Today’s picture shows our neighbour Guthrie enjoying life.
It had snowed a little in the night and it was near zero again when we got up but it still didn’t amount to anything serious. The present spell of cold but mainly dry weather has lasted for about 12 days and although the sun has disappeared again recently, we are very grateful to be able to walk about in the dry. The little snow showers have not lasted any great length of time and it has crept above freezing every day.
There was enough snow about to make Mrs Tootlepedal decide to walk to church rather than cycle when she went to sing in the choir. By coincidence, the minister preached a sermon based on Les Miserables. Mrs Tootlepedal wasn’t entirely clear about his message but he seemed to be for being good rather than bad.
I lounged around in a hot bath while she was out, being neither good not bad and when she retuned, I was ready to make a cup of coffee. This gave me an opportunity to feeder surf.
The coffee was needed because after I had fuelled up and put the camera down, I sat down to have a final attack on the talk. This took me another five hours but in the end I did get it done. Far from being too short as I had originally feared, it is probably a bit too long and Mrs Tootlepedal has changed roles. Whereas before she was encouraging me to get stuff written down, now she is under orders to issue a severe rebuke if she catches me trying to sneak any more in. It is good to get it done and I now have four days to practise delivery issues. This is always a tricky business because as you read it over, it is all too easy to lose confidence in the material that looked so fresh when you first wrote it. You just have to keep your nerve, though a little polishing of the text never comes amiss.
I had to have a break in the middle of the work and I packed up the cameras and walked round the Kilngreen and the pheasant hatchery to give the brain a break.
It felt cold, possibly because the humidity was quite high but it was pleasant enough for a Sunday afternoon stroll. As I crossed the suspension bridge, I could see that lack of rain had led to the river level dropping low enough to expose a pipe.
There was no heron at the Kilngreen but the gulls were unusually placid and let me get very close.
They do get black heads in the summer.
I walked along quite comfortably as even when the paths were snow covered, they were not slippery.
I allowed myself yet one more mossy tree picture because I thought the gentle fabric like covering of moss on this tree was quite beautiful.
Walking along the path at the end of the trees gave me a good view of a very chilly looking hillside.
When I arrived at the bank of the river Esk, a flash of white on the far bank caught my eye. I tried to catch it with the camera.
It was a stoat (or possibly a weasel but as far as I can see most probably a stoat) scampering along beside the river in the gloom of the overhanging trees and shrubs. It ducked and dived as it went along, disappearing and reappearing at intervals. I tried to get focussed on where I guessed that it would next appear but the low light and the speedy beast made things difficult.
I followed it along the river for a while…
…until it turned to climb the bank, showing its black tail very clearly…
…and disappeared into a burrow. This was a first for me as I haven’t had an opportunity like this since I acquired a camera. I was only sorry that the sky was so overcast but perhaps if it had been a brighter day, the stoat wouldn’t have been running about in the open. I waited for a while but it didn’t reappear so I contented myself with a shot a wall on the opposite bank which I had never noticed before.
I have looked at that bank many times without ever realising that there was a wall there.
The water was running slowly in the Esk but it was so clear that you might not realise that the stones in the picture below are on the bed of the river. (No polarising filter in use.)
I made my way home very satisfied with my walk, pausing for a final shot of a snowy Warbla as I crossed the Scholars Field.
As I may have mentioned before, the mast on the top of the hill is certainly conspicuous but it is responsible for bringing us Danish TV dramas so it is forgiven.
The walk made a refreshing interlude in the talk preparation and after a cup of tea and a birthday biscuit, I soon got back to work. When I had finished, I made myself fish and fried potatoes for tea. When we were shopping yesterday, I visited a fish counter with a fine array of unfamiliar and exciting fish on it but somehow when I put my hand out to try something unknown and new, it came back with a fillet of haddock in it. I am not very adventurous when it comes to food.
My walk did let me get a non chaffinch flying bird of the day for a change.