Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my neighbour Gavin. He has strayed far from home and saw this squirrel in his son’s garden in California.
After yesterday’s heady (almost) 10°C, we were back to reality today, just above freezing at breakfast time and a maximum of 4° in the afternoon.
There was a bit of a nippy wind about too but for all that, it wasn’t a bad day as it stayed dry until mid afternoon and cleared up again in the evening.
I pottered about preparing a sour dough loaf until the thermometer had reached a reasonable temperature and then set off to do twenty miles in my outdoor gym up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse.
It was hard work again with the cross wind bring tears to my eyes but I was kept entertained by several people standing beside Land Rovers peering anxiously up the hill. A couple of stray hounds on the road looking rather baffled gave me the clue that they were hunt supporters and a couple of loud reports on my last lap told me that the hunt had probably caught their fox.
When I got home, I had a quick lunch and then drove up to the White Yett to see if I could walk up to the monument and back beofre the rain came.
Things looked quite promising at the start….
…and I was able to enjoy the rich browns of the moor and the Tarras Valley behind the hill…
…look down onto the town below…
…enjoy the snow on the distant hills of the Lake District…
…and catch a glimpse of the Solway Firth between me and the Lake District.
The wind was not in a charitable mood so I was not unhappy that this was the closest that I got to the Monument….
…before turning round and bustling back down the track in an effort to beat the oncoming shower.
I got to the car with minutes to spare and even had a moment to say hello to the resident lichen museum.
I had taken my Nikon with its zoom lens with me just in case I saw an interesting bird. There were no birds but I was glad to have had it with me when I was overtaken by something with wings but no feathers.
It was cruising down the valley at more or less exactly the same altitude as I was. It was going a bit faster than me though.
When I got home, a closer look at one picture…
….gave me its license number ZF 343 and some research revealed that is a Short S-312 Tucano T1, a plane used by the RAF for training pilots.
It wasn’t the only plane that I saw as there was a Hercules about as well. It was further off but I caught it just before it disappeared into the oncoming cloud.
The rain settled in when I got back but there was still enough light to make a look out of the kitchen window worthwhile. The garden was full of blackbirds, both male and female…
..and the coconuts did brisk business all day.
There were plenty of siskins around…
Like the rain, I settled in as well and collated, punched and stapled together a set of music for our Langholm choir and then put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database. I noticed that in 1892 a young boy had received a severe admonition in court for throwing stones at a pony in a field so perhaps standards of behaviour haven’t slipped quite as much as dyspeptic newspaper commentators might think.
Mike Tinker dropped by to say that for the second week running a social engagement would prevent his wife Alison from coming round for Friday evening sonatas. My fingers will drop off from lack of use. I could put in several hours of individual practice by myself of course but I might not be able to find the time.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to a Langholm Sings choir practice which was good fun but once again revealed that when it comes to singing the right note, I have some way to go before achieving perfection.
In spite of the rival claims of the Tucano to be flying bird of the day, loyalty to my regular customers mean that it is another chaffinch braving the rain.