Seeing the light

Today’s picture shows the 13th century Cathedral in Toledo which my brother and his wife visited yesterday by high speed train.  He thought that the journey was well worth while.

Toledo Cathedral

It was a generally sunny, quite calm day today but as the temperature was only three degrees, I gave up any thoughts of cycling.  My chest is not taking to this cold, damp spell at all well at the moment.  I thought that I was getting another cold but I am not and I much cheered up by that.  The asthma will clear up shortly and I will be back on the bike and whistling a merry tune as soon as the temperature goes up a degree or two.  Meanwhile, I am honing my skills as a pro rester.

Once we get to November, the kitchen window which is north facing, looks out into deep shadow for most of the morning so taking pictures is hard.  It doesn’t stop me trying though.

perching robin
A robin caught my eye in the gloom.

The sun hits the plum tree before the feeder and as the leaves fall off, the perching birds are an easier target.

perching chaffinch (25)

I spent some time getting photos ready for our next camera club competition.  The subject is ‘blue’ and I am finding it much more difficult than I thought.  I presumed that I would have any amount of blue flowers in my collection but as always, things that look not too bad on the blog, look a lot less satisfactory when you look at them with a judge’s eye and on top of that, many of the flowers which I think of as blue turn out to be purple.  I am not expecting to trouble the judges.

During the morning, I did take a blue photo although not for the competition.  In a sheltered spot near the greenhouse, a defiant delphinium is just keeping its head above water.

delphinium (2)

After lunch, there was enough light on the feeders to see the birds.

flying chaffinch (117)
The feeder was short of seed so competition for perches was fierce.

Sandy came round and we decided to go up the road to the north of the town for a little expedition.  However, almost as soon as we had left the house, the sight of huge, dark clouds to the north and clear blue skies to the south induced a change of heart and direction and we headed south instead.

After four miles, Sandy parked the car and we walked down to the river Esk following a fisherman’s path.  We haven’t really got to grips with the recent change in the clocks and we were a little too late to get the full benefit of the sunshine but the river looked good anyway.

Looking up stream
Looking up stream
Looking down stream
Looking down stream.

The ground was rather muddy and we didn’t have the right footwear owing to our change of plan so we soon left the river and drove a few hundreds yards along the road to Hollows Tower.

As we got there the sun went in….

trees at hollows
The trees looked good but unexciting
hollows tower
The tower seemed a little plain and hardly worth the bother of visiting.

…but three minutes later, the sun came out again with stunning effect.

hollows tower 2

The trees along the river burst into life too.

trees Esk hollows

trees at hollows5

Sadly, I had been too lazy to get my tripod out as I hadn’t expected such wonderful light, so these are all hand held pictures.  I will learn in the end that you have to take trouble to take good pictures.   Still, the scenery and the light were so good that I was pleased to have been there.

Those dark clouds were looming up so we left to go home via Claygate.  As we drove along the side of the hill, we could see a heavy rainstorm coming down the valley.  Sandy stopped the car and I got out to take a dramatic picture but within seconds I was being peppered with hailstones so I abandoned art and got back in the car.

We took a break when we got back to Langholm.  Sandy went home to change his wet shoes and I watched a bit of Scotland playing Japan at rugby on the telly.  There were some exciting moments which pleasantly surprised me.

Our plan was to go off to Gretna again with Mrs Tootlepedal to see if we could find the starlings.  Although we set off a lot earlier than in our abortive attempt yesterday, we were still rather late by the time that we caught a glimpse of them.  We found a place to park and watch the display….

gretna starlings 13
You can just make out the birds in a long thin line above the trees.

…but we were too far away and it was too dark to get a good view of them.  Still, we know where they are now and we will be better prepared for our next visit.  There are few experiences to match having several hundred thousand birds swirling around above your head so we will certainly be back.

The views of the dark clouds across the Solway were striking.  In the centre of the picture, you can see the line of red lights on the TV mast across on the English side.

solway clouds

We enjoyed our weekly dose of Strictly Come Dancing when we got home and we hope that the public in their wisdom will vote one of the people who can’t dance off the show rather than one of the people who can dance.  But we aren’t holding our breath.

In the absence of any decent flying starling pictures, an old favourite makes it as flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch (116)

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Seeing the light

  1. Two perching birds and one of them a robin, what a treat. I always like pictures with water in them and the two rivers shots were very pleasing to my eye. Good luck with finding something blue to photograph.

  2. What a difference in those two shots of the tower! And the picture of the starlings was great even if it was getting dark. I hope the weather warms up for you. I’m not looking forward to winter and those minus degree days.

  3. I always enjoy a picture of a robin. Liked the dramatic tower picture. Sorry about the asthma bothering you. Hope temperatures will rise soon.

  4. I think the trees look anything but unexciting – the variety of shapes, textures and colours is very attractive – a lovely blend!

    1. Because some of the trees are still holding green leaves, we are getting some nice contrasts without nay really striking colour. The larches always look good among the evergreen conifers at this time of year..

  5. You are obviously spoiled by all the good stone work around you; I would be pleased to have that tower in my locale in any lighting conditions.

    I’m looking forward to the starlings.

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