Today’s guest picture shows my daughter-in-law’s view from her parking spot at the aptly named Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Leith.
The main item on the schedule today was a visit to see our friend Jean who is in hospital in Dumfries. As the visiting hours were in the afternoon, we intended to combine this with a visit to the water mill in New Abbey which we visited when we went to see Jean on her last stay in hospital. On that occasion we missed the 12 noon time for a demonstration of the mill working and this time we were determined to be ready.
I had time for a quick look round the garden….
…before we set off.
The forecast had suggested that rain would pass over us as we went but that we would find that it had gone by the time we got to New Abbey. It was right in the first respect but it was still raining when we got to the mill. I went in and asked for two tickets for the demonstration only to be told that it wouldn’t be run for just the two of us “Come back at three,” the man said. That was no good as we would be seeing Jean. “Come back tomorrow when it isn’t raining and there will be more people about,” the man said. We were not going to drive another eighty miles there and back again. “I’m sorry,” he said, “We have to pump the water into the mill pond from the river and we can’t afford to run it for two tickets.”
I went back out into the rain and as I got into the car, another car arrived and two people got out and went into the mill. I followed hopefully. “OK, ” the man said, “Go and have a coffee and come back at 12.”
We had a coffee, we came back at 12, we got the tour….and it stopped raining.
After the tour, we had lunch, visited Jean, who was not as well as we hoped, and came home.
If you are not interested in working water mills, look away now. There is nothing else in today’s post.
We started at the millpond where our knowledgeable demonstrator opened the sluice for the mill lade.
The pond used to be filled from a loch further up the hill but when the mill was closed this source of water was cut off which is why they have to pump water from the river below nowadays to fill it up when necessary.
The water ran past some old buildings connected with the estate who owned the mill….
…and into the launder which leads to the wheel.
I have left our fellow tourist in the picture in gratitude because if he and his wife had not appeared, we wouldn’t have got the tour.
The launder leads to an overshot mill wheel.
Rather to my surprise, it rotates clockwise as the water falls into the buckets on the right hand side of the main axle.
Inside the mill, we saw the machinery at work. The demonstrator was running it at one third of the speed that it would be going at if it was being used in earnest. It was strangely quiet and restful as the big gears turned….
…but it was still spinning fast enough to make the teeth into a blur. A flash exposure slowed them down a bit.
The mill is in three storeys and we were able to explore them all.
After the mill was closed as a business, it was bought by a member of the family that had previously owned it and it was then entrusted to state care in 1970 and after restoration, it was reopened for the public in 1983. There has been a mill on the site for 700 years, the first one probably built by the Cistercian monks of the nearby Sweetheart Abbey. The present building dates from the 1790s.
The tour was a great treat with the wheel turning and the machinery purring away all the time. The tour guide was a real enthusiast and tended to say things like, “We replaced this in 1843,” as though he had personally been there at the time.
Outside the mill door stood a preserved cart of the type used to bring flour to the miller.
A small sculpture on the floor of the mill kept an eye on us as we walked round.
I took two very short videos of the wheel and its machinery at work which I have combined here.
We went back to the abbey after our tour to have lunch at the tearoom there and Mrs Tootlepedal was struck by some harebells growing high on the abbey wall.
Jean was away getting some tests when we arrived at the hospital but she came back to her ward soon afterwards and we chatted away to her for some time. When they have finished her tests, she is hoping to be released to come back to our own little cottage hospital in a day or two and we hope so too as it will make it a lot easier for her to have visitors.
We stopped to stock up on our food supplies on our way back though Dumfries and arrived home just in time to cook our evening meal.
I saw what I think is a young jackdaw as I stood at the kitchen window.
I couldn’t catch a flying bird at the feeder so I have had to use a silhouetted bird from this morning as flying bird of the day.