Archive for Jun, 2019

Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother Andrew’s wife’s Australian cousin Janet who found Andrew hard at work on his son’s mower making hay  while the sun shone.

andrew making hay

After yesterday’s outing to Beamish, I had a plan for today: in the morning I would put the pictures from Beamish on the blog, mow a few lawns, make soup for lunch and then in the afternoon, I would go for a cycle ride.

Everything went entirely to plan until I got up.  Shortly afterwards, I went back to bed again with a very sore back and an outbreak of being strangely tired.  As I didn’t get up until noon, the morning part of the plan was shot.

I took a quick look at the garden flowers when I had risen and found a lot of Sweet William that I thought was worth recording.

six sweet williams

The first day lilies have arrived.

day lily

And ever more irises are appearing.

two irises

I like the last of the lupins to join the garden show.

new lupin

I found another Philadelphus flower.

single philadelphus

And my favourite rose, Lilian Austin was looking at her best.

lilian austin

She has been joined by a burst of moss roses.

three moss roses

Then I went in and watched the birds for a while.

Although the weather was good, it was pretty breezy and birds had to hang on to the feeder.

sparrow hanging on

And when they did get settled, it wasn’t long before someone else came along and booted them off.

threatening siskin

I had a cheese and tomato toastie for lunch and fortified by this, I went out and mowed the lawns.  This was a bit of a kill or cure experiment with my back and I am happy to say that the result tended much more to cure than kill and I felt a bit better for the rest of the day.

I noticed a flash of colour and dashed in for my camera and for once a butterfly kindly stayed in place for long enough for me to get a picture.  It was a red admiral, the first that i have seen in the garden this year.

red admiral butterfly

Looking around, now that I had my camera with me, I was impressed by the growth on the delphiniums…


…and by the pertinacity of the aquilegia which are still growing through a box ball.

two aquilegia on box

I spotted the first calendula of the year…


…and enjoyed the dancing feet of the martagon lilies in the sun.

martagon lilies

The two clematis on either side of the front door are at very different stages of development.

two front door clematis

Mrs Tootlepedal has a bit of a cold and had had a very busy morning, so while I was pootling about in the garden, she wisely had a siesta.  When she came downstairs, we decided to go up to the Langholm Moor and look for interesting bird life.

Our timing was off.  The sun had gone and light rain and low clouds had beaten us to the top of the hill.

moor in mist

The wind was strong too and the bog cotton and grasses were being blown about.

bog cotton

Altogether it wasn’t the best day for watching birds on the hill.   Still, it is always a pleasure to be out and about and the roadsides were full of wild flowers…

moor road with wildflowers

…including a large patch of orchids.

moor orchids

However, it was too wet and windy to take satisfactory pictures or see much so we didn’t stay out long and came back to the garden where I spotted a new clematis in the drizzle.

new clematis by old feeder

Although we welcomed the rain from a gardening point of view as things were a bit dry, the birds didn’t look very happy, either up above…

cross starling

…or down below.

soggy blackbird

Our fake tree of twigs nailed onto a fence post is a popular stopping off point for birds on the way to the feeder.

two siskin on fake tree in rain

The rain and the brisk wind put paid to any idea of cycling, though I did put in a few minutes on the bike to nowhere in the garage just to get my legs moving.  Then I buckled down and put 90 odd pictures into a post about the trip to Beamish yesterday.   (Sandy has put some of the ones that he took on his blog too and those interested can see them here.)

All this took some time and although there was a glimpse of sun later in the evening, my day had ground to halt by then and I ate a meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal and watched Countryfile on the telly.

I hope that my back and the weather are more co-operative tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin in the queue for the feeder.

siskin in queue


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Warning: There are 92 pictures in this post and it it is not one of my regular diary posts.  It us a record of some of the many delights that the camera club outing encountered at Beamish.  It represents less than half of the pictures that I took.

