Posts Tagged ‘Carlisle Station’

Today’s guest picture comes from Jim and Sandra who are used to their bird feeder being visited by woodpeckers and nuthatches but got quite a surprise when this fellow turned. up.

whitaside pheasant

Owing to the impending return home of Mrs Tootlepedal, I had a busy morning of tidying up, hoovering  and floor sweeping.  The weather was much better outside than it has been but the housework and my sore foot kept me firmly anchored at home.

The birds were also pretty busy and I had to fill the feeders as there was a steady stream of chaffinches…

chaffinch shouting

…followed by a flurry of siskins and goldfinches.

sisikins overwhelm a chaffinch

After a cup of coffee, I stretched my legs to the extent of walking round the garden.  The crocuses have not really enjoyed the very variable weather this spring , coming out early and then being battered by rain and wind, but here and there one can be found looking quite cheerful.

open crocus

And the rosemary is busy  flowering.  It is a tricky plant to photograph so I was pleased to find a still moment with enough (but not too much) light to take a picture of it.

rosemary flower

When I got back inside and looked out, a chaffinch and a siskin obligingly posed for me above the feeder…

chaffinch on feeder pole

…while they were waiting for a free perch…

siskin on feeder pole

…and a collared dove looked for fallen seed below.

collared dove under feeder

I made some potato soup for lunch and after getting things sorted out for the evening’s camera club meeting, I tested my foot out on a very short three bridges walk.

I was hoping for some waterside bird life and spotted two oyster catchers on the gull’s usual posts.  They were very vocal as I got near and flew off before I could get close.

two oyster catchers on posts

Just below the sawmill brig, I saw a pair of goosanders and managed to get a fuzzy shot with the zoom well extended before they too…

two goosanders

…scooted off before I could get a good shot.

gosander going off

In the absence of co-operative birds, I had to be content with more static subjects like this script lichen on a tree…

script lichen

…and these handsome bracket fungi on a fallen tree.  They have withstood frost, snow, rain and wind without looking any the worse for wear.

polypore fungus

The hazels were in full flower….

hazel flowers omn twig

…and the willows at the Jubilee Bridge  are breaking out too.

willow flowers

The wild strawberries which are growing out of a crack in the wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field are doing very well.

wild strawberry

Just before I got back to our garden, I had to stop to record the flourishing flowering currant of our neighbours.

flowering currant

I had a final look round and then set off to Carlisle to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up from the London train.  I was very surprised and pleased in equal measure to find that the station can now boast some very smart new seats for those waiting for trains to arrive.  They are padded and very comfortable.  I hope that they get treated with the respect that they deserve.


I didn’t have long to enjoy the comfortable seating as Mrs Tootlepedal’s train arrived bang on time and we were soon heading home.

When we got back, she pointed out this new daffodil whihc has just come out.  It is called Rip van Winkle.  I hope that we can get some nicer weather for it to show off its charms more fully.

Rip van Winkle daffodil

After tea, I went off to the camera club meeting.  There was a good attendance with the welcome addition of a new member and as usual, we got an interesting selection of images to enjoy, with nine members contributing.  One good idea which was demonstrated was the use of a mirror to enable the photographer to take pictures of snowdrop flowers without having to lie on the ground.  I shall definitely try that next year.

It was decided that we should make an effort to have a summer club outing this year and we shall have to think of where to go.  We have a promising suggestion already and I hope that it actually comes off.

A female chaffinch makes for a neat flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

I should add that all is well with the world in spite of bad news in every continent and continuing sore feet because any day is greatly improved by the addition of a Mrs Tootlepedal.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who came across this giant nut weevil in his local supermarket.


After another night of rain here, I went out after breakfast to check on the state of the river and was surprised by how low it was.

fairly full Esk

I was expecting quite a spate but although it had rained steadily for some time, it had obviously not rained very hard and the river drainage system had coped very well.

It kept raining for most of the day so I had another quiet morning indoors, keeping an eye on the goings on at the feeder.

Siskins were very active in the shouting department, most aimed at passing chaffinches.

Sometimes they shouted up….

siskin shout up at a chaffinch

…and sometimes they shouted down…

siskin shout down at a chaffinch

…and sometimes two of them got in on the act and shouted horizontally in unison.

two siskins shout at a chaffinch

All in all, it was quite a busy morning….

very busy feeder

…although there was time for quiet reflection on the weather too.

goldfinch in the rain

In the afternoon, I went down to Carlisle station…


…where I enjoyed the contrast between the wall panels of steam driven giants of the past and the less glamorous diesel railcars in use today.



