Up and down

Today’s guest picture shows more of the endlessly sunny weather that Dropscone is having to put up with in Malta.


In fact we too had to put up with some sunny weather here today.  This came as a bit of a shock but the kindly authorities, worried in case we became too excited, took it away after lunch and covered it up with cloud again.

While the sun was out, I watched a blackbird in the plum tree wondering whether he too could try the feeder.


He thought better of it and flew off elsewhere.

I put on my walking shoes and went off to make the most of what sunshine there was going to be by walking up to the top of Warbla.  With the temperature at only 1°C, I was a bit worried about icy conditions underfoot but it turned out to be a perfect day for walking.

Others had had the same idea….

walkers on warbla

 …but they had got up a good deal earlier than me and were coming back down from the top. They told me that they had met a gang of ramblers at the summit but they must have chosen a more adventurous down because I saw no sign of them.

I met some sheep too.  They were lurking under some trees, well shaded from any sunshine….


…but they seemed quite content, munching away on the reeds.

The views from the summit were as rewarding as ever.

views from warbla

Although it only a small hill, you get fine views in almost every direction and in spite of the snow capped hills in the distance, it was warm enough to let me stop and enjoy them all.

views from warbla

views from warbla

Juts in case Dropscone reads this post in far away Malta, I took a shot of the golf course, still a brilliant green while the surrounding fields lose their colour.

Golf course

It was only half an hour off midday but the sun rises so little into the sky at this time of the year that the fence posts round the mast were casting  long shadows.

fence post shadows

It is at times like this that we remember that we live on the 55th parallel north, level with Canada, the very south of Alaska and much of Russia.  We are not far south of Moscow and if it wasn’t for the warming waters of the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current, I wouldn’t be looking at these pleasant scenes at all.

As one of the possibilities of the current rate of global warming is that the Gulf Stream may be switched off before it reaches us, I am thinking of buying some extra big wellies just in case.

The stroll back down was as pleasant as the walk up but it was noticeable that anywhere that the sun hadn’t reached, was still frozen.

Wauchope valley

I left the track and walked across the frozen grass down to Gaskell’s walk which runs beside the Wauchope Water.

I passed this fine tree….

tree on Warbla

…and went along the track.  My main object was to look at the cracks at the top of the walk that my neighbour Liz had pointed out but there was a lot of hair frost to look at on the way.

This was the most impressive.   It  is hard to believe that such a slender branch could exude so much moisture.

hair frost

When I got to the spot, the crack was quite impressive too.

Crack on gaskells

If you look closely, you can see that a little slump has occurred and half the path has dropped a little at the far end.  There was an mention of this in our local paper this morning with a note that those in charge of these things are considering what it might cost to effect a repair.  You can get an idea of how steep the bank is from the picture and it runs right down to the river about 100 feet below so the cost might be considerable.

The mosses on the park wall had been dealt a blow by the frost so I focused on some neat leaves instead.

Leaves on Park Wall

It was time for lunch when I got back and then the rest of the day was spent making marmalade.  We started with this….

marmalade oranges

 …and ended some hours later, sticky but happy, with this.


Fourteen jars should keep us going for a bit.  The taste test comes tomorrow morning.

During the day I got an email from my friend Bruce with an interesting pair of pictures in it.  He had been to visit a friend, Evelyn Carlyle, on the other side of the county and found that she had used this picture of mine from a post in November….

gate and wall Lamb Hill

…as the basis for an embroidery.  After painting the basic colours onto Bondaweb, she used fabric, wool and threads to achieve her effect.  She used free motion machine stitching and used feather stitch, granite stitch and some vermicelli stitch.  Here is the result.

Evelyn Carlyle embroidery

I was very pleased that someone had found a picture of mine interesting enough to embroider.  I liked the result too.

I did manage a flying bird of the day between the mountaineering and the marmalade.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

45 thoughts on “Up and down

  1. It seems like your hills always have mist on or near them, which of course makes them even more beautiful.
    The hair frost was a nice find. I’ve been looking for some for years with no luck. I’ve heard that it’s very fragile.
    I hate to think about the Gulf Stream shutting down and I also hate to think about how much it will cost to stabilize that hillside. Doing it correctly will be quite an expense, but it’s better than having the whole thing slide into the river. I think I’d stay off it until they do something.
    That’s quite an honor to have one of your photos embroidered. I get requests to use mine often, but never for that.

  2. A wonderful and rich day! Thank you for sharing. The hair frost is amazing. I love what the stitchery artist did with your photograph. Cheers!

  3. The hair frost is quite a remarkable looking structure. Do you hold your marmalade up to the light and admire the beautiful variegations and textures?

  4. A Paddington sort of a day then. Hair frost is an amazing thing. The embroidery is very nice and the crack/slump must be a bit worrying.

  5. Fabulous pictures from the top of the hill.
    The marmalade will taste as good as it looks, I am sure, and how flattering to have your picture turned into a piece of skilled embroidery.

  6. I’m glad that you had some sunshine as the views of the snow covered hills were marvelous!

    The needlework that used your photo for inspiration was also great, as was your photo to begin with.

  7. I’m not sure exactly where you are, but I’m interested in that branch with what you call hairfrost. We have a plant in Texas called frostweed, that extrudes lovely, icy ribbons at first freeze. Is this the same sort of event? Is the stem actually extruding the frost, or it is forming on the outside?

    I smiled at your golf course, too. I had to look a bit to identify it. I think a golf course there must be less heavily manicured than ours: all to the good, I’d say.

    1. We are on the Scottish side of the English Scottish border just to the north of the Solway Firth.

      Regarding the hair frost, It is exuded by dead branches that have a certain form of fungal infection. The hairs are usually exuded from within the wood when there has been a light frost followed by sunshine. It is fairly common round here.

  8. Sunshine is particularly appreciated this time of year, the angle of the light is so intense. I like the stealth sheep. The entire post is brimming with creativity, from the embroidery to the marmalade and of course your wonderful photos.

  9. Another extremely enjoyable post! Lots of lovely things to look at and admire – hair frost, marmalade, fine views and embroidery. I think I like the photo of the neat, frost-covered leaves best.

  10. Such beautiful distant landscape scenery to enjoy on your walks & cycling, I love them every time you share, and boy, I can almost taste the marmalade. Your embroidered photo is fantastic, such talent she has!

  11. The hair frost is impressive, indeed! Your marmalade looks a beautiful colour. I’m a huge fan of home-made marmalade and chutney. Also, how delightful to have your photograph inspire someone to create another piece of artwork. I would be thrilled. 🙂

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