Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony.  While I was playing recorders in Denholm last Saturday, he was watching a cycle event passing by further up the borders.

cycle sportive

It was another dry day today, although it seems to have rained later on when we were in Edinburgh.

After breakfast, I went for a look at the new anemone to see how it was doing.


I think it is probably the prettiest flower that we have in the garden all year.  The colours are so rich that it is hard to beat.

While I was out, I saw that I am not the only one interested in euphorbias.

fly on euphorbia

Every flower had a friend….

fly on euphorbia

I have said it before and I will say it again, they are the most extraordinary plants, obviously designed by a committee which wanted to get everything in.

It felt quite warm and the wind seemed light in the garden so I set out for a short cycle ride in good spirits.  The warmth was real but the calmness was an illusion and as soon as I got out of the shelter of the town, i found myself battling into a brisk wind as I pedalled the ten miles or so out to Paddockhole.

On the this occasion the wind didn’t play any silly tricks so at least I was given a good helping hand on the return journey.   My daughter Annie has sent me some Colombian guava energy bars and I gave one a try today.  It was very tasty but my legs didn’t seem particularly grateful.  The wind might have had something to do with that so I will give them another try,  They taste better than standard energy gels so that is in their favour.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was working in the garden and I had a look round too.


The bergenia is flourishing


As are the spireas

A blackbird sat on the silver pear and sang a challenge to all comers….


The jackdaws made a mess of my lawn again yesterday, almost as soon as I had finished mowing it…

jackdaws lawn pecking

They are not taking the moss away as I cleared a bucket of pecked moss off

…so it was looking a bit part worn today.  They may save me the trouble of scarifying it if they go on like this.

I didn’t have a lot of time to look at birds but I took a shot or two after I had had my shower….


A blackbird checks to see who else is around as it lands on the feeder


Once again there was no shortage of redpolls

…and then it was time to head to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents.

The train trip was very pleasant in the sunshine and we were much struck by the brilliance of this field of rape near Edinburgh.

rape near Edinburgh

Matilda and her parents were in good form and we spent some happy hours playing games, only interrupted by a trip to the shops.

I was just taking a sober picture of Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda going down the steps from the house….

Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda

…when there was a regrettable outbreak of media awareness.

Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda

They were joined by Matilda’s mum, Clare and walked along to the shops to cries of…

Clare, Mrs T and Matilda

…one, two three, wheeeee!

Clare, Mrs T and Matilda

It was a very cheery outing.

The train journey home was uneventful and we were surprised to see that it had obviously rained at Lockerbie although we had had a clear, fine afternoon and evening in Edinburgh.

I managed to catch a flying chaffinch at lunchtime.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s current visit to the Lake District.  He walked to the top of Blencathra on Tuesday and found himself in quite crowd.


We had another dry and occasionally sunny day today but the rude wind had returned so I was not unhappy to have plenty to do that didn’t involve cycling.

In the morning I went to a meeting of volunteers at the Welcome to Langholm office where we heard an interesting and well presented talk by a man from Strathclyde University about a website that is trying to better organise visitors from abroad who are interested in their family heritage.  The idea is that they should inform us of their interests and desires before they arrive and we should inform them of our capabilities to meet their wishes before they have spent money coming to see something that perhaps is no longer there or meet people who cannot help them.  It sounded like a good scheme.

I walked round the garden when I got home while Mrs Tootlepedal planted out the tulips that she had bought at Alnwick yesterday.  She dug up some of this while preparing the ground…

honey fungus

….and wonders if some knowledgeable gardening reader could help her in identifying it.  She fears it might be some sort of honey fungus.

I looked at the established tulips.



It was a degree or two warmer today and the tulips were looking good.


I saw an unexpected flash of yellow in a red tulip…


…which revealed itself as a sport as the morning went on.

The cowslippy things are loving the conditions.


…and the dicentra is doing well too.


I was pleased with that picture of the dicentra but even more pleased with the next one that I took.

dicentra with bee

Bees are always welcome in the garden.

It was a good day for seeing welcome things.


A very small frog in the pond.

I went in to have lunch and was given a couple of hard stares by a blackbird and a chaffinch.

blackbird, chaffinch

I don’t know what I had done to offend them.

