Two windows of opportunity

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…

A blackbird before the rain has stopped
Some chaffinches spreading their wings after the rain had stopped
A goldfinch pole squatting
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.


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


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,


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.

The shooter shot

There was still plenty of water running down the 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.
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.


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.


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

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Two windows of opportunity

  1. I can’t be 100% sure, but the first heron looks like a male in breeding plumage to me. The second could be a female, especially if the male wasn’t chasing it off. They become quite territorial in spring. I just noticed, your herons have a black patch on their wings.

  2. A most impressive hat. It looks very cosy. Glad you had some sunshine. Splendidly clear bird pictures.

  3. Haven’t those “birthday cakes” by now outlived their “best-use-before” date by now. Birthday was in November after all. 🙂
    But on the other hand I found some last years chocolade easter eggs lately and ate them – without untoward effects.

  4. I have noticed a trend of late… Dennis is now back to the moniker ‘Dropscone.’
    😉 I’m so glad you were able to get out biking and walking with friends. It looks like a lovey day from here! Thank you for sharing it, Tom.

  5. Fantastic heron captures, they just may have been flirting with each other! Great oyster catcher shot, I’ve never seen one around here and would love to. Loved your landscape and hillside photos too!

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