Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who is making friends with a cactus out in Spain while we shiver here.
We had some equivalent sunshine at the start of the day….
…but it couldn’t disguise the fact that it was jolly chilly again and I had to put a coat on as I cycled to church to sing in the choir. As the other two choirs that I sing with are on holiday this week, it was doubly enjoyable to get the chance of a good sing today.
The sun was still out when I got home and I had a wander round the garden to see if there were any developments.
A scilla or two had come out to join the chionodoxa in the very small blue flower department…
…and a resilient primrose is producing more flowers…
…not far from where a fancy daffodil that Mrs Tootlepedal recently purchased is doing its best to defy the cold.
But on the whole, we are still waiting for spring, although there are signs.
I went in to make some soup, using some parsnip which Mrs Tootlepedal recently dug up from the vegetable garden. It has got through the winter well and with the addition of WETILA*, it made for a tasty soup.
I noticed a few greenfinch about as I cooked.
After lunch, I considered my options. It was still cold, with a sharp but fairly light north easterly wind and the sun had gone in. It seemed to be dry enough for a cycle ride so I wrapped up well, got the slow bike and a banana out and went off heading north into the wind and up the main road.
The holiday traffic was light, with very few lorries and a glimpse of sunshine ahead up the Ewes Valley…
…made the trip look well chosen.
However, although there were fine trees to admire on my way up the valley…
…the combination of the sun going in quite quickly and the arrival of a short but crisp hail shower made me look at things in a different light.
It was a fairly gloomy light, with a covering of snow on the higher hills…
…and patches still left beside the road.
So when I got to the top of the hill at Mosspaul, I didn’t go down the other side as I had vaguely planned to do but instead, turned when I got to this little cottage tucked into a sheltered spot…
…and headed back down the road to Langholm and warmth.
The eleven miles home, downhill and with the wind behind me, were a pleasure.
Because my ride had been shorter than planned, I still had time for a walk but the afternoon got greyer as it went on and I decided to watch the birds for a bit before deciding what to do.
A chaffinch rudely turned its back on me but at least it gave me a good shot of its colourful wing feathers.
I noticed a small group of jackdaws poking around in a flower bed at the top of the lawn.
Obviously, in spite of the cold weather, nest building was on their minds.
One of them broke away to visit the fat ball feeder and warned the others off with an imperious gesture of the wing…
But it was only a gesture and it was soon seen off by a fiercer bird with a piercing eye.
The jackdaws didn’t stop for long and I gave up the idea of a walk and went out to do some preliminary work on the second of the four new raised beds.
It is now more or less in position and the new, wider path between the beds is beginning to become obvious.
While I was out in the garden, I was visited by some young friends who were hoping to see frogs in our pond. Alas, the frogs are gone to wherever it is that our frogs go to. They had just come back from a holiday in Portugal and their father told me that the whole family was feeling the cold back in Scotland. That’s the trouble with sunshine holidays in winter. You have to come home again.
We are forecast a very cold day tomorrow with the possibility of snow but after that things should warm up a little at least. It can’t come soon enough.
The flying bird of the day is one of the ever reliable chaffinches.
*WETILA: Whatever Else There Is Lying About, a very common ingredient in soups.