Poetry and motion

Today’ guest picture comes from another stroll along the Regent’s Canal in London by my sister Mary.

Canalside walk to Little Venice 12.09.14 003Langholm was the birthplace of the Scottish poet Hugh McDiarmid and some enterprising local people had organised a walk today with stops at appropriate spots around the town where readings of his poetry took place.  It started at his memorial on the hill at the White Yett and descended into the streets of the town thereafter.  It had many stops and I was very surprised when I went to check its progress in Henry Street  to find it bang on schedule.

This was important to me because although my knee wasn’t up to joining the walk, I had been asked to read one of the poems outside the Langholm Library.  I cycled up in plenty of time and had a few minutes to enjoy an exhibition in the Town Hall gallery of fashion hats, pottery and textile art.  I read my allotted poem to a small gathering of walkers and as they went on their way….

walkers and talkers….I went round to the front of the Town Hall where a group of enthusiastic campaigners were trying to whip up support for the Yes side in the forthcoming referendum.

Yes campaignersWhile I was doing this, Mrs Tootlepedal was getting organised for a meeting of her embroiderers’ group in the afternoon which was getting a talk from one of the organisers of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.  She told me later that this was one of the best talks the group had ever had. They are going to visit the Tapestry later in the year.

Sandy had told me that he had seen some fine toadstools when he had been out cycling yesterday so I resolved to go and see them for myself while Mrs Tootlepedal was at her talk.  I had to wait for a while to get my phone charged up and this gave me time to mow the front lawn and take a picture or two.

A Japanese anemone in the shade and a Shirley poppy  in the weak sunshine.
A Japanese anemone in the shade and a Shirley poppy in the weak sunshine.

I was very pleased to see a flower on a fuchsia bush which I feared had given up the ghost and I thought it went well with nerine.

fuchsia and nerineWith the phone partly charged, I set off on a toadstool hunt.  As this involved a 25 mile fairly hilly, circular ride, I was hoping that my legs and breathing would be in a co-operative mood.

garmin 13 Sept 14As it turned out, they were both in excellent form and I thoroughly enjoyed my pedal in perfect conditions, warm and with a light wind in the best possible direction.

Sandy had told me that I would find the toadstools after about nine miles of pedalling, halfway up a hill and just past a quarry.   This seemed pretty specific to me and I hoped that I would be able to find them.

I passed the quarry and kept a beady eye out for fungi and was just getting the feeling that they might have grown and disappeared in a day when a flash of colour in the grass beside the road brought me to a halt.  I was rather disappointed.

fungi at BailliehillIt was a toadstool but no one could honestly describe it as fine and I was wondering as I pedalled on whether Sandy had been hallucinating from the effort of pedalling up the long hill.  Round the next corner though, it was clear that he had been perfectly sane.

fungi at Bailliehill (4)I couldn’t miss these.

fungi at Bailliehill (2)fungi at Bailliehill (3)There must have been about thirty or forty of them in a flat, open part of the grassy verge.  Why they should grow there and nowhere else along the road is a mystery to me.

fungi at Bailliehill (5)It looked as though they were a source of food to some animal or other.

I pedalled on even more cheerfully than before.  Once over the hill, I stopped to take a picture or two of my favourite little valley where the Water of Milk starts its journey to the sea by passing Craighousteads Farm.

Craighousteads Farm
Craighousteads Farm
Looking upstream
Looking upstream
Looking downstream
Looking downstream

It was another hazy day and in spite of a hint of blue sky straight above, it wasn’t a good day for taking pictures of views.

When I reached Paddockhole, with eleven miles to go, I found that I had cycled along very comfortably so far because the light breeze had been at my back.  From this point on, I had to make a rather more determined effort to keep my speed up but the wind was so light that the Minsca windmills were only just turning and I got home in very good order.

In the garden, it was a day of compost interest.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy sieving last autumn’s compost and putting the result onto the flower beds.  She has been so busy that she has emptied a bay in the compost area.  As a result, we have started turning the next batch of compost into the empty bay.  It is amazing how just one or two turnings can speed up the composting process.  She has also been pruning a large philadelphus and we have been shredding the cuttings from that so there will be no shortage of compost next year.

For once, Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a quiet night in and we were able to enjoy highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain after tea.

All this pedalling and poetry left me with little time to watch the bird feeder and a flying chaffinch looking at me with suspicion from under its wing was the best that I could do for flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch (10)

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Poetry and motion

  1. Glad you read a poem, was it hard to get the accent correct? Recently I watched a splendid programme where Andrew Marr talked about the poet. Langholm got plenty of coverage.

  2. I too saw the excellent programme about Hugh McDiarmid. Thanks for the link with the detailed information about him.
    You and Mrs T have been very busy. Glad that the Great Tapestry of Scotland talk was so good, and also that the mushroom hunt was successful.

  3. Nothing better than to read MacDiarmid at times like these. Any second thoughts about how he would have voted? – Beautiful pictures of the Milk valley. A pity the conditions were a bit on the poor side. And the mushrooms turned out very colourful. Thanks again for a very inspiring post.

  4. I like the idea of a MacDiarmid walk. Halesworth, a town near to us, has just started Hooker walks as both Sir William and Sir Joseph Hooker lived there for a time. The toadstools are very colourful – it is strange that they have all appeared together in just one place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: