Today’s guest picture from my Newcastle correspondent shows a splendid drum kit to be found on a new trail at Plessey Woods Country Park.
We had an exciting plan A for today and a fairly exciting fallback plan B too. A little sunshine as we woke up was encouraging but 5°C and a bitterly cold north wind added to a forecast of snow did not make plan A, a drive of up to 100 miles to visit the blossom garden at Alnwick on the east coast, very attractive.
Plan B was a visit to a famous bluebell spot in the Lake District, a mere 60 miles away and no snow forecast but even this felt too adventurous for the weather which was much more midwinter than spring.
In the end, we had to wait in for a plumber to arrive and neither plan would have been possible, even on a warm day.
Instead, I put the morning to good use and with the help of Sandy and a fully functioning website, we put several weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database between us.
It was nearly lunchtime by the time that we had finished and Sandy went off and I stared out of the window in some welcome sunshine while my baked potato was baking.
The cold weather had encouraged a good turnout of birds.
A siskin was rude to a redpoll who flew off but it managed to find a spare perch later and looked very pleased with itself.
The baked potato induced a feeling of internal warmth which gave me enough courage to face the bitter wind and go for a walk and risk a soaking.
I had a last look at the plum tree…
…where the chaffinches were perhaps looking at four very busy pigeons who were busy picking up discarded seed below.
The pigeons are very colourful when the sun strikes their plumage.
The sun was pleasantly warm if you could keep out of the wind and I chose a sheltered route. The larch trees are one of my favourite spring things with their vivid green needles.
I came to an open bit of the track just as it started to snow and I was very glad to be walking with the wind behind me. I was wondering about the wisdom of the excursion when fortunately the snow stopped again and I had a moment to even up the recent lamb count on the blog.
We’ve had white and spotted lambs so this was a good moment to meet the black sheep of the family and friends…
Some primroses cheered the day up…
…but the sky still looked menacing so I got tucked into some woods as soon as I could and once safely under cover, I decided to stay in the woods and take a new path (for me) following a stream up the hill.
The woods started out thick and somewhat menacing at times…
…but I soon came out into more friendly surroundings.
The problem was that to my left was a steep little ravine with a stream at the bottom and my way forward was across it. It looked too steep for an easy scramble down and up so I was just contemplating retracing my footsteps when I saw that I was not the only one who wanted to cross the ravine. Help was at hand….
…or rather at foot. A rough ladder had been fixed to the slope (which is much steeper than it looks in the picture) and I was able to use it to descend inelegantly to the stream at the bottom, holding very tightly to the handy blue string as I went. Very conveniently, there was another one on the other side to let me crawl to the top of the far bank.
After that, I was able to enjoy a more easy going walk. I visited the old curling pond…
…but saw no interesting birds. I did see a deer among some young trees further on but it was too quick for my camera.
I walked back down the hill towards the Wauchope road and then home in sunny weather…
…and well sheltered from the wind which had eased for the moment.
There are hints of blossom here and there…
…and I stopped to appreciate the bridge over the Becks Burn where it meets the road.
As I walked past Pool Corner, I enjoyed both a dandelion growing out of the top of the wall beside the water and the bluebells which are beginning to make a good show on the bank beside the road.
I got home dry and was able to watch a couple of subsequent snow showers out of the window from the warmth of the kitchen with a good deal of smugness.
We enjoyed a cup of tea with my Newcastle correspondent’s father who had dropped in to lend us a map.
It wasn’t a day for gardening but I found a gap in the weather to start the task of turning the compost from Bin B into Bin C. It was in very good condition and unusually rich in worms. I hope that they survive the shift and keep up their good work.
A peep into the greenhouse showed that there is plenty to come in the garden.
The early potatoes have gone in and all we need now is some warm weather.
The work of the physio allowed me to skip up and down some rough terrain on my short walk without difficulty and without any bad after effects which was very satisfactory. However, it didn’t stop me getting quite tired so I was happy to snooze the rest of the day away.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.