The guest picture comes from Mairi, one of the fellow photographers and shows Tootlepedal relaxing in the railway carriage before the train journey.


The rest of the pictures appear in chronological order as we progressed through the park which must be over half a mile across.  I have added occasional comments

We started by taking this tram from the entrance to the far side of the museum.

tram 1

Throughout the day we came across characters dressed in appropriate costume who either offered entertainment, advice or historical background when asked.  They were uniformly cheerful and helpful.

people 1

The tram was very full and some passengers made use of the straps on the ceiling for some straphanging.

tram 8

We got off the tram at the 1900s town .

There is a chemist..

shop 1

…and motor repair shop..

shop 2

..which dealt in cycles too.

shop 3

A co-operative store (with Sandy…

shop 4

… taking roughly this shot across the road.


shop 5

There shops have appropriate products on their shelves.

shop 6

And deliveries are made by appropriate vans.

town 1

The museum site is roughly circular and trams go round in both directions.  You will see many more in this post as we did on the day.

tram 2

Behind the shops was a yard with a transport business.

town 2town 3

And almost every door leads to rooms inside full of interesting information and period decoration.town 4

This was the interior of the Sun Inn..

town 6

…where you could buy 2019 beers if you wished.

interior town 7

Past the shops, is a small row of houses containing a dentist’s, a solicitor’s and this room belonging to a lady music teacher.

interior town 8

At the back of the house, the coal hole may be seen.

town 9

The trams have safety guards fitted between the wheels.

tram 3

Every detail of the museum has been thought about.

tram 4

We made use of the period tea rooms where one could buy a scone and a cappuccino.

town 10

Some preferred to sit at a table on the bandstand in the little park.


town 11tram 5

Mairi works for our community newspaper so this was a good moment for her to pose with Corrie and Sandy.

shop 8

Our next stop was the Edwardian station.   A steam crane had a wealth of cogs.

cog 8railway 1railway 2

A tank engine and two small coaches offer short rides up and down a few hundred yards of track.

railway 3railway 5people 2people 3

We rode in the carriage…

railway 6

…with very comfortable seating…

railway 7

…and added facilities (which we did not use).

railway 8railway 9railway 10railway 11

Another view of the steam crane sowing the operating piston.

cog 3

Some distance away from the full size railway were smaller locomotives.

ss railway 3

If you don’t fancy tram travel, a fleet of buses circulates the park offering weary feet a break.

bus 2

We were impressed by this whihc stood on its own.

cog 1cog 2 crane

More trams passed us…

tram 6

…and each other.

tram 7people 10tram crew

We walked up to the 1940s farm.

There were a few animals about.

farm 1

…and we visited a farm labourer’s cottage where there was a fire burning in spite of the great heat of the day.

interior farm 2farm 3farm 4farm 5farm 6farm 8

Inside the farmhouse itself, one of the volunteers  was actually using the oven.  We felt for her in the heat.

interior farm 9

Leaving the farm, we missed the bus…

bus 3

…and walked down to the 1900s colliery village where we found folk singers in the band hall…

people 4colliery hall

..teachers in the school…

colliery church

…a wind band entertaining on the green…people 5

…a surprise notice on the school wall..

colliery school

…a bus outside the church…

bus 5

…a cottage garden…

colliery garden

…and a choir singing lustily in the church.

people 6

We could have visited the miners’ cottages and learned how they lived but we walked on to the colliery yard instead.

colliery viewcog 7

There were several steam locomotives and traction engines to look at.

colliery engine 1colliery engine 3colliery engine 5colliery engine 6colliery engine 7colliery engine 8cog 5

We didn’t take the chance to go down a drift mine and walked up the hill to the Georgian area.

