Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to Madeira and shows ‘Autonomia’, a monument to celebrate Madeira’s regional autonomy in 1976.
It was another chilly but sunny morning here and it looked as though it might well be one of those days when a trip up a hill could be rewarded by some delightfully misty views below. Unfortunately, we didn’t get our timing quite right and arrived at the White Yett to get an interesting view up the Ewes valley…
…with a hint of mist over the town….
…but even the sheep thought that there were better views to be had elsewhere and were heading off.
The drive was a little nervous as Mrs Tootlepedal had reported that the car’s information system was claiming that she was using unfeasibly large amounts of petrol when she went to Lockerbie on Thursday. A quick check today showed us that the car’s computer system thought that we had used seven miles worth of petrol to go three miles. This was a bit alarming even though though there wasn’t any smell of leaking petrol so we took the car to the garage and left it there and walked home.
Looking back up at the hill from which we had just descended, it seemed that there might have been a good photo opportunity if we had waited a while….
…but a few minutes later, when we looked again, the mist had all but disappeared.
I was just telling Mrs Tootlepedal about the noisy dippers I had heard on the river a couple of days ago when she said, “What’s that?”
It was a noisy dipper, singing and dipping in the Wauchope.
We watched for a short time and then another noisy dipper came shooting down the river and both of them left in a hurry. I still can’t make up my mind whether the singing is a love song or a war cry. I would be pleased to get a view from any dipper savvy readers.
On our walk along the banks of the Esk, we saw Mr Grumpy catching a ray of sunshine in a gloomy spot….
…and a fine display of both male and female alder catkins.
We had a cup of coffee and then I settled down to watch a bird or two.
There were two robins about today and I took several pictures of them but one robin looks very like another so you will have to say for yourselves whether this is two pictures of the same robin or two pictures of different robins. (There definitely were two robins in the plum tree at the same time on one occasion but not sitting where I could photograph them together.)
Otherwise, it was a case of the usual suspects.
Although we had had to clear ice off the windscreen of the car before our trip up the hill, the roads were clear and when the thermometer showed 4°C at midday, I put on as much cycling gear as I could find….
…and went off to do 21 miles up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse. It was cold enough to make cycling less than an unadulterated pleasure and it took me some time to get the legs warmed up on the first section uphill to Wauchope Schoolhouse but after that I kept a very steady pace and my bike computer told me that I did the three downhill, downwind sections of the journey within a few seconds of each other.
When I went out cycling, Attila the gardener went to work too and by the time that I got back, she had made a very neat job of the marigold bed at the end of the drive.
I started to watch a bit of Andy Murray playing Milos Raonic in the ATP tennis semi finals but it got too much like hard work so as the sun was still out, I went for a short walk to see what I could find at the riverside.
Mr Grumpy had moved.
There were gulls on all sides.
And mallards on the Kilngreen
I walked home via the new path. There are a pair of Noble Firs beside the path. They have large cones which don’t fall off…
…but which are obviously on some creature’s dinner menu.
There was a bit of a stushie going on with loud cries and shouting when I came to cross the Jubilee Bridge but it turned out to be nothing more alarming than a game of football.
I watched for a bit but it was getting decidedly parky by this time so I didn’t linger too long and left just before the final whistle blew.
I was more than happy to have a slice of Mrs Tootlepedal’s walnut and banana loaf and a cup of tea from my new teapot to warm me up when I got home.
I then subjected myself to some cruel and unusual punishment by watching first Andy Murray play tennis and then Scotland playing Argentina at rugby. In the end, they both held on to win very tight matches by the narrowest of margins so a day that started badly with the car needing attention, ended very well with national pride satisfied.
I had a very good look round the garden when I came back from my pedal to see what the frost and Attila the Gardener had left and found enough rather ragged blooms to make up a composite flower of the day.
The flying bird of the day is a fierce goldfinch.