Vitamin D-day

Burning Bush, Regent's Park

I am a bit short of guest pictures at the moment so I have gone to my files to find this fine ‘Burning Bush’ photographed by my sister Mary in Regent’s Park in January.

Burning Bush, Regent's Park

For the second day running we had a very fine, sunny day with large quantities of blue sky, absolutely free at the point of use.

What made the day even better was that it was calm and after the persistent winds that we have been used to, this was a rare and precious gift.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to see Matilda and I would have liked to go cycling in the sunshine but a thermometer reading of 1°C stopped me.  The cautionary tale of Dropscone, who appeared for coffee nursing several bumps and bruises after falling off his bike on an icy patch in  the town yesterday, emphasised the need for caution.

As a result, when Dropscone left after coffee, I left my bike in the garage and went for a short walk round the pheasant hatchery to see what I could see.

The pheasant shooting season is over and the pheasants have taken to attacking each other now that no one is shooting at them.  These two were going at it like hammer and tongs.

fighting pheasants

I did see some hair ice on my walk….

hair ice

….and I enjoyed looking at Timpen in the sun.


There was a lot of bird song as a musical accompaniment to my stroll.  Usually, I cannot pick out the singers in the trees at all but today the lack of leaves and the good light let me spot two of them.

great tit and nuthatch
A great tit and nuthatch

They were both high in trees beside the path but obligingly stopped long enough for a quick snap.

There were many bunches of snowdrops which were defying the cold weather and enjoying the sunshine.


When I got home, I had a quick look to see if the sun had encouraged any flowers in the garden.  It had.

The first crocuses of the year

Mrs Tootlepedal’s avenue of snowdrops is looking promising too.  If the sunny weather continues, it should be worth a photo very soon.

I went in to have some lunch, do the crossword and occasionally peer out of the kitchen window.


I had hoped for the temperature after lunch to reach five degrees to let me out on the bike with some peace of mind but it remained obstinately around 4°C and I settled for another walk instead.  Timpen, the hill that I had photographed on my morning walk, had looked so inviting that I climbed its summit.

The ground was just frozen enough to let me waltz gaily over soggy patches and leap from tussock to tussock with many a merry laugh.  This was when I wasn’t puffing and blowing my way up the hillside of course.

Meikleholm Hill

Once I got to the summit, I enjoyed the views.

View from Timpen
Looking south over Warbla towards England
View from Timpen
Looking north to the snowy Ettrick Hills

The town lay below me, tucked away in the valley.

Langholm in February
The River Esk passes through the town in a sinuous S shape.
View from Timpen
Commercial planting cloaks the hills above the Esk to the north

I decided to walk over the summit and down on the north side of the hill to reach the road at the quarry…


…which I could see below.

The hill is steep sided here so I traversed across the slope, losing a little height with every step.  The veiws continued to delight.

The gates of Eden
Looking through ‘The gates of Eden’

Occasional clouds produced strong contrasts and made taking pictures tricky.  As I descended I could see accommodation for sheep and mill owners.

sheepfold and Craigcleuch
A sheepfold and Craigcleuch

I arrived safely at the road and followed it back to town, stopping for a look at the rock exposed in the quarry.

Quarry at peden's view

As I walked along the road above the river, I considered the state of the fence beside it….

Road above the Esk

Each dip in the fence shows where the bank on the far side has slipped away.  It is a wonder to me that the road hasn’t slipped away with it.

I was passing the manse when the minister came out to enquire why I wasn’t cycling.  He sympathised with my caution and introduced me to one of his chickens.  He is a great chicken fancier and keeps several  unusual birds.  This one…

German Langshan a German Langshan.

Once I got home, I found the the power company had once again phoned while I was out and once again had refused to leave a contact number.  I presume that they expect me to sit quietly at home for eight working days, waiting patiently until they call.  Would it kill them to say, “We will ring tomorrow between thee and four,” for example?  Obviously it would, as that would suit the customer more than the customer service team and that would never do.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Edinburgh and I was taken to Carlisle by Susan for a meeting of our recorder group.  Our usual host Jenny was unavailable so we met at Heather’s and enjoyed playing some of our pieces with her keyboard accompaniment which made for an enjoyable session.

I was never in at quite the right time to catch a good flying bird today so this fuzzy chaffinch will have to do.

flying chaffinch

Here is a link to Sandy’s post about our day out yesterday among the squirrels





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Vitamin D-day

  1. I never thought about pheasants fighting like roosters but it makes sense.
    The hair ice is always fascinating. I wonder if it grows on your equivalent of our frost weed (Verbesina virginica,) also called ice weed.
    The landscape shots are beautiful as always.

  2. I find your flying chaffinch quite appealing. I’m jealous of the crocuses; we’ve got just under 6 weeks until our usually appear.

  3. This was a particularly fine walk to take with you. The dance of the pheasants was spectacular. The view from the top of the hill down into the quarry made me dizzy, but the view back up made me dizzy in the opposite direction, so that’s all right then.

    I think I should draw to your attention that the chaffinch had been waiting at home all day just to perform a particularly difficult flying maneuver for you and what did you do? You arrived at an inopportune moment. Poor chaffinch tried hard, but really, give a bird a little notice!

  4. The Gates of Eden are well named, what a great view! All of your landscape photos were very good, that one was just my favorite of the lot.

    I like the mental picture of you as you “waltz gaily over soggy patches and leap from tussock to tussock with many a merry laugh”, I’m sure that it was an enjoyable walk even if that’s not quite the way that it went. 😉

  5. Wonderful photographs taken from the summit.

    I love the snowdrops and the first crocus of spring. Happy memories of these flowers peeping out (sometimes) of the snow when I lived in the UK. I used to ‘force’ them in pots as well which sounds very unkind.

  6. Fabulous pictures – you must have taken a lot of exercise climbing up and down.
    Clicked on the link to Sandy’s blog and enjoyed his excellent photographs at Eskrigg.

  7. You really live in a walkers’ paradise. How far was your afternoon walk over the summit of Timpen? Such a variety of things to see, I’m wondering how far you went.

  8. I love seeing the town where you live with the river snaking through it. Thank you for sharing your lovely walk with us- I feel quite refreshed and not tired at all!

  9. I’m so glad you had a sunshiny day providing an opportunity for skipping and gambolling. 🙂 The landscapes shots are beautiful. How uplifting such a walk must be to the spirits.

      1. It’s quite exciting to watch them. They try to avoid it if possible (as far as I am aware) and run away from each other if given the chance.

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