The main business of the day was a trip to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and help her celebrate her third birthday.  In honour of that momentous occasion, I am putting  in three pictures of her taken today.  One was taken by her mother in the morning on Portobello beach…

Matilda in Portobello

…and one by her father at the same venue.

Matilda in Portobello

…and I took the third as Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda enjoyed the handsome butterfly wings that had been our birthday present to her.

Matilda and Ally

Time simply flew as we played, sang and danced the afternoon away, though I will pass over the fact that the birthday girl wiped me out when we played Pelmanism.  I have mastered dancing while sitting comfortably in a chair.

After tea with cake and candles, it was time for us to go home and once again the view from the top deck of the bus was very pleasant.

Edinburgh from the bus

Edinburgh showing that it has cherry trees too

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch winning the race to get to the feeder.

flying chaffinch

Matilda says hello and goodbye for today.



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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who was at the sea side in Morecambe yesterday.  He was lucky enough to find the sea at home.

MorecambeThe forecasters promised us a coolish day with light winds and no rain and they got it exactly right.  There was a light frost when we woke up which caused the tulips to hang their heads in distress but didn’t appear to actually finish any plants off completely.

The chill meant that I was in no hurry to get out on my bicycle and in the end, I waited until eleven o’clock before the temperature crept up to 7.5°C and then I went out.

The sun was out and it shone on the siskins…


One wisely leaving before being awarded the order of the boot from another

…who were in a rather factious mood…


More evasive action

…but for all its cheerful brightness, it wasn’t doing much to heat the day up.

For a change, I decided to leave the town following the road up the Esk  rather than my usual route up the Wauchope.  This does involve a couple of quite sharp but short climbs as soon as you leave the town and as I am not supposed to cycle up too many steep hills with my new tin knee, I use this route sparingly.

I took it very gently though and arrived at Eskdalemuir in good order.

Bridge over the Esk

The bridge over the Esk there is guarded by many power lines and poles

I could hardly hear myself think because of the insistent baa-ing of sheep and lambs in the field beside the river.

Eskdalemuir lambs

The thrifty people who built the church at Eskdalemuir in the early nineteenth century didn’t waste any money on frivolous ornamentation.

Eskdalemuir church

I was in expansive mood though and popped into the cafe at the Eskdalemuir Hub in the old school for a cup of coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.  This gave me enough strength to head out over the hills to Lockerbie.  The route elevation….

garmin route 18 April 2017 elevation

…shows that the first part of my journey was quite hilly and annoyingly having climbed up a long hill to get to 900 feet before Eskdalemuir, it immediately drops sharply before leaving me with another climb of 400 feet or more to get back to 950 feet, the highest point of the trip.  These are not like Tour de France climbs but then I am not like a Tour de France climber and they were quite steep enough for me.

Once over the undulating plateau between Eskdalemuir and Boreland, there is some welcome down hill and the rest of the journey bobbed up and down over very gentle country.

Not all of our handsome stone bridges have survived modern traffic and this one over the Dryfe Water…

Dryfe Water bridge

…was so battered by a passing lorry that they gave up and put in a metal trough.

Once I was through Lockerbie, I was on the old main road south, now bypassed by a new motorway.  This is quite a dull road but it was brightened up a lot in places by a fringe of dandelions.

dandelions verge

It has a useful cycle lane on each side of the road.

I stopped to eat an egg roll near Eaglesfield and was reminded that this has been a busy place for many years.  In the foreground is a bridge over the Carlisle to Glasgow motorway and the flat topped hill in the background….

motorway and roman camp

…..was home not just to  a Roman camp but an Iron Age fort as well.

I didn’t stop for many pictures as the day had become quite dull and I needed to keep my mind on my cycling rather than looking for wild flowers in the verge.

In the end, I needed to go through the town for a mile and then back again to ring up exactly 60 miles on the computer as I swung into our drive.

I had enough energy left to walk round the garden and check that the frost hadn’t done too much damage.

hellebore, dicentra and dogwood

It hadn’t.

tulip, lamium and wallflower

One of the Euphorbias deserved a picture all to itself I thought.


There is no frost in the forecast for the next few days so perhaps we have escaped very lightly.

