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Double stop press

Our regular train to Edinburgh was cancelled for lack of a driver so we drove forty miles to Teeedbank and used the Borders railway instead.

We had a good time with Matilda and the usual excellent meal.

Our train back was cancelled due to passenger illness! We had to wait an hour for the next train.

The forecast is very rainy for the drive home so I am posting this holding piece in case I am too fed up to post when and if we eventually get back.

Stop stop stop press;

We got home safely if slowly in very wet conditions. As an added bonus the main road home was closed for resurfacing and we had to take a diversion.

All’s well that ends well though.

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Today’s guest picture comes from Sharon’s trip to Orkney.  Her shot shows the famous Skara Brae site.

Skara Brae

It is a brief post with few photographs today as the morning was perfectly miserable with nothing but a few soggy dahlias to look at from the shelter of the front door…

wet dahlias

…and buckets of that thin but penetrating rain drifting across the garden.


I put up my brolly and walked up to the town to see the physiotherapist.  I have been fairly religiously doing the back exercises that she gave me last month and they have been very beneficial.  She gave me some more sound advice on what to do and what not to do and I will see her again next month, by which time I hope that some better weather will have given me some walking opportunities.

It was still miserably wet as we drove across to Lockerbie in the afternoon to catch the train to Edinburgh.  However, as the train was only two minutes late leaving and bang on time in arriving, and the rain had stopped by the time that we had got to Edinburgh, we arrived at Matilda’s in very good order.

On our way down, we passed this magnificent display of hanging baskets on  the front of the Theatre Royal Bar.

Edinburgh hanging baskets

I have to admit that I actually took this picture when we passed it last week in the sunshine rather on the grey day today.

Matilda was in a very sunny mood when we arrived and we enjoyed spelling out words and playing cards with her before having another excellent pasta alla Norma from Alistair for our tea after which we Matilda treated us to a very enjoyable display of improvised ballet. So we had a good time.

The weather had cleared up by the time that we went to catch the bus back to the station and I could almost have said that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, except that there was one.

single cloud

The train back was punctual and our drive home was illuminated by a lovely moon at which I had a close look when I got home.

No flying bird of the day today because of the rain but a high flying celestial object does quite well instead.

nearly full moon

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Today’s guest picture is another from my Australian correspondent Stephen’s visit to North Queensland.  He found this beautiful butterfly in the butterfly house in Kuranda.

Kuranda butterfly

We were going to Edinburgh in the afternoon and the forecast suggested rain in mid morning, so I knew that if I wanted a short cycle ride, I would have to be prompt.  Greatly to my own surprise, I was quite prompt and enjoyed another 14 mile ride taking in both sides of the town.

The wind was in my face again as I cycled up to Callister and I managed 10 mph for the first five miles.  With the wind and slope behind me, I speeded up to an average of 20 mph for the return journey.  For the last four miles, out and back of the north end of the town, I produced a steady 15 mph average.

The mathematically unwary might assume that if you do five miles at 10 mph and five miles at 20 mph and and add another four miles at 15 mph, then your average for the trip should be 15 mph.  Sadly for ageing cyclists, it is not the distance but the time that counts and as I had spent much more time at 10 mph than I had at 20, my final average was only 14 mph.  It is considering stuff like this that keeps me occupied as I pedal.

Still I managed to stop for a picture or two.  The orchids are still out…


…and there is a spot where the yarrow is unusually pink…

pink yarrow

…so I am grateful that the verges on the Wauchope road have still not been mowed.

The sun was shining when I set out but by the time that I got to my most northerly point, it had retreated up the valley…

sunlight up ewes

…so I was pleased top get home before the rain started.

In fact, the rain held off for long enough for me to mow the middle and front lawns when I got home which was a bonus and the rain came later in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a sticky toffee pudding to take with us to Edinburgh and then we dug up another potato. The crop of the early potatoes is outstanding this year…

big potatoe crop

…and we took half of this lot up to Edinburgh with us too.

I had time between the mowing and the potatoes to walk round the garden.

The nasturtiums at the front door are coming along nicely…

nasturtiums front wall

…and Mrs Tootlepedal has a purplish bed which is doing well too.

purple bed

This clematis is lurking around just behind the purple bed.

purple clematis

Day lilies keep coming…

day lily

…and the privet is in full swing with the strong smell complemented by the loud buzzing of bees.

privet in flower

I am still trying to get a good picture of this large ornamental clover which has been out for some time but it keeps defeating me.

fancy clover

One day the light will be right.

