Today’s guest picture comes from Leicester where my brother Andrew saw this house with a hole in it.
The rain had gone away for a while and the wind had dropped to merely 20 mph gusts so I thought that it looked like a day for a pedal.
Not wanting to stray too far from home in case the treacherous rain returned, I cycled up and down to Wauchope Schoolhouse three times which gave me a 20 mile ride with very little climbing. Some people may think that riding up and down the same stretch of road three times is dull but these are people who have obviously never been to a gym.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and got home at a relatively good speed for a winter outing.
When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal had also been making good use of the day by doing some gardening and she was not finished yet as she proposed an excursion on foot to check out a possible manure mine.
I put out some pellets on the lawn which attracted our blackbirds as well as the usual jackdaws….
…had a slice of toast and marmalade and went off with her.
The first part of her four mile route was quite familiar as we walked along the river bank to Skippers Bridge where the gentle colours on this shed door caused my shutter finger to twitch.
We then turned up the hill to Skipperscleuch and walked south along the farm track until we reached some fields….
…and were able to enjoy some blue skies even though the low sun was obstinately hiding behind what clouds there were.
We looked down over the main road and the Esk beyond to where we had walked along the far bank of the river a few days ago.
My eye was drawn away from the pastoral scenery by one of those interesting walls which we have round here.
I took a close look.
Mrs Tootlepedal was more interested in manure than lichens so we went off to inspect a small pile in the middle of the field. It was disappointing as although it was well rotted, it was covered in nettles and very soggy indeed.
We walked on and came onto a track that led us down to the main road. We crossed the road and followed a path down to the river bank.
Beside the river, Mrs Tootlepedal spotted an acorn stuck into a tree stump…
…and as there was no oak tree nearby, we wonder if it was being stored there by an animal.
As we walked along the path beside the river back towards the town, a tree stump proved that it could be every bit as hospitable to lichens as a wall…
…and we came across some of the longest fronds of moss that I have ever seen.
The path was a delight.
I have never walked along it before but I will certainly walk along it again.
We had some discussion about what this tree could be….
…but came to no firm conclusion.
I was able to get a very different look at Skippers bridge from this bank of the river to my normal shot.
We arrived back at the the bridge and I was just getting ready to put the camera into my pocket before we retraced our steps along the route by which we had come out, when the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a splash of colour.
It turned out to be four bullfinches which were eating seeds. Two posed for me.
I was very pleased with this shot as it was just the sort of picture that I had bought my new camera for. The Lumix is light enough to be a pleasure to carry on a walk like this but has a good enough zoom lens to let me take pictures of interesting small things that are a distance away.
We were just enjoying a second cup of tea after we got back when we were joined by Mike Tinker. He needed resuscitation as he was recovering from meeting the sort of young assistants in a mobile phone shop who wonder why old people are interested in getting a new phone at all.
In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we had a good practice. His counting has improved beyond my wildest dreams and we are now able to concentrate on improving our quality of playing rather than just getting through pieces with several stops. I will have to start practising more seriously just to keep up with him.
I rounded off an excellent day with a trip to play flute, cello and piano trios with Mike and Isabel. This was our first meeting for a bit owing to one thing and another so we were a bit rusty but it was great to be back making music again.
This was definitely a day on the credit side of the great ledger of life and I hope that it sets the tone for the rest of the year.
I even got an almost half decent flying bird.