Today’s guest picture comes from a recent visit to Nottingham by my brother Andrew and shows what purports to be the oldest pub in England nestling beneath the castle wall.
The main event of the morning was an end to recent harrowing scenes of scone starvation in the Tootlepedal household as Dropscone appeared for coffee bringing three of his excellent scones. He was in good form after his hospital stay and pleased to be back in a place with quiet sleeping accommodation and good food. He is under orders from his daughter to take things easily for a few days at least.
It was raining while we drank our coffee but not long after Dropscone left, the weather took a turn for the better in spite of a really miserable forecast for the whole day.
I dallied long enough to take a bird picture or two. The chaffinches were alternately fierce and friendly…
…and a blue tit showed that it didn’t need a perch to peck a seed or two.
Then I had a light lunch, put on my walking shoes and, in the hope that the forecast really was wrong, went out for a walk.
I was heading for the Moorland Feeders bird hide and as it was rather soggy, I stuck to firm tracks and roads . This was not as bad as it might seem as the road section was along the Tarras road which is currently closed to through traffic due to a landslip so there were hardly any cars on it.
Although it wasn’t raining, it was chilly, grey and windy and I kept going as much as possible, although my camera did occasionally force me to put the brakes on.
I had a look to see whether Skippers Bridge had been repaired yet. It hadn’t but the contractors have lowered more big rocks in front of the cutwater as a temporary protection.
It looks a bit ‘Heath Robinson’ to me but it must be better than nothing.
As I went up the Broomholm hill, I couldn’t pass a bit of moss on a wall looking as good as this without capturing it, could I?
My route took me past Broomholmshiels farmhouse…
…underneath a circling buzzard high above me…
..and into the warmth and shelter of the hide, where I was well entertained by birds for twenty minutes or so. I had hardly sat down when a rush of birds leaving the feeders was followed by a sparrowhawk swooping down the clearing. I feared that I might have to wait quite a time for the small birds to reappear but in fact, they were back in less than a minute and the sparrowhawk didn’t reappear.
I was able to watch a greater spotted woodpecker or two…
…three sorts of tits…
…many, many chaffinches…
…quite a few pheasants…
…and, rather surprisingly, a rabbit.
It was browsing busily on the grass in front of the feeder but it was unmoved both by the sparrowhawk and me and I think that its red eye shows that it has myxomatosis, a very common and deadly disease in rabbits.
The weather seemed to be getting darker and the wind louder so I didn’t stay for too long but set out for home, hoping to beat the onset of rain. Once again, I didn’t stop for many pictures but the elegant Broomholm Island bridge, which is only visible from the road when there are no leaves on the trees, caught my eye…
…and I felt that a feast of lichen as I went down the hill, all on the same patch of wall and within two feet of each other, merited recording.
I got back to the town before any rain appeared and as my legs were in cheerful spirits, I walked along to the Kilngreen to see if any oyster catchers were to be seen.
Unfortunately, they didn’t stop to let me get a nice picture of the pair of them but flew off down the river.
I walked over the Sawmill Brig, across the Castleholm, over the Jubilee Bridge and got back home just in time to sample some dropped scones that Mrs Tootlepedal was making for afternoon tea. After a week of scone drought, this was a day of scone surfeit and very welcome it was too.
The skies darkened and the wind got up once I was safely inside so once again I had by good luck picked on the best bit of the day for my walk. It wasn’t an attractive day for cycling so I am very pleased that my new knee gives me the alternative of having a good walk on days like this. I did six miles in good order but it did remind me of how relatively effortless and stress free cycling is compared with hitting the ground with your feet every yard, however delicately you tread.
As I walked along, it crossed my mind to wonder at the great number of words that there for walking slowly – amble, stroll, saunter, daunder or danner, wander, meander, dawdle etc – compared with words for cycling in a leisurely manner. I can’t think of a single one at all. Maybe an imaginative reader could coin a word for the equivalent of strolling on a cycle. Pedawdalling perhaps.
We have got a big singing day with our Carlisle choir tomorrow so I spent some time trying to make sure that I have got all five songs solidly off by heart. Sad to say, it is quite easy to think that you have got them learned and quite a bit harder to be 100% accurate under pressure but we will see tomorrow.
The flying bird of the day is one of the oyster catchers disobligingly scuttling off before I could get a decent portrait of them.