Today’s flower is a small vase of sweet peas and it is a signal of the way that the year has gone that these are the first sweet peas to be cut this year.
This is mostly to do with the dratted sparrows who have a voracious appetite for both sweet and edible peas. The crop has been threadbare. If I could find the chap who keeps hanging out food for the birds in my garden, I’d give him a good talking to.
However, since people keep on talking about the increasing shortage of garden sparrows, I suppose in that, in the end, a sacrifice of peas and sweet peas is probably compensated for by the hundreds of sparrows that are always evident at Wauchope Cottage.
Although still not cycling, I was delighted this morning to be visited by Dropscone himself who had been round the usual run and dropped in to have a cup or two of Ecuadoran coffee. We will get out together again soon.
I did my stint in the tourist office this afternoon and was overrun by a grand total of two tourists. I was worn out.
In the evening I had my customary tootle accompanied by Mrs Tinker at the electric harpsichord and this is always most enjoyable.
I am still stuck at home with my knee but it is improving and I hope to be able to make a small expedition by the weekend. All this means that I have plenty of time for sitting in front of the computer and playing (though I did nip out and mow the lawns). I have spent a good deal of time putting some work in on the video recording my brother-in-law took at the wedding. It is pretty good work and you would never know that he has only had the camera a very short time. Copies of the final effort will be available to anyone who wants in the course of time.
In the afternoon we had a late enquiry for B&B from a father and daughter who are going to do some walking round Langholm. Mrs Tootlepedal had been in Dumfries at a NHS public meeting and got back to discover this. She then had to go out to water the hanging baskets (by herself because her watering partner is away) and buy the breakfast for the B&Bs. She knows all about the Big Society. It’s hard work. She also learnt that she has become a great aunt. This is joyful but hard to bear at the same time.
I stayed in to meet the visitors as they came in and spent some time cloud watching. There were some rather strange wispy clopuds about so I hurried in to get my camera but by the time I came out they had all disappeared except this one which was not as interesting as the ones that got away.
They were probably remains of this which I shot at the same time. Some days our sky is simply covered with vapour trails. The only day we got really clear blue skies was ironically when the flying had to stop because of the volcanic ash.
One of our visitors gave us a present of a pound of raspberries he had picked on his way down from Edinburgh so while Mrs Tootlepedal was out watering, I made them into jam and Mrs Tootlepedal will offer them raspberry jam for breakfast and they can have a little pot to take away if they wish. It made a delicious raspberry sauce for my evening treat of ice cream.
Finally, I caught another glimpse of some wispy clouds as the sun went down. It was still in the garden but it must have been quite breezy up there. We are hoping for a glimpse of the northern lights tonight.
After taking enormous numbers of pills, the leg has improved a good deal, going from bright red to a rather fetching yellow. I am hoping for continued improvement tomorrow.
It was a quiet day today as I was banned from exercise and Mrs Tootlepedal was away at Hoddam with the driving for the disabled. I sawed a few logs and admired the vegetable garden.
In spite of early worries about lack of fertilisation of the bean flowers, things have come on well and we had our first runner beans for supper today.
Onions always seem to do well under Mrs Tootlepedal’s care, and this year is no exception. We have only had to buy one set of onions for cooking between ending eating last year’s crop, which overwinters hanging in the garage, and starting this year’s.
The high spot of the day was the arrival, via his daughter Susan, of a gift of drop scones from Dropscone himself in return for some sticks of rhubarb he had had from the garden yesterday to use up an excessive purchase of cream for the Common Riding. Susan was here for our Wednesday tootle because Jenny, our usual hostess in Carlisle, was not able to take us as she is looking after her husband who has not been well. We send our good wishes to him and her. After the tootle, the players were all, for one reason or another, keen to get home quickly and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were thus forced to eat all the drop scones ourselves. We managed.
During the time I spent taking photos outside at the wedding, I was stung on the leg by a wasp. It didn’t bother me too much at the ceilidh and I was able to dance the night away. However the swelling has not gone away and the leg is still sore so I have been put on antibiotics and banned from bicycling for a week. There will be no cycling tours to tell about for the moment. I did sneak out and mow the lawns which had got a bit out of hand what with the Common Riding and the wedding. There will be a lot of catching up with archiving work this week I should think.
Alistair has a good selection of photos on his facebook page but I am posting a few more from the great day here as well.
This first one shows the Paisley Road Travelodge crew relaxing before the family meal organised by Annie.
And this one shows the audience/congregation/gathering in the Burgh Hall waiting for the service to start.
There isn’t a person in the picture who isn’t smiling and I think that really gives the flavour of the day. Mrs Tootlepedal says that the only time people weren’t smiling all day was when they were eating and that was just because they were concentrating on the delicious food.
There were odd showers of rain during the day but when we had the reception after the service, the rain stayed away which gives me the opportunity to remark that, at that part of the day, the joy was unconfined.
During this time some fizz was quaffed (I believe that is the technical term for glugging fizz) and many conversations took place.
It is hard to divine who is saying what to whom in this conversation piece.
This weekend we went to Glasgow for the wedding of our younger son, Alistair to his partner Clare. The day, which had been organised by Alistair and Clare, was wonderful, absolutely stress free and was characterised by the fantastic amount of time everyone spent smiling.
