Making trax

Today’s picture, sent by Bruce who is on holiday there, shows the foreshore at North Berwick with the Bass Rock in the background.  It looks sunny but I bet it was pretty chilly.

north berwick nov 2012

It was certainly chilly enough here but a moon in the clear sky promised a sunny day at least.  Dropscone turned up and drove us to the gym again.  I was rather tired after the last five days of exercise and only managed a very gentle work out indeed while Dropscone leapt from infernal machine to infernal machine with boyish zest.  I was ready for coffee and scones when we returned.

Sadly, by the time we got home, the clear sky had been obscured by mist and so it stayed for the rest of the day.  If the side roads had been less icy, I might have gone out in the car to see if I could get above it because it looked like one of those ground hugging affairs.  The main roads have been well gritted but you take your chance on the side roads so I erred on the side of caution and stayed at home looking out of the window instead.

We had just finished our coffee when the joiner appeared to fit the very last item of the kitchen refurbishment.  This was an exciting moment. Now all that remains is for the Leonardo of Wauchope Street to complete the painting the cupboard doors and  we will be finished.  My camera finger is twitching but great painters can’t be hurried so I will have to be patient.

Perhaps because I have not out out any niger seed this winter, there are no siskins at all to be seen in the garden.  The cold weather also seems to have put paid to the visits of the coal tits and great tits so we are working with a limited palette of birds at present.   There is still plenty to watch though.   There is action…


…and repose.

robin in tree


greenfinch in tree

…and goldfinches.

goldfinch in tree

I spent some more time waiting for birds to fly off the plum tree but once again they either just sat there…

Two bramblings with their noses in the air.

…or were too quick for me.

flying chaffinch
I nearly caught this one.

The robin returned.

robin on feeder

Feeling that the light just wasn’t good enough for the flying pictures that I wanted, I gave up and went to write up the minutes of the Archive Group AGM before I forgot what had happened there.  The next task will be to send in the annual return to the charity watchdog.  This used to be a horrendous business but they have simplified it a lot in recent years.  I imagine the prospect of thousands of small charities giving up in disgust at the paperwork forced their hand.

Mrs Tootlepedal is working a lot at the moment as one of her colleagues is off but she only had a half day to do today.  When she came back, we thought about going up to visit the moorland feeders but the prospect of an icy potholed road put us off.  Mrs Tootlepedal had some church choir business to take care of so I slipped sandycam into my jacket pocket and set out for a walk.  The going was very icy in places so I was pleased to have my Yaktrax on.   I purchased these after reading about them in Mrs Uphilldowndale’s blog  last year and I am grateful to her for making me aware of them.

I walked through the park and along the banks of the Esk through the woods.

Beechy Plains

Although it didn’t snow very much, the continually low temperatures since it fell mean that not much of it has disappeared.  Where people have trodden, the snow has melted and refrozen and become very icy.

I felt a lot of sympathy for the sheep in the Murtholm fields.


Cold work and not a lot of grass to be seen.

Crossing the Skippers Bridge, the mist was getting ever lower further down the river.
mist on the Esk

After crossing the bridge, I climbed up to the old railway track and then followed the path past the Round House, stopping to admire the trunks of a patch of native silver birches….

silver birches

…and then looked back down at the bridge from above.

Skippers Bridge

I always like this  view but the snowy outline on top of the parapets make it even better than usual.  For once, I don’t mind the electricity poles in a picture as it is because of them that the the trees were cleared to give the view.

The track back to the edge of the town was marked by the brown bracken that Mrs Tootlepedal likes.

track past round house

I walked back into the town, sneering at icy patches as I went.  As I walked down Hallpath, I enjoyed this contrast between shaggy and manicured (but dilapidated) walls.

Hallpath walls

A case of having to take the rough with the smooth, I suppose.

The snow picked out the architectural features on the parish church as I neared home.

parish church

This was a much less strenuous walk than of late and I enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed a cup, of tea and a slice of Selkirk Bannock on my arrival in the nearly finished kitchen.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to the choir where I sang during the first half and waved my arms about during the second, an enjoyable mixture (for me at any rate).  Mrs Tootlepedal added lustre to the sopranos.

The flying bird of the day was a conventional chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Making trax

  1. Lovely indeed, and educational too. I was surprised that your coal tits – which look exactly like our chickadees to my eye – have been discouraged by the cold weather, and that your cheery robins have not. Your robins are more stalwart and more attractive than ours, but our lovable little chickadees make up for it. They are here in the bitterest weather. You would like the chickadees.

  2. Beautiful shots. Love the birches! But you guys make me tired with all your activity, particularly on a DAY WHEN ALL MY JOINTS ARE TALKING TO ME HERE IN SUNNY ca–WELL, IT IS A BIT COLD TODAY AT MY ALTITUDE.

    I hate cap lock!!!!!

  3. Loved all the different birds in the plum tree and all the various views on your walk. Looking forward to the kitchen pictures all in good time!

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