Just a holding post today to say that I am among the fleshpots of London with a very slow internet connection. I hope to get organised tomorrow otherwise pictures will have to wait until I get home.
Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s trip to Brighton. It shows that a trip to the end of Brighton pier would end with very wet feet.
We had a miserable day of weather here, raining when we got up and still raining even harder when I write this in the evening. I had to go up to fill the feeders at the Moorland feeding station and it was a very soggy business. There were plenty of birds about but it was too wet to sit outside so I was trapped in the car too far away to see clearly….
..and the light was rotten and even a tree sparrow couldn’t tempt me to stay for long….
…though a couple of pheasants obligingly came close to the car to pose.
I stopped to snap a gorse bush which was adding a little colour to a grey day….
…and headed home.
The incessant rain and the strong wind made photographing flowers uninviting so my only garden flower shot of the day was taken from the shelter of the back door.
I retired inside and got several necessary tasks out of the way. In a slightly brighter but still rainy moment, I took a break to stare out of the window.
The siskins and chaffinches were still bickering but the goldfinches tried a little shouting of their own today.
The gloom of the day was deepened when the program that I use to put music onto the computer crashed just as I was going to save an hour’s work. What is the golden rule? Save every ten minutes. Did I do it? No.
I did make a small frog hunting expedition in the afternoon.
In hopes of some better weather to come, I took the speedy bike down to the excellent bike shop in Longtown for it’s annual service but in expectation of more rain, bought a pair of new overshoes while I was in there.
The best thing about the day was that the tiredness which had enveloped me like a heavy overcoat when I got up, magically disappeared during the afternoon and by the time that I went to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy in the evening, I was annoyingly perky. Jean is suffering from a sore leg but overcame her discomfort without complaint and we put in a power of work entering the newspaper index into the database while Sandy scanned pictures for our photo archive. Our next database entries will be for January 1887 and the start of a new year always rekindles our enthusiasm for the task.
A flying chaffinch in the gloom ends this post.
Today’s guest picture shows a goatherd with a fine flock of goats in Spain. It was seen by my neighbour Liz when she was in the country.
Dropscone had business in Lockerbie so I went out on my bike by myself. I was going to try to do twenty five miles but the combination of strong wind and tired legs did for me and I settled for a feeble 17 miles at a very slow pace. Mrs Tootlepedal went out for a short ride after I got back and she found the miles uphill and into the wind hard going but she certainly enjoyed coming back.
I am going through one of my spells of tiredness and am very lack lustre at the moment so this will be a short post. I did some useful work preparing music practice pieces for the Langholm Choir’s Gilbert and Sullivan concert and it certainly helped as I was able to sing along well in the evening practice.
Otherwise, I made bread and soup, ate bread and soup (with additional cheese), did crosswords and looked out of the window. After a winter when they were conspicuous by their absence, we are getting more siskins every day now.
As usual they were full of fight today.
As you can see from the pictures, it had started raining and the rest of the day was pretty miserable though I did take a quick walk round the garden in a quiet moment in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went to Carlisle on the bus to do some shopping and I entertained Mike Tinker to a cup of tea when he came round and that sums up what can best described as a quiet day.
The choir practice in the evening was a bit handicapped by the fact that our accompanist was ill but we battled through without him and had a useful time. I think that we should be able to a good job with our part of the concert with our local orchestra in April.
I had though of using a siskin as flying bird of the day…
…but decided to stick with a chaffinch since there had been too many siskins in the post already.
Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew in Spain and shows a mountain chapel.
The forecast was for a cloudy but dry day with frost at first and icy patches at first. Apart from the fact that there was no frost and it was sunny all day, they got it pretty well right and at least it was dry. Dropscone and I had delayed the start of the morning run in case of frost but we were quite pleased to have a late start and be able to pedal round in a relaxed fashion in sunny conditions.
I was able to stare out of the window before he arrived.
There was peace and quiet at times…
…and plenty of action too.
