Posts Tagged ‘Jubilee Bridge’

Today’s guest picture is the last from Dropscone’s Highland holiday.  He and his daughter Susan visited Loch Ness but resisted the charms of the cruise boat and drove round the loch by car instead.  They didn’t see a monster.

Loch ness cruiser

It was another gloomy, damp day here with the clouds hanging low over the  town and frequent spells of miserable drizzle to make things damper and gloomier.

Mrs Tootlepedal found a nearly dry moment to take our visitor Riley for a walk after breakfast, and Riley enjoyed a well earned rest when he got back.


I had a pretty good rest all morning myself and it was only interrupted by the arrival of Sandy for a cup of coffee and a biscuit.  He had had a very good ride on his new electric bike yesterday and was full of praise for the way it had carried him up steep roads and over the hill and far away.  He has written about his trip here.   This might interest anyone thinking about getting an e-bike.

When he left, I went out into the garden to see if it was raining.

It was.

sparrow in rain on fence

Looking around, I could see that our power lines were busy.  I don’t usually expect to see a robin perching on one.

robin on wire

I do expect to see starlings at present.  They were adopting varying formations today,

three starlings on wirefour starlings on wire

A blackbird preferred to remain at a lower level and took the chair.

blackbird on chair staring

Sandy went off to the Archive Centre and brought back some sheets of the newspaper index for me to put onto the database.  Spurred by this, I caught up on my backlog, and it looks as though there will be plenty more gloomy weather to come which will encourage me to put in these new sheets soon.

As the afternoon wore on, the drizzle stopped and I found myself with just enough time for a quick three bridges walk before my flute pupil Luke arrived.

I nodded at some flowers as I left the garden…

roses and dahlia panel

…and walked down to the suspension bridge from which I looked up river towards the first bridge that I would cross…


Town Bridge October

…and down river to where the poplars are just beginning to change colour.

poplars beside Esk

The best leaf colour of the day was lying in a gutter beside the bridge..

fallen leaves

…and there is a bit of worry that the leaves may fall off the trees this year without giving us a good show of autumn tints.

I walked along the river bank and crossed the town bridge.  I was hoping to see some riverside birds, but the only one that I came across was Mr Grumpy, standing on one leg.

heron one leg

I then walked up to the Sawmill Bridge and crossed it.

sawmill brig

Looking up the Lodge Walks from under the canopy, the trees look pretty green still…

lodge walks inside

…but looking at the same trees from outside in the field, they look rather brown.

lodge walks outside

Across the Castleholm, there was a mild show of colour but the birch trees have lost all their leaves already and give the scene a rather blurred look.

trees across castleholm

A little burst of sunshine appeared but it lit up Whita Hill and the monument while I remained under a cloud.

sunshine on whita

When I got to the Jubilee Bridge, the third of my three bridges, something had changed since my last walk.

jubilee bridge october

I realised that I could see more of the bridge than usual and this turned out to be because someone had cut down one of the two big trees that stood beside the bridge.

felled tree jubilee bridge

Why they should have done this is a mystery at present.

I stood on the bridge and looked upstream.


upriver from jubilee bridge october

And then I walked home and saluted a beautiful astrantia which welcomed me into the garden.

astrantia october

My flute pupil Luke came and we practised some new pieces which was exciting.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been looking at recipes and made a delicious red lentil dal to go with a second helping of the venison stew.  The day ended well.

There are two flying birds of the day today just because I didn’t have much else to do in the morning except look up at distant birds.

First, a rook flying high over the garden…

flying rook

…and then a starling, trying to find a better power line to perch on.

flying starling

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Merry Christmas

Today’s guest picture is an adventurous squirrel making free with an athlete’s banana on the edge of a tennis court.  My sister Mary spotted it in Regent’s Park.

Squirrel in R. Park 001

Apart from the weather, we had a perfect Christmas Day.  Everyone got exactly the presents that they wanted and Matilda and her father spent most of the day playing with theirs.

Mrs Tootlepedal conjured up a very satisfactory midday meal indeed and we all tucked in, eating with great gusto but without eating too much, a tricky thing to manage.

For the evening meal, we ate cold this and that but topped it off with a helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s sublime sticky toffee pudding.

The day was delightful but the weather was frightful.  All the same,  Mrs Tootlepedal and I staggered out for a walk after lunch in the rain.

