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Archive for January, 2013

Today’s picture, taken today on a rare sunny day in London by my sister Mary on her morning walk, shows the lake at Kenwood House.  The bridge in the background is for decorative purposes only and leads nowhere.

Kenwood lake with distant view of false bridge

It was a foul, wet and windy day at breakfast and I was pleased that I wasn’t hoping to cycle.  This was because I had a scheduled trip to the Health Centre for a blood test.  Fortunately I turned out to have some and I returned home cheerfully.

I was still a bit below par generally though so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work, I sank into a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a good but undemanding book and spent the rest of the morning in pro resting mode…..though of course I did find a quick moment to look out of the window in the rather gloomy conditions.  At least the rain had stopped by the time I got the camera in my hand.

chaffinch

A chaffinch giving the world a sideways look

goldfinches at feeder

The two goldfinches on the right seems to have missed their targets by a long way.

The rest must have done me good because after Mrs Tootlepedal had returned and we had had our lunch, we decided to go for a walk.  The weather had brightened up considerable but there was a strong and chilly wind still blowing so we looked for a stroll beside a well wooded stream or river.  The Tarras seemed to fit the bill and we got into the car and drove down the Claygate road until we came to the river.  There we parked the car and set out to go as far as we felt was sensible before returning.

Tarras

The Tarras was bubblingly full and provided a noisy background to our walk.

Our walk started through sheltering woods….

woods by Tarras

…although it was very soggy underfoot and evidence of the weight of snow combined with strong winds could be seen on every side.

broken tree

broken tree

We walked safely enough through the debris and were able to enjoy the lush greenness provided by the carpet of moss.

moss

This is a really enthusiastic moss almost looking like a miniature fern.

The branches were well covered too.

mossy branches

moss

Outstanding moss on this little branch.

As always, we were struck by the layers of sedimentary rock where they are exposed by the river.

seams in Tarras

It is not surprising when you see the dark seams that they are considering an open cast coal mine not far away from here.

Among the pervasive green, there were occasional splashes of colour.

haws

When we had gone for what seemed like quite a long way in the heavy going, we had to decide on our policy.  Should we go and and make a circuit, crossing the river upstream and returning by road or should we retrace our steps?  The former seemed like hard work and the latter seemed dull so not being afraid of a little hard work, we pressed on, fording swollen streams carefully and enjoying the sunlight when we got out of the woods.

sunny glade

Trees on every side showed the power of the wind, some with recent scars and some showing old wounds.

three battered trees

We finally reached the bridge and turned back towards the car with the welcome firmness of tarmac under our feet.  Now we were exposed and walking into the strong wind.  To make things worse, it started to rain but then, to make things better, it stopped and the sun came out again.  We pottered on, passing a strangely quiet moorland feeding station with only two birds in sight  and finally reached the last lap, the hill back down to the river.

The hat

Mrs Tootlepedal was giving her new hat a really good workout.

I was tempted by a tree/gate combination with additional sheep.  It looked good on the camera but when I got it home I found it mostly featured some of the ubiquitous power cables.

tree with wires

Dash.  I spend a little time making them disappear.

tree without wires

It’s a tedious business and to do it really well takes ages so this will have to do.  Another tree caught my eye as we walked down the hill.

gnarly tree

The arrangement of branches looks randomly higgledy-piggledy but it must have seemed a good idea to the tree at the time.

We were pleased when we arrived back at the car after what seemed like a marathon (well, at least five miles) with the heavy going in the woods and a steep hill and a strong wind on the return.  We wasted little time in getting home for a revivifying cup of tea and a biscuit.   Mike Tinker joined us for a cup and we considered how far the walk had been,  I went and got a map and sadly the Ordnance Survey, who had produced the map, had obviously made a big mistake as our five mile walk only seemed to be three and a half miles when measured on the map.  Shoddy work.

