Today’s guest picture shows a fine Zwartble tup. It was sent to me by Irving, who bred it. They are a Dutch breed. I have never knowingly seen one before.
We had another grey day today, a day far too dark and gloomy to allow for taking proper photographs so I limited myself to taking only forty or fifty or so. Well, you have to find something to do on a dull day.
I started off by looking out of the window. Oddly enough, a blackbird was the easiest thing to see.
And a robin brightens up the darkest day.
Although the temperature hovered around 3°C, the day had two things going for it; it was dry and there was hardly any wind. In these circumstances, even 3°C can seem quite cheerful so I got our my slow bike and went for a pedal before lunch.
I took the slow bike, which has a belt drive and an eight speed hub gear, so that I wouldn’t have to clean the chain and cassette on the fairly speedy bike yet again. Constant bike cleaning is the downside of winter pedalling. Being a slow bike, it also gave me plenty of chances to look about and keep an eye out for any remaining icy patches (fortunately there were none).
I started off well by seeing a dipper at Pool Corner.
I was thinking of going on a circular ride but when I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse, the road ahead looked so misty….
….that I decided that the risk of being run over by a van or lorry in the mist was too alarming and I settled for my ‘outdoor gym’ and did 21 miles by going three times up and down the three and a half miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse.
My tree of the day is at the road junction at the school.
As I dawdled along, I saw a bright patch of lichen on a wall and stopped to investigate.
When I looked at the neighbouring stones in the wall, I saw that nearly every one had its own individual lichen on board.
And some had two…
It was Lichen Central. All the pictures were taken without moving my feet from the spot.
When I got home, I dug up a leek and made some leek and potato soup for lunch. Mrs Tootlepedal was ready for some refreshment as she had spent the morning papering the stairwell. As this involves diagonal cutting as well as the pasting and smoothing, it is hard work for the brain as well as the hands.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to work and I went off for a walk with Sandy.
We were strolling up the Lodge Walks when the sound of a chain saw filled the air. It was Robin, our local wood artist hard at work.
He was at work on a collection of carvings set into a very large felled tree trunk. His target is to cover the whole trunk, back and front with his work and I will try to keep an eye on it as it develops. There is a very promising large bird beginning to emerge from the centre of the trunk.
He stopped to talk to us and show us the tools of his trade. He mentioned that the most important item in his kit might be his first aid box. He certainly needs a steady hand in his line of work. We think that when the work is finished, people will come from far and wide to see it.
Sandy and I walked on.
It was even duller than the morning….
….but there were still things to see, such as patterns of seed heads….
…twisted roots exposed by water running off the woods behind….
…pheasants’ footprints in the drying mud…
…a tree rising above the competition….
…and of course any amount of lichen on the trees as we passed.
We were walking in the opposite direction to the one which we usually take in the hope of seeing things from a different perspective and near the end of the walk, this hope paid off. I have never noticed this charming tunnel when approaching it from the far end.
I thought that it might be worth a little enhancement…
…but I might be wrong.
The final detail was the serpentine curve of the road as we got back down to the Lodge walks again.
It was Sandy who suggested that it was serpentine.
After a cup of tea and a biscuit when we got home, Sandy went off and I spent some happy time discarding many, many, many lichen pictures before my flute pupil Luke came. I got out a new duet and he sight read it without a mistake. A very satisfying moment for us both.
After tea, I walked up to the town to play trios with Mike and Isabel and we spent a very enjoyable hour playing Quantz and Mozart. What could be a better way to end a cold, dark day?
The flying bird of the day is another level headed chaffinch.