The best laid plans…

Plessey Woods

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.

Plessey Woods

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.

chaffinch goldfinch
A chaffinch overjoyed at finding a vacant perch.
Goldfinches coming and going

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.

sikin and redpoll

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…

chaffinch in plum blossom

…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…

mixed sheep
A mixed bag in a field beside the track

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…

Becks woods

…but I soon came out into more friendly surroundings.

Becks woods

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….

ravine ladder

…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…

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.

becks burn bridge

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.

dandelion and bluebells

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.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “The best laid plans…

  1. Lovely pictures of a very interesting walk. Glad the visit to the physio made your limbs work better and glad, too, that you and Sandy got all that archiving done, most satisfactory.

  2. I love the drum kit!
    So many wonderful photographs today, as always.
    Reading your blog always interesting – today you mentioned the Lake District. I had the pleasure of living there for 4 years in the 70’s. Such a beautiful part of the world.
    Hope it warms up for your soon – is it a case of “winter drawers on”?

  3. The finch picture is beautiful! I thought the drums were wonderfully creative. Thank you for sharing another day out and about. It sounds like it was a great day to be outside and in. I’m happy to hear you made it safely down and up those rickety stairs!

  4. The landscape photos are beautiful as always, especially the bluebells.
    You might get a chance to see the beautiful but small crimson larch flowers on that tree. If the needles are just starting to grow the time should be right.
    The stairs look like their best days have passed but that log drum set is great.

  5. Nice drums! The larch brings back memories of Connecticut, where there was a particularly beautiful larch on the border of the horse pasture.

    Beautiful photos of your day out. The countryside is greening up a bit where you are, but I don’t see many leaves out yet. We are almost in full leaf here, and had a frost last night. The pinot noir vineyard and potato patch took a hit, although the slightly more protected table grapes came through without damage. This will set us back a little with the grapes, but they should recover. The new peonies have a slight touch of damage.

      1. I made lots of grape cuttings for rooting this year, and the new greenhouse is just waiting for a tarp so I can move them into there where they will be safe from roving deer. I have a tarp on order, and it should be here within a few days. We can get frosts up until the end of May, and with everything blooming so early this year, I am hoping that does not happen.

  6. It was nice to see another slice of the countryside around where you live from your walk today. The stairs didn’t look very safe, but I’ll bet that they were better than nothing. Great photo of the flying finch today, one of my favorites so far.

    It’s funny how you’re able to input data to the archive group some days but not others, that would tell me that the problem is on their end.

  7. Love the chaffinches in the plum tree. I am also fond of flowers growing out of rocks. I share your erratic weather pain. At least you have what looks like glorious sunshine.

  8. We have been having to earth up our potatoes to protect the shoots from frost. Your greenhouse looks full of interesting plants and the plum tree is looking very pretty. I hope the bees are able to brave the cold weather and pollinate the blossom.

  9. That’s a striking flying bird! I have begun to put seed on the posts outside my front window (where I sit and write). Now I just have to try and figure out how to get some good photos of the flood of birds! I haven’t been keeping up with blogging (reading and writing) lately by always a joy to read yours. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Set the camera up on a tripod, relax with a cup of coffee and press the remote from time to time. You may not get great pictures but it is very relaxing.

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