A whim

harlequin ladybirds

Today’s guest picture shows some interesting ladybirds spotted by Bruce at Nunnington Hall.  Honestly, they are interesting….and spotted,  Bruce tells me that they are Harlequin ladybirds,  Harmonia axyridis,  that are not native to Britain and are sometimes called the “Halloween ladybird” because of the time of the year they flock to the UK.

harlequin ladybirds

Our brief spell of good weather ended today and it was grey and slightly drizzly when we woke up this morning.  This left us feeling a little low and we mooched around over a late breakfast and read the newspapers for as long as we could. Then Mrs Tootlepedal said that a trip to Edinburgh to see the Galloway Viking Hoard at the museum there would have been a nice thing to do on such a dull day and I said, “Why not?” and almost before we knew it, we were in the car driving to Tweedbank and catching the Borders Railway train to Edinburgh.

We did delay for long enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to have a cup of coffee before we left which gave me a moment to stare out of the kitchen window.

The goldfinches were in command of the feeder again.


It was too gloomy for good flying bird shots…


…and it was better to catch a chaffinch in te plum tree.


We got to Edinburgh safely and walked up the hill from the station to the High Street….


…and then down the other side of the hill into the Cowgate which is crossed by two main roads,  known for some curious reason as The Bridges.


Then we walked up Guthrie Street where Mrs Tootlepedal had her first lodgings as a student over 50 years ago and emerged into Chambers Street where we went into the National Museum of Scotland.

It is been greatly improved since our student days and we found ourselves in the crypt…

Scottish Museum

…having a late lunch in the Brasserie there.

The Galloway Hoard was discovered not far away from us and has been an object of great fascination to Mrs Tootlepedal.  She is interested in such things and has been to a lecture on the hoard at the Buccleuch Centre.

I was a little disappointed to find out that only a fraction of the hoard was on display as the whole thing is in need of lots of conservation and will be put on display in the the fullness of time.

What was there was interesting….

Galloway hoard

…and well explained…

Galloway hoard

…and beautiful.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite piece was among the objects on show.

Galloway hoard
A gold bird pin

There are more than a hundred objects in the hoard so the full exhibition when it arrives will be well worth looking at judging by the bits that we saw today.

We had time on our hands after admiring the hoard so we had a look round some of the rest of the museum. It is a very pleasant environment these days….

Chambers Street Museum

…although the main hall has a strong resemblance to a prison wing.

We wandered through the geology room and were pleased to be encouraged to touch one or two of the exhibits so that we could feel the smoothness of the stone.  There were some very interesting bits of rock to look at.

Chambers Street Museum
Those black circles are not fossils but just other bits of rock compressed into the main piece.

The museum has an eclectic range of exhibits, including old steam engines which I liked a lot…

Chambers Street Museum

…a painted wooden ceiling which was to Mrs Tootlepedal’s taste…

Chambers Street Museum

…and a lighthouse lens which we both liked.

Chambers Street Museum

We wandered around rooms of transport and a whole section on Scottish life through the ages but eventually the patience of our legs ran out and we moved on.

Another visit may be called for.

Leaving the museum, we walked back up to the High Street, passing through this close…


…and battling the crowds of tourists as we passed this handsome house on our way to….


…the castle esplanade.

Edinburgh castle

Even on a chilly day in October, there was plenty of tourist traffic.  We left the esplanade, pausing to enjoy the view over Princes Street and the Forth in the background….

View from Edinburgh castle

…before plunging down the hill, crossing the railway and  having a refreshing cup of tea and hot chocolate in the M&S cafe in Princes Street.

As we went along, I suggested that when she had finished her garden path, Mrs Tootlepedal might like to consider remodelling our front door on these lines.


Scottish Gallery

It would improve the tone of the neighbourhood, I think.

We caught a train back to Tweedbank and drove home in the dark, feeling that we had had a proper day out.

We ought to take more days out but the only trouble is that being a tourist is quite tiring.

The best flying bird of the day that I could manage in the short time and poor light of the morning was this chaffinch.

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “A whim

  1. I’d love to see the hoard. Anything from the 10th century is interesting and rare, but especially when it was made by Vikings.
    I’d also like to see the steam engine, painted ceiling and lighthouse lens. That’s an amazing museum.
    Top it all off with a castle and it’s no wonder there are so many tourists.

  2. A brilliant way to spend a gloomy day, and how lucky to be able to hop on a train and visit a city with such beautiful architecture (might have to go farther north next trip!). The lighthouse light is amazing. Re. your recommended renovation to the front door of your house: is the Kangoo up to hauling all that stone?

  3. Could I suggest that “over 50 years ago” might not be the most tactful way of describing Mrs T’s student days. 🙂

    I thought that the museum resembled a Victorian shopping arcade. but will bow to your superior knowledge of prison interiors…

  4. Unplanned trips always seem to be the best and yours certainly was. Fascinating museum with lots to see and enjoy- no wonder there are so many tourists around. I agree with Mrs T about the beautiful pin and I think the lovely chaffinch in your photo would like it too.

  5. Quite a day you two had. Those Viking pieces are fabulous. Can’t wait to see your front door renovation project.😉

  6. An interesting museum, Tom! And yes, the main hall does look rather like a prison. I especially liked the geology pictures. It reminded me of what I saw at the Lizzadro Museum.

  7. It was a fine tour of the museum, I’m surprised but happy that they allowed you to photograph there. I’d love to see each and every item that you showcased in person, but the steam engine in particular.

  8. Interesting pieces on display! I share Mrs. Tootepedal’s taste – loved the painted ceiling. And your flying birds, of course.

  9. The interior of the museum does look like prison interiors that I’ve seen in many a tv show or movie. The items from the hoard are exquisite. I’ll have to read up on it.

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