All the same, we had enjoyed it a lot and although it wasn’t a great photographic opportunity, it had certainly been very easy on the eye and soul and surprisingly fresh, green and warm while we were on the river banks.   As a bonus, there was more than one snowdrop now out in the garden when we arrived back.

snowdrops

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy where we worked away as usual.,  Dropscone dropped in to say farewell as he is going to France with three of his children tomorrow for a week’s holiday.  I may say that he is going off with no thought of the need of a certain person for the regular treacle scone with his coffee on Friday.  In spite of that, I hope he has a good time.

Our after work refreshment at the Douglas was enhanced by the appearance of a new and very nice beer from Lancashire.   For some reason, the ability of the English to brew a huge range of really tasty and drinkable bitter beers has never been transferred to the Scots.  Perhaps the Presbyterian distaste for pleasure has cramped the Scottish brewers’ style.  Or it may be the weather.  Or maybe they just don’t like good beer.

A chaffinch obliged as usual though it was only just still flying when I caught it.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows a very nifty hat which Mrs Tootlepedal has just knitted for herself following a pattern sent to her by our daughter.  The colours come at random  from the multicoloured wool she used.

Mrs T's hat

Once again, there was a dry and almost sunny interval when time for the morning pedal came round.  Unfortunately the wind hadn’t got the message and we had to battle a very stiff breeze as we dodged the potholes.  I had forgotten to take my asthma puffers when I got up and was anxious not to make myself ill as we hit the wind on the uphill middle section of the ride so Dropscone had to do quite a lot of patient waiting as we went round.

A couple of  miles from home and rather to our surprise, we met Mrs Tootlepedal pedalling up the Wauchope road into the fierce wind.  We waved at her graciously as we swooshed past her with the wind behind us.  It turned out later that she had been making a short excursion to visit a large heap of manure.  Each to her own, I say.  The wind was so strong that she nearly got blown over when she turned round to come home.

In a very satisfactory way, it started to rain shortly after we sat down for coffee but in an even more satisfactory way, it stopped later on and not only could I stare out of the window…

blackbird

A blackbird before the rain has stopped

chaffinches

Some chaffinches spreading their wings after the rain had stopped

goldfinch

A goldfinch pole squatting

Brambling

A brambling singing an aria from Tosca

…but also go for a walk after lunch.  Lunch was a plate of leek and sweet potato soup with the leek coming from the garden and tasting good.

The difference between today and yesterday was so marked that I couldn’t stop taking pictures just to show that the sun was out. I have combined a few of them here.

Sunny Langholm

I had hoped that Sandy would ring so we could have a joint photographic stroll but when he didn’t call, I didn’t want to waste a sunny moment so I set off by myself (Mrs Tootlepedal was busy knitting).  I was walking along the river when I spied the heron.

heron

And to my great surprise there was another one sitting quietly a few yards away.

heron

Is this a sign of spring?  My heron sexing skills are minimal (non existent) so I can’t say.

Nearby was the first oyster catcher that I have seen this year.

oyster catcher

I was pleased to see it but the riverside residents won’t be so pleased as oyster catchers do a lot of  screaming in the middle of the night.

I walked along the Kilngreen and saw this pair of decorative ducks as I went,

ducks

No gulls were kind enough to glide slowly past me so I had to make do with a riverside gate instead.

Castleholm gate

As I crossed the Sawmill Brig, I think I saw a dipper flashing off upstream but it was far too quick for me to get out the camera.  I did meet another local photographer though and we stopped for a chat.  I caught this glimpse of him later as he strode home on the other side of the river.

Stan

The shooter shot

There was still plenty of water running down the Esk.

Esk

I walked round the new path and I was getting ready to cross the Jubilee Bridge and head for home when I met Sandy.  He had rung just after I had gone out and Mrs Tootlepedal had told him where to find me.  We continued on a walk round the pheasant hatchery together.

We had hoped to see the stoat but it wasn’t around and we had to do with more static targets which are always there when you need them.

Moss on a tree

You might think this is yet another mossy wall but it is a tree trunk.

trees

I couldn’t see the wood for the trees at this point.

I love a wood with a clean floor like this even though I know it is not supporting a very rich ecosystem.