It was even less of a day for pictures than ever so I only took two.

River Esk

I thought they summed up our walk quite well.

Jubilee Bridge

We are promised a bit of sun tomorrow.

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Today’s guest picture comes from visit my brother Andrew paid to Peterborough Cathedral last month.

Peterborough Cathedral

Whatever the opposite of the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” is applied to us today.  After a very grey day yesterday, we woke to brilliant sunshine but unfortunately it was accompanied by a brisk and very chilly north wind. It was brisk and chilly enough to keep me off the bike in a cowardly sort of way for the whole day but I did try to do some other things instead.

I started off by going to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre and topping up on meat, fish, cheese, honey and beetroot. The cheese this month was particularly delicious.

When I got back, I had a check on the garden flowers.

daisy, astrantia, yarrow, marigold, crocosmia and nasturtium

There is still some colour left.

Then I set about finishing the turning of Bin B into Bin C and starting the turning of Bin A into Bin B.  I am touching all the wood that I can see as I write this but my back must be in unusually good condition as I have been able to shift the compost much more quickly than normal on this occasion without any bad effects (so far).

The strong and cold winds affected the number of birds coming into the garden to quite an extent and even those that did come in seemed happier perching in the plum tree than eating seeds.

greenfinch, blue tit and chaffinch

There was hardly a goldfinch to be seen which suggests that perhaps they live quite far way and the journey wasn’t considered worthwhile today.

The birds did come out of the plum tree in the end and a lone goldfinch joined them.

goldfinch, greenfinch and chaffinch

They seemed to be rather jittery though so perhaps there were cats or a sparrowhawk around loitering with intent.

chaffinch and blue tit

No one stayed long at the feeder.

I had a good crossword to do which kept me entertained until lunchtime.  It was very annoying though as it was the sort where you solve 26 clues starting with the letters from a to z  and then fit the solutions in to a grid with no clue numbers wherever they will go and I just couldn’t get my answers to fit the grid.  In the end I gave up and went for a walk.

This was a gentle three mile walk past the Kilngreen, along the Lodge walks, up through the wood and then back to the North Lodge and home via the pheasant hatchery and the Duchess Bridge.  It was designed to keep me out of the wind for as much time as possible and in  that respect, it worked very well.

As I went past the church on my way down to the river, I had another look at the tree stump and fungus by the wall across the Wauchope.  It is hard to miss the fungi.

tree stump with fungus

I looked up the Esk from the Meeting of the Waters when I got there and reflected that winter is definitely on its way now.


The sun was already low in the sky and brown is getting to be a predominate colour.

I caught a gull flying past a bit of the remaining autumn colour.

black headed gull

The camera couldn’t quite believe what it was seeing.

Then I walked on up the Lodge Walks….

Lodge Walks

With almost as many leaves on the ground as on the trees

…before heading up through the woods to the track along the top.

track to North Lodge

On my way round, I saw several patches of fungus and  I have put some of them in a frame.


I saw some other things which interested me too.

odd things

As I walked back along the side of the pheasant hatchery towards the Duchess Bridge, although I was in deep shade, I was able to look across the field and enjoy the views.

Trees on castleholm

Trees neatly trimmed at exactly cattle height

Larches on Castle Hill

Blazing larches in the last of the sunshine on Castle Hill

The river was so low that I was pleased to be able to scramble down the bank after I had crossed the Duchess Bridge and look back up at the bridge.  It is an elegant structure.

Duchess Bridge

As you can see from the picture, the river banks are quite steep here so I was even  more pleased to be able to scramble back up again and continue my walk to the Jubilee Bridge…

Jubilee Bridge

…which is not quite so elegant.

I don’t think that the river can often have been as low in early November as it is at present.  We have been really lucky with the rain over recent weeks.

When I got home, I finished shifting the compost from Bin A into Bin B and we are now ready for Attila the Gardener to beginning filling Bin A again and starting the whole process off once more.

compost bins

Bins A to D from left to right as we look. Functional rather than stylish.

Sceptics might think that the compost would still rot down well enough if I just left it alone and didn’t bother with all this heaving and shifting and sieving but then what would I do for fun?

I had to ring up my sister Mary and get her help to finish that tricky crossword.

In the evening, apple fritters made a return by popular demand and they rounded the day off nicely.

The flower of the day is a defiant poppy….


