Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie’s recent working trip to Berlin where she spotted a familiar landmark.
Aided by temperatures just above freezing and some overnight rain, the snow continues its retreat from the garden.
I had to go to the dentist after breakfast but it was only for a check up and I was passed fit for duty and no work was required.
I had look round the garden when I got back. There are signs that given a bit of sunshine, the crocuses may have survived the snow…
…and there was a clump of what looked like fresh frog spawn in the pond.
It was a drizzly sort of morning but it was enlivened by a large flock of siskins which invaded the garden.
They sat on top of the walnut tree and made a fearful racket with their chattering…
…they flew down and filled the plum tree…
…and they crowded together to pick up fallen seeds below the feeder.
There are always plenty of fallen seeds when siskins are about as they are messy eaters. It is not necessarily their fault as they are tiny birds and the sunflower hearts are quite big.
There were a few chaffinches and goldfinches about too but the vast majority of the visitors today were siskins. I counted over fifty of them at one time.
They did some steady eating in the rain…
…and a lot of quarrelling…
…and were not afraid to put the boot into a much larger goldfinch if one stood in the way.
Sometimes the goldfinches fought back…
…but there were also moments of ecumenical avianism.
Mrs Tootlepedal was helping at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop over lunch so I hoped for the best weather wise and went to see if the Wauchope road was snow free on my fairly speedy bike.
The road was clear but the weather wasn’t…
…and after five miles up to Callister in the rain, I got fed up and went home and had lunch.
Mrs Tootlepedal returned from the Buccleuch Centre and when we took a turn round the garden, it was plain that the rain had stopped so rather to my own surprise, I got my bike back out and went off and did another ten miles up to Callister and back in grey but dry conditions.
Loyal readers may remember that the rear view mirror fell off my slow bike on a ride a few days ago before the snow came and I was unable to spot it in the grass beside the road on my way home.
I was hopeful that the snow might have flattened the grass enough to make the mirror visible as I went up today and my hope was justified. I saw the mirror lying on the verge.
I was pleased with that fact that I had spotted it but less pleased to find that a car had run over it and it was broken beyond repair. I have ordered a new one. Thanks to general decrepitude, I can’t bend my head round to look behind me without falling off my bike and a mirror is thus a necessity.
The bridge builder had been busy all morning on the the dam bridge repairs and by the afternoon, the bridge was open to traffic.
We are still waiting for some new railings but that is merely cosmetic so it seemed only right to have a grand opening ceremony.
I hadn’t heard anything from the Queen in London and the Scottish First Minister is busy arguing about Brexit so we had to make do ourselves…
….and you can see what an impressive occasion it was.
The two nymphs of Wauchope Street, Mrs Tootlepedal and Mrs Ewart held the ceremonial ivy while the Queen of Wauchope Street, Mrs Margaret Hogg did the honours with the kitchen scissors. Riley, the terrier, kept a watchful eye on proceedings to see that protocol was fully observed.
The ivy was cut and Liz presented Margaret with a grand bouquet of flowers…
…before the procession moved off over the bridge…
…in pursuit of a nice cup of tea and a biscuit in Wauchope Cottage.
We may have to do it all again when the new railings come.
After this excitement, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some more helping out at the Buccleuch Centre and the rest of us had a much needed rest.
It looks as though we are going to avoid any more serious snow for the next few days but with light rain almost every day and temperatures no higher than 7°C until the middle of the month, we are not stocking up on sun tan lotion just yet.
The flying bird of a rather gloomy day is one of the many siskins.