I am also fascinated by the twists that make tree trunks look like the skin over the sinews and muscles in human limbs.  They are among the many things that I didn’t really look at until I acquired a camera.

Twisted tree trunk

We had a choice as we walked back to Sandy’s car between the high road and the low road.  We took the high road and were able to look down on an enormous puddle which we would have met had we taken the low road.

puddle

It was not surprising to see the puddle as there were many lively little streams running down the bank to our left as we walked.

stream

After a cup of tea and one of my birthday biscuits (still well over a hundred to go), Sandy went home and I roasted some vegetables for my tea.  They included a part of a very large parsnip from the garden.

They came out very well and I enjoyed them a lot which was more than could be said for the evening session with the choir.  The musical director was there and so I didn’t do any conducting.  As my throat was a bit creaky and we had a lot of rather difficult pieces to sing, I didn’t make much of a contribution to the evening and got rather grumpy with myself.  The answer is that if I am going to enjoy singing, I will have to practise a lot.  There’s a surprise.

Today’s flying bird is concentrating really hard.

flying bird

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Today’s picture shows the first snowdrop to be out in the garden this year.

snowdrop

Today offered another cycling window amidst a poor forecast and Dropscone appeared very promptly in his anxiety not to get caught in the predicted rain.  We went round the traditional morning run down through Canonbie and back over the hill to Wauchope School and home.  This meant dodging a number of small trees which had fallen across the A7 bike path and a great number of potholes on the Glenzier road which had been dug out and made nicely rectangular by the roadmen but unfortunately not filled in yet.  All this meant we had to keep our noses well down and our wits about us as we pedalled along.

The invigorating effect of cycling with Dropscone was shown by the fact that I did roughly the same distance as yesterday but sixteen minutes quicker.  When I say invigorating I might mean exhausting.  And of course there were no photo stops for a breather.   Still, the excellent scones more than made up for the extra effort required to get to them.

We had the best of the day for our pedal and the weak sun was strong enough at one moment even to show our shadows as we pedalled.  It soon turned nasty though and the rest of the daylight hours were full of heavy rain or strong wind or both.

There were birds to be seen.

starling

A starling swinging in the breeze on the fat balls

two bramblings

Two bramblings, a male and a female, waiting for scraps from the feeder above.

brambling at feeder

Up above a brambling just gets the brakes on in time

I put on my wellies and a pair of waterproof trousers and walked up to the town to go to the bank.  I needed the rainwear as it was very wet and miserable out there.meeting of the waters

On my way back I came past the Buccleuch Centre where a small design defect provided me with a fine waterfall to watch.

Buccleuch Centre

And then I paddled my way home along a soggy Henry Street.

Henry Street puddle

 

As I came back to the house, I noticed this fine bunch of snowdrops beside the dam.

snowdrops

While taking the picture, I managed to drop my lens cover into the dam and it was threatening to float away and disappear through the grill under the road but I just managed to fish it out.  I will have to take Zyriacus’ advice and glue a bit of string to it and attach it to something so I can’t lose it.

It had got very dark so I concentrated on some sitting targets while peering through the window.

chaffinch

A rather portly chaffinch checking things out.

Another one gave me a very hard stare.

staring chaffinch

greenfinch

A greenfinch looking lordly.

robin

A robin doing some groundworking.  Promising shoots in the picture.

I did capture a couple of bits of feeder action.

 

goldfinches and siskin

There seemed to be a lot more siskins about today.

Perhaps the recent cold weather has brought the siskins here.  They are small but feisty birds.

siskin goldfinch

After lunch it was too dark even for sitting birds so I gave up and did some work on the computer.  A member of the choir came round to get a bit of guidance on reading music in the bass clef.  It is very good seeing members taking the singing seriously.

Even on such a grey day as this, the days are getting noticeably longer and what with that and the appearance of the snowdrops we are definitely beginning to think about the garden again.   I still have to finish spiking the lawn so the next good day that comes will see me getting the fork out.

