expand up the hills on both sides of the river.

We walked back down the track and onto the Wauchope road which we followed back to the house.  One we got in, we found that a sort of reverse burglar had been in the house and instead of taking anything away, he had left me present, a box of chocolate biscuits and a six pack of ginger beer.  Forensic examination proved that the culprit was Dropscone and that he had been aided by the fact that I had absently mindedly left the back door unlocked when we had gone for our walk.

On our way down the hill, we had been struck by the tremendous number of haws still on the hawthorns.


This is a sign that the waxwings haven’t arrived here yet.

The hill sheep were keeping an eye on us as we passed.

hill sheep

There were catkins to be seen as well…


…and remarkably, against a south facing wall in Eskdaill Street, there was a fine show of roses.


You can’t beat a good walk up a hill on a sunny day as a birthday treat.

Once home, it was time for a rest and some lunch.  Then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work in the afternoon and I managed to catch up on my correspondence and order a new camera to replace the lost Sandycam.  I will report on it when it arrives.  All three of my children rang up during the afternoon  to wish me a happy birthday which was very nice.

The only shadow on the day was caused by the fact that I was 22 on the 22nd November 1963 and  along with many other people of my age for me that day remains a sad memory.  It’s possible to look at the Kennedy family with a very different eye in hindsight but there is no doubt that the events of that day took a lot of optimism out of many young people’s view of the world.

I had a moment or two to look out of the window before the light faded.

A bue tit


In the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre to see the annual play production by the local dramatic society.  This was a murder mystery drama of a traditional sort with a nice supply of comic moments.  The first half was really excellent with a well lit set, very competent acting from all the cast, well timed jokes and a good pace throughout.  The second half suffered a little from the plot becoming so complicated that it ended up strangling itself in its own complexity and there was a somewhat uneasy injection of serious illnesses into the plot line which looked a little glib.  Nevertheless the acting remained first class and the whole thing was very enjoyable.   The director is to be congratulated.  It was a second birthday treat.

The flying bird of the day is a rather grainy goldfinch.

flying goldfinch






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “I do look a day older

  1. That’s a great shot of the moon-another one that isn’t quite as easy as it looks. I’m surprised to see all of those roses and haws in November. The birds stripped the hawthorns in a hurry here. I remember a sobbing teacher sending us all home on this date in 1963. Schools and just about everything else closed and that’s the only time I’ve ever seen that happen.
    Happy birthday! By the sounds of it your best gifts are the friends and family that surround you.

  2. Your land is so idyllic I’d love to visit there one day. I’m sending birthday wishes to you from way across the ocean and land. From the looks of it, you had a superb birthday! We had our first snow on the mountains here in Southern California today, so I’m not able to send you warm wishes, but wishes none the less! ~SueBee

  3. TP, you’ll have to take us on one of those great walks when we visit next year. Also, now I know what to get the man who has everything – bird seed. Happy Birthday, if a little belated.

  4. Smart wellies – dapper c’est le mot juste. I like the thoughtful sheep too and the haws are like fairylights. Glad you had an all round good birthday.

  5. Congratulations on reaching another birthday milestone in full command of all your senses. I loved the picture looking straight down on Langholm and also the wonderful colours of the flying bird. Hope the new camera turns out to be a success.

  6. Sounds like a splendid birthday. Glad you had such lovely weather for your morning climb, and enjoyed the evening play.

  7. A belated Happy Birthday, Tootlepedal! It seems like you had a wonderful day. And the weather was lovely which, if the old wives tales are correct, must mean you were a good lad all year!

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