I wasn’t there to train spot though.  We are being visited by my eldest sister Susan who is on a birthday tour of her young relatives in Scotland and will be coming to Edinburgh with us tomorrow to visit our two sons and their families.  I was in Carlisle to collect her from the London train.

Her train arrived on time to the exact minute and we drove back to Langholm where Susan was greeted by some delightful fairy cakes cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal.

In the evening, Susan kindly took us out for a meal at the Douglas Hotel and while she and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed a leisurely coffee before going home, I scurried off to a Langholm Sings choir practice.

They day ended in quiet conversation centred upon the deplorable state of politics and the country.

I hope that the weather is kind to us as we go to Edinburgh tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin (in the rain).

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from my ex-colleague Marjorie who was enjoying the sunny weather at Beadnell Bay on the Northumberland Coast yesterday.  The buildings on the right are old lime kilns.

Beadnell Bay

As it had been only 4°C last night when I left the camera club meeting with Mars shining blood red in a clear sky, I was expecting a cold and frosty morning but it had clouded over and was comfortably warm as I cycled up to the town after breakfast to do some business and sort out a problem at the archive centre.

One of the microfiche readers in the centre had stopped working and things looked ominous as early efforts made no improvement.  In the end, it turned out to be a problem that needed luck rather than expertise to solve and a fortuitous knock in the right place got it back on track again.

I cycled home and got on with the main business of the day which was getting things in order for the return of Mrs Tootlepedal.  This required sweeping, ironing, vacuum cleaning, looking out of the window at the birds…

sunny coal tit

…in my lunch hour…

dunnock on chair

…when the day brightened up by good luck.

Chaffinches were the busiest at the feeder.

chaffinches here and there

Then there was some general tidying up and plumping of cushions and time for another look at the birds where I found that the chaffinches had gone and a great cloud of sparrows had taken over.

sparrows on chair

sparrows on feeder

The weather got greyer and windier as the afternoon went on and two collared doves had to cling to the plum tree and duck into the wind to avoid being shaken off.

two collared doves

When I look out of the kitchen window and there are no birds to be seen, I can always enjoy Mrs Tootlepedal’s flowers round the feeder.

The nerines are flourishing…


…and so is a small clump of gentians, bought from a garden centre not long ago and still in the garden centre pot.   They will have to find a home soon.


As  the afternoon wore on, a fine drizzle was blown in by the wind so I was pleased that I had walked round the garden while it was still dry.

The leycesteria is looking at its best in spite of frosty mornings and rainy days..


…and although the yellow potentillas have finished, there are white and orange ones still soldiering on.

two potnetillas

With everything looking as welcoming as I could make it, I set off to Carlisle to collect Mrs Tootlepedal from her train. It was a smooth operation with plenty of parking places free at the station and the train on time to the minute.

I had a moment to look around before the train came.

Carlisle train

This little engine has a flower bed in its tender but the flowers are over for the season.

Carlisle station

The station has a brand new and impressive roof  but is that a puddle on the platform?

Mrs Tootlepedal told me that when the train had left London, the day had been warm and sunny but as she went north, the weather had got steadily worse.  By the time we reached Langholm, it had got very wet and windy but even so, Mrs Tootlepedal was pleased to be home….especially as there was a nice cup of tea and some home made fruity malt loaf to welcome her.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, spotted just before the sun came out at lunchtime.

diagonal flying sparrow





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Today’s guest picture from my brother Andrew is an interesting addition to our bridge portfolio.  My brother tells me that it is Exeter’s old mediaeval bridge.  It had three times as many arches when in use, as the river was then quite wide, but when the first single span bridge was built in the eighteenth century, the river banks were raised to narrow the crossing, and this half of the old bridge was buried, to be rediscovered when the twin two lane bridges were commissioned in the last century!

Exeter bridge

Once again I started the day with a visit to the Moorland Feeders, this time as a stand-in feeder filler for Sandy who has gone to visit his son.  It was pretty gloomy again so taking pictures was unrewarding work but at least I saw slightly more variety in the bird life.

Among the usual flock of chaffinches…


…there were two or three woodpeckers about…

greater spotted woodepecker

…and even a sole brambling.  It didn’t stop long enough for me to do it justice…


…but I was pleased to see it anyway.

The tits kept away from the hide today and clustered on the far side of the clearing…

great tit blue tit coal tit

Great, blue and coal tits sharing

I wonder if this is the same ringed chaffinch that I saw yesterday.


