Today’s post shows the hat that my son Anthony bought with his recent birthday present money adorning one of his little furry friends. It may look better on Anthony.
We had another near zero dry day today and I wouldn’t have thought that cycling was on at all were it not for the fact the Dropscone brought round some scones for coffee by way of the twenty mile morning ride. I was very impressed by his boldness. He told me that he had had to go carefully round many icy patches and I was pleased that I hadn’t gone with him but equally pleased to see him back safely, especially when he was carrying scones. They went well with the coffee.
After coffee, I spent quite a bit of time sorting some sheet music out for the choir. I seem to have become the music librarian and this will require me to be better organised than I usually am. My normal method of filing is the transferable heap (pick it up here and put it over there instead). This required something a bit more methodical and I have resorted to plastic pockets. All will be well as long as I can remember where I have stored the plastic pockets.
There was time to do some desultory bird staring.
Bramblings and chaffinches remain our stock in trade though.
We had quite a few blackbirds about today. This female was very active in chasing off other blackbirds.
Our other regulars are the robin and a handful of goldfinches and greenfinches. Here we see a goldfinch practising looking cool while leaning against a bar.
I was so amazed at Dropscone’s fortitude in cycling in the morning that when the temperature had reached a heady 3° after lunch and there was a hint of sunshine, I tucked my trousers into my socks and set out to see how many times I could cycle to Wauchope Schoolhouse (three and a quarter miles) and back before I got fed up or froze to death.
The first lap was very pleasant and I stopped to take a picture or three as I went along.
I attracted the interest of some cattle in a field.
Having weighed up the situation, they took to the high ground and looked down on me.
I had a look at the road that Dropscone had taken in the morning.
I settled for a clearer road home.
The sky was gradually getting covered by clouds as I went along.
There was a glimpse of sun left on Whita as I got back to Langholm…
…but by the time that I embarked on the second lap, it had disappeared and it stayed away. Going up the road wasn’t too bad but coming back down into the nipping easterly wind was challenging and I went slowly enough so that I could breath in through my nose and get some partially warmed air into my lungs rather than gulping in raw chunks directly. In the end, I managed a third lap and crept the mileage up to twenty which more than reached my target for the day.
It is not easy to photograph cold in the absence of a good snowfield which is why photographers are as fond of icicles as a symbol of chill as they are of palm trees or waves to represent a windy day. I am no exception.
Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the time while I was pedalling doing good work in the garden so although it was cold, it wasn’t by any means a wasted day.
I did a little more work on my speech and had a practice run of the work so far for the benefit of Mrs Tootlepedal just to show her that I had actually done a bit.
After tea I went to the Archive Centre and did quite a lot of good work. I was on my own because Sandy and Jean had deserted me in favour of a magic lantern slide show on the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. You get everything in Langholm.
Although there were plenty of flying chaffinch shots to be had this morning…
..this one was pipped to the post as flying bird of the day by a busy siskin. You can see how much quicker the siskins flap their wings than the chaffinches.