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A gap of 100 years

We went to our daughter Annie’s after breakfast and then went with her and our granddaughter Evie to visit Evie’s great grandmother, Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother.

This involved a trip on two underground trains to Paddington Station…

… where we had time for a cup of coffee.

We really shouldn’t be allowed to travel on trains at the moment because we only have to get on one for it to run late.

The train we caught was modern, comfortable, with good buggy accommodation…

…but ten minutes late at Maidenhead which was enough to make us miss the connection to  Marlow

Luckily, Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother was able to collect us, although an unexpectedly closed road gave us time to admire the station clock.

We were given an excellent lunch by Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother and sister in law and then we went off to visit Mauri, Evie’s great grandmother.

You will have to take my word that this meeting of four female generations of the family took place as no photograph is available online, but it was a great moment to see Mrs Tootlepedal with her mother, her daughter and her granddaughter all at the same time.

As her mother is 103 and Evie is very small, a good stretch of history was to be seen in the room.

We got home safely (and on time!) and rounded the day off with a very good meal at a Greek restaurant with my sisters  Susan and Mary and my stepmother Patricia.

We go back to Langholm tomorrow…if we can find a reliable train to take us there.


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A smile and a shovel

This is another phone post as we are still in London visiting relatives. Today we ventured south of the river to spend time with our granddaughter Evelyn Rose, the current holder of the title of the World’s Greatest Baby.

Soon after we arrived, Evie took us and her mother Annie to their allotment where we spent some happy time shifting manure in one direction ..

… and pernicious weedy waste in the other.

By the time that we had finished, Annie’s raised beds looked well looked after.

Mrs Tootlepedal gave things a final touch…

… as Evie supervised.

Big flying birds passed overhead…

.. while parakeets watched from neighbouring trees.

Although it was a chilly day with frost still in the ground, there was plenty of colour about as we walked about the area.

We particularly liked these winter aconites at the allotment.

But this was the most spectacular…

…and this winter honeysuckle had the best scent.

After visiting Evie’s other grandparents and briefly seeing her father, we headed back across the river (or rather under the river, as we used the tube).

We were going to go to the pictures but we left buying the tickets until it was too late and there were none left

Instead, we went back and spent the evening chatting to my sisters Mary and Susan, which is always a pleasure.

If all goes well, we shall take in more relatives tomorrow.

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We have arrived in London. Regular readers will be surprised to hear that our train was half an hour late.

We were told that this was because of speed restrictions between Rugby and Milton Keynes. A reluctance to go to Milton Keynes is quite understandable of course and as it will lead to us getting half our ticket price refunded, we kept calm.

I had time to go for a short walk before we left Langholm and take a couple of pictures on the way.

It was a gloomy day so leaving Langholm was not a wrench.

I am not going to miss many birds while I am away by the look of things.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Liz, who is both our gardening adviser and Mike and Alison Tinker’s daughter.  She got an unusual view of the Forth rail bridge from a nearby pottery cafe the other day.


Today was a write off here, gloomy at the start and gloomier as it went on.  It rained all day and for a lot of the time it blew very hard too.  As my foot has got a bit sore lately, I was very happy to have a good excuse to give it a rest.

I did drive up to visit Sandy to get our shared mount cutter as Mrs Tootlepedal wanted a small picture mounted.  He was pleased to see me.  He is finding life with a sore back rather boring, especially in weather like today’s.

I did look out of the window but there was not enough light to make this a gainful proposition with nothing on the feeder…


…and nothing in the walnut tree.


Some birds must have arrived later because as Mrs Tootlepedal was making meringues with egg whites left over from a Christmas custard…


…she saw the sparrow hawk swoop down and pick off one of our visitors.  This is bad because we don’t really have visitors to spare at the moment.

I spent the afternoon wasting time trying to be clever on the computer and actually taking more time to do a task than I would have taken if I had done it in the normal way. Still, I had time to spare today so it didn’t matter much.

I am sorry for a dull post but it really was a dull day in every way today, and no amount of dressing it up could make it more interesting.

The weather should be better tomorrow.



