Posts Tagged ‘Enzieholm Bridge’

Today’s guest picture shows a feature of the Sheffield Peace Gardens. They were seen by Bruce on a recent stay in the city.

sheffield peace garden

Today started very oddly when I woke up realising that I had just had a good night’s sleep.  This was so unusual that it took me until Dropscone arrived with Friday treacle scones for coffee to recover.

The scones were very good though and by the time that Dropscone left, I was back on an even keel and able to appreciate that the geums had started to flower in the garden.

geums in garden

They are droopy flowers and I had to resort to the mirror to get a good look at one from underneath.

When I went back, I looked out of the window and saw that the jackdaws were back in search of nesting material.  They have discovered where Mrs Tootlepedal has buried the rest of the woollen mulch round a rose and they were busy digging it up, under the supervision of a senior member of the group.

jackdaws panel

At the feeder, goldfinches and siskins were in charge again and a lonely chaffinch appeared.  I thought that it looked a bit wistful.

lonely chaffinch

Since the chaffinches have been the most regular customers of the feeder all winter, they must feel a bit put out by these spring interlopers, much as loyal insurance company customers feel put out when they discover that new customers are getting preferential rates offered to them.

Not that the goldfinches look happy about their end of the bargain either.

goldfinches stamping

I made some bacon and lentil soup for lunch, ate a bowlful and then got my bike out.  It was quite a lot colder than my last outing and I had leggings and a waterproof jacket on as I faced a light north wind.

I had worked quite hard last time I went out and my feet had been painful afterwards so I took things very easily today, stopping frequently to admire the view…

road to burnfoot

There were fifty shades of green

…to take in the passing bluebell woods,…

bluebells on benty road

…and to record some of the many wild flowers which have started to appear in the road side verges.

wild flowers on benty road

I crossed the Esk by the Bentpath Bridge…

river esk from benty bridge

…and admired the assistance that someone had given to nature on the other side of the bridge.

flowers at benty bridge

Then I cycled up the far bank of the river, noticing more wild flowers…

wildflowers near benty

…and finding that some work by foresters in felling trees had made it much easier to spot the old suspension bridge that allowed residents on the west bank of the river a shorter walk to the church in times gone by.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 1

I wouldn’t be inclined to walk over it now.

esk suspension bridge georgefield 2

A little further on, I noticed what I thought was a tree in full flower by a gate…

pink tree westerhall

…but a closer look showed that the colour came from buds and the flowers are not out yet.  It should be spectacular when it blooms.

It wasn’t hard to spot wild flowers as the banks were covered with them..

bank of wild flowers

…and fields were full of them.

meadow of wild flowers

When  I came to the furthest point of my short ride, I had to cross the Esk again, this time using the Enzieholm Bridge, which looks modest enough when you cross it…

enzieholm bridge from above

…but turns out to be a pretty substantial bridge when you look at it from the waterside.

enzieholm bridge from below

The wind was behind me now (good route planning for once), and I didn’t stop so much on the way home, though I did like these fine copper beeches…

copper beeches beside esk

…and yet more wild flowers…

wildflowers benty may

…which I passed before I got back to Bentpath village, where I took the obligatory picture of the church and bridge.

westerkirk church may

I did the last five or six miles with only one more stop.  This was to take a look back at the Gates of Eden…

gates if eden May

…before cascading back down the hill into Langholm, very cheerful after such an enjoyable and leisurely fifteen miles.  (The pedalling took me an hour and twenty minutes and I added another twenty five minutes to the trip by stopping to take so many pictures.)

I had a quick walk round the garden before I went in…


…to find Mrs Tootlepedal, after a busy morning, sitting quietly over her embroidery.

Although the day was still quite cool for the time of year, when the sun came out it seemed pleasantly warm and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were able to have a short sit out on the new bench until the sun went in again.

Then the sun came out again and I was thinking of going for a short walk but as soon as I put my walking shoes on, the sun went in and a few drops of rain fell.

I abandoned the idea of a walk and cooked a feta cheese, tomato and potato bake for our tea instead.   It was followed by some sticky toffee pudding.  It is hard to have to eat all of the sticky toffee pudding ourselves instead of sharing it with Matilda and her family but we are being brave about it.

