Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She saw these de-icers at work at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on her way to America. They would make me very nervous if I was flying.
We had a day out today. One of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fellow sopranos from our Carlisle choir had invited us for a walk and lunch so we set off for the south after an early coffee.
Google may come in for some well justified criticism but the ability of Google Maps to predict how long it will take us to get from A to B by car is uncanny. It suggested that it might take us 45 minutes and it took us 44.
We had a second cup of coffee when we arrived and I was pleased to find that Melanie and Bill have bird feeders outside their kitchen window so we felt at home straight away.
They have more varied visitors than us.
After chatting for a while, we donned our wellies and coats and set out for a three mile walk.
We started by passing the very square church in the village….
…and walked down the road, passing this fine house set among mature trees…
… on our way to crossing the River Caldew on the handsome Rose Bridge.
It is not only a good looking bridge but has convenient steps down for pedestrians to join the Cumbrian Way which runs along the river Bank here. They have even cut down a tree which would otherwise have blocked my view.
The Rose Bridge gets its name from Rose Castle, the erstwhile home of the Bishop of Carlisle, which overlooks the river.
The castle was much battered about during the English Civil War and has been extensively rebuilt in succeeding years.
Those interested may find out a bit more about the history of this building here.
We were walking through the Castle’s parkland and there were any amount of excellent trees to enjoy as we went along.
Some by the river.
Some with added castle.
And some with reflections in the storm channel of the river.
I found one view of the castle without any trees in the way. the original building is the Peel tower on the right. Two wings of the main building are missing
The River Caldew takes a lot of water from the Lake District hills in heavy rain and we passed several channels created by floods in the past. It is still shifting its course on a regular basis and I was impressed by the way it had disposed of half a wood here.
I was also impressed that two new trees had been planted to maintain a row of trees on the skyline.
We passed another fine house, many centuries old, on the far bank of the river…
… but as I went to take the picture, I was even more delighted to find a good crop of lichen on a riverside tree branch.
After a last look back at the parkland…
….we crossed the river on a new bridge built to replace a previous bridge which had been damaged by a falling tree.
The rest of the party posed for a picture.
The final section of the walk took us back to the village up farm track and back roads. There were many clumps of snowdrops to be seen….
…but the pick of the late winter flowers were several sensational spreads of winter aconites.
We have had extreme difficulty in getting any aconites to grow in our garden and the ones that do show were nothing like as strengthy as these. It was a real treat to see them.
We finished out circular walk by arriving back at the square church. Melanie told us that when there are weddings at the church, string is put across the gate and wedding guests may be encouraged to disburse coins to the local children before the string is lowered and they can go in.
We were treated to an appetising meal of ham shank and vegetable soup followed by parsnip cake. They were both delicious.
After more conversation, we had a final cup of tea and then drove home while there was still daylight to see by. Excellent food, two interesting birds, a new and very enjoyable walk, good weather and good conversation….who could ask for anything more? It qualified as a Grade A, Grand Day Out.
We got home safely and settled down for a quiet night in.
Although I didn’t have my flying bird camera with me, I was able to take a good static bird of the day shot when an obliging greater spotted woodpecker perched on Melanie’s feeder for me.