My sister Susan returned to the UK from NZ this morning but here is a recent picture of her admiring Lake Te Anau to prove that she was there. It was taken by my brother.
She has been banned from mentioning what the weather was like while she was in NZ. At least we had some sunshine today and it was enough to lift our spirits in the face of continuing cold, windy conditions.
I felt quite a bit better today, although not quite up to cycling yet. Luckily I had other things to do instead. I looked out of the kitchen window of course.
Later on in the morning, Sandy and I went up to the Moorland feeders as it was my turn to fill the feeders up. We had to watch out that we didn’t step on a pheasant while we were at the feed bins because one was so desperate for food that it was snapping at our ankles. Sandy tried to persuade it to eat from the hand…
…but it wasn’t quite that tame.
When we had finished filling up, Sandy took his remote control out and set up his camera to point at a peanut feeder on the left side of the clearing. He was hoping to get a good clean woodpecker shot as the light was fairly good. As my battery was low, I kept my camera in hand. The woodpeckers arrived in force but sadly for Sandy. they all stuck to the right hand side of the clearing.
After a while, Sandy got fed up and moved the camera round so that it was pointing at one of the feeders on the right hand side. The woodpeckers disappeared and didn’t come back.
We sat for quite a time and I watched some blue tits and a robin on a feeder near me….
…but in spite of the sun, it was freezing and we got fed up of waiting for the woodpeckers to reappear so we got up and left before we turned into ice statues. I did get one picture of a woodpecker before Sandy’s camera scared them away.
The ways of weather are obscure. Last year when we had a lovely spring, the air was always rather murky and the Lake District hills were mostly hidden from us. This year, the wind has been coming from the same direction and the weather has been worse but the air has been much clearer and we have been able to see the hills frequently.
We got home and went our separate ways for lunch. After lunch, I had some business to do for the Archive Group and for the choir so I was kept busy at my computer. When I had finished, I glanced at the weather map and it claimed that soon the coast near Gretna would be bathed in sunshine. I thought that this would give us a wonderful opportunity to catch some snow capped hills gleaming in the late sunshine so I rang Sandy to see if he would like a trip to the seaside. He had been gardening and was happy to take a break so we drove off to Gretna.
The hills were clear as a bell in the distance as we drove down the A7 and there were acres of blue sky in the direction that we were heading. All was good. As is all too often the case though, clouds had come to cover the snowcapped peaks and the sun had gone in by the time we got to the shore. It was also very chilly in a strong wind. Such is life.
There were plenty of curlews whipping along the shore in little flocks…
…and there was some sun on some of the lower lying hills across the water. Since we had gone to the trouble of getting there, I took some pictures anyway.
In the end, Skiddaw did pop its head out of the clouds but didn’t catch any sun.
Not quite the sparkling white set against a blue sea that I had hoped for. In fact the Solway was a rather sullen grey.
Just as at the Moorland feeders, the cold wind beat any desire to wait for the sun to come out and we were soon in our way home, stopping to shoot a cloud and some of the missing blue sky.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been at work in the afternoon but as she had been on a muck collecting excursion and done some gardening in the morning, she wasn’t tempted to do any more gardening in the chilly evening air so we closed the doors, pulled the curtains and shut the cold out.
She settled to her embroidery and I played about with a masking plug in for my photo editor which I have got on a 30 day trial. I had taken a photo of a crocus in the morning and I used my new toy to play about with it. The original picture is in the left frame. You can see the result of masking in the middle frame and some footling about with it in the right hand one.
What fun. Mrs Tootlepedal asked why I wanted to mess around with a flower that was perfectly pretty as it was. Good question but a man needs some occupation. I am impressed by the ease of use of the masking plug in and I will probably buy it when the time comes.
The flying bird of the day was a chaffinch. It was nice to catch it in the sunshine.