Today’s guest picture shows the suitably decorated head and shoulders of William Wallace.  This is a giant statue on a hillside  in the Scottish Borders.  It was taken by my friend Bruce, who was on a tour of the borders.

WallaceIt was a grey day today both meteorologically and spiritually.  In spite of not really believing in my heart that the Yes vote would win, last night’s referendum defeat was still very galling as it seemed to both Mrs Tootlepedal and myself that here was real opportunity to improve life for everyone in Scotland, an opportunity with many risks and a cloudy vision but nevertheless a real opportunity.  That opportunity has gone, perhaps for ever.  It is a gnawing disappointment.

The weather did nothing to lighten my mood, with thick clouds excluding any glimpse of sunshine all day.  Only the arrival of Dropscone with some of his traditional Friday treacle scones stopped me from crawling back into bed and hiding from life once Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to visit the world’s greatest baby.

I was taking a day of rest from cycling as I have had a busy time in the last month thanks to the dry weather and I managed to make a start on tidying up my office, which has got into quite a mess recently.  My tidying mostly consists of moving unclassified heaps of stuff from one place to another and staring at them and is consequently not very productive…but at least I tried.

I did take a quick walk round the garden.  There was an immense amount of dead heading to do but it is a worthwhile labour as cosmos, poppies, rudbeckia and marigolds are all still flowering freely.

marigoldThe rather chilly weather had slowed down the many bees on the sedum.   This made them an easier target than usual.

beeIt was so grey that catching a flying bird was hard work and I took this one just in case it got even gloomier later in the day.

flying chaffinchAfter lunch, I went off to the Tourist Information Point at the Kilngreen where a single brief visit from a couple of tourists was all that I had to keep me amused.  After I locked up, I went down to the waterside to see how Mr Grumpy felt about the referendum result.

I agree.

The gulls and ducks were firmly planted on the bank of the river and I was just wondering if a passing flock of crows would  do for the flying bird of the day shot….

crows…when some obliging gulls got up and flew slowly past me.

This is an uncropped picture, showing how close the gulls were to me.
I cropped this one.

I shot a sitting duck as I left for home.

mallardI should add that there wasn’t much water to stand beside today as the rivers are lower than ever.

Langholm BridgeWhen I got home, I was busy in my office getting some more things sorted when a strange noise drew me out into the street.  It was two men riding Silent Velocettes  They had stopped to talk to Mike Tinker who was passing with his daughter Liz.Silent velocettesIt was my friend Bruce and his son Kevin.  I didn’t have time to question them closely but I will be interested to find where they had got these wonderful 150 cc bikes with four-stroke, water-cooled, horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engines.  Bruce told me that he had ridden one of these in his youth.

They were much used by police forces before the ‘Panda’ car superseded them.

This cheered me up quite a bit.  I walked round the garden with Mike and Liz after the motor cyclists had gone on their way.  Liz is a professional gardener so it is always interesting to look at the garden through her eyes.  She enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s poppies.

In the evening, I put on a bow tie and went off to sing with our choir at a fund raising concert in the church.  It was basically a showcase for the young singers in the town and we are fortunate to have a lot of talented youngsters at the moment who have been encouraged and developed by our local youth theatre group.  The choir was in the programme to provide some mature contrast and in fact we sang quite well.  This was as pleasing as it was surprising as we had not had a lot of practice.

The talented youth were very good and considering that the concert was far too long at two and a half hours, the time slipped by remarkably well, a tribute to their skills.  We were on in the second half and Mrs Tootlepedal arrived back from Edinburgh in plenty of time to join in.  As the concert raised £1000 for church funds, everyone agreed that it was a splendid affair.

One of the obliging gulls is the flying bird of the day.   It is not the sharpest bird picture I have ever taken but it was a very grey day.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “Down

  1. My dear friend, we have never met, however I feel I should say while commiserating The further from whitehall? I believe we have much to thank the scots for? If indeed it wakes the political “elite” to the fact that they are there to represent the electorate NOT there party… Sorry just feel [possibly] as strongly as your goodself ……..As with Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Just BE ….I have to add in related? it shows as brotherly love? I concur

  2. I can’t understand why people would vote against their own independence but as an outsider I’m sure there is a lot that I’m missing.
    We’ve had an extended dry spell here too, but our river is nowhere near as low as yours.
    I’ve never heard of the Silent Velocettes. Water cooling on a 150cc bike seems unusual.

  3. Glad your day ended on a high note (groan). Here we were quite excited about he prospect of your independence and the ripples it could cause globally. Selfishly, we were particularly interested with regards to our national flag – you can get a tad over being mistaken for a bigger, louder, flashier neighbour on the strength of unimaginative vexillology. Thanks for including Mr Grumpy – he always brightens my day

  4. Well, I’m afraid that without the media on your side to push all the people afraid of change to your way of thinking, the outcome of the vote was a given.

