My hat


Today’s guest picture is a reflective study from my brother Andrew.


There are too many pictures in today’s post so I will try to keep the wittering to a minimum.

It was another mainly sunny, dry day with a chilly wind and a frosty start.  As long as it keeps dry, we are trying not to complain too much about the cold.

As it was too cold to cycle or garden, the plan was to visit the Larch Cottage garden centre nearly 50 miles away to the south of Penrith, have lunch, buy plants and then come home via somewhere interesting.

As a plan it went well.

There was time before we left to drop some money from sales and donations round to the Archive Group treasurer Nancy.  She asked me whether I had lost a woolly hat on my walk up Timpen the other day.  When I thought about it, I realised that I had.  Nancy told me that she had found it and put it on a post up the hill.  As it was a nice day and I was rushing off, she said that she might go up and retrieve it for me and when we got home from our outing, I found that she had kindly posted it through our letterbox.  This is the kind of friend that an old forgetful man needs.

I also took a quick look out of the kitchen window.


greenfinch and chaffinch

The drive down the motorway went as well as any drive down a busy road can go and we got to Larch Cottage with enough time to have a look round before lunch. In spite of the sunshine, the snow on the hills reminded us that it was still chilly.

Larch Cottage is run by a man with a sense of humour and a great love of old stone.

P1070638Larch CottageLarch Cottage

The cafe, which is in one of the original buildings, was cosy and the food was good.


Mrs Tootlepedal bought plants and I took the occasional picture.  I liked a euphorbia a lot but was slightly less impressed by the customer service sign.

Larch Cottage
It is probably  no coincidence that London and the government are exactly 300 miles away.

However, since the staff were uniformly helpful and cheerful, we had no complaints.

We set off home by way of Brougham Hall and Brougham Castle.  We approached the hall by the road under this bridge.

Brougham Hall

The bridge gives access to this….

Brougham Hall

…from this.


Brougham Hall is more impressive than the modest name might suggest and it has a fine entrance for visitors…


…and a rather small back door.

Brougham Hall

There is a broad courtyard inside the walls…

Brougham Hall

…with many buildings in various states of repair.  A local group is restoring what they can and several artists and craftspeople have small studios and shops.

We went through the buildings to see the other end of the bridge to the chapel…


…avoided purchasing any pottery or jewellery and left by the door through which we had entered.


We were sorry to see that a large walled garden nearby had been let go.

Brougham Hall

I liked the notice on the door of one of the hall’s smaller buildings.  It should help those who don’t know the name to understand how it is pronounced


And the lion looked quite cheerful.

We drove on in the hope of visiting Brougham Castle which is not far away…

Brougham Castle

…but as it turned out that it is only open at weekends at this time of year, I took a picture of the A66 crossing the River Eden and we went on our way.

Brougham bridge

For those who think that these two buildings deserve more pictures and information, my sister Susan visited them last year and wrote about them in her blog. You can find that post  here.

It is very interesting.

The drive home passed without incident and we got in just in time for  a cup of tea.

I walked round the garden first though…..

daff and crocus

…and I did think that I might go for a short bike ride but a cold wind and no sunshine persuaded me to stay indoors.

I had a look out of the kitchen window while the tea was brewing.

dunnock and robin

I spent a happy hour or two on my computer, learning some new tricks from my score writing programme.  It has a feature that will automatically tie words of songs or hymns to the right notes in a score when you add them.  I haven’t used this before but it turns out to be very handy.

Our cold dry weather is set to continue but there are murmurs of impending snow next week.  That will not be welcome.

The flying bird of the day is a reliable but angry chaffinch.

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

20 thoughts on “My hat

  1. Thank you for another look at Brougham Hall, it was good to revisit. Larch Cottage looks great fun, a good cafe always improves one spirits especially on a cold day.

  2. Neighbors like yours are a treasure. The Complaint Department sign could be taken in rather different ways. I can imagine either snide or tongue-in-cheek. Happily it sounds as though you had no reason to find out which it was.

  3. This was a wonderful post with great variety and a good link to learn even more. Larch Cottage looks like an interesting place to spend the day and a lot of money. The stonework in your area is endlessly fascinating and beautiful.

  4. First of all many congratulations on the rugby result- I think I heard you cheering! Lovely places to visit and read about – maybe there are plans in the future to plant up the walled garden and renovate that wonderful greenhouse again. I know someone who’d love to do it…you never mentioned what was purchased at the nursery! You’ll need that hat next week!

      1. I’ve just purchased a rose too- we are all looking forward to the summer when we can enjoy their scent and colours.

  5. You should have titled this one “Rock in it”, as I loved the stonework featured through this post. Larch Cottage is a place where I could spend a day admiring the stonework and carvings. Then there were Brougham Hall and Castle, the walls on your way to the bridge, and the church or chapel there. More great stonework to admire.

    The sign pointing to the complaint department probably leads to a sign at that location with an arrow pointing the opposite direction. Sadly, governments don’t like to hear complaints from the citizens, to them, we’re idiots that don’t understand how magnificently the government treats us.

  6. Your friend Nancy is a treasure! Larch Cottage and Brougham Hall look like interesting places to visit. I’ll keep them in mind for the next time I’m in the area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: