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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Archive Group’

Today’s guest picture is rather small but that is how it was sent to me by my friend Sandra.  I have put it in because it shows some of her regular flock of long tail tits visiting her feeder.  It is a great benefit to live right on the edge of town if you want a better class of bird visitor.

long tailed tits

There is still a distinct lack of perkiness in the Tootlepedal household.  I am up and about but not at all active and Mrs Tootlepedal is still mostly in bed having lost all her get up and go.  We are both doing a lot of coughing.

This makes the house a somewhat gloomy place and the succession of grey days isn’t helping.   It looked for a while as thought we might get some sunshine this morning but by the time that I looked out at the birds, the skies were heavy with cloud again.

The robin was in a stand offish mood….

robin

…and the goldfinches were too busy eating to wave at me.

goldfinches

The chaffinches always seem to be getting a chilly welcome from…..

chaffinch and goldfinch

….goldfinch or siskin.

chaffinch and siskin

Although I had occasional visits to make with a hot drink or a slice of toast for Mrs Tootlepedal, I was getting increasingly bored and restless with sitting around doing crosswords and listening to the radio so I realised that this might be a good moment to get back to putting copies of the 1960s Langholm Parish Church newsletters into the Archive Group website.  We have a collection of these newsletters given to us by the widow of the minister of the time and I put a lot onto the website  at one time but I have neglected them over the last few years.

This seemed the right moment to get back to work on them.  It requires scanning, OCR and HTML formatting and as they are not very well printed in places, the scanning and OCR requires attention and time.   If you wish, you can see one of the months that I put in today here.  I don’t guarantee that it will be error free.

It is interesting to me that 20 years after the end of the war, the minister still drew a lot of his examples from the war experience.  You get little feeling from the newsletter that the cultural stirrings that were rippling through the country in the mid 60s were affecting life in Langholm, though I am sure that they must have been making themselves felt even here.

This task proved a very good decision as it was interesting in its own right and as it required a lot of concentration, I didn’t have so much time to feel sorry for myself and I ended up a good deal more rested and cheerful than when I started.

To give myself a break between editions, I went for a very slow walk across three bridges.  The light was very poor by this time but I was still pleased to see some old waterside friends.

waterside birds

And the moss once again offered a bit of colour on a grey day.

The parapet of the Sawmill Brig was home to a mossy contrast.

moss

moss

And there was more to see as I went round the new path.

moss

It wasn’t a day for colourful views….

Lodge

….so I kept an eye out for other points of interest.

ferny tree

catkin and seed head

I had plenty of time to look about because I was walking very slowly indeed.  In fact I was going so slowly at one point that I thought that I might even have been going backwards.

Still, I managed to cross the Duchess Bridge and combine moss and bridge in one shot.

mossy tree and Duchess bridge

This part of the river in is shade for most of the year and it is no surprise to find a lot of moss covered trees on its banks.

The most colourful moss of the outing was this fine curtain on the wall at the end of the Scholars’ Field.

moss on Scholars Wall

Mike Tinker was working in his garden when I passed and kindly offered me a cup of coffee but I had done more than enough by this time and headed home for a sit down.

I thought that it was about time to eat a more or less proper meal for my tea but in retrospect, this wasn’t a brilliant idea and a boiled egg and a finger of toast would have been better.

The quality of the flying bird of the day continues to be appalling.

flying chaffinch

We are promised our next sunny day on Saturday week so things may not improve until then.

 

 

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Today’s guest post is the third and last of Tash’s portraits of Tony’s dogs beside the Forth.

Tony's dog

It was a cold but brighter day here today so there were no complaints but I had a slight chesty cough threatening so I abandoned a plan to wrap up well and go for a pedal and settled for a morning of light loafing about.

I kept an eye on the birds.

We had two greenfinches…

greenfinches

…many goldfinches…

goldfinches

…several dunnocks…

dunnock

…and robins on every perch.

robin

There were at least three robins and I could often see all three at the same time.  They seem to be mildly territorial but not very fierce about it so maybe there is room in the garden for all of them.

