Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to Madeira and shows ‘Autonomia’, a monument to celebrate Madeira’s regional autonomy in 1976.


It was another chilly but sunny morning here and it looked as though it might well be one of those days when a trip up a hill could be rewarded by some delightfully misty views below.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get our timing quite right and arrived at the White Yett to get an interesting view up the Ewes valley…

Ewes Valley

…with a hint of mist over the town….

Misty morning

…but even the sheep thought that there were better views to be had elsewhere and were heading off.

Whita sheep

The drive was a little nervous as Mrs Tootlepedal had reported that the car’s information system was claiming that she was using unfeasibly large amounts of petrol when she went to Lockerbie on Thursday.  A quick check today showed us that the car’s computer system thought that we had used seven miles worth of petrol to go three miles.  This was a bit alarming even though though there wasn’t any smell of leaking petrol so we took the car to the garage and left it there and walked home.

Looking back up at the hill from which we had just descended, it seemed that there might have been a good photo opportunity if we had waited a while….

Mist on Whita

…but a few minutes later, when we looked again, the mist had all but disappeared.

Mist on Whita
I was just telling Mrs Tootlepedal about the noisy dippers I had heard on the river a couple of days ago when she said, “What’s that?”

It was a noisy dipper, singing and dipping in the Wauchope.


We watched for a short time and then another noisy dipper came shooting down the river and both of them left in a hurry.  I still can’t make up my mind whether the singing is a love song or a war cry.  I would be pleased to get a view from any dipper savvy readers.

On our walk along the banks of the Esk, we saw Mr Grumpy catching a ray of sunshine in a gloomy spot….


…and a fine display of both male and female alder catkins.

Alder catkins

We had a cup of coffee and then I settled down to watch a bird or two.

There were two robins about today and I took several pictures of them but one robin looks very like another so you will have to say for yourselves whether this is two pictures of the same robin or two pictures of different robins.  (There definitely were two robins in the plum tree at the same time on one occasion but not sitting where I could photograph them together.)


Otherwise, it was a case of the usual suspects.


Although we had had to clear ice off the windscreen of the car before our trip up the hill, the roads were clear and when the thermometer showed 4°C at midday, I put on as much cycling gear as I could find….

Tootlepedal in the buff

…and went off to do 21 miles up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse.  It was cold enough to make cycling less than an unadulterated pleasure and it took me some time to get the legs warmed up on the first  section uphill to Wauchope Schoolhouse but after that I kept a very steady pace and my bike computer told me that I did the three downhill, downwind sections of the journey within a few seconds of each other.

When I went out cycling, Attila the gardener went to work too and by the time that I got back, she had made a very neat job of the marigold bed at the end of the drive.

neat flower bed

I started to watch a bit of Andy Murray playing Milos Raonic in the ATP tennis semi finals but it got too much like hard work so as the sun was still out, I went for a short walk to see what I could find at the riverside.

Mr Grumpy had moved.


There were gulls on all sides.


And mallards on the Kilngreen


I walked home via the new path.  There are a pair of Noble Firs beside the path.  They have large cones which don’t fall off…

Noble fir

…but which are obviously on some creature’s dinner menu.

There was a bit of a stushie going on with loud cries and shouting when I came to cross the Jubilee Bridge but it turned out to be nothing more alarming than a game of football.

Langholm football

I watched for a bit but it was getting decidedly parky by this time so I didn’t linger too long and left just before the final whistle blew.

I was more than happy to have a slice of Mrs Tootlepedal’s walnut and banana loaf and a cup of tea from my new teapot to warm me up when I got home.

I then subjected myself to some cruel and unusual punishment by watching first Andy Murray play tennis and then Scotland playing Argentina at rugby.  In the end, they both held on to win very tight matches by the narrowest of margins so a day that started badly with the car needing attention, ended very well with national pride satisfied.

I had a very good look round the garden when I came back from my pedal to see what the frost and Attila the Gardener had left and found enough rather ragged blooms to make up a composite flower of the day.

November flowers

The flying bird of the day is a fierce goldfinch.

flying goldfinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Tension

  1. So were the sheep on walk about, or are they actually allowed to roam where they will? Fun for me in that I actually knew the four flowers of the day today. Shasta daisy, Pot Marigold (we call them calendula here), some form of sunflower, and Lamium. Dearie-me! I went looking to see if I could pin down the name of yours and was dumbfounded to see how many there were and to learn that they are also known as dead nettle too!

    As always an interesting read, Tom.

    1. Both the orange and yellow flowers were calendula, though I agree one did look like like a miniature sun flower. The sheep roam freely on the hill and the road is unfenced at that point so they are free to go where they like.

  2. Beautiful photos from the day! It is always a pleasure to see Mr. Grumpy enjoying a bit of sunshine. Banana loaf and tea sounds like a good ending to the days activities.

  3. The sun on the hills is a nice shot and reminds me of a view I saw just a short time ago.
    What we don’t see here are mists like yours. They’re something I’d love to see.
    The flowers are always a pleasure to see but especially this late in the year. You’re having relatively good weather, according to them.

    1. We get the mists quite a lot in autumn and winter because of our generally rather soggy climate. When they hang around all day it gets a bit depressing but on a sunny day, they add a lot of interest.

  4. The sheep looking for better views made me smile. And it looks like Mr. Grumpy has put on a thicker winter coat in preparation for cooler weather.

  5. Your loyal followers may be interested to know that the brown trees behind Autonomia are just a tiny sample of the thousands of trees lost in the raging fires of August this year. Much worse were 33 homes and four lives lost. The alleged arsonist is currently on remand.

  6. He is rather handsome …Mr Grumpy, I mean! The mists over the town and the sun on the mountain photos are lovely. More tension tonight when Andy Murray takes to the court again – fingers crossed for a successful result.

  7. Talk about catching magic light, that first image of yours with the sun on the hills is truly spectacular with the mist acting to add vignetting to the shot!

    Your Mr. Grumpy may be grumpy, but he’s much more open to having his picture taken than most of his American cousins, more photogenic as well.

    Nice to see a few flowers have escaped both the cold and Attila the gardener.

  8. well done on getting out cycling. it has chucked it down with rain all day today. Yesterday there were about 4 inches of snow on the A66 near to Barnard Castle so you are doing well, weatherwise.

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