Posts Tagged ‘Matilda’

Today’s guest picture, from our daughter-in-law Clare, provided the only ray of sunshine we saw all day.  You can see what made Matilda so happy tomorrow.


It was a foul day here as far as the weather went, the authorities having decided that one sunny day at a time was more than enough for us.

I sneaked out in the rain whenever it wasn’t too bad and I will insert a soggy flower from time to time in this post.


Luckily I had plenty to do so time didn’t weight too heavily on my hands.

In the morning, I went up to the Welcome to Langholm office and settled down to put a week or two of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I couldn’t get as much work done as I hoped because I was frequently interrupted by the need to welcome people seeking  information.  I suppose that I shouldn’t complain about that.

One of the visitors was looking for a book of graveyard inscriptions and she remarked in passing how useful the Archive Group website had been in her family history research.  I pointed to the computer and told her that I was adding to the site at this very moment and she was suitably impressed though not quite so impressed as to offer us a voluntary donation for our funds.


Another visitor was a descendant of a chemist in the town and I pointed out to him that both the chemist and his shop could be found on our picture archive page.

It stopped raining very politely for long enough for me to walk home after my stint was over.  It started again quite soon afterwards.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some flowers to fill in a few gaps in the beds that her recent tidying up activity had created and I set about a mixture of practising songs for our Carlisle choir and printing out photographs for the forthcoming Canonbie Flower Show.

My main concern while printing out the pictures was to try to get the printed results to look a bit brighter than the printer wants them to look.  This takes a bit of learning and the results were variable though the frog in the box ball came out well.


Mike Tinker came round for a cup of tea and a biscuit and we were just finishing when Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her shopping trip.    I was amazed to find that she had actually bought three plants as she usually looks for a long time and then decides that things are not quite what she wanted or they are a bit too expensive or the whole matter needs more thought.  A sound way of going on but one which I find a bit testing on my patience.

She explained her purchasing activity by claiming that she was haunted by the sound of my voice behind her saying, “For goodness sake, buy something.”  So she did.

stargazer lilies

The evening was filled with music as first my flute pupil Luke came and then I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  It was the first time that we had played for a month and there was a certain amount of rust evident but as always, it was a very enjoyable evening.

The rain is pouring down again as I write this.  I have ordered an ark just in case.

virginia creeper

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Today’s guest picture comes from my my friend Marjorie.  She is on holiday in the Highlands and sent me this picture of the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge.  She knew it would interest me as Mrs Tootlepedal and I lived not far from the memorial when we first got married.

Commando memorial, Spean Bridge

The house is very quiet as I write this short post as Matilda and her parents are back home 70 miles to the north and Mrs Tootlepedal is still visiting her mother 300 miles away to the south.

We had a morning of fun with Matilda before she left, including another go of Grandmother’s Footsteps and an adventurous external tour of the house. This entailed a daring  crossing of the dam using the stepping stone.

stepping stone Matilda

Safely on….

stepping stone Matilda

…and safely off again. One small step for Daddy but one giant leap for Matilda.

Peas and beans were picked and apples admired and then it was time for lunch and the journey back to Edinburgh.

We hope to have another visit from Matilda before too long, preferably with better weather.

The afternoon was mostly dry and I did think about going for a pedal to test out my new cycle mirror which has arrived through the post but a combination of a very brisk wind and the chance to watch the Surrey Classic bike race on the telly proved too much for my rather feeble resolution and I succumbed to sofa torpor.

I was so well planted that I failed to rise and offer Mike Tinker a cup of tea when he came round.  He took this in good part.

After the race finished, I went out into the garden but the strong wind made taking flower pictures very difficult and the possibility of rain made a walk unattractive.

I did take a couple of low lying Sweet Williams.

Sweet Williams

The Sweet Williams have been very colourful for several weeks but are just coming to an end now.

The bees don’t seem to have been too discouraged by the chilly weather and the Lamb’s Ear had several customers buzzing round it.  It is very annoying when you point a camera at a bee and it focusses perfectly on the leaves behind it but I have put the pictures in anyway for illustrative purposes, as they say.

bees on lamb's ear

The delicate lupin in the shelter of the hedge has still got a few side shoots flowering…


…and the  very loud pot marigolds near the green house are defying the weather in style.


The weather forecast says that it going to rain at some time on every one of the next eight days and the temperature is not going to get above 16 degrees so it appears that autumn might have come before summer this year!

No flying bird of any sort today but as I am ordering a new lens for my DSLR camera (if I can get a good trade in on my old lens),  I hope to be able to take some good bird shots with it when it comes.  Meanwhile, I will be looking out my waterproof cycling gear.

After all the fun of three days of playing with Matilda and being head cook and bottle washer, I am off to an early bed tonight.



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I have had enough of the London Trip pictures so it is back to guest pictures of the day.    Dropscone was on holiday in Glasgow last week when he met this attractive bridge over the Clyde.

Glasgow Bridge

After the excitement of yesterday, we had a very calm domestic day today.  We did get out in the morning to visit both the Producers’ Market where we bought honey and our corner shop where we bought milk.  We were thus fully equipped for a pleasant day.

