Posts Tagged ‘cinema’

Since the queen has asked us all to pull together as a nation*, I am happy to use an English bird for today’s guest picture.  Venetia spotted this plump pigeon in her Somerset garden.

venetia's pigeon

We got a bit of a shock after a night when we had been woken up by heavy rain pounding on the roof to find the garden looking like this.

snowy garden

And it kept snowing and looked as though it might come to something.

snowy sedum

The birds obviously thought that action was required and the feeder was busy from the start.  If you look carefully you can see that three chaffinches are competing for a single perch.

busy feeder snow

Once again, a small flock of starlings perched on the very top of the walnut tree but they didn’t venture down into the garden.

starlings in the walnut tree

Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a robin pecking a fat ball in the sheltered container that she has recently cleaned up.

robin in snow

Dropscone dropped in with some scones and news of his first committee meeting as captain of the golf club.  Nothing exciting happened at the meeting which is a good thing.

While we ate, sipped and chatted, the chaffinches continued to bicker outside and….

sparring chaffinches snow

…the snow came down heavily from time to time.

goldfinches in snow storm

After Dropscone left, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop over lunchtime and I walked up to the new Archive Centre base in the newspaper offices on the High Street and did some work.

The snow had stopped falling by this time so I was able to stop and enjoy the scenery on my way.

snowy trees by esk

My work in the newspaper offices consisted of photographing twenty nine articles from back numbers of the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser which are held in bound volumes there.  A correspondent has been going through the newspaper index on our website and he has found many references to his family.  He had found them been being born and dying, playing cricket, attending school concerts and school inspection days, doing a lot of fishing and on one occasion being found guilty of malicious damage  by foolishly pinging a pony with a catapult.  It was a full and varied selection which made my task more interesting.  Mrs Tootlepedal was a bit shocked by how much work we had been asked to do but for me it was a pleasure, as requests like this mean that we are not doing our archiving work in vain.

As I walked home, it was obvious that not only had it stopped snowing but that it had started thawing…


melting snow langholm bridge

…and there was no danger of slipping as I went.

Mrs Tootlepedal got home from a very busy session of waiting at table in the coffee shop and almost immediately rushed off to catch the bus to Carlisle where she had arranged to go to the pictures with two friends from the Carlisle choir.  I had hoped to drive her down as time was tight but the car had not come back from the garage.

While she was gone, I processed the 29 newspaper images and emailed them off to my correspondent.  Just as I was finishing, Mike Tinker came round and very kindly offered to drive me up to the garage so that I could collect our car.  It had passed its test with a couple of minor grumbles about this and that so I drove it home.

And then, because the day seemed quite promising by this time and I had been sitting around long enough, I went for a little drive out of the town on the well cleared main road to have a look around.

The skies were clearing….

warbla in snow from terrona

…but once again, hills seemed to be attracting their own personalised clouds.

sloud on snowy hill

I drove back through the town and out again on the minor road towards Bentpath.  It was by no means clear of snow, ice and slush so I didn’t go far but parked the car at the quarry and had a look around.

I thought that I might get a better views if I scrambled up a small hill beside the road and as I had had the forethought to bring my wellies and walking poles, I did just that.

This was the view up the valley.

looking down road from quarry

Things looked promising as I neared my mini summit and I bustled along to get there before the hint of sunshine disappeared.

hill above quarry pedens view

This was the view back down towards Langholm

sunlit snow evening

I waited for a while and soon Whita was bathed in warm pink.

sunlit snowy whita

To the west, there was a dramatic cloudscape.

dramatic cloudscape

I could see that Whita was generating its own cloud cover and as it was getting quite chilly, I went back down the hill to the car and…

sun on snowy warbla

…on my way, I saw some interesting pitted track marks in the snow and wondered for a moment if a gang of tiny animals had been about.  Looking up though, I found the cause was more prosaic, just melting snow from the power line.

drips from wires

It was back to freezing by the time that I got in and I was pleased to have a snack and warm up.

The bus brought Mrs Tootlepedal safely back from Carlisle.  She had enjoyed the film, Collete and had even had time to buy a prawn sandwich to eat on the bus home so she had had a good outing.

Although there were a lot of birds about, I didn’t have much time to look at them and this rather vague chaffinch is the best that I have for flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch snow

*Note:  I don’t think that the English politicians have been paying attention to the Queen’s request as when it came to considering a motion in Parliament this evening asking the government to pay some attention to the needs and wishes of Scotland and Wales while conducting their brexit business, the Conservatives voted against it en bloc and the Labour party abstained.

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Today’s picture is another from my brother.  In contrast to yesterday’s hard won crow picture, he says these NZ native pigeons are so fat and lazy that they are easy to photograph.

