Setting out


Today’s guest picture shows my neighbour Riley.  He took his friend Liz out for a walk in the snow last weekend.  He takes the job of looking after her seriously.


There was hardly any sign of any snow left today as the weather got back to being warmer, windier….

Wauchope in flood

….and wetter.

It had rained all night and it was still raining in the morning so I was happy to plug away at a tricky crossword and do a short stint cycling on the bike to nowhere in the garage.  I am trying to get a little exercise in each day without annoying my wheezy chest and setting the cough off again.

We also had a coffee and cheery conversation with our neighbour Liz, who had popped in with a nifty device for unblocking drains.  We might have needed this if Mrs Tootlepedal had not already unblocked our kitchen sink drain without it.  She is a woman of many skills.

The forecast said that the rain would ease off towards lunchtime so I looked out of the window.

chaffinch pair in plum tree
A matching pair of chaffinches
siskin and goldfinch
A siskin and goldfinch made a change from endless chaffinches…
chaffinch on feeder
…not all of whom hit the perch with absolute precision.

The forecast said that when the rain had gone after lunch, the sun would come out and it was right again so Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the Moorland Feeders where we lingered for a moment to see if we could see anything interesting.

Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car and scanned the skies vainly for any signs of raptors while I sat in the hide and hoped for a woodpecker or two.

I saw a gentleman pheasant….


…and a lady pheasant….


…both looking pretty pleased to have dodged the shooting parties.

I saw lots of great, blue and coal tits on distant feeders….


…and even a chaffinch….

Moorland chaffinch

…but no woodpeckers…

…so I gave up and we went for a walk down the hill to the Tarras.

Rashiel road

It was breezy but warm and gloriously sunny and it was a real pleasure to be out and about.  Our walk was accompanied by the sound of perpetually chattering streams as the morning’s rain poured off the hill and down to the river below.




We left the road for a moment to stroll down through a wood…

Tarras wood

…but soon went back to the drier road and eventually came to the river bank.  All those little burns had certainly swollen the Tarras and it was racing by.


It was a rare pleasure to be able to look up through the trees at a blue sky above.


We dallied for a while at the bridge across the river but as we had bread cooking at home, we couldn’t stay too long and we made our way back up the hill to the car and drove away.

The fine weather not only cheered us up on our walk but made the afternoon much brighter than it has been of late and we had a walk round the garden when we got back and looked at a lot of promising snowdrops which should be out soon.

There was even a hint of a sunset later on.


It was a day to be thankful that the first month since the winter solstice is now behind us and we are on the road towards spring at last.

In the evening, Mike and Alison were out at a grand Burns Supper at the Buccleuch Centre so there was no Friday night music for me and I spent a little time trying to learn some choir songs instead.

While she has been recovering from her cough, Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy practising some embroidery ideas and techniques.  Here is a section of her latest sampler.  The bird is a hen harrier.

hen harrier embroidery

I see by the forecast that our spell of warm, wet and windy weather is set to continue for a few days while on the other side of the Atlantic severe snow is in the offing.  I will make sure not to complain about our weather under these circumstances.

A morning chaffinch in the garden is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinc

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Setting out

  1. The Tarras was where some 55 years ago, my maternal grandfather, John (Jack) Mitchell taught me how to fish when he farmed Cronksbank. And Mrs T’s impressive embroidery reminds me of my father’s love of this pastime.

  2. Mrs Tootlepedal’s embroidery is superb! from cleaning drains to delicate needlework, she certainly is a woman of many talents. I’m sure she appreciates your many talents as well. I’m glad the pheasants dodged the bullets. They are such pretty birds – both the male and the female. The patterns and colours are lovely. I’m so pleased you had some glorious sunshine and could share such lovely landscape pictures with us. I usually see moss covered trees only in pockets of rainforests here – not on my daily walks. They appear to be very common in Scotland though. I much admire all your mossy logs, trees, stone walls etc.

  3. I’m glad you saw some sunshine and were well enough to get out in it. It was well worth it, for your readers too.
    The pheasants are beautiful birds and it’s always nice to see water tumbling down a hillside.
    I like Mrs. T.s embroidery too. I almost missed the hilltop monument she has put in because the flowers grabbed my attention.

  4. Mrs T’s embroidery is very beautiful. What a talented woman she is. I am glad you were able to have such a pleasant walk this afternoon. The photos of the tumbling burns are good to see.

  5. That embroidered bird is amazing. The bit of sunset was very pretty, too. I like seeing your pheasants, they are about the only bird you have that I’ve ever seen in person (though they are not at all common here).

  6. Thanks to Mrs T for allowing us a glimpse of her wonderful needlework. Beautiful, as are all the brooks – the first one in particular. Not a bad day all in all.

  7. Very clever to include the monument in the embroidery, what a marvellous piece of work. Loved the ‘chattering streams’ and the resultant swollen peaty Tarras.

  8. Mrs Tootlepedal’s embroidery is very good indeed!

    I happy for you and the nice weather you had, I hope that the sunny skies continue for a while. Loved the small streams tumbling down the hills to meet the Tarras.

  9. More than impressed by Mrs T’s embroidery skills.
    Delighted you had blue skies for your afternoon walk.

  10. Aren’t the pheasants beautiful? How patient people must be to do embroidery – I especially like the tower on the hillside that Mrs. T. has worked into her sampler.

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