We noticed that although the buses might be genuine vehicles of their period, modern needs were catered for and this one had a wheelchair lift that was being used.

bus 6

The Georgian section has a waggonway, originally  driven by horse power..

waggonway 1

…but later using steam.

waggonway 2people 8waggonway 4waggonway 5people 9

At the end of the short line we came to a wooden whim gin, used for lifting material from a pit.

wooden whim gin,people 12waggonway 6

We left the waggonway and walked passed a meadow…

georgian 1

… and a quilter’s cottage which was once the scene of a murder…

georgian 2

This church is described as the most ambitious removal and rebuild of all the exhibits in the museum.

georgian 3

We could see the waggonway on the opposite side of a little valley as we walked up to Pockerley Hall.

waggonway 7

georgian 7georgian 8georgian 9

Then it was time for a last tram ride round the whole site…

bus 7bus 8

…before we headed for home.   We had hardly scratched the surface of all that could be seen at the museum.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Tony’s Highland holiday and appropriately enough contains a Highland cow.


I had an unusual day today with no cycling or wandering around the garden and the lawns were left unmolested.

After an early breakfast, I waved Mrs Tootlepedal goodbye and went off for the Langholm Camera Club summer outing to Beamish Living Museum of the North.

Five members took the trip and we drove the eighty miles across the north of England to County Durham in two cars.  The trip went smoothly and once in the museum, Peter, who had been to the museum recently, went off on his own as he knew what he wanted to see while Sandy, Marie, Corrie and I pottered about exploring.

I took a tremendous amount of pictures, far too many to put in here so I have decided to put a small selection in this regular post and I will try to sort the rest out and do a special blog with well over 100 pictures in it tomorrow.  No one will need to read this post.  This is just a warning.  It will be for my pleasure to help me remember a great day out.


We caught a passing tram from the museum entrance to the the 1900s ‘town’ where a whole street has been recreated using old buildings from various local towns which have been demolished, transported and rebuilt to create the living museum.

shop 5

It is quite hard to think that all this has been built from scratch in a field.

tram 5

The shops offer some particular delights and although things may be bought in some of them, not everything advertised is available.

shop 1

Sandy, Corrie and Marie were caught outside one of the buildings…

shop 8

We had a cup of coffee in the tea rooms in the town and then walked on to the Edwardian railway station where we took a ride in this very elegant coach…

railway 6

…sitting in great comfort while a small tank engine took us for a very short excursion and back again.

railway 7

A feature of the museum was the large number of very satisfying cogs that I saw as we went round.

cog 4

Leaving the railway behind, we walked up the hill to the 1940s farm where we found a pig which had exactly the right idea for a very warm day.

farm 3

We paused for a cold drink and a light lunch and then walked round the farm.  A cockerel was showing who was king of the midden….

farm 6

…and Corrie was showing good style at the wheel of a tractor.

farm 8

From the farm, we strolled downhill to the 1900s colliery village where the most amazing thing to catch our eyes was this huge vertical biunnial lantern projector built by Walter Tyler, optician of London.

colliery church vertical biunnial lantern projector

The projector was in the colliery church where an appreciative congregation of visitors were listening to an excellent choir concert.  In the nearby silver band hall, a group of folk singers were singing folk songs and on the village green outside, a small wind band was playing popular melodies.  There was no lack of entertainment to suit all tastes.

My taste is for engines, so I was happy to move on to the colliery yard where this fine little engine was running up and down a short section of track.

colliery engine 2

It is a comprehensive  restoration of an 1871 engine which T.H.Head engineer of London supplied to the Dorking Greystone Lime Company.  It is an 0-4-0 Vertical Boilered Geared locomotive.  The diminutive engine was actually built by Head Wrightson & Co Ltd.  I though that you would like to know that.

At the other end of the yard, a steam traction engine was powering a sawmill…

colliery sawmill 1

…and big logs were being sliced up.

colliery sawmill 2

We could have donned hard hats and walked into a drift mine or gone into the buildings of a pit mine and watched the winding engine at work but we did neither as time was marching on.

