Doing the business

McDiarmid Memorial

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  He talk a walk up Whita a few days ago and managed to find some really nice weather to take this picture of the McDiarmid memorial.

McDiarmid Memorial

We were short of good weather at the bottom of the hill today as it was grey and breezy.  I had to turn down both the offer of scones from Dropscone and a walk from Sandy as there were more important things to be done.

With only a week to go to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, we were reminded that Christmas must be coming too and after being very busy with choirs and concerts and social occasions, we felt that this was the day to do something about it.

There was a good deal of making lists and some ordering on-line and by telephone, which was only interrupted by the occasional glance out of the window.  It was black out there.

A blackbird checking out a few pellets which I had scattered.
And a jackdaw wondering where they had all gone.

There was very little traffic at the seed feeder…..

seed feeder

…and mostly the light wasn’t very good when there was some.

After an early lunch, we gathered all the lists up and set off to do some shopping.  Our first stop was Langholm High Street and then we went on to Carlisle to get some of the things that Langholm can’t supply.

It was quite a slow trip once we got near Carlisle.

Carlisle shopkeepers must be tearing their hair out.  Even those who weren’t flooded have been badly affected by the continued closure of the main bridge through the city.  As not even pedestrians are allowed to cross it, the journey from the north part of the city to the south has become a great trial.  If people can drive, it means a diversion of three or four miles to go 400 yards and if they can’t drive, there is no alternative way across the river as the only other bridge, a footbridge has been severely damaged too.

Traffic is very heavy on the remaining routes into the town centre and the loss of business to the shops must be very severe.

I bought a little lot of cheese at the cheese stall in the market….

cheese stall market carlisle
My favourite shopping experience in Carlisle

…and they were telling us that business was slow and that the traffic is so snarled up that even if they do take orders for Christmas cheese baskets, they are having difficulty guaranteeing that they will get the supplies in time.  I bought an extra piece of cheese.

We managed our shopping very well and with a final visit to purchase four different kinds of coffee beans and some promising leaf tea from the best smelling shop in the town (they roast their own coffee), we set off home.

I had been hoping to take some sparkly shots of the Christmas lights but our shopping had gone so well that it was still light by the time that we had finished and I had to settle for this rather ghostly nativity scene outside the church where we were singing on Sunday.

St Cuthbert's nativity

The traffic was very heavy getting out of the town and so we escaped as soon as we could and took a back road route to Gretna.  We were held up at a railway crossing…..

railway crossing

…and watched in wonder as a main line train roared past us.

railway crossing

I sometimes cycle across this crossing and it always makes me a bit nervous, even if he gates are firmly up and the lights are off.

Since our route took us close to it, we stopped off to visit the Gretna Gateway retail outlet.  We didn’t linger long but I bought some seeds to add to my next loaf in the breadmaker.  Not being a chaffinch, I don’t know quite how I will take to seeds but like sardines, they are supposed to be good for the brain so we shall see.

Tomorrow will be set aside for packing and posting and then we can relax.

I should say that when we got home, I had to ring an electricity company up to complain about a bill that the Archive Group has been sent.  This filled me with foreboding and I sat down, phone in hand ready for a long wait and incomprehensible questions.

However, after only a short dance with robot voices, I got through to a human being in Glasgow, who understood what I was saying, took our meter readings and promised to send me a new bill within a few days.  It was lucky that I was sitting down or I might have fallen over.

Flying birds were few and far between this morning and this was my best effort under time pressure.

flying goldfinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Doing the business

  1. I have been feeling so sorry for the poor people of Carlisle, Kendal and other towns affected by the recent flooding. Thank-you for this post which highlights the great difficulties the townsfolk are having. Congratulations on getting all your Christmas shopping done. I still have a bit still to do and a couple of packages to send off. Seedy loaf? Mmmnn, yummy. We enjoy the honey and sunflower seed loaf.

  2. It’s too bad that the flooding has affected so many but at least they can get in and out, even if the route is convoluted. It could be a lot worse.
    I think I’d be a little nervous on those tracks too. That train looks to be moving quite a bit faster than the freights that used to go by my house.

  3. Glad the shopping went well, I liked the cheese counter. Poor people of Carlisle, how difficult for them all. I enjoyed your turn of phrase when dealing with the electricity company.

  4. I feel sorry for the people of Carlisle, the flooding and disrupted traffic it left behind came at the worst time of the year for them.

    Congratulations on getting most of your shopping done so soon.

  5. I must confess that I underrated the McDiarmid-memorial up to this picture of Dropscone. In this light it really looks beautiful. – I think the people of Carlisle have other things on their mind at present than to electrify this nativity scene, even if its pretty as is.

  6. Fantastic success with the electricity company!
    Sorry Carlisle is still so disrupted – not surprising considering the extent of the flooding.
    Well done for all that Christmas shopping.

  7. I looked up the memorial in the photo, and learned some thing new. Hugh MacDiarmid was someone I did not have any knowledge of, and I was pleased to learn of him and his contribution to the Scottish renaissance as well as the literary dialect Lallans. Thank you!

  8. I do feel sorry for the Carlisle people not having their bridge back yet. How frustrating for them. I’m glad you supported them by buying extra cheese. I’m a big fan of cheese myself, which is why I need to do lots of walking. 🙂

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