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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Common Riding’

Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda’s ‘other grandfather’, Francis.  He took this shot of Matilda aboard the good ship Alistair, waiting for the horses to gallop up the Kirk Wynd this morning.

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We were awakened by the beat of the big drum of the flute band pounding round the town at five o’clock in the morning as the band reminded us that it was Langholm’s Great day and called on us to join them in going up the hill to watch the hound trail, an invitation that we ignored and rolled over to go to sleep again.

We got up at a more normal time and Matilda greeted me from an upstairs window as I checked on the weather.

matilda at window

We were joined by Francis and Eileen, Matilda’s other grandparents who had being staying in Canonbie, and after a light breakfast, we all went along the road to see the procession of emblem bearers, the Town Band, the cornet and his mounted followers come down Thomas Telford Road to ceremonially circle the old pump there.

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The Town band members go on foot…

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…and the cornet and his followers on horseback by a slightly more circuitous route.

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Once round the pump, the front three waited for the road to clear…

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…and led the procession back towards the Old Town…

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…crossing the river on their way.

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I had lingered behind the rest of the party to take pictures and when I got to the far side of the bridge, I came up with Alistair and Matilda who were standing on the steps of the old church counting the number of horses.

Al and Matilda CR 2019

There was some argument about the exact number but it was as near 150 as made no difference.

Our party headed to the top of the Kirk Wynd to watch the cornet lead the gallop up out of the town and I left them there while I walked a little further up the wynd to make sure that I could get a clear shot of the riders without a hundred heads in between me and them.

I had time to admire the view of a rather misty but dry and warm day….

view CR 2019

…and count the blades of grass beside me…

grass CR 2019

…before the cornet and his right and left hand men appeared.  Henry was proudly flourishing the town’s standard.

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Shortly afterwards the other 147 (approximately) riders came along too….

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…and they were soon streaming out onto the hill, where they would visit the Castle Craigs and the Monument before descending back to the town.

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I left them to it and went straight back to the town myself where I joined the townspeople and visitors in walking along the traffic free High Street (watching where we were treading with great care).

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When our party assembled at home, we had a delicious brunch prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal.  In a normal year, we might have gone back to the High Street to hear the fair crying or gone to the Kilngreen to watch the crossing of the water, but this year dancing was the major business of the afternoon.  Matilda’s cousin Lola had arrived with her mother Cathy, and Matilda and Lola were due to start dancing at one o’clock so as soon as brunch was over, we headed to the Castleholm where the dancing takes place.

Matilda and Lola looked as smart as paint in their Highland dancing costumes.

 

lola and matilda clare

Photo kindly contributed by Clare, Matilda’s mother.

Before the dancing started, we had time to watch the two entrants in the pony race whizz round the track in fine style.

CR 2019 pony race

And then I went to see the start of the 90m open sprint race.  These are top athletes and nine seconds later, the man nearest to us, far from landing flat on his face as might seem likely from this picture, had dashed down the track and was £500 pound richer.

CR 2019 sprint start

The foot races continued all afternoon, hotly contested…

CR 2019 sprint finish

…by athletes of all ages and both sexes.

CR 2019 sprint juniors

Owing to getting my camera settings very wrong, I totally failed to get a usable picture of Matilda  actually dancing.  In fact photographing the highland dancers is a tricky business as they spend most of their time facing the judges and with their backs to the audience, so you will have to taken my word that this is Lola at work getting some good height.

CR 2019 lola dancing

In between the dances, I was able to watch more handicap foot races…

CR 2019 athletics

…and enjoy the thrill of being close to horses and jockeys racing at a fearsome pace round the sharp corners of the track on the Castleholm.

CR 2019 racing a

There were good fields in all the races that I watched today.

CR 2019 racing b

I didn’t see Matilda dance but I did see her in the line up at the end of her classes (she is second from the left with her back to us of course) getting a presentation from the organisers.

matilda CR 2019 line up

I went right round to the other side of the dancing arena and peered over the judges’ shoulders to get a view of Lola in her next dance…

loca dancing CR 2019

…before going off to watch the start of the big race of the day, a hotly contested event with a first prize of £2000 pounds…

CR 2019 racing c

…which this horse won, having stolen a march on the rest of the field up the back straight…

CR 2019 racing f

…and hanging on as they chased him home.

