Finally seeing the light

Today’s guest picture is another of cyclist Paul’s delightful Lake District studies, a welcome ray of sunshine on a gloomy day here.  It shows Stickle Tarn

stickle tarn

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal and I combined a little shopping and other business with the important matter of voting in the general election.  Only time will tell if our vote counted for anything.  The very poor system of first past the post voting we use in the UK elections ensures that the vast majority of votes cast in any general election are quite meaningless.  We use a proportional system for our Scottish elections which makes it worthwhile to vote green for example without prejudicing your ability to vote for a major party of government at the same time.

The rain which appears in the picture of a siskin and goldfinch showing interest in something happening on the road beside our house….

siskin goldfinches

…stopped me from going for a walk when the business was finished.

A greenfinch arrived and turned its back on anything untoward on the road while the siskin and goldfinch also lost interest and got back to eating.

siskin goldfinch greenfinch

A drunk chaffinch turned up.

drunk chaffinch

I always like a bit of geometry so I took the opportunity to picture some parallel lines in the garden…


…and while waiting for the train at Lockerbie Station.  It will possibly not surprise you to learn that the train was late, but it least it wasn’t cancelled as two other trains were today.

Punctuality was important because we were due to meet Matilda and her parents at 4.40 precisely to go to the illuminated trail at the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.  In the end, the train staggered late into Waverley station, we walked briskly along Princes Street and then had to wait a quarter of an hour for a bus and we arrived at 4.43, hoping that we hadn’t missed our moment.

It turned out that the timings for our visit were quite flexible enough to allow a little lateness and we set off to walk round the gardens and the experience was well worth the inconveniences of the travel.

I took far too many pictures while we went round and I have put two dozen of them in here.  If you are just waiting for the flying bird of the day, scroll down now.

We were very lucky with the weather after last week’s cancellation for gales and rain and it was dry, calm and cool for our walk.

Since it is a botanical garden, a good number of trees were illuminated….

botanic lights 1

..and the designers had made good use of the large pond with a flotilla of little boats…

botanic lights 2

…which changed colour as time passed.

botanic lights 3

They were ingeniously made and lit so that their reflection in the water turned them into stars.

botanic lights 4

We passed a burst of real flames….

botanic lights 5

…which led to an elegant Christmas tree.

botanic lights 6

I like monkey puzzle trees so I was pleased to see this one picked out.

botanic lights 7

The tropical house was a light show in itself.

botanic lights 8

From it, we followed an illuminated path to the best known part of the display…


botanic lights 10

At first sight it looks like a golden arch….

botanic lights 9

…but as you get closer, it reveals itself as a tunnel of light.

botanic lights 11

Clare, Matilda and Mrs Tootlepedal posed for me at the start of the tunnel…

botanic lights 12

…and Alistair was a faint figure at the other end.

botanic lights 14

My favourite view was looking back through the tunnel to the tropical house behind us.

botanic lights 13

When we emerged from the tunnel, we found ourselves in a field of parcels…

botanic lights 15

…where we were entertained by a cheerful young man who introduced us to Santa who was hiding in the little house.

botanic lights 16

It was quite dark between the illuminations and you can just the see the ropes that marked our path in the picture below.

botanic lights 17

When we got to Inverleith House, at one time the residence of my great-great-grandfather, we found that it was being used as a projection screen…

botanic lights 18

…to good effect.

botanic lights 19

There were some artistic effects on the second half of our journey….

botanic lights 20

…one of which caused me so much excitement that my hand wobbled.

botanic lights 21

The cold was beginning to seep into us by this time so we didn’t dawdle as we passed lurid Christmas trees…

botanic lights 22

…and a show of illuminated balls, changing colour to the beat of the background music.

botanic lights 23

The final touch was another flotilla of the boats on a small pond near the exit.

botanic lights 24

We thoroughly enjoyed the walk and can recommend it if it reappears next year.

We went back to Claire’s  parent’s flat, which is conveniently near the Gardens, and had a nourishing pasta dish for our tea.

While Matilda took her parents home, we left to catch the bus back to the station where a surprise waited for us.

The reason for many of the recent cancellations has been that train drivers have needed to be trained for a new fleet of trains and finally, two years after being first announced, one of this new fleet waited for us on the platform.

Our rapture was modified by the fact that the train gave us a very bumpy ride and it was late in getting to Lockerbie.  So some things never change.

As a side element of the new trains, a new timetable is also being introduced, the main feature of which from our point of view, is that the afternoon train which we usually catch will no longer stop at Lockerbie.  So much for the march of progress.  It will still go through Lockerbie at half past two, it just won’t stop there.

A chaffinch battling through the morning rain is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Sorry about all the pictures but it was out of the ordinary for me.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “Finally seeing the light

  1. We also use the first-past-the-post system, and I completely agree with you about its shortcomings. On a brighter note (no pun intended), your delayed visit to the gardens was worth the wait – lovely scenes. Interesting that your relative lived in Inverleith House – was it a single family home then?

  2. Matilda must have been thrilled to see all the lights. I was and I’m a little older.
    I’m glad you got there to see it. It doesn’t sound like you’ll be taking another train there.
    It was nice to see the railroad tracks.

    1. There are alternative railway solutions. We could go to Carlisle and catch the same train from there or catch an earlier train from Lockerbie and have a late lunch in Edinburgh.

  3. At least in Scotland shines the light. Beautiful show perfectly presented. Thank you. As for the rest of the day – we will wait what there is coming. (nothing good, I fear).

  4. Wowsah, what a display! For some reason, I especially liked the flotilla. As for the vote…this morning I heard the results. Sigh. Wonder how this will affect the future of Scotland.

    1. Oddly enough although it might provoke another referendum in time, not being in the EU with England would make for a lot of problems at the border so it might make it harder to get agreement for independence.

      1. Follow the money as they say. When political parties are funded by oil and coal companies, it is hard to hope that politicians will suddenly see the light.

  5. Brilliant light show very imaginative…glad I’m not paying the electric bill! What a blow about the train times…write a letter!!?

    1. I would if I thought that it would do any good, A good number of people catch that train when we do so it must bring them business. The ways of train companies are mysterious.

  6. I am glad you were able to see family and see the Botanical Gardens in spite of the train being late. Those are beautiful photos of the illuminated trail.

  7. Such a wonderful light show! It makes up a little for the great disappointment we got on Friday morning. I had no idea I lived in a country so full of idiots. We are also having lots of trouble from new trains at present and as we have sold on many of our old ones we are experiencing lots of cancellations. Ugh!

    1. They just don’t have enough staff to run the old stock while they are training people for the new trains. It is crazy.

      I am not sure that anything is going to make up for Friday morning. There are tough times ahead for a lot of people who have done nothing to deserve harsh treatment.

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