Just like the old days

Today’s picture shows the sort of weather that you don’t really want when your central heating is dead.  It was what we got.

snow and gloomy chaffinches

And the wind was gusting up to 40mph from the east.  Naturally I didn’t think of cycling in these conditions so I was very surprised (and impressed) when Dropscone turned up on his bike ready for the morning run.  I was still in my dressing gown at the time and so I graciously let him go out by himself.  He managed a 14 mile loop before he returned for coffee and the traditional Friday treacle scones which he had brought with him.   He is a braver man then I am but even he felt that 14 miles was quite enough, especially as the snow was beginning to settle on the higher ground.

The snow never came to much in Langholm and the birds were as hungry as ever.

plum tree
I have put this one in because my sister Susan likes to see birds perched in the plum tree.
The strong winds were making the approach to the feeder tricky.

But it wasn’t stopping the birds coming….

flying birds at feeder

…or going.

It’s not a great shot but it does give an impression of urgency which the sharper shots don’t convey.

Although the central heating wasn’t working, we still had a gas fire in one room and an open grate in another so we weren’t in any danger of frostbite but it did remind us of the good old days of our youth when you could warm your front at a fire while your back got colder and colder.  Looking back, we must have been pretty cold a lot of the time but we probably didn’t know it.  I do remember that chilblains seemed to figure largely then which they don’t seem to do now.  Anyway, being sensible people we just put on several more layers of clothes and wore our woolly hats indoors.  I do hope the heating gets fixed tomorrow though because there’s only so much nostalgia that an old man can bear.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and I made a little excursion.  The news had been full of the fact that South West Scotland (where we live) was deep in snow, with schools and roads closed.  There was not a drop of snow to be seen in Langholm so I went to see if I could see some.

View from Whita

It had got to within eight miles of us from the north and east.  This is the view up the Ewes valley.  It was reported as very thick and lying about 20 miles to the west so we must have been a little oasis of dull green in a white world.  I couldn’t take any pictures to the west as it was snowing over there and there was no view at all.

It wasn’t a day for standing taking snaps on a hill top as the wind was piercing me to my very marrow so I got back in the car and went off to the more sheltered Moorland bird feeders.

The last time I had been there with Sandy, there had been no birds about.  Today there were hundreds and I sat behind the screen and enjoyed a never ending show.

feeder at Broomholmshiels

There are very few blue, coal or great tits on our garden and I think the reason must be that that they are all up here instead.  Here are two blue and two great tits.

blue and great tit gallery

And here is a coal tit.

coal tit

Even though the feeders are quite sheltered, the wind looks as though it has blown the top off this brambling’s head.


There was an excellent turn out of woodpeckers.



This one was crouching before take off

You can see how the woodpeckers have attacked the wooden post of the feeder.

I had a lot of choice with regard to pheasants as they were busy scrabbling for fallen seed under the feeders.


The feeding was interrupted by a fly through from a sparrowhawk.

ssparrowhawk and pheasant

The pheasant was of no interest to it and it didn’t even look up as the hawk flew overhead though I see it did flash its tail a bit.

The hawk flew off at the far end of the feeders…


…and within thirty seconds, the birds were back at the feeders behind it.  It didn’t return while I was there.  It must have just been examining the menu rather than hunting as it wasn’t in any hurry.  This was lucky because the light was awful and if it had been after prey, I wouldn’t have been able to catch it at all.

I came home, poked up the fire, made some bread and waited for Mrs Tootlepedal to come home from work.  Luckily there was an excellent report from a one day cycle race in Belgium available on the Eurosport player on my laptop.  You might easily think that a one day cycle race in gloomy conditions in Belgium in March might be quite boring but you couldn’t be more wrong.  It was most exciting and filled a two hour space with nothing to do in it very well indeed.

No sooner was Mrs Tootlepedal  home though, than she rushed out again to do her stint as fifth nun for the penultimate time.  The nuns have a long gap between their first and second entrances and Mrs Tootlepedal has been filling the gap by making an embroidery of the nuns which I hope I will be able to show you in due course.

It turned out to be a good day because a night of potential tedium, huddled up in front of a flickering fire was rescued by sport and I was able to watch Edinburgh giving Ulster a most unexpected beating at rugby.  Altogether it had been a good day for the armchair sports fan.

Today’s flying bird is a great tit from the moorland feeders.

great tit






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

15 thoughts on “Just like the old days

  1. We have quite a lot of great tits and blue tits, but I’ve never seen a brambling at all. Strange what difference a few miles makes.

  2. Your ‘old days’ sound a little like my present, but luckily the rooms in my apartment in France are small enough that you can more or less warm one up with the pathetic space heaters that come with it. Hope you get that central heating back soon.

  3. As some of the other commenters I keep my fingers crossed that the heating will be in working condition soon. Romantic as a life fire in the hearth may be, as you said one is roasted in front while chattering the teeth on the back. Great shots of the birds – tits are aplenty here as well as are chaffinches.

  4. Glad you survived in spite of the cold. You took some great shots up at the feeding station. Roll on the repair to your boiler!

  5. I enjoyed your shots of the landings in the wind – way too much right rudder!

    Sorry about the heat issue – although it does give Mrs. T. a chance to wear her fancy wooly hat.

    1. It was nice to have something to grumble about which we knew was going to be sorted soon unlike the unseasonable weather which seems to be going on for ever.

  6. Glad the deep snow didn’t reach you but it must have been very chilly waiting for the gasman to come, poor you. The bird pictures from the ringing station were some of the best I have seen on the blog.

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