CR 2019 racing g

While the horses had been racing, Alistair had bought Matilda a unicorn balloon.

CR 2019 matilda and balloon

She showed it to Francis.

CR 2019 matilda and balloon and Francis

Lola had magically transformed from Highland Dancer to Hello Sailor and was now performing a hornpipe with great gusto.

CR 2019 lola hornpipe

After the last dance, there was a chance to see one more horse race..

CR 2019 racing h

…and once again to admire the skill and courage of both horses and riders…

CR 2019 racing i

…before it was time to head for home and a cup of tea.   Then Lola and Cathy drove back to Edinburgh where they had another social engagement and the rest of us had a family meal.   After the meal, Francis and Eileen also drove off to Edinburgh and we were left to have a sit down to recover from the day.

Matilda and her parents go home tomorrow and we shall be very quiet when everyone has gone.

The Common Riding colours were pink this year so it is fitting to end this post not with a flying bird of the day but with six fine pink poppies in the garden this morning.

pink poppies

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She came across this artwork in an outdoor exhibition in a park.  It is called The Tudor Ball and it is by Lars Fisk.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have been an artist.

Tudor Ball by Lars Fisk

It was even hotter today than yesterday and by the afternoon, the thermometer was showing 30 degrees C.  I took the day easily but my friend Ken is made of tougher stuff than me, and set off for a ride in the morning as the heat was building.

Ken

I walked round the garden (slowly).

The salvia was sticking even more snakes’ tongues out than ever.

salvia

In the vegetable garden, runner bean flowers are appearing…

runner beans

…and the biggest flower in the garden is the courgette.

courgette

The rosa complicata is doing its best to catch Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye with some late blooming…

rosa complicata

…and once again the garden was full of butterflies sampling different flowers.

four butterflies

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting in Hawick regarding funding for the proposed community moorland buy out.  Later in the day I spoke to another person who was at the meeting, and he remarked that when you meet potential funders, they are always much more keen to suggest other sources of funding than to commit themselves.  There will be a lot of work to be done if the dream is to be realised.

I stayed at home and watched the birds.

They were quite heated too.

two balletic siskins

siskin arriving

It made me tired just watching them.

sparrow arriving

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting and we watched a very exhausting stage of the Tour de France where these giants among men scaled ever more incredible heights.

When the stage was over, we got ready to welcome Matilda and her parents Al and Clare, who are coming to stay with us for the Common Riding.  Matilda is dancing in a competition tomorrow afternoon.

We were somewhat dubious about whether it was a good idea to open some doors and windows to let some air in or to keep them all shut and keep the air out.  In the end we opened the back door onto the dam and I noticed a fine leycestaria growing just beside the door.

leycestaria

When we went out into the garden, I saw that a fine crop of poppies which I had photographed this morning…

poppies

…had completely disappeared by the afternoon.

no poppies

The heat had knocked off more heads than the wind and the rain.

The Wren rose doesn’t seem to mind the heat.  We have never seen so many flowers in good condition on a single stem before.  Usually one bloom starts fading before another comes to full flower.

rose Wren full

Mrs Tootlepedal has five different phloxes on the go so I took a picture of all of them but as I can only cope with two, three, four or six pictures in a composite panel on the blog, I have had to sneak in a ringer.

five phlox

Matilda and Co were held up by heavy traffic in Edinburgh and slow traffic on the way down so I popped out for a steady ten miles on my bike while we were waiting.  Because you make your own breeze while you cycle, it didn’t feel too bad while I was actually pedalling but I was extremely hot when I stopped.

Our visitors arrived safely in time for an evening meal.  This was accompanied by some growls of thunder, streaks of lightning and some rain.  The storm didn’t last long though, and while Matilda was getting ready to go to bed, I went up to the High Street where the Town Band had been playing a concert.  I was too late to hear the brass band play but there were still plenty of people on the street.  They were waiting for the Flute Band to march through the town.

high street flute band

This is an informal gathering of musicians who gather together at the Common Riding.  The band meets exiles returning to the town on the last train in the evening of the day before the Common Riding itself.

