Not such a big gale (Abigail)

Lock near Deansgate

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit to Manchester by my brother Andrew last month.  It shows (from left to right) a trendy bar, a canal lock and an elevated tram station.

Lock near Deansgate

After the strong winds and heavy rain of yesterday evening, we were relieved to wake up to a merely brisk wind and blue skies this morning.  Less cheerful was the big drop in temperatures which fell to the normal level for the time of year.  This felt very chilly after our unnaturally mild spell.

I didn’t much fancy pedalling into the cold wind so I was happy to wait for Dropscone to arrive bearing the traditional Friday treacle scones to go with our morning coffee.

I kept an eye out for blue tits on the seed feeder while I was waiting.

blue tits
Two different visits but is it the same or a different bird?

There was plenty of demand for seed….

coal tit and chaffinches

…but some peaceful moments too.

The sharp breeze ruffling some feathers.

After Dropscone left (he was expecting the gas man), I put some pellets out on the lawn feeder.  They were popular too.

There are those raised wing feathers again.  The bird on the wire had to hold on very tight in the wind.

The two pictures above once again show the difference the light makes to photography.  Both birds are the same colour in real life.

There were more blue tits to be seen at the covered feeder.

blue tits
The same birds as before….or different?
blue tit
Enjoying a pink pellet at leisure.

I took a break from bird watching and went off to do a little shopping and then had lunch with Mrs Tootlepedal.  After lunch, she set about taking up the old cork tiles in our bathroom.  Anyone who has had to lift old well glued tiles will know this is not an easy task and it requires patience and expertise.  Since I am a bit lacking in both these departments, I went off for a walk.  The brisk wind was bringing over a series of menacing looking clouds but I wrapped up well and hoped for the best.

For once, I took my tripod with me in an effort to get some slightly better quality pictures as I went round the Becks and Gaskell’s.

There was some fungus and lots of lichen to be seen on tree stumps and gates.

lichen and fungus

Lichens are supposed to thrive in places with unpolluted air.  On that basis, Langholm must be a very clean place indeed.

The fungi in the area seem to have very different staying power.  Many that I have seen on recent trips round this walk have disappeared without trace but a few have lasted for weeks or even months.

I visited the little cascade on the Becks Burn again as I thought it might look good with some extra water coming over it.  What I hadn’t fully thought out was the fact that the extra water would widen the stream below the cascade, making it very difficult to see at all. I took this picture while teetering on one leg with my arm stretched out as far as it would go.  (So much for bringing the tripod!)

Becks cascade

I will have to come armed (or footed) with wellies.

A friend had sent me a query as to whether a picture in a caravanning pamphlet was of a local bridge just downstream of the cascade and with that in mind,  I followed the stream and took a photograph of our bridge so that he could check for himself.

Becks bridge

The tripod came in handy here as the bridge is in a very gloomy part of the wood.

In my youth, I might well have tried to cross the stream on one of those fallen trees but there is no such adventure these days and I went round to use the bridge.


It was built by a local fencer for the Langholm Walks Group and you can see that he very cleverly used two growing trees as part of the construction.

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and went to check on a fallen branch which had had some fungus on it last time I walked round. I wondered if the fungus would still be there.

Fungus at Becks burn

It was and it was flourishing in several places on the branch.

Fungus at Becks burn

These fungi are pretty small and even with the tripod, the results weren’t brilliant.  I will have to bring the tripod and a macro lens next time.

I climbed up the bank on the far side of the bridge and looked back down…

becks bridge

..before heading off through the woods for the road down the hill.

There had been a small rain shower just as I got to the woods but it had stopped by the time that I came out and there was even some watery sun when I got to the Auld Stane Brig so I paused to take take a couple of studies of this perennial favourite of mine.

Auld Stane Brig
You can see that its age has meant some reinforcing at the sides to withstand both floods and modern traffic.

Auld Stane Brig

I crossed the bridge and strode briskly back home along Gaskell’s walk.  The briskness was engendered by the threat of rain and it meant that I didn’t stop for any worthwhile pictures on the way back.  I did stop for a moment or two to watch beaters driving pheasants towards men with guns in fields not far away but reflected that I much preferred my kind of shooting to theirs.  It’s much cheaper too.

Below my feet as I watched, was a carpet.

autumn leaves

It didn’t take long until it was dark, as the days are drawing in.  Because it has been so mild, the early evenings still come as a surprise to me but I will have to get used to planning my day with something useful to do in the late afternoons and early evenings.

One of things that I did do today was to send off the annual return for the Archive Group to the charity regulator.  This was not before time as it was due at the end of July and they have taken to sending me thoroughly justified threatening letters.  It is not a hard task at all but I suffer from acute formophobia…..and idleness.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights, Alison and I played some flute and recorder sonatas.  After seeing the pheasant shooters in the afternoon, it was quite appropriate that among our pieces, we had a shot at some Woodcock in the evening.  This was his Concerto no 2 for descant recorder and very enjoyable it was too.  No birds were harmed in playing this music.

I was going to avoid a jackdaw as flying bird of the day today but I couldn’t resist one more, especially as it was auditioning for the role of The Hooded Claw from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.

flying jackdaw

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Not such a big gale (Abigail)

  1. I liked the Hooded Claw! Also, the Spot the Difference Bluetits. My husband and I have to fight the urge to go to sleep when it starts to get dark in the late afternoon so we will have to find something to do to keep ourselves awake.

  2. Yes, that flying bird is a winner. Fine view of the cascade, even if you nearly fell in getting it.

  3. Your vibrant green moss covered rocks and trees are like our rainforest ones. I was interested to read that lichen needs unpolluted air. No wonder I see so much in countries cemeteries and rainforests! I get a lot of mould and fungi in my garden but not lichen. The blue tit pics were very clear. They are such pretty birds. Thanks for more fungus pictures too. An excellent collection.

  4. I think that Murphy’s Law applies to the use of tripods more than anything else in the world. You can carry the tripod every day for a month and not really need it, the one day that you leave it at home is the day that you wished that you had it. Although, I suppose that the same applies to lenses as well. 😉

    I tried to pick out a few favorites from the day, but couldn’t, I liked them all for one reason or another. But what I really love about your blog is your sense of humor, where else can one find a reference to The Hooded Claw from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop?

    1. Murphy’s law seems to apply to quite a lot of my life but I agree that is it is very hard to guarantee that you always have the right photograph equipment when the opportunity arises.

      As for Penelope Pitstop, things like that depend on the age of your children and how many times you had to watch the same programmes with them.

  5. Very striking FBoD! Hope you’re not being lambasted too badly by mother nature – sounds as if some parts of the UK might be shifted a bit to the northeast by the winds and rain.

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