I didn’t put out any seed on the stump in front of the hide today as I was fed up with the pheasant stealing it.  She was not happy.


Not happy at all.

I didn’t stop long though, as Dropscone was due to come round for coffee.  He duly came and we enjoyed coffee and scones.  He has been troubled by a sore hip and hasn’t been able to play golf for a bit but he is improving and hopes to play again fairly soon.

When he left, I had a stroll round the garden but no new flowers had  appeared so I went back in.  It was pretty warm at 9°C but I was feeling too tired to go for a pedal, especially as there was a brisk wind blowing.   I don’t know why I am tired and I am putting it down to asthma in the gloomy damp weather.  I shall take my medicine more conscientiously and hope to improve.

Meanwhile, I stared out of the window.  A chaffinch was showing off.


I had a bit of variety here too as a greenfinch showed up for a quick nibble.

greenfinch, goldfinch and siskin

Instead of pedalling, I gave my fairly speedy bike a good wash and brush up after lunch.  It needed it.  I pumped the tyres up too so all I need now is a nice sunny day, no wind and a little energy and I will be good to go.

The main event of the day was the return of Mrs Tootlepedal from her visit to her mother so some time had to be spent on a little hoovering and dusting before I went off to Carlisle to collect her from the train.  I was able to track the progress of her train in real time on my phone and finding myself a little ahead of time, I stopped in Longtown to put in some petrol and took the opportunity to go down to the river and admire the fine five arch bridge there.

Longtown Bridge

I was expecting to see a little more water flowing under the bridge after the recent rain.

I noticed a fine tree on the river bank.

Tree at Longtown

Over to the west, two holes had been punched in the cloud cover…


…but they soon closed up again.

I drove on to Carlisle and arrived at the station with a few minutes in hand.  I took a look at the extensive scaffolding under the roof repairs….

Carlisle Station

…and wondered if they had actually started work on the new roof yet.  I walked along to the end of the platform and found that work has begun.  I watched a very skilled driver hoisting a big load of steel beams high into the sky to the waiting workers above.

Carlisle Station

A man on the lorry delivering the beams thought that I ought to be taking his picture but I told him the machine was more interesting and he promptly offered me a job as a labourer.  I said I would think about it and went off to meet the train which was pulling into the platform dead on time.

(Just to clear up the job offer for those who might raise an eyebrow, we were both being mildly humorous.)

As well as her mother, Mrs Tootlepedal had met her French domiciled sister Nicki in Marlow and my stepmother Patricia and our daughter Annie in London before catching the train so she had had a good family visit.  All the same, she was pleased to be home and we sat down to a celebratory meal of cauliflower cheese for our tea.

I am pleased that she is home too.

The flying bird of the day is an angry chaffinch.





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Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who is enjoying a city break in Edinburgh with his daughter Susan.  They climbed a hill and got this splendid view of Princes Street.


I heard some rain when I woke up in the middle of the night but by the time that we got up in the morning, the weather had returned to the calm, dry state to which we have become accustomed recently.

It was above freezing so after breakfast I cycled along to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre and stocked up on good things.

There was time for a coffee and a look out of the window when I got back.  The garden was knee deep in robins…


…or possibly one robin running around very vigorously….


…though I definitely saw two different ones on the lawn….


…at the same time.


They seemed to be happy enough to share the space and were even walking off together when a third robin arrived and chased them both away.  This action was too quick for my shutter finger though.

Pairs of birds were the flavour of the day.


Two iridescent starlings

two goldfinches

Two goldfinches. The one on the right is wondering how the one on the left got into focus.

two goldfinches

They came down for a snack

I didn’t have long to hang about though as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to spend a week staying with her mother in the south and I had to take her to Carlisle to catch a train.  Well, I would have taken to her Carlisle to catch a train if we hadn’t found out that it was cancelled when we got to the station.

The overhead wires had been damaged further to the south and things looked pretty grim for the traveller.  We had arrived in plenty of time to catch the non existent train and luckily, she was directed onto a train to Preston leaving in five minutes and told that she would be able to change there and continue her journey south.

I waited until the train came in and waved her off.  The station at Carlisle is undergoing a complete roof rebuild and the platforms feel rather eerie at the moment.

Carlisle Station

I got home safely and even though she had only been gone about an hour, I was already so bored that I washed the car…

Clean car

I put this picture in for its rarity value.

