Today’s guest picture shows the Trent and Mersey Canal. It is another from my energetic brother Andrew’s compendious album of trip illustrations.
I should start by saying that Mrs Tootlepedal would like me to convey her gratitude to all those who have wished her well in her retirement. She is determined to make the most of it and had another busy day today.
Dropscone and I set off for our morning run to Gair and back and while we were out, Mrs Tootlepedal also set out on a bike ride but her eleven mile route contained off road sections over steep hills on forestry tracks. Dropscone and I boringly stuck to roads and our 22 miles were quite hard enough for us with a brisk wind making the journey back very hard work.
We arrived home in time to have coffee together with Mrs Tootlepedal and after Dropscone left, I took a moment to wander round the garden to see what was new today.
The daffodils at the end of the middle lawn made a cheerful show in the sunshine.
I was pleased to find a frog babysitting the tadpoles.
Although not a new event, the flowering currant beside the drying green is looking better every day.
Unwearied by her cycling, Mrs Tootlepedal proposed an outing to one of her favourite garden centres, Larch Cottage, near Penrith. This is over forty miles away so I just had time to to catch a goldfinch enjoying the sun….
…before we set off in order to get there in time for lunch at their excellent restaurant.
The only annoyance in the whole day was the fact that by the time we had left Langholm behind us, we had also lost the sun and it didn’t reappear. As I was hoping for some photo opportunities, the resulting rather flat light was disappointing but you won’t be surprised to learn that took I many snaps anyway.
Larch Cottage is a one off in the world of garden centres. The man who started and developed it is a landscape architect and he has put all his skill into creating an entirely artificial but delightful environment.
Our lunch was excellent and Mrs Tootlepedal bought a bright red rhododendron to replace one that has died in the back border.
We were finished in good time so on our way home we made a short diversion to visit Brougham Castle, which sits on the banks of the Rover Eden.
This is a thirteenth century castle which has had several additions over the centuries and is now a picturesque ruin.
This is the original building, a large and imposing keep….
…but the most surprising thing about the whole are was the profusion of aubretia on every possible surface. It could be found high up on the keep wall…
….in nooks and crannies…
…on low walls surrounding the courtyard….
…and almost everywhere we looked.
It hadn’t managed to colonise the impressive vaulted ceiling of the gatehouse.
There was enough material to keep me snapping away for hours…
…but the dull light and an increasingly chilly breeze made me think that a visit on a better day would be more productive. I had a last look at a newer part of the castle…
…said hello to a pair of lambs…
…admired the handsome bridge over the Eden….
…and set off home.
We arrived there tired but happy and Mrs Tootlepedal declared it to have been an excellent outing and went off to have a snooze.
We roused ourselves in time to make tea and go out for a Langholm Sings choir practice. There was a good turnout of members and we should be reasonably well prepared for our concert at the end of the month.
I was pushed for time to catch a flying bird of the day so it will come as no surprise to find that it is a chaffinch.