NZ Pigeon

We were up early, getting ready to have a day out in Newcastle to celebrate our wedding anniversary of yesterday.  First the bird feeders had to be filled and then a single photograph taken just so the birds didn’t feel neglected…


…and then we were off in the Kangoo and a cloud of smoke.

A cloud of smoke? That’s not right, we thought and it wasn’t.  The car coughed and spluttered, now stopping, now going.  We got as far as the High Street and wisely turned into our local garage just as the car gave up the ghost.  We were worried that it would prove to be one of those intermittent faults that never show up when a mechanic is near by.  We needn’t have worried.  He couldn’t get it to move an inch.  We were just contemplating the bus timetable when he kindly offered us the use of a car for the day which we gratefully accepted and off we set again.

Our plan was to drive to Hexham where there is ample parking  and then catch the train to Newcastle.  This avoids city driving and expensive parking and turned out to be a very good idea.  The parking cost us £2 and the trains were punctual and warm.

Hexham Station is charming.

Hexham Station

We liked the cast iron footbridge

It has an elegant signal box too.

hexham signal box

We arrived in Newcastle to find pleasant weather and a busy but not overcrowded town centre.

There are many fine buildings in the main shopping area and stone cleaning has changed the whole look of the place.

Newcastle centre

This church nearby gives you an idea of what the soot covered buildings used to look like when I was a boy.


Clean in patches!

We went into an enormous shopping centre as Mrs Tootlepedal was looking for bits and bobs for her embroidery.  Not finding what we wanted in John Lewis, we went into their brasserie to have some lunch.  I wasn’t expecting much from a department store eatery in a shopping centre but I was very pleased to be proved wrong and we had a delicious lunch in comfortable and elegant surroundings.

After lunch we went into another famous Newcastle store and there Mrs Tootlepedal found that her wants were catered for and made several small purchases.  These included a pen that doesn’t write and glue that doesn’t stick but she seemed very happy with them.

At this stage we encountered the only downside of the whole day.  We couldn’t get out.  It was a massive shop of many aisles and floors in the middle of an even more massive shopping centre  and there was no indication whatsoever of where the escape route might be found.  We didn’t panic though and wandered about until we found the ladies perfumery department and then we knew that freedom was near because for some reason, this department always seems to be near the front door of big stores.  We were not disappointed and emerged into a sunny street.

This was the building opposite.

building opposite

The black part is the building opposite.  The stone building was behind us and we were looking at a brilliant reflection.  Here it is again.


The Boots store is part of the building we were looking at.  It was quite unnerving until your brain had sorted out what was happening.

We were near the monument to Earl Grey

Grey monument

It was built in 1838 to mark his work in the passing of the great reform act of 1832.  Rather charmingly it has an additional inscription added in 1932:


It makes a contrast to the carefully cultivated contempt for politicians exhibited by our news media today.

We were pleased to see that Newcastle has a bike hire scheme…

hire bikes

…but we didn’t notice anyone riding one.  Perhaps January is not going to be a top month for tourist bike hire anyway.

There are many pieces of architectural brutality along side the fine old architecture and I liked these hopeful cupolas perched on top of a big lump of concrete.


Mrs Tootlepedal added a splash of colour to the streets.

Mrs T in Newcastle

She was struck by this example of pargeting in the pedestrian precint near the monument.


After our shopping, eating and wandering,  we just had time to dash into an art gallery and enjoy a quick burst of culture for 15 minutes before we got down to the main business of the day which was going to see the much praised film, “The Artist”.  It was being shown in a wonderfully old fashioned cinema with a balcony in which we sat.  We enjoyed the film but thought that it didn’t deserve the huge amount of hype it has had.   We were pleased to have seen it though, if only for the top notch acting of the star of the show.

We came out of the cinema and walked down to the station in perfect time to catch the train back to Hexham and this rounded off an excellent outing to Newcastle.

The pleasures of the day had not finished yet though as we got into conversation with a bloke in the next seat to us on the train and it turned out that he knew our daughter Annie, having lived four years ago in the same street in London as she did.  There is nothing like a thoroughgoing off the wall coincidence like that to make you feel good and we got out of the train at Hexham feeling very cheerful indeed.  Then we made things even better by having a quick trawl round a Waitrose Store near the station where we were able to buy several nice eatables which are not readily available to us poor people in the south of Scotland.

An easy drive home rounded things off nicely and now we are looking forward to next year’s anniversary already.  There is just the small matter of finding out what is wrong with the car looming on the horizon.  As the garage only serviced the car last week, we are hoping that they will be as keen to find out what went wrong as we are.

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