…though I didn’t go as far as cleaning the hubcaps.

I might have gone for a short pedal but I had an appointment in the Market Place to sing some carols as part of the goings on to celebrate the switching on of our Christmas lights.

There was all sorts of fun.

This is my flute pupil Luke disguised as a turtle being embraced by his mother.

Luke as a ninja

You can see Spongebob Squarepants in the background and Buzz Lightyear was about too but quite what they had to do with either Christmas or Langholm was a secret that was not divulged…..but they were having a good time.

There was a good turnout of carol singers and we sang several carols unaccompanied until a section of the Town Band turned up…

Langholm Town band

… to give us a boost.  They had been playing at the producers’ market in the morning and then at Gretna Village in the afternoon so they had had a busy day of tootling.

Billy, the compère for the occasion made announcements and Scott, the minister, blessed the tree…

Billy and Scott

…and finally the great moment came and the lights were switched on.

Christmas lights

The large crowd cheered appreciatively and after a close up of one of the light panels that go across the street….

Christmas lights

…I headed for home.

The town bridge was lit up and made a pretty sight….

Town bridge lights

….as I approached the suspension bridge to cross the river.

The suspension bridge was lit up too for the first time this year but funds hadn’t been sufficient to stretch the lights the whole way across…

Suspension bridge lights

…so crossing the dark middle section might have required an act of faith but when you actually got onto the bridge, the way was clear…

Suspension bridge lights

…and I crossed fearlessly.

After a final look up the river from the middle of the bridge…

Langholm River Esk

…I went home, filled with the spirit of the season, and made myself some fish and chips for  tea.

The leaves of the day are Mrs Tootlepedal’s leeks just waiting to be turned into soup…


…and after yesterday’s feast of flying chaffinches, this was the best that I could do today.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s picture shows Marlow Lock on the Thames and was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal on her phone with a slightly smudged lens.

Marlow Lock

Figures released today show that we had 35%  more rain here than our yearly average in 2012.  Considering that we had two pretty well rainless months in spring, it says a lot for the amount we have had since then.

2013 has started relatively dry but very grey and today was no exception.  It has been very warm though and I looked forward to getting out with Dropscone for a morning pedal for the first time in a good few weeks.  He turned up bang on time and off we went.  It may have been warm but it was also very windy and I was pleased to be well wrapped up as we went over Callister.    We took our time battling the breeze on the outward journey to Paddockhole  but the return trip was correspondingly easy.

Still, we had worked up enough appetite to enjoy the traditional Friday treat of treacle scones with the coffee.   It was good to be back in a familiar groove.

I hadn’t taken my camera with me on the ride and it was so gloomy that capturing busy small birds was hardly worth while…though I did try.

greenfinch shouting

A greenfinch warns a goldfinch off


A chaffinch thinks better of trying to boot a greenfinch off

I soon gave up and went to have a shower.

After my shower, I had enough energy to go for a little walk round the Kilngreen and the Castleholm.  On the Kilngreen, the ducks were lining up for a fly past…

flying mallard

…or a swim past.

mallards swimming

I like this futuristic picnic bench echoing the swirling waters of the Ewes.

bendy bench

As I walked on, the great variety of shapes, sizes and patterns of the trees that I passed tempted me to take a snap (or two).




Even the fence posts were getting in on the act.

fence posts

I like the visibility winter gives to the  organisation of a tree’s trunk and branches.

sprouting from the trunk

Looking like the foot of a giant dinosaur.



Even the remains of felled trees were looking picturesque to me today.

Tree stump

Not to mention the wounds from fallen branches.

branch wound

It was a walk of about a mile on a grey day in January but it provided me with a feast of visual interest and considering that three or four years ago I would have walked round the same walk and seen nothing much, I am very grateful to have bought a camera.

After lunch, which was an epicurean treat of sardines on toast, I went down to Longtown to pick up the belt bike from the bike shop. The bike had been serviced and repaired and had  had a more durable tyre fitted to the rear wheel after my puncture of a few days ago.  One of the down sides of the belt drive is that taking the rear wheel off is a bit fiddly so I hope that the new tyre will prove to be puncture proof.

Then I went on into Carlisle where I dropped some music off for my recorder playing friend Jenny and after a cup of tea and a slice of Christmas cake, I motored on to the station to pick up Mrs Tootlepedal who was arrivimng back from the deep south.

Carlisle Station

The train was a bit late so I had time to practise a night shot.

