Today’s guest picture, taken by Alistair, shows Matilda and her mother Clare enjoying a good book.
The miserable weather gave us a break today and we even got a sunny spell. It was quite a bit cooler but as it kept a few degrees above freezing, no one was complaining.
After some early dancing with Matilda at the keyboard and work at the keyboard while Matilda danced, I found a moment to fill the feeders and have a look at the birds.
The colder weather had brought them back in good numbers.
I can count thirteen waiting in the plum tree for a seed opportunity.
There was no standing on ceremony at the feeder itself although as you can see there was some standing on chaffinches.
A starling got small reward for its visit.
There was constant activity and the chaffinch rightly looked a little worried as a siskin bomb approached him.
A dunnock wisely kept out of the way in a nearby bush.
Al and Clare took advantage of the better weather and went off for a walk and with Matilda politely keeping Mrs Tootlepedal engaged with some painting tasks, I took advantage of the better weather to go off for a bike ride.
I had to spend quite a bit of time before I left in cleaning my bike and getting rust off the chain. The downside of winter cycling is the amount of maintenance a bike requires which is why many cyclists put their bike on a rack and retire to the gym at this time of year.
Still, I like fresh air and there was plenty of it about today after all the mist and clouds so I was happy to hit the road.
From the look of the hills, we had only just missed a white Christmas.
You might think from that picture that it was a rather wintery day but the more the camera pulls back to the bigger picture….
…the day looks.
Although it was only 4°C, while the sun was out it felt pleasantly warm. Sadly, the sun didn’t last all the way round but the roads were quiet and basically dry and the wind was light so it was a good day for a pedal.
I went round my usual loop to Canonbie and back and stopped at some familiar spots.
There was plenty of water coming down the Esk at the Hollows….
..and plenty more joining it.
I thought that if I cycled through the town when I got back and went a mile or two up the Ewes valley, I might get a snowy view of the hills but it was disappointing with only the highest hills in the distance showing white.
I managed to add 23 miles onto my annual total and I have now cycled more miles than last year which is satisfactory. I have five days left to meet the target which I set myself at the start of the year but the forecast is not very encouraging with either frost or rain for the rest of the month.
In the afternoon, Al and Clare took Matilda off to visit the parents of Alistair’s best friend from his school days. The friend now lives in California but his parents are always pleased to see Alistair and gave Matilda and Clare a warm welcome.
While they were out, I had another moment to bird watch and I liked the very smart reaction time of a chaffinch at the feeder.
The siskins were once again out in force.
We had an excellent evening meal of cold cuts, roast vegetables and small portion of sticky toffee pudding but only tiny inroads were made into the cheese mountain caused by some over optimistic purchasing by me.
I have had an email from my Manitoba correspondent, Mary Jo which included a picture of the sort of clothing needed for a cheerful walk when the temperature is miles below zero and I have joined it to a picture of the sort of cycling gear needed when the temperature is only just above zero. It is hard to tell who is the more elegant.
All right, it isn’t hard.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin looking for a perch.