Thereby hangs a tail

Today’s flower is aubretia flowering for the second time this year. Good value for money.

The weather continues to be kind as it rained overnight and dried up in time for the usual morning run with Dropscone. We had light winds and a good time, although there was a great deal of moaning about how hard it was from me as we went round. That is fairly normal though. When we got back, I rang up the bike shop and they are still waiting for a replacement part for my bike so it looks as though Dropscone’s kind loan will have to be extended.

In the afternoon I put a slightly grizzly video of a dismembered lizard’s tail continuing to wag in the absence of the owner onto YouTube for the Moorland Project Officer. I notice that this is quite a popular upload as there were remarkably similar videos already there. I also posted a packet of Archive Group DVDs and a graveyard booklet to a lady in Australia. I had posted three graveyard booklets to a chap in Ireland yesterday. It is nice to know that people look at our Archive website.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some public spirited weeding on a large public bed near the house and returned quite puffed out but still fit enough to pedal up to Wauchope schoolhouse with me. We had a look at the sloes up there with a view to future sloe gin but they had either been picked already or weren’t coming to anything. I mowed the front lawn when we got back to cheer myself up.

In the evening, as often, I entered a week of the E&L into the Langholm Archive index.

She knows her onions

Today’s flowers are dicentradicentra

Another lovely morning and another cycle jaunt round the morning run with Dropscone. There was no wind at all and an excellent time was achieved which made the coffee taste (even) better than usual. It was accompanied by some tasty cold beetroot slices. Dropscone has acquired a new mobile that takes photos and he took one of me. He obviously hasn’t mastered downloading the photos yet or you would see the result on this blog!


After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a gentle six mile cycle run up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back and then we set about putting the onions on frames to dry before storage. She has got some really good looking onions this year and we just hope that they store well. She has been unsettled by reading something about onions with thick necks not storing well in a magazine article. I just hope the article displays the usual journalistic accuracy.

more onionsThe onions were left out last night to get a bit of preliminary drying but the forecast for tonight is terrible so we have put them in the greenhouse to continue the drying process. When they are ready, we will hang them in ropes in the garage. The wall of onions shown on the left is rumoured to be visible from space. We had to give some away to our neighbours and a passing plumber because we had more than we could cope with (and there are still some in the ground).

On the weather forecasting front, I want to complain about raised expectations. During the last months and weeks we have been told to look out for noctilucent clouds, strange lights in the heavens from solar radiation and showers of Perseids. We have looked out and what have we seen? Nothing. It is most disappointing. Perhaps living tucked in a valley beneath four hills doesn’t help.

Another splendid day

Today’s flower is my fuschia. It has finally flowered and beaten the frosts. Hooray.flower fuschia

The weather was fine, the calendar was empty, it was a day for pedalling. I am still on Dropscone’s bike and I didn’t want to go too far as I have no inner tubes for spares so I went for a gentle tour by Wauchope Schoolhouse, Glenzier, Chapelknowe,  Cubbyhill and Canonbie. This amounted to 28 miles in ideal conditions as there was no noticeable wind at all. tea roomWhen I got back, I had a light lunch and then set off again with Mrs Tootlepedal, aiming for a cup of tea and a scone at the Bridge Cafe in Canonbie.  Once again we set off towards Wauchope Schoolhouse and then turned past the Kerr Wood and down to Canonbie where the tea and scone duly appeared. teaI am sorry to say that this was another occasion when the relationship between boiling water and tea had escaped the cafe’s notice but the scone was excellent.


Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed her cup of tea but my feelings were fortunately disguised by the extremely cool dark glasses which I was wearing. After refreshments, we headed back up the old A7 home completing a round trip of 16 miles.

Once home, we set about the garden. While Mrs Tootlepedal was doing those mysterious things that a gardener does to such good effect, I mowed the lawns which only takes 20 minutes for both lawns when the conditions are good and there is no need for the collecting box. onionAfter that we pulled the onions up and laid them out to dry because the overnight forecast is good. Tomorrow we will hang them on racks and they should last us for most of the winter.

After tea (mince and tatties, I told you it was a splendid day) I took the opportunity of Top Gear being on the telly to put in a week of the E&L Index for the Archive Group and update this blog.