It rained heavily at one point but mostly it was dry and occasionally it was even sunny and almost like summer though still rather cool for the time of year.

Al and Matilda took a turn round the garden…

Al and Matilda

…finding plenty to keep them interested.

I mowed both lawns and the drying green and checked on the flowers.


Two rather diffident dahlias…


…and a very peppy poppy

Japanese anemone and clematis

Japanese anemone and clematis, both doing well

On spite of the bright colour of the Lilian Austin rose, I rarely see a bee near one.  They much prefer the rather plainer hostas.

Lilian Austin and hosta with bee

You can see the bee is putting its heart into the job

In the greenhouse, the petunia is still looking good….


…which is lucky, as it is my job to keep it watered in the absence of the gardener.

I bought 3lbs of raspberries at the Producer’s Market as the blackbirds are eating ours because I haven’t netted them and I made six jars of raspberry jam with them.

I have kept the breadmaking machine very busy while Matilda has been here. I have made two loaves, 12 rolls and a pizza dough.  The breadmaker makes good bread but it makes excellent dough.

In the afternoon, we all went out into the garden in a sunny spell.  I took a formal picture of the visitors.

Al Matilda and Clare

As you can see, Matilda was dressed for every weather condition.

We had lots of fun but the highlight was several games of grandmother’s footsteps (in spite of the absence of the actual grandmother).

Al Matilda and Clare

Matilda in the garden

Matilda was very difficult to creep up on….

Matilda in the garden

…but I was easier to catch.

Photos courtesy of the Al and Clare Photo Agency.

There were a couple of white butterflies flitting about but they were reluctant to pose for me.


As Al and I wandered around, Matilda practised putting her foot down.

Clare and Matilda

She is quite good at that already.

The pizza dough made a delicious base for a home made pizza for our tea and as there were strawberries and cream and cherries about too, we ate like kings.

There are a large number of blackbirds in the garden and I can’t make up my mind whether they are all from one family or not but almost every time I look out of the window, I can see at least one.

This is one of three I could see today.  The others were the flying birds of the day and flew out of the frame before I could shoot.




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Smart cookie

Today’s guest picture comes from my younger son, Al.  He took this picture of Mr Grumpy’s Edinburgh cousin in reflective mood in the Botanic Gardens.

edinburgh heron

It was a perfectly horrible day here, wet, windy and chilly so it was just as well that our morning was brightened by a visit from our friend Bruce who shared a cup of coffee with us while he entertained us with his description of a visit to a very grumpy back specialist.  Bruce has suffered from his back for a long time and was quite surprised to be given exercises to do fourteen times a day by this chap.  He feels that his back may well improve though as long as he doesn’t pass away from fatigue first.

The wind and the rain has taken its toll on the delphiniums and we saw the first casualties of the year today.


The Sweet Williams are more compact and are made of tougher stuff.

Sweet Williams

It wasn’t a day to be cycling or outside in the garden at all so we were quite pleased to be going to Edinburgh to visit Matilda rather than just sitting indoors looking out at the rain.

We were less pleased to find out that our train was late yet again.  I seem to have spent a lot of my life staring hopefully down the track from the platform at Lockerbie Station.

Lockerbie Station

Not the most scenic view

However, we got to Edinburgh in the end and spent a very cheery afternoon with Matilda and her parents.

I asked Matilda if I could take her picture and she gave the matter some serious consideration…


…before kindly giving me the big “cheese”


She then settled down to making biscuits with granny…..


…before beating me all ends up at Pelmanism and snap.

We enjoyed an excellent meal (a cheese flan provided by Mrs Tootlepedal) before going back in the persistent rain to catch our train home.

This was on time and I was happy to find that it had stopped raining by the time that we got to Lockerbie so the drive home was by no means such a puddle filled adventure as I had feared.

A better forecast for tomorrow.  Fingers are crossed.






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I am short of guest pictures and have had to fall back on another of the admittedly excellent pictures that my sister Mary took on her visit to the Lake District.

The next day I embarked on a fairly steep climb up from the lake

I had an enjoyable but unremarkable day today.

The weather remained good and it was a little cooler which was welcome.

I went for a 22 mile cycle ride in the morning and the wind was sufficiently noticeable to blow me  down the five miles back from the top of Callister into the town at an average of 22 mph.  This was most enjoyable as I didn’t even have to try very hard.

I stopped on the way out to look at a few things but as my Lumix refused to open at all today, once again I was reliant of my phone and several pictures, including one of a splendid orchid which had escaped the attention of Genghis, the grass cutter, didn’t come out.

These were the ones that did.

wild flowers

wild flowers

The insect in the bottom left frame was on one head of an umbellifer.  There was quite a mixed crowd on another of the heads.

umbellifer with insects

The 22 miles got me up to 300 miles for the month after a very slow start because of the high winds in the first week.  I might have derived a bit more satisfaction from this if our next door neighbour Ken, a man of my own age and the same weight, had not done 300 miles in the last three days while travelling back to Langholm from the south.   I bow to him.