When we got home I made a celebratory meal of mince and tatties and that rounded off an excellent day.  It was good to have had a morning pedal with Dropscone, it had been fun to catch a flying duck in action and it was wonderful to have Mrs Tootlepedal for company again and to have all that rounded off with a good meal means a definite entry for the day on the credit side of the great ledger of life.   (For those of a serious turn of mind, I should point out that having Mrs Tootlepedal home was in fact better than having mince and tatties for tea.)

Today’s flying bird is another of those passing ducks.



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Today’s picture from my sister Mary shows a false bridge on the lake at Kenwood with a perfect reflection.  It is just an architectural feature.

The false bridge and reflection on the lake at Kenwood

After a night of heavy rain (as forecast), we enjoyed a pleasantly warm and dry day again.  I took advantage of this to snap this blue tit getting its feathers ruffled by the breeze…

blue tit

…and then to go out for a gentle ten miles on the slow bike.  Yesterday’s walk had left my legs too tired for anything more energetic.  I was pleased to see a heron at Pool Corner as I left the town.

heron at Pool Corner

The river wasn’t quite as high as I thought it would be after the rain overnight but I still stopped at Bessie Bell’s to watch it sweep under the bridge there.

Bessie Bell's

Not the world’s most stylish bridge but functional none the less.

It was quite breezy so I didn’t push too hard but got back in under an hour in time for a shower and a visit to the producers’ market.  There I purchased smoked haddock, four sorts of cheese and some locally made soap from these fine people.

producers' market

The fish comes from Eyemouth on the east coast and the cheese comes from Hawick, twenty miles to the north of Langholm.  Both sellers reported very bad weather in their airts.  The man from Hawick had only narrowly missed being flooded out of his house overnight.  Once again we seem to have got off lightly.  This my recorder playing friend Sue’s picture of the bottom of her garden a day or two ago.

sue's car

The car is on a road.

When I got back home, I scoffed an éclair while I drank my coffee before going out to do good works in the garden.  These included clipping a small section of the very thorny back hedge which Mrs Tootlepedal is lowering by a foot or so, mowing the middle lawn, strimming the edges of both middle and front lawn and finally clipping three sides of the chessman.  The fourth side has a tropaeolum growing through it and I wisely have left that for Mrs Tootlepedal to cope with.


Looking at it from the good side

Exhausted by all this work, I made myself a cheese toastie for lunch and looked out of the window while I relaxed.

closely stacked sparrows

Closely stacked sparrows


A greenfinch in the plum tree for my sister Susan.


There were two blackbirds sitting in this rather odd posture on the lawn.

Other birds were not sitting still.

busy feeder

…then I went out into the garden again to have a wander.  It was a day for lilies.


A day lily, a water lily and a martagon lily

And two of the sodden roses have taken a new lease of life in the warmer weather.


The daises like the sun too.


The colour quotient is rising by the day again.

delphinium and foxgloves

front lawn bed

I went out to the dam to see if there were any ducks about but they seem to be long gone now.  My neighbour’s front gate was very striking in the sunlight.

Liz's gate

The fuchsia on the back wall is more restrained.


There is a low ground covering blue flower by the front path and I was surprised to be told by Mrs Tootlepedal that it is a variety of campanula.


Then there was just time to catch a sparrow in flight…

flying sparrow

…before settling down to an afternoon of sloth in front of the telly watching the endless tennis.

I made some bread and did some desultory mopping and sweeping against Mrs Tootlepedal’s return and then it was time to go to Carlisle to fetch her off the London train.  I had worried that the recent heavy rains in England might have disrupted her journey but apart from being a few minutes late, the train passed through the drenched landscape without adventure.  As I waited, I stood on the south end of the platform on Carlisle Citadel Station and admired the network of lines that make up the junction of three railways meeting.

Carlisle station

One left, one right and one centre.

As soon as we got back to the Market Place in Langholm, Mrs Tootlepedal jumped out of the car and went to take her turn at watering the hanging baskets.  They didn’t need too much water and she was home quite soon and I made a dish of kedgeree using the fish from the market for our tea.

Then it was more sloth and more tennis as a Briton (and a Dane) won a Wimbledon title, a very rare thing.

It has been a good day with sunshine and warmth, a pedal, some lawn care and a win at tennis but it has been made even better by the return of Mrs Tootlepedal.  Oh, and Bradley Wiggins is wearing yellow. A very good day.

Most of the siskins seem to have left the garden in the warmer weather but there a few left.  Today’s flying bird is one of them.



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