A song but no miles

Stepping stones 4.4.17

Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker.  He was photographed by his companion on a walk where the stepping stones left quite a lot to be desired.  How the photographer got to the other side of the steam is not recorded.

Stepping stones 4.4.17

We had another dry and occasionally sunny day but the wind was still very chilly and gusty and so I cravenly decided that there might well be other things to fill my day with than cycling.

They were good things though.

I started with entertaining Dropscone to coffee and eating his excellent scones.   His golf form is still not quite as consistent as he would like and I heard some harrowing tales of stray shots.

When he left, carrying a small gift of rhubarb with him,  I walked round the garden.

, cuckoo flower, primula and magnolia


I noticed the forsythia in particular as it appeared as the answer to a question in the semi final of University Challenge this week.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent quite a lot of the day grappling with Embroiderers’ Group paperwork so I did my best to keep from interrupting her by making myself busy in the garden and in the course of the day I did some daffodil dead heading, compost sieving, log sawing and grass cutting.  These simple tasks keep me quite happy and fill up many unforgiving hours as I have to have several little rests between and even during the activities.

I found some time to watch the birds too.

Goldfinches were flying horizontally and vertically which is a neat trick.

flying goldfinches

Chaffinches were squaring up to each other.

chaffinches squabbling
You can’t get much squarer up than that

The feeders were perpetually in demand.

busy feeder

And perch holders were subject to many pieces of advice as to where to go.

busy feeder

I made some bread in the bread machine and after lunch, I went out for a walk, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal at her work.

I took a favourite route down the river to Skippers Bridge and then back through the woods above the old railway line.

With the sun firmly behind the clouds at this point in the day, it was a day for looking at things closely rather than admiring the views.

A tree seemed to have a rather curious eye on me, a bit like an lizard perhaps and maybe a little tired from trying to decipher the script lichen on the trunk beside it.

script lichen

In spite of many signs of spring, the trees are still generally leafless…

Murtholm trees
The tree on this side of the river blends into those on the far bank.

One tree, at the end of the Hallpath track is slowly devouring a neighbourhood watch notice, eating a little more every year.

neighbourhood watch notice

There were flowers, wild and tame to see along the way and mosses too.

flowers and moss

I walked back down to the river when I got to the town, passing the spot where they hold the annual car diving competition…

car sign

…and seeing a good selection of riverside birds of varying sizes.

grey wagtail, oyster catcher and herring gull
There were lots of the grey wagtails about but they were too quick for my little camera.

I was beginning to think about going home and coming back with the Nikon in the hope of getting some better wagtail pictures when my eye was caught by a pair of goosanders on a stony reef in the river.  They were snoozing in the sun which had just come out.


They must have been very happy because if you even so much as think about approaching a sitting or standing  goosander, it normally instantly gets up and flies away but on this occasion, they were both quite content to loaf about while I walked a little closer and snapped away.

male goosander

female goosander

I hope to see many goosanderlings later in the year.

When I got home, I had a cup of tea and a slice of toast and marmalade with Mrs Tootlepedal who had finished her business and Mike Tinker who had come round to relate his adventures with the non existent stepping stones.  The secret was revealed. He and the photographer  forded the river a little further downstream.

After tea, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir, Langholm Sings and although the evening had because so sunlit and tranquil by this time that being outside was almost mandatory, I still enjoyed the practice  a lot.   We have got some relatively undemanding and thoroughly tuneful songs to sing so it is possible just to relax and enjoy the music.

Mrs Tootlepedal was very happy too when I got home because she had been watching the International Space Station cruising across the skies above the town.  I was sorry to have missed it.

The flying bird of the day is another goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “A song but no miles

  1. Some very funny pics: the stepping stones and the tree eye and the sign eating tree and that triangular road sign! The goosander with a mohawk is an interesting looking bird.

  2. Your script lichens are interesting. Here they only grow on smooth bark trees like beech and young maple. That bark looks quite rough.
    I like the tree eating the neighborhood watch sign. One day people will never know it was there.
    Great shots of the ducks. It was nice of them to pose for you.

  3. They must have run our of barrels to fill with concrete before they finished the job – a challenging path over the stream! Do you know roughly how long it’s taken the tree to eat that much of the sign?

  4. Love the banter and the photos especially the sign eating tree one. Favourites though are all the birds especially the goosanders in amongst those river rocks …is that where they nest?

  5. How do you do it tootlepedal? Those shots of nuthatches and goosanders are fantastic, you must have the stealth of a Comanche highlander to get so close. All I ever capture are very distant shots, and have to say, if you look hard enough you’ll see it! Thanks for sharing the shots I’d love to achieve. Cheers.

    1. If you keep at it, you are bound to get lucky once in a while. The nuthatch nest is right beside a public path and they are very unconcerned about passers by but the goosanders are usually much more flighty.

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