An unexpected break

Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin, who is currently in San Francisco.

He tells me, “This is Oracle, the USA entry for the 2015 Americas Cup. It passed our tourist boat today going at full speed with 2 speedboats tailing it and it was almost flying. I have never seen anything without an engine going so fast (except perhaps Tootlepedal on his bike coming down Callister).”

OracleMuch to my surprise, I woke to a bright sunny morning with a very gentle wind.  I am not quite sure what happened to the miserable weather we were promised but I was so pleased to see the sunshine that I got up into my cycling clothes and went out for a pedal after breakfast.

There was just a hint of the recent bad weather on the top of a distant hill…

snow on the hills….but my immediate surroundings were very cheerful…

Blough road…and even some fluffy low lying clouds didn’t look very threatening.

Wauchope hillsIt was a chilly 3°C when I set out but it was pleasant enough cycling along with the sun on my back.  I took things easily, going twice up to Wauchope School and back and adding two circuits of the New Town.  This gave me a nice round 15 miles for my outing, a new best distance for my knee.

As soon as I got home, I was joined for coffee by Dropscone.  He had only arrived back in Langholm in the early hours of this morning after a marathon drive from the south coast of England so he hadn’t taken advantage of the cycling weather.  This had given him time to produce the finest drop scones to go with our coffee that I have ever tasted.

The sun was still shining when he left so I took a tour round the garden.

There were crocuses in flower on every side
The snowdrops have really enjoyed the weather recently and are looking at their very best.

The birds were back but not in great numbers as there was quite a lot of action from the builders this morning.

siskin and chaffinch
Even with plenty of spare space, a siskin can’t resist being rude.

Clouds were gently covering the sky but they didn’t look threatening so, after a quick shower, I went out for a walk to make the most of the unexpected good weather.

I took a familiar route along to the Kilngreen and back round the new path across the Castleholm.  There were old favourites at the Kilngreen….

A ménage a trois in the mallard world.
black headed gull
A passing black headed gull

…but three oyster catchers added a touch of novelty.

oyster catchersThey are striking birds.

oyster catcherWith no oysters to be caught round Langholm, I gather that they eat worms among other things.

I took a few pictures as I walked along .  As usual some lichen caught me eye.

tree lichenI was also taken on by this very complex pattern in an exposed tree root by the path.

tree rootI had seen a robin or two flitting about but none stopped to have their picture taken until I met this one singing in a tree in Mike Tinker’s garden….

robin…when I stopped there to chat to Mike.  He has been poorly and was out testing the air.  He kindly showed me round his garden and I enjoyed his contorted hazel.

contorted hazel
You can just see the female flower among the catkins if you look closely.

He also had a couple of very pretty hellebores.

helleboresWhen I got home, I found that the builders had cut one of the big stones from our old hearth into a suitable size for the new fireplace.

fireplace stoneIt is going away with the other side stone and the lintel to get some specialist cleaning from a firm in Appleby.   Our new stove has arrived, the end wall is ready for rendering and the roof will soon be finished so we are getting more excited by the day.

This particular day got steadily greyer (and warmer) as time went on and after a pedal and a walk in the morning, I idled the afternoon away  It was raining lightly by the time that Mike Tinker came round for a cup of tea as part of his rehabilitation.

The rain didn’t discourage a redpoll from paying us a flying visit.

redpollAfter some delicious home made fish cakes for tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a meeting and I went to our local community choir practice.  There was a good turnout of singers and we worked hard though as far as the tenors went, some more work may will be necessary before we have mastered the pieces.

I could hear oyster catchers calling as I walked home.  They are pretty birds to look at but riverside householders can get very annoyed by their strident cries during the night.

A chaffinch beat the gulls to the position of flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “An unexpected break

  1. Every day’s a school day! You have just solved the Homestead mystery of the noisy night bird. Oyster catchers are indeed dapper in appearance, though. Congratulations on your cycle ride and sampling the best ever drop scones. Ain’t life grand 🙂

  2. That’s quite a shot of the male and female hazel catkins and flower together. That female flower will give your macro lens a real workout!
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of those lichens. I wonder if the one on the left is a staghorn lichen (Evernia prunastri).
    The oyster catchers are unusual and pretty birds. I wonder why they cry at night.

    1. I’ll have to dust the macro lens off. I haven’t thought about using it since last autumn.. I expect that the oysters catchers’ night cries have to do with sex.

  3. Goodness me, you are such a good photographer, it is impossible for me to choose a favourite. I was very impressed to hear of Dropscone’s marathon drive. Glad you exercised your knee to some effect.

  4. Very pleased you had some sun and managed such a long ride. Many beautiful pictures – loved the robin of course and the redpoll with head on one side.

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