Today’s guest picture is another Christmas cracker from my son Tony in Edinburgh.
We had been promised that temperatures would start to rise by today but it turned out that this happy state of affairs was delayed and the lawn was frosty again when we woke up.
It took until about 7 o’clock in the evening for the thermometer to creep up to 4°C but as it had been dark for several hours by then, this was not much use. The Met Office is promising us 9°C for tomorrow but we are not counting any chickens yet.
It has occurred to us that Christmas is coming and we had better do something about it so I spent the morning writing Christmas Cards, occasionally breaking off to make coffee and/or look out of the window.
The cold weather had not discouraged the birds. Chaffinches were having a hard time with goldfinches.
And with other chaffinches too.
A pair of starlings after the pink pellets were above such petty squabbling.
It was a better day for taking portraits than action shots.
After lunch, I went out for a rather tentative walk. I wasn’t expecting to find much of an improvement on yesterday’s icy roads but in the event, with a bit of care here and there, walking was no problem at all and I was able to get 3.7 miles in by the time that the light had faded away.
I walked down the town side of the river towards Skippers Bridge and felt a good deal of fellow feeling for the greenkeeper at the Old Town Bowing Club. His green looked more likely to host a curling match than a bowling competition.
Then I passed our sewage works, which are discreetly screened by a very nice variegated ivy…
…and stopped to check out an unusually coloured lichen on a fence at Land’s End.
It was well worth a closer look.
When I got to Skippers Bridge, I looked upstream and was struck by how unexpectedly colourful the view of the old distillery was in spite of the misty conditions.
Looking up at the bridge from beside the Tarras road provided a less colourful picture but I never tire of looking at this bridge and I hope that patient readers don’t mind another look too much.
I continued along the Tarras road but here I had to be a bit more careful of icy patches as it is a damp road and there is very little traffic along it. It has been closed for many months by a landslip further along.
I was able to get my eyes off the road surface for long enough to see that this was another spot with lot of hair ice about…
…and I took a picture of an affected branch lying on the ground to show what it looks like to a casual passer by.
You might easily pass it by thinking that it was a fungus of some sort or even a splash of paint. I have seen some looking like a discarded white paper bag.
At the bottom of the hill to Broomholm, I faced a choice. Either I could run the gauntlet of the icy road again or choose the track up Jenny Noble’s Gill and take my chances going through the woods.
I didn’t fancy falling on the tarmac so I opted for the cross country route.
The local weather station suggested that the humidity was 98% and there certainly was a lot of moisture hanging about.
I took a picture when I got into the birch wood and the flash fired automatically. It seems to have picked up a lot of spots where the moisture was concentrated enough to reflect the light. It definitely wasn’t raining and the moisture was not on the lens of the camera. Odd.
There may not be any leaves on the trees but that didn’t stop an old oak from looking pretty colourful.
But mostly, it was misty.
I stopped at the Round House to enjoy the view over the town….
…and found that nature had engineered a reverse Brigadoon. In the story of Brigadoon, a picturesque village appears magically out of nowhere. Today our picturesque town had vanished entirely.
It was gloomy enough by the time that I got back to the Suspension Bridge for the lights on the Town Bridge to be twinkling brightly.
I was glad that I hadn’t tried to walk up the Broomholm hill because Mike Tinker, who had dropped in, told us that he had driven up it earlier in the day and had found it a hair raising experience as the road was at times completely covered by ice. As it was, I got round my walk in very good order, the side benefit of the frost being that once again the boggy bits of the path were frozen over.
In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we played through the first movement of our new sonata without a mistake. We were quietly pleased with ourselves.
Our food adventures continue and Mrs Tootlepedal made a very tasty leek and ham pie for tea.
I am getting rather stout.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.