Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce.  He came across this fine view on the hill road to Roberton near Hawick a week or so ago.

Bruce's view

After a rather slack period for cycling recently, a dry and calm day today was an excellent opportunity to get the fairly speedy bike out and put in a few miles.  The tyres needed pumping up and the chain needed cleaning but I was soon ready to go.

My intention was to see how my legs felt and adjust the distance accordingly but I got a bit overcome by taking pictures as I pedalled along and lost a few potential miles on the way.  Still, I did 64 miles and took 50 pictures so that seems like a good balance.  Readers will be pleased to know that not all the pics made it into the post!

I started with a big surprise only a mile or so from the house when I saw the hillside above Bessie Bell’s covered in bluebells.

Bruce's view

Another visit on foot is on my to do list.

The verges were full of wild flowers and the first three that I met were these.

wild flowers

I have forgotten what the golden spikes are called but the other two are speedwell and geum

I started my ride among the hills and I hoped to get some good pictures of the 22 windmills on the new Ewe Hill windfarm by going up the hill towards Corrie Common.  I could see the windmills (just) but in the rather poor light, my camera couldn’t so i will have to try again on a brighter day.

I did get a splendid view down into the valley on the far side of Corrie Common though and even on a gloomy day, it is a very pleasing prospect.


view from Corrie Common

Click on the pic for a bigger picture

The only fly in the ointment is that very poor road surface takes the fun out of going down the hill into the valley.

The little stream at the bottom is very picturesque…

Corrie common

…and the bridge has the usual gate to stop any sheep making a break for freedom by swimming.

corrie common road

I pedalled on over the hill to Boreland, a very pretty road even on a rather grey day…

road to Boreland

…and then turned west and descended into Annandale.  On the way down, I was stopped several times by wild flowers crying out to be photographed.

red campion, cranesbill, hawthorn and more bluebells

Sometimes I couldn’t fail to notice them.

red campion

A bank of red campion

When I got to Lochmaben,  I had a stop for a banana and a little rest beside the Mill Loch, a very peaceful place for a sit down…

Mill Loch Lochmabe

Mill Loch Lochmaben

…and then I pedalled on down the valley to Dalton and Hoddom.

I passed several flourishing horse chestnut trees.  I was not the only one interested in the flowers.

horse chestnut

I like this rather Hansel and Gretel like lodge at Hoddom Castle…

Hoddom Lodge

…and I looked up at the Repentance Tower on the hill above the road.

Repentance Tower

I couldn’t cross my favourite bridge over the River Annan at Hoddom without taking a picture…

Hoddom Bridge

…and I noticed some more wild flowers beside the river bank path while I was there.


Broom is arriving as the gorse begins to fade

dandelion and buttercup

From Hoddom, I headed to Ecclefechan and then went down the old main road to Gretna where I fortified the inner man with an excellent plate of egg and chips.

From Gretna, I took a direct route home as all my photo stops (and the egg and chips) had added a lot of time to my trip.

I did stop for a few more pictures.

My three favourite trees on the old A7 were looking well in the spring garb….

three canonbie trees

…and there were two rather delicately shaded flowers beside Canonbie Bridge…

comfrey and forget me not

Comfrey and Forget-me-not

…as well full spring clothing at Hollows Bridge…

Hollows Bridge

…and a great number of Pyrenean Valerian flowers once I got within thee miles of Langholm.

pyrenean valerian

Here is a map of the trip and those with time hanging heavy on their hands can click on the map as usual to get further details of the ride.

garmin route 17 May 2017 elevation

You can see that the route was well chosen for an old man with all the climbing at the start and the wind mostly behind on the way home.

The hilly start into the wind meant that my average speed was pretty low but it was a most enjoyable outing.  I mean to get as much pleasure as I can from the scenery and the surroundings and be less bothered by average speeds now that the better weather has arrived.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was out and had completed her pea fortress.

pea fortress

Just let the sparrows try to get into that!

Our garden was full of flowers too….

garden flowers

…and it is always interesting to see the different ways that flowers set out to attract customers.

There are some very colourful aquilegias against the back wall of the house.


AKA Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be Front-of-House at the Buccleuch Centre for a very peppy jazz concert from the Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra while I went to a Langholm Sings choir practice.  We both enjoyed ourselves.