The fact that the last passenger train came into the town about fifty years ago has not stopped them from meeting it every year since.  We like our traditions.

flute band approaching

Henry, the cornet and our church organist was playing in the front row as they marched along the High Street…

henry in flute band

…and I could spot my flute pupil Luke puffing away too.

luke in flute band

The pink ties reflect the Common Riding colours which are always the colours worn by the winning jockey in the Epsom Derby  earlier in the year.

The band crossed over the Town Bridge and marched off down Thomas Telford Road followed by a large cortege.

flute band cortege

I followed the flute band along Henry Street and when they had reached the end of the road, I waited for a minute or two, turned round, and hey presto, another band appeared!

Watched by the traditional one boy and a dog, this was the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band…

man and dog pipe band

…looking very smart.

pipe band henry street

The bands march and play to remind everyone in the town, as if they needed reminding, that tomorrow is Langholm’s Great Day.

There were more rumbles of thunder after the bands had gone and we are just hoping that the weather will be kind to us.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa, who sent me this view taken on his morning walk.

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There was a threat of rain in the morning and the promise of sunshine in the afternoon, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went shopping in Carlisle in the morning.  The rain came and went but we stayed dry as we shopped.  It rained heavily again after we got home and then, as promised, the day  improved and there were some pleasantly sunny moments.

I had time for a quick look round the garden in a dry spell before we went shopping.

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The privet is filling the garden with its scent and pulling in the bees in a wholesale way.

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I liked this knapweed.  It has a cheery air about it.

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I took two shots of poppies and friends.

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We got back to Langholm from Carlisle just in time for me to collect a camera and walk up through the town where people were gathering to watch the cornet lead a procession of horsemen  galloping up this steep hill at the start of the Castle Craigs ride out, the last of several rides out which take place in the week before our Common Riding week.  (By tradition, this ride out is a men only affair although other rides out and the Common Riding procession itself are open to all.)

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I didn’t stop to watch the riders there but headed on up the Kirk Wynd, past massed ranks of rosebay willowherb…

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…and onto the open hillside.

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I had time to admire the flowers on the hill…

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…before the cornet and his followers appeared below.

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They too left the wynd and headed up onto the hill.

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Henry, our cornet, is also the church organist and choirmaster so I was pleased that he had a moment to wave at me as he passed.

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The cornet is always accompanied by the cornets of the past two years who make up the ‘front row’ and they stopped to let the mounted followers catch up, and had a small refreshment as they waited.

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I admired the view until…

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…the company was united.

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After a short rest, they set off again…

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…following a track that would lead them..

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…up the hill and past a cairn.

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I was impressed by the colour co-ordination among the horses…

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The cavalcade made a fine sight as it snaked up the path towards the shoulder of the hill.

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The riders were pursued by some foot followers…

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…and an unfortunate horseman whose saddle had slipped further down the hill and who was now going up at his own speed.

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As the procession disappeared from sight on their way to visit the Castle Craigs on the far side of Whita…

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…I headed back down the hill, alarming some sheep…

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…and keeping my eye out for interest on the way.

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I arrived by a roundabout route at the Kilngreen where black headed gulls were jostling each other in an attempt to be recognised as flying bird of the day.

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The riders had got a grand day for their outing.

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Not having done much walking on the hills lately, I was ready for a sit down when i got home and once again, a stage of the Tour de France offered the perfect excuse.

When the stage had finished, I picked myself up, shook myself down and went for a 16 miles circular cycle ride.  It was a grand day for cycling as well as horse riding.

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When I passed Hollows tower near the end of my ride, I noticed that they have constructed an extensive new balustrade round the top of the tower, presumably  to allow visitors to walk safely there.

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In 1972, Neil Armstrong, the astronaut stood there when he visited Langholm.

from our collection

I got home safely and while I was in energetic mode, I mowed the middle and front lawns, picked some sweet peas and a few raspberries and strawberries and kept an eye out for small tortoiseshell butterflies.

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As I was now ready for another sit down, it was very fortunate that Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared a tasty evening meal for me to eat while I sat.

I apologise for the excessive number of pictures but I have tried to keep the text down to a minimum.

