No comfort at all

Paddington Basin

Today’s guest picture is a Paddington Basin sunset captured by my sister Mary.  I don’t usually go for sunsets but this is a cracker.

Paddington Basin

We had another even colder day today, without the benefit of any added sunshine.

Thanks to a very slowly dripping but unnoticed tap in the guest bathroom, it was cold enough to freeze the pipe when the trickle of water got to the outside wall of the house.  In turn this caused the condensate pipe from our boiler to stop working and we woke up to a rather chilly house and no hot water.

We have fires to put on so we were in no danger of freezing ourselves but the lack of hot water and the chill in the unheated rooms was annoying.

After trying and failing to do some ad hoc thawing of pipes with hot water and hair driers, we gave up and I went for a walk. The forecast is for a thaw over night so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

When I looked down the frozen dam at the back of the house, I saw that there was a small unfrozen patch which had attracted a lot of blackbirds.  I counted ten at one time spread along the dam but they didn’t all stay in place for this picture.

blackbirds on dam

They were very busy popping on and off the ice at the water hole and one of them got very indignant when some starlings had the effrontery to want a drink too.

blackbirds on dam

The starlings retreated to a wire and waited for another chance.


There had been a hint of mist about when I got up so I was hoping for some ice covered trees but after a promising start at the park…

frosty trees

…the rest of the walk was a bit disappointing as the taller tree seemed unaffected.  There was plenty of ice about…


…and the view up river at the Meeting of the Waters was very wintery.

meeting of the waters

As I crossed the Sawmill Brig, I could see a little cave of icicles where a small steam joins the Ewes from an underground pipe.


Langholm Castle looked quite forbidding….

Langholm Castle

…and as always, I was keeping an eye out for fence posts.

frosty fencepost

It was too cold to linger for long and I didn’t want my camera to freeze so I didn’t dilly dally and was soon looking over our front hedge into a very frosty garden.

frosty garden

I had stopped to look at the gulls at the Kilngreen on my way round.  There were a lot about today, including a headless gull…


…and the gull (very) close formation flying team.


Although these are black headed gulls, they haven’t got their black heads yet but they do have very decorative feet and beaks.


Once inside, I didn’t go out again but I did keep looking out of the kitchen window when any movement caught my attention.  The sub zero temperatures brought a lot birds to the feeders.

There were siskins…


…and the chaffinch aerial ballet corps…


…which descended into arguments when it was time for a seed break.


The feeder on the left of the pole was busy today and this gave me the chance to get some left to right flying chaffinches instead of my usual right to left shots.


Other flying birds were available.

siskin and goldfinch

As well as flying birds, there was some top quality posing too.



And a collared dove won the trophy for the most fluffed up bird of the day by miles.

collared dove

I could have spent a lot of time enjoying the birds but the kitchen, which has no heater, was rather chilly and as I couldn’t stand the cold, I got out of the kitchen.

I went into the computer room and spent a happy afternoon putting music onto the computer for my flute pupil Luke and doing some flute practice too.

As we can’t leave the fires on overnight, it is going to be very nippy when we get up tomorrow so I hope that the pipes will have taken advantage of the slight lift in the temperature and unfrozen themselves.  If not, we may have to call for assistance.

One of the Kilngreen gulls is the flying bird of the day.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “No comfort at all

  1. Love the icy look of the landscape and oh those birds! Best of luck with that frozen pipes
    So irritating when something like that happens. At least you have a way to stay warm.

      1. Fingerless gloves are good. And a red lightbulb by the computer over your mouse hand. I used to say this when I lived in a cold little house: “as I couldn’t stand the cold, I got out of the kitchen.” 🙂

  2. We haven’t had pipe freezing cold here yet but we will. I hope yours will thaw without splitting.
    I like the shots of the icicles and the robin. I don’t know what it is about that bird that makes it look so different than other birds. It’s not just the color.
    I like your sister’s sunset photo too. I’d like to feel it as well as see it. We had another 6 inches of snow here today.

    1. Have you had to start on the roof clearing yet?

      I always think that the sharpness of a robin’s outline is part of the appeal but the tilt of the head comes into it too.

  3. I know I’ve been giving you zero sympathy re. your lowish temperatures, but I am truly sorry to hear about your boiler issues and the lack of hot water. The older I get the more I insist upon/appreciate hot showers! Wonderfully fluffy dove, by the way.

    1. We don’t look for sympathy as we realise that we live in paradise. The blog is a diary so the state of the weather is bound to figure a lot as we live in a very changeable weather area. If we had snow every day for five months, we probably wouldn’t mention it.

  4. Lovely siskin photo and all your flying birds photos too. The winter scenes are wonderful but too chilly to look at too long as our heating has been off but now sorted! Hope your pipes get sorted quickly too.

  5. Sorry to hear about the frozen pipes and boiler, but glad to hear the thaw did come, and you’ve got heat all over the house again. Your pictures are beautiful, and I’m enjoying seeing Scotland from your viewpoint. The closest I’ve gotten to Scotland is reading D.E. Stevenson’s books

  6. Such a pity you don’t like sunsets! But the birds are simply wonderful, especially the flying shots! Hope your pipes are sorted out by now.

    1. I like sunsets a lot. I just think there are quite enough on the internet already without me adding to them except in special circumstances. 🙂

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