Today’s guest picture comes from ex-Langholm Archive data miner, Ken who is now living on the wrong side of the country. He sent me this picture of Monkseaton Senior School, a place where the children obviously get a fully rounded education.
Spoiler alert: If you don’t care for big lorries and birds, look away now. There are too many pictures in this post.
Our spell of dry weather continued today. This was fortunate as my day started with two outdoor activities. Much to my surprise, I not only woke up at seven o’clock but I actually got up at seven o’clock and then Mrs Tootlepedal got up too and we went off on a great windmill hunt.
This was a speculative venture as the offical time for the passing of the windmill procession was between six and eight am but the men whom I had met yesterday had told me that it might easily be much later. This meant that when we arrived just before eight, we might have missed the thing altogether or still have hours to wait, not knowing whether it had gone past or not.
It was therefore with some degree of triumph (and a relief) that the first thing that we spotted was a police car with a flashing blue light.
We parked our car safely out of the way and I walked back to ask the policeman in the car what was the programme. He told me that the load for today was turbines rather than the windmill tower itself and I was a bit disappointed until I saw the lorry appear….
with a 60metre blade on board…..followed by a second….
…and then a third.
They had a narrow bridge to cross….
…which needed inch perfect navigation and then they came up the hill from the Gair road…
…crossed the Waterbeck road with more skilful driving….
…and drove onto the specially constructed track through a field on the other side of the road.
Soon all three blades were parked in the field.
I needed to use the panorama setting on the Lumix to get them all in from side on.
A remarkable sight.
They had set off from Glasgow at midnight, come down the motorway overnight and them waited at Kirkpatrick until daylight before they ventured onto the narrow back roads to bring them to Waterbeck. At this point there was still four miles to go before they could get to the windmill site itself. I could see the site from the field…
…and it was sobering to realise just how big those turbines are.
After a pause to ensure that the road ahead was clear, the lead driver got into his vehicle…
…gave a cheery wave and set off for the final leg of the journey…
…very carefully. Soon the whole cavalcade was on its way.
There were clues that this wasn’t entirely a home grown operation.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I were mightily impressed by the efficiency and calmness of the operation and went home very happy to have got such a good reward from an early start.
I had time for a slice of toast when we got home before Sandy arrived. I had taken on the job of a fill-in feeder filler at the Moorland Project for an absent friend and Sandy very kindly offered to give me a lift up to the site. We were fully equipped with cameras and tripods and after we had filled the feeders, we settled down in the handy hide for a bit of bird watching.
There were plenty of birds to watch. I was pleased to see lots of chaffinches and a bunch of healthy looking greenfinches…
…and a good number of coal tits and great tits.
The chaffinches flew around in all directions…
…but the star of the show was a dozy pheasant….
…who walked up a branch and fell off the end.
A couple of woodpeckers put in a very fleeting appearance…
…but didn’t stay to feed.
There were outbreaks of cuteness…
…and a good deal of self conscious posing for the camera.
The lure of a cup of coffee got us moving in the end and after a look round outside the hide…
…we headed for home.
After coffee, Sandy went off and Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about reducing the mound of garden clippings….
….to this useful pile of compost.
It is a very handy machine when Attila the Gardener is in full flow.
Then it was time for lunch.
We had just finished when the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a tiny wren outside the window. I caught a glimpse of it before it flew off.
With giant turbine blades in the morning and a tiny wren in the afternoon, we had a day of marked contrasts.
I had hoped to continue with my run of short cycle rides after lunch but the wind was just too strong for comfort today so instead I sieved some more compost, mowed the front lawn and ate some raspberries.
Mrs Tootlepedal amused herself by going off to get some muck from her manure mine and when she got back we noticed a lone butterfly on the dahlias. It was a small tortoiseshell.
I enjoyed looking at the rich colours still about in the garden.
Long may the good weather continue.
We went in for a cup of tea and I had so many pictures to look at already that I decided not to go for a short walk and take some more in spite of the nice day. This was just as well as looking at the pictures that I had already taken filled in all the available time before it was necessary to get tea cooked. We had smoked sausage risotto and courgette fritters. I shall miss Mrs Tootlepedal’s courgette fritters when the courgette supply finally runs out.
After tea, I went off to sing with our local choir, Langholm Sings and we had a really enjoyable rehearsal. Although our numbers are small, everyone is working hard and we are making good progress. As she is singing in two other choirs, Mrs Tootlepedal has decided to retire from Langholm Sings. She will be sadly missed.
The flying bird of the day is that pheasant, recovering (just) from stepping off the end of the branch this morning.