Pedalling and shopping

Today’s guest picture shows a sunny early morning in East Wemyss. Our son Tony was out with his dogs this morning.

After yesterday’s sunshine and snow, both were in short supply today as we went back to grey here. It was dry though and there was no ice about, so we were able to cycle along after breakfast to visit Langholm Initiative trustee Margaret who had interesting things to show us. The Initiative has been given a hand drawn map from 1785 . . .

. . . which shows how the common land round Langholm was divided up between three landowners.

The map is in need of conservation and expert conservators will be arriving soon to give advice. It has some delightful details . . .

. . . and I like the way that the text is added in many directions.

I also like the varied letter styles used in the title. (The writing is not wavy, that is a function of the curl of the map paper.)

The map comes with a 250 page court decision regarding the division of the Commonty of Lamgholm.

It too is in need of conservation. It is beautifully handwritten . . .

. . . and Margaret hopes to get it transcribed into print. It has a lot in it as these two pages show . . .

. . . and it will be interesting to read it. This will take some concentration as there is a lot of old legal terminology in it.

While Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret waited for a local lawyer to come and look at the documents, I cycled down to the Co-op to buy the item that I had forgotten on my shopping trip yesterday. Then I pedalled home to put a beef mince stew into the air fryer slow cooker, and the ingredients for a loaf into the bread maker. It is good to have such competent and uncomplaining kitchen assistants.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did a little chilly gardening and I got my electric bike out and rushed up the main road to Mosspaul and back as fast as I could.

At 4°C, it was at the bottom limit of acceptable cycling temperature for me, but the wind was light and I was warmly dressed. The main road had been thoroughly gritted and there was no chance of ice. Almost all the snow had gone, even at the top of the valley . . .

. . . though some north facing slopes still held on to a bit.

I took a picture of a pine at the top of the hill . . .

. . . and turned for home. Even with the wind in my face now, some shrewd applications of electrical assistance helped me to do the ten and a half miles back down the hill in comfortably under forty minutes. I took a picture of a crocus to celebrate when I got back.

And then I added some hopeful rhubarb . . .

. . . and some very whiskery leaves.

One thing that the camera shows is that almost everything in the garden is much more hairy than it looks at first sight.

Once again, there were virtually no visitors to the seed feeder so I had to make do with a smart blackbird under the feeder . .

. . . and rumpled dove above on an electricity pole.

The reason for my cycling rush was the need to be back in time to have a shower and then go shopping at Gretna with Mrs Tootlepedal. Like myself, some of my clothes are suffering from old age, and the shopping outlet village at Gretna gave me the chance to get some replacements at a very reasonable cost. Mrs Tootlepedal also found a jumper in the right colour for her, so we were both pleased with our outing.

We got home in time for an early evening meal where the slow cooked mince, with a thick slice of freshly baked bread and some healthy broccoli, made a satisfying end to the active day. The televised cycle racing season has begun, and later in the evening, we were able to watch the highlights of the penultimate stage of the Paris-Nice race passing through some spectacular scenery.

In the absence of a flying bird, a starling is sitting in today.

Footnote: Some readers might wonder why common lands were being divided up and given to existing landowners. The clue is in the title of the excellent book by land reformer Andy Wightman, “The Poor Had No Lawyers”.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Pedalling and shopping

  1. I agree, that map and the accompanying material were a great gift to the Initiative. I still looks to be in fairly good shape for its age. The title of the book by Andy Wightman correctly assess the situation and is still applicable today.

    That is a joyous crocus. The rhubarb looks ready to start some serious growth.

    It was 62 degrees at the high point here today, and I was able to walk without a coat. The frogs are quite pleased with things, for he moment.

    1. By way of contrast, I bought two new winter jackets yesterday. I hope that i won’t need to wear them for too much longer before some warm weather arrives.

  2. It was very interesting to see the Land drawn maps in your area….we did some of my family history in N.Ireland and Yorkshire and the maps were very hard to read, however the beautiful handwriting of your documents were similar to our document in Yorkshire.
    I liked the title of the book you suggested “The Poor Had No Lawyers”…never has a truer word been spoken! I’ll try to get/buy a copy, thank you.

  3. Theft. That is what it was, not simply a Land Grab. Theft, pure and simple. In due course of time, these incidents should be brought forward to a proper court of Human Rights with a view to return of stolen property to the rightful owners.

    1. It was a bad situation and I am somewhat sympathetic but you would go down a curious lane if you followed that idea as people might start to mention the theft of resources and property and people by colonial powers. We might find ourselves having to give a lot back. The division of the commons was overseen by a properly constituted court whatever you might think of the decision.

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