A fond farewell

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s visit to Manchester recently.  He found this wonderful 1941 railway bridge across the ship canal there.  It is confined to walkers and cyclists these days, he tells me.

1941 Manchester Ship Canal Railway bridge

After a wet and windy night, we had another rather grey morning today, made greyer by the fact that our daughter Annie had to go back to London.

After coffee and a quick look at the feeders….

Possibly a native blackbird rather than one of our winter visitors

…the day brightened up a lot and we set off for Carlisle.  We found ourselves peering straight into the low sun and  some very bright reflections from wet road surfaces as we drove along.  So persistent was the glare that by the time that we got to the outskirts of Carlisle, the white lines down the middle of the roads had turned bright pink and purple for me.

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is called a negative afterimage.  It was very curious and I don’t recall having had noticed such a strong colour change or one which lasted for so long.

We got a little drizzle out of what had seemed like a blue sky on the way down and stopped to admire a rainbow which had formed.

Rainbow at West Linton
It obviously wasn’t an entirely blue sky.

We delivered Annie safely to the station and then went off in search of a mirror.  Mrs Tootlepedal had seen one she liked on a previous visit and we were determined to buy it today.  Of course it was out of stock and another visit will be required…if we can find it in stock later in the week.

We consoled ourselves with a sausage bap in the furniture store’s cafe, washed down with a hot drink.  Over recent years, drinks in cafes have been so big that even a ‘small’ was the size of a bucket so we were very pleased to find that our small drinks today were just that, small and readily drinkable.  We drank them.

We got home while the sun was still shining so after putting a dough mixture into the bread machine, I went for  a short walk.

There was a bit of water in the Esk after the overnight rain…

Esk at George Street

…and some more in the Ewes when I got to the Kilngreen.

Ewes water at Kilngreen

Mr Grumpy was there, admiring the sunshine and hoping for a fish supper.


I was enjoying the light and the trees.

Castleholm trees


A moss forest caught my eye.

moss on wall
This is not some mossy bank but the top of a stone wall.

I walked up the hill past the estate offices and was impressed by how much hart’s tongue fern was growing on the walls beside the well shaded road.

hart's tongue fern

At the top of the road, a brilliant dogwood blazed in a garden.


The sun was threatening to sink below the hills but it was high enough to brighten up the top of Castle Hill as I walked along the track below it.

Castle Hill

Dropping down through the woods, I saw a fine jelly fungus on a fallen log.

jelly fungus

I passed beneath some winter blossom…

winter blossom

…walked back down beside the River Esk and then took the new path round the bottom of the Castleholm back to the Sawmill Brig and the Kilngreen.  I passed a noble fir and was looking for one of its large green cones when I saw this fine example of nature’s basket weaving skills.

noble fir

I have no idea what is going on there.

The light had gone by the time that I got to the Kilngreen so I made my way quietly home.

After a rest and a cup of tea, I got the dough out of the bread machine and cut it in half.  I wrapped one half in cling film and put it in the fridge and shaped the other half into bread rolls.  The machine makes more dough than we need at one time so this was an experiment to see if we can use it half at a time.  The rolls that I made today came out quite well…

bread rolls

…so perhaps I will give up on the crumpets and stick to rolls from now on.

My flute pupil Luke came for the first time since the holidays and we started on a new Boismortier duet.  His sight reading has improved a lot and we were able to play a couple of movements with very little difficulty.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see a film version of Swallows and Amazons.  This was based on books which both Mrs Tootlepedal and I had enjoyed a great deal when we were children so we approached the film with some trepidation.  In the event, it wasn’t at all bad even though they had souped up the action and had lost a little of the gentle charm of the original.   The acting was excellent and we enjoyed ourselves and were able to say as we walked home, “Well this and that never happened in the books,” in a very satisfactory sort of way.

The flower of the day is the first potential snow drop of the year.  It may not seem much to the casual reader but it means a lot to a gardener.


The newspapers are full of dire predictions of snow storms to come in Britain but the weather forecasts say that this flower may be the only snow drop that we will see in Langholm.

The flying bird of the day is four chaffinches.  None of them are great shots and I was too tired to choose between them so I have put them all in.

flying chaffinches


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “A fond farewell

  1. This is just a wild guess, and I know nothing about it, but, well, those basket-woven things couldn’t be galls by any chance could they? I have no idea if the wee beasties that make them grow have any affinity with conifers…

  2. You and Mrs. Tootlepedal see so many interesting things on your walks and rides. Winter blossom – is that the name of those beautiful pink and white flowers?

    Snow drops should start showing up here within a few weeks, weather permitting. Our daffodils that were in bud stage before Christmas are still in bud stage, waiting. They’ve gone into some sort of stasis during all the cold ice and snow.

    A beautiful panel of FBOTD!

  3. No wonder you are tired! You had such a full day and saw any number of interesting things. I like the strange basket weaving and am alike in the dark. I would be thrilled if I had a snowdrop nearly blooming in my garden. Mine are green shoots still.

  4. That’s a beautiful example of a jelly fungus and the flowering branch afterwards was a welcome sight. It seems like you’ll have an early spring after a mild winter.
    The hart’s tongue fern is something I’ve never seen. It must be another limey soil lover.
    I’d love to see a snowdrop blossom but it might be two months yet.

    1. Do you have any idea on the fir cone? Never saw its likes. Might indeed be a gall of some kind.

      1. I have had two suggestions on ispot, one that it is a immature cone (which I don’t think is right) and the other that it is a gall. But the person who suggested the gall couldn’t find any supporting evidence either though he thought that he had seen one before.

    1. I thought so. I was happy to have noticed it. The fact that it was sitting on a log that I had to step over to go down a path may have helped a bit.

  5. A snowdrop this early? Ours have just come out of the grass. That fir cone has me dumbfounded. Would really like to know what it is.

  6. Your early snowdrop both gladdens my heart and makes me extremely jealous. I’ll try to take the high road and be happy that you can enjoy it!

  7. You do pack a lot into a few hours of sunshine! And, you found so many lovely things during you walk, from Mr. Grumpy to the jelly fungus to the odd woven things in the fir tree. Those things, along with a shopping trip, making rolls, and giving a music lesson, it’s no wondered you needed a rest.

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