I have a rich seam of guest pictures at the moment, so thank you to all who have contributed. Today’s comes from my sister Mary. She went up towards the Greenwich Observatory and looked back behind her on the way.
The slight warming of our weather continued today and there was no need to use the handy pre-heating facility on the Zoe before we drove down to Longtown for a visit to the opticians.
While Mrs Tootlepedal was answering difficult questions about the comparative readability of this…or this…or this…or this…
…I went down to the riverside to have a look at the bridge over the Esk. Some weeks ago we heard a rumour that the bridge had fallen down, but this turned out to be an exaggeration. This was lucky as we had crossed it to get to our appointment.
I passed an extremely severely pollarded tree on my way to the river.
No compromise with beauty there.
As you can see the bridge is still standing with all its arches intact…
…and fortunately the section that fell down was underneath a pavement on the approach to the bridge and not under the road itself so traffic has been able to keep crossing in a single lane on the far side.
The arches themselves look well enough constructed to last for another hundred years at least.
I learn from the Undiscovered Scotland website that “the Reverend Robert Graham inherited the family estate of the Grahams of Netherby. He began by building Longtown Bridge, which crosses the River Esk on the line of the Edinburgh to Carlisle road in 1756. The bridge was widened and strengthened in 1889 and again more recently.” It has stood the test of time. I take it that it was the recent alterations that have fallen down.
I walked up onto the bridge approach and looked down at the damage. Quite a bit had fallen off.
Then I went and had my turn with the difficult questions. My eyes are so different that I can read the very small bottom line of the opticians chart with one eye and only the very big letter at the top with my other one. However, I get good glasses from Mr Hagen so I don’t bang into things too much, though this may explain why I was hopeless at sport when I was young.
The most important thing is that my eyes were passed as perfectly fit for driving.
We drove back to Langholm and I dropped Mrs Tootlepedal off at home before taking the Zoe into the local garage to get a slow puncture fixed. This was a nervous business for me as there is no spare wheel and no jacking points on the car and the battery lies flat along the bottom of the frame. The garage was equal to the task of getting the wheel off without electrocuting themselves and an intrusive nail was removed and the tyre satisfactorily plugged.
I got back to find our ex-minister Scott having a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal. I was deeply surprised that his scone radar had not told him that if he had come yesterday, he would have got a teacake to go with it.
It was good to catch up with his news.
When he had gone, I looked for birds on the feeder. They were few and far between. I captured a lone siskin and that was it for today.
We had lunch and then I went out for a walk as it had got too late for a cycle ride by this time.
December is supposed to be the official start of winter, and I think it is fair to say that my walks have definitely become wintery.
I passed reminders of last summer..
…and hints of next spring…
…as well as a selection of trees, both complicated…
The track took me into a spruce plantation with no views…
…but further along, the spruces have been felled and there were prospects of hill…
And of course, there is always moss.
The writing was on the tree trunks…
..in the form of script lichen.
I finished my walk with two bridges, one natural which I went under..
…and one reflective which I crossed.
Early in the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to do front of house volunteer duties and after I had had a bit of choir song practice, I went along to see the show.
The occasion was not the usual entertainment at all but a recording of two programmes for Gardeners’ Question Time, a long standing and much loved BBC Radio 4 series.
The audience were asked to submit questions in advance and mine was among those chosen. Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that my question related to plant photography and the panel gave some very good answers. But whether it will feature in the programme when it is broadcast is unclear, as they almost certainly recorded more material for the two programmes than they needed. The programmes will be broadcast in January next year.
Kathy Clugston was in the chair and the expert panel were Matthew Wilson, James Wong and Christine Walkden. Ms Clugston was very composed and charming and the panel were extremely knowledgeable and helpful so it was a treat to be there. Radio is a marvellous medium and the lack of fuss and egos throughout the recording was very marked.
The team had come to Langholm at the invitation of the Langholm Chilli Club, a very enterprising group which grows huge amounts of chillis in the town and surrounding neighbourhood. You can find out more about them here if you want.
My friend Sue Toon kindly sent me this picture of the panel which was taken by Roddy. of the chilli club.
None of the panellists have wings but this is the flying bird of the day!