Out in the cold

Today’s picture shows that the weather isn’t any better in New Zealand, courtesy of my brother.

Cloud in Wellington

Our weather was cold but dry this morning.  In spite of the chill, there was no frost and I was able to walk up to the Archive Centre after an early breakfast without resorting to my new yaktrax.

The reason for the early visit to the Centre was a request to come and sit at the controls and record volunteers reading  our local newspaper into a microphone.  This is not some curious cultural phenomenon but merely a way of making the paper available for people with poor or no eyesight.

It was not a technically demanding job as it required the use of Audacity, a free to download sound editing program with which I am already familiar.  The process of recording, saving, burning and copying the 13 disks which are distributed was very painless.  Our local paper is sometimes jokingly referred to as ‘The Two Minutes Silence’ but it turns out that reading even a reduced selection of items from it takes over forty minutes, which probably goes to show that most people don’t read it very carefully.

On my way home, it snowed heavily for about thirty seconds but by the time I was in the kitchen, it was as if it hadn’t happened at all.  I looked out of the window…

bird leaving

In spite of the appearance of leaving in a hurry by the bird in the picture above, I had plenty of birds to look at.  Following a suggestion from Mrs Tootlepedal, I have aggregated some of the related pictures together.

The first selection shows the steadily increasing number of siskins on the nyjer seed feeder.

several siskins

On the other side of the garden, the chaffinches were in combative mood.


Other birds were available too.

goldfinch flying
siskin flying
chaffinch and goldfinch
A goldfinch ignores a persistent chaffinch
I caught a brief glimpse of this brambling but it didn't return

Back on the nyger seed feeder, the siskins had been joined by goldfinches and a single redpoll.  A never ending aerial ballet resulted.

goldfinch siskin redpoll

Looking on was a jackdaw which seemed to have come straight out of Sesame Street’s central casting.


It really was a great show and as you can judge from some of the pictures, the light was a little better today than it has been.  It let me take this picture of our winter plum substitutes.  Mrs Tinker tells me that this constitutes a charm of goldfinches:

goldfinches in plum tree

In fact the weather was so tempting that after lunch I got the slow bike out and went for a pedal.  The forecast told me that it was actually raining as I set out.  It wasn’t but I didn’t care to stray too far from home in case it started.  I went up the Wauchope road and stopped to admire the work that the foresters had done at the Bigholms.

neatly tidied trees
Neatly tidied trees

They can work at a fantastic rate with the tree eating machine.  This had all been done by only two men.  I certainly wasn’t pedalling at a fantastic rate because a chilly north wind was making it feel very cold.  As I reached the four and a half mile mark near Westwater Cottage…

Westwater Cottage

…it started to rain and as I didn’t want to be caught out in a sleet shower, I topped up the distance to a neat five miles and turned for home.  The rain stopped on the way back and so did I to take this shot from above Wauchope school.

Nearly a snowy day
Nearly a snowy day

I stopped again when my eye lit upon these cows at their cow feeders.  I liked the way that they had self-sorted into harmonious colour combinations.

cattle feeding
Cattle feeding

Because the rain had stopped, I continued through the town and out the other side up the A7 towards Hawick.  I had only gone two miles when it started to rain so once again, I stopped and turned for home.

Looking up Ewes Valley from near Terrona
Looking up Ewes Valley from above Terrona

I was pleased to get a slice of toast and a cup of tea when I got back.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to dig out some plants from a bed in front of the old police station and she was freezing when she got back in.  We battened down the hatches at that point, turned the heating on and snuggled down, Mrs Tootlepedal at her knitting and I fiddling around with the photos you have seen here.

And there we stayed, more or less, (with a break for making our tea) until Mike and Alison arrived for their customary Friday night visit.  Alison and I played a Division on a Ground and then enjoyed mangling the works of Handel, Parcham and Vivaldi.  As I may have mentioned before, the great thing about playing this sort of music is that it brings really great live music into your sitting room (even if you don’t play it perfectly).    As Alison said as we packed up, “That was fun.”

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

13 thoughts on “Out in the cold

  1. This year our winter weather is holding off. That I am glad for. Tomorrow my husband and another police chief are tossing Christmas trees for charity. I have stood in snow ans sleet in past years to watch the event. Tomorrow our forecast is sunny and 43F. Hopefully this will be to his advantage as older bones do well in warmer weather!

    1. To make money. The government gives grants to landowners to plant trees for cropping. Things are changing now with more emphasis on amenity planting (broad leaved trees, wildlife etc).

  2. The landscape around Langholm looks more wintery than does ours! We have had an incredibly balmy autumn and apart from one decent snowfall which quickly melted, our lawn is still green. Yesterday the temperature was 10C and tomorrow they are forecasting a high of sun and -10C. That’s how quickly things can change here. Much to the chagrin of our grandchildren, there is no snow yet in the forecast for Christmas.However, that will be just fine by me as we have family travelling up here to spend the holliday with us and we do not need treacherous driving conditions to worry about.

  3. Is your trip to the Archive Centre going to be every Friday Morning – if so I will see you on 23rd for the recording of “The Squeak”.

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