A window of opportunity


My sister Mary may have been walking in the Lake District but my brother Andrew has been drinking coffee in Bridlington.  Here is his view as he sipped.


We woke up to another morning of glum weather, cold and windy and with as much rain as we could possibly want….


…if not a little more.

This let me put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and since it was the last week of 1895, it was a good moment as it is always cheering to start on a new year.

The rain continued until, like yesterday, it eased off in the afternoon for long enough to let me get out for a little walk again

I started by walking round the garden.

candelabra primula
The candelabra primula seemed unaffected by the two days of rain
sweet william
The sweet william looked a little more downcast
And the aquilegia looked washed out

I left the garden and headed down to the river to see where all the rain had gone.

Langholm Bridge

It was water under the bridge.

Suspension Bridge

The river was well up but far from full.  It is very brown with the peat that is washed out from the land.

I walked on past the Kilngreen where a small group were keen to point that even ducks didn’t think that this was good weather.


The ice cream van was at it station in the middle of an empty car park with a faint drizzle in the air, the epitome of optimism.  Naturally I bought myself a small cone and enjoyed it as I walked over the Sawmill Brig…

A touch of colour on the bank of the Ewes Water

…and onto the Lodge Walks.

Passing one of the recently felled tree stumps, I thought that I saw a curious fungus or lichen but closer inspection revealed that it was  a small crowd of snails.


One posed for me.


I know nothing about snails (there’s a surprise) and some research shows me that this might be Cepaea sylvatica but as always, I am prepared to be enlightened by knowledgeable readers.

There are some fine rhododendrons along the Lodge walks and they brought a bit more brightness to a grey day.


As well as being pretty damp, it was also quite windy and I had a hard time taking plant life pictures but there was a lot to tempt me into trying.

Some above my head….

tree seeds

…some beside my feet…


…and some half way in between.


I stood on the Duchess Bridge and looked downstream.  At this time of year, the river here runs through a canyon of green.

River Esk

The nuthatches have left the nest at the bridge so there was nothing to detain me there and I walked on home, happy to have found a dry moment in the day.

The honeysuckle in the hedge facing the road gave me a warm welcome…


…and after a quick look at a knapweed…


…I went in for a cup of tea and a Jaffa cake.

Mrs Tootlepedal had spent a busy couple of hours helping in the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar while I was out enjoying my walk and in the evening, I went back there in the rain for a very well attended meeting about our local newspaper, The Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser.  This is the same newspaper which the Archive Group members have been indexing since its first publication in 1848.  It has recently been threatened with closure by its latest owners, a Carlisle newspaper group.

In response, a group of concerned local people, with the financial support of local charitable trusts and some individuals have raised enough money to achieve a community buyout and the paper is now owned by a community company based in Langholm.    It has a business plan and a lot of local support so we all hope that the new venture is successful and that the E&L, as it is always known, will continue for many years to come.

The first issue of the new ownership was published today and I am happy to say that it has a picture of Skippers Bridge in it which I took a week or so ago so I really feel part of this grand venture.

This was the picture.

Skippers Bridge


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “A window of opportunity

  1. Press photographer eh? How grand can you get. It was a jolly good image, no wonder it was used. I do so enjoy your flower pictures, that honeysuckle could almost be smelt.

  2. I wish much success for your new venture! And your snail pictures were like a timely illustration to the book I am currently reading ‘ The sound of a wild snail eating”!

  3. Even in the rain the aquilegia looks like a group of swans talking together.
    I don’t know anything about snails but their shells sure are colorful.
    Congratulations on having the photo published. It’s easy to see why it was chosen.

  4. So you got all the rain. I was wondering where it went. Love the snails. I have never seen a snail in the wild, but surely we must have them, somewhere, I’m just not paying close enough attention.

  5. You are having our weather at the moment. When mallards pick up and move on, one knows it is truly a dreich day.

    The snails are very ornate in their banded pattern.

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