Posts Tagged ‘Matilda’

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was in Edinburgh yesterday and was comforted by the up to date police protection afforded to its citizens.

Edinburgh Police

I had much better weather for my trip to the Moorland Feeders today and it was only a pity that the birds stayed away in great numbers.  I suspect that a sparrow hawk must have been in the vicinity.

The pheasants aren’t frightened of anyone or anything, being hand reared.


…and occasional chaffinches popped up here and there.


A  single woodpecker paid a flying visit…


…and that was about it so I didn’t stay long.

I saw a crow on the top of the walnut tree when I got home and my new lens made light of the distance.

crow in walnut tree

I didn’t have long to look round the garden but I was happy to see that the sunshine had brought the bees back…

bees on poppy

..in force…

bees on poppy

…and a butterfly or two too.

red admiral butterfly

This one was looking a bit ‘end of season’.

The reason that I didn’t have long to garden wander was that I wanted to get a quick pedal in before lunch.

The wind was a bit lighter today so I went over the hill…

View from tarcoon

The view from Tarcoon

…and down to Canonbie and then back along the banks of the Esk….

Esk at Byreburnfoot

…which had plenty of water in it after yesterday’s rain.

I chose this spot to take the river picture because in previous years I have seen a lot of fungus there…

fungus at Byreburnfoot

…and they have come back again this year.  There were dozens of these fungi sprouting on a plain patch of mown grass.

I had been blown down to the bottom of the by-pass by a friendly breeze so the journey back to Langholm was a bit more like hard work and as I was under some time pressure, I didn’t stop for more pictures.

I went  fast enough to have left time for another quick look round the garden after a shower and lunch.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta has made a welcome reappearance


This poppy had given the bees all it could give.

I saw another butterfly…or perhaps the same one revisiting,  It was hard to tell at this angle.

red admiral butterfly

Then I drove off to Lockerbie with Mrs Tootlepedal to catch the train to Edinburgh.

I admired a fine set of faintly nautical looking hinges on a doorway in Lockerbie opposite the spot where we parked our car.

Lockerbie hinges

Lockerbie station has two just platforms, up and down, with a passing line behind the down platform but looking south from the bridge, It must have been busier at one time.

Lockerbie station

The train was late again but only mildly and the countryside looked lovely as we swept past so all was forgiven.

When we got to Edinburgh, Matilda was in splendid form and gave me a very even match at Pelmanism before trouncing me at Snap.  There was more fun before tea time when we were terrorised by a monster….

matilda monster

…who surely can’t have been related to this studious little girl studying her miniature cow.


All too soon it was time to catch the train back to Lockerbie.  The bus arrived so promptly and drove so swiftly that I had time to look around at Waverley Station and enjoyed this circle of ornamental youngsters round the skylight in the waiting room.

Waverley station

Our drive home from Lockerbie was illuminated by a brilliant moon.  I tried my new lens out on it when I got home and was pleased with a quick hand held shot from an upstairs window.


There was not much choice but I managed to get a flying bird of the day at the Moorland Feeders this morning….just.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce’s trip to Arran where he visited the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.

Machrie Standing Stones

Just to put it on the record, we had a day without rain today. We were pathetically grateful.

I started the day off with a cycle ride.  This would have been quite a bit longer if I had been a bit more gung-ho about getting up, getting breakfast and getting going.  Leisurely was a more appropriate word than gung-ho to describe my activities but I got out before coffee time at least.

I was just pedalling up one of the early hills when my neighbour Ken whizzed past me.  As he is the same age and same weight as me, the only way he can cycle faster than me is by trying harder so I was stimulated into trying harder than I usually do myself and I kept him in sight until he stopped for a drink near Canonbie.  I stopped too and we had a chat…


I wouldn’t have caught him up if he hadn’t been feeling his back a bit but he was very cheerful all the same.

…and then set off on the road back to Langholm…

Woodhouselees road

It was a lovely day for a cycle ride

….with one or other of us setting the pace.  As a result, I managed a much better speed than I would have done if I had been on my own but I was also quite a bit more puffed out when we finished.

