The play’s the thing

Willington Marina

Today’s guest picture shows the marina at Willington, which was my brother’s ultimate objective on his cycle trip yesterday.

Willington Marina

A sub zero but sunny morning gave me the task of clearing the ice from the car before Mrs Tootlepedal drove off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to see Matilda.  One of the recent gales severely damaged a viaduct on the route and the railway has only just reopened.  It is a relief that it is back on the go as getting to our nearest station now requires a round trip of just 36 miles rather than the 90 miles we needed when the line was closed.

After she left, the thermometer was still showing a minus value so I was pleased when Dropscone came round for coffee to help to pass the time.  He is having to get used to leading a quiet life until his ribs are fully healed.

It was still only just above freezing when he left so I did the crossword and looked out of the window for a while.

So that I could do both things at the same time, I set the camera up on a tripod and used a remote control to fire it off.  This is very relaxing but as you can’t look through the viewfinder while you are taking pictures, you can get some unintended shots.

flying chaffinch rear
Not the usual flying chaffinch angle.

The chilly weather brought a steady flow of traffic to the feeder.

It is very difficult to catch a flying siskin as they don’t hover when approaching the perch but just pop straight on.

Chaffinches hover all the time whether coming in from above….

flying chaffinch and feeder

…or below.

flying chaffinch and feeder

There is no shortage of bad manners when the feeders are busy.

goldfinch and siskin
Synchronised shouting from a goldfinch and a siskin

In the end, the temperature reached 2°C and I decided on a short walk before lunch.  Before I tucked Newcam into my pocket, I pointed it at the feeder just to see what would happen.

It did well, I thought.

I decided to walk along the Esk, over the Duchess Bridge, round the pheasant hatchery and back by the Kilngreen.  On my way out I saw a few things of minor interest…

Ministers chicken, frost hair and fungus
One of the minister’s chickens, fading frost hair and fresh fungus

….stopped once to get a view of the Duchess Bridge from below….

Duchess bridge

…and again to admire the snowdrops at Holmhead.


And on the way back some contrasting moss on a tree stump looked attractive…

mossy stump

…and two mallards on the Ewes water might almost have been cloned in Photoshop.


At the meeting of the waters, I saw not just one or two oyster catchers…

oyster catchers

…but three, although they wouldn’t all look up at the same time.

oyster catchers

To be even handed, I took pictures of three black headed gulls having a quick shake and shower in the Esk below the Town Bridge.

black headed gulls

I got back in perfect time for a bowl of leek, chick pea and potato soup, kindly left for me by Mrs Tootlepedal who had used Dropscone’s gift of leeks to make it.

Then I got out the slow bike and pottered round the town doing some business and shopping before setting off for a sight seeing trip up the Wauchope road.  I visited my favourite cascade just to show how quickly the rivers go down after a few dry days.

Wauchope cascade
More of a trickle than a cascade

The low water gave me a chance  to consider the forces which bent the strata beside the stream.

Wauchope rocks
Rocks brought to their knees.

The Wauchope is a very short river, running for only three miles.  It is fed by two main tributaries and I cycled up them both in turn for a while.

Logan Water
This is the peaceful Logan Water
And this bull was guarding the access to the Bigholm Burn

I got to the top of Callister and then turned and rushed home to be in time in case Scottish Power rang at four o’clock.

They didn’t.

Mrs Tootlepedal got home safely after having a fun time with Matilda and crossing the repaired viaduct very slowly both times.

In the evening we went to see a production of As You Like It recorded at the National Theatre in London and shown on the screen at the Buccleuch Centre. We liked it a lot.

The flying bird of the day is one of the gently hovering chaffinches.

flying chaffinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, novice photogrpaher

23 thoughts on “The play’s the thing

  1. All three of your sisters went to see the Shakespeare this evening. Mary and I thought it was well worth the 50 minute journey to get to the cinema. Loved that picture of the mosses.

  2. The contrasting moss looked very appealing and interesting and the snowdrops in the woods are lovely. That’s a view I wouldn’t see here. I like that you include the fluffy rear end shots of the birds. So often people don’t, but I think it’s part of the charm and fun of watching birds. Their fluffy rears and the patterns that you can see on their bodies from that angle are not unattractive. You do a good job of getting the vibrant colours of the ducks. I find that a challenge. You’ve no doubt mentioned the long detour to the station in the past but I must have missed it. I’m surprised it was 90 miles! What a relief to your wallet and patience to have it reduced again. The Power Company situation has become ridiculous. It could be a comedy if it wasn’t so frustrating for you.

  3. An embarrassment of riches, beginning with the canal boats and going on to the extravagantly luxurious moss – and the chicken! And the Bull! I really liked the bull. And the oyster catchers. And . . . all of it. We lead a very quiet life here. I can see that I must get out and about more.

  4. I liked the variety of birds, and your explanations of how different species behave as the come and go to the feeder. I really liked the mossy stump and the snowdrops along the path as well. That’s quite a bull, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen one that looked like that before.

    While the cascades may not be as impressive during times of low water, they’re still something that I never get to see, and that applies to the rock formations as well. The amount of force required to bend rock like that boggles the mind.

  5. Splendid snowdrops.
    Glad you enjoyed the play. Once I got used to the modern setting I thoroughly enjoyed it too.

  6. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I am very jealous of your Buccleuch Centre. The snowdrops are beautiful, your bird out take amusing and Pah! to the power company from all at the Homestead.

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