In the evening, Susan gave me a lift to Carlisle where all six of the recorder group were present and we enjoyed a good evening’s playing.  We were even quite well in tune which is not always the case with recorders, especially if players change parts and instruments as we do.  Susan’s car suffered a slight malfunction when we left  but in the end we got safely home.

Another flying chaffinch was found to do duty as flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

I should add for the record that the combined wind and rain led to the end wall leaking again. It is very annoying.

.

 

 

 

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Today’s picture is from stock as I have not received any recent offerings from friend or family….or if I have, I can’t find them.

dog

After another night of rain, the day dawned remarkably pleasantly and being forewarned by an accurate forecast,  I rose promptly and got out the slower bike straight after breakfast.   There was even a watery sort of sun trying (but failing) to pierce the cloud cover as I headed off as usual up the Wauchope road.  Dropscone had various appointments so I was on my own and could take my time.  This was lucky as there was a strong wind blowing which made my progress up the road very stately indeed.

I was pleased to find an excuse to stop and take a picture.  I came across another small landslide which had just encroached upon the road but no more.

landslide

This is a second slip from the same bit of hill.

It wasn’t serious but it is another reminder of how wet last year was.  I expect to see a few more of these if we get another wet year this year.

The wind was so strong that I decided that going over the tops of hills would be no fun and so I turned round at Wauchope School and whistled back down the road with a 20 mph (or more in the gusts) helping me along.  To get my twenty miles, I had to do the same trip twice more and I was able to stop for two more photo opportunities on the way to give me a moment’s breather.

The first was a heron standing next to some rather fast moving water at Pool Corner.  It obligingly posed for a moment…

heron

It would have to be quick to catch a fish in that

…but then walked away in disgust when it saw that I didn’t have my long lens for a close up.

heron

Further up the road, on my third lap, I visited another of the many little rapids in the short course of the Wauchope Water.  This was quite an impressive one that I hadn’t been to before.

Wauchope rapid

And it came with a bonus combination of mossy tree and wall in one shot.

tree and wall

My trip took me 25 minutes for each outward section  and 12 minutes for each return leg.  I didn’t want to press too much into the wind as I was still pretty tired.  As always seems to be the case, I felt much better after I had finished.  Cycling has a magic system of easing away aches and pains both of the mind and of the body.   Especially if you don’t try to go too fast into a string wind.

The forecast turned out to be spot on and shortly after I got home, it started to rain which made me very smug.  Mrs Tootlepedal wasn’t quite as pleased because she caught the downpour as she came back from choir practice and doing a bit of business up in the town.

It got very dark and not at all good for staring out of the window, though of course I did have at least one or two goes.

brambling

A brambling in the rain

I spent the rest of the day preparing music for choir members to practice which meant putting four different versions, one for each choir section with their part emphasised, onto disks and memory sticks.  This is good fun but time consuming and it didn’t seem long until it was time for tea and the regular visit of my flute pupil Luke.  He gladdened my heart by playing his scales at a tremendous speed and correctly. I think he enjoys playing them which is quite a rare thing in a youngster but bodes well for his future development.  I am really enjoying teaching him.

In the evening, I picked up Sandy and we braved the wind and rain and drove to Newcastleton for a meeting of the Camera Club.  The competition was for night photos and I failed to trouble the scorer as they say.  I wasn’t too disheartened as I think taking pictures when it is dark is a bit silly when I spend most of time praying for better light during the day.  Still, the judge was very interesting and I certainly learned quite a lot from her talk about using the photo editor.  Whether I will have the time and patience to do anything with this new found knowledge is a different matter entirely.

I did manage to squeeze one flying bird shot out of the gloom.  I don’t know how.

chaffinch in rain

I should add that in response to a flood (three) of requests, I have put a transcription of the Burn’s toast on the page called ‘Toast’ which you can find among the tabs at the top of this page.  I will leave it there for a couple  weeks so that those who find time hanging heavy on their hands can have a look at it if they wish.

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Today’s picture shows the nice shiny bike my daughter has just purchased for braving the streets of London.

annies bike

It has been well reviewed and she tells me that it is much lighter than her previous bike which can only be good.  She is of course putting mudguards on it.