I filled up the feeders and in no time the siskins were back, taking every perch at both of  the feeders but behaving very sedately this time.


It was the goldfinches that had taken on the role of hooligans…

goldfinch kicking siskin

…though the siskins were not going quietly into the night.

goldfinch facing up to siskin

I was pleased to see a couple of redpolls keeping calm amongst the mayhem.


I had time for a shower and then we welcomed my younger brother and oldest sister to the house.  They are spending a few days in the Lake District and came up to have a meal with us in the Douglas Hotel.  The meal and the conversation were both very good value and the evening was a great delight.

We arranged to see them again in the south in July and September.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.


Those interested can find details of my cycle ride by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 18 April 2017

It was a pity that the sun didn’t last for very long.

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Today’s guest picture is another from a visit that my brother Andrew made to the River Dove.  ‘Rock Cottage’ is set into the cliff beside the river and manages to look like a rock and a cottage at the same time.

rock cottage

We had another dry and breezy day here with the temperature struggling to get into double figures (10°C – 50°F) and the wind still on the chilly side so I had to wrap up well when I went out on my bike to do the twenty mile Canonbie circuit.  It was one of those days.  I thought that I was trying harder and going faster than the last time that I made the same trip but I still managed to take three minutes longer.

Of course I was three days older so that may have explained it.

The cold, breezy weather doesn’t encourage stopping for photos but I did stop once for a breather and a look at a couple of bare trees.

Irvine House trees

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden so I walked round enjoying the results of her work.

It was quite bright for a while and the tulips were looking good.

yellow tulip


Ballerinas dancing in the wind

tulips and daffodils

tulip centres

Two of my favourite centres. I think of the one on the left as ‘plums and custard’

The grape hyacinths are good at forming pools even if they don’t quite constitute a river.


The dog tooth violets are thriving….

dog tooth violet

…but are keen to turn their backs on me.  The cowslippy things are more polite.


And I think that we could call this a colourful corner.

colourful corner

I didn’t have long to spend in the garden, although I did as much dead heading of daffodils as I could, because we had to set off to Lockerbie after lunch to visit Matilda in Edinburgh.

I found a moment to look out of the kitchen window while my soup was heating up.

flying goldfinch

A seed is wasted by disputatious birds

flying goldfinch

A siskin is unmoved by a hard stare from a goldfinch.

siskin and chaffinch

And another is more than ready to repel an invading chaffinch

I have mentioned Lockerbie Station a lot so here is a picture to show it in all its glory.  It has the air of one of those stations on a model railway layout.

Lockerbie Station

I wandered up the platform while I was waiting for our train, which was a little late, and was very taken by this lonely diesel locomotive which came shuffling down the track in the opposite direction.

diesel loco at Lockerbie

We arrived safely in Edinburgh and took the bus down to Matilda’s.  Some people might think that a city bus could be a little dull but this bus took a very scenic route.  I was fortunate to find a vacant seat upstairs and at the front.

view from the 104

view from the 104

Matilda was in good form when we arrived.  Her other grandparents were visiting too so she had no shortage of adults willing to give her their best attention.  In fact she found the attention a little too much and retired behind some very fashionable shades.


Her ‘other’ granny can be seen in the background

Before you ask, I thought that everyone knew that specs are being worn upside down this year.  It is de rigeur.

We had a very good time and it seemed almost no time at all before it was time for us to leave and catch our train home.  The view from the bus was good again…..

The Royal Mile

…and the view from the bus stop in Prince Street was even better.

view from Princes Street

Our journey home was improved by sharing a portion of chips from the chip shop in Lockerbie.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch doing the breaststroke.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  He was officiating at a golf match near Galashiels at the weekend and took the time to photograph this bridge over the new Borders Railway line which splits the course in two.

Torwoodlee Bridge

It was another fine day but rather chilly in the morning so I was happy to wait in and have a cup of coffee with our neighbour Ken  He had called in to check a cycle route which Mrs Tootlepedal and I  devised when we cycled south to visit her brother near London some years ago.  He is thinking of cycling part of the route in the opposite direction.

I was was also waiting to check on the proposed arrival time at Carlisle of Mrs Tootlepedal.  She was returning from having fun with Matilda.

