Back on track

Today’s picture from Dropscone’s French adventure shows that he has been dragged off the golf course by his children for long enough to visit the market in Agen.  I hope he samples the famous prunes which are delicious.


We woke to a frosty morning but without any wind or rain.  It was a morning too cold to cycle but eminently suitable for sipping coffee, doing a crossword and occasionally staring out of the window.  I did all three.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cleaning windows on our upper floor all the better for me to stare out of at a later date.

There were so many flying chaffinches about that I have created a composite of them.

composite chaffinches

I can’t tell if the one on the top left corner has badly diseased feet or has merely trodden in something sticky.   Maybe one of my bird expert readers can help me out here.

There were a good number of blackbirds, both young and old, about as well.  These two pictures may or may not be of the same bird.


I am always looking to catch a moment when four different types of bird are at the feeder and I got one today.

mixed bag
Brambling, greenfinch, siskin and chaffinch

The light was rather poor for good flying pictures so I tried my hand at portraiture instead.

portly chaffinch
This portly chaffinch shows that it was a chilly morning
I like the subtle pastel shades in a chaffinch’s plumage
A floor brambling


A standard robin in its favourite place
A matched pair of siskins

The siskins like peanuts as well as seeds.


When I went upstairs to check on Mrs Tootlepedal’s progress (and offer helpful advice of course), I noticed a strange looking sparrow on a shrub near our gate.


I take it that this bird is in the process of moulting rather than being  attacked by some sort of fungus.  Again, better informed readers can probably tell me if this is the case.

Another sparrow made a rare visit to one of the feeders.

Sparrows, like greenfinches, often seem to look rather superior.

I made a very tasty lentil soup for my lunch and slurped it up with enthusiasm.  After lunch (and after wiping my chin) I found that the temperature had risen to 3°C and since we had found the roads quite safe yesterday, Mrs Tootlepedal and I wrapped up warmly and set off for yet another visit to Wauchope schoolhouse.  When we got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was summoned away by a higher calling so I set off back up the road by myself as the conditions were as good as could be expected for such a chilly day and I didn’t want to waste them.  I was in no hurry and stopped to take a few pictures on my way to the top of Callister.

Any dip in the fields tends to be full of water and it was cold enough for these large puddles to be frozen over today.

frozen puddle

It is going to take two months of spring drought to dry everything out and if we don’t get that, the farmers are going to be in difficulty.

I liked the elegance of this temporary little lake so much that I took another picture of it from the opposite end.

icy puddle

I noticed a stile over the fence of this field and popped over it to see what was on the other side.

Wauchope with fallen trees

I found a little island in the middle of the Wauchope.  As you can see, there are a lot of fallen trees about at the moment which is the result of the persistent rain, heavy winds and some brief but heavy snowfalls. On the far side of the river was a moss covered stone structure which was hard to decipher.

Stone structure

It looks to thick to be just a wall.  Another excursion when I can paddle across the river to look at it is called for.

Just after Wauchope Schoolhouse, I stopped to investigate another of the little rapids which chatter away as I pass.


The stream at this point has eaten away a large bank on the opposite side.


You can see a thin strip of peat like black icing on a cake behind the curtain of icicles.

Considering the frozen puddle and the icicles, conditions for cycling were quite benign and there were very few icy patches on the road.  From the top of Callister, I could just see the snowcapped summit of Criffel across the Nith where we had enjoyed our sunny outing on Saturday.


I enjoyed the downhill run home and found that Mrs Tootlepedal had safely collected several buckets of manure from her manure mountain and was back at her sewing.   If it is a choice between another six miles on the bike or collecting manure for the garden, there is no contest in Mrs Tootlepedal’s mind.

In the evening, I went with Sandy and Jean to the Archive Centre where Sandy and Jean made a useful start on getting the large photo collection which we got from my neighbour Liz into a form where it can be presented on our website.  I beavered away at the index for our local newspaper.  Now that the holiday season is well and truly over, the data miners have been hard at work and I will have to up my productivity rate in entering the results into the database or be overwhelmed.

We enjoyed refreshments in the Douglas Hotel afterwards.  The fact that I am limited to one drink a week makes it seem all the more precious.

Today’s flying bird is a siskin.

flying siskin









Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “Back on track

    1. That’s what we are beginning to fear seriously. Still, the north of Scotland suffered a most unusual drought last year so you never can tell.

  1. I can’t help you out as far as the birds, but the feet of the chaffinch do look strange., but then, I’m no expert either.

    You may be tired of hearing this, but the countryside is so beautiful, I glad that I found your blog!

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