Grey but game


Today’s guest pictures come from my occasional correspondent and Langholm exile, Irving.  He sees these buzzards regularly in his garden and thought correctly that I might be interested in seeing them too.


There wasn’t much to see in Langholm today, apart from very low cloud and occasional rain.  It was still reasonably warm at 7°C but the dank conditions didn’t make it feel very pleasant.

Dropscone complained about the weather when he came round for coffee but I didn’t complain about the scones that he brought with him as they were very good.

Birds were mostly notable by their absence and often the ones that did come looked a bit miserable to say the least.


Oddly, some goldfinches seemed less bedraggled than others.

Perhaps the one on the right had been sheltering somewhere dry

A small flock of ten goldfinches was the largest crowd of the day and they weren’t very polite if a chaffinch intruded…

goldfinch and chaffinch

…but no one seemed to mind when a lone siskin turned up.


We haven’t seen numbers of siskins in the garden since late summer and I don’t know where they have been.  Mrs Tootlepedal is generally quite happy not to see siskins as they are very messy eaters and this leads to untidiness and odour.

After Dropscone had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took our Christmas tree out and replanted it in the garden.  It was less of of a chore that we thought that it might be and it looks quite happy to be back where it came from in December.

Christmas tree

Nearby, the first shoots of rhubarb could be seen.

Some way to go before we can think of crumble though

When Dropscone and I had been drinking our coffee, we had been reminiscing about cycling in past years and I was reminded that we used to pedal quite often in pretty poor weather conditions.  I have got a lot more picky lately which cuts down cycling opportunities so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre cafe, I thought that I should brave the damp conditions and go for a cycle ride.

The forecast had said that there was a possibility of rain over lunchtime but I hadn’t gone far before the possibility turned into reality and I had a soggy time while I was out.  I was well wrapped up though and with a peak on my helmet to keep the worst of the drizzle off my glasses, I managed a steady 21 miles in relative comfort.

Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea later and that concluded the excitement for the day.

Well perhaps, not quite because after he had gone, I got the second half of the dough out of the fridge and made another batch of rolls.  In spite of my best efforts, they wouldn’t win any prizes for looks but they cooked perfectly well.

As I am still struggling to throw off my husky throat, I was quite pleased to have had a quiet day.  I am cutting down on cheese for the moment because that has been implicated in throat troubles and I am inhaling salt vapour through a cunning device that my daughter gave me and either  for these reasons or just through the march of time, things are beginning to get a bit better.  Whether cycling twenty miles in a chilly drizzle is part of the cure is perhaps open to question.

The flower of the day is a cheerful winter jasmine to offset the general greyness…

winter jasmine

…and the flying bird is one of the goldfinches, ploughing through the morning drizzle.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Grey but game

  1. Glad your throat, whatever remedy is the cause, is starting to get properly better. Well done for cycling in such inclement weather, very bold and brave.

  2. Lovely to read of your cool weather today. South East Queensland is in the grip of a heatwave over the next few days and it’s 34 degrees celsius today in Brisbane. Just wanted to share that with you – I was raised in England and even after nearly 40 years here it still feels odd that I’m melting in January.
    Well done with your cycle ride, I’m sure that has helped your throat. Doctor Jean, signing off !

  3. Buzzards, goldfinches, siskin and chaffinch a fine selection of British birds all to enjoy in our gardens- let’s hope their numbers don’t diminish! Walking in the rain isn’t pleasant so I admire your cycle out today!

  4. Cycling in the rain is not a particularly pleasant thing to do but I’m glad you were well wrapped up. Nice to see the siskin. We used to get them in our garden in Somerset but I’ve only seen them once here when it was bitterly cold.

  5. The Christmas tree will appreciate the drizzle; it’s perfect weather for planting or transplanting just about anything.
    It’s great to see the rhubarb bud and I’m going to have to see if winter jasmine will grow here.
    I wonder if the throat ills come from using it more than usual, as in singing.

    1. No, the throat has had a singing rest for the past few weeks. It is definitely a side effect from the persistent cold I had.

      The winter jasmine is a cheerful sight in the middle of winter.

  6. I applaud your going out for a ride in the rain. I would say breathing damp air from either the rain or a device in the kitchen (I assume in the kitchen) would be good for your throat.

  7. Love the shot of the goldfinches on the feeder that weren’t very polite to the chaffinch. Looks like some words were roughly spoken… Wishing you a more speedy recovery with the throat!

  8. Our family used to get live Christmas trees and plant them in the yard when I was growing up. It was a new live tree every year though, and before long we had a nice line of them. I saw the old house when we went back east this past February, and I visited my friend who still lives across the street in the same house after all these decades. All the trees had been cut down and my old house was a different color.

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