…and the flying bird of the day is a pheasant.  This type of pheasant shooting is less noisy than using a gun.

flying phaesant

I noticed when I came to look at my pictures in the evening that although it was cold and windy outside and the days are getting a lot shorter, I still managed to take 110 pictures today.  I must try to get out less.

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Human resources

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone who was able to get right down to the river side to take this excellent picture of the damage and temporary protective measures at Skippers Bridge.

Skippers 148

Our spell of cool (-2°C to 5°C), dry days continues.  The best thing about it is the very light winds which come with it.  It feels as though we have been more or less continually buffeted by strong winds for more than a year so this break has been received very gratefully.

It would have been a very good day for a brisk cycle ride once the temperature had crept up but I conducted an internal audit of my corporeal situation and the auditor prescribed a day of rest.  I have done over 100 miles of pedalling this week after a very lean spell so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised that my system went on strike.

Sandy came round for coffee and picked up a set of pictures which the camera club is contributing to a Moorland Festival in March.  As I will be away at the time that the exhibition is being set up, he has kindly agreed to take the stuff in and supervise the hanging.

I did think of a walk after he had gone but didn’t get any further than a little thought.  No action ensued.

I was able to use the time to look at a robin.


I am pretty sure that these are pictures of the same robin.  It seems to have sustained an injury below its left eye.

The robin on the right in the picture below is definitely the same one as it was taken at the same time and has the same injury….


..but the one on the left was taken a couple of hours later so I don’t know if it is still the same bird.

I  mostly sat about and groaned and mumbled but I did look up from time to time and saw these squabbling chaffinches at the feeder.


Luckily the six nations rugby tournament came to my rescue in the afternoon so I had something to watch and it even provided me with a very rare Scotland victory to cheer.

After the match, I was so perked up that I actually did mange to get up and go for a very short walk.  I was so impressed by Dropscone’s picture of Skippers Bridge from the water side that I scrambled down a bank to take a picture of the Jubilee Bridge in the fading light.

Jubillee Bridge

A walk round the garden showed very little of interest…


…as the cool weather has put spring on hold for a while.

Mrs Tootlepedal had made a very tasty chicken pie for our tea so between the rugby, the walk and the food, the day ended up with me feeling quite a bit more perky than when it started.

We are getting up very early tomorrow to catch a coach in Carlisle at 7 am to take us to Manchester for our choir competition.  I don’t know whether there will be any photo opportunities or when precisely we will get back from what is going to be a very long day so tomorrow’s post may be very brief or indeed non existent.

I am pretty sure that there won’t be a flying bird of the day to match today’s effort.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is part of a photograph which was sent to me by my younger son who went for a walk in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh today.  He was looking north from the lower slopes of Arthur’s Seat past the football stadium of Hibernian Football Club, over the Firth of Forth and on towards the hills of Fife beyond.

edinburgh view

We didn’t have quite such a lovely day here as he did but it was nice enough to send  one of my sisters up to the High Street window shopping while Mrs Tootlepedal took our two other guests out for a walk.  I took the opportunity to sneak out on my bike for a gentle twenty mile pedal to Waterbeck and back.

I took Pocketcam with me but didn’t take any pictures with it because it inconsiderately started to rain just when I was at the highest point of the outward journey and didn’t stop until I was nearly at the same point on the return trip. I was well wrapped up though so it didn’t bother me as a cyclist.    Luckily the walkers had been in a sheltering wood while it rained on them.

Once home, we settled down to peaceful, indoor pursuits and eating up the remains of the feast.  The food was just as tasty as it had been yesterday but there is quite some way to go before we will have finished it all off.

The peaceful indoor occupations included my oldest sister busy at some needlework….


and Mrs Tootlepedal and Pat poring over the hardest jigsaw puzzle that I have ever seen.

jigsaw puzzlers

It has certainly got all their attention.

My indoor pursuit was bird watching as usual.

perching chaffinch

I am trying to include a perching chaffinch each day while my sister Susan is here.

chaffinch and siskin

Being  restless, my sister Mary and I went out for another walk after lunch in the rapidly fading light.  It was quite chilly so I put on the traditional  woolly hat that my daughter gave to me for Christmas….

woolly hat

It’s lucky that I have long arms.

…and off we went.

Our route took us over the two pedestrian bridges across the Esk.