This was the black headed gull that won the prize for flying bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who saw this all electric hire car getting a charge in a street the other day.

blue city car

It was warmer today but no less grey in the morning and we were pleased to get to church and back before it started to rain.  As I may have mentioned, our organist Henry was recently elected to act as the town’s standard bearer or cornet at our Common Riding at the end of July.  This means that he has many obligations and duties to perform in the weeks leading up to the great day so he will have little time to think of the church choir.  As a result, we are having a very quiet time as far as singing in church goes with a standby organist on duty again today.  As we are also short of a minister, there was rather a subdued air about the service this morning.

Thanks to the rain when we got home, it seemed like a good time to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database so I did that.

The rain eased off and after lunch and I had a quick look at the bird. Once again, sparrows were the chief visitors.  Although they are common and often ignored, they are quite decorative in their own way.

decorative sparrow

Almost every time that I looked, there was  a sparrow looming up.

sparrow looming

I did see a single siskin…

sparrow and siskin

…and a great tit and a blue tit visited at moments when I didn’t have a camera to hand.

The second most common birds at present are jackdaws.

jackdaw looking keen

I had time for a walk round the garden.  The climbing hydrangea is gradually getting little specks of white all over it.  It should look very fine quite soon.

climbing hydrangea

There were some new flowers to be seen like this foxglove..

wet foxglove

…but generally, it was a day for spotting rain drops on roses…

wet yellow rosewet rose

…and geraniums.

wet geranium

…but no brown paper parcels.

The flowers beside the bird feeders, which I look at through the kitchen window when the birds have flown away, make a pretty picture.

flowers beside feeder

I didn’t have long to hang around as it was soon time to get in our little white electric thingy and go to Carlisle for a choir practice.  I had various reasons for getting an electric car but none of them were about what it would be like actually driving it, so it is a great bonus that it turns out to be a wonderful car to drive.  Just tootling along the familiar road to Carlisle at a modest speed brings me great satisfaction.

We had a new venue for our choir practice today, the large chapel of a local private school.  It proved to have very hard pews to sit on and quite an echoing acoustic so it took a bit of getting used to.  We are having our concert there next week and then using it as our permanent home when we start again in Autumn.  I may have to bring my own cushion.

When we came out after a really good sing, the day had miraculously turned from cool and grey to warm and sunny and there was a spring in everybody’s step as they went on their way.

It was still fine when we got home and I considered a bike ride but a very vigorous breeze and a rather overgrown hedge along the road…

hedge before trimmin June

…made me think that getting the hedge cut would be the best thing to do.  With Mrs Tootlepedal’s help, it didn’t take too long to get the hedge to look like this…

hedge after trimming june

…and the trimmings tucked away in the compost bin.

As I passed the front door, I couldn’t help stopping to note the clematis in the sunshine there.  It has lasted very well, possibly because it is in a sheltered spot against the wall of the house.

front door azaleas in sun

Turning to look the other way, I could see the azalea at the left hand end of the lawn which has spoiled Mrs Tootlepedal’s colour scheme by not coming into flower at all this year.

front lawn evening

Looking back from the far end of the lawn, it is only too easy to spot the large pale areas which are mostly moss..

front lawn looking back

…but considering that I seriously thinking of abandoning all hope of grass earlier this year, it has come on pretty well and the new moss eating treatment seems to be paying off.

As the sun was still out, I would have liked to take a few flower pictures but the wind was so strong…

windblown leaves

…that it would have been a waste of time to try.

I went in and we had a nourishing bowl of sausage stew with new potatoes for our tea.

The flying bird of the day is a male sparrow.

flying sparrow

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No guest picture today but a portrait of Cornet Little, who carried the town’s flag today.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 3

We had been promised all sorts of weather, thunderstorms, steady rain, occasional drizzle but in the end, we got a beautiful day for our Common Riding and it was shirtsleeve order until the very end of the day when rain arrived.

As a result of the sunshine, there are a lot of pictures in today’s post so I will try to keep the commentary to a minimum.

