A start and stop day


Today’s guest picture is another from Mike and Alison’s New Zealand adventure.  Mike thought correctly that it might warm me up.  He tells me that it shows Mapua with Rabbit Island in the background.


At the other end of the earth from Mapua, we had a suitably dark and grey occasion here as we approach the shortest day.

Sandy has been suffering from a cold too but he was improved enough to venture out for a cup of coffee this morning.  Mrs Tootlepedal had made some mince pies last night and these went down very well with the Monsoon Malabar.

I took a moment to look out of the window after coffee and was rewarded with a display of landing skills from the chaffinches.

Chaffinches landing

A robin arrived….


And a chaffinch posed prettily for those who like a more restful bird shot.


Over lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be a volunteer at the Buccleuch Centre and I thought that a walk in the woods might be a good idea, especially as a friend had suggested a spot where I might find some bullfinches and/or redpolls.

I didn’t want to walk too far so I set out in the car to get to a convenient spot but I hadn’t gone far before a slightly stuttering engine and two warning lights suggested that a visit to the garage might be prudent.  As I was just outside the garage when the warning lights came on, this wasn’t too difficult to arrange and having the left the car in the care of the mechanics, I walked on regardless.

A walked up Hallpath, past an intriguing wall….

Hallpath wall
Why the same wall should be so different just a few yards apart is a mystery to me.

…along an undulating track…

Round house track

…until I came to the spot where the birds might lurk.  There were certainly a good number of small birds high in the trees but the light was so poor that I had no way of telling what they were.

I turned off the main track and struck up the hill towards open ground….

View of Meikleholm Hill
It’s a wonderful spot for electricity wires getting in your view.

…but even when I got clear of the trees, the view didn’t improve much.

Misty view of langholm

I was following a well worn path…



…and heading for the pylon on the right….

whita pylon
I thought it might look more impressive in black and white

I walked on past the pylon until I came to my favourite stile…

stile at Whita quarry

…and was very surprised to see a gorse bush in full flower on the other side of the wall.

gorse on Whita

From there, my route was across the face of the hill on the old quarry track.  I passed a sheep sensibly lying down with its back to the increasingly gusty wind.

sheep on Whita

After passing a lonely tree…

whita tree

…I dropped back into the town by way of the golf course and the Kirk Wynd.

Town Hall

The clock told me that I had been out for just under an hour which was quite enough as it was threatening to turn from mist into drizzle.

Beside the suspension bridge as I crossed the Esk, an old friend was standing on a rock….


Facing him, a duck had found a rock of its own.


When I got home, I had time to look at a robin trying all the feeders in turn….


…before the light disappeared completely.

Although it takes a week before the days actually start getting longer again, it is good to know that tomorrow is the literal depth of winter and it will be uphill towards the sunlit uplands from then on.

I got a call from the garage saying that inexpensive repairs were required and these should be completed by tomorrow.   I may complain about computers in cars from time to time but it is undoubtedly a good thing to be able to hook up your car to a machine and have it tell you within moments exactly what is wrong.

I am still suffering mildly from my cold and so the rest of the day was spent in gentle activity indoors until we went off to a film in the Buccleuch Centre in the evening.

As the film was White Christmas, this turned out to be a cheerful way to round off a dull day.

The flower of the day is a tiny yellow flower which I found on the practise fairway at the golf club…

yellow flower december

…and the flying bird of the day is an expansive chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “A start and stop day

  1. I noticed the spleenworts on the stone wall are growing in the mortar joints. They must like limestone, and that’s probably why I never see them here.
    Mr. Grumpy seems to have some type of slime on his face. Maybe he had been fishing.
    That’s a beautiful walk to have so close to home.

  2. The view of the rooftops and clock was so fun for me to see. We have so much blandness with some of the modern office buildings, I enjoy seeing old stonework buildings.

  3. I hope that the car troubles aren’t very serious, and that the repairs are completed in short order.

    I really liked the views from during your walk, the mist created a sense of moodiness, my kind of day for a walk.

    It’s always nice to see Mr. Grumpy, even if he was looking a bit disheveled.

  4. Your favourite stile looks most picturesque, and I loved the sheep smiling at you with a quizzical air.

  5. Maybe if Mr. Grumpy took a brief fly over that stile and blooming gorse it would brighten his day. Or perhaps his arthritis is flaring up. In any case, he looks especially ornery. Must be the solstice.

  6. An enjoyable series of photos, starting with a beautiful guest photo – looks like a lovely place to be. The landing chaffinches are very funny – interesting how they can “stick” a landing no matter how bad the approach! Glad to hear your automotive woes were brief and inexpensive . . . sadly, the odd sounds coming from my car’s heater fan motor are unlikely to be anything but expensive.

  7. A beautiful walk, even in winter. Mr. Grumpy does look like he has been fishing.

    No flowers blooming here now except an intrepid dandelion or two. We have come out of the ice, finally.

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