We went out for our midday meal as it was the day of the annual Archivists’ Lunch. It was at the Eskdale Hotel this year and a party of thirteen sat down for an excellent meal.

After the meal, I thought that I probably needed to shake the calories down so I went for a walk.  I also hoped that a bit of exercise might frighten away my incipient chesty cough.

It was crisp and breezy and a beautiful day for an outing on a hill so I left the Eskdale Hotel behind….

Eskdale Hotel

…and went up the Kirk Wynd on the opposite side of the market Place and headed straight up the hill to the monument on top of Whita.

It was warm enough for the puddles in the fields to be unfrozen….

Puddle

….but the brisk north wind which was rippling the water made it feel decidedly wintery.

I had hoped for splendid views as it had seemed quite bright when I was in the town but as I got further up the hill, it became clear that there was still a lot of moisture in the air…

View of langholm

…and both the town and the Ewes Valley…

misty ewes valley

…were rather fuzzy.

Still, there was always moss to look at, both on a wall…..

moss on wall

…and in big tussocks making some of the walk hard work.

moss tussock

It didn’t take me too long to get to the summit though as the nippy wind didn’t encourage much standing about and enjoying the view….

Monument

…but I did take a moment to look over the wall behind the monument and enjoy the view across the Tarras to Tinnis Hill.

 

Tinnis

And you can’t stand next to a wall without admiring the lichen.

lichen at Monument

It is exactly a mile from the Eskdale Hotel to the monument at an average  gradient of 16% so I was pleased to have taken exactly half an hour to get there. There is a nice neatness about it.

The sun was already getting a little lower in the sky so I didn’t dilly dally and was soon on my way down the track to the White Yett and the McDiarmid memorial.

McDiarmid Memorial

Beside the memorial there is a cairn with a cap of moss which invited a closer look.

cairn and moss

As I walked down the road to Whitshiels, the sun sank further and a gently golden light kissed the hills at the top of the valley.

Ewes valley sunset

As our friend Sue said the other day, the colours in winter can be just as rewarding as any other time of year.   If you choose the right day.

Ewes valley sunset

I kept an eye out for moss and enjoyed this collection of moss and lichen on a badly  decomposing fence post beside the road.

moss on fencepost

A group of horses caught the last rays of the sun as I  got near to the main road.

horses

I had hoped to be in time to take a picture or two of a rugby match at Miltown but the players were just trooping off the pitch as I came down the last stretch of hill.  A spectator leaving the game told me that Langholm had won by over 100 points.  Their opponents must have got quite discouraged.

The sun was on its last legs as I got back to the town but it gave me the chance for one last picture on my walk.

tree sunset

The walk turned out to be  exactly four miles and took me exactly an hour and a half so the whole excursion was mathematically very satisfying.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy in my absence and the Christmas tree was back in its own home again.

Christmas tree

As it is Twelfth Night, that is as it should be.

The walk may have shaken down my lunch but sadly, although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and didn’t cough at all, it didn’t do my chest much good so I am going for an early bed and hoping to get a good night’s sleep.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.  We had left for lunch before the sun got to the feeders so it is another impressionistic effort.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture was taken by our daughter Annie as she stopped off in Hong Kong on her way back from Macao.

Hong Kong

We should have been in celebratory mood today as it is the winter solstice and the start of a new year but Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold had got a bit worse and she wisely retired to bed for the day so we were rather muted,

It was a still, grey day and I might have gone for a pedal if I had felt more perky but the humidity was very high (98% as I write this) so my asthma was niggling a little and I didn’t want to desert the invalid for too long and to be quite honest, the weather has been so miserable for most of the year that some of the joy has gone out of cycling lately and I am having a hard time trying to get motivated.

