Parkin(son)’s law

Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa. He tells me that he is shocked to see the damage and road blockages in Langholm, but adds that they have obstructions in South Africa too.

The temperature leapt up the scale today, and all the snow had disappeared. Unfortunately, the clouds remained and it was a rather gloomy morning.

I wasted a little time after breakfast doing nothing much and was reminded of Parkinson’s Law. His original law states that work expands to fill the time available, a very sound observation. I came across a variation of it today which states that if there is uneaten parkin in the house, it won’t remain uneaten for long.

On the subject of parkin, Dropscone sent me his grandfather’s recipe for what he called parken, dating from 100 years ago:

It required 2 stone of flour, 1 stone of meal, 24 lbs Syrup, 12 lbs sugar, 1 1/2 lbs lard, 1 lb soda, 3/4 lb ginger.

I think it must be safe to conclude that the customers of his grandfather’s bakery must have liked his parken.

I ate a slice or two of my own parkin while I waited around until things got a little brighter, and then set off on an exploratory cycle ride. I was a bit worried about what state the roads would be in, so I picked a simple route to Paddockhole and back, avoiding any back roads and tree lined bike paths.

Much to my surprise, almost as soon as I had started, I found a very different scene in the country from those chaotic sights immediately on the edge of the town. There was hardly any damage to be seen apart from the occasional fallen branch, and the roads were clear and safe to cycle over. Trees beside the road were untouched.

While I had stopped to take this picture, I noticed some very fine lichen on the tree beside me.

It looked as though the valleys leading to the town had concentrated the wind’s fury, and once the wind got to the open country beyond the town, its force had dissipated. It was very peaceful when I got to Paddockhole.

There was no damage to be seen at all on this stand of trees beside Grange Quarry nearby.

There had been enough wind to make my progress to Paddockhole very slow, but it turned out not to be strong enough to blow me back at any great speed. I had expected it to rain so I was overdressed which didn’t help.

Still, the twenty one miles took me over 300 miles for the month and gave me my best cycling November for ten years, so I was happy when I got home.

I couldn’t find much on the way of colour in the garden before I went in.

Mrs Tootlepedal made me some delicious fried sardines on toast for my lunch, and buoyed up by this, I accompanied her on a walk round the Becks Burn.

It got progressively damper and more gloomy as we went along, but after seeing two trees blocking the path up onto the hill . . .

. . . and a strikingly cracked oak tree, a few moments later . . .

. . . the path and roads were clear for the rest of our walk. The wind was very selective in what it damaged on Friday night.

A spread of fallen crab apples beside the track showed that times have changed.

Such a good resource would not have been wasted by jelly makers in times past.

The clouds had got so low by the time that we got to the bridge across the Becks Burn that they were banging on our heads, and apart from looking at a fungus on a tree stump. . .

. . . and a old tree root beside the burn . . .

. . . both of which needed the use of the flash on the camera, I concentrated on keeping my head down and the camera dry.

On the way home, I flashed at some catkins . . .

. . . and some fine peltigera lichen.

as we walked along, we noticed that a couple of Christmas trees are up and decorated in Eskdaill Street . . .

. . . but the bulk of the trees cut on the moor are still waiting to be erected. I hope to able to get pictures of the full show when the time comes.

Mrs Tootlepedal had noticed a lone vinca flowering in the front bed and I took a picture of it when we got back.

I will try to do it more justice tomorrow in better light, if the weather permits.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea and another example of parkin’s law.

Between the cycling, the walking, and the very dull weather, I didn’t get any garden bird pictures today, so the strutting birds of the day are a goose and a duck from our afternoon walk.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Parkin(son)’s law

  1. Loved Dropscone’s grandfather’s recipe! That’d keep you going for a while and possibly end up disproving Parkin’s law, tomo šŸ˜ It always amazes me how selective the wind can be when wrecking havoc. That snapped oak is a little scary!

  2. I like the shot of the dog lichen. I’ll have to try a flash on them.
    That’s quite a lot of hazel catkins. You should have an easy time finding female flowers in spring.
    Interesting that the wind was so localized. That’s the way tornadoes have acted here, but I don’t know if you have them.

    1. This was not a tornado but it was obviously funnelled by the river valleys and hit the town which is a confluence of three valleys with great force.

  3. When you said you had made parkin a couple of days ago, I refrained from saying that I was planning to make some the following day, because it seemed to be so ridiculous a coincidence. But as I made mine yesterday, for the first time in my life, I wondered if it had not, after all, been such a coincidence. Had we both been inspired by seeing a recipe recently in a well-known national newspaper? Anyway, I paid attention to your warning about overcooking, and checked ten minutes earlier even than the shortest time recommended in the recipe – it was done. And delicious. I shall do my best not to let Parkin(son)’s law prevail.

  4. Good news that you achieved such a splendid amount of miles in November and good to see that not all the trees around you have been blown over! Love the old parkin recipe- hope Dropscone makes it one day then you could try it- slimming down the weights though as there wouldn’t be much slimming if you ate too much.

  5. The snapped oak tree shows the ferocity of the storms.
    Your clear roads must have been an unexpected bonus for your cycle ride.
    300 miles..you took full advantage of the mild November we had,great effort šŸ‘

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