Instead we headed up hill again, with Marie, Corrie and Sandy stopping to check what was at the end of a large pipe….

people 11

…and made our way to the 1820s Georgian section of the museum.  As I like engines, I naturally gravitated to an old waggonway where a replica of the famous Puffing Billy locomotive…

tramway 4

…pulled a couple of coaches of eager enthusiasts for a couple of hundred yards or so along the line.

tramway 5

The engine driving team wore very sensible hats for the task.

people 12

After leaving the waggonway, we descended into a small valley and passed St Helen’s Church.  This  represents a typical type of country church found in Cleveland and North Yorkshire, and was relocated from its original site in Eston, North Yorkshire.  It is the oldest and most complex building moved to the museum

georgian 3

You can still see numbers on the side of the building which must have been vital for the reconstruction.

georgian 5

As we climbed the hill to Pockerly Hall, we could see Billy puffing up and down the line behind us.

tramway 7

Pockerley Hall is a handsome building with…

georgian 9

…a neat garden laid out in a contemporary style in front of it.

georgian 6

When we had left the church, Marie had waited in vain for a horse to arrive…

georgian 4

…but as none appeared, we had to walk up the hill to the hall and then down again to catch a bus….

bus 1

…back to the museum entrance.  We rode on top.

We had spent five hours in the museum and seen just a fraction of what was there.  I hope to return with Mrs Tootlepedal in the not too distant future.

The drive home went as smoothly as the drive over and all in all, what with the fine sunny weather, the interesting museum and the good company, I vote the camera club outing a great success.

There will be many, many more photos from the outing in tomorrow’s extra post.  Feel free to skip it entirely.

We did see a sitting bird of the day at the colliery.


Those interested can find more about the museum on its website or on its wikepedia entry.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset corespondent Venetia.  She went to Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire to play music and had some time to look at a fine spiral staircase at the orangery while she was there.

Castle Ashby orangery

We had what looks as though it might be the last day of our warm and sunny spell today and I had a plan to make good use of it.

My plan was simple – mow the front lawn, have coffee with Dropscone, mow the greenhouse grass, dead head a bit, sieve some compost, have lunch and go for a cycle ride….and of course take a few pictures too.

The plan developed well.  I mowed the front lawn which was looking better for the recent feed.

When I had finished that, the light was perfect for looking at the rosa complicata.

rosa complicata

New flowers had come out to enjoy the sunshine, a Martagon lily…

martagon lily

…and a stunning poppy.

first red poppy

Another of the foxgloves has produced a curious non standard flower at the top of its stem.

funny foxglove

The warmth has encouraged things.  The perennial nasturtium is threatening to completely engulf the yew…

perennial nasturtium on yew

…and one of the astrantias is trying to take over the world.

massed astarntia

Mrs Tootlepedal planted some biennial salvias last year and has been amazed by how large they are.  They promise to put on a really good show.

salvia buds

Later in the day, I found one that has come out a bit.

salvia spike

There are a lot of Philadelphus about, with different varieties.

I took this one in the morning….

lush philadelphus

…and this one in the cool of the evening.

philadelphus flower

This rose was surrounded by promises of more to come.

margareta rose

It was sheer pleasure to be out in the garden.  My plan was going well.

Dropscone arrived on cue, complete with the traditional Friday treacle scones.  He was pleased because yesterday he had played his first 18 hole round of golf since he broke his ribs.  He went off with some rhubarb and my plan continued to develop as I set about mowing the greenhouse grass and the drying green.

I sieved a little compost and did some dead heading and then had lunch with Mrs Tootlepdal who had had a busy morning of social and business meetings.

At this point, my plan, which had been going so well, fell into complete disarray.  Owing to a combination of afternoon heat, a growing sense of fatigue and an increasingly sore foot, cycling became more and more unattractive and in the end I got no further than the garden where I enjoyed a colourful corner…

colourful corner june

….saw a young starling hoping for some parental attention…

young starling on wire

…and noticed a blackbird ready to give a tasty worm to its second brood which is being raised in the hydrangea on the house wall.

blackbird with worm

Then things reached such a pass that I retired to my bed for a couple of hours and had a snooze.

