Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is a railway enthusiast and was present at the unveiling of a plaque by Captain Chris Smith at the spot where the Hawick railway station would be if it was still here, which it isn’t.
The Jellicoe Express ran between Euston and Thurso. Hawick on the old Waverley Line. Hawick was a station where the Express called in one direction for coal and water and now is the only location that no longer has trains. The Express was the longest rail journey in Britain and ran during both world wars transporting mail and navy personnel
Many local people cherish the hope that the station will reopen in the not too distant future.
The weather here was a lot better today as I could judge for myself when I crossed the Esk by the suspension bridge…
…on my way to meet Dropscone at the now ex-archive centre where we read the electricity meter and I passed over the door key. On my way home, I popped into the garage to pay my bill and then went into the Welcome to Langholm office where our local art club was holding an exhibition and bought a painting.
When I crossed the suspension bridge on my return home, I enjoyed the view downstream.
I didn’t have long to wait once I had got in before I was re-joined by Dropscone who had been cooking some of his traditional Friday treacle scones while I had been busy. They were excellent as usual and added to the general cheerfulness of the day.
When the scone eating ceremony was completed, Dropscone cycled home and I walked back up to the town to collect my art purchase. Coming out of the Welcome to Langholm office, I couldn’t help noticing that workmen were well up to the job of putting the decorations on the enormous Christmas tree outside the Town Hall. Rather them than me.
Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been out having coffee with friends, came home just after I got back and I was able to present her with the painting. I had bought it as a secondary birthday present for her to go with the light bulb.
The painting is by a local artist, Margaret Walty who does the most beautiful and detailed work. The panel below shows the whole painting and a section of it enlarged.
To give an idea of the scale at which Margaret works, the breast of the robin is less than 1 cm across….and she works in acrylics without using a magnifying glass.
I turned from art to nature and watched the birds for a while. Two goldfinches were enjoying the seed today without being battered by the rain.
A dunnock hopped about on a chair beside the feeders.
I made some vegetable soup for lunch. We still have plenty of potatoes left from the garden but after I used one of our onions, there are now only two left. Still to get to December with our own onions is not too bad.
It was pretty windy in spite of the sunshine so I decided to go for a walk after lunch instead of a cycle ride and this turned out to be a good decision as I had a most satisfying stroll. I have declared my leg officially cured so I ventured up the Kirk Wynd and on to the open hill.
I had a look round the garden before I left.
As I passed the golf club, I couldn’t help noticing these very bright yellowy orange flowers on a shrub beside the track. It might be a pyracantha or cotoneaster but whatever it is, I was surprised to see it flowering.
As I got further up the track beside the golf course, the hills came into view.
As the brisk and chilly wind was coming from behind me, there was just enough heat from the sun to keep me comfortable and I could enjoy the play of light on Castle Hill with the dark clouds behind.
Luckily the clouds were being driven up the valley and although the sun was low in the sky, the views were delightful.
I had taken Mrs Tootlepedal’s advice and had my walking poles with me. They are a great help when going up hill and I soon got to the top of the golf course where a good crop of British Soldier lichens can be found…
…and headed out onto the open hillside.
I didn’t go any higher up the hill but walked along the contour….
…until I came to the road to Newcastleton.
There has been a lot of tree felling on the far side of the road and I could now see the sheep pens and buildings which have been hidden by the trees for many years.
The sun dropped below some low clouds behind Warbla at this point…
….but the road down the hill is well sheltered…
…and my walk back to the town was no problem.
I took the little path along the Lamb Hill and was greeted by some gorse in flower.
I reached home after just under two and a half miles in harmony with nature and enjoyed a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal who had returned from a visit to the hairdresser. Everything was good.
Mike and Alison are busy babysitting their daughter’s dogs at the moment so there was no Friday night tootling but I employed the time in practising singing for Sunday’s choirs so it wasn’t time wasted.
The flying bird of the day is roughly the 120th chaffinch to have had that honour this year. I will have to try to get out more.