Today’s guest picture was taken by my friend Bruce, who was on a trip to the east of the country. He had climbed all of the 132 steps up a dark, narrow, spiral staircase to get to the top of the the Garleton Monument and was rewarded by this splendid view of the country stretching out to the Firth of Forth.
We woke to a frosty scene with the temperature just about on zero but with a bright sun shining. Under these circumstances I forced myself to reject a very tempting offer of traditional Friday treacle scones from Dropscone and got myself organised to go for a walk instead.
I paused for a while to let the temperature rise to 2 degrees and while I waited, I watched the birds.
The feeders were very busy…
…and the finches flew busily around snapping up a spare perch or trying to bully the sitter off an occupied one..
It has been generally rather damp recently so I was worried in case the paths and tracks turned out to be icy. It was still very chilly when I got to the park…
…but for reasons that are not clear to me, there was not a spot of ice to be met anywhere on my whole walk.
There were plenty of other things to be seen though.
I walked along the Murthholm track, stopping to greet Mr Grumpy….
…and then crossed over Skippers Bridge (many photos taken but none put in here today) and went down to the water’s edge.
If you look closely, you can make out the circle of ripples in the middle of the river caused by a fish leaping out of the water a second before I got my camera in focus. As a consolation, behind me on the bank there was a splendid outbreak of fungus on a fallen branch.
I scrambled back onto the road and there can be few better roads to walk down on a sunny morning in November than this one.
As I turned the corner and started to climb the hill, the warmth of the sun was causing gentle steam to rise and catch the sunbeams.
As usual the walls and trees beside the road here were full of interest.
Beyond the entrance to Broomholm, almost all of the trees on the bank beside the road have been felled and what was previously a very dark and dank stretch of road is now completely transformed….
…with a fine view from the top.
I had brought a banana and a coffee éclair with me for sustenance so I decided to visit the Moorland feeders where I could sit down and eat them in the hide while being entertained by the birds.
I enjoyed this view on the way….
…and it wasn’t long before I was nearly at the small wood that shelters the feeders.
There was plenty of action to keep me entertained while I ate my snack and I tried my best to capture it with the Lumix.
I went back to the town by way of the track from Broomholmshiels and enjoyed the oak and birch woodlands on the way. There was more fungus and lichen to be seen…
…and I picked up a few acorns on the way as Mrs Tootlepedal is going to try to get some acorns to germinate this year.
The track through the woods was very lovely in the sunshine…
…and I liked this last glimpse of autumn colour at Longwood.
Any walk is enhanced by a view like this at the end of it….
…but on this occasion, pretty well every step of the five miles had been rewarding.
In spite of the sunshine, the thermometer was still only registering 4°C when I got home just before one o’clock so I was glad that it had been an almost windless day.
I was able to refresh myself with a cup of tea from a brand new 2 cup teapot which had only been delivered this morning…
…following the untimely demise of our previous pot.
I had time to take another look at the birds after lunch….
…but even on a fine day, the light was already fading and the robin had to really stretch to get itself into the picture.
I was well entertained though, as Mike and Alison Tinker came round. They are recently back from a most enjoyable holiday in New Zealand and are recovering gradually from jet lag so they came to see us in the afternoon instead of their customary evening visit on a Friday. We should be back to playing sonatas next week which will be very welcome.
After they left, it wasn’t long before Dropscone arrived. Instead of treacle scones and coffee in the morning, we had drop scones and tea in the afternoon today but we survived the shock pretty well. He told me about the trouble he is having with his car. The fan belt snapped and fell off and as a result he is currently going nowhere.
The leaf of the day is one of the golden box balls at the top of the front lawn.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch about to give a blue tit a surprise.