The reason that I took so many pictures yesterday was because of the belief that it would only be a fleeting opportunity and this proved to be the case  as the thick snow from yesterday had almost disappeared after a night of heavy rain.  I rose late and went to review the situation.   The hills were more or less bare…

whita

…and the snow was disappearing towards the sea at a great rate.

Esk

I wish that I had got up earlier because judging from the neat tide mark along its bank, the river must have been quite a sight then.

tidemark

It was warm enough and the main roads were clear enough for a pedal but for one reason or another (a late night, yesterday’s walk in the snow, a touch of asthma were all candidates) I didn’t feel very perky and there was a brisk enough wind blowing to both to discourage me and ruffle the feathers of this chaffinch on the feeder.

chaffinch

Instead, I hung around the house intermittently checking on Andy Murray’s efforts to win a second major in a row and intermittently staring out of the window.

brambling

An unruffled brambling

ringed chaffinch

A ringed chaffinch just hangs on

siskin

An elegant siskin

I don’t have the patience to watch a whole men’s tennis match and I find the swings of fortune hard to take but the little bits that I watched were very exciting and I was sad that the hopes of a nation vanished like the snow off a dyke as the morning progressed.

After lunch, I was so bored that in spite of the threat of more rain, I went out for a little walk.  I took the riverside walk and was not surprised to see a few tree disasters after the heavy snow and rain and the strong winds that have hit us on successive days.  This one was at the bottom of the bank…

Tree on Eastons walk

…and these two broken branches were along the top.

broken branches

As I walked along the path at the bottom of the bank I heard a clatter of stones as a small landslip slid down behind me.  Contemplating that and the amount of soil washed away from under this large tree…

tree root

…I couldn’t help but wonder how long the path will remain open.

It was only a short walk but there was plenty of moss to admire as I went round….

moss

…and the contrast with yesterday could not have been more complete.

Stubholm

There was enough light to take a couple more pictures when I got home…

The robin lurks on the branch before making quick dashes to take a single seed from the feeder.

The robin lurks on this branch before making quick dashes to take a single seed from the feeder.

chaffinch

A female chaffinch blends into the grey day

…and then I settled down to some serious idling for the rest of the day.  I was going to do a little work on some rehearsal disks for the choir but I tipped a cup of tea over my desktop computer mouse and it took to it badly and only came out of its sulk after a long drying out on a radiator.  I don’t blame it because I would sulk if someone poured a cup of tea over me but it put paid to any constructive work.

Darkness came early and those winter blues returned.  I had met a man in the park who had driven home from York today and was was bubbling with a simmering rage because the sun had been out for his whole journey until the last six miles into Langholm.  “I’m going to live in York, I really am,” he kept on repeating.  There are days when we we can all sympathise with that.

Dropscone rang me up to tell me that he had been for a twenty miles pedal in the morning but it must have been hard work because he swore that the wind had been against him both ways.  I am going to try to find a gap in the weather tomorrow to do a few gentle miles just for the good of my soul.

Another chaffinch turned up to model for flying bird of the day.  (You can see that there is still quite a bit of snow on our lawn even if it has left the hills.)

chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s picture shows Wauchope Street at 1.30 a.m. this morning when we got back from the Gilnockie Burns Supper.

Wauchope Street

It had been snowing like that for some hours and it became a distinct possibility that either the supper would be cancelled or we wouldn’t be able to get to it.  In the end, thanks to the energy of the organisers and the four wheel drive of our neighbour Liz’s car, the supper stayed on and we arrived safely.  Not all the audience had managed to make it but the hall was comfortably full when we sat down to dinner.  My part in the proceedings, the toast to Robert Burns’ Immortal Memory, went off without me being pelted with bread rolls so that must be counted as satisfactory.  It was probably still five minutes too long  but I enjoyed it and I can only leave to it others to say if my efforts were any good.