I took a quick walk round the garden when I got back.

ginger syllabub

The Ginger Syllabub triggers a reflex action in my shutter finger as I walk past

rosa goldfinch

There is hardly any space on the Rosa Goldfinch for more flowers.

foxglove and lily

There are foxgloves and lilies all over the garden

allium and astrantia with insects

Plenty of insect action


A phlourishing philadelphus

There were no less than three blackbirds under the strawberry netting but they made themselves scarce in an apologetic manner when we approached and they had left a good number of berries for us to pick.


We put them in a handy box and took them off with us to Edinburgh in the afternoon as a gift to Matilda and her parents.

Mrs Tootlepedal took the bus from the station to Matilda Mansions but I walked just so that I could enjoy this view on my way.

Arthurs Seat

I often take pictures of this view but then when you get a view like this, why not?

We had an enjoyable afternoon with Matilda, full of dancing, singing, snap and pelmanism and with an added jigsaw this week.

The train home was punctual and comfortable and as it was still light as we drove home from Lockerbie, the whole visit was a treat.

It is late and I am a little tired so that is all there is to say about the day.

I have ordered a new Lumix.  I hope the zoom lens lasts longer this time.


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A brief report

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Bridlington and shows the British having fun in a restrained way.


This is a very brief report today as it rained all day so there was not much chance for photography and for once there is very interesting stuff to watch on the telly.

Did I mention that it was raining?


The morning was doubly brightened by the appearance of both Sandy and Dropscone (with scones) for coffee but that was its only redeeming feature.

I have just purchased a trio sonata for violin and bassoon by Telemann which will do very well for Mike and me on  flute and cello and it arrived this morning so I spent some time putting the accompaniment on the computer to help me practise.

Then I checked to see if it was still raining….

hosta in rain

…it was.

After lunch we drove through massive puddles and a steady downpour to Lockerbie to find our train to Edinburgh was 2o minutes late.  Still, we got there in the end and in the absence of Matilda, we enjoyed the company of a passing zebra.


We had a most enjoyable time as the zebra helped Mrs Tootlepedal with the cooking and then played snap with me.

The rain had finally stopped by the time that we got back to the station to catch the train home….

Waverley Station

…and there was even a train for us to catch tonight which was a relief.

We did have time to stare at the ceiling in the main hall of the station before we caught the train.

Waverley Station

The journey home went smoothly and we were preparing to go to bed and wake up in a glum mood when we read the election results in the morning  when out of the blue, the exit polls predicted a bit of a surprise so I am going to sit up for a bit to see if the polls reflect reality.


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Today’s guest picture shows the church at Kirkton of Rayne in Aberdeenshire.  The picture was taken by my friend Bruce and was of special interest to him and his wife because her great- great-uncle was minister there from 1875 to 1909.

Kirkton of Rayne

I got up early again and put another week of the newspaper index into the database and have now caught up on the pile of outstanding weeks lying on my desk.  There will doubtless be a good many more lying in the Archive centre and I will get round to those soon.  The early starts to the day have gone well and I shall try to continue this practice in coming weeks.  It is much easier to get up earlier when the mornings are light.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to the Moorland Project bird feeders where Mrs Tootlepedal had the pleasure of watching both male and female hen harriers quartering the moor through her binoculars while I filled the feeders (as a substitute for Sandy who is in Greece) and had a look at what was about from the hide.

There was very little about at all.  In fact I don’t think that I have ever seen fewer birds on the feeders.

There were a few siskins….


…a distant woodpecker…


…a blackbird hoping for time off for good behaviour….


…and an ingenious pheasant.


I don’t know where all the other birds are at all.

When we got home, I had a walk round the garden to look at irises.

There was no shortage.





I nodded to the lupins which are looking well…


…checked out the first of the Sweet Williams round the front lawn…

sweet william

They are very bright!

…saluted my favourite flower….


…and went inside to practise songs and get ready to go to Edinburgh to visit Matilda.

The trip to Edinburgh went very well.

We walked down from the station….

Waverley Station

…which is in the heart of the city.

We looked down on a scene of great peace just behind the bustling Royal Mile….

Edinburgh burial ground

….peered through the trees at Arthur’s Seat…

Arthur's seat

It was looking a bit rusty as the gorse goes over

…and arrived to rousing welcome as we approached the house.

sheehy huttons at home

Matilda was in sparkling form and took us to the park to practise our football skills.  We also played on almost all the play equipment…

Matilda in the park

…although home-made fun was the best.


Although it threatened to rain, it didn’t and we got back to the house in time to play many games of Pelmanism and snap before an excellent tea of macaroni cheese.

The hours and minutes flew by and it was soon time for us to go back to catch our train home.  We were in plenty of time and all would have gone very well if there had actually been a train for us to catch.  Alas, for the second time in recent months, our train was cancelled and we had to be transported to Lockerbie by coach.  This adds an hour and bit to the trip and this delay is why I am sprinting through this post as quickly as I can to get it done before midnight.

Although long, the journey was painless and we got home safely.

I did get a fuzzy flying siskin of the day when I was at the Moorland feeders.

Flying siskin

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