By the time that the ETA was established and the coffee finished, the temperature had risen enough to make cycling tolerable and I decided to take my frequent 20 mile trip down to Canonbie and back.

I attracted the attention of this cow as I passed along the old A7 before Canonbie…

Canonbie cow

…and a bold splash of white on the verge a little further along attracted my attention.

wood anemone

It was a fine show of wood anemones.

There was a noticeable wind but luckily it was behind me on the way home so I ended my ride in a good mood.

I had left myself enough time before going to collect Mrs Tootlepedal to walk round the garden in the sunshine.

The tulips are going from strength to strength…


…while fritillaries and dicentra offer a more modest show.

dicentra and fritillary

The grape hyacinths are come along nicely and we can almost see the intended river of blue running through the beds round the front lawn.

grape hyacinths

The daffodils are flourishing, although the early ones are now needing dead heading, and the pale hellebore is also doing well .  It is a pity that it was fatally aesthetically wounded by early bad weather.

daffodil and hellebore

While i was out looking at the flowers, a burst of noise from the bird feeder made me turn round.  Two redpolls were giving a siskin a hard time.


I went back inside and looked at the birds through the window in a more traditional manner.

Regrettable behaviour was all too common.


A siskin about to administer the order of the boot…


…and the boot successfully applied a moment later.

siskin and chaffinch

A lady chaffinch about to behave in an unladylike manner….

siskin, goldfinch, redpoll

…and a siskin, goldfinch and redpoll gang up on a goldfinch

There were moments of quiet.


I had a little stewed rhubarb and some Stilton cheese for my lunch and went off to collect Mrs Tootlepedal from the train.  She arrived bang on time and brightened up my day even more than the morning sunshine had.

We took advantage of being in Carlisle to do some shopping and then drove home.

Having fun with Matilda is quite tiring so Mrs Tootlepedal had a well deserved rest and I went out on the slow bike to hunt for nuthatches….

…or at least I would have gone out if the front tyre wasn’t as flat as a pancake.  When I took the wheel off and got the inner tube out, I found that the valve had snapped in half so there was no chance of a repair.  The valve must have taken a knock in the garage.  Luckily I had a spare tube to hand and I soon had everything back in order and went off on my hunt.

I waited patiently by the tree for a while and then my patience was sorely taxed by a passerby saying, “Don’t you get nuthatches on your feeder?  They are always coming to mine.”  Oh really.

Luckily, I did see one…


…but it didn’t like the look of my long lens and flew off and didn’t return so I left it in peace and cycled down to the river.

I was rewarded by spotting a grey wagtail bobbing up and down near the Sawmill Brig…

Grey Wagtail

…and two oyster catchers at the Meeting of the Waters.  They flew off as I approached….

oyster catchers flying

…but at a steady speed which allowed me to catch them in both black….

oyster catchers flying

…and white.  The one at the back is undoubtedly saying, “Wait for me.”

I crossed the Langholm Bridge and stopped to admire two herring gulls (I think) on a rock in the middle of the Esk.

herring gulls

When I got home, I had many plans for doing useful things in the garden but after I had thought them over carefully, I had a little sit down instead.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we practised some pieces he is playing at a musical evening tomorrow. I hope he plays well and wows the audience.

The flying bird of the day is a redpoll, caught between two stools.

flying redpoll

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Today’s guest picture is another from Irving and shows a fine view near the head of the Black Esk.  He tells me he likes to walk in the area and I can quite see why.

Black Esk ViewI had a busy start to the day with plenty to do to take my mind off the steady rain.  I started by going to fill the Moorland Project bird feeders as the regular feeder filler is off enjoying the sunshine in California.  I had too much to do to stop and take pictures but it was thoroughly miserable up there so I didn’t mind.

On my way back I called in to the monthly Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre.  This was a bit of a disappointment as neither the fish nor the cheese monger was present.  Still, I got some meat for the slow cookers and some vegetables to go with it and a jar of local honey so I didn’t waste my time.

There was just time for a quick cup of coffee when I got home and then I took Mrs Tootlepedal down to Carlisle to catch a train to Edinburgh.  She is going to help out with Matilda duties for a day or two as Matilda’s parents are suffering from persistent colds which  are taking their toll on them.