I got up in time to enjoy an evening meal provided by Mrs Tootlepedal and was recovered enough to go out afterwards to help with some much needed watering in the vegetable garden.

I had my camera in my pocket so I recorded a moment when the wind had dropped so much that the doddering dillies had actually stopped doddering, a very rare occasion…

dodering dillies calm

…and noted a purple patch under the plum tree which Mrs Tootlepedal likes.

purple patch

Just behind the purple patch is a small but perfectly formed golden rose which was given to us in a pot in January last year on the occasion of our golden wedding.  Mrs Tootlepedal planted it out and it flowered all last summer.  It has survived the winter and is flowering very prettily once again.  That is a very good value gift.

wedding rose

Because of my plan’s failure, not only are there no pictures from my proposed cycle ride but there is no flying bird of the day and a starling on top of a neighbour’s holly tree is standing in instead.

old starling on holly tree

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Today’s guest picture is a further report from Tony’s Highland holiday.  He has been to the Isle of Skye.


A lot of my posts recently seem to have been done late at night and in rather a rush, not helped by my computer behaving in a grumpy manner and frequently holding things up.  This one is no exception so I apologise for any dodgy photos and grammatical infelicities.  I am tired.

A couple of readers have asked for more general garden shots. I leaned out of upstairs windows this morning and had a look about.

The front lawn has had a dose of my moss eating treatment so it looks a bit patchy but the beds round it are quite colourful at the moment.

front lawn 27 june

I couldn’t get a view of the whole of the middle lawn because the plum tree gets in the way but the grass is better on it and I like the combination of shrubs and flowers in the right hand bed.

middle lawn 27 june

This is a view from one lawn to the other across the pond.

view of pond bed

General views are all very well but who could pass roses and peonies like these without taking a picture?

the wren margareta and peony

And even in their passing, the peonies are full of interest.

peony teeth

Our neighbour Liz brought her great nephew into the garden to walk over the pond bridge and I was able to point out a frog basking in the sunshine to him as he crossed.

june frog

In return, he told me that he had seen fish swimming in the dam, so I went out to have a look.  He was right.

fish in dam

I had time to mow the middle lawn before we set off in the Zoe for an outing.

The chief business of the day was our customary trip to Edinburgh, but instead of going to Lockerbie as usual, we went to Tweedbank to catch a train on the Borders Railway.  One of the reasons for the change of route was that it let us visit the lost property office of the Border Bus Company in Galashiels on the way.  Some careless fellow had left his cap on the bus to Carlisle when we went to London recently and it had been returned to Galashiels where I picked it up today.  The cap fitted so I wore it.

The route up to Edinburgh from Tweedbank is delightful on a sunny day, and it was certainly very sunny today.  Although the farmers weren’t making hay as the sun shone, they were certainly cutting a lot of silage.

view from border's railway

We did a little shopping when we got to Edinburgh, and then we sat on the top deck of a bus as we went down to see Matilda.  We were in the front seats and got a good view of a bit of Edinburgh of the past…

old edinburgh

…and a bit of Edinburgh to come.

new edinburgh

As it was such a lovely day, Matilda was keen to visit the park again.  The road to the park is called Butterfly Way so it was good to see an actual butterfly on the way to the park.

butterfly way

The park was busy and Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda had to take avoiding action when a cyclist came towards them.

Mrs T and Matilda Lochend

Not everyone was busy though, and we saw this duck having a snooze in the middle of the loch.

duck at Lochend

We arrived safely at the little pier at the end of the Loch and were able to see water birds of all sorts.

pond life Lochend

And we noticed that coots have very big feet….