I stared out of the kitchen window for a while where a robin was keeping an eye out for competition.

robin

A chaffinch came in search of a perch and flew off disappointed.

Flying chaffinches

A dunnock did some gleaning.

dunnock

And having chased a rival off, the robin went back to supervising its territory.

robin

I didn’t want to spend the whole morning stuck inside so I went for a short walk, picking up Sandy on my way.

I had heard that the wood at the Becks Burn was due to be felled so we went along to get some pictures of the wood before felling.

We were too late.  Signs were up forbidding access and in the wood, machines were already eating the trees.

Becks wood

We turned back and took a shorter route home, going down the edge of the wood and following the Becks Burn….

Beck burn

…until we got to the road….

Becks burn bridge

…and headed for home.

We had seen a few things on our way.

jacob sheep

And an indication of how wet the air has been was given by the hawthorn trees.

hawthorn

You might well think that it has been raining but it has been dry.

P1060180

A good tree is always cheering.

tree

I really liked this striking lichen on the roadside wall.

lichen

The beech hedges retain their leaves and give a bit of colour even on the darkest day of the year.

beech hedge in winter

The predominate view of the day was misty patches.  They were to be seen wherever you looked.

misty view

misty view

Becks mist

P1060170

We rounded off the walk with a view of a heron standing on the caul at Pool Corner.

heron pool corner

It was looking a bit too well turned out to be Mr Grumpy, we thought but it wasn’t bothered by us and just stood there thinking about fish.  We secretly hoped that it would fly gently off, giving us a good photo opportunity but it stubbornly stayed there until we gave up first and walked on.

When I got home, I had a last look out of the window…

shouting chaffinch

…and was very impressed by the sheer power of this chaffinch’s shout.

I made Mrs Tootlepedal a light lunch and went off to sing carols with some members of Langholm Sings at the Day Centre for the benefit of the ‘old folk’ who had just had their Christmas lunch.  They seemed quite pleased to see us.

And that was that for the day.  I acted as occasional support for Mrs Tootlepedal who was still some way below par, put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, surfed the internet and practised a song or two.

Roll on springtime.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is from our daughter Annie who is working at the Macao film festival (someone has to do it).  This is the view from her hotel.

IMG_2934

Once again, a guest picture provides a marked contrast with our weather here.  It was very gloomy and rather windy all day.  It wasn’t quite as wet and windy as we feared but it seems to be making up for that as I write this in the evening and I can hear the wind sighing and moaning outside as the rain batters at my window.

After a few day of cycling, I was probably wise to take the opportunity of the poor weather to have a most restful day today.

I got up late. idled about, ate a cheese sandwich, made some rolls and went to bed.  In between times, I peered hopefully out of the kitchen window into the gloom.

There were some birds brave enough to face the windy conditions.  A few chaffinches came to the plum tree first….

chaffinches

…and then hit the feeder…

_DSC9605

…and tucked in.

chaffinches

It wasn’t long before, to the chaffinches’ dismay, a greenfinch turned up.

chaffinches and greenfinch

And then more came in determined mood….

greenfinches

…and sometimes, very determined mood.

greenfinches

But there was room for them all.

_DSC9608

I only saw this one goldfinch….

goldfinch

…but I didn’t watch for long and went off to practise songs and put an accompaniment for the new sonata for Luke and me onto the computer.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of a Hockney exhibition which she thoroughly enjoyed.  His vivid colours brightened her day a lot.

In the early evening, we had the AGM of the Archive Group and it passed off very peacefully and briefly as usual.  The members are extremely sensible.

Later in the evening, I poked my nose out of the door for the first time in the day and went off for the final Langholm Sings practice before our concert of Friday.  If we all concentrate, things should go reasonable well.

We are hoping that the weather will let us get to Edinburgh tomorrow to visit Matilda but there is talk of snow as soon as the wind dies down.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who was up in London to watch tennis at the O2 Arena. During a break in play, she ventured across the river on the Emirates cable car.

emirates air line

We could hear the rain pounding down overnight so it was no surprise to wake up to a dull and soggy day.  The heavy rain had eased off but there was a lot of drizzle in the morning.

