To make a change from endless pictures of moss, my guest picture of the day is a moose The picture came from Venetia, who saw the moose in Grand Teton National Park.
The wind is in the east at the moment, which often means sunnier days for us and this was the case today.
It also means cold mornings.
The frogs disappeared because of the cold morning but a daffodil appeared.
And we did have wall to wall sunshine so after the frosty start, the temperature went up to a pleasing 7°C and this combined with a very light wind, opened the day to many possibilities.
After breakfast, the light was good enough to encourage bird shooting through the kitchen window. Not all my efforts were entirely successful…
…but some were better than others…
…and some were quite action packed.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal turned to gardening and I took my walking poles in hand and went to the top of a hill and came down a again.
I had my camera with me for once.
I liked the contrasting colours as I walked up Meikleholm Hill…
…and I was surprised to see how much of the ground that I trod on was made up of mosses.
You may think that the green hill on the right of the fence is grassy but in fact the pale grey patches are grass and almost all the green is moss. Far from walking up a grassy hill, I was climbing a moss covered boulder.
There was even a patch of moss clinging to the side of the concrete trig point on the top of Timpen Hill at 326m.
The view from the top was good. That is the River Esk curling up the valley.
On the far side of the Esk, I could see another example of tree felling followed by some very neat tidying up.
To the north, the Ettrick hills still had a little snow on their tops.
Coming back down the hill, I stopped to admire the moss in one of the boggy patches.
And of course, it is illegal to be out on the hill on a fine day and not take a picture of the town.
It is a very rewarding route for a walk of well under three miles.
I found Mrs Tootlepedal in delving mode when I got back and while we were chatting, we noticed a bird singing away in a very forceful manner. We followed its flight on to the silver pear and I was very surprised to see it was a dunnock.
I usually see these creeping about silently in a very unobtrusive manner under the bottom of hedges so I can only assume that love must be in the air already and either mates are being attracted or rivals discouraged…..or both.
On my way round the garden, looking for exciting mosses, I saw these instead…
…and Mrs Tootlepedal told that they are liverworts.
After a pause for recovery and lunch, I got the fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.
They took me to the top of Callister Hill (223m) and back down again. I was going to put some additional miles in when I was waved down by a passing motorist who turned out to be a friend who wanted my opinion on the reprehensible behaviour of our local landowner.
This led to an interesting and lively discussion, conducted while aeroplanes overhead combine to drag clouds across the sky….
…and left me with just time to get home as the sun went down and the shadows lengthened.
Secretly, I was not at all upset to lose a mile or two from my trip as the morning’s hill walk had taken a little stuffing out of my legs.
I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden again when I got back and we went out to admire the work on the dam bridge repair.
It is looking very neat and tidy with a waterproof membrane now stuck on top of the concrete beams and the sides of the bridge completed. We are waiting for the pavement edge to be re-installed, a bit of fill to be added to each edge of the bridge and then the final tarmac can be laid.
I still haven’t heard from the Queen regarding the Grand Opening.
In the evening, I took my third trip of the day.
Sandy arrived and he drove us down to Canonbie, where he and I delivered an illustrated talk on the work of the Langholm Archive Group to the Canonbie Tractor Club in the Cross Keys Hotel. We followed the talk by a showing of the Langholm Heritage DVD on the mills and railway in Langholm which members of the group made a few years ago.
This must have gone down quite well as I sold six copies of the DVD (all I had brought with me) to members of the audience after the showing.
Everything went very smoothly. This was by no means a given considering that we were using a laptop, a projector, a screen, a sound bar and the visitors’ wi-fi connection of the Cross Keys Hotel, any of which might have been in a contrary mood.
It was a day which has been firmly entered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.