Ave atque vale (or hail in the vale)

River Dove bridge

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He came upon this bridge over the River Dove when he was out with his walking group.  He points out that it is  unusual in that the later two lane bridge, to save costs, has been built on top of the old medieval one lane one.

River Dove bridge

We had a day of sunshine and showers here today and the trick was to choose the right moment to get the weather appropriate to your desired activity.  I started with finding a dry moment to cycle up to the Day Centre to get a key for the camera club meeting in the evening.

Then I entertained Dropscone to coffee (he brought the scones) and pondered about cycling when he had left.  Dropscone had found it pretty chilly when he had cycled through so that gave me pause for thought.

The sun was out and I walked round the garden while I thought some more about cycling (it was rather windy).

scilla and daffodil
The flowers were grateful for a dry spell.

Then I went back inside and considered things a bit more while I watched the birds.

Chaffinches approached the feeder in their own way.

chaffinch approaching feeder
Getting up close
chaffinch approaching feeder
Taking the long view

Some birds waited calmly…

chaffinch and siskin
On the pole or on the plum tree

…while others wasted time on the feeder by discussing politics.

chaffinch and goldfinch

Finally I thought that the weather looked sufficiently set fair and the wind just quiet enough for a ride so I got my cycling gear on and set out on the fairly speedy bike.

The wind turned out to be pretty fierce after all and I adopted my usual strong wind plan and skulked about in a cowardly way, going up and down the four miles in the sheltered  valley bottom to Cleuchfoot and back.   This may be a bit dull but it does mean that I get a regular break from pedalling into the wind and three trips gives me a 25 mile ride which is not to be sniffed at in testing conditions.

It also gave me chance to look for some female alder flowers which the New Hampshire gardener had told me that I ought to find as the male catkins were opening.  He was right of course.

I stopped at the alders beside the Glencorf Burn…

alder alders Glencorf Burn

…and there were the flowers.

alder flowers

On my second lap, I stopped for some hazel catkins and flowers….

hazel catkins

…and on my third and last lap, the lichens got my attention.


I also stopped to see how much water was going over my favourite cascade on the mighty Wauchope.

Wauchope cascade
Not quite as much as I had expected.

It looks from the pictures as though I had unbroken sunshine on my trip but there were some good looking clouds still about…


…and on the second lap,they produced a sharp and painful hailstorm in the middle of the most exposed section.  The temperature dropped and the wind got up and I was beginning to consider a shortened expedition when thanks to the brisk wind, the clouds and hail rapidly blew away and I was quite warm and dry by the time that I got home.

The trip took my distance to over 300 miles for the month and with ten days still to go, that is  very satisfactory.

When I got in, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal and our  neighbour Liz were planning a trip to the council dump.  Some people have all the fun.

When I went to put my bike back into the garage, I discovered a frog hopping about inside.  We left the door open and went away and the frog soon hopped out again and posed for a moment…


..before disappearing into the log pile.

With a view to taking a picture suitable for transforming into a monochrome flower study for the camera club meeting, I had a quick walk round the garden…


…and enjoyed the colour of the new spirea leaves..


..before going inside for a late lunch.

I waved Mrs Tootlepedal off on her joyride, promising to keep an eye on the washing which was drying in the garden but almost as soon as she had left, it started to rain so I had to jump up and get the washing in.  It was just as well that I did because the rain soon changed to pelting hail and then back to rain again, coming down in stair rods.  The temperature dropped three degrees C in a handful of minutes.

I had timed my bike ride well.

The rain didn’t improve the birds’ tempers and a chaffinch rudely booted a siskin off the feeder to the horror of the onlookers.

chaffinch and siskin squabble

By the time that Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz returned from the dump, the sun was out again.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and played the pieces which he is using for an exam later this week.  He has been learning these at school and he must have been practising very hard because he played them very well.  If all goes as it should, he ought to pass the exam.

Later on, I went to the Camera Club meeting and a good attendance of members had an excellent evening with a number of very interesting images to enjoy.  The monochrome flower challenge had brought out some innovative ideas and at the end, we agreed that a good time had been had by all.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin which almost squeezed into the frame.






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Ave atque vale (or hail in the vale)

  1. I’m glad you found the female alder flowers. That’s a great shot of such a tiny, difficult subject. They and the hazel flowers look just like ours.
    They were in a beautiful spot, too.
    It looks like you’ll be mowing soon. I’m very much looking forward to smelling new mown grass as soon as the snow melts.

  2. I see you had a partially successful day in dodging the hail (I liked your translation!) Your macro shots are beautifully clear and I enjoyed the antics of your visiting birds.

      1. I have found that the A(perture) setting with the focus set on flowers gives the best results most of time but it is a very annoying camera sometimes.

  3. At this time of year, I feel desperate for color, so I imagine I would have felt frustrated by an evening viewing flower photos in black and white!

  4. Good of the frog to pose briefly before returning to the pond! Our old house, known as the “Mouse Hotel” had a number of breaches where small creatures could get in. We awoke one day to find a Pacific Chorus Frog singing in the shower.

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