It was a very cheerful day for one that had little or no actual sunshine in it.

The flower of the day is a tulip which is not showing any signs of being a shrinking violet.



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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  He was much taken by this planting on the course of the Hawick Golf Club.  It must be just about the neatest planting ever ( and helpful to senior golfers who can’t remember where they are).


There are strong winds forecast for tomorrow so that made today the last comfortable cycling day of the month.  It was theoretically a degree or two warmer than it has been lately but it was still struggling to get up to 10°C (50°F) and even with the wind coming from the south, it felt chilly as I went out in the morning.

I decided that the best plan would be to start by pedalling 25 miles into the wind and then, as the wind got stronger, I would get the benefit of the breeze at my back for the 18 miles home.  Regular cyclists will be well aware of just how unreliable this sort of planning is as the wind is very unpredictable.   Today however, the plan worked to perfection and by keeping calm and pedalling gently into the wind, I managed the first 25 miles at  12.5 mph and still had enough energy (helped by a guava energy bar) to pedal the 18 miles home at 15.2 mph.   I love it when a plan works out.

The first 25 miles was slow enough for me to keep an eye on the verges and there was plenty to see, though the dull weather and being slightly puffed didn’t make for great photography.

wild flowers

wild flowers

wild flowers

I stopped for a banana at the 25 mile mark and looked at trees on both sides of the road.

catkins and flowers on trees

I passed a very fine clump of pink bluebells (if that is the correct term and not pinkbells) near West Linton….


…and shortly afterwards saw the real things at Alstonby Hall.


It certainly cheers a cycle ride up when there flowers to look at.

I have passed a Historic Scotland sign pointing to ‘Merkland Cross’ near Kirkpatrick Fleming many, many times and today I finally took a moment out to cycle up a side road to visit the cross.  I had to walk the last quarter mile through wild  flower strewn meadows beside the motorway while being observed by cows…

Merkland Cross


Merkland Cross

…the cross itself, carved from a single piece of stone, was a bit of a disappointment.  I had been hoping for an elaborate  Celtic cross of great antiquity but this one was rather plain and  from the middle ages.  At least the sign was honest.

Merkland Cross

Between the kindly wind, the flowers and the antiquity, I really enjoyed my ride.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked some leek soup with the last leeks of the season from the garden and together with some cheese and home made bread, it went down very well for a late lunch.

After a shower, I went out into the garden and did some dead heading and mowed the front lawn.

We have three trilliums in the garden  (three trillia?) and the first one has come out.

I passed a very fine clump of pink bluebells (if that is the correct term and not pinkbells) near West Linton.... ...and shortly afterwards saw the real things at Alstonby Hall.

I was just looking at the birds….


A pensive redpoll


A startled goldfinch

…when, rather belatedly, I remembered that I was supposed to be filling the Moorland Bird feeders in place of Gavin who is on holiday in the north.

The glade at the bird hide has gone green.

Moorland Feeders

The birds themselves were in a very uncooperative mood and insisted on using the feeders furthest from the hide.  A woodpecker did turn up and i was hopeful but almost immediately another one arrived and they spent so much time chasing each other around that there were very few posing opportunities…


…so I got fed up and after photographing a blackbird with its mouth full….


…and a pheasant on the road outside the hide…


It looked exhausted from chasing lady pheasants about

…I took a last look down towards the Tarras…

Tarras valley

…and went home.

I had persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal to come out with me to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening to see a group of six singers called ‘The Westenders’ give a concert of songs from West End musicals.  I could understand Mrs Tootlepedal’s initial reluctance to come because it is very difficult to know what a show like this is going to be like but on this occasion, we made a very good decision and had a grand evening out.

The six singers had a small but competent quartet of musicians behind them and they put everything they possibly could into a very well planned and musically arranged evening of songs.  We both went home positively uplifted by the sheer verve and professionalism of their performances.

I only just caught the flying bird of the day in the nick of time.


Those interested in the bike route can click on the map below.

garmin route 29 April 2017

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Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony.  He took his dogs to Loch Lomond today and they seem to be enjoying the outing.

