End of an era

Today’s guest picture is another from Mike Tinker’s daughter Liz’s holiday on the west coast of Scotland.  Yesterday she saw this little fellow just outside her front door.

lizardFor the first time since we came to Langholm (41 years ago almost to the day), I had to send Mrs Tootlepedal out today to buy two pints of milk.  This is not because we have just started drinking the white stuff but because our milkman has given up on doorstep deliveries on account of lack of demand.  Supermarkets in Britain use milk as one of their loss leaders to attract customers and this has not only helped to drive many dairy farmers out of business but has led to this tragic loss of one of the charms of living in Langholm.

The pain was slightly assuaged by the arrival of Dropscone with some tasty scones to go with our morning coffee.  He had done better than me and got up early so that he had been able to cycle twenty miles before he came round.  The strong winds and threat of showers had discouraged me.

After coffee, I spent some time preparing cards to be sold in our local paper shop to raise funds for the Archive Group.  They have sold quite a lot of the first batch that I gave them and more will be required.

I didn’t get out into the garden until nearly lunch time.

rambler roses
The rambler roses have finally come into their own.

rambler rosesThe cool wet weather this year has kept their leaves free from mildew so that is something to be pleased about.

I wouldn’t say the the garden is buzzing with bees but there are usually a few about and today was no exception.

beesBut there are still no butterflies.

The clematis on the vegetable garden fence is flourishing.

clematisclematisThe weather this year hasn’t been so kind to the orange hawkweed which is usually very perky.  Some flowers are to be seen but not many.

orange hawkweedA white potentilla nearby is doing well though.

potentillaWhen I came in from the garden, I spent a moment looking out of the window.  After yesterday’s rather scruffy blue tit, we had a siskin with a bad haircut today.

siskinThere was an article in the newspaper today saying that siskins are spreading out all over Britain and that they are particularly fond of garden feeders.  That seems to be quite probable.

They are certainly fond of ours at present.
They are certainly fond of ours at present.

After lunch, I had a two hour spell of duty in the Tourist Information point on the High Street but I wasn’t troubled by any pesky tourists demanding information so it was quite peaceful.  I was visited by Archive Group data miner Ken, who lent me an excellent and heavily illustrated book about Edinburgh and its architectural history.  This went down very well with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She is a great history enthusiast.  I shall enjoy it too.

When I got back, the day had improved a lot and some bright, warm weather let me get the middle lawn mowed, some compost sieved and some more pictures taken.

moss rose and dahliaI was in the middle of taking the moss rose picture above when a rumbling in the sky made me look up.

I just hope that all that dangerous looking stuff is tied on with stout string.  You wouldn’t want it dropping on your head.

The hostas all over the garden are bursting with flowers.

hostasKenneth, our milkman, came round to collect his last payment and we apologised for not being able to drink more milk and wished him well in his new job.

My flute pupil Luke and I are taking a short break until he goes back to school when the new term starts but I got some flute playing after tea anyway when I went up to play trios with Isabel and Mike.  The playing was very enjoyable and we made some good progress in improving a couple of the pieces we play.

The flying bird of the day is one of those universal siskins taking a bow.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “End of an era

  1. It’s too bad your milkman will be out of work – will he have a different job with the same company, I wonder? Home delivery of milk stopped here in the 60s, I believe, and the next home delivery to be scrapped will be mail. For years new developments have had to pick up mail at “super mail boxes” (i.e. lock boxes) scattered throughout the community, and within the next five years Canada Post will stop home delivery to all neighbourhoods in the country. Sigh . . .

    1. In many ways Langholm is still living in the 50s and none the worse for that. We are fearful that the market fixated government will scrap our national postal service too.

  2. The end of the era of home delivery of milk is a sad thing, I can remember when that happened here in the 1960’s.

    I’d worry about things falling off from the low flying military aircraft, my brother did 25+ years in the Air Force, loading the planes. He has stories of what happened at other bases, including a tank going through the cargo doors while the plane was in flight. So, keep a wary eye open.

    Loved all the flowers, in spite of the dreary weather you’ve had all summer, the garden is looking quite good!

  3. The flying bird today was one of your best and the garden flowers were simply splendid. I would be very nervous with such a low flying aircraft too over my house. I am glad the cards you sell for the Archive Group are going so well even if the tourists don’t bother you for Information.

  4. Sorry to hear of the end of your doorstep delivery. My father was a dairy farmer near Wigtown and back then the remuneration was laughable. I have no idea how dairy farmers make a living these days.

  5. Good to see the rambler roses rambling to such good effect.
    Sorry about the loss of the milk delivery. It is certainly very much cheaper in my local supermarket than in the corner shop close by.

  6. Super lizard! It must have been quite warm for it to venture out. It would seem ta it has shed its tail once. The new one it is growing will not have any vertebrae, but otherwise be serviceable.
    I get mad when I think of those loss-leaders, and the effect it is having on milk producers. It is difficult to believe that people choose where to shop just on the price of their milk.

  7. Changes are mind-boggling. Some of them, like the disappearance of milk delivery, are quite certain, and others, like the lack of butterflies and preponderance of siskins, seem arbitrary. I hope your butterflies return, I particularly liked the eyespots… Your flying Siskin is wonderful.

  8. We are very fortunate here to still have milk delivery vans. We (my family) don’t take advantage of this anymore as the deliveries aren’t every day and I can never judge how much milk we’ll be needing. It varies so much and we were either trying to get rid of a glut or having to drive the 14 mile round-trip to the nearest shop to get extra. I would love to be able to take advantage of the service and probably once my husband retires and he is at home every day we will. The van also sells useful things like vegetables too. The rambling rose and the siskin are my favourites today.

  9. I would be sad about the milk deliveries ending too. Here it is actually coming back in some areas as people are rebelling against the major supermarkets paying the dairy farmers so little. It is terrible how little the big supermarkets companies pay vegetable, fruit and dairy farmers. I always try to shop at our local independent store as I know they source local produce and pay the farmers a fair price. It may be more expensive in terms of money, but it is an investment in our local community and we all benefit in the end. For the same reason I try to go to butchers who sell local meats. I can understand why families on low budgets would shop at supermarkets though. I am fortunate to be able to have a choice. Excellent pictures as always, Tom!

    1. I shop local for food as much as I can partly to keep the money going round locally and partly becuase I feel that the quality is likely to be more reliable.

  10. Sad to see the end of the milkman. We have t had one here for many years. My hawkweed has been poor this year too and the butterflies very few. I think it’s the weather,

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