I got home safely and the rain eased off enough for me take a walk round the garden.

Things were soggy but surviving and developing.

spring flowers


The birds were as busy as ever and I had to fill my own feeders twice today.


The redpolls are becoming regulars.

In the gloomy weather, there were plenty of spats to watch.

chaffinch and goldfinch

A goldfinch tries to discourage a chaffinch

frog and tadpoles

A siskin offers to ‘kick butt’ as I believe the Americans say (some of them anyway).


A chaffinch practised looming up in a threatening manner.

I had a light lunch of haggis and a cup of tea and then considered the weather.

It looked as though it would clear up first and then give us a little rain later so I opted for a walk.  As it turned out, it did clear up but then it stayed clear and the afternoon became sunny and this persisted into the evening.

I should have gone cycling.

However, my short walk wasn’t wasted as I had hardly started before I saw a pair of goosanders swimming up the Wauchope.

female goosander

This is the female

They are tricky birds to catch well, especially when they are moving and I only have the Lumix with me.

I walked on and an oyster catcher came into land as I got to the suspension bridge.

oyster catcher

As I walked up towards the Kilngreen, the sun came out and it was a pleasure to be out and about…

meeting of the waters

…even if the rivers were a bit high after the recent rainy days.

While I was walking over the Langholm Bridge, the two goosanders flew under the arch beneath my feet and headed off up the Ewes Water.  They fly so straight and so steadily that it is poetry in motion just watching them.

I was even more pleased when I found the they had stopped at the Sawmill Brig to let me get another shot at them.


The male and female are so different that you might not put them together if you didn’t see them as a pair




Although the day was now as good as you could hope for on the First of April, there were many reflections of the recent rain…

trees in puddle

…and the ground was very soggy underfoot as I crossed the playing field on the Castleholm.

I wasn’t complaining though as there were hints of leaves on some trees…

early leaves

…though mostly we are still waiting.


I was on top of that hill not so long ago

I was wondering if the nuthatches were at their usual nest in a hole in the tree near the Jubilee Bridge and several loud nuthatch calls raised my hopes as I approached so I stood and waited for a while.

I didn’t have to wait long.


There were two birds popping in and out so I think that they are nest building at the moment.

I walked home very cheerfully, making a detour to Pool Corner to see if I could add a dipper or a heron to my tally.  I couldn’t.

I had a look at the tulips when I got back.  They had been soggy and shut in the morning but the glimpse of sunshine had improved things quite a lot by the afternoon.


The morning tulip is in the middle

I saw another tree bee (or perhaps the same tree bee again) but it was too busy tucking into hellebore flowers for me to get a picture today.

I did a little compost sieving as my motto for compost sieving is ‘little and often’ in an effort to keep my joints happy and then I got the mower out and ran it hopefully over the middle lawn.  I did find a blade or two of grass to cut as I went along.

I also found frogs actual and potential in the pond.

frog and tadpoles

Perhaps it was just well that I hadn’t embarked on an ambitious cycle ride as I was quite tired by this time and settled down to finish the crossword and watch the birds for a bit.


siskin and chaffinch

One of our regular redpolls watched this spat between siskin and chaffinch calmly

I put the camera on a windowsill a little lower than usual and I enjoyed the resulting siskin shots in the afternoon sunshine.


Then I mixed sitting in the sun on a garden bench with connecting my back up laptop and my printer with the new router.  Both of these went well and a good afternoon was rounded off by a visit from Mike Tinker, just in time for a late cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit (or two in my case).

I caught up on the sports news and then made a dish of cauliflower cheese for my tea before heading for an early bath and bed.  The forecast is good for tomorrow and I hope to get up soon enough to have a good pedal before going to the choir in the afternoon.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my daughter Annie who is working abroad.  She says it is a hard city in which to take pictures with her phone in portrait mode.

New York

An excursion to Edinburgh was the order of the day and to give ourselves a bit more time than usual in the city, we drove to Tweedbank and caught a train on the new borders railway line rather than going to Lockerbie.  It was raining  as we left Langholm in the morning and it was still raining when we drove back in the dark so it looked like a good day to be somewhere else.

