With a song and a smile

Archive Centre

Today’s guest picture comes from America and was sent to me by Barbara, who was one of three family members who came to Langholm last month on a dreadfully wet day to look for the gravestones of two ancestors.  We met at the Archive Centre.

Archive Centre

The weather here was a good deal better than that today and in spite of a brisk wind, it seemed too good a chance to miss so after breakfast (and with the minimum amount of time wasting), I got the fairly speedy bike out  and went for a pedal.

There has been any amount of loose gravel put on the back roads in our area recently so it was quite hard to find a route which didn’t involve pedalling through some of it.  In the end, I chose the nearest section and pedalled slowly for the first mile and half out of town until I was clear of it.

It was quite chilly when I set out but the weather cheered up as I went along and the wind kindly blew me home so I have had far worse rides than this.

I stopped just before Lockerbie to take a picture which sums up the country along the Lockerbie road for me….hilly but scenic.

Lockerbie road

The clouds were beginning to break up and shortly after leaving Lockerbie on the Dalton road, the sun came out.  I was in the rolling green country of Annandale by this time.

Dalton road

There are wide open views on every side.

A pheasant in the foreground and Burnswark Hill on the skyline.

I crossed the River Annan twice and it was obvious that it had rained more in the west last night than it had in Langholm as the river level was quite high and the water quite brown.

River Annan

I would have crossed it by this bridge at Hoddom but the road to Ecclefechan was another victim of the dreaded gravellers so I turned back, crossed the river at Brydekirk and went home by way of Eaglesfield and Gretna.

I stopped at the Old Toll House at Gretna for a plate of their excellent egg and chips and thus fuelled up, and with the brisk breeze solidly behind me, I cruised home up the main road.

Those interested in learning more about the route can click on the map.

Garmin 20 May 16

This was the first lengthy ride of the month and I would have been happy to extend it a bit but I didn’t want to get myself too tired with a concert coming up in the evening.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I arrived and I had a walk round before I went off for a bath.

Following my daughter’s request, I avoided taking close ups of individual flowers today and have tried to show a bit of context.  We need a good week or two before things get a bit more colourful though.  Almost all the ‘bulby’ plants have gone now, snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, grape hyacinths and tulips and we are waiting for alliums, azaleas, hostas, astrantias, rhododendrons and geraniums and others too numerous to name.

The two beds of newly planted tulips beside the front door are still going strong
Our tiny pond (with a wooden heron keeping guard)
Azalea corner
The azaleas in this corner were badly affected by a late frost
This bush survived and will look great fairly soon.
Back path
The back path

There are some nice patches of foliage meanwhile.

middle lawn border
The vegetables and fruit are lurking behind the metal fence.

Apart from the tulips at the front door, there are two clumps left which have starred as individuals on these pages before.

yellow tulips

pink tulips
The lawn is in terrible condition but I am working on it.

We had a full day and after tea we went off to Newcastleton to sing in a concert in the church there with our Langholm choir.

The church at Newcastleton is well lit and warm and it makes a good venue for a concert.  In addition they have an excellent keyboard which we used.

Illness led to one or two absences both from the choir and from our intended visiting  soloists.  On top of that, our regular pianist was unavailable so that our conductor was playing and conducting simultaneously for some numbers.  We had several unaccompanied songs which helped though and we sang three more to a pre-recorded accompaniment which our pianist had prepared earlier. We hadn’t been able to practise these though.

Under these circumstances, disaster would not have been too surprising but, all in all, things went very well and the the tenors even hit the right opening note in the unaccompanied madrigal, much to everyone’s astonishment.

The audience  (more people in the audience than in the choir) responded very warmly to our efforts, the soloists gave of their best and the varied programme suited the occasion very well so we all went off happily looking forward to doing the whole thing again next Wednesday in a different church in a different country.

In the absence of any flying birds, my friend Bruce sent me this picture of two sparrows at his patriotic nesting box, dad on the roof and mum keeping an eye out.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “With a song and a smile

  1. Showing content is always good, giving other gardeners an opportunity to see how planting work together and what can be done. I am picturing Mrs. Tootlepedal hard at work in all these garden beds. She has quite a bit of ground to cover!

    Beautiful views on your ride. Thank you!

    The sparrows on the patriotic birdhouse is a perfect substitute for the flying bird of the day.

    A dry day here, so far, with a kaleidoscope of sun, clouds and cloud canyons passing by all day long.

  2. Yes, it is good to see more of your lovely garden and Mrs T has kept interest going through the seasons by her excellent choice of shrubs and colourful foliage. I am so pleased the concert went well and with good luck the one on Wednesday will be even better. Some great views on your long cycle ride; I especially liked the Dalton Road and the gorse(?) on the hillside near Lockerbie.

    1. It was gorse. It is flowering very freely this year and I got a wonderful smell of coconut as I passed a bush next to the road a few hundred yards after I took that shot.

  3. Oh how I envy you your vistas. A beautiful day in your part of the world is 100 times more beautiful for the surroundings. I think you work much harder at choir singing than I do, but I’m starting to identify with your efforts.

    1. I have to work hard because I have only just taken up singing and I don’t have very good pitching skills. Reading music is no problem, singing the right note is.

  4. The placement of the wooden heron is perfect, but I wonder what the frogs in the pond think about it.
    The views of the garden are always welcome, and it looks beautiful as usual.
    I can’t imagine riding my bike that far but I might try if I had views like those to look forward to.

    1. I think the frogs won’t give a hoot about the wooden heron, given their inability to see anything that doesn’t move. (Which by the way is also Mr. Grumpys tactic)

    2. The views help a lot although they do come with added hills. The thing about cycling is that if you can cycle five miles, you can cycle fifty miles. You just have to take your time.

  5. Nice views of countryside and garden! Glad the concert went well and congratulations on hitting that opening note, that must have been very satisfying

  6. Well done indeed for that long bicycle ride and successful concert, including hitting the right tenor note at an important moment. Enjoyed the garden views.

  7. Great views of a lovely landscape and garden. It’s been good to see the layout of the garden and all the on going work that keeps it so full of interest throughout the year.

  8. How great the concert went well and everyone enjoyed it. Garden looks beautiful, I miss the close-ups, but it is good to see a bigger picture. Lovely spring views from your pedal too.

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