Posts Tagged ‘funeral’

Today’s picture shows a set of buildings on the banks of the Thames variously known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’, the ‘Cheese Grater’ and the ‘Gherkin’.  My sister Mary passed them as she walked along the opposite bank….as fast as she could, I would think.

The Walkie Talkie, Cheese Grater and Gherkin!

The morning was mostly spent in going to the funeral service of one of our next door neighbours who died unexpectedly last week while in hospital for heart surgery.   A time for sober reflection and a quick mental check to see if our own affairs are in order,   They aren’t of course.  It is one of those things which we are always going to do soon.

We had time for lunch and then we went across the hill to Newcastleton where we had arranged to pick up a couple of song books from a member of the choir who has been unable to come to the choir for quite a bit.  These were needed as the sets of books were overdue at the library so as soon as we had collected them, we headed down to Carlisle and handed them in.   The people at the Carlisle Library are some of the nicest that you could hope to meet and far from being grumpy about the late return of the books, they had our next lot packed up and ready for us to take away.

We did a little shopping while we were there and got home in time for me to take a quick walk round the garden before going out to a committee meeting for the choir.

The garden seemed very yellow and orange today.

bonus sunflower

A bonus sunflower, the product of fallen bird food.


Our first rudbeckia. For some reason ours come out much later than in the surrounding gardens.


Two nicely contrasting nasturtiums


A crocosmia showing two colours

Lords and ladies

The rather menacing fruit of Lords and Ladies

rowan berries

Ripening rowan berries untouched by the birds so far


I took one non yellow and orange picture just for the contrast.


Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys this set of plants which she can see from the kitchen window.

grass and poppies and sweet peas

Grass and poppies and sweet peas

The various sweet peas, which she grows for cutting, are flourishing so well that there are far more than she can bring into the house.  Here’s a bunch on the fence.

sweet peas

The committee meeting was just as much fun as committee meetings which you are not running yourself usually are.  It is my last, as I have resigned but I will still be lending a hand where needed.

I didn’t have an opportunity to take any flying bird pictures during the day so another glimpse of the ringed blue tit will have to make do.

blue tit







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Today’s picture is a copy of Sandy’s prizewinning photograph of his and Anne’s grandsons and I put it here as a mark of respect to her on the day of her funeral.   They are part of her ongoing legacy.

sandy's grandchildren

It was a brilliantly sunny morning but it was moderated by a decidedly chilly wind and so I put on a thick jacket and set out for morning pedal by myself.  Dropscone was away playing golf so I went on a different route to the normal morning run and headed for Paddockhole.  Curiously, although I had slept very badly, I felt a lot less tired today and I thoroughly enjoyed a gentle tour through the countryside.  Especially the ten miles home, with the fresh wind behind me.

Near Paddockhole, I passed this old tin shed…

tin shed

…and as I was thinking of Sandy as I pedalled, I noticed it in particular because he is fond of photographing buildings that have seen their best days so I stopped to take a photo of it.

I had a moment to walk round the garden when I got home.

chaffinch and siskin

I am rather addicted to taking pictures of rough behaviour at the feeder but there are quiet moments too.

A chaffinch

A chaffinch heads for the feeder

two chaffinches

Two chaffinches make up for the lack of colourful plums in the tree.


There are still a lot of bees and other insects buzzing around.  They were very scarce at the beginning of the year in the cold spring but the wet summer has not discouraged them.  The Michaelmas daisies are the target of choice at the moment.

peacock butterfly

There was only one butterfly to be seen today.

clematis Jackmanii

The ungrateful clematis still won’t smile properly at us.

Mrs Tootlepedal had put in a couple of hours at work and she arrived home not long after me and it was soon time to go to Anne’s funeral in our local church.  It was well attended and well conducted and even the weather cried a bit when we were up at the cemetery on the hill overlooking the town.  It was a very sad occasion, not least as Anne hadn’t even begun to enjoy her retirement before she became ill.

After the funeral, I ate a hasty lunch and went off to the tourist point on the Kilngreen where I sat pointlessly for two hours.  There were a few visitors’ cars parked along the river but when I went out after locking up, I could see that in most of them, people were sitting quietly, enjoying the view and the warm sun without having to face the chilly winds outside.

The resident heron looked pretty cold and miserable itself.