The ceremony was conducted in Pollockshields Burgh Hall which made an excellent venue with a room for the ceremony, another for the reception and a third for the buffet and ceilidh. This meant that there was no rushing about in cars or worry about the weather or need for extravagant hats. It made for a very serene and peaceful occasion.
The ceremony was conducted by a humanist celebrant and was the first wedding that I had been to which was designed to fit the occasion to the bride and groom rather than to fit the bride and groom into the occasion. The whole thing was an expression of Al and Clare, their personalities and their love. At the end of the ceremony, those assembled got to their feet and cheered.
The ceremony employed the brother and sisters of the bride and groom as readers and witnesses and we can see our daughter Annabel reading and our son Anthony witnessing. This was a very nice touch. The celebrant was an excellent choice and used many words of Alistair and Clare in the service. We all certainly felt that we were attending a truly serious event with truly human face.
Alistair and Clare are not only fortunate to have very nice parents (that goes without saying) but very nice friends too and we see the parents on the left and Alistair’s student flatmates on the right enjoying a small glass of fizz in the garden behind the Burgh Hall which is on the edge of a charming park.
We stayed for the weekend in a convenient Travelodge not far from the venue and, as you can see, very handy for the motorway journey home!
On the evening before the wedding, Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a family meal surrounded by brothers, sisters, mothers, children and nephews. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.
No flower of the day today as there are too many other photos. It has been a busy day which started as so many days do with a ride round the morning ride with Dropscone. This was a stately affair as I was on the slow bike (the road bike is in for repair) and the wind, though light, was unfriendly. After lunch and making the bread for the B&B breakfast, I was pleased when Mrs Tootlepedal suggested that we should go by bike to deliver a letter. Off we went to a farm near Gair schoolhouse, a mere ten and a half miles away. It was a lovely day and the pace was steady and after two and a half hours and 21 miles the letter was safely delivered and we were home for a nice cup of tea. I took the camera along and you can see a gallery of the trip below.
Then in the evening, because it is Summer Fair night in Langholm, we went up to the Market Place to hear the Town Band play and as usual the high spot is the playing of Highland Cathedral with the Pipe Band.
Then back home to wait for the flute band and the pipe band to parade through the streets.
A beautiful evening light made the day very satisfactory in all respects.
Up reasonably early and off to the golf course courtesy of a lift from my golfing companion, Arthur Bell. There we battled ourselves and the course in the Wednesday Medal. I played pretty well until the asthma won out and the last four holes went to pot but it was enjoyable just to be out on the course.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the driving for the disabled at Hoddam and I made a plate of lentil soup for lunch and got ready for a meeting of the Heritage Trail group who are preparing a heritage trail leaflet for the town. My part is to make a DVD of reminiscences and old photos and I am learning new skills to do this but the group were enthusiastic about my first attempt so I shall persevere.
I got a call from the bike shop to say that repairs were continuing on my road bike without complete success and the mysterious knocking noise had not been tracked down. I await further developments and, I suppose, further costs.
In the evening, the recorder group, which usually meets in Carlisle, met in our house which was very nice as it saved the Langholm contingent a trip to town. We played a varied programme including Byrd, Gibbons, Palestrina, Telemann, Bach and Stanley Taylor and afterwards sat down to a nice cup of tea (but no biscuit).
With Dropscone off to the doctor again, I was on my own for the morning run. I went round the usual route in the usual direction but at an unusually slow speed as I felt a little tired.
After lunch Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to Carlisle, she to complete her purchases for the forthcoming wedding and I to take my road bike to the bike shop for them to have a look at some odd sounds and clicks which shouldn’t be there.
On our return, Mrs Tootelpedal set off for a pedal to Wauchope Schoolhouse and I did some comprehensive lawn mowing. On her return I captured a picture of her and she presented me with a very tasty collection of wild raspberries which she had picked en route.
Later on I had a peek at the worms to see how they are getting on. I have started feeding them kitchen waste and they do seem to have taken to it. In the left hand picture you can see a worm in action. Keep calm.
In the absence of Dropscone, my pedalling partner, on domestic duties, I changed my normal morning route and went over Callister Hill, past Gair Schoolhouse and down to Gretna before returning via Glenzier, a round trip of 34 miles. In marked contrast to yesterday’s ride, the wind managed to be against me most of the time and I found it rather a slog. On my return, I slumped into a bath.
In the afternoon Mrs Tootlepedal went off by herself on a ride to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back. (You may notice an educational tinge to today’s rides.) She felt at liberty to stop and look around because I was not accompanying her and as a result she was able to take a picture of this roadside orchid which gave her a great deal of pleasure.
On her return she embarked on massive gardening tidying up with which I helped in a desultory way until Mr Dropscone himself appeared with two interesting pictures for the Langholm Archive Group’s photo collection.
I reproduce this picture of his brother’s infant class taken around 1949. What is alarming is that I am even older than these children. The picture will soon take its place in our collection. The other picture, which was of a rugby team in the late sixties, contains hairstyles too awful to show to the general public.
On the wormery front, I have started feeding the little creatures some kitchen waste and only time will tell if they will actually eat any of it. Keeping worms is very exciting.