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
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….
…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.
A drunk chaffinch turned up.
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….
..and the designers had made good use of the large pond with a flotilla of little boats…
…which changed colour as time passed.
They were ingeniously made and lit so that their reflection in the water turned them into stars.
We passed a burst of real flames….
…which led to an elegant Christmas tree.
I like monkey puzzle trees so I was pleased to see this one picked out.
The tropical house was a light show in itself.
From it, we followed an illuminated path to the best known part of the display…
At first sight it looks like a golden arch….
…but as you get closer, it reveals itself as a tunnel of light.
Clare, Matilda and Mrs Tootlepedal posed for me at the start of the tunnel…
…and Alistair was a faint figure at the other end.
My favourite view was looking back through the tunnel to the tropical house behind us.
When we emerged from the tunnel, we found ourselves in a field of parcels…
…where we were entertained by a cheerful young man who introduced us to Santa who was hiding in the little house.
It was quite dark between the illuminations and you can just the see the ropes that marked our path in the picture below.
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…
…to good effect.
There were some artistic effects on the second half of our journey….
…one of which caused me so much excitement that my hand wobbled.
The cold was beginning to seep into us by this time so we didn’t dawdle as we passed lurid Christmas trees…
…and a show of illuminated balls, changing colour to the beat of the background music.
The final touch was another flotilla of the boats on a small pond near the exit.
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.
Sorry about all the pictures but it was out of the ordinary for me.