A welcome thorn tree

Today’s guest picture shows a concrete warship which our holidaying neighbour Gavin visited today near Monterey.  He tells me it is the SS Palo Alto,  a concrete ship built as a tanker at the end of World War I.  He adds that it smells terrible.

concrete shipWe had another chilly and breezy day with occasional snow showers, though it was just warm enough for the snow not to settle.

It was a pity that it was such a chilly day because the electricity supply to our street was cut off after breakfast while essential maintenance work was done and the house got colder and colder as the day went on.  As we are all electric, there was not even the chance to make a hot cup of tea to warm us up,

The builders brought their own generator along and were able to continue their work uninterrupted,  By the end of the day things were really beginning to take shape.  Downstairs the new fireplace is now in position with the stove temporarily in place too.  The builders have used the large sandstone side pieces and lintel from our old fire, cleaned and slightly cut down for size.

downstairs end wallThe internal wall is coming along well too.

And upstairs, the external wall is finished and waiting for the chimney to go up through the hole in the floor.

end wall upstairsOnce again the building work with the added noise of the generator kept most of the birds away but a few hardy chaffinches braved the racket.

chaffinchesAnd a robin briefly strutted his stuff.

robinIn effort to warm myself up, I looked for a sunny spot amid the snow showers and set off to walk up the small hill behind the house.  I was just far enough up the hill to look back over the town….

Langholm…when a sudden and savage snow/hail storm appeared over the shoulder of the hill.  Luckily I was standing beside a substantial hawthorn tree at the time and I was able to get myself reasonably sheltered for the few minutes that it took for the flurry to pass and I was soon on my way again.

LangholmThe hill was fairly firm underfoot as much of the ground was still frozen so the walking was good.

Meikleholm HillThere were no cattle on the hill either so my walk was undisturbed except by the buffeting of the wind.  There were good views to be had on the way up, at the minor summit and on the way down again.

EwesThere was a sprinkling of snow on the higher hills to the north.

MilnholmI could look down to the green fields beside the Esk from the top of Meikleholm Hill.

TimpenLangholm had completely disappeared into the valley behind me.

view from MeikleholmAlthough it is only a few hundred feet high, the views from the top are very airy and always a delight on a fair day.

Walking back down the hill was a lot harder work than walking up with every step needing care so I was pleased to stop for a look round at Castle Hill…

Castle Hill…before getting safely back home.

Obviously there are going to be extensive electricity works because I passed a great heap of new poles lying ready by a track halfway up the hill.

polesAs I came into the town, I could see the electricity men working hard at their task of replacing wires.

electricity menLuckily the corner shop at the end of the road was not only open but well supplied with power so I was able to buy two hot pies for our lunch.

After lunch Mrs Tootlepedal went to the Buccleuch Centre for a cup of hot chocolate and then went off to a meeting.  I went out to check on spring in the garden…

crocus and daffodil…but I soon got fed up when the temperature in the house reached 12 degrees C and retired to bed for an hour or so.

I got up just before the power came on again (bang on schedule) and was getting everything plugged back in and the boiler working as Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her meeting.

Not long afterwards my two eldest sisters and my brother arrived to see the works in the end wall.  They are spending a couple of rather wintery days in the Lake District and fitted in a visit to us.  They were suitably impressed by the works and after some cheerful conversation, we went off to have an evening meal in the Douglas Hotel.

Some of you will know that my eldest sister Susan writes a weekly blog about interesting places she has visited and Mary and Andrew, my other siblings often contribute excellent guest pictures for me to use so this gave me the opportunity to thank them in person for their contributions.

As the only visitors to the feeders were chaffinches, one of them gets to be the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “A welcome thorn tree

  1. That hill behind your house looks slightly bigger than “small” but it was worth every step because the views are excellent.
    I ran into the same trouble coming down a hill over the weekend. It was much harder than going up.
    Too bad they couldn’t have waited for a warmer day to work on your electricity.

    1. They are improving the whole town in bits so we just had to put up with the day when it was our turn. If all walking was gently uphill, I would be very happy.

      1. I know what you mean – everything that has to be repaired in this old house = triple what it is worth. Recent replacement of back door that kept falling out $2,000!

  2. Great landscape shots, I’m falling in love with Scotland even though I’ve never been there. The work on the wall is progressing well, I’m sure that you’ll be glad when it’s finished. I’m with Allen, they should have waited for warmer weather to do the maintenance on the power lines.

  3. We have a small camping gas stove for occasions like this and a calor gas heater too for those frequent power-cuts and maintenance days (which are invariably cold and/or wet). We also got a gas hob when we had to replace the old one. 12 degrees C is very cold for indoors! Beautiful photos as always.

  4. Beautiful landscape shots. I do hope I can visit your part of the world one day. Fewer nasty creepy crawlies and less extreme heat sounds rather pleasant. Your winters may challenge me though!

  5. Great landscape shots. Weather looks great.

    As for your electricity being off, look on the bright side – ScottishPower are upgrading the lines to help prevent power cuts in future winters.

    Having no power is a complete pain as it brings home how much we rely on it for everyday living.

    1. We didn’t object at all. They are going to replace a pole in the middle of our garden which might make a bit of a mess but as it is rotten, it is still a good idea.

  6. I’m surprised your builders didn’t use their generator to make you a cup of coffee at least. The views from the hill were winderful, especially looking down at the village.

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