Help from afar

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who found this slightly unlikely windmill.  It is not producing flour but dispensing curried sausages in the market square in Nottingham.  Well I never, what next?


We had a chilly day here but it was dry which was a relief after some overnight rain.  My leg rehabilitation is going well and I did half an hour of boring cycling on the bike to nowhere in the morning.  It didn’t give my leg any problems but I found it quite tiring after so long with no exercise.

We had coffee wen I had showered after the pedal and then I mixed doing the crossword with some bird watching.

I managed to catch a blue tit going…


…and a coal tit coming….


…among the many chaffinches and goldfinches who kept each other on their toes.


There were moments of peace and quiet though the goldfinch on the left scored no points for good table manners.


After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a service in church to celebrate the life of one of our local businessmen, a great philanthropist, who died recently after a long illness.  I had spoken to him at the last producers’ market a week or two ago and he was in good spirits so it was a great shock when he died soon afterwards.

I would have liked to go to the service myself but unfortunately it clashed with an appointment with the speech therapist and as this was already a bit overdue, I didn’t want to postpone it further.

Normally I would have had to drive the 40 miles to Dumfries to see the therapist but she was trialling a video calling service so instead of getting into the car, I sat down in front of my computer and had the session remotely.  It was very satisfactory as the technology worked flawlessly and the speech therapy advice was clearly transmitted and received.  As it was the first time that either I or the therapist had used the system, we were both relieved to find it so easy to use and efficient.

After the session was over and Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from the church, I went for a short walk to stretch my legs and check if the morning’s efforts on the stationary bike had done any good or harm.

It had done some good and I was able to walk with no inconvenience at all which was very satisfactory.  I took my new phone and the Lumix with me in spite of the fading light and tested them out in poor conditions.

I went along the track to check on the state of the felled wood at the Becks Burn.

We haven’t had enough gates recently.

The phone

There was some heavy traffic on the track to negotiate.


There any amount of small sheds and stables along the way.


Men have been busy clearing the small branches from the floor of the wood that were left when the usable tree trunks were taken away…


…and there was a great heap on the far side of the burn, waiting to be taken off to Lockerbie to be used as fuel in the wood burning power station there.




I was happy to see that people were already busy planting new trees and there was a plentiful supply of little saplings and the protective tubes that they are planted in.


It was too muddy to walk through the felled wood so I turned back and went down to the road by the Auld Stane Brig through the field.

The light was fading fast but there was enough left to see a bare tree behind me…


..and Warbla across the valley when I looked ahead.


The phone was impressive in the gloom and when I zoomed in on the Graveyard below, it politely asked me to hold the camera still while it sharpened up the shot after I had taken it.


I tried it on another gate and without asking, it brightened up the scene considerably.


I considered walking home along Gaskell’s Walk but I thought that it was too cold for that to be much fun and took the direct route back along the road instead.

This impressionist reflection of the trees in the pool at Pool Corner was my reward.


None of the pictures along the walk would win any prizes but I was very pleased with both the camera and the Lumix as they had managed to create a reasonable record of a gloomy (but very enjoyable) short stroll.

It was soon dark and when I went upstairs later on to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was getting on with her dressmaking, my eye was caught by the brightness of the moon beaming through an upstairs window.  It was low over Whita Hill so it loomed large and I got my bird watching camera out and started shooting.  I was rather annoyed to find that something was getting in the way of my shots and impinging on the lunar disc.


It dawned on me after a while that it wasn’t a bit of a window frame but that the moon was passing behind the monument on the top of the hill.  As soon as I got set to take a shot, I found that the moon had moved so  I moved too from window to window trying to catch the monument in the dead centre of the disc.  You don’t realise how fast the moon shifts through the sky until a moment like this but I did my best.


I didn’t have time to fiddle about with the camera settings or fetch a tripod so these hand held shots had to do.

From start to finish, the moon passed behind the monument in about four minutes, getting higher as it went so it was a click and hope situation.


I may not get such a chance again so I was pleased to have seen it.

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a lecture about a local Roman fort and I went off to sing with the Langholm choir.  The speech therapy and the singing lessons are helping my voice a lot but sadly, they haven’t entirely helped me to sing the right note every time. More practice is required.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch caught in the brief period when the sun was out.  It has a beady eye.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Help from afar

  1. Those are great shots of the moon handheld. I’d feel lucky to get them using a monopod.
    The phone camera looks to do a fine job. I don’t know if I could head into the woods with just it and no other camera but I might work up the courage to give it a try. It has mine beat hands down.

  2. HAPPPY BIRTHDAY (which it will be by the time you read this). What great shots of the moon and the monument, especially as they were done with no set-up. I like the windmill too, and am very fond of currywurst it’s one of my favourite snacks when I am in Berlin. Glad the leg stood up (ha ha) well to a pedal and a walk.

  3. Amazing moon shots. It was very bright here too in spite of all the lights of London. Happy Birthday! Glad the leg is getting better.

  4. Dear Tom, all the best wishes for your anniversary. Thank you for so many beautiful pictures and so many witty and informative postings. Take care of your health and stay happy tootling , singing, and biking (even if it doesn’t get you anywhere at the moment).

    1. Thank you, Zyriacus for your kind wishes. I am hoping to get a little more direction into my cycling soon. I hope that life in the place of the knife grinders is going as smoothly for as you would wish.

  5. Hope the next post shows your birthday celebrations and your special surprises! Maybe the new phone is a birthday treat! It’s taking lots of lovely photos! Great shots of the moon and the monument. Great idea to have your speech therapy session online I’m sure more health service appointments will be delivered online in the very near future. I can see the headline now..TP leads the way…again! Happy Birthday!

    1. When you get to my age, you are happy just to have another birthday and the need for extra enjoyment or gifts is minimal. But I had a good day all the same, thank you.

  6. Both the camera and the phone performed very well! I really like the images of the moon with the monument in front of it, it is surprising how quickly the moon seems to move in those circumstances.

  7. Personally, I rather liked your shot of the “impressionist reflection of the trees”!
    We FINALLY got some rain! It feels so good to feel and smell that blessed moisture!

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