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.
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.
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.
There are wide open views on every side.
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.
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.
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.
There are some nice patches of foliage meanwhile.
Apart from the tulips at the front door, there are two clumps left which have starred as individuals on these pages before.
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.