A most unusual benchmark

Today’s guest picture reflects the sun, sea and sand being currently enjoyed by Sandy, who is in the Canary Islands having fun.

Sandy's hols

I must apologise for any more than my usual incoherence in today’s post as after several eventful days, I am feeling a bit tired.

I daresay though, that I am not as tired as the visitor we entertained today.  Loyal blog reader, Mary Jo from Manitoba, had decided that our new bench needed an international test inspection and so she came up from London, where she is taking a short holiday, to visit Langholm.

I met her at Carlisle station and brought her to the Muckle Toon.

She declared that the bench was fully up to standard…

Mary Jo

…having tested it in the company of Mrs Tootlepedal.

And then went back to London.

To say that she is a seasoned traveller is to understate her tolerance to going great distances without complaining.  Next time she comes, we hope that she will stay a bit longer.

She was not our only visitor today because as we were touring the garden with her, I saw a large white butterfly settle on a daffodil..

white butterfly

… and then move to a dicentra.

white butterfly

Unlike the butterfly, which soon flitted away, Mary Jo stayed long enough to have a walk, a bite of lunch and a short drive before departing.

She wanted to walk along the Lodge Walks so we did that and here she is in company with Mrs Tootlepedal showing that in spite of the sunshine on the Kilngreen…

Sawmill Brig

…. a brisk and chilly wind meant that coats were still required.

Mary Jo on the Lodge walks

We were not the only ones enjoying a walk and the Lodge walks are not far from being at their spring best.

Lodge walks

But as we said to Mary Jo, “If only you had come next week….”

There were wild flowers to decorate our walk…

Lodge walks wild flowers

…good views of the monument…


…some trees in leaf….

spring leavesspring leaves

…and more wild flowers on our way.

wild flowers Scholars Field

When we got back to the garden, the sharp eyed Mary Jo spotted a bee on the dicentra….

bee on dicentra

…and took a picture of her hosts perched proudly on the new, thoroughly tested, bench…

Mrs and Mrs TP on the bench

…coats still firmly on against the chill.

I took a picture of a tulip and we went in for a late lunch.


After lunch, we drove up onto the Langholm Moor in the hope of seeing hen harriers and goats.

We saw a meadow pipit…

meadow pipit

… a sheep….


… a view of the Ewes valley…

Ewes valley

….two buzzards hunting over the hill…



…but no hen harriers.

However, as we were on our way back to the town, we did see a goat.

wild goat

All too soon, it was time to take Mary Jo back to Carlisle for her train to London.  She has sent me a message to say she is back safely, having enjoyed the day.

I found going about 200 miles to Glasgow and back yesterday quite tiring so I wouldn’t be surprised to find that after 600 miles on the train today, Mary Jo sleeps quite well.

We called in at a late opening garden centre on our way back from Carlisle and Mrs Tootlepedal added a few more plants to her collection.

It was absolutely lovely and rather amazing to see a blog reader from Canada in our garden, the second Canadian reader who has visited us in the last 12 months and it is a tribute to the wonderful world of blogging that such a friendship can be created out of nothing more than some agitated electrons.

I am hoping for some rain tomorrow so I have an excuse for a very quiet day.

The flying bird of the day is one of the hunting buzzards.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “A most unusual benchmark

  1. We Canadians are used to travelling long distances to do anything!
    I see blue skies and sunshine so even if it was a little chilly Mary Jo was able to see Langholm at its best. I’m sure she enjoyed all the signs of spring in the garden. Great picture of you and Mrs. T enjoying the new bench.

  2. It may have been chilly, but otherwise the weather at least looked good for you visitor. On top of that, you were able to show her many of the fine sights to be seen in and near Langholm.

    I don’t recall seeing a meadow pipit here before, so that was a nice addition, as was the goat.

    Be careful what you wish for, one day of rain so that you have an easy day could become an entire week of rain this time of year.

  3. You can have some of the rain we have had during the past few days if you like! It is good to see your lovely garden in the sunshine and how nice that Mary Jo came all that way to see you! I loved so many of the photos here – the spring flowers, the trees in leaf, the buzzards, the goat, the pipit – my favourite has to be the one of you and Mrs T!

    1. It is rare that we get drier weather than you so you have our sympathy. We must get a bit more warm weather soon, surely. Three days is not enough.

      1. We are doing not too badly, regularly getting better weather than the forward forecast at the moment but still in a pretty chilly “feels like” situation because of the cold winds..

  4. I’ve met a few people from blogging and all have been great company, Mary Jo is lucky to have seen your garden and countryside in person.
    The bench looks good and sturdy. It looks like it’ll last well.
    Nice to see a butterfly!

  5. We will be seeing Mary Jo in July , pleased she saw some more of our great country side , maybe she will come up to Scotland for a visit next time she’s over. Bench looks good as is your beautiful garden.

  6. What a lovely post! Wonderful to have an international friend sit on your bench. And you are so right about the blessings of blogging. New people and new places open up through blogging. Now get some rest!

  7. It was a lovely day indeed, being able to visit the Tootles and see so many of the places featured on the blog. As other commenters have mentioned, it’s a remarkable thing to be able to take a peek into someone else’s life via a blog, and even more so to also be able to meet the people behind it. Walking in “the garden” was a bit surreal, after seeing so many photos of it, and I hope Tom posts the photo of the blog artist at work. It was a bit of a trek to get there as I had unfortunately booked some slow trains, but it’s not as though I had to push the train the entire way! If any other readers are inclined to go visit the Tootles, I encourage you to do so because the warm hospitality is unparalleled.

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