We were going to see Matilda in Edinburgh in the afternoon but I had time to look round the garden after the pedal.  The sun was really trying its best and the white flowers glowed.

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

Cosmos and Japanese anemone

poppies with hoverflies

The poppies were popular with hoverflies today


After all the pale flowers, I couldn’t pass the pink poppies without my finger clicking!


There really were hoverflies, flies and bees everywhere, enjoying the sunshine just as much as I was.

daisy with flies

Some ox eye daisies drew the flies

dahlia with hoverflies

A dahlia had pulled in hoverflies with another coming up to join in

bees on the Michaelmas daisies

There were three sorts of bees on the Michaelmas daisies

I had a close look at a bee.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

And an even closer look at another.

bee on Michaelmas daisy

I keep on resolving to get my tripod out and use a little patience on these close up shots but I keep on taking hand held ones and then doing something else so this may be the best that I will get.

The something else that I did today was to go to look for a butterfly…

small tortoiseshell butterfly

…and I am glad that I did because it is a treat to see a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

I had to go inside in the end and have a shower and some lunch and then we drove off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh.

It was such a good day that the town hall at Lockerbie looked like a Disney castle when we got there.

Lockerbie Town hall

On the down side, the train was late yet again.  It is a most unreliable service.

We got to Edinburgh a quarter of an hour late and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some lampshades, I caught the bus to Matilda’s.  Because of roadworks my bus was diverted and I got a much better view from its window than I expected.

Arthur's seat chapel

Matilda was baking a cake when I arrived presumably because she knew that we were coming.

I read a book with Matilda until Mrs Tootlepedal arrived and then we sat and chatted and played until it was time for tea.  We enjoyed a pizza with trimmings and then we got to eat the cake made by Matilda and her dad and enhanced with some jam and cream by her mother, so a proper family affair.  It was delicious, a credit to then all.  We were allowed to take some home with us in a box.

All too soon it was the moment for Matilda to go to her bath and for us to catch the bus back to the station.  The train was on time and we got home safely.

We looked up at the sky when we got out of the car and for once, we could see the stars very clearly in spite of the street lights all around.  This was tempting so I got my camera out, stuck it on a tripod and pointed it hopefully at the sky.  I was impressed by how many more stars it could see than I could with my naked eye.



If we get another clear night, I will go out of town to find a darker spot and have another go.  There are obviously a lot of stars to photograph out there.

The flying bird of the day is a sweet pea ignoring the recent rains and reaching for the sky.

sweet pea


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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who met this hirsute gardener doing a little watering  in Regent’s Park this morning.


We had a very untypical Sunday today with no church choir, no Sunday bike ride and no slow cooker.  In fact I only had time for a very brief look at the garden before we had to leave the town.


We are an equal opportunity bee employer.

clematis and lily

Clematis and lily bring fresh life to the garden.

The reason for our early journey out of town was an assignation to meet with Matilda and her parents for lunch in North Berwick on the other side of the country.

The weather was benign and the 80 mile drive was largely traffic free and a real pleasure in itself.  After coffee and a teacake in a handy garden centre near North Berwick, we arrived at the station in good time to meet the midday train.

North Berwick station is literally the end of the line.

North Berwick station

It has a well kept station sign on one side of the track and a large selection of black berries behind the platform.

North Berwick station berries

Matilda’s train rolled down the hill into the station…

North Berwick station train

….bang on time and it wasn’t long before we were enjoying a good lunch with Matilda, Al and Clare in a cafe on North Berwick’s busy High Street.  While we were there, Mrs Tootlepedal bought a quite large mirror.

After lunch, we went down to the beach.  There was a lot of sand about and sadly some of it was obviously in the wrong place and needed to moved.

Matilda at North Berwick

This was a big task but I managed to tempt Matilda down to the edge of the sea to do a little light paddling instead and I left the photography to the Carlyle Place Community Camera Co-operative (Al and Clare) while we had fun.

Matilda at North Berwick

Picture courtesy of the Clare section of the CPCCC

I think that this is a quintessential portrait of the British having fun at the seaside.