….as do moorhens.

moorhen Lochend

Mallard’s feet are more in keeping with the size of their bodies.

mallard Lochend

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the coots and moorhens need big feet not just for swimming but to support themselves when they are wading over mud and marsh.


Matilda had a lot of fun on the adventurous climbing frame, the roundabout and a swing, and then was given some bread by a kind lady to feed the birds.  She found that gulls are very rude and greedy birds.

A magpie turned up after all the food was gone and looked a bit put out.

magpie Lochend

After plenty of fun all round, we returned home and played a couple of games of Go Fish.  I won’t tell you who won because it will just make Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda big headed.  I didn’t cry though.

After another delicious meal cooked for us by Alistair and Clare, it was time to head for home on a very comfortable and punctual train.  The days are so long now and the weather was so good today, that it was still light when we arrived back at ten o’clock.

There was no time for a flying bird today.  A picture of Matilda having a standing up straight competition with a lamppost takes its place.

Matilda standing straight


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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony’s Highland holiday.  He was up above Applecross on the Bealach nam Ba (the pass of the cattle) on the west coast when he got this splendid view.


It was a fine and warm day here today, the first summer like day of the year and I was lucky to have plenty to do to keep me busy.

I started the morning off by taking Mrs Tootlepedal’s ‘shopping’ bike down to the bike shop to get some maintenance in general, and in particular to get what younger cyclists rather scornfully call the ‘granny gear’ working again.   This is the lowest gear on the bike, useful for climbing the steeper sort of hills even for quite young people and essential for older cyclists.  It hasn’t been working for some time and Mrs Tootlepedal has found steep hills no fun at all.

Leaving the bike to be worked on, I went back to Langholm by way of the Moorland Project bird hide where I was acting as a fill in feeder filler for friends who were away.  I always hope to see a woodpecker or two as a reward for filling the feeders and my hopes were amply fulfilled today.

excellent woodpecker

I drove home in a very cheerful mood.

The garden was in a very cheerful mood too…

six bright garden flowers

…and even the flowers that had gone over were still smiling.

The roses are getting better every day…

six roses

…and I will have to get into full dead heading mode from now on.

Mrs Tootlepedal helped to demonstrate why the flowers that are commonly known as ‘Dutchmen’s Breeks’ are also known as ‘Lady in the Bath’

lady in bath

In return, I lent her a hand at getting some order back into the bed in the vegetable garden which had been squashed by the mini digger when the new electricity pole was put up.

The petrol driven tiller is noisy but hardworking.

tilling the electricity bed

We are supposed to be getting new planks for the sides of the bed from the power company but we are not holding our breath.

I had a little sit down after being pulled this way and that by the tiller and enjoyed the calm colour combination of these flowers while I rested.

colour combo garden

After lunch, I went for a walk with Sandy.  It has been some time since our feet have both been usable and there has been some good weather at the same time so this was a very welcome excursion.  I picked him up in the Zoe and we drove down the recently repaired road to the Tarras Bridge and went for a short walk  along the path beside the river.

I took far too many pictures to show them all here but among the pleasures on display on our walk were numerous different grasses…

three grasses tarras

…of which this one was my favourite.

grass tarras

There were lots of wild flowers beside the path.

wild flowers tarras

And it is always surprising to walk past the section of the river bank which reveals what is under our feet.  There was coal mining in the area for a long time and people have been considering open cast mining quite recently.

coal seams tarras

The plants were attracting other visitors.

There was a bee in clover…

bee on clover tarras

…a painted lady that looked as though it might need a new coat of paint…

painted lady tarras

…and a hoverfly getting stuck into the pollen.

hoverfly tarras

We saw several northern marsh orchids but they were not fully out yet which was disappointing.

young orchid tarras

The hedge roses were in full flower…

hedge rose tarras

…and nettles were being very spiky…

nettle tarras

…but my personal pick of the shots that I took along the way was this one of a bird’s foot trefoil looking gorgeous.

bird's foot trefoil tarras

We drove home and had a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal, who had just come back from a meeting, and Mike Tinker, who had dropped in to catch up with the news.