    But, you live in a beautiful area, your gardens would bring cheer to any one, as would your photos, and you have a great wife and family, all of which are far more important than the outcome of any vote.

    1. I never like to disagree with a commenter but this was a very important vote indeed, more important than my life by far but, as you say, I have many consolations today and I am thankful for all of them. I very much value the virtual friendships that I have made all over the world too during the last four years.

      1. We may have to agree to disagree on this one. I know that the vote was important, but no vote is more important than your life. Without the love and devotion to Scotland that you and other who feel the same as you have, then Scotland wouldn’t be a country to place so much importance on. You are Scotland, without you, the land may be beautiful, but it wouldn’t be Scotland.

      2. I am delighted by your interest in the topic seeing that Scotland is a small country and far away from you. You are a most thoughtful person.

  5. I am sorry for your sake that the vote went the way that it did but hopefully things will have had a bit of a shakeup and will not return to former thoughtlessness. Always a pleasure to have Mr. Grumpy’s view on life and glad the evening went well.

  6. Very sorry indeed that the vote was such a disappointment to you and Mrs Tootlepedal. Mr Grumpy’s look sums it up very well.
    The flying gull is a triumph of clarity even if it was a grey day.

  7. I’m sorry the vote didn’t go your way. It would have been interesting to see what happened if it had. I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting better treatment or promises kept from Whitehall though. They are not renowned for it and, if there was a vote for England to be independent from them, I’d be first at the polling station.

  8. Thought of you and Mrs. Tootlepedal on the day of the election and the next, yesterday, when we heard the results. How disappointing! I was staying at a chambres d’hote in Nice where my hostess was a Scottish expat. She was both angry and badly disappointed at the result.

    1. That sums me up too but there is a feeling developing that the young and working class who made up a lot of the Yes vote might not just lie down quietly again. That would be exciting as the rich and the old have had far too much to say lately.
      Of course the baleful influence of the media might put a spanner in the works but I live in hope.

  9. I also have not been too happy with the result of certain national elections over here of late. I am reminded of WSC’s comment, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.”

    1. Democracy requires full information and it is sad that the national press in the UK has a majority of editors and/or owners determined that the only view we should hear is theirs. It makes informed voting very tricky.

  10. Your flying birds are always a marvel to me, as I have yet to master the art of photographing a flying bird at all.

    Very sorry about the vote. I think many people around the globe were hoping that a shakeup there in Scotland would reverberate around the world. I can only begin to fathom the depths of your disappointment.

    1. A good zoom lens and somewhere where the birds slow down (a feeder in my case) are the two essentials. My camera lets me take quite good pictures at high ISOs which helps a lot.

  11. My condolences on the referendum. On my side of our ocean here, there are many portions of the United States that I wish would declare their independence and leave. I and hoped they might look to Scotland for inspiration. Probably I’m stuck with them forever. It’s certainly true that the information on the issue reaching any of outside was limited. The American press gave it a very cursory look, but I also read the Economist and they seemed, not surprisingly, rather enthusiastically anti-independence in their coverage. I do hope that the powers that be will keep some of those promises they made to you all, but I suppose that’s my optimistic side.

    1. The Economist has a neo-conservative outlook and naturally puts the interests of finance above the interests of the common people. They continue to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence that paying enormous salaries to very few people makes life better for everyone. They were never likely to look kindly on a small country thinking that it might do better to run its own affairs than have them managed by the city of London.

      1. Very true. Their coverage of education (the subject about which I know the most–though still rather little–about) in this country is always quite misguidedly conservative in its approach. And yet, it’s seen as a flamingly liberal paper here. Sigh.

      2. Education here has been a political football for some time as nobody can provide a convincing explanation of what it is supposed to be for. There are those who think that it should be to teach the poorer classes to know their place and be grateful for anything that they get but it is harder to say this in a direct way these days than 150 years ago so the sentiment is dressed up on unconvincing claptrap.

  12. I am so sorry the vote went the wrong way. When angry and frustrated I find that tidying boring paperwork definitely does not fit the bill. Much better to do a physical job preferably with a tool one can wield and hit things with. The seagull photo despite being taken in dull weather is beautiful. I’ve never seen the black wing feathers so clearly.

  13. I was hoping your post about the referendum.

    I think this train of history passed for Scotland as Comet Halley. Now you must wait seventy years. Maybe future generations will see fulfilled your desires.

    History is own time, not time of humans.

    Best regards.

  14. I see apronhead lily is catching up backward, too. At last, shorter days will enable me to get caught up!

    I was a bookish hotel with no wifi (bliss) but was checking for news on my iPhone and thinking of you as the results came in. It was such a disappointment and I just do not understand why at least 55 percent of the people would be brave enough to go for independence.

    My good friend Garden Tour Nancy was going to fly the Scottish flag if Scotland had become free. Darn it.

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