One of the thieving jackdaws is the flying bird of the day.  It wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

flying jackdaw making off

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia, who saw something a bit bigger than a chaffinch out of her kitchen window.

badgerThe weather people seem to take a sort of morbid pleasure in making our flesh creep with forecasts of doom and gloom.  Once again they were overly pessimistic and, having prepared ourselves mentally for a cold and windy day, we had to readjust to a calm and reasonably warm day instead.   Perhaps their policy is always to err on the dark side so that we will be happy when things turn out better than we thought but it does make planning ahead a lottery.  Still, mustn’t grumble.

Still, the kindly weather let Mrs Tootlepedal do a power of work in the garden in the morning and I mowed the greenhouse grass with great care and attention.

I took a walk round the garden after breakfast.

sweet William and poppy

A Sweet William and an oriental poppy offered contrasting reds

lupin and iris

Lupins and an iris share a delicate blue


A hosta carries off the prize for exciting greens

I was meandering through the crossword indoors when Mrs Tootlepedal came in and alerted me to a foreign body on the lawn.  I went out at speed.

frog on lawnThe frog was so static and let me get so close that we worried for its health but when it was left quietly alone, it soon hopped off.

Meanwhile, I went back in and looked out of the kitchen window.

young starlings

The Katzenjammer Kids of the starling world were back again.

As well as birds, there are always flowers to look at through the window too.

aquilegiaAfter lunch, I had one more quick walk round the garden….


A dark iris has come out.

…before having a quiet sit in front of the telly watching some motor racing until Mrs Tootlepedal summoned me out for another cycle ride.

Although it was cloudy, it was still an excellent cycling day with surprisingly light winds so we set out to bicycle to Enzieholm Bridge and back, a 15 mile trip.

Unlike yesterday’s ride, this was quite a hilly effort in places….

Quarry Brae

Mrs Tootlepedal sweeps over the summit of the Quarry Brae

…and affords some fine views along the way.

Gates of Eden

It couldn’t be much greener.

We went at a steady pace, keeping an eye out for interesting flowers beside the road.  Although we had nothing like yesterday’s spectacular array of Sweet Rocket, there was still plenty to please and intrigue the eye.

plantain and clover

Plantain and clover

whitebeam and laburnum

Whitebeam and laburnum

hanging down and sticking up

Things hanging down and things sticking up

From Bentpath, we cycled up the back road past Georgefield….

Georgefield…with its well stocked verges.

We stopped at the bridge at Enzieholm for half a banana and a finger of Kit Kat each…

Enzieholm Bridge…and then cycled home back the way we had come.

There were more treats on the way.  Just past Georgefield, Mrs Tootlepedal’s sharp eye spotted a single flower.


An orchid, probably a northern marsh orchid, she thinks.  The only one we saw today.

A few yards further on, my eye was taken by this burst of colour.

Georgefield hedgerowWe crossed the Esk at Bentpath.

Esk at BentpathJust over the bridge there was a grand display of orange hawkweed.

hawkweedWe stopped once more to take a picture of a flower that we had noticed on the way out and couldn’t name.  Research at home indicated that it was a rattle.  Mrs Tootlepedal also noticed that the silverweed beside the road had some little flowers.

silverweed and rattle

Silverweed on the left, a potentilla and Rattle on the right, a sort of snapdragon

All in all, it was a very interesting ride and although we didn’t break any speed records as we idled along, we were very satisfied when we got home.

Once in, I set about looking at the pictures which I had taken and Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some more gardening,  She is making the most of the good weather.

In the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre to hear a French chanteuse called Flossie Malavialle.  She has lived in the north east of England for many years and has a delightfully mixed accent now.  She has a very lovely voice, an excellent technique and a very varied programme.  Tonight she sang songs by Abba, Beth Neilson Chapman, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf among many others and did them all justice.  She is able to vary her style to suit the song and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

My enjoyment would have been total if she had talked a little less between songs and sung a little more but she is a teacher by profession so her anxiety to explain everything very clearly (and sometimes twice) is quite natural.

Catching a flying bird these days is a tricky business and this shot of coming and going was the best that I managed today.

chaffinch and goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture is another view from a walk on the veldt which was kindly sent to me by Tom from South Africa.  He was excited by the fact the the valley bottom is covered in vineyards.

vineyardsMrs Tootlepedal got up early and disappeared in an Edinburgh direction. She was lending a hand with the world’s greatest baby as our daughter-in-law Clare’s back is still not quite cured.   As Dropscone and the minister had other business and young Sandy had returned to work as the term has started at his college, I was left to amuse myself this morning.