Double delight

Today’s flower is a Japanese anenome. Mrs Tootlepedal says I could have taken a better picture of it, so perhaps I will try again.
Japanese anenome

In the morning, I waited in to see if the bike shop would ring up and tell me good news but none come. So after lunch I went out on my borrowed bike up the A7 past the Mosspaul Hotel. It was a pleasant day with a northerly breeze so it was quite hard work pedalling up the hill and into the wind but the reward was a terrific 12 mile pedal back to Langholm downhill and with the wind behind. Mrs Tootlepedal had been out giving herself a treat by visiting a garden centre but when I got back she was just preparing to go for a cycle trip herself.  She kindly allowed me to come with her and we set off in glorious late afternoon sunshine. My new cycling glasses came into their own and I must say that, after some initial reservations about them at first, I find that they work excellently.

green roadWe set off in the opposite direction to my earlier ride so we had the wind behind us as we went up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and turned left into the hills. After we had gone 5 miles we turned left again onto a green road back towards Langholm. I was fairly sure we would have to walk and carry the bikes but it turned out very well. As you can see from the picture on the right, the terrain was challenging but nothing deters Mrs Tootlepedal and we soon got to the top of the hill and looked down into the Esk valley.

the map

The road improved and we stopped to take in the view and look at the map and this is where the new glasses really scored because they are bi-focal which means that not only can I see where I am going but I can read the map as well. pennines

The view down to our right across the Solway Plain was magnificent and Mrs Tootlepedal’s camera can’t really do it justice but the picture on the right should give you some idea. In the distance you can see the northern end of the Pennines, south of Brampton.

new bypassAfter passing through the farm at Old Irvine, we plunged down an improved road under the new Auchenrivock Diversion of the A7 and took the cycle path back onto the A7 and at Skipper’s Bridge we went along the left side of the river, along Easton’s Walk and through the park and so home. Apart from the half mile on the A7, we had had a virtually traffic free ride of 10 miles in perfect weather. We think ourselves very fortunate. My thanks go to Dropscone again for the loan of his bike which made such a great day possible.

Just like old times

Today’s flower is loosestrife

For the first time for ages, Dropscone and I went round the morning ride together (I am still borrowing his bike) and had  a sociable cup of coffee or two afterwards. The wind was pretty strong and there was no chance of a specially good time but the weather was otherwise kind.

lawnAfter coffee I had time to mow the lawns and in the evening Mrs Tootlepedal took her strimmer out and edged one of them and she always likes a neatly edged lawn and I must say that I like it too, especially when someone else does the edging.


In the afternoon I did my usual stint in the tourist information point at the Kilngreen. This was re-vamped in the great Langholm makeover by Ty Pennington last year and it looks very smart on the outside. TIC

One of the volunteers, Gunter, has taken a lot of trouble with the interior and it always impresses the visitors when they come in. I had two sets today so I wasn’t exactly rushed off my feet but I used the time to do the Guardian crossword and a Herald difficult Suduko so I was quite content.

In the evening, we entertained Dr and Mrs Tinker and I enjoyed a good tootle accompanied by Mrs Tinker which rounded off the week very well.

The heap reduced

Today’s flower is campanula persiflora alba (Mrs Tootlepedal says without a fantastic degree of confidence)campanula persifolia

I started the day on a good note as I went round the morning run by myself on Dropscone’s borrowed bike, which turned out to be a pleasure to ride, while he played golf at Peebles. HEAP1

When I returned, I set to work under the supervision and with the co-operation of Mrs Tootlepedal on shredding a huge pile of clippings. The shredder is a wonderful petrol driven beast and it can reduce a pile of clippings like that on the right to heap1donea handy pile of compostable shreddings as in the illustration on the left  in a quarter of an hour.

heap2After attacking heap 1, we set about heap 2 which had a large number of branches from the hawthorn tree which we had cut down a few days ago. In about another twenty minutes we had reduced it to this.heap2done It is most satisfactory to have a machine which works so well and produces such good results. It is almost worth the myriad scars on every part of one’s arms caused by the hawthorn thorns.

In the evening I went to the Archive Centre to do a little work and then retired to the pub for beer research with my co-worker Sandy. Unfortunately the research proved that the beer was off in a big way so I was forced to drink two large glasses of red wine instead. How we suffer but we never complain. (Sandy drank Guiness.)