When our visitors left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I put some time in to raising the roofs on the two pea fortresses.  The peas have grown very well and one sort that claims to grow to 16 inches on the packet is well over three feet.

I haven’t put a picture of the newly enlarged structures into this post to avoid over exciting readers….and it was very difficult to get a good shot anyway.

There was quite a lot of other garden work to be done and when we had finished we had omelettes for tea with new potatoes and turnips from the garden.

As it was still a beautiful day, I went for a 15 mile cycle ride after we had eaten.  Was it a good evening for a cycle ride?  It was.

panorama wauchope road

A ‘click on the pic’ will enlarge the panorama.

I stopped for a chat with an oyster catcher which was standing one legged on a gate post half way up a hill…

oyster catcher wauchope road

… but otherwise, I pedalled steadily along, enjoying the warmth.

There had been a bit too much warmth yesterday in the town where some people had managed to set fire to one of the unused buildings of the old Reid & Taylor’s Mill.

mill fire 2019

It is sad to see vandalism like this in our town and this was the only sight that spoiled an otherwise excellent day.

The bird hide woodpecker makes a re-appearance as the slightly fuzzy but quite unusual flying bird of the day.

flying woodpecker

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who said that he was quite surprised to find any group of people pulling together in these divided times.

Andrew's rowers

We left the kind hospitality of my sisters behind after breakfast and set off to catch an underground train to Euston Station.  It was still the busy period as people headed for work and we had to let three terrifically crowded trains go past until we found one with enough space to let us squeeze aboard with our cases.  In the days when I was a regular commuter in London 60 years ago, I used to love the hurly-burly and pushing and shoving of city life but now I am not at all anxious to be treated like cattle just to get on a train.

Anyway, we still arrived at the station in plenty of time and were pleased to find that heavy rain showers in the night had not affected our line, although other lines from London had been affected.

Our train left smoothly for the north, but thanks to a signal problem along the way, it arrived in Carlisle just after our bus to Langholm had departed.  With an hour to wait, we were fortunate to find a good quality cream tea at a modest price in the M&S cafe to assuage our grief and pass the hour until the next bus arrived on time and took us home.

When we got off the train at Carlisle Station, I had noticed this reminder of times past waiting on another line.   Heritage railway excursions have become very popular lately.


It was good to get home and have a walk round the garden and while we were strolling about, we were joined  by our neighbour Liz.  She had also been away and had missed the same bus as us.  She had found a different way to get to Langholm though and we exchanged notes over a restorative cup of tea.

I walked out into the garden with Liz when she left and noticed a great pile of pollen on the ground under the hydrangea on our house wall.  The hydrangea is totally covered with flowers and, naturally enough, bees too.

bee on hydrangea

I checked on Mrs Tootlepedal’s carefully constructed anti bird defences in the vegetable garden.  They had obviously been working well while we had been away, and there were signs of promising fruits…


…and flowers to come.

sweet pea

I had a check for new roses and was very pleased to find that Lilian Austin….

Lilian Austin

…Crown Princess Margareta…

crown princess

…and Ginger Syllabub…

ginger syllabub

…had all appeared since we went away.

In the pond, the first water lily was shyly peeping out from behind a leaf.

water lily

Other new flowers were out.  A Dutch iris…

dutch iris

…a handsome stand of Campanula…


…and the very first flowers on the Delphiniums.


We still have things to come though.


The weather must have been good while we were away, because the peonies were looking very smart indeed…

pink peony

…in a variety of colours…

coral peony out


coral peony

…and sizes.

white peony out

The daises and geraniums are standing up very well.

daisies and geraniums

It was very good to visit the big city and between us see eleven of our extended family while we were there but it is equally nice to be back among the comforts of our own home again (even though it was quite chilly).

And a siskin was there to welcome us back.

siskin posing

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