Tony's dogs

I spent the early part of the morning hoping that it would get a bit warmer and when I thought that it had, I got the fairly speedy bike out and went off to Port Carlisle for lunch.

Port Carlisle is on the southern shore of the Solway and getting there has been greatly helped by the excellent bike path along the new Carlisle by-pass.  The route along the coast is pretty flat in general and very flat in places.

Tony's dogs

The notice in the foreground tells you that the water is one foot deep if it gets to the sign

The Solway was looking very amiable if a bit hazy.

Solway near Drumburgh

I had an excellent lunch at the pub in Port Carlisle and then went back pretty well the same way that I came.

I stopped near Rockliffe to take a picture of one of my favourite trees…

Rockcliffe tree

..and thought that it might look good in black and white and had another go.

Rockcliffe tree

I stopped several more times for refreshment and relaxation on the way back but only took three more pictures while having a breather at the top of the steep hill at Tarcoon.

tarcoon hill

It was a very pleasant day but too hazy to get good landscape pictures

Whita Hill

The rough pasture is still looking rather wintery. It will taken another month for the hills to go green again.

We haven’t got to the time when the verges are full of various wild flowers but there are a lot of celandines about to start the season off.


In spite of feeling a bit of stiffness in one of my calf muscles, I did the 70 miles at just over 14 mph, which these days is the best that I can expect until it gets a bit warmer in the mornings.

When I got back, there was exciting news.  The new compost bins have arrived and are ready to be assembled when I have shifted the compost out of the old bins.  Expect exciting pictures soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work in the garden so I had a walk round to look at what was going on.  There were a lot of tulips to admire.


The day had got pleasantly warm by this time and it was a joy to be out in the garden among such a feast of colour.



I was moved to try an arty shot or two.  These are just as the camera saw them.  I haven’t pepped them up in the editor.




Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased with a new bed of tulips planted for this season.


I am very pleased with the plum blossom…

plum blossom

…but unless a few more bees turn up, I will have to get busy with my soft paint brush again.

The feeders needed filling so I must have missed a lot of bird action while i was pedalling.  A redpoll put a chaffinch in its place.

redpoll and chaffinch

In the evening, we went to a performance by a group called Spatz &Co at the Buccleuch Centre.  They describe themselves as a showband and play an entertaining and eclectic mix of rock and roll, jazz, swing, and superior popular songs by John Lennon, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Gerry Rafferty.

The sound balance on the night between the rhythm section and the front line wasn’t ideal but they were full of pep and excellent players.  There was a disappointingly small audience but it was very enthusiastic and we that hope they come again.

Although i only did two things, it somehow felt like quite a full day.

I just had time for a flying bird.

flying chaffinch

Those interested can click on the map below to get details of the bike ride.

garmin route 9 april 2017


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Today’s guest picture is a steam train at Carlisle Station.  My neighbour Gavin saw it not long ago.  They seem to be running regular steam excursions to Carlisle at the moment.  We saw one when I put Mrs Tootlepedal on the London train last weekend.

steam train Carlisle

It was a very dull day on the whole today.  It was raining when I got up and it rained all day until about 7 o’clock in the evening.  By way of a little variety, sometimes it rained quite gently and sometimes it rained quite heavily.

Under the circumstances neither walking nor cycling held out much appeal for me so I did neither.

Sandy came for morning coffee and Mike Tinker dropped in for afternoon tea and between these two welcome diversions, I looked out of the window a bit.


Blackbird with raindrops


A pigeon with raindrops

chaffinch and siskin

Chaffinch and siskin with rain

chaffinch in rain

A chaffinch with heavier rain

You can see that there is quite a theme developing here but the rain didn’t stop the siskins trying to throw their weight around.

siskin and chaffinch

A chaffinch sneaking up behind a siskin seemed a bit disapproving of the siskin’s untidy eating habits.

siskin and chaffinch

We always end up with a pile of seed on the ground when we have siskin visitors.

When I wasn’t staring out of the window, I was doing the crossword or practising songs for the Carlisle Choir.  I find it really hard trying to learn them off by heart.  I will have to try and develop a better method than I am using at present.  My present method is singing through a song three or four times and then trying to sing it from memory and subsequently bursting into into tears when I can’t get past the second page.  It is not a good method.

