La vie en rose

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She saw these de-icers at work at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on her way to America.  They would make me very nervous if I was flying.


We had a day out today.  One of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fellow sopranos from our Carlisle choir had invited us for a walk and lunch so we set off for the south after an early coffee.

Google may come in for some well justified criticism but the ability of Google Maps to predict how long it will take us to get from A to B by car is uncanny. It suggested that it might take us 45 minutes and it took us 44.

We had a second cup of coffee when we arrived and I was pleased to find that Melanie and Bill have bird feeders outside their kitchen window so we felt at home straight away.

They have more varied visitors than us.

Mistle Thrush
A Cumbrian mistle thrush wonders who the intrusive photographer is.

After chatting for a while, we donned our wellies and coats and set out for a three mile walk.

We started by passing the very square church in the village….


…and walked down the road, passing this fine house set among mature trees…

Raughton head dwelling

… on our way to crossing the River Caldew on the handsome Rose Bridge.

rose bridge

It is not only a good looking bridge but has convenient steps down for pedestrians to join the Cumbrian Way which runs along the river Bank here.  They have even cut down a tree which would otherwise have blocked my view.

The Rose Bridge gets its name from Rose Castle, the erstwhile home of the Bishop of Carlisle, which overlooks the river.

Rose Castle

The castle was much battered about during the English Civil War and has been extensively rebuilt in succeeding years.

Those interested may find out a bit more about the history of this building here.

We were walking through the Castle’s parkland and there were any amount of excellent trees to enjoy as we went along.

Some by the river.

Rose Castle tree

Some with added castle.


And some with reflections in the storm channel of the river.


I found one view of the castle without any trees in the way.  the original building is the Peel tower on the right.  Two wings of the main building are missing

Rose Castle

The River Caldew takes a lot of water from the Lake District hills in heavy rain and we passed several channels created by floods in the past.  It is  still shifting its course on a regular basis and I was impressed by the way it had disposed of half a wood here.

River Caldew

I was also impressed that two new trees had been planted to maintain a row of trees on the skyline.


We passed another fine house, many centuries old, on the far bank of the river…

River Caldew

… but as I went to take the picture, I was even more delighted to find a good crop of lichen on a riverside tree branch.


After a last look back at the parkland…

Rose castle estate

….we crossed the river on a new bridge built to replace a previous bridge which had been damaged by a falling tree.

new bridge over Caldew

The rest of the party posed for a picture.

The final section of the walk took us back to the village up farm track and back roads.  There were many clumps of snowdrops to be seen….

cumbrian snowdrops

…but the pick of the late winter flowers were several sensational spreads of winter aconites.

winter aconites

We have had extreme difficulty in getting any aconites to grow in our garden and the ones that do show were nothing like as strengthy as these.  It was a real treat to see them.

We finished out circular walk by arriving back at the square church.  Melanie told us that when there are weddings at the church, string is put across the gate and wedding guests may be encouraged to disburse coins to the local children before the string is lowered and they can go in.

raughton head church

We were treated to an appetising meal of ham shank and vegetable soup followed by parsnip cake.  They were both delicious.

After more conversation, we had a final cup of tea and then drove home while there was still daylight to see by.  Excellent food, two interesting birds, a new and very enjoyable walk, good weather and good conversation….who could ask for anything more?  It qualified as a Grade A, Grand Day Out.

We got home safely and settled down for a quiet night in.

Although I didn’t have my flying bird camera with me, I was able to take a good static bird of the day shot when an obliging greater spotted woodpecker  perched on Melanie’s feeder for me.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “La vie en rose

  1. All sorts of beautiful things to see, thanks for taking us along. I have planted winter aconite, gotten just a few, and then had them peter out. I do like them so much.

  2. Parsnip cake, now there’s a thought. I suppose it may be something like carrot cake…
    I was very pleased that we were next in line for de-icing, especially since neglecting that treatment may be the reason the Russian aircraft had crashed, killing all on board, the day before!

  3. What a beautiful place to visit (even if vicariously). I’ll have to look up parsnip cake – sounds interesting. Re. the de-icer: it’s far more worrying when you don’t see it being applied. That slightly “radioactive greenish” tinge is very reassuring!

    1. I take your point about the de-icer. 🙂

      The parsnip cake, which was a first for the baker herself (she had a glut of parsnips) surprised us all with its sweet moistness. We all thought it was more interesting than carrot cake.

  4. Lovely photos of such beautiful places. Our woodpecker has red on the top and not the bottom, so I am interested to see yours. The lichen reminds me that for some reasons a lovely old tree in downtown Woodstock NY was cut down apparently yesterday, so I gathered up the bits of moss and lichen that I could find on the ground and stump and brought them to our yard, where they can find a new home. I figure the bits looked fine and should thrive here with our trees and rocks and all.

      1. Thank you. In my world, I just plop it into the crotch of a tree that seems amenable, and it does whatever it wants. We have a lot of lichen and moss etc.on the trees and ground in our yard, so I think the odds are good it will work out somehow. I brought an old welcome mat that had been at my family home and which was covered densely in moss, and when that dried despite my best efforts since I had had to keep it indoors for a while, I put it outside here and it has simply become covered with moss etc. of unknown provenance, perhaps a combination of what came in with it and what came from here. It amuses me that over and over and over the squirrels dig up the moss on the fabric mat to see if there are nuts underneath, or to try abortively put nuts in. It’s like rototilling all the time, and that spreads the moss while preventing thick untouched carpets of it right there. I am just glad that it is natural and thriving.

  5. That was a beautiful lichen and the views along the river make me itch for spring.
    And so do the flowers. The winter aconite was great to see. I’ve never grown it and have never even seen it growing so I can’t offer any pointers on growing it.
    The Cumbrian mistle thrushis a pretty bird!

    1. There is nothing special about the thrush. It was just a common or garden mistle thrush that I happened to see in Cumbria. Winter aconites are notoriously difficult to grow.

  6. Aconites seem to be very finicky about the places where they like to grow. For years we tried to make them feel happy in our garden – without any success. Imagine my envy when I saw a garden where the covered several square feet.

  7. A fine day out for sure! It was a treat to see the historic buildings, along with the new to me species of bird. As much as I love the photos that you shoot around Langholm, seeing the photos from other areas is just icing on the cake.

  8. Thank you for sharing your really lovely photos of a new walk less than an hour from Langholm. Not sure why everyone isn’t moving to your area with its wonderful scenery , birdlife galore, historical buildings, beautiful wildflowers, colourful lichen and sunshine!

  9. Your friends Melanie and Bill certainly know how to show us all how to spend a fine afternoon with such interesting and beautiful countryside and wildlife. The church and cemetery is a lovely shot and I wonder who lives in the fine homes. A spectacular and uplifting glimpse of life for us all to enjoy.

  10. Your day looks and sounds so peaceful and relaxing–like a mini-vacation!
    Your pictures are so lovely. It is snowing here, so it was pleasant to see the green grass and beautiful flowers in your photos. You mentioned about the River Caldew shifting channels often. I live on a hill above a creek and every time we get a heavy rain, you can see that the channel changed. I’ve lived here over 40 years and it’s still fascinating to see the effects of the water.

  11. I always like a tree with reflections. Actually I enjoy all sorts of reflections. And I liked the woodpecker very much. How very obliging of him to pose.

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