The munching beast with Mrs Tootlepedal behind

Unfortunate occurrence on golf course

Today’s flower is a nicotiana. It may not look much but it smells delightful nicotiana

The unfortunate occurrence of the title of this page was me trying to play golf and not succeeding.  However, it was a pleasant day for weather and company so the actual score did not matter too much. (I’m lying there.) It helps not to take 6 shots to get down from 50 yards away from the hole.

In the afternoon I had a meeting of the group producing a heritage booklet for the town which was surprisingly entertaining for a business meeting and ended with a nice cup of Ceylon tea all round.

We have amassed a very large pile of tree and shrub clippings and we hope to shred them all tomorrow. In the meantime I have borrowed a bike from Dropscone and, weather permitting, I will go round the morning ride on it tomorrow as well. A busy day in store.

A Miserable Day

Flowers of the day are Hostas which have been doing very well this year

The day started off very wet and then got a good deal worse. rain When I took the picture on the right, even to go as far as the car would have left me drenched. It was hailing and thundering. This prevented any thought of a morning ride. I took off the back wheel and hub gear of my heavy bike to take into Carlisle to get the gears serviced and I was intending to pick my other road bike up from the bike shop. However, when I got there, I found that they hadn’t been able to fix the mysterious noise. I had to leave that bike still in the shop while they tried plan B. This meant I had no bike to ride and to add insult to injury, by the time I got home the sun came out and it was a beautiful evening.

Our B&B visitors today are doing a three day trip from Shrewsbury to Edinburgh averaging over 100 miles a day. They had had a thorough soaking during the day but they were very cheerful none the less. Oh to be young again. Going to the shop was enough for me.

I took this picture of a fuschia, which took a terrible drubbing from the frost and snow during the winter but which miraculously recovered to show some growth and these potential flowers. fuschiaThe question is;  will it make it  to the actual flowering stage before the autumn frosts start and make all the poor plant’s efforts come to naught?  I will let you know in due course.

A second cycle

Today’s flower is a rose. I wonder how many more different flowers I can find in Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden before winter comes.rose

We had an unexpected morning visit from an old friend who, after a varied career including being a retainer of the late Queen Mother, has found a vocation for being a priest and is currently at a seminary in Los Angeles. We has a cup of coffee and a chat and it is nice to find someone who is so excited about what he doing as he is. When he left, I went to the health centre whereI got the all clear from the nurse for my sting so that was progress.

In the afternoon I went to the Buccleuch Centre to a meeting where the Langholm Moorland Education Project was being considered for an award. My interest was that I had designed and set up a website for them. I hope they get the award because the project officer has done a great deal of work and involved many young people in the project.

We were expecting a B&B visitor so I had to wait for Mrs Tooltepedal to get back from an afternoon’s work but then I was able to go round my usual run in pleasant evening sunshine after what had been a rainy day. I have recently purchased a pair of prescription lensed, photo-chromic, polarised bi-focal cycling glasses (at great expense) and this was an opportunity to put them to the test. They were very satisfactory with glare cut to a minimum. They should work well as the sun drops down in the sky later in the year. Their only drawback is that the polarisation makes it harder to read the bike computer than is ideal but it is small price to pay for being able to see where I am going.

We are busy at present with the B&B which is cheering after a rather slow June and July.

Today’s flower, a knapweed,  is not from the garden but a vivid roadside wild flower which was showing at its best today as we cycled past.

The knee is now recovered so I ventured out on a gentle run round the usual morning run accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal. She was in sprightly mood and we did the 20.6 mile route in comfortably under two hours. Conditions were benign and a good time was had by all…and a little lie down afterwards.

raspberry picker

On our way down the Wauchope road not far from home we saw that the roadside rasberries were in fine fettle so after lunch we went back up (in the car this time) and picked two pounds of wild rasps. Although it was obvious that other pickers had been before us, there was such a good crop that we could have easily picked twice as much. When we got home, it didn’t take long to convert the berries to jam so with the pot I made from our visitor’s gift the other day, we have five pots of raspberry jam in hand.

In the evening I made some copies of my brother-in-law’s  Alistair and Clare’s wedding video, to which I have given a rough edit, and added a week to the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser index.