Relatively speaking

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  She visited the Hillbrush factory which has a factory shop which sells brushes but not, as far as I can see, hills.

brush store

We had a day of mixed weather and doubtful intentions.

The weather in the morning was frequently wet…

siskins in rain

…and frequently dry…


…but always very windy.

It had been our intention to go to Edinburgh to meet our son Tony and his partner Marianne and her children Tash and Dylan, followed by a visit to allow Evie to meet Matilda and her parents.  The unreliability of the weather and the railway system coupled with a slight illness on the part of Matilda made us consider and reconsider these plans several times.

While we were deliberating, I watched the birds and there were plenty to watch today.

A siskin sandwich…

heap of siskins

…a warm welcome on a cold day….

goldfinchand siskin 1

…and a quick pause in a dry moment to see if there was more frogspawn in the pond.  There was.  The frogs have been very quiet about it as I haven’t heard them croaking at all.

more frogspawn

Wallflowers are coming out,


And the daffs have stayed upright in all weathers.


The improved weather didn’t improve the birds’ behaviour.

goldfinchand siskin 2siskin attack siskingoldfinchand siskin 3

A redpoll, in its spring plumage, stood above the fray…

redpoll on pole

..but popped down for a snack when the chance offered.

redpoll on feeder

In the end, our daughter Annie made the sensible suggestion that we should catch the train to Edinburgh from Carlisle and not Lockerbie or Tweedbank. This gave us the prospect of a safer drive, two railway companies to chose from in the event of delay or cancellation and more trains to come home on earlier if Matilda was not up to a visit.

We took her advice and it was good.  The drive to Carlisle went without a problem, with no sign of flooding on the road, although there was a lot of flooding by the river in Carlisle.  The train was on time, with plenty of seats and a very cheerful and helpful set of staff members….and Matilda had recovered from a brief spell of high temperature.

We arrived on time and enjoyed a good meal with Tony, Marianne, Tash and Dylan.

Tash and Dylan…

Tash and Dylan

…had not met Evie before and were pleased to make her acquaintance.  We were pleased to catch up with them and hear their news.   They are both working hard in satisfactory and satisfying jobs and that is something to be warmly welcomed these days.

After lunch, we did a little shopping for baby clothes for Evie in a well known store, braving some very nasty sleety and windy weather for a few minutes on the way.

Fortunately the weather had eased by the time that we came out of the shop and we walked down to Matilda’s, pushing Evie in her push chair.  Matilda was waiting at the door to welcome us and when we had settled down, she carefully built a large tower to entertain Evie..


…. and then equally carefully helped Evie knock it all down again.

Alistair told us that Matilda had been looking forward to the visit a lot and had asked him  at twelve o’clock,  “When is Evie arriving.”  He had told her, “In four hours.”  At quarter past twelve, she asked him, “When is Evie arriving.”  This set a bit of a pattern.

Matilda was in great form and really enjoyed meeting Evie.  She kindly showed us the latest dance and gymnastic routines she has learned and we left reluctantly to catch our train home.  The weather let us walk back to the station in the dry, although the biting wind made our progress as difficult as it could.

All the same, we got to the station in plenty of time, found our train, were greeted by more cheerful and helpful staff members and arrived back in Carlisle, dead on time.

We got into our car in the station car park, congratulating ourselves on the smooth running of the day, switched on the power and were greeted by a notice saying in big red letters:  “STOP, electric motor failed.”  And indeed the car would not move an inch.  To cut a long story short though, having contacted our rescue service and summoned assistance, I tried the engine again some time later and it worked perfectly.  Rescue service and assistance were recontacted, and we drove ourselves home without a problem….except for a slight sense of stress.

It was still a very good day out though.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It is not a great picture but I put it in to show that wherever a siskin is, there is almost always a flying piece of seed as well.  They are the world’s messiest eaters.

flying siskin with seed

Footnote:  While Matilda is an old hand on social media, Evie does not yet have an internet presence so readers much just imagine a fine looking seven month old infant with a winning smile and impeccable manners.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Relatively speaking

  1. I’m glad Matilda wasn’t too sick to enjoy her baby cousin. I’m sure she must have been more excited than she appears in the photo.
    The car’s notice must have been a bit of a shock. I’m not sure what I would have done, having never owned an electric car.
    Nice to see the flowers and tadpoles, all signs of spring.

    1. The manufacturer’s emergency service responded very promptly so it is good to know that we would be looked after if something similar happened again. One downside of an electric vehicle is that you can’t just go poking around under the bonnet if something goes wrong.

  2. That was quite disconcerting about your car. I hope you can find out why it happened. So glad Matilda got to meet Evie. I read on the BBC that parts of Scotland will get some very wintry weather. I hope not you….

  3. I am glad Matilda felt well enough to have guests. The car problems are a bit disconcerting. Rick’s car is a CMAX hybrid vehicle. The previous CMAX had a battery problem, which fortunately was fixed on warranty, after a bit of arguing about it. A replacement HV battery costs $13,000. That was a shock.

  4. So glad, apart from the fright over your car, your family day went so well. Does the journey from Carlisle take up much more of the day than from Lockerbie or Tweedbank?

  5. What a day of ups and downs! Wonderful that the family got to meet and admire Evie. Sweet how excited Matilda was to greet her cousin. Hope the car’s troubles are not serious.

    1. It didn’t last long as we saw Transpennine having a problem with a train today in Carlisle Station but luckily not a train which we needed to catch.

  6. I want to visit the Hillbrush shop- looks fascinating! Your family day out sounds lovely and getting all parts of a family together to welcome new members is very important and can be tricky these days with everyone living away from ‘home’! Hope the car problem gets sorted soon so confidence is restored.

    1. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the car was just one of those ‘computer’ problems which bring up spanners on dashboards just to annoy. The family visits were better than we had dared to hope.

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