Review of the year delayed

Elliot sledging

Today’s guest picture shows that it isn’t raining everywhere.  It is another in our series of exiled grandchildren of Langholmites and shows one year old  Elliot,  grandchild of our neighbour Gavin, sledging in America under the eagle eye of proud father Fraser.

Elliot sledging

There was no sign of snow here on midwinter day as it was another warm, windy and wet day.  We were woken during the night by a positive battering ram of rain beating on the roof with all the zest of Ringo Starr at his drummiest.

I went to see what the river looked like in the morning….

Esk in flood

…and found it full but not overflowing.  The cutwaters on the town bridge were earning their money…

Town Bridge

…but the rain had stopped and there was no cause for alarm.  It was reported later that two towns in the Lake District had suffered a second bout of flooding and with more rain forecast, you have to feel really sorry for them.

I looked at the meeting of the waters….

Meeting of the waters

…stopped to snap a fungus by the waterside…

fungus Mary Street

…and went home.

Some birds were neatly paired in the garden.  Two jackdaws….


…and two starlings.


Others were more haphazard.

chaffinches and blue tit in plum tree

There were preparations to be made for family visits over the festive period but they didn’t take too long so after a light lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I combined a walk down to Skippers Bridge with some shopping.

The puddles in the Murtholm fields were big enough to be classed as ponds and the nearest one had two herons….


…who rudely flew off without waiting to be photographed.

Someone had told me that the roads maintenance men were standing on Skippers Bridge earlier in the morning anxiously peering over the parapet at the damaged cutwater but it seemed no worse than it was when we looked at it last week.

There was still a good deal of water going under the bridge as they say.

Skippers Bridge

I enjoyed the shape made by steps and stream beside the road at the bridge.

steps and stream

On our way back, we passed a little stream gushing down the hill beside the road….

stream at distillery

…it passes not only under the road but also under the old distillery on the other side of the road as well and then out into the Esk through a pipe.  I am not sure that I would be entirely comfortable with a stream running through my house but the distillery building has been there a long time so perhaps it is all right.

Further along, another stream ran under the roots of a tree before spilling over the wall onto the road.

A7 stream

More little landslips seem inevitable if this rain goes on.

On the other side of the road, there was no dipper to be seen on this occasion, only rather depressed trees.

trees under water

When we got home, I plunged into a hot bath in a vain effort to ease away some aches and pains in my hip.  Still a good laze was very welcome.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see one of the ‘live’ streamed theatre pieces which they show there.  This was  a performance of the Nutcracker by the Royal Ballet from the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal, who loves ballet, enjoyed the performance very much.  I went with every hope of enjoying it but unfortunately Tchaikovsky’s music actively annoys me for some obscure reason and as the classical dancing style doesn’t really speak to me at all, I found it very dull.

The camera work made things worse by being much too close to the dancers who were almost always filling the centre of the shot so that although I could appreciate the skill and strength on show, I couldn’t get a good sense of the movement about the stage.

Still, I shouldn’t grumble as it was interesting to see a top quality work in our own town and at a very modest ticket price.  You can’t expect to appreciate everything.

The lack of rain combined with things to do, has put back my review of the year in pictures.  I apologise.

I found a flying chaffinch in the morning.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Review of the year delayed

  1. You do have a lot of water in your rivers and streams! Wonderful pictures of them from your walk. I enjoy going to the ballet but I’m not sure I like all the close-up filming they use on the live-streaming. I would prefer to see the full stage just as I would from a seat in the audience.

    1. Yes, I feel that the film or TV people who make the broadcasts don’t fully appreciate the theatrical performance and are always trying to make it like a film.

    1. I enjoy the gurgle of the streams as we walk along. I like water in general and I would always choose to live in a wet rather than a dry place so perhaps i shouldn’t grumble when we get a bit too much wetness…..but I will.

  2. Two new words for my vocabulary: ‘drummiest’ and ‘cutwater’. I enjoyed your grumbles about the ballet! Hope the hip is better soon and the rivers behave themselves. (If all else fails, you could always turn your cottage into Scotland’s answer to Fallingwater.)

  3. I loved the pictures of the little streams. I wonder why the starlings have different colored beaks, do you know? Your American acquaintance must live in the western half of the country; here on the east coast we are warm and dreary, though not nearly as wet as you.

  4. The light color beaks for the starlings indicates that the bird is ready for breeding season.

  5. I love the pairs of birds facing different directions!

    Much flooding here as well. Earlier dire predictions I heard forecast a drier and warmer than normal winter in my part of the world. Does not seem to be the case now. The nutria are loving all this wet weather.

      1. The weather is more extreme than when we moved here form the east coast 12 years ago. We normally don’t get rain from July through September, and with the rest of the year being wet and cool. Summers are getting hotter and drier. The temperature can fluctuate from 40 to 50 degrees in early morning to over 90 by afternoon. Hottest I have seen is 112 degrees one July several years ago.

  6. I am very pleased that rain reminiscent of Ringo at his drummiest (definitely a phrase I will be using) came to nought. Wonderful shots well deserving a laze in a hot bath. I’m not a great Tchaikovsky fan either – it’s just a little too “sweet” for me – but I think the whole community based live streaming thing is wonderful!

    1. Yes, no complaints about the live streaming thing at all. It is a boon to those living far from the arts venues in big cities that their taxes go to support.

  7. I hope that you have a few dry days to allow the rivers to recede, and that there was no further damage done to the bridges across the rivers.

    I’m not a fan of Tchaikovsky’s music either, his sixth symphony has to be the most depressing piece of music ever written, just the opposite of Ringo at his drummiest.

  8. I had to smile at your “appraisal” of the Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky’s music in general 🙂 I have to say I kind of sympathize with that view. Very enjoyable post with the antics of the birds and the peaceful scenes.

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