Mrs Tootlepedal is out to lunch

Today’s guest picture, taken by my sister Mary a few days ago, shows a bed of tulips in St James’ Park, London and it just goes to show that however many lovely tulips Mrs Tootlepedal has in her garden, the Queen can afford more.  A lot more.

St James's Park

The weather continues to behave very well for the moment and we had a day of unbroken sunshine for which we are duly grateful.  Mrs Tootlepedal is still finding retirement very much to her liking and suggested a pub lunch today.  I was very happy to agree.  When she said that she was bicycling to the pub and it was in Rockcliffe, twenty miles away, I was very happy literally to go along with that too.

It was chilly first thing so we were in no hurry to set out and I was able to find a moment to admire a goldfinch in the plum tree.

goldfinch in plum tree
The goldfinch seemed to be admiring the blossom

We took a straightforward route on our way down to Rockcliffe, using the bike path to Canonbie, then the main road to Longtown and then National Cycle Route 7 which happily goes right past the pub entrance.

Crown and Thistle

The pub’s name, the Crown and Thistle is appropriate for an establishment so near to the border between England and Scotland.

Once we got past Longtown, we were on very quiet country roads….

Cumbrian by ways

… with the occasional grand house to look at as we passed.

This is the curiously named Justicetown

The modern world was not far away however and we had to cross first the busy M6…


…and then the busy mainline railway.  We had to wait at the level crossing while trains passed us in both directions.

level crossing

We weren’t exactly dawdling ourselves and arrived for lunch having averaged nearly eleven miles an hour for the nineteen mile journey.

The lunch was excellent….

Crown and thistle
Mrs Tootlepedal enjoying a plate of locally sourced Cumberland sausage and mashed potatoes

….and we took our time over it.  After coffee (and ice cream for me) we went down to the meadow which runs down to the bank of the river Eden and enjoyed the peaceful scene.

The rock cliff which gives the village its name.
River Eden
A house with a view
Rockliffe church
Rockliffe church

On a day like to day, it looked like the Garden of Eden indeed but on a wet and windy winter’s day when the waves are battering against the sea wall you can see at the back of the meadow, it might not be quite so inviting.

Still, we didn’t think of that but just enjoyed it all.  Soon we got organised and started for home.  We took a different and less direct route back, passing through Gretna and Glenzier and ending up by coming back down the Wauchope road.

We passed plenty of wild flowers as we went…

wild flowers

…but the most interesting was this line of tiny flowers near Gretna.

tiny flowers

Any suggestions as to what they are would be welcomed.

In contrast to the busy M6, we passed the bridge which once carried the main road between England and Scotland over the River Sark, the border between the two countries.

Border bridge

The whole ride was a delight, the temperature being pleasantly cool in spite of the sunshine but it was still a good moment after 40 miles when the hills of home came into sight at Wauchope School with only three miles of gently downhill road to go.


Our speed home, with  more distance and some gentle climbing to do, hadn’t matched our outward pace but we completed the cycling part of the 43 mile trip in four and a half hours. Add in the time for lunch, banana breaks and the visit to the river at Rockcliffe and it had taken a bit over six hours in all.   We did a bit of crossing as we went – the M6 twice, the railway four times and the border four times as well.

This was the furthest Mrs Tootlepedal had cycled in one go for a year or two but she had enough energy left to get out in the garden after a cup of tea and a shower.  I joined her there to look for flowers to shoot.

Tulips everywhere.


A magnolia is just coming out by the front gate.


There were still birds sitting in the plum tree.


It was such a lovely day that it was a pity to go inside at all so we drove up onto the Langholm Moor where we were able to catch a few fleeting glimpses of hen harriers.  I was also very pleased to see a grouse.  Huge sums of money have been spent trying to encourage the return of grouse to this moor so it was good to be able to prove that at least one is about.

red grouse

To be fair we did see another one as well.

If Mrs Tootlepedal’s retirement is going to consist of pub lunches and forty mile cycle rides in the sunshine, I am going to enjoy it a great deal.

I did manage to find time to catch a flying bird of the day in the evening sun.

flying chaffinch






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Mrs Tootlepedal is out to lunch

  1. You are having much better weather than we are down in Suffolk. Cold, cloud and some drizzle today. For the past few years most of our roads have had these little white flowers along the edge. I don’t know what they are but I did read a couple of years ago that they are some kind of seashore plant that has started to colonise the edges of roads that have been salted during the winter. Either the seeds were in the salt and grit mix or they have just moved in from the coast because they felt at home.

  2. What a glorious day you had – you more than wore off your lunches. I must say, I admire Mrs. T’s approach to retirement!

  3. That was a fine day. The hills of home are lovely, and the tiny white mystery flowers must surely be Flora plantida starlingits (little white flowers planted by the starlings).

  4. Well, what a splendid day complete with lovely flowers both outside and inside your garden and my favourite perching birds. Well done, both of you, for cycling so far and so fast.

  5. Whew – what a ride! And well worth the effort judging by the pictures. I particularly liked the reflection in the rock cliff photograph.

  6. The tulips are spectacular, and yes, do demonstrate what a very large number in one spot can offer for color! I must say, there is no justice in a single person owning such a grand house as the one in Justicetown!

  7. What a lovely day you had. I hope when Commando and I retire we will be fit enough do have days like that. My favourite photo is the goldfinch and the blossom, but I see you managed to sneak some trains in too 🙂

  8. A pub lunch sounds like something we would most certainly enjoy! What a fabulous day the two of you had. I can’t imagine pedaling 43 miles now, much less when/if I get to retire some day! I loved all the photos, I always enjoy getting a glimpse into another place and culture. And then the Queen’s tulips – oh my!

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