A weather forecaster had pointed out that it was officially the first day of autumn but added that we should be getting some late summer weather.  However, wherever the sun was shining, it wasn’t in Langholm and we had a grey morning with a chilly wind. In these circumstances, I decided that the best thing would be to do nothing much and I succeeded in accomplishing that quite well.

I did walk round the garden and found that it was pretty in pink today.  Well, pink with variations anyway.


The start of autumn was marked by the arrival of nerines.  It had rained over night.

Shirley poppy (2)

A delicate pinkish fringe for the petals of this Shirley poppy which had an inevitable insect with it.

Shirley poppy

This one was pink through and through. I waited till its insect had flown off.

Lilian Austin rose

The Lilian Austin rose is having a second flush of flowers.


As is one of the astrantias


My favourite Fuchsia is producing a good set of blooms.

The other colour which is prominent is the yellow of the sunflower, rudbeckia and marigold.  I like the colours that this marigold produces as it fades.

marigoldI didn’t have much luck watching birds at the feeder today.  One reason was a particularly aggressive siskin which was trying to blast every other visitor off the perches…

frightened chaffinch…and succeeding.

There are a pair of rather badly painted blackbirds about, wandering aimlessly about the lawn pecking at any fallen plums that they can find.


On the alert with tail feathers raised.

After lunch, I got a bit more active and is was cleaning my speedy bike’s chain when Sandy appeared, having had a short first day at college.  We agreed on a cycle ride and while he went off to have some lunch, I finished cleaning the chain and mowed the drying green.   I would have got a little more mowing done but the minister appeared with his Bianchi, now fitted with two fully working inner tubes.  He was  taking it home rather than going for a ride and had stopped by for a chat. 

By the time he left, I just had time to finish the drying green before Sandy rang to say that he was ready to go.  I got changed and took the speedy bike up to meet him and we cycled up the Eskdalemuir road as far as the Enzieholm bridge and back.  In spite of some valiant efforts by the pothole menders, the surface of the road up to Bentpath is appalling and we bumped and bobbled along as best we could. 

Every time I go up this section of road, I promise myself not to do it again until it is fixed but times passes and I think that it can’t be as bad as I remembered and off I go again.  It was just as bad. 

At Bentpath, we crossed the river and took the back road up to Enzieholm.  The trees at the bridge are bearing a fine crop of berries.

berriesWe stopped on the bridge at Enzieholm and looking down the river, there seemed to be a hint of autumn about the trees that line the Esk.

Esk at EnzieholmAlthough the sun refused to come out, the wind helped us on our way back and the ride was as enjoyable as a ride on a bumpy road can be.

In the early evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we explored the world of trills.  It is good to have a pupil who instinctively realises the added value that trills give to the sort of music that we are playing and insists on trying to play them.  We are making good progress with them.

I made a potato and tomato bake for tea and it came out of the oven just in time to greet Mrs Tootlepedal on her return from Edinburgh. 

I am hoping for a more active day (with sun) tomorrow.

I didn’t really catch a flying bird of the day today and this landing bird was the best that I could do.

flying chaffinch (4)



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Today’s picture shows my brother Andrew at Pop’s View in NZ.  It was taken by my sister Susan on her phone.  Who needs a camera?

Pop's View

We didn’t have quite the same mountains to look at here today, but we did have some excellent sunshine.  It was still freezing when we got up but the sunshine was more than enough to lift our spirits. I  went off to do some some shopping and received a report that Dropscone had been seen pedalling off by himself round the morning run.  I was shopping rather than pedalling because we were expecting a visitor for lunch and there were preparations to be made.

When I got back I snapped a chaffinch on the plum tree….


…and welcomed the thrush back to the garden.


In the background you can see a daff trying to come out.

I cooked a pan of lentil soup and Mrs Tootlepedal made a cheese flan.  I was secretly glad that I wasn’t pedalling with Dropscone as it was very chilly and there was a very brisk wind.   Our visitor was Sue from our recorder group and we had planned a ride for later in the day when I hoped that it would be warmer and less windy.

While we were cooking, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that the great number of chaffinches on the plum tree looked like jewels in the sunshine and made up in a small way for the lack of colour in the garden at present.

chaffinches in tree

Sue arrived on schedule, bringing with her a small box of sour dough starter.  It smells good and I hope to be making some sour dough bread before long.

