Calm before the storm

Today’s guest picture is a very rare thing indeed.  Mrs Tootlepedal was staring out of the kitchen window early in the morning when she saw a bird and took a picture of it.  She used her tablet to take the picture and the bird was a sparrowhawk having its breakfast on the lawn a good few yards away so the picture is not quite a crisp as she would have liked it to be.

kitchen windowI went out after breakfast to see if the river was still in flood but it had gone down and didn’t offer a photo opportunity at all.  On my way back, I fell into conversation with a friend who told me that not only does his wife read the blog regularly but she is waiting for a knee operation like mine.  He told me that she is a bit apprehensive about it so I can reassure her that the whole thing is a complete doddle and any moaning from me that she may have noticed while reading this blog has only been put in for theatrical effect.

When I got back in, I took a moment or two to look out of the kitchen window myself.

chaffinch and siskin
A chaffinch looms over a siskin. The size is deceiving as the siskin is by far the more belligerent bid of the two.

There were a host of goldfinches on tap today.

goldfinchesMost of them were busy complaining.  I don’t know where they got that from.

We had a break from the recent wind and rain in the morning and things were made even better by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee bearing a huge mound of freshly made drop scones.  I had received a present of various good quality coffee beans for Christmas and with the aid of a cup of two of one of these, we set about the scone mountain and disposed of it in style.

Dropscone went off thinking of golf in the sunshine and I set out on a walk.  It was my intention to get off the flat and see if I could capture a view or two under my own steam.  I crossed the Auld Stane Bridge and, shortly afterwards, turned onto a new track up the flank of Warbla.  This soon left the road behind me as I climbed it.

Wauchope roadAs I have remarked before, the narrow valleys and steep sided hills round Langholm mean that you can be up in the air very quickly.  I got my views.  I wasn’t high enough to be able to look round 360 degrees but I could look in three directions.

Looking west back over the Wauchope valley
Looking over Holmwood
Looking north west over Holmwood
Looking over New Town
Looking north east over the New Town
Looking east over the Old Town

It was very enjoyable to be out on the hill in the sun.  I found walking up the track was no problem but walking back down the track to Stubholm was harder work, especially as the surface was much rougher than the track up the hill.  I was pleased therefore to be able to stop and chat to a horse while I had a little rest.

stubholm horseI hadn’t expected to see any fungus but there was a very bright crop on a tree next to the stable.

fungusAs I was walking carefully down the final slope to the park, I was overtaken by Dropscone’s sister and her husband who had been out doing a much more vigorous walk than me.  They politely slowed their pace to match mine and I was able to point out some fine lichen on the park wall.

Park wall lichenThey were very excited.

I got home in nice time for lunch.  This was probably the longest walk that my new knee has done, if only by a little bit, but it was certainly the hardest and my aching calf muscles for the rest of the day reminded me of just how little exercise I have been able to take lately.  Still, it was very encouraging to be up on the hill, even at quite a low level and I have a bigger target in mind for the next fine day.

This might be some time in coming as the forecast is for heavy wind and frequent rain over the next three days at least.  I can hear the rising wind soughing round the house as I write this.

I had another opportunity to glance out of the kitchen window when I got home and got a close look at the sparrowhawk which had returned to try its luck again.

sparrowhawkUnfortunately it flew off before I could get my focus sorted and this was the best that I could do.

After lunch, I wanted to give my legs a rest so I put a week of the newspaper index into the database and sorted out some music before getting ready to go out for a short loosening walk.  I had left it too late though and the good weather had gone. A light drizzle persuaded me that my legs needed more rest rather than loosening.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to enjoy music, speeches and good food and drink at the Ewes WRI Burns supper while I adjourned to the Archive Centre with Sandy.  He put a new pictorial display in the window and I entered some more of the index into the database.  We didn’t stay very long as my knee was complaining a bit and we even dispensed with our usual refreshment at the Eskdale.

A chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Calm before the storm

  1. Well, you certainly gave your knee a good workout today with some interesting pictures on the way. Did you do it without any help from a walking pole or two? Going downhill is always harder on the legs than going up, especially knees. I thought the sparrowhawk was excellent even if you didn’t.

  2. I’m glad you had a decent walk in the sun, and was wondering the same as susanpoozan about the poles. Hope the end wall withstands the weather horrors to come.

  3. I’ve only seen mushrooms that red once and they were cinnabar bracket fungi. I can’t even guess what these might be.
    That’s a great crop of pixie cup lichens. I’ve never seen such a big group of them either.
    That’s quite an eye on that hawk!

  4. Having heard the news this morning of 100 mph gusts of wind in Scotland and many thousands of people now without power I hope that all is well with you and Mrs Tootlepedal. It must have felt marvellous to be up in the hills again and under your own steam! Hope your knee isn’t too painful today. A good selection of photos.

  5. Such lovely landscapes in today’s post – what wonderful views! I’m glad you were able to get up the hill and that your knee was sufficiently cooperative. Also glad you got a close look at your resident sparrow hawk. I do love your goldfinches, no matter their disposition. I need to make a trip to Langholm so I can see them in person! 🙂 Thanks for the nice shot of the horse, too!

  6. What an energetic day and some splendid pictures to show for it. Well done to you and Mrs T for sparrowhawk photographs.

  7. I have also noticed that it has become harder to go downhill than up, I think that the effects of gravity increase proportionally with age. 😉 With the fine landscapes, you would think that those photos were my favorites, but that honor goes to the image of the horse, maybe because I seldom see them.

    1. In my case, it is the additional straightening of the leg required on a down slope that is awkward. I ma working hard to get my knee to straighten properly.

  8. Hill walking is certainly a good test for the new knee and I’m glad it came out with flying colours. Two sparrow hawk photos in one post is a real treat too 🙂

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