I had made a plea at the end of my talk for a more active interest in creating poems as an enduring tribute to the great man and a pleasing thing was a phone call this afternoon from the organiser who read me the first part of a fine poem which she had started to write about the occasion.   She also told me that she hopes the committee will take up my suggestion for a small prize for the best poem of the year by a member of the audience.  I shall have to sharpen my pencil as Mrs Tootlepedal won two free tickets to next year’s event in the raffle.

When we woke up (late) this morning, we were confronted with what can only be described as a winter wonderland.

WARNING:  THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY PICTURES IN TODAY’S POST  (twice as many as usual).

The sun was out, the snow was deep and crisp and even and everyone was in a good mood. Especially Hannah who was being pulled along the street but her mum.

Hannah

The picture has not been touched up unduly, the road really was as white as ….as white as…. well, as white as snow.

The view from my bedroom window was so inviting that I rang up Sandy and we arranged to go for a photographic walk.

View from the bedroom window

While I was waiting for him to appear, I wandered round the garden looking for arty shots.

art shot

It was quite warm and the snow which hung heavy on the branches was beginning to slip off silently.

Chaffinch with seed in snow

Even this early in the day, I could see with the aid of my zoom lens that there had been a lot of traffic on the top of Castle Hill….

Castle Hill

Sandy arrived and we took our cameras off for a snow tour, starting with a walk to the river.  On every side, the views were stunning.  This was the Buccleuch Park, which we glanced at as we passed it.

Buccleuch Park

The low sunlight picked out the wall striding up the side of Whita hill.

Whita wall

We walked along the river, Sandy on one side and I on the other.  This was my view.

Elizabeth Street

I looked through the Town Brig towards the Sawmill Brig…

two bridges

…and then walked up onto the bridge itself.

Looking down Thomas Telford road

This is the view down Thomas Telford Road.  The snow capped top of Timpen looked very inviting but the prospect of ploughing through foot deep snow to get to the top was too daunting.   I took a picture of some squabbling gulls instead where a kind hearted soul had thrown down some bread.

gulls

It was hard to make out what was happening with the white on white situation but when one flew off with a prize, it became clearer.

gull pursuit

We took the easy climbing route and walked up Drove Road and Arkinholm Terrace to the bottom of the golf course.  Of course, we stopped as we went up to take some snowy snaps.

Fence on Arkinholm Terrace

Thawing snow

We had to watch out for mini snow drops

One famous crossword setter whose work I enjoy every week in the paper is named after this striking tree which we encountered.

araucaria

The monkey puzzle tree or Araucaria

At the top of the Kirk Wynd slope, we stopped for a breather and a chance to catch some enthusiastic tobogganers.

tobogganers

Then we turned to continue on up the track past the golf course and on to the hill.  Once again, we found shots to distract us as we went.  We were grateful for these as it was heavy going  in the snow.

snowy gate

pause to admire the view

This was a pause to admire the view

Ewes

The view to the north was slightly marred by some low clouds behind the hills

Sandy was leading the trek.

Sandy

I was following in the steps which he had printed

We plugged on till we got to Whita Well where there was quite a little gathering of walkers.  The steep slopes ahead discouraged us from further alpine ambitions.

whita steep slope

Young fit men went further as you can see from the steps in the snow.

We stayed with the sheep.

sheep on Whita

Even the pylons looked good today.

pylon on whita

The track on the snow was made by a snow boarder but he/she had gone before we got there.

View

It was hard to stop admiring the view

After a rest, we headed back down the hill.  We crossed the golf course and looked down on the town.

Langholm from the golf course

Timpen

Clouds were beginning to gather behind the hills

You can see Sandy’s house in the bottom left hand corner of the picture of Timpen.  As we went down the hill, Sandy slipped and fell headlong into the snow and with great self restraint, I didn’t take a picture of his downfall but actually went as far as to lend him a hand to get up.   How we laughed.  Our way down the hill was along untrodden territory.

golfcourse

Warbla hill top was still free of clouds….