It couldn’t have been sunnier when I went along to meet the procession as it came down Thomas Telford Road after breakfast.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 1

The Town Band is hidden in the crowd there and I was surprised when they came into view to find that Scott the minister was playing the cymbals.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 2

The band moved on to take their place in front of the mounted procession, led by the front three…

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 4

…before it went back down Thomas Telford Road, crossed the Langholm Bridge…

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 5

…and disappeared down the High Street towards Townfoot.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 6

While they went on their way, I and a lot of the rest of the town and its many visitors headed up the Kirk Wynd.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 1

Most stopped there to cheer the cornet and his followers as they galloped up the steep hill.  I went further up the hill, passing Mike Tinker and family who had got into a good position earlier on near the Golf Club.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 2

I like to find a position where there are not two hundred people between me and the horses so I climbed a bit higher up the hill, found a secluded spot and admired the views for a few minutes…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 3Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 4

…before the cornet appeared , proudly carrying our flag up the hill…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 5

…followed as ever by the left….

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 6

…and right hand men…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 7

…and then the rest of the 140 or so riders….

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 8

…who cantered past me, kicking up a great dust on their way to the hill.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 9

While they continued to the Castle Craigs and the Monument before returning to the town, I went home to meet up with the rest of the family and had a restorative cup of coffee.

Leaving the others behind, as Matilda and Mrs Tootlepedal had been out in quite enough sun for the time being, I found a quiet spot on the bank of the Ewes Water just below the Sawmill Brig.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water1

It was very peaceful, with a few people and a row of attentive gulls hanging about.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water2

It wasn’t long though before the pipe band led a procession of children carrying heather besoms over the sawmill brig, bringing a lot of people with it….

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water3

…and soon the banks of the river downstream were also filling up with spectators.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water4

Some foot soldiers, bearers of the spade, crossed the river on foot…

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…and they were followed by the cornet and his retinue.

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Once across, the riders assembled on the Castleholm…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water7

…and this took enough time for me to walk back to the town bridge from which I could see the last of the riders still crossing the water.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water 8

I waited on the banks of the Esk until the cornet had been led past Langholm Castle to start the cornets chase…

Common Riding 2018 cornets chase

…and then went home for lunch.

After lunch, Matilda was ready for action.

Matilda

She was wearing sensible glasses and a serious hat and every available inch of skin was covered with sunscreen.  Thus armoured, she, I and her mother made our way to the Castleholm where we could watch runners…

athletics

Ready, steady, GO!!

…and dancers…

highland dancing

…who must have been intolerably hot in their heavy costumes…

…and catch glimpses of hardy souls having fun on one of the rides at the fair on the Kilngreen.  (Though I use the word fun very loosely when you see it involves being twirled round upside down high above the treetops and then having to wait suspended in the air while new victims get aboard down below.)

fair

My chief interest as usual was the horse racing.  The organisers had been busy with an agricultural sprayer watering the track in the past week so the going was surprisingly good considering the lack of rain.

Common Riding 2018 racing 10

I left Matilda and Clare at the end of the straight where they could see the horses thundering towards them and took my place at the bottom corner.

It was a six furlong sprint and the riders rocketed round the track at an alarming speed…

Common Riding 2018 racing 9

“At full stretch”

…even the one bringing up the rear of the field.

Common Riding 2018 racing 8

The Castleholm racetrack has tight corners and getting round them calls for a great deal of strength and skill.

Common Riding 2018 racing 7

It doesn’t take a horse long to cover six furlongs and within a minute or so the field was slowing down as it came round the bottom corner again having passed the winning post.

Common Riding 2018 racing 6

Before the next race, we were joined by Al and he came up to join me at the top corner.  This was the feature race of the day and worth a cool thousand pounds to the winner.

The runners paraded in the paddock…

Common Riding 2018 racing 5

…before going down to the seven furlong start.  The starter got them off to a very even start…

Common Riding 2018 racing 4

…and I could see them streaking up the back straight…

Common Riding 2018 racing 3

…before rounding the top corner in style…

Common Riding 2018 racing 2

…with the back marker once again trying as hard as all the others.

Common Riding 2018 racing 1

Matilda was quite well enough cooked by now so we made our way home…

 

Clare, Al and Matilda

…accompanied by a new friend.

Our return was perfectly timed to catch the end of the last mountain stage of the Tour de France and after that we had a peaceful time for the rest of the day.