After lunch, we were joined by another of the recorder group, Susan, Dropscone’s daughter.  We planned a 15 mile ride to Enzieholm Bridge and back.  Susan had got her bike out for the first time in six months  and was not at all sure that starting the spring campaign with a 15 mile ride which has a very hilly start would be a good idea.  It turned out that it wasn’t a good idea and having puffed up the first two hills, she gave up the unequal struggle and headed for home, not wishing to hold us up.

Peden's view

This is Mrs Tootlepedal hitting the summit.  You can just see Susan’s head in the background showing what a steep hill it is.  We reluctantly waved goodbye to Susan and set off down the other side of the hill.

It was warmer than the morning and the wind had dropped a lot too.  The wind was across but rather behind us on the way out and it felt pleasantly warm in the sunshine, though we were well wrapped up.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I were amazed to see Sue cycling without any gloves but she told us that she didn’t like her hands to get too hot.  As she had revealed over lunch that she has an electric blanket, she is obviously a woman of contradictions.

The roads were very quiet and it was enjoyable to to be able to pedal along while having a chat.  The scenery was lovely but there were other things to catch the eye too.


A small flock of what look like ostriches at Georgefield.


The first wild flowers, other than snowdrops, of the year in the verge.

Enzieholm Bridge

Enzieholm Bridge, our turning point.

When you read descriptions of leisure cycle rides in magazines, they are often accompanied by a picture of two lovely ladies chatting animatedly.  Why should this trip be different….

Sue and Mrs Tootlepedal

…and here they are peering over the parapet of the bridge.  It is a very big bridge for a small road.

Sue and Mrs Tootlepedal at Enzieholm Bridge

Although the ride home was into the cross wind, it wasn’t too hard and we arrived back after a most enjoyable excursion.  We had of course stopped on our way to take the compulsory picture of Westerkirk Church and the bridge over the Esk at Bentpath.  It’s against the law to pass these on a sunny day without stopping to take a photo.

Westerkirk Church

Once home, we put on the kettle and toasted some of the teacakes which I had made yesterday.    There is nothing like a nice pedal to make the simple enjoyment of a cup of tea and a teacake into something sublime.  We hope to have another pedal with Sue before too long.

When Sue left, Mrs Tootlepedal set about some gardening and I rang up Sandy and we agreed to go for a walk round the Castleholm.

We started by walking along the river and it looks as though two herring gulls have set up home for the spring here.

herring gull

They won’t find any herrings here.

There were plenty of ducks flying in all directions when we got to the Kilngreen.

flying ducks

There was a black and white contrast as well.

gull and crow

As we crossed the sawmill Bridge, a small brown flying object whizzed past us.  It turned out to be a wren which kindly stopped for a moment to get its picture taken.


We walked along taking far more pictures than I can post here but my main thought was to try to snatch a seasonally appropriate picture of an Easter bunny.  Several rabbits scampered across the path before I could catch them but in the end we found a spot where a rabbit could be seen taking in some rays.

Easter bunny

Big news: there is more than one Easter bunny.

As always, there were many trees to enjoy as we walked passed them.


Because of the mixture of broad leaved and conifers there is always a bit of greenery about.


It really was a lovely evening and I have put a picture of Whita hill and the monument in just to underline that.


What the picture doesn’t show is the brisk east wind coming straight towards us over the top of the hill and making us glad that we had woolly hats and thick jackets on.

We have had hardly any rain lately and the white stripes on the rocks in the river show just how much lower than normal it is.

white rocks

We looked to see of there was any sign of the nuthatch nesting yet at the Jubilee Bridge but it wasn’t to be seen.  I took a picture of the new path along the river instead.


We didn’t follow the path but crossed the bridge and noted significant progress in the construction of the new primary school.

new school

It is being bolted onto the end of the Sports Centre.

When we got back, Sandy went off to have his tea and I found that my flute pupil Luke had arrived for his lesson while I was out.  Because it was a Bank Holiday and I wasn’t in my normal routine I had forgotten all about him which is very bad.  Still, if he is anything like I was when I was a boy, he probably won’t have been absolutely distraught to miss a music lesson.

In the evening,  I went off to play some music with Isabel and Mike and the pleasure of playing good music (quite slowly) rounded off an excellent day.

One of the ducks made flying bird of the day.




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