In the evening, I went off to the Buccleuch Centre for a screening of Il Trovatore from the Royal Opera House.  The singing was very good, especially the mezzo-soprano, Anita Rachvelishvili.  All her singing was excellent but her quiet singing was really sensational.

This was a ‘modern’ production with machine guns and so on and the setting was like the curate’s egg.  It worked well sometimes but it was also rotten in parts.

Fans of the old TV Comedy series “‘Allo, ‘Allo” will know why I was a bit distracted by the fact that one of the parties in the conflict had a little tank..

The perennial trouble is that the producers and designers have all seen these operas far too often and it would be boring for them to put on a production which the composer might recognise.   I have only seen this opera once before, in an amateur production, so I would have quite welcomed a ‘traditional’ setting.

The subtitles are very helpful and make the opera come alive but they do put some absurdities into your mind in passing.  When a singer sings, ‘I have no breath, I cannot speak’ and goes on singing for several more minutes, I can’t help raising an eyebrow.   Such is opera though.

I should say though that I enjoyed it a lot, as Verdi’s music when sung well is always a  great treat whatever the producer does.

There was a rather gloomy flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch in rain




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Today’s guest picture is one from a holiday that Mike Tinker took last year.  It shows a handsome bridge in Rhayader, Mid Wales.

Rhayader Mid Wales

I had requested a better day after our recent dreich spell and my plea was heard and we enjoyed a beautifully sunny day today.  As an added and unexpected bonus, the temperature was well above freezing from the very start and had I been better organised, I could have been out and about straight after breakfast.

However, at the moment I am not sleeping as well as I would like and it is taking me quite a bit of time to get up to speed in the mornings. I needed a cup of coffee and a roll and honey before I could even contemplate starting.

There were hardly any birds to distract me and the strong light made the re-appearance of Zorro the Chaffinch the high or perhaps the lowlight of the morning.

Zorro the Chaffinch

I had a wander round the garden,  A crocus has appeared, snowdrops are actually coming properly out and the rhubarb is more fantastic than ever.

rhubarb, snowdrop and crocus

I did finally get going, armed with two bananas and a tuna roll with a side supply of apricots and dates.  The view at Wauchope School was a lot more inviting than the last time that I came up the road…

Wauchope School

…and I headed out into the country with a light heart.  Fairly heavy legs but a light heart.

I was headed west and once you get out of our local hills, the land turns to gently rolling fields…

Middlebie road

Looking back towards Waterbeck

I went through Middlebie and Ecclefechan and headed for Hoddom Castle.  The road towards the Castle is flat and straight and I found myself pedalling head on into a noticeable wind.  This was a bit of a trial so I tried the Donald J Trump method and declared loudly to anyone who might be able to hear me, “I am not pedalling into a headwind.  The wind is behind.  It’s fine.”

Strangely, it didn’t work.  Obviously the alternative truth is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I did get within sight of the castle in the end…

Hoodom Castle

…and  stopped on the bridge over the River Annan to enjoy the view.

View from the bridge at Hoddom

I crossed the bridge and cycled on towards the next crossing of the river at Brydekirk.  The powers that be have put a lot of thought into the naming of streets and buildings in the village.


This is the cause of all this naming.

Brydekirk Bridge

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and had a banana and half a roll on the other side.  I was right beside a fine ivy plant.


And as you know, I am a sucker for a nice piece of moss on a bridge parapet.

moss at Brydekirk

By this time, I had turned enough to have the wind now across or behind me for the rest of the journey but this didn’t seem to speed my legs up very much.

From the top of the hill looking towards Eaglesfield after I left Brydekirk, I could see a fine crop of windmills, half at the old established windfarm at Minsca…


…and the other half randomly scattered across the country at the new Ewe Hill wind farm.

Ewe Hill farm

I think there are still a few more to be added to this lot.

I cycled down to Gretna on back roads, hoping to see some of our migrating geese in the fields but on this occasion, all my geese were swans…


…and there wasn’t a goose to be seen.

On my way to Gretna, I passed these trees…


…whihc would be very helpful to the confused traveller as they clearly show the direction of the prevailing wind.  South west.

