Blue sky thinking

Today’s picture, sent by Joyce from Canada, gives a vivid impression of her current weather conditions.  She thinks we ought to stop moaning about a little drop of rain.

williamstown fair entry 17

We had a much better day here and not before time.  It hardly rained at all and from time to time it was possible to catch a glimpse of a patch of blue sky.  On the minus side there was an extremely strong wind in the morning.

Capturing bird pictures was a lot easier today.

chaffinches at feeder

While Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I took advantage of the slightly better weather to catch a chaffinch or two in flight…..

flying chaffinches

…or indeed, six or seven….

chaffinch and brambling

I was as happy as a sandboy.

I thought about this phrase after I had written it and realised that not only didn’t I know why  a sandboy should be happy but I also didn’t even know what a sandboy is or was.  They turn out to be the people who took  buckets of sand for the floor round to public houses in  spit and sawdust times and they were happy because they had been rewarded for their labour with a drink.  I was happy but sober so I probably wasn’t as happy as a sandboy.  I was happy though.

Not all the birds were in the air.

A jackdaw has bitten off more than it can chew
A blackbird shyly introduces itself.

After lunch, I took advantage of the better day to go for a walk.  Mrs Tootlepedal gave me a lift as far as the Co-op and then I ventured to the Round House before coming home by the Murtholm.  Although I like Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden a lot, I am sometimes envious of people who live on the edge of town because of the greater variety of birds that visit their feeder.  I saw a nuthatch on a feeder near Skippers Bridge but it flew off into a bush as soon as it saw my camera.


I had to make do with a great tit which was more amenable to being photographed.

great tit

A dripping wall beside the A7 showed that although it was a dry day, it hadn’t been dry for long.

A7 wall

The winter does have the advatnage of improving the views of bridges as the leaves disappear from the trees.

Not just the water from the wall but all the rain that falls for miles around disappears through this narrow exit.

I was intending to walk a little further than I did but it didn’t take much clambering up a hillside to make me turn for home.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed taking a few pictures, even though my outing was brief.

Tree at Longwood
A fine tree in the fields at Longwood
moss on the wall
While I was taking the tree, my eye was caught by this tiny red patch among the  moss on the wall.

When I got to the Round House, a rare shaft of sunlight picked out Meikleholm Hill.

Meikleholm Hill

And the sun was still out as I walked back down through the wood.

Tree in sunlight
I am a sucker for moss covered branches. This tree appealed to man and dog alike.

As I went home along the Murtholm, I took this picture of Murtholm Farm.  The estate had obviously laid its hand on a job lot of maroon paint at one time as you can see facing boards painted in this colour all around the area.  The sun on the hill behind had already disappeared.


I was able to admire the many huge puddles left by the summer rain both in the fields….

reflective sheep

…and in the woods.

beechy plain puddle
A puddle in the Beechy Plains

I took the last two pictures when I reached the Buccleuch Park at the end of my walk.  They show the wall beside the Park Brig and a patch of moss on it.

Wall at the Park Bridge
A colourful selection of lichen
A jungle of moss on the wall.

When I got home, I didn’t have to wait long before Alistair and Clare arrived for a welcome visit.  Clare and I made tea cakes while Alistair nursed an injured elbow and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some spaghetti for tea.

After tea, we played a traditional round of Oh Hell (Clare won easily) and ate a toasted tea cake or two.  Oh Hell goes by a variety of names and a website tells me that it can also be called Blackout, Blob, Nomination Whist, Elevator (l’Ascenseur in France), Bust and Up and Down the River (in Australia and New Zealand), Boerenbridge or 10 op en neer in the Netherlands and German Bridge in Hong Kong. Under any name it is a great game.

Tomorrow, being Christmas Eve, it will be time to put the Christmas tree up and decorate the room.  The decorations and tree will stay up until Twelfth Night, bringing a hint of cheer to the darkest days of the year.

I kept one brambling back to star as flying bird of the day.

flying brambling




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Blue sky thinking

  1. “…moaning about a drop of rain …” Well here we had within the last two days more than we have had in all November – almost 50 mm. Have you and Mrs Tootlepedal a merry christmas. (Hope your cough has subsided)

  2. Thanks for the explanations of phrases and card games names.

    I first played O Hell in a Norwegian Youth Hostel when I was skiing in Norway in my youth.

    Glad you had a better day weatherwise and hope the improvement in your cough goes steadily on.

  3. Glad you were able to get out and about and saw a little bit of sun. We also had a reasonable Sunday after a really rotten Saturday. Hope the teacakes were up to scratch and that the tree decorating goes well.

  4. Glad to see you had a blink or two of sun. Enjoyed the reflections. Have a very happy Christmas.

  5. The alternative Sandboy is the one who spread sand on the gun deck of a fighting ship, to stop the gunners slipping on the blood and gore! Though why he should be happy? I think I prefer your explanation.

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