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Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Canada.  She was on a family visit when she noticed the under snow tracks of a directionally challenged mouse.

mouse tracks in snow

As well as family visitors today, we had a few bird visitors too.  Interestingly, we had almost no bird visitors yesterday judging by how little seed had gone, so perhaps the birds were all staying at home with their families too.

chaffinch goldfinch

We spent most of the day in the house but I did pop out to buy some milk and visited the gulls on my way  (well, it was nearly on my way).

They were all on the water when I arrived but as soon as I got there, they flew up in the air…

flock of gulls

…and started to play musical chairs…

gull musical chairs 1

..on the fence posts.

gull musical chairs 2

It was a decidedly chilly day with a nippy wind, so more good eating, games of snakes and ladders and Ludo, dancing, talking, playing and singing were all enjoyed indoors.

Matilda and I watched the King George VI steeplechase on the telly and then Matilda gave me a demonstration of her own riding skills, first going down to the start steadily…

matilda on rocking horse 1

…and then riding out a close finish with hands and heels.

matilda on rocking horse 2

Mrs Tootlepedal and Clare, with some occasional help, finished off a decorative 500 piece jigsaw puzzle.  It was not as simple as it looked at first sight.

christmas jigsaw

We have made a small dent in the seasonal food mountain but there is a lot of eating still to be done.  It is really hard not to get too much food in when family are coming to visit, especially if they bring more delicious things with them.  We have eaten very well though, so I am not complaining.

I did get a flying bird of the day today.

flying gull`

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A power walk

As several of the pictures in today’s post were taken by our daughter Annie’s partner Joe, I will start with two off his which were taken as their cat Smudge got to know mini Smudge better this morning.

Once again our day started with the bus ride across London to visit our granddaughter Evie.

It was more exciting than it should have been as a diversion on the route meant that we crossed the Thames three times in quick succession, starting with Westminster Bridge…

… followed by Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges.

However we still arrived safely and later in the morning Annie and Joe took us for an outing…

…back to the river again.

This time we were at Battersea. I looked down the river and saw what I thought was a rather odd bridge, both with suspension and arches…

… but which turned out to be two bridges, one with arches…

… and one with suspension.

Walking along the river bank and under both bridges took us to Battersea Power Station…

… now the site of extensive redevelopments. It was astounding to see the transformation that was being effected.

We had lunch in a café housed under one of the arches of the railway bridge and after a look back down river…

… and a nod to a local resident…

…we made our way back along the river bank to Battersea Park and its peace pagoda.

Evie had slept through both our power station visit and lunch and she snoozed on as we walked through the park, which was delightfully autumnal.

Joe took this picture of us walking back to the car.

After tea and cake when we got back to the house, and a chat with Joe’s mother, we caught a bus back to Euston where we attended choral evensong with my sisters Susan and Mary at St Pancras church.

After the service, we had a meal at a very handy restaurant just across the road and caught two buses back home.

The flying bird(s) of the day were photographed by Joe over lunch.

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Party time

Today’s guest picture, like yesterday’s comes from Venetia and Mary’s recent canal walk. This one was taken by Venetia.

It was our daughter Annie’s birthday today so in the morning we caught a bus from Kentish Town where we are staying with my hospitable sisters and sat on the top deck admiring the sights until we crossed the river…

…and ended up an hour later safely in South London. The bus is a good deal slower than the underground railway but offers much better views!

Friends and family….

… gathered with Annie and Joe to celebrate the occasion. We were companionably seated round a large table where we had lunch.

Conversation was lively and Evie was the cynosure of every eye.

(Evie is shy and does not have an internet presence as yet)

After the party, we went back to Annie and Joe’s for a while and then took the bus back home again.

The gathering darkness curtailed the views but I liked this sign near the Houses of Parliament which is a reminder of more civic minded times in the past.

And the Christmas lights in Regent Street were very cheerful.

We were glad that we were on the bus and not on the pavements as they were very crowded with shoppers and walking up the street would have been a hard task.

The flying bird of the day was made by Mrs Tootlepedal yesterday. It tasted even better than it looked.

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