After a coffee and a shower, I went out to admire the crocuses, both singly…
I also communed with the frogs while I was there, once again both singly…
It was such a nice day, almost windless and feeling warm, that Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided to have a walk after lunch to see if the new bridge on Gaskell’s Walk was ready for use.
It was. Here is a view of the bridge from one side…
…and a picture seen from the other side of Mrs Tootlepedal and Corrie, a keen photographer himself, taking in the view from the bridge .
Having met a fellow member of the camera club, the next two people we met as we continued our walk were a fellow archivist and a fellow member of both the choirs we sing in. We felt among friends.
We also saw and admired the colours and patterns on this recently felled tree stump beside the path.
At the end of Gaskell’s Walk, we turned left and set off up Warbla. After a while, Mrs Tootlepedal thought that since she had already crossed her bridge when she had come to it, she might well have better things to do than walk up a hill, however benign the weather conditions, and turned back towards home and useful tasks while I plugged on to the summit…
…occasionally exclaiming, “Excelsior!” ( which is Latin for, “Coo, this is steep.”)
At the top, I noticed a curious object on the top of a fence post. I wondered of it was something like an owl pellet.
The craggy architecture of the top of the fence post was worth a picture in itself.
The views were as good as ever but because they haven’t changed significantly (or at all) since my last visit. I tried to find a few different pictures on my way up and down.
I kept an eye for fungus and lichen on my way up and down.
I was tempted into a traditional lonesome tree shot .
The thermometer showed that it was 14°C in the sun by the time that I got back and it certainly felt as though it had been the warmest day of the year so far, although it was still in single figures in the shade.
There was plenty of light to try a little continuous shooting in the direction of the bird feeder and it came up with one quite lively result.
It was still light when my flute pupil Luke arrived for his lesson. He played very nicely and showed that he has been listening to the points for improvement in his set pieces for his grade examination next month. However, he is still not doing his breathing exercises and I had to issue some dreadful warnings regarding the possible end of the world if he doesn’t start doing them properly. Like singing, flute playing is heavily dependent on good breath control and I might feel a little less guilty about being so forceful with Luke if I did the exercises daily myself to help with my singing in the choirs. Perhaps this will make me concentrate too.
As our pianist Isabel was unwell, I couldn’t go to play trios with her and Mike this evening so I enjoyed a quiet night at home throwing away hundreds of the pictures that I had taken during the day.
I did reserve one of the many flying chaffinches as flying bird of the day.
Posted in Birds, Cycle outings, Gardening, Langholm, photography, Tootling, Views, Walking | Tagged bird feeder, chaffinch, crocus, flute, frog, fungus, garden flowers, Holmwood, lichen, moss, robin, siskin, trig point, Warbla | 20 Comments »
Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s trip to Barcelona. What could the architect have been thinking about when he or she designed this?
In contrast to yesterday’s glut of pictures, today was very quiet photographically. The day dawned brightly enough but the skies soon clouded over.
After a leisurely breakfast, I gave Sandy a ring to see if he would like to try out his newly acquired bicycle on a short run and after a pause, he arrived well wrapped up for the chilly morning. He told me that he had been out for a ride on Saturday and he was certainly in good form as he whipped up the first hill of the ride leaving me in his wake. I managed to get him to slow down and we pedalled up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back.
I had the camera with me but didn’t get it out as it was threatening to rain and stopping looked like a bad move. In the end the rain held off until we got home but gave Mrs Tootlepedal a soaking on her way back from visiting a friend after church.
It was raining so hard after we had a coffee and a biscuit that we put Sandy’s bike into the back of the Kangoo and I drove him home.
Shortly afterwards, the rain let up and I went out into the garden.
The crocuses are full of life but weren’t going to open their petals on such a miserable day.
The winter aconite check revealed that of the hundred planted, ten are now showing with hints of others to follow. This is not exactly a good result but the count does seem to be regularly increasing so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
It was too gloomy to waste much time trying to get a good bird shot.
As we were not picking up our friend in Carlisle this week, we combined our visit to the choir with a shopping trip in town on our way to the choir practice. This took up the whole afternoon but as it was raining quite heavily, it wasn’t a day when we could have done anything much more interesting than shopping.
