Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who visited Denholm on a recent sunny day and took this picture of the Leyden memorial. (If Denholm looks familiar to attentive blog readers, it is because I have been to two recorder playing days there.)
Mrs Tootlepedal’s plans to get up early and do some gardening before breakfast were foiled by a frost which had left the ground rock hard. By the time that I got up, the temperature was above freezing and it rose steadily through the morning until it reached 5 degrees where it stubbornly stuck for the rest of the day.
This wasn’t too bad in the early part of the morning when the sun was out but by the end of the day, when the sky was covered in thick cloud, it made for a fairly dismal welcome to spring. A brisk and chilly wind didn’t help matters.
The birds didn’t think that it was a day for visiting and the seed level in the feeders hardly dropped at all. This saves me money but starves me of photo opportunities and I didn’t take any kitchen window shots before leaving for a short run on the slow bike while the weather was at its best.
I stopped off at my favourite Wauchope cascade just to show how dry it has been recently (a most unusual state of affairs for us). There was little more than a trickle going through the narrows…
…but it did give me a chance to admire the cruelly folded rocks in the river bank. This gives an insight into the strong forces that shaped our seemingly gentle landscape.
It also provided a quiet corner for this elegant eddy to form.
And I found myself standing on a rock covered with a combination of moss and lichen.
A couple of miles further on, I turned up the road to Cleuchfoot and stopped to take a picture of our gentle landscape. It shows one of the flats or holms that have provided a place for farmers to live and work for centuries.
A little further on, the man who farms the land stopped for a chat as he passed me on his quad bike and his passenger had to wait patiently while we discussed the ins and outs of the battle between our local landowner, who feels that there is more money to be made from trees on our hills than tenant farmers and the farmers and many others who feel that the land should be kept for sheep who have been farmed on the hills and the men and women who have worked them for two hundred years and more.
Everyone is agreed at the estate has not handled the matter at all well so there is considerable debate ongoing.
Because of the brisk and chilly wind, I skulked about in the valley bottom for the most part of my 20 mile pedal but I did make one short excursion into open country where an oyster catcher gave me a look.
I also saw a curlew but it was too quick for me so it went unrecorded.
At the top of the hill, I could see that a recently replanted felled wood is looking good.
These trees grow amazingly quickly which is why the estate likes them of course.
When I got back, I noticed that the first of the hellebore flowers was in evidence in our garden.
And in spite of the cold, a couple of frogs were relaxing in the pool.
I did try to catch a bird or two in between making some soup for lunch but didn’t have much luck. As I enjoy alliteration I shall point out that I made just a soupçon of soup in a saucepan and subsequently supped it.
After lunch, I finally got a bird…
…and then a few others. They tended to appear one or two at a time and were quite upset if a third bird appeared.
It was very gloomy by this time but I felt the call of a walk. Mrs Tootlepedal ignored the cold and an occasional light drizzle while she toiled in the garden and I went out to stretch my legs.
I saw another oyster catcher at the Meeting of the Waters…
…but birds were scarce, the light was rotten…
…and it was always threatening to rain so I didn’t spend much time looking for interesting things. I saw some.
When I got home, I took steps to get detached from the power company which supplies electricity to the Archive Centre. This is not as straightforward as it should be but as all my dealings with the company have been extremely tortuous, this came as no surprise.
I also took steps to get my new bike purchased. I have decided to spend our children’s’ inheritance on it. I hope that they don’t read this post. It won’t arrive in a hurry so I have all the pleasure of anticipation to enjoy meanwhile.
In the evening, I went to our Langholm community choir and enjoyed the singing. This helped take a bit of the glumness out of the day.
One flying bird appeared so it is the flying bird of the day.