Matilda took Mrs Tootlepedal out into the garden to do some experimental cycling on the lawn and followed that with some watering and frog spotting from our new garden bridge.

Mrs T and Matilda

This was the frog that they spotted.

frog

I was looking for peacock butterflies and found several of them on the buddleia.

peacock butterfly pair 2

They were working in pairs today.

peacock butterfly pair 1

The Common Riding day ends with dancing, first on the Castleholm and then in the streets on the way back into town for the handing back of the flag.  Every year, I think that I will go up to the field and take some final pictures there and every year, my tired body thinks differently.

I had hoped to close the post with magnificent shots of a blood red moon and Mars but sadly after a sunlit day, the skies clouded over.

Instead of the moon, there is a continuous flicker of lightning around the hills to the north of the town and a distant rumble of thunder so I better send this post off before our connection gets broken.

Some bright flowers from the garden today will have to round things off instead of heavenly wonders.

flowers 2flowers

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from the phone camera of our younger son, Al who took it while sitting on the new bench in our garden this afternoon.

Al's bee on calendula

It is a very smart device which not only takes the pictures that he wants but often takes one or two just before and/or just after he has pressed the button of its own accord and then it may politely suggest that its effort is better than his.  I need one of these devices.  Still, his effort was very good.

It was a hot and sunny day today but not as hot as it was in London as our daughter rang us up to point out.

The pest control man appeared before breakfast time and did his work so the painter was able to get on with his work too and this was very satisfactory.

Between the hot weather and the need to prepare the house for visitors, there was not a lot of opportunity to do useful things in the garden but I did manage to trim some of the hedges round the front lawn and take a few pictures.

Not just one…

red cosmos

…but two more cosmos have come out.

another red cosmos

And there was a new dahlia of the day.

red dahlia

Mrs Tootlepedal planted two gaura in her new bed in the spring.  One succumbed to the miserable weather but the other has continued to flower in a very satisfactory way.

gaura

The bed is edged with lobelia and they have often appeared in the background behind other flowers.  I thought that they deserved a picture to themselves.

lobelia clump

Like many other flowers, a closer look is interesting.  They turn out to have two car headlights each.

lobelia headlights

There were a few peacock butterflies about but they were hard to catch.  Here is one on the red buddleia…

peacock butterfly on red buddleia

…and another on a pink phlox.

peacock butterfly on phlox

They weren’t very keen to settle down and open their wings and this one on the other buddleia remained firmly closed.

peacock butterfly on buddleia

It wasn’t idle though. It was getting stuck in.

peacock butterfly sipping

The white butterflies are still about in numbers and I caught this one in mid air by happy accident.

flying white butterfly

The sunflowers are reaching up to more than 10 feet in height.

sunflower heart

Our son Al with wife Clare and daughter Matilda arrived in the late afternoon after a very hot drive from Edinburgh.  Matilda’s first business was to walk three times round the outside of the house with me.  As the dam runs right along the back of the house, this involved crossing our new bridge at one end of the house and then the stepping stone in the dam at the other end.  Then we went in for a drink and a biscuit.

Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared an excellent evening meal for the party and after Matilda had paid another visit to the stepping stone with her father…

matilda at the dam

Out with a helping hand…

matilda at the dam 2

…and back unaided.

…we ate  it with great appreciation.

Langholm Common Riding always takes place on the last Friday in July, which is tomorrow.  The day before, Thursday, is known as Simmer Fair Night and it is celebrated by the three bands in the town.

First, the Town Band plays a programme in the Market Place and then the flute band goes down to the site of the old railway station to greet exiles returning to the town on the last train.  Although the trains stopped running about fifty years ago and the station has long since disappeared, the flute band still turns up.  Then they march through the town….

Langholm Flute Band

…followed by a considerable procession, doubtless some of them being returning exiles.

flute band procession

A town bandsman looked on with the satisfaction of knowing that he had already done his duty.

Calvert, town band

Almost as soon as the flute band has passed on its way, the Langholm Pipe Band  start a march round the town.

Langholm pipe band

It looked for a moment as though their march pace might speed up a bit as some  heavy drops of rain began to fall from a menacing sky but once again, the rain came to nothing and the march continued in good order.

