Hands across the sea


Today’s guest picture is the ZurichSee, taken this morning.  It was sent me from Zurich by Hilary, Dropscone’s niece, my Zurich correspondent.


The weather in Langholm could hardly have been more different as it was an absolutely foul day, temperature in low single figures, intermittent heavy showers and a cruel and ruthless wind making life far less than joyful.

The birds were in subdued mood
A redpoll, seeing the perches full, chose to go elsewhere rather than start a fight

As such it was a disappointing day to be meeting three charming Americans, Theresa, Teri and Barbara who had come to Langholm to do some family history research.  They had enlisted the help of the Langholm Archive Group and I had sensibly recruited my friend Brenda, a proper archivist and family historian to be on the team.

I picked them up at the local B & B where they were staying and we walked along to the Archive Centre where Brenda presented them with impressive folders of the results of her research.  After some conversation, we drove off to visit Staplegordon graveyard to try to find the gravestone of one of Theresa’s ancestors.

The weather was at its worst and the graveyard, being in an exposed position, gave the wind and the rain every opportunity to find cracks in our defences.  Theresa had sprained her ankle the day before, which didn’t improve matters at all but they battled on.

crossing the field at Staplegordon

Brenda was able to pinpoint the gravestone….

Brenda at Staplegordon

..which also provided a little relief from the gale.

Theresa and Teri
Theresa and Teri posed for the record

We didn’t linger too long as it really wasn’t pleasant at all and we were soon on our way to the Wauchope Graveyard to visit another grave.  Mercifully the rain had let up by the time we got there and after a little looking around, the stone was identified.

Menzies grave

It was beautifully engraved.  This was one time when I could have done with a little less lichen.  Our visitors were very pleased to have found both stones.

Wauchope Churchyard with Theresa

And they coped very well with the hostile weather conditions, only mentioning the contrasting weather in California every ten minutes or so.

We dropped Brenda off (she had business to attend to) and I drove on to visit other spots which were of interest to our visitors as they had appeared in a memoir of Langholm in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century written by an ancestor.

We visited Broomholm…

mossy wall Broomholm

…Skippers Bridge (site of childhood exploit involving an owl)…

Skippers Bridge

…where in spite of the rain, the water was low enough to allow Teri and Barbara and me to get right down to the waterside to photograph the bridge.

I liked the view through the bridge.

Langholm Distillery

I pointed out to Teri that it was illegal for a person with a camera in hand to cross the bridge without taking a picture of the distillery and she duly obeyed this iron law.

Langholm Distillery

We ended our short tour by visiting the Duchess Bridge, which was looking very elegant in spite of the weather.

Duchess Bridge

I took the visitors back to the Eskdale Hotel and dropped them off there for lunch and said goodbye to them.  I would have liked to have had more time to spend with them but I had a good deal of organising to do with Mrs Tootlepedal at home as we are off for a short holiday ourselves tomorrow.

I had a moment to bird watch…

Two chaffinches had sneaked in among the goldfinches.

…but mostly it was nose to the grindstone.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a short and not entirely successful go at a couple of sonatas.  She has family coming to visit tomorrow so perhaps we both had our minds on other things.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Hands across the sea

  1. I remember one of my aunts going to the town cemetery on a yearly basis to clean lichens off of the family gravestones.

    Yes, you are overdue for warmer, sunny weather.

  2. Those Americans must have been really pleased to have had someone do all that research and you to drive them round. I loved the photographs on, around and under Skippers Bridge.

  3. If your visitors were from my neck of the woods, Southern California, I’m mighty impressed with their heavy coats – must have been purchased for the trip! I’m so happy for them that, with you, they had an excellent tour guide of your beautiful area! Yes, and do tell us about the owl!

  4. What terrible weather! I am pleased you were able to find the gravestones and there was no danger of your visitors falling foul of the law by not photographing the distillery. Have a good holiday.

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