There was a bit of splashing involved but that didn’t discourage Mrs Tootlepedal who came to join us.  Though you can’t see it in the pictures, which give an impression of an idyllically calm day,  the waves were very big to a small person and needed a lot of leaping over when they came in.

Matilda at North Berwick

Picture courtesy of the Al section of the CPCCC

While we were paddling, Al allowed his attention to stray out to sea where a Border Force vessel was cruising up and down.

Border Force

Quite what it was doing was a mystery.

I saw other vessels during our stay on the sand.

Some big….

DFDS Vessel

…and some small…

sailing boats at North Berwick

….and usually with some of North Berwick’s little islands as a backdrop.

Craigleith island

That is the island where we saw puffins when we visited North Berwick earlier this year

When we had had enough fun on the beach, we went off to taste some of North Berwick’s celebrated ice creams and found a bench in a little public garden to sit on while we enjoyed them.

ice cream at North Berwick

Picture courtesy of the Clare section of the CPCCC

There were some beautiful dahlias in the garden.

north berwick dahlias

It had clouded over by this time so instead of going back to the beach, we walked along to the harbour and took the path along the rocks…

Matilda at North Berwick

…from where we could see the Bass Rock….

Bass rock

…home of the gannets.

We had all taken the boat trip round the Bass Rock in May and Matilda and Clare and sailed round it more recently but today we didn’t have time so we watched the boat speeding back from the rock…

bass rock boat

…and inching carefully through the narrow harbour entrance.

There was just time for Matilda to have a ride on a roundabout….

North Berwick roundabout

….acknowledging the waves from her family as she passed us by by ringing a bell….

North Berwick roundabout

Picture courtesy of the Clare section of the CPCCC

…before it was time for Matilda, Al and Clare to catch the train back to Edinburgh.  What with paddling, looking at boats, ice cream and a go on a roundabout, it had been a perfect seaside outing.

Our drive back went very smoothly and was enhanced by a visit to the chip shop in Hawick for some sustenance to help us get home at the end of a long but very worthwhile day.

I did some see some hips on our walk down to the town from the station but the wind was blowing quite a bit so the flying bird of the day today is an example of the hippy hippy shake caught in action.


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Today’s guest picture is the last from my sister Mary’s visit to the Thames riverside and shows more usual boats in their parking places.

St Katherine's Dock 14.08.17 012

It was another moist morning here and the poppies were doing well to hold their heads up at all…

 St Katherine's Dock 14.08.17 012

…let alone look so pretty.


Mrs Tootlepedal’s vision of a garden full of poppies is working out well in parts…


…and the cornflowers are growing well too.


The forecast spoke of more showers but it looked not too bad so I nipped out on my bike to do a 20 mile Canonbie tour and got the timing perfectly right as I missed two heavy showers in Langholm while I was out and got back just as the second one stopped.

I didn’t spend any time stopping to take pictures as I was anxious to avoid getting caught in the next shower.

I got back in time for a cup of coffee, a hot shower and a light lunch before it was time to go to Edinburgh to meet Matilda.  There were a few minutes spare for me to walk round the garden before we left and I was happy to see a butterfly enjoying the sunflower….

red admiral butterfly on sunflower

…and two more on the buddleias.


The bed at the end of the drive is turning into a fine colourful corner with calendulas, crocosmia, Michaelmas daisies and buddleias all contributing…

End bed

…and elsewhere the stargazer lily is showing its final flower and the unprotected sweet pea is looking very sturdy and producing flowers.

sweet pea and stargazer lily

The train journey to Edinburgh was enjoyable as the sun came out soon after we left Lockerbie and the sun continued to shine while we were in Edinburgh.  Matilda took us to the play park where she had fun of all sorts.

She takes having fun very seriously though.

Matilda in the park

We came home to a tasty evening meal and a very competitive game of snap.

We said goodbye….


…and caught our train home safely.  It was raining a bit when we got out at Lockerbie so we were grateful for the metaphorical and literal sunshine we had had in Edinburgh.

A reader asked how the topiary chicken was progressing after its severe trimming.  The answer is not badly and here it is as bird of the day.  Mrs Tootlepedal is about to start shaping it.

topiary chicken

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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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