When I got home, the feeder was empty and so I filled it up and, just for fun, hung it and the fat ball feeder on different to the usual sides of the feeder pole.  It didn’t faze the birds at all and within seconds of my disappearance indoors, a horde of sparrows arrived.



There was a small army of them and they were soon joined by chaffinches


This was too much for one sparrow who made a beeline for the exit.

sparrow returning

I don’t know if this was the same bird returning a moment later.

Although it was cold in the wind, as you can see it was a very sunny day so I went to see whether the pink rose and liked the day at all.

pink rose

It is trying really hard.

I went indoors to do a bit of work and later went out in the low evening sunshine to pick a dahlia to take a photo of indoors.  While I was out there, I admired a clump of Mrs Tootlepedal’s grass, caught in the late rays of the sun.


Not all grass has to be mowed to within an inch of its life.

The sun picked out the many colours of the stones used to build the oldest part of our house.

Wauchope cottage

My sister has asked me what the show is that I am preparing pictures for.  To give it its full name, it is the 163rd Annual Open Show of the Eskdale Agricultural Society to be held on the Castlehom in a fortnight.  The photographs appear in the industrial section of the programme along with the baking, jams and jellies and needlework.  The industry presumably being the industrious work of the housewife indoors as opposed to the easy work of the agriculture of the menfolk outside.

This was the best that I could do with the dahlia.


It’s a like it or hate it sort of picture I think.  It is more or less as shot.  I haven’t tampered with it significantly.

Although there were plenty of flying birds in the garden, today’s fliers are represented by three shots of gulls on the Kilngreen.  I love these small gulls and their elegant, lazy flight.

flying gulls

For those interested, clicking on a photo should bring up an enlarged version.


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Today’s picture, from one of my sister Mary’s walks, shows the Olympic rings on Tower bridge in London.

The Olympic rings at Tower Bridge

It was another wet morning and my joints were sore anyway so I wasn’t too upset at not going on the morning cycle ride.   Mrs Tootlepedal had said that she would use the top dressing that we bought earlier in the week if I didn’t use it myself so I went out in the drizzle after breakfast and spread the bag on the middle lawn and brushed it in.  The lawn has been showing signs of distress, probably because of the cold spring and early summer, and I am hoping that a light dressing will perk it up.

Luckily, I didn’t miss good scones as Dropscone brought some round even though we hadn’t cycled.   Arthur appeared as we were sipping our coffee with a camera full of pictures for me to look at  in his hand.  This was the best of them.


The one on the right is Arthur.

He had been fishing for trout near Bailliehill with a Dr Greenwell fly on a 6lb line when, to his surprise, he hooked this 8 lb grilse (salmon).  It required a great deal of delicacy to land it and he was very pleased that he had managed it.    Dropscone and I were impressed.  The fish’s opinion about all this was not canvassed.

It was not a day for photographs but as usual that didn’t stop me trying.  Before coffee, I looked for rising spires in the garden.


Some of these flowers may never come out unless we see the sun again soon.

One white rose flower had survived the dampness quite well.

white rose

Most of the white roses are a soggy brown colour.

I found a couple of siskins to look at.

female siskin

A rather grey looking female

male siskin

A male in the plum tree. the photo doesn’t show it but it was hanging on for dear life in a stiff wind.

After coffee, I looked again.

birds queueing

A greenfinch is shadowed by a siskin

At midday,  Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to the funeral of an ex colleague of mine from my teaching days.  It was sad to reflect that she was three years younger than me.  The good things of life are not dished out with an equal hand.   We returned home in sombre mood.

Still, I have the birds to take my mind off things and by lunchtime, the greenfinches were in the ascendency at the feeder and here we have a full house.


After lunch, I walked up to the Town Hall to see if our exhibition curator had showed up.  He was there and was available until three o’clock so I walked back to the house, got the camera and spent a rather fruitless twenty minutes trying to catch some low flying feathered things.

I was moderately successful.


There were a lot about but they were very quick.

I am determined to get a really good swallow shot before they go back home at the end of summer.

The wet weather has made everything even more green than usual this year.

