A walk in the park

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She saw a proud parent in Golders Hill Park.  It seems very early in the year to me to be seeing ducklings (or perhaps goslings, I am not sure).

Golders Hill Park

The new railway timetables for travel to Edinburgh from Lockerbie have affected us considerably.  Because we now have to catch a train which leaves two hours earlier than the one which we used to catch, we don’t really have time to do much in Langholm before we leave, but we do still have time to get bored not doing anything while we wait to go.

There were not even any birds to watch while we waited.

When we got to Lockerbie, I was pleased to see a freight train waiting in a siding.

goods train in siding

This meant that we weren’t going  to be held up behind it and indeed, we got to Edinburgh on time, in spite of leaving Lockerbie a few minutes late.

The new timetable gives us time to spare in Edinburgh before Matilda comes out of school so we enjoyed a delightful lunch of Eggs Benedict and then, as it was a beautiful day, we walked down to Matilda’s at a leisurely pace.

Leaving our lunchtime cafe, we could see Calton Hill rising above the roof of Waverley Station…

calton hill

…and we walked down the Royal Mile towards Holyroodhouse.

high street

I love this 1884 clock, with its little corridor back to the building behind it.

high street clock

Our route took us round the back of the Scottish Parliament building.  I quite enjoy the elaborate architectural features but Mrs Tootlepedal finds them a bit fussy.

parliament rear

On the concrete at the side of the building, sets of verse are inscribed.  Gerard Manley  Hopkins is one of my favourite poets and I couldn’t agree more with these words …


…though Mrs Tootlepedal still wishes that it would rain a little less frequently from a gardening point of view. (Read the words out loud to see one of the reasons why I like Hopkins so much.)

Round the front of the parliament building, a group of protesting carers were being interviewed….

parliament meeting

…and media vans with big dishes were beaming out procedings from within to news channels.

parliament front view

We walked on into Holyrood Park, passing the big house which is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.  She must have a lot of friends to need so many rooms.

holyrood house

The park itself was looking very attractive in the sunshine and there were plenty of people making their way up Arthur’s Seat.

arthur's seat

Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that there are many opportunities for people to fall off rocks in the park but fortunately, they mostly stick to the many paths provided for them.

holyrood park

We kept to the main road through the north side of the park and came to St Margaret’s Loch…

ruin abiove loch holrood park

…which was almost covered at one end by swans and ducks hoping for food from visitors.


Leaving the park, behind, we walked down to Matilda’s, stopping to buy the necessaries which her father Alistair needed for our evening meal.

We got there shortly before Matilda returned from school, and had a good time being entertained by her to games of hide and seek, beggar my neighbour (guess who lost) and snap (guess who lost again).

We also did a jigsaw puzzle, watched some Highland dancing and worked with some useful counting blocks so we had a busy time.  The evening meal was excellent as usual and, as it was still a pleasant day, we walked the one and half miles back to the station after we had eaten.

The train home was also on time and if the catering trolley had had any hot water or food on it, the journey would have been perfect.  We were much entertained by a long suffering fellow passenger who had gone from Manchester to Perth and back for the day and had had to cope with a cancelled train in each direction.  Now he had no hot drink or sandwiches to restore him.  Under the circumstances, he was very philosophical.

The drive home from Lockerbie went without incident but we were pleased to be home.

The flying bird of the day is swimming in St Margaret’s Loch.

swan holyrood park

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “A walk in the park

  1. I loved that poem. I like the fussy architecture (and it is fussy). Can hardly believed I walked up to Arthur’s Seat when I was twenty; I remember being somewhat scared.

    I ran across a poem today that reminds me of you.

    Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad,
    Beyond the town, where wild flowers grow —
    A rainbow and a cuckoo, Lord,
    How rich and great the times are now!
    Know, all ye sheep
    And cows, that keep
    On staring that I stand so long
    In grass that’s wet from heavy rain —
    A rainbow and a cuckoo’s song
    May never come together again;
    May never come
    This side the tomb.

    by William Henry Davies

  2. I like the Hopkins poem too. This is the first I’ve heard of it. He must have been a nature lover.
    Nice that it was light enough for a walk before the return trip.
    I don’t know why anyone would need such a big house, either the queen or the Vanderbilts. It seems like it would be like living in a museum. After a while I’d imagine that you might feel like one of the exhibits.

    1. It is built to impress the subjects with their inferiority to the great and good. I imagine that there must be quite a lot of dusting going in there.

  3. A beautiful day in Edinburgh, good food and a visit with family, and an uneventful ride home sounds like a definite plus entry in the Great Ledger of Life.

    I agree, it seems a bit early for ducklings.

  4. I agree with you about the meter of Hopkins’ poetry and with Mrs. T’s opinion of the fussy architectural features. Also – I much enjoyed your way of introducing the flying bird of the day!

  5. Definitely an Egyptian Goose. I love the poetic expression about wet and wildness and weeds – the latter have their place.

    1. Egyptian Geese do tend to breed very early in the year. I’ve seen them in early February in Kew Gardens in the past. They are becoming quite common in London.

  6. Finally managed to catch up the posts of two weeks that I spent in hospital where my broken hipbone was nailed together again. Beautiful Edinburgh – have spent a lovely time there. Thanks for showing.

      1. Not quite. As I have fractured my femur near the head it had to be screwed on. Now I am using crutches or the walking frame. Very frustrating.

  7. Add me to this list of readers who liked the poem. And I did indeed read it aloud. Also, really, really liked the clock, but then I have always been fascinated by time. Or Time, as it is referred to in my books. Sounds as though you had a wonderful day with Matilda.

  8. Goslings indeed. I read that Egyptian Geese are renowned for breeding early, which has in the past given their young a low survival rate. Despite having been here for 300 years or so, they were confined to a small population in Norfolk, but have spread quite rapidly in the last 10 years or so, presumably a result of warmer winters. They are certainly a common sight here in Surrey now.
    In a similar vein I was showing my mother your pictures of the Holmhead snow-drops, which reminded me that I had taken some photos of them a few years ago. On digging them out I find they were taken on 13/03/2011, so over a month later in the year.

  9. Great photos of the city- prefer the building where the Queen resides than the parliament building where the architect must sadly have had a bad night! At least the verse and poet are perfect for all to enjoy.

  10. I do like your Gerard Manley Hopkins quote both aloud and silently in my head. Aloud does give it a bit of extra punch and rhythm. I do like the architecture, though I was wishing for a closer look at the clock.

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