Today’s guest picture from my brother Andrew shows a pond near his house. It was well filled by the rain associated with Christoph.
We had another cool day here today, with the temperature at zero at breakfast time and only rising to 5°C for an hour in the early afternoon. But it was dry and pretty calm, the sun was often out and there was no obvious ice about so I was in a quandary. Should I get on the bike to nowhere in the morning and go for a walk in the afternoon? Should I walk in the morning and go out for a real bike ride in the afternoon? Should I go out for a good long walk in the middle of the day and use the bike to nowhere later on?
I watched the birds while I wrestled with the problem. As has become usual lately, very few chaffinches were the only birds to be seen on the feeder..
…though the peanut jar did get some business…
…and the robin popped up a lot here and there.
I did so much pondering that I found that I had made a batch of Garibaldi biscuits and some leek and potato soup before I had made up my mind. Surprisingly, I was able to dig the leek up out of the vegetable garden with no difficulty. Our pond has stayed frozen but the soil was quite soft.
More birds distracted me as the sun got round to the feeder after coffee.
Mostly chaffinches again…
…seeing who could come in at exactly ninety degrees…
…but there was an odd sparrow and goldfinch too.
While I was out in the garden, I noticed that there is always hope of cheerier days to come.
When I got back in, I saw a lady blackbird getting very excited by an escaping seed…
…but she pulled herself together again.
By the time that I had pulled myself together and stopped distracting myself with cooking and bird watching, my mind had been made up for me. It was too late to do much at all so I just went for familiar walk after lunch and didn’t cycle either indoors or outdoors. Maybe this was my secret plan all along.
On my walk, I kept an eye out for dippers and kingfishers but didn’t see any as I walked along the riverside path so I had to make do with tiny lichen on a fence. I used the macro function on my phone and it did a fair job on lichens that are hardly bigger than a pin head…
…but having walking poles and gloves didn’t help. I will have to be better organised and put everything down before I try to take this sort of shot as the phone needs to be held very still.
I used my pocket camera to record the scarlet elf caps hanging on to a fallen branch beside the road. They have lasted a log time through rain, snow and frost. I saw them first exactly a month ago.
I had another go with the phone at some lichen on a tree at Broomholmshiels.
It had been cloudy when I started out but the weather got better as I headed back along the track towards the town…
…and the sun came out as I walked through the oak wood.
Sometimes cameras have a mind of their own though, and today my camera thought that it was a lot gloomier than I thought it was. I took a view over the town from the Round House…
…which I thought was rather cheery, but the camera reminded me that we are still only one month through winter with two still to go.
It did get a bit brighter as I walked on but the sun is always low at this time of year..
As I got back to Langholm, I caught up with my friends Mike and Gavin who were out for a walk of their own. They had chosen a longer route than me so they had obviously not spent as much time as I did in making up their minds where to go. Sensible fellows.
I added a mile to my walk by going through the town, along the Kilngreen..
….over the Sawmill Brig, and back by the Castleholm and Jubilee Bridge. I had secretly hoped to see interesting birds but once again I failed. This time I made do with some noble fir cones left untouched when all the others have gone…
…and a look up at pine where an interesting bird was calling loudly but invisibly.
I got home after five miles in time for a cup of tea and a slice of toast before two Zooms.
The first was with our granddaughter Matilda and her parents in Edinburgh. They are not wasting their time during the lockdown and as well as doing lots of school work, Matilda is encouraging her father to do exercises to strengthen his core and keep flexible. She has got some new tap shoes and gave us a display of the steps that she is learning. Hot taps we thought.
Then we Zoomed with my sisters only, as my brother was otherwise occupied. They had all managed to get out for some permitted exercise so they were pretty chipper too.
The forecast is suggesting a severe frost tonight and it is already down to -3°C as I write this. I hope that it stays dry enough to avoid ice.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the morning sunshine.