Wauchope and Kirk Birdge

The Wauchope and Kirk Bridge

The Wauchope from the Park Bridge

Looking up the Wauchope from the Park Bridge

Trees behind Eskdaill Street

Trees in the breeze behind Eskdaill Street

I put the camera away and did my session in the Town Hall and then came home and watched a bit of tennis on the telly.  Wimbledon is a bit of a drug and if you let it get hold of you, you can waste your life away, imagining wrongly that you are having a good time.  I can take it or leave it alone or so I like to think.

A friend brought me half a dozen fresh eggs in return for a little research which I had done for him in our archives so I enjoyed scrambled eggs and baked beans for my tea.  We live high on the hog here.

In the evening, instead of my customary tootling, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to socialise with Mike and Alison and  went to the Buccleuch Centre to listen to a concert of brass band music given by the Langholm Town Band with an interlude from their Junior Band.  They have a relatively new conductor and he has really galvanised them and they have reached a very good standard of playing.  The programme was wide ranging and enjoyable. To my delight it included a very elaborate Air varié played by Henry, their talented trombonist.   No brass band concert is complete without one of these pieces in my opinion.

The band has always had good players but under their new conductor, their ensemble playing has improved immensely.  If I was really crabby, which I am on occasion, I might mention that the concert started at 7.30 and didn’t finish until 9.40 which some may consider to be almost too much of a good thing.

Today’s bird on the wing is a very unyellow siskin.


If any local is reading this who has not been to the photo exhibition, I might mention to them that tomorrow (or today, if you are reading this tomorrow) is the last chance to go.






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Today’s picture, sent to me by Gavin, shows Cat Barlow ringing a woodpecker at her feeder station.  It pecked her.  You can see more pictures of the ringing on Gavin’s blog.

woodpecker ringing

There was a sad start to the day when Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to the funeral in Carlisle of the husband of one of our recorder group.  By a cruel stroke of fate, he had just retired from a very stressful job and was looking forward to a life of playing music when he became very ill and died shortly afterwards.  It was obvious from the turnout at the funeral and the delightful and moving encomium delivered by his son, that he was a genuinely good man and his loss will be keenly felt.  He was a lute player and an early music consort played some of the music he loved as we were waiting for the service to begin.   Their programme included, not surprisingly, Flow My Tears by John Dowland.

By the time we got home, the day had taken on a sombre hue as well and I spent the afternoon putting a week of the E & L into the database and catching up on Archive Group business.

On a brighter note, the greaseproof paper on the shiny undertray of the new feeder has done the trick and the goldfinches were back today.

return of goldfinches

The handy hook underneath was providing opportunities for blue tits as well.

goldfinches and blue tits

I walked round the garden to see if the yellow rose had come out but it is not there yet.

yellow rose

Trying hard

As I crossed the pond on my way to the front lawn, I was surprised to see a beady eye watching me.

beady eye

It turned out to be the remains of a water lily floating just beneath the surface.

water lily

Mrs Tootlepedal has embarked on a regime of brisk walks now the autumn has come and while she was out combining exercise and shopping in the rain, I had a look at the feeder outside the kitchen window.


The robin is a regular attender below the seed feeder

I am hoping to get a suitable picture for our Christmas cards between now and December.  The sparrows were continuing their customary competition for space.


The contest goes now this way...

more sparrows

...and now that way.

When Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her walk, she continued with the job of cleaning up the bank of the dam behind the house. This is very heavy work requiring large quantities of muddy slime to be shifted.  I would leave it but she values a tidy bank.

Dam bank

Still some work to do.

You may think that I ought to be helping her but it is a job guaranteed to wreck a fragile back and she would be a lot sorrier to have to look after me lying about and groaning than she is to dig the bank unassisted.

The resident duck was not scared off by her efforts.   It is getting fed by so many people that it was floating in a sea of soggy bread when I saw it.  It moved off to get its photograph taken in more salubrious surroundings.  It’s probably too fat to fly far away now.

resident duck

The nasturtium by the front gate winked at me as I passed.


In the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre to see a production of Ruddigore by Opera della Luna.  They are a professional touring group and they were fantastic.  They only used seven performers with a four piece orchestra but they filled the stage with colour, movement and invention.  The cast sang and acted very well and anyone who thinks that Gilbert and Sullivan operas are not worth producing any more, would have been confounded by the delight of the audience.  It was another grand night out and only a short walking distance from home.

All in all, it was day of contrasting emotions.

I leave you with a gymnastic great tit.

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