We are looking forward to celebrating Langholm’s Great Day tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is one of the swifts that traditionally scream  across the sky  on Simmer Fair Nicht.

swift

 

 

 

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Today’s picture is another from Anne’s visit to Elgin and shows what is left of Elgin Cathedral which was founded in the 13th century.

Elgin Cathedral

We had another pleasantly warm day with a cooling breeze, only spoiled by the complete absence of any rain.  These are not words that have appeared on the blog before!

Mrs Tootlepedal and I found time to visit the garden after breakfast.

I was happy to see the first dahlia flower of the year as I had been tasked with keeping the potential dahlias healthy while Mrs Tootlepedal was away.

first dahlia 2018

A new clematis, lurking in a philadelphus shrub has arrived as well.

clematis

While the dahlias and clematis are coming, the delphiniums are going.

philadelphus

They have stood up very well this year but the colour is fading fast.

I may not have thinned the plums quite as well as I should have.

plum cluster

Mrs Tootlepedal is very pleased with the variety of calendula she chose this year as it has a brownish outside which makes the flowers look interesting both as they develop and fade.

calendula

Combined with the bright red poppies, calendulas surround the new bench with colour.

new bench with flowers

We have had a lot of bee visitors in the garden lately…

bee on knapweed

…and these brightly coloured bumble bees have been very busy on the stachys, making the best of the last of the flowers.

bee on stachys

My bumble bee knowledge is rather vague but these visitors may be common carder bees.

We didn’t have too long to enjoy the garden as it was the day that the cornet visits the church for a special service and the choir was going to have to be at its best with a large congregation expected.

We arrived in time for a warm up and were soon joined by the cornet and a good number of followers.  We were assisted by several additonal singers who had come specially for this service and it was a pleasure to sing in a well balanced and strong choir.  We sang the Hallelujah Chorus again and it went as well as we could hope.

We had a moment for a little gardening and a light lunch when we got back before it was time to take our singing clothes off and put our cycling clothes on.  Mrs Tootlepedal had been tempted by the offer of a cream tea at the Waterbeck village hall, ten miles away.

The joy of the potential cream tea was slightly modified by the cooling breeze which from a  cycling point of view was in fact a brisk head wind and the prospect of cycling up and over Callister Hill on the way.   However Mrs Tootlepedal was strong and both these obstacles were surmounted and we had a very good tea at Waterbeck which gave us strength for the return journey.  Although we had to go over Callister again, at least the wind was helping us this time.

I had my camera in my back pocket and stopped on the outward journey when Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out an orchid.

orchid

It shows how useful it is to have another pair of eyes on a ride as I had passed the orchid several times on recent rides without noticing it.

As we left the hall after our tea, I noticed a gathering of future suppliers of cream for teas.

Waterbeck cows

I had read an article in a newspaper recently about the use of recycled plastic in road surfacing so I was interested to see this sign on a farm road.  It looks like a good use for recycled plastic…

P1120576

..and according to the company’s website, it might even reduce the number of potholes if our council decided to use it on the public roads.

I stopped to take a view as we cycled up Callister on the way home and Mrs Tootlepedal took the opportunity to put the hammer down and leave me for dead.

Mrs T on Callister

This was the view I was looking at.

Winterhope view

She did stop and wait for me further up the hill and I had time to look at wild flowers.

callister flowers

As we got nearer Langholm, the clouds broke up a little and it became a perfect day for a pedal.

wauchope schoolhouse road

There is another cream tea opportunity at Waterbeck next Sunday (they are raising funds for their church) and I hope that the weather will be kind enough to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal out again.

There was time for a little watering and garden wandering when we got back.

buddleia

The first buddleia flowers are out and I hope that they will bring some coloured butterflies into the garden.  We have lots of white butterflies but peacocks, red admirals and small tortoiseshells are more photogenic.

The first runner beans of the season were included in our evening meal and not content with my cream tea, I had strawberries and cream for my pudding.

Then the day ended quietly with some sofa sitting in front of the sporting highlights of the day on the telly.

I didn’t manage to find a flying bird of the day so a standing collared dove will have to do.

collared dove

Perhaps I should have gone for a bright flower of the day instead.

bright flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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