Duchess Bridge Jubillee Bridge

The one on the left built in 1813 and the one on the right in 2002

We saw a red squirrel scampering across the road at the Lodge which was a treat but it was far too quick for Pocketcam.  Luckily, some trees were a bit less skittish.

Pheasant hatchery tree

A tree of definite inclination

Mossy tree  by school

It would be hard for a tree to have more moss on it than this one.

The rest of the day passed in conversation, embroidery, jigsaw work and more eating.  It was rounded off by another game of cards where I enjoyed uncharacteristic good luck which made me more than usually cheerful.

The forecast for tomorrow is for continuous rain and high winds so peaceful indoor pursuits will be the order of the day.

A ‘noisy’ goldfinch is the flying bird of the day.





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Today’s picture is the view from our window in the afternoon.


It had started snowing overnight and it snowed steadily until there was a three inch layer on the lawn by three o’clock in the afternoon.  Then the snow turned to rain and as I write this at nine o’clock, the rain is still coming down steadily and with a bit of luck, all the snow will have disappeared by the morning.

The scientific snow depth measurer was called into action first at 9 and then at 11 in the morning when the snow looked as though it might really pile up.

snow measurer

The snow put paid to any idea of cycling and didn’t even have the grace to look pretty as it came down in a mist of small flakes and obscured the surrounding hills and much of the daylight too.  Dropscone, Arthur and Sandy kindly agreed to come and help me pass the morning over a cup of coffee, some delicious chocolate biscuits from France (courtesy of you know who) and some inexpensive crumpets purchased in Carlisle and toasted.

The garden birds were extremely busy too and I leapt up from the coffee table from time to time to capture the scene.

early birds

Every perch was subject to a contest of wills.

busy feeder

A pack of greenfinches commandeered the feeder.


And as the other birds couldn’t get much of a look in…

greenfinches in command

I took down the fat balls and put up a second seed feeder.  You may wonder where, in the midst of the greenfinch domination, all the bramblings and chaffinches were.  They were here…

bramblings and chaffinches

…and in the background on the plum tree waiting for the greenfinches to go away.

plum tree

Between the birds on the ground, on the feeder and on the tree, I reckon that I can count over seventy birds.  They say that the small bird population is diminishing but here in Langholm we are doing our best to keep it stable.

I have been exploring my photo editor for ways to present digital pictures and I hope you will forgive me if I show some early experiments here.  I really liked this picture which had echoes of Pieter Bruegel for me so I gave it a frame.

framed birds

The illusion is very clever and available at the touch of a button.

Here is  a so called vignette, quite a popular method of picture presentation.

vignette of finches

After coffee, Sandy and I put on waterproof boots and trousers, armed ourselves with a brolly each and set out to brave the elements.   It wasn’t a day for great photos so I put sandycam and in my pocket and Sandy relied on his mobile phone.

We went round my usual short walk and it yielded a few opportunities.


I like the many different angles that the camera can create out of a perfectly square set building.

suspension bridge

You can see that visibility wasn’t at all good.

oyster catcher

I could just make out a hunched oyster catcher at the meeting of the waters.


I was surprised that sandycam could catch this flock of gulls on the fly in such poor light. It is a nifty camera.


This is Sandy in full colour, the only point of brightness in the whole walk.  (I see another frame has crept in.)


The castle was looking very subdued

The snow wasn't clinging like the last fall but these trees collected a share of it.

The snow wasn’t clinging like the last fall but these trees collected a share of it.


It picked out the geometry of the Jubilee Bridge…

Trees on the Esk

…which contrasted with the chaotic patterns of the riverside trees.

We arrived home just in time for a tasty cheese toastie and a cup of tea for our lunch.  Mrs Tootlepedal returned at the same time from helping with the costume making for the forthcoming production of The Sound of Music by the local operatic society.  She nibbled on a healthy looking lettuce leaf for her lunch and then by common consent, we all retired for a postprandial snooze.

The meeting of the community choir in the evening was cancelled as many members travel in from outside the town and the roads looked treacherous.  This gave us a quiet evening in which Mrs Tootlepedal devoted to her current appliqué project and I devoted to constructive idling of high quality.

There were a number of really useful things which I could have done and I positively enjoyed not doing them.  There is always another day for them.

The light was not good enough for a really good close-up flying bird shot but that has never stopped me posting bad ones so here is another.

flying chaffinch










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