The first tootle of the year

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my Newcastle correspondent and shows what heights a grown man can reach when  the weather is bad.menger tower

As far as our weather went today, the forecasters seemed to have been a bit over exuberant in their threats of gale force winds and lashing rain and we got a breezy day with occasional showers.

It is still noticeably warm for the time of year but because it is generally so grey overhead, this is not giving us a great deal of joy.  We would pay good money for a nice crisp frosty day with some blue skies.   I realise that it is a bit mean to complain when our west coast is being lashed by 27 foot waves and most of the USA is suffering from life threatening chill but nevertheless, miserable weather is still miserable weather.

The wind is not encouraging me to take my bike out and the grey clouds are making photo taking difficult.

While Mrs Tootlepedal  was out at a church choir practice, my daughter Annie and I set about making some tea cakes using a time heavy method that managed to pass most of the morning very pleasantly.

I did find time to peer at passing birds in the gloom.

formation chaffinches
The formation chaffinches were out practising.
A member of the team heading for a rest.


A robin sneaked onto the feeder in the middle of a crowd of chaffinches and goldfinches.

The grey light means that sharp pictures are impossible as I am shooting with an ISO of 4000 just to catch a moving bird at all but it sometimes produces quite an atmospheric shot.

flying chaffinch

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her practice, we noticed a gap in the drizzle and nipped out for a quick turn round Gaskell’s Walk.   Annie had not been along the path since the trees were all cut down so she enjoyed seeing the path literally in a new light.

I was looking for mosses,  lichens and fungi as we went along.  Mrs Tootlepedal and Annie helped.

mossy hedge
Annie’s pick:  It would be hard to get a hedge with more moss on it than this.
lichen pods
Mrs Tootlepedal spotted these impressive lichens on the Auld Stane Brig
Exidia plana
I have got a little book of fungi. This may be exidia plana
These are tiny excrescences on a dead trunk.
These are tiny excrescences on a dead trunk.  My book was no help.
Trametes versicolor
I am going for Trametes versicolor here but only tentatively.

Because we were sheltered from the wind and it only rained for a short while soon after we started, the walk was very enjoyable in a slightly morose and damp sort of way.

The high spot of the walk for me was seeing this elegant gate with a diamond shape in it.  Not at all typical of our local gates.

gate with diamond

The high spot for the gardeners was seeing a snowdrop in the wood at Stubholm.


This may not look much to a non gardener but it it is truly surprising to see one out so early in the year here.  Equally amazing are the two wallflowers that we saw in our own garden when we got home.

Not very photogenic I admit.

It has, as they say, been a funny winter so far.

It was time for a late lunch when we got home but it quickly got so dark outside that it felt as though it was tea time already.  Fortunately, we soon had a ready supply of freshly cooked tea cakes to hand so staying indoors was no hardship.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we enjoyed playing a duet and later on I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel for the first time this year.  It was good to be back tootling again after the Christmas break.

The flying bird of the day is a rather vague goldfinch.

flying goldfinch











Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “The first tootle of the year

  1. I think your ID of the black jelly fungus is right on the mark, but I’ve been fooled by that bracket fungus before and I think you might have the dye maker’s polypore (phaeolus schweinitzii) instead of Trametes versicolor. It’s growth habit and yellowish outer margins are clues. The small yellow fungus might be a sac fungus called lemon drops (Bisporella citrina), but it’s hard to tell. That lichen is really something. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like it.

    1. I’ll have to get a bigger boo as my little book doesn’t include phaeolous schweinitzii. The lichen was amazing. It is just the standard sort of white lichen that appears on old stones and it has appeared as such in an earlier post so maybe the warm weather which we have been having has made it burst in life.

  2. We had a nice crisp frosty day here on your behalf (-50 windchill that closed most of the schools in the southern half of the province). Your snowdrop almost made me weep.

  3. For the first time in any of your photos, the robin looks happy!

    If you’d like a change in the weather, I’d be happy to send some of ours your way. It’s 0 F with a 30 MPH wind, and a wind chill of -35F here, we’ve had over a foot of snow in the past two days, and it’s still snowing hard.

  4. Despite the grey light you still manage some splendid photographs and it was a treat to see the snowdrops. I hope they don’t get discouraged later.

  5. I also like the hedge with moss, we don’t often see much moss here since we tend to be a bit on the dry side in the summer.

  6. It has certainly been an odd winter but I get the feeling the frost and snow will come, probably in May! Love the Lego, one of my favourites and you’re never too old for it.

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