When I got to Gretna, I had thought of going back across country and clocking up fifty miles but time began to press on me a bit thanks to my late start and my legs weren’t exactly over enthusiastic about any more unnecessary hills so I headed back up the main road, taking the quieter bike route through Canonbie…

Canonbie Church

It was a golden winter afternoon

…and limiting my ride to 47 miles.

It did give me the opportunity to admire a set of fisherman’s steps leading to the river at Broomholm…

fishermans steps Broomholm

…and the extensive scaffolding now in place at Skippers Bridge.

skippers bridge scaffolding

They have taken it through the arch and round the other side where the damage is.

skippers bridge scaffolding

I had a cheerful chat to two of the engineers supervising the task and asked them to take care of our bridge and make sure not to knock it down.  They assured me that they would take care.  Indeed, one engineer, a charming lady, told me that they really liked and admired  the bridge.  This was good to hear.

I got home and had a cup of tea and a biscuit with Mike Tinker who had dropped in and then after a good soak in the bath and a light curry for my tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a Woody Allen film, ‘Café Society’.

It went at a gentle pace, was well acted, beautifully set and costumed and had some (not a lot) of good jokes.  The great man obviously couldn’t work out how to finish the film so he didn’t bother and just let it drift away but it was none the worse for that and I enjoyed it a lot.

My favourite joke went something like this:

A pedantic and rather upset character say, “Socrates says the unexamined life is not worth living,”  and after a slight pause adds, “The examined life is not up to much either.”

As it was our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, this was our anniversary treat.  We might do something a bit more flashy next year if spared.

The camera may not lie but it does often conceal quite a lot from the casual viewer.  Zorro the Chaffinch seen earlier in this post came straight from the camera.  Photoshop reveals that the camera knows who the masked intruder really is.

flying chaffinch

Herbert the Chaffinch unmasked

Details of the cycle ride may be found by clicking on the map below.



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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker’s New Zealand trip last autumn and shows the Japanese garden in Queens Gardens in Nelson on the South Island.

the Japanese garden in Queens Gardens , Nelson

I had a very restful day today, with three moments of activity in sea of peacefulness.  The peace was helped by the continued absence of birds in the garden apart from a handful every now and again.

The first event was entertaining Dropscone to a cup of coffee and enjoying two of his tasty scones enhanced by some home made blackcurrant jelly.

He is going away to the south of England for a few days holiday with his daughter Susan soon so not only will I miss the scones but I won’t get any recorder playing either.  I will try to be brave about this.

A very small group of goldfinches gave me something to look at after coffee.


I do mean a small group


Though it did increase a bit….


…and then a bit more

But that was the maximum.  A chaffinch tried to swell the numbers but was rebuffed.


I have bought a smart new feeder which holds a block of treats guaranteed to attract high quality birds to my garden….or so it said on the packet.   I have hung it up but the sum total of high quality birds attracted so far is a a single coal tit…..and that arrived when my back was turned and had gone by the time that I looked round.

(Before you ask, I saw it out of the corner of my eye.)

As a result of the new feeder, the fat ball cage has been put on the bench but it is still has loyal customers who spurn novelty feeding blocks.



After lunch, I went off for a dull pedal on a dull day, going up and down the five miles to the lower slopes of Callister twice.  I didn’t even take my camera as it was too gloomy but at least I got some gentle exercise.  My Garmin computer, which records my rides, is still working on the bike but it has taken a huff and won’t talk to my computer any more so readers will be spared any little maps of forthcoming rides until it has recovered its good humour.

I have tried all sorts of things – WD40, resetting the factory settings on the device, reinstalling the program that it talks to, woggling wires, kicking things and even carefully modulated bad language but none of them works.  This sort of thing is very annoying when something has been working perfectly well for years.  You might begin to suspect that is part of a dastardly plan by the manufacturer to tempt you into buying a new device.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be a front-of-house volunteer for a screening of The Pirates of Penzance at the Buccleuch Centre and I went along later to enjoy the show.  I very rarely see a production these days with which I have no quarrels but this was one.  Director Mike Leigh put before the audience a clean and simple production, well sung and acted, staged in an imaginative and  clean modern setting which worked very well and which was well lit and at no stage did he put awareness of his clever direction before the audience’s enjoyment of a very witty show.