All round the garden, Iceland poppies can be found.

iceland poppy frills

We had a light lunch and then set off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.  It was almost on time but just late enough to allow me to take a picture of this ivy leafed toadflax which is growing out of the side of the bridge over the railway line at the station.

lockerbie station wild flower

There is still building going on around the site of Matilda’s new house in Edinburgh and a temporary path has been constructed to take visitors round the edge of the site along a disused railway.  The railway banking is full of wild flowers and I liked this thistle the best.

edinburgh thistle

Matilda had had a hard day dancing so we had a relaxing time and didn’t go to the park.  I taught her to play spillikins with plastic straws and she enjoyed several games with both me and Mrs Tootlepedal.  We played ‘Edinburgh Rules’ which allow quite a lot of leeway to old and young participants alike.  This was lucky as I found that keeping a steady hand is hard work these days.

Matilda, Mrs Tootlepedal and I did some lawn care work on Matilda’s lawn and during the work, a small bolt fell out of the clippers that I was using.  The grass was long and when we settled down to look for it Mrs Tootlepedal commented that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  She was right of course but, needless to say, she still found it.

During the afternoon, Alistair, Mrs Tootlepedal and Matilda made fairy cakes and then Alistair cooked us a delicious pasta alla Genovese (which included some of our potatoes) and after we had eaten it and the sticky toffee pudding, it was time for us to go home.

I had no opportunity to catch a flying bird today, so a sleeping bee on a poppy is the flying bird of the day today.

poppy and bee

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Evelyn comes home

After yesterday’s bridge picture from my sister Mary, my brother Andrew has sent me another famous bridge for today’s guest picture (complete with a bungee jumper)

We did nothing all day as we waited for the world’s greatest baby to come out of hospital and go home.

Fortunately we were quite tired by the strains of metropolitan life so we were more than happy to sit google eyed through a flood of sports broadcasting until mother and baby were released in the evening.

We went down to see Evelyn Rose and her parents safely ensconced in their own home.

Everything is good.

We popped in to see Joe’s parents who live just across the road from Evelyn so it was a very heavy grandparent occasion.

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A long way round

Although we are in London staying at my sisters’ establishments, my sisters are actually in the North East on a jaunt with my brother from which my sister Mary sends me this guest picture of the day.

When we had our meal with Patricia yesterday evening, she had a surprise gift for us. She had been growing apricots…

… and they were very tasty.

It has been hot and rather muggy here and as we are not used to these conditions, we were pleased to be able to have a restful morning followed by a light lunch in a sourdough pizza place.

Then we set out to visit the world’s greatest baby and her parents by a roundabout route.

We started with a four mile bus journey down to Westminster. As we were sitting in the front seats on the top deck, we were able to look down with a mixture of horror and amazement at the teeming crowds that literally filled the streets in central London.

When we got to Westminster Bridge…

… we took to the water to avoid the crowds and enjoyed a scenic boat trip to Greenwich.

We got off the boat at Greenwich and passed a more famous ship on our way to catch a Docklands Light Railway train to Lewisham.

These are fully automated driverless trains and using them feels much like being on a giant model railway.

From Lewisham we caught a more conventional train to Denmark Hill where we had a coffee in the old station building before walking to the hospital.

There we found everyone in good health and good spirits They are hoping to take TWGB home tomorrow which will be very satisfactory if it happens.

After an hour and a bit of being adoring grandparents, it was time to leave and we caught a train from yet another railway company back home

Where we collapsed.

I don’t know how people manage city life in the summer.

Still, combining seeing Annie, Joe and the baby with no less than five different styles of transport made for a very worthwhile day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from regular reader Anne who has been to see Bamburgh Castle on the east coast.

We are still in London and Mrs Tootlepedal and I started the day with the very good news that we had become grandparents again as our daughter Annie and her partner Joe had become the proud parents of a lovely daughter.

It was our privilege to go to see the new baby and her parents in hospital in the afternoon. All three were amazingly well. We were amazingly proud of them.

After considering all the other possible contenders for the title, we could clearly see that the new arrival was now without question the world’s greatest baby.

That was the main and most important part of the day.

We had some time to kill in the morning before the hospital visit so we strolled through Parliament Hill Fields up to Kenwood for a coffee and scone. It was a fine morning with lots to see…

… including Mr Grumpy’s London cousin…

…a bogus bridge which is just a flat panel….

… the house itself…

… and some wildlife.

In the evening my stepmother Patricia kindly took us out for a meal and this rounded off a momentous day.

In the absence of a flying bird, this view of a canal in the heart of London will have to do.

Note; TWGB has yet to be officially named. We shall go and see her again tomorrow.

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In London again

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was visiting Northallerton today where he saw this picturesque ruin.

We left our garden behind with some backwards looks as we travelled south to stay with my sisters. Mrs Tootlepedal feels that it is just going past its best so I thought that I should record a view or two of it. We will be back on Monday so I am hoping it will still be worth a look.

The journey by bus and train went well and we have arrived safely, looking forward to tomorrow.

Blog activity may be limited while we are here.

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