The darkest hour

Hong Kong

Today’s guest picture was taken by our daughter Annie as she stopped off in Hong Kong on her way back from Macao.

Hong Kong

We should have been in celebratory mood today as it is the winter solstice and the start of a new year but Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold had got a bit worse and she wisely retired to bed for the day so we were rather muted,

It was a still, grey day and I might have gone for a pedal if I had felt more perky but the humidity was very high (98% as I write this) so my asthma was niggling a little and I didn’t want to desert the invalid for too long and to be quite honest, the weather has been so miserable for most of the year that some of the joy has gone out of cycling lately and I am having a hard time trying to get motivated.

I stared out of the kitchen window for a while where a robin was keeping an eye out for competition.

robin

A chaffinch came in search of a perch and flew off disappointed.

Flying chaffinches

A dunnock did some gleaning.

dunnock

And having chased a rival off, the robin went back to supervising its territory.

robin

I didn’t want to spend the whole morning stuck inside so I went for a short walk, picking up Sandy on my way.

I had heard that the wood at the Becks Burn was due to be felled so we went along to get some pictures of the wood before felling.

We were too late.  Signs were up forbidding access and in the wood, machines were already eating the trees.

Becks wood

We turned back and took a shorter route home, going down the edge of the wood and following the Becks Burn….

Beck burn

…until we got to the road….

Becks burn bridge

…and headed for home.

We had seen a few things on our way.

jacob sheep

And an indication of how wet the air has been was given by the hawthorn trees.

hawthorn

You might well think that it has been raining but it has been dry.

P1060180

A good tree is always cheering.

tree

I really liked this striking lichen on the roadside wall.

lichen

The beech hedges retain their leaves and give a bit of colour even on the darkest day of the year.

beech hedge in winter

The predominate view of the day was misty patches.  They were to be seen wherever you looked.

misty view

misty view

Becks mist

P1060170

We rounded off the walk with a view of a heron standing on the caul at Pool Corner.

heron pool corner

It was looking a bit too well turned out to be Mr Grumpy, we thought but it wasn’t bothered by us and just stood there thinking about fish.  We secretly hoped that it would fly gently off, giving us a good photo opportunity but it stubbornly stayed there until we gave up first and walked on.

When I got home, I had a last look out of the window…

shouting chaffinch

…and was very impressed by the sheer power of this chaffinch’s shout.

I made Mrs Tootlepedal a light lunch and went off to sing carols with some members of Langholm Sings at the Day Centre for the benefit of the ‘old folk’ who had just had their Christmas lunch.  They seemed quite pleased to see us.

And that was that for the day.  I acted as occasional support for Mrs Tootlepedal who was still some way below par, put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, surfed the internet and practised a song or two.

Roll on springtime.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “The darkest hour

  1. So sorry the year has been a miserable one when it comes to the weather. May next year be better so that you can recapture your zest for riding. And, hope Mrs. Tootlepedal feels well by Christmas!

  2. We gain a whole five seconds of light tomorrow, and I intend to appreciate each and every one of them! It will be snapping cold, but I will pretend that we’re that much closer to spring!

  3. The lichen looks like a maple dust lichen, Lecanora thysanophora, which usually grows on bark but will also grow on stone. The white fringe (prothallus) on its perimeter can help with identification.
    The beech leaves are beautiful.
    I hope Mrs. T.s cold doesn’t turn out to be a bad one.

      1. We are having dark, foggy, rainy and cold weather with no chance of photo shooting! Don’t feel bad…

  4. The photos of the robins today were outstanding, and that was some shout by the chaffinch to do that to the other bird’s wings.

    Cold is one thing, but cold and damp seems to steal every bit of heat from a person’s body. I wouldn’t care to be out cycling in the weather that you’ve had lately either.

    1. I worry more about getting hit by cars in gloomy conditions than the wet and cold as I have got good cycling gear. I haven’t got great cycle lights and motorists don’t always drive to the road conditions.

  5. You’ll soon be photographing life emerging in the hedgerows and bulbs sprouting too…keep that thought whilst we can all still enjoy the lovely photos of your garden birds…especially shouty ones and the beautiful misty views.

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