Warbla

But looking further south, the skies were darker.

cloud cover

It wasn’t as dark as this in real life but the effect was the same

I consoled myself with a picturesque tree.

tree on golf course

These were the only two people I met on the course.

snowmen on golfcourse

The clubhouse had no golfers in it but was due to be used for a business meeting later in the day.

Golf club

The sledgers were still at work as we came down the last stretch of the Kirk Wynd.  It was a scene of general merriment mixed with outbreaks of terror.

sledger

Full speed ahead

sledger

Oooops.

girl power

Girl power

sledgers

Aaaagh!

By this time, the sky above the roofs looked as solid as the snow beneath our feet.

sky

We staggered through the town on weary legs and sank down gratefully when we made it into the kitchen where we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a cheese toastie each.  Mrs Tootlepedal who had been for a walk while we were out had also found it hard going in the snow so there was a good deal of mild groaning to go with lunch.

Sandy went off and apart from a few quick peeks out of the kitchen window….

brambling

A brambling catching the last of the day’s sunshine

robin

A robin trying one of my new fat balls

blackbird

A blackbird on a white background

…that was the end of my exertions for the day.  Our neighbout Liz came in for a cup of tea and we relived the excitements of the snowy journeys to and from Gilnockie last night and then I retired for a good soak in the bath where I completed a fine crossword (but not one set by Araucaria on this occasion).

I shall sleep well tonight after the late night last night and the fresh air of today.  Sorry about the excessive number of pictures but this blog does represent my daily diary and it was an unusually beautiful day.

I caught a flying chaffinch early in the day before the sun had come to the feeder.

flying chaffinch

Visit Sandy’s blog to see his view of our day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows the scene in our garden at breakfast time.

winter scene

It continued to snow until Dropscone arrived with treacle scone when it more or less stopped.   Very few birds were prepared to brave the snow and a lonely blackbird was the first to arrive.

blackbird

A goldfinch came next and seemed to hang on the feeder rather desperately.

goldfinch

After coffee Dropscone gave me a lift through the snow up to the High Street and I collected our car from the garage in full working order (I hope).

By the time that I got home, the birds had come out in force.

two chaffinches

Two chaffinches were weighing up the situation.

brambling and siskin

A brambling and siskin facing up.

chaffinches and bramblings

And soon there was a steady flow of chaffinches and bramblings at the feeder

The snow had stopped by lunchtime so, with more forecast, I sneaked out for a quick walk with the cameras.

I took my usual short walk route along the river.

gulls on wire

I was going to take a picture of a lot of gulls crowded on a wire but…

I did finding one looking rather serious gull on a post beside the Ewes Water.

gull

I took this shot of the Langholm Bridge in snow just for the record.

Langholm Bridge in Snow

And I took this shot of my favourite picnic table just because I liked it.

picnic table on Kilngreen

I walked on to the Lodge Walks and enjoyed the sight of some sturdy moss poking out of the snow on top of a wall.

moss

The Lodge Walks themselves looked rather grey and misty with the branches of the trees dusted with snow and I took a fine picture to demonstrate this but somewhere in the transmission from camera card to computer it got lost along with several other undying examples of the photographic art so this picture of the walls at the start of the walk will have to take their place.

DSCF5994

I did manage to keep a tree picture or two.

Castleholm tree

Castleholm tree

I walked along to where I saw the stoat a day or two ago but it wasn’t to be seen today so I trudged home into some wet and sleety snow that made the last bit of my walk a bit miserable.

When I got home, I spent sometime in giving my talk for tonight a final polish and cutting yet more of it out as it turned out to be still too long when I read through it.

As I was doing this, it really started to snow in earnest and getting to Gilnockie, where the Burns Supper is being held tonight,  may well turn out to be a bit of an adventure.  Luckily our neighbour Liz is providing the transport.  The Gilnockie Burns Supper is famous for going on a bit and this is why I am putting this post up much earlier than usual as I think it is unlikely that we will be home before midnight.  I will report tomorrow whether I escape without being pelted by bread rolls and haggis by dissatisfied punters.

A gloomy gull is flying bird of the day.

flying gull

 

 

 

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