Today’s guest picture harks back to my siblings’ visit at the start of this month and shows Skelwith Force in the Lake District. It was taken by my sister Mary.
We had another day of mixed sunshine and showers here with some impressive cloudscapes. Plans were once again slightly frustrated but the day worked out well enough in the end.
I was due to fill the Moorland bird feeders for some friends who are on holiday and since the light was good when I went up, I was looking forward to spending some productive time in the bird hide there.
However, when I had almost finished filling the feeders, a minibus full of school children drew up and the project leader told me that it was a school visit. Plan A went into the bin.
It was still quite bright when I got home so I decided to convert Plan A into Plan B and go and visit the nuthatches but by the time that I had made a pot of coffee for Mrs Tootlepedal and myself, it had clouded over and started to snow. Plan B hit the bin too.
Plan C involved crosswords, catching up with business and making soup. It worked well.
I did find a moment to admire an a gymnastic siskin….
…and watch a siskin and a redpoll circling warily round each other.
After lunch, the skies had cleared. Although it was still pretty chilly for April (6.5°C), the wind was much calmer than yesterday so I put on many layers and took my slow bike out to give the solid tyre another test.
Needless to say, it started snowing lightly as soon as I left our front gate but rather than junking Plan D, I kept going and was rewarded by a small pool of sunshine which very politely kept pace with me as I pedalled along. All around there were showers and looming clouds…
…but for nine of the fourteen miles of my ride, I managed to keep away from them.
I didn’t stop much because it seemed a pity to risk being caught up by the rain but I did like the sight of this young Belted Galloway who was as curious about me as I was about it.
The weather to one side of the road smiled upon a pleasant prospect…
…but on the other side, more black clouds loomed.
My luck couldn’t hold out for ever and as I ground up to the highest point of my ride, I was overtaken by a hailstorm.
Fortunately, the hail was the softest and most gentle that I have ever met so I was spared getting painfully pinged and because it was hail rather than snow, I didn’t even get very wet. To make matters better, I soon cycled through it and came out on the other side.
Since the sun was out again, I stopped at my favourite little cascade on the Wauchope to show that although the weather has been very cold lately, we haven’t anything serious in the way of continuous rain for several weeks and the rivers are very low.
This was a different view taken last December after two solid months of downpours.
The low water let me get a close shot of the deformed rocks beside the river…
…and a look down stream to a more peaceful stretch.
The birds had been very busy at the garden feeders and I had to fill them when I got home.
As well as a bird on every perch and more waiting on the pole and in the plum tree, there was a huge squad of scavengers on the ground too.
The garden was very pleasant, sheltered from the wind and bathed in occasional sunshine.
Flowers competed for attention.
Mrs Tootlepedal had painted our back stairs in the morning and was busy in the garden in the afternoon so she was quite ready for a cup of tea after I had had a shower.
Dr Tinker, whose tea detecting system was working perfectly, arrived just in time to join us. He is going to look after Mrs Tootlepedal’s greenhouse plants next week while we are taking a short break from Langholm life.
As we sipped, we looked out of the window and saw some quite heavy snow so I was pleased with the timing of my ride. The ground is warm enough and the snow showers short enough that we haven’t had problems with snow settling.
The sun was soon out again and when I was upstairs, I took the opportunity to lean out of an upper window and get a different angle on the birds.
I suppose that I was having a bird’s eye view from up above.
Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out her onions and is protecting them against the inclement weather with a row of cloches. I could see them out of my window too.
In the evening, we went to sing with our Langholm choir and had a good time getting some polish on pieces which we are going to sing in two concerts next month.
With four choral engagements, two with the Langholm choir and two with the Carlisle choir, in the next two months, we have plenty of homework to do.
The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches that I looked down on.