This didn’t bother me too much as I was sat in the Welcome to Langholm office for two hours not welcoming any visitors at all.  This let me get completely caught up on my entries to the Archive Group’s  newspaper database so I regarded it as time well spent (though a visitor or two to welcome would have been welcome).

There was not much fun to be had in gardening or peering at bird feeders in the gloom so after lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I braved a little light drizzle and went out on an expedition round Gaskell’s Walk.

I drew her attention to some exciting lichen just after we set out…

lichen

…but she was more interested in watching the overnight rain pouring over the caul at Pool Corner.

Pool corner

It must have rained a great deal last night.

I looked at larch trees which are gradually losing their needles but still offering a treat to the passer by.

larches at pool cornerlarches at pool corner

In a satisfactory way, they lose their needles from the bottom up and this seems to make them last longer as a visual delight than if they lost them from the top.

We are never short of moss round here.

moss on hedge and wall

The walk was a bit muddy underfoot when we got to the track but this was not a surprise when we saw how much water was coming down the Becks Burn to join the Wauchope.

Becks Burn

There is a little stream, usually no more than a trickle which runs under a bridge near the end of the track.

Gaskell's Bridge

It is very narrow above the bridge but has a deep and wide gully on the other side as it plunges down a steep bank.  Today we could see how it can have enough water on a wet day to carve such a deep trench.

It wasn’t a day for views at all…

Castle Hill in cloud

…but as it was about ten degrees warmer than yesterday, it wasn’t a bad day for a walk in November.

As we got near home, I saw some Hart’s Tongue fern looking very happy on a wall…

hart's tongue fern

…and a substantial outbreak of lichen on a tree stump which was striking enough to get Mrs Tootlepedal interested.

lichen

I took a picture from the Park Bridge to show the contrast between today and yesterday.

Yesterday was like this:

Wauchope in frost

And today was like this:

P1050521

No one can accuse our weather of being boring.

It was too dark to look at birds when I got home so I went inside to pick some pictures to show at our Camera Club meeting later in the evening but Mrs Tootlepedal braved the drizzle and got some useful gardening done.

It has either been frosty or soggy since she got back from the south so the refurbished tiller is still in its box.

My flute pupil Luke came and gave more evidence of practice so we managed to play through a tricky Quantz movement with only one or two hiccups.  Next week I am sure that we will roll through it triumphantly.

In the evening, I went to our camera club meeting and there was a good turnout of members and once again we got an excellent selection of photographs from the members.  There was much to enjoy in looking at the shots and a lot to learn from the subjects and the techniques used.

In the end, a potentially very gloomy and dull day turned out to have been both useful and enjoyable and I can’t ask for more than that.

On a side note, our friend Mike Tinker turned up for a cup of tea in the afternoon and he was happily much recovered from a serious cold which has laid him low for several days.   Although he is still far from skipping and dancing, it was good to see him out and about at least.

I did manage one suitably gloomy flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford upon Avon.  It was kindly sent to me by Mike Griffiths, author of the Wilden Marsh blog which is always an interesting read.  He is a first class photographer.

stratford theatre

It was a dry morning again.  Recently the weather gods have taken to raining in the night and leaving the days dry.  This is very welcome.  It was extra welcome today as I had to take the car to the garage first thing in the morning to get its winter tyres put on and then walk home.

After a light breakfast, I had to walk up to the town again to sit for a couple of hours in the Welcome to Langholm office where I was filling in for an absentee welcomer.

There was not a lot of welcoming to do so I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database which I regarded as time well spent.

I picked up the car from the garage, complete with its winter tyres, and drove home in sunshine.  It was such a nice day that I rang Sandy up to see if he would like a walk after lunch. He was keen so we arranged a time and almost immediately, it began to rain.  It was only teasing though and it soon stopped and the sun came out again.