The shopping trip went well and the choir practice was hard working and enjoyable. We are going to give a couple of performances fairly soon as well as entering a choir competition in the summer so our musical director is busy trying simultaneously to develop a repertoire for the concerts while teaching us to sing properly for the competition.
This week was the first time that we have arrived home while it was still light after the choir even though it was raining again and we are looking forward to the arrival of the longer days with great anticipation after such a gloomy winter.
Here is a rather fuzzy flying bird of the day.
Today’s guest picture is not by a guest photographer but shows a guest garden. I took this picture with my phone when visiting my friend Arthur a day or two ago.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent the day visiting our younger son and his wife in Edinburgh.
After a delicious lunch at a Persian restaurant, Mrs Tootlepedal went off with Alistair and Clare to buy what used to be called a pram or pushchair but is nowadays referred to as an ‘infant transport solution’. I was only able with the greatest difficulty to deny myself the chance of going shopping with them but I managed it and went for a walk round the part of the city near their home instead while they considered some of the many purchasing opportunities that were offered to them.
I had to pop into a shop and buy a stout club to bat away the thousands of tourists who were blocking my way but I managed to squeeze a few photos off as I went round. I add them here without much further commentary as there are far too many of them.
I started by towards the top of Calton Hill, passing a handsome memorial to Robert Burns on my way.
Looking to my left as I walked along, I could see a rather surprising cemetery tucked in the busy Old Town below me.
The afternoon sunshine caught the edge of the Salisbury Crags which loom over the Old Town. Arthur’s Seat is behind the crags.
I arrived at the top of Calton Hill. It has many monuments and buildings….
…and some wonderful views over the north of the city and the Firth of Forth.
I walked down towards Waverley Station and the North Bridge.
The station is set in the bed of a drained loch with the Old town to the left and the New Town to the right with the bridge linking them.
I crossed the North Bridge and descended to the station level by the Scotsman steps which lead down from the old office of the Scotsman newspaper. They have recently been relaid with a series of elegant marble blocks…
…which make a contrast with the more traditional type of Edinburgh step.
Having descended to station level, I walked back uphill towards the castle. The sun came out as I walked up the Mound and I had a good view over the railway towards the New Town.
As I approached the castle, I passed one of the little terraces which lie beneath the castle esplanade.
The sun was in the wrong place to photograph the castle but I couldn’t miss out Edinburgh’s most famous building.
Having reached the top of the hill, I did a Grand Old Duke of York and marched back down the Royal Mile to the bottom, passing St Giles’ Cathedral…
…and John Knox’s House…
..before arriving at the Scottish Parliament buildings at Holyrood.
You might think that the the whole complex should have been built in this comfortable vernacular style but the craze for distinctive novelty led then to commission a modern building with all the charm of a municipal swimming pool.
It strikes a discordant note with the Holyroodhouse next door.
I walked past the palace and into Holyrood Park.
I didn’t have time to join the hundreds of other people who were trekking up to the top of Arthur’s Seat. Instead I looked back at Calton Hill over the Palace.
…and walked along to the little loch beside the road through the Park.
It is overlooked by a picturesque ruin.
Thanks to many people who were feeding the birds, I was able to watch ducks…
…and swans were able to watch me.
I was relieved to find that the shopping expedition had gone very well and that they had actually managed to make a purchase. This was largely down to the quantity of pre shopping research that Al and Clare had done, an example to us all.
We had left our car at a park and ride on the outskirts of the city and after a cup of tea, we caught a bus back out, picked up the car and drove home without incident (unless you think that buying a poke of chips in Selkirk on our way counts as an incident.)
It was a very satisfactory day out and we had had the additional interest of seeing a lot of the work going on to rebuild the abandoned railway line from Edinburgh to Galashiels as we drove up in the morning. Not many people these days have the opportunity of seeing a new railway being built.
I wasn’t able to catch a flying bird of the day in the big city with only Pocketcam with me so this floating bird will have to be my swansong today.