Today’s guest picture is an owl spotted by Dropscone on his recent visit to Kent. It was keeping an eye on things near a graveyard.
We had another cold, grey and wet morning today with added icy patches so I was very happy to find things to do in the house. The ground is still rock solid and the rain was producing fine puddles on the lawn.
Sandy came round for a cup of coffee and our neighbour Liz dropped in to recover with another cup of coffee from the shock of finding her drains blocked with water all over the kitchen floor. Luckily, a plumber soon arrived and unblocked the pipe.
What with the visitors and the crossword (done to an accompaniment of Miff Mole and his Molers), the morning passed more pleasantly than it deserved.
It was soggy outside…..
…and the light was absolutely rotten so flying birds were out of the question. The blackbirds were very much in evidence again…
…with the apples continuing to attract customers. I rarely looked out of the window and saw less than four blackbirds round the feeder and often as many as seven or eight.
Other birds dropped in too.
Finally, the weather took a turn for the better and the rain stopped.
I had to wait for the bread machine to deliver the dough for a batch of rolls before I could get out for a walk though and by that time, the light had begun to fade.
There was a hint of blue sky….
…but the low and misty cloud that you can see in the picture above, persisted and it made sure that no sun came out to warm me on my way.
A glimpse of Mr Grumpy cheered me up…
…and I enjoyed the duck in the foreground pretending to swim but sensibly keeping himself just out of the water by standing on a rock.
A goosander was quite happy to swim away as I came past.
It was still pretty chilly out but all traces of frost and snow had gone…
…and the morning’s ice had gone too, leaving me with a remarkably pleasant walk for a dull, cold day.
I passed the disused church on the Lodge Walks, reflecting that in its early life as a church for visitor’s to the Duke’s summer lodge, the ministers must have been chosen for their ability to play cricket as the first two appeared regularly on the pitch for Langholm Cricket Club matches.
A flock of sheep found me interesting as I walked past them…
The ram had his harness on. It carries a block of paint which marks the ewes so that the shepherd knows which ones have had the benefit of his attention.
As they were all facing me, I couldn’t tell if he had been doing his duty.
I was interested to see several protective cages with canes marked in red in them.
These are an indication that replacements for the felled trees along the Lodge walks will soon be in place.
As always, there was lichen to look at.
And fungus too.
Both of those were on the felled trees that are going to be replaced.
The light was fading fast so I crossed the Duchess Bridge…
…and made my way home.
I met Mrs Tootlepedal, out on an errand, just as I reached Mike and Alison’s house and we dropped in to see if they would like to come round for scones and music tomorrow afternoon as we are busy in the evening.
This was agreed and while we there, we were entertained with nice cup of tea and several topless tarts. (These were mince pies, which owing to a miscalculation of the available pastry, had been made without lids. They were still delicious.)
As we left, I took a picture of this beautiful orchid on their kitchen windowsill.
In the evening, I went off to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group and we had a most enjoyable time. The icing on the cake was seeing a shooting star flashing across the sky as we drove home. A little research told me that this was one of the Geminids.
When I got back into the house, I went upstairs for a look out of the window. The sky was brilliantly clear thanks to the lack of any moon and Mrs Tootlepedal and I could see the Milky Way behind the usual constellations with the naked eye, a very rare thing for us. Although we waited for a while, we didn’t see a shooting star. The internet tells me that 2am will be the best time. That may be a bit late for me.
Owing to the poor light, no flying bird of the day today and owing to laziness, no inferior substitute either.