We decided to visit Rowanburn and walk to the viaduct that links Scotland and England, the route we had planned to follow last Saturday when we were foiled by the road works.

There was no let or hindrance today and we parked in the middle of the village…

Rowanburn

…just beside a tribute to its past existence as a home for coal miners and a coal mine.

We set off down the path to the old railway line from Langholm to England, passing through a coal and timber yard which looks as though it has more demand for timber than coal these days.

Rowanburn timber

Although the timber may look a bit dull, it turned out to be a treasure trove of fungi.

Every tree trunk seemed to have its own crop.

Rowanburn timber fungi

And I mean, every tree trunk.

Rowanburn timber fungi

This was my favourite.

Rowanburn timber fungi

The sun wasn’t out when we started the walk and everything is still wet after a soggy autumn so these cows with their feet in the mud summed up the situation rather well.

Rowanburn cows

It is enough to make a cow thoughtful.

Rowanburn cows

We walked on, along the disused railway bed…

Rowanburn railway track

…and entered the woods.  We thought that we would be in the woods until we reached the viaduct….

Rowanburn railway track

…but great tree felling has gone on and most of the track is now in the open.  This was made more welcome by the reappearance of the sun…

Rowanburn railway track

…and we enjoyed good views up the Liddle Water valley over the felled area…

Liddesdale

…until we came to the viaduct.

Liddesdale viaduct

It has a big new fence across it to stop me and Sandy walking on to it.  I could just poke the Lumix lens through a gap in the wires.

That is England on the far side of the bridge.

I was quite pleased not to be allowed to walk on the viaduct because it is a lofty structure as we could see from below when we had scrambled down a bank onto the road…

Liddle viaduct bridge

…and splodged through some very muddy fields to the waterside until we found a place where we could look back up at the viaduct.

viaduct

It is a rather frustrating structure to try to do justice to with a camera.  It is impossible to get a position where all the arches can be seen at once and its curved construction is very tricky to capture.

The skill of the men who designed and built it is manifest when you look up at the arches.

viaduct

The trackbed crosses the supporting pillars at an angle and on a curve and all this was done with a bit of string and a piece of chalk (and a lot of sound mathematics) and not a computer in sight.  My respect for engineers is unbounded.

I walked down the river a bit to try to get a better shot of just some of its many arches.

liddle viaduct

I enjoyed the peaceful water above the bridge too.

liddle water

Sandy didn’t fancy the splodge back through the muddy field so he clambered up a very steep path to the end of the viaduct but I took the longer way round and met him on the track.

We walked back to the car with one eye on a rainy looking cloud and got there just as a light rain started to fall.

We had stopped to looked at a few things on the way back…

fungus and hips

..so we were very pleased with our timing.

We went back to Langholm and Sandy entertained me to tea and a chocolate biscuit or two before I headed home.

It was too dark to do anything other than go in and look at the pictures that I had taken on the walk and practise a song which I have to re-learn by heart  for our Christmas concert with the Carlisle choir.

Generally speaking, my cough was much improved today and I really am quite optimistic that I may have seen the last of it soon.

In the evening, Susan arrived and she drove us to Carlisle for the monthly meeting of our recorder group.

Because I had got the winter tyres on the car, I was expecting a long spell of warm and dry weather but it was near freezing as we drove back so maybe the winter tyres will come in handy.

The recorder playing was most enjoyable as was the cup of tea and chocolate biscuits that followed it.  Two cups of tea with chocolate biscuits in the same day is a very good thing.

I didn’t have much time to look out of the kitchen window today so the flying bird of the day is a non standard one….but quite striking all the same.

flying chaffinch

Sandy has produced a record of our walk with some very nice pictures on it.  You can see it here if you would like.

 

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After my plea for some guest pictures, there has been a lavish response so thank you to all who contributed.  This one is from Jenni Smith, who during a short holiday walked along the coast from Stonehaven to visit the spectacular Dunnottar Castle.

