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.
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.
There was plenty of demand for seed….
…but some peaceful moments too.
After Dropscone left (he was expecting the gas man), I put some pellets out on the lawn feeder. They were popular too.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
It was and it was flourishing in several places on the branch.
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…
..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.
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.
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.