Today’s guest picture shows the Old Manor House in Solihull High Street, photographed by my brother Andrew, whose birthday it is today, on a recent visit.
Dropscone had an appointment at cycling time today so I was on my own on a dry and comparatively warm (5°C) morning. Because there was a noticeable east wind blowing, I decided to do several laps of a five mile out and back trip to Callister so that I wouldn’t have to pedal into the chilly wind for too long at a time. This turned out to be a good plan as the gusty wind got stronger as the ride went on and if I had gone straight out, I would have had a hard battle getting home.
To give some idea of the fresh wind’s strength, I found myself going at 25 mph up a very gentle hill near the end of my way out for the third time and when I came back along the same stretch, now slightly downhill, I was doing 11 mph. The details of the ride may be found here.
After three laps and thirty miles, the wind made up my mind for me and I stopped. This gave me time for an expedition with Sandy in the afternoon.
There was a moment of sunshine while I waited for him to arrive….
…but it soon vanished.
We started by driving back up the road I had cycled along earlier because I had noticed a large flock of birds in a field which I wanted to look at. They were still there.
They obligingly flew into the air when we arrived…
…but didn’t come any closer. We walked along the wall to get a better look. They seemed to be mainly starlings….
…but there were certainly some fieldfare in the field too.
Unfortunately, the cloud cover had thickened up and the light was too poor to get good pictures so we turned round and headed back. We stopped to explore a little wood on our way but although it was pleasant to walk through, it didn’t offer us much photographically in the winter gloom.
We drove back through the town and parked near the rugby club and walked up a forestry track. We had last been up this on the hottest day of the summer so it was quite a contrast today.
We were hoping to see a bit of lichen and fungus and we were not disappointed. This well covered gatepost….
…revealed a secret and colourful garden.
We walked on until we came to a field at the top of the wood and near an elaborate sheep fold….
…we met three remarkable trees.
How they remain standing is a mystery.
Sandy’s sharp eye noticed another tree a few yards away.
It had, as you can see, one or two fungi growing on it.
I think this is a birch polypore but as always, I stand to be corrected.
The tree was festooned by fungi.
As well as the fungi, the tree had some impressive beard lichen
Gathering gloom and the threat of rain took us away from looking for more fun and we made our way back down to the car and home. For a very dark afternoon, it had been a most enjoyable short walk.
I made myself a leek and squash risotto for my tea and then Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Buccleuch Centre to the patrons’ cinema club where we watched Sunshine on Leith. We had seen it before but it was well worth a second visit.
In between times, I found a standard flying bird in the garden.