Dunottar Castle

After our recent cool mornings, it was good to get up to a warmer day today with no frost to be seen.

I was feeling pretty perky, all things considered and after breakfast, I had a few of those adventures that the mice have while the cat is away (Mrs Tootlepedal is visiting her mother).  I emptied the dishwasher, tidied up the kitchen and put a load of washing in the washing machine and had the place looking quite neat by the time that Dropscone came round for coffee.

I did mix in some of the usual routine with all the fun.

There were at least three robins in the garden this morning.

reobin

A siskin looked rather alarmed by the prospect of featuring on the blog.

siskin

A chaffinch basked in one of the sunny moments.  I thought it might have an eye injury when I looked closely at the picture…

chaffinch in plum tree eye shut

…but a second picture taken a moment later showed that it was just shutting its eyes and stretching.

chaffinch in plum tree eye open

Regular blue tits were in evidence again.

blue tit

And the goldfinches paid a visit much to the alarm of the siskin who cleared out at speed.

goldfinches

Dropscone brought some of his excellent scones with him and I opened a new packet of coffee beans to grind so we had a high quality ‘sip and scone’ session.

He has been having some very annoying computer problems lately so once again I am keeping my fingers crossed that I avoid any such difficulty.

After he left, I had another look out of the window….

greenfinch in plum tree

…and seeing a greenfinch enjoying the sunshine, I thought that I could have a bit of that too so I had a quick snack and got my cycling clothes on.

At 50°C it was likely to be pretty kind on my chest so I embarked on a 27 mile circular tour, hoping to do some basking in the sun myself.  Sadly, although a little sunshine caught some larches along the Wauchope road soon after I set out….

larches

….it didn’t last and once again, I suffered from seeing some distant sun as I went along….

View from callister

…but didn’t get much myself.

The prevailing mood was brown…

View of ewes wind farm

…but as the windmills were going round very slowly, I didn’t mind too much.

At this time of the year, with the sun struggling to get up into the sky, cycling views are very binary with a bit of colour to one side of the road, as in the scene above, and none on the other side as in the picture below which was shot in full colour mode.

trees

As you can see, there was a bit of threatening cloud about but it sportingly held off until the last few yards of my trip.

I did all the small amount of climbing in the first 12 miles of the trip and after passing this colourfully roofed barn at Kennedy’s Corner…

Kennedy's Corner

…it was mostly downhill and downwind all the way home.

I stopped to take a picture that combined a ruin and a bare tree,  double pleasure for me….

Ruin near Chapelknowe

…and it was just as well that I wasn’t going fast because I had to stop again a moment or two later to let a rush of traffic past.

tractor with hay

The road was unusually busy today.  I don’t normally meet anything on this section.

I had two more larch moments to record on the way.  One at the start of the new Auchenrivock road…

Hagg on Esk

…and one at the far end.

Auchenrivock larches

I really wish that the sun had been out when I stopped here as it is my favourite place for colour at this time of year on a sunny day.

Thanks to the gentle wind and the relative warmth, I managed a respectable 13.5 mph for the trip without having to breathe too hard and got off the bike feeling well enough to spend some time giving it a good clean and lubrication before I put it away.

I am still coughing from time to time but I really feel that the end is in sight at last.

While I was cleaning the bike, I enjoyed a bit of late colour against the house wall.

cotoneaster

At this time of the year, the hours between three and five o’clock in the afternoon are a rather dead time, not time for evening indoor entertainments but too dark unless the day is very fine, to do much walking or snapping outside.  It is my intention to try to make use of this time to do something useful rather than sit around grumpily waiting for spring so today I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  This was a momentous occasion as it started off another year, 1897.  (We began with the first edition in 1848 so we have come a long way.)

Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say that all was well in the south so it has turned out to be a good day all round.

The flying bird of the day is an imperious looking chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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