It wasn’t raining in Edinburgh (except for a very brief shower) so Edinburgh turned out to be a good somewhere else to visit.

While Mrs Tootlepedal did some enjoyable shopping, I went for a walk.

I admired the newly painted sides to the road up from the station.

waverley station

This is a purely cosmetic frontage for there is nothing behind it and it simply serves to stop the impertinent traveller throwing orange peel or peanut shells onto the passengers waiting for trains on the platforms below.

Princes Street gardens boasted a host of chionodoxas as I walked towards the Scottish National Gallery…


…but my camera did a very poor job of capturing their beauty.

An overenthusiastic gardener has ruined the view of the National Gallery from the east by planting a tree smack in front of the middle of the building.

National gallery

I wonder if he/she has relatives who plant trees in front of picturesque bridges.

I walked up the hill from the railway line through Milne’s Court, one of the many dark and narrow wynds that give the Old Town so much of its character.

Milnes Court

And this took me up onto the Lawnmarket, part of the Royal Mile from the castle to Holyrood House.


On my way I could see the Camera Obscura…

Camera Obscura

I would like to have had enough time to pop in as it is a great treat to see the city from this bird’s eye viewpoint.

…and one of the many curiosities which lurk to attract the attention of generous minded passers by.

headless man

As it was, I did have time to go into an old church….

Festival Hub

…which has been re-purposed, as they say, and is now used as a centre for the Edinburgh Festival and called The Hub.

I thought that it was rather smart inside and stopped to have some haggis and a cup of coffee for my lunch. The haggis was very upmarket and was described on the menu as ‘bonbons of haggis’.  Little balls of haggis had been covered in toasted breadcrumbs and they were perched precariously and incongruously on small mounds of mashed potato and neeps surrounded by a creamy whisky sauce.  Although the dish looked rather  comical, it tasted really good so I shouldn’t complain.

I went up to the castle esplanade after my lunch…

Edinburgh Castle

…and since I had taken a picture of the Castle from Arthur’s Seat on a previous visit, I took a picture of Arthur’s Seat from the Castle today.

Arthur's Seat

Looking over the edge of the esplanade to the north, it was obvious that the city fathers had put their hands unusually deep into their pockets when it came to the purchase of daffodils.

Castle daffodils

That’s Princes Street and the Firth of Forth in the background.

I started to rain so I walked down through the daffodils towards Princes Street.  I had to glance back as I went, because the daffodils were so astonishing, even in the rain.

Edinburgh Castle

They brought on a severe attack of photedititis

Back down at ground level, I took another look back to the house perched on the edge of the castle rock which might make me nervous about looking out of the window if I lived there…

Edinburgh castle

 …and then walked down to the top of Leith Walk to meet Mrs Tootlepedal.

Edinburgh is a tourist hot spot and there are hotels tastefully inserted into many buildings which had former lives but this piece of unconvincing and rampant facadism with a glass box hotel stuck on the back of a slender frontage, is quite the oddest.

Leith Walk hotel

We were tempted by a very inviting opera bill on the front of the Playhouse….

Leith Walk hotel

…, especially by Musetta’s dog, until the alert Mrs Tootlepedal realised that the majestic war horse and the magnificent black stallion might be one and the same animal.   The cheapskates.  What a swizz.

We took a back route down to Matilda’s and this gave us a different view of the upstairs Greek temple at the end of London Road which defies any architectural interpretation.

Greek Temple

There has surely never been a Greek temple with so many chimney pots and its columns resting on the roof of another building.

Although Matilda’s parents were both suffering from colds and were not at the peak of their condition, Matilda was very jolly and joined wholehearted in a game of Pelmanism as well as the more familiar Snap.  She is a dab hand at both games.

This was followed by a dance demonstration and some solid nursery rhyme work so we were quite ready for a roast chicken for our tea which Mrs Tootlepedal had thoughtfully cooked for us all.

After tea, Matilda settled down to a little painting before her bath.

Matilda painting

In a sign of the digitally aware age we live in, when I asked Matilda if I might take a picture of her, she laughed out loud and shouted, “Cheese!”

The effect was very good, I thought.

Matilda painting

No flying bird today although I did chase a magpie through the castle daffodils in vain.

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