The only blemish on a charming evening was W S Gilbert’s tendency to make a mockery of an older woman.  It jars a bit.

I did manage to find a flying chaffinch in the morning’s bird desert.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my Somerset correspondent, Venetia,  who is visiting my sister Mary in London.  She was as surprised to see this rhododendron on Mary’s garden as I was to get her photo of it.  They must really be ahead of the game down there.

Mary's rhododendron

You couldn’t see much at all here in Langholm as we had a day of mist and the surrounding hills were blotted out.  Mrs Tootlepedal had to go to Annan on business and I spent a moment or two seeing if any birds had returned to the garden….


Female and male siskins

…and was pleased to see that a few had come back.


A blackbird with a touch of white about it.

I didn’t stop too long though, as I wanted to get a cycle ride in before lunch.  I only just got back in time because the mist slowed me down on the single track road over the hill….

Bloch road

…and I didn’t want to bump into any delivery van in a hurry.

To be fair, it wasn’t only the mist that slowed me down.  My legs were not in the mood to rush about after yesterday’s ride.  Under the circumstances, it was lucky that I was only doing a little twenty mile tour of nether Canonbie and back and I made it home at bang on one o’clock.

I added a minute to my time when I stopped to take a sombre picture of a tree on the old road near Irvine House which has now been by-passed.  I thought that the gloomy day deserved a black and white picture to go with it.

tree near Irvine House

After lunch, Sandy arrived.  We had been thinking about a walk but in the relentlessly grey mist, that didn’t seem so attractive and we decided to go up to the Moorland bird hide and see if we could persuade the birds to come very close to us.

The pheasants didn’t need persuading.  Quite the reverse.


The male sat on the gate without moving as we drove up and got out of the car and the female jumped onto the tree stump and stole all the seeds that Sandy had carefully put out to attract smaller birds.  No amount of shouting and rude words could shift her until she had eaten the lot.

There were quite a lot of the usual birds flitting about, woodpeckers, chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins and all sorts of tits and as the tits came nearest, I concentrated on trying to catch as many of them as I could.

great tit blue tit and coal tit

A mixed bag of great tit, blue tit and coal tit

great tit

A great tit gets ready to attack the nuts

blue tits

Total blue tits

And my favourite of the day…

coal tit

A coal tit gets one of Sandy’s seeds before the pheasant arrived

coal tit


If you ever want to see a picture of a disappointed bird, this is the one for you.

Among the usual customers, we were offered a couple of treats.


Either one nuthatch came twice or two nuthatches visited once each.  Sadly from our point of view, they didn’t live up their name and wouldn’t come to the nuts which were closer to us than the seed feeder.  Perhaps these are rare seedhatches.

To the right of the hide, a tree creeper did live up to its name and crept up a tree.

tree creeper

Another one crept up another tree but it was just out of range.

On our way back home, we paused for a moment to watch a couple of men building a very extensive scaffolding platform for the bridge repairs.

Skippers Bridge repairs

I will try to keep an eye on these works as they develop.

Once home, we had a cup of tea and several biscuits with Mrs Tootlepedal and then Sandy went off after showing me some of the latest sterling photographic work he has been doing on the Langholm Archive Group website.  If any reader has time to spare, I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the photographic section of the site, where there are literally thousands of indexed pictures documenting the history of the town and its people.

In the evening, I met Sandy again, this time at the Buccleuch Centre where we were attending a concert by a Canadian band called Ten Strings and a Goatskin.

The ten strings were a fiddle and a guitar and the goatskin provided the percussion along with a wooden board on which the percussionist stamped with great enthusiasm.   Their website says that “the group is a bilingual folk/fusion trio from Prince Edward Island who present traditional and original music inspired by their Atlantic Canadian histories and roots, and infused with pop and world rhythms.”   That sums them up nicely.

They were slightly exhausting as slow numbers do not figure largely in their repertoire but they were very entertaining and they talked well between numbers.  They invited us to clap our hands or tap our feet along with them as they played but I wisely resisted as, had I tried to join in, the infusion of pop and world rhythms might well have led to a dislocated ankle.

I did get a flying bird of the day today in the mist.  An obliging chaffinch hung in the air for me.

flying chaffinch

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