Going a couple of rounds with Ali

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  Her cat brought in a most unexpected visitor not long ago.  Luckily it wasn’t an adder but a harmless grass snake and it survived.

grass snake

We were promised some rough and windy weather  from Storm Ali and we got some rough and windy weather with gusts between 50 and 60 mph in the middle of the day.  Luckily the rain stayed away for the most part and we got off lightly.  30 miles to our west, Dumfries declared a major emergency such was the strength of the wind there and 100 miles to the north, winds of over 100 mph were recorded so on the whole, we can’t complain.

We were distracted from the weather by the arrival of an old university friend for coffee and lunch and catching up with his news gave us plenty to do while we ignored the roaring sounds outside.

We walked along to the Buccleuch Centre to lunch in a comparatively calm moment and then watched as twigs, leaves and small branches whistled past the windows propelled by a savage gust.

The strongest gusts had gone by the time that Murray left to go back to Carlisle so Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked round the garden and shook our heads at fallen plants but also picked up a great number of walnuts which had descended from above.

I filled the bird feeder and wondered whether the birds had enough strength to battle the winds.

They had, though they could only approach the feeder into the wind at the start and had to fly round the feeder to get the correct landing path.


goldfinches and chaffunch

As the winds continued to gradually ease off, the birds filled up the perches….

chaffinch approaching goldfinch

…though the ones waiting higher up in the plum tree still had to hold on tight and keep their heads into the wind.

windy goldfinch in plum tree

It started to rain again so we went inside but after a while, it stopped and I took the opportunity to stretch my legs with a walk down one side of the river to the Skippers Bridge with a return up the other bank.

There had been a good deal of wind assisted leaf fall…

leafy path in park

…and acorns littered the paths and tracks.

acorns fallen

There are definite signs that the equinox is nearly upon us.

fist autumn colour

fallen leaf

I stopped to admire the Skippers Bridge, looking at it from below….

skippers at the equinox from downstream

…and above….

skippers at the equinox from upstream

…before walking along the newly repaired leaf and twig strewn pavement back towards the town.

fallen twigs and leaves

I had to brush this branch aside as I went along the riverside path…

branch across path

…and was also stopped in my tracks by this lovely show of clematis in the hedge.

sewage works clematis

I would like to see this in our garden but Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is ‘rampageous’ and more trouble than it would be worth.

When I got to the suspension bridge, I noticed that the regular gull was standing in its regular spot on the edge of the river.

gull in Esk on rock

It seems as if it is waiting for a friend and I imagine it humming the gull equivalent of “I’m leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street until a certain little lady comes by.”

There was evidence of the brisk breeze under the town bridge.

tree washed up

There was a very short shower when I was at the far end of my walk but having had their little joke, the weather gods relented and turned off the rain again.  Gradually the clouds lifted, the wind died down and it morphed into a fairly calm and pleasant day by the evening.

The forecast is for improving weather over the next few days so I am hoping that my bicycle may see the light of day again.

I had a look round the garden when I came back and picked up more walnuts and took a couple of pictures.

veg garden seedswhite pansies

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm Community Choir but had to come home without singing.  The session had been cancelled as our conductor had been warned that too many fallen trees on her route had made the journey unsafe.

Ah well, you can’t have everything and it was a small price to pay for escaping the worst of the storm.

Today’s flying bird is a diagonal chaffinch, sneaking up under the wind.

diagonal flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Going a couple of rounds with Ali

  1. So pleased to read your post, having just seen on the evening news some of the havoc wrought by Ali in Dumfries and Galloway. From it, I would never have imagined that you could have set foot out of the house.

  2. We’ve had two or three storms like that one this summer but thankfully the wind stayed at about 60 mph, which was plenty high enough.
    That clematis does look rampageous. Maybe in a hedge is the best place for it.
    It looks like you’ve got some great fall color coming along.

  3. I guess is your time for wind and rain. No? I see the foliage is turning colors too! 🙂

  4. Lovely to see those pictures of Skippers Bridge, I didn’t know the song the gull sang but it fitted perfectly. Glad you didn’t suffer badly in the storm.

  5. I can’t believe that you ventured out in such high winds either, you’re braver than I am! Not only that, but you were able to shoot some wonderful photos during your walk, I especially liked the first signs of autumn and the yellow flowers.

  6. Pleased that the storm missed you by and you were able to go for a walk and take those lovely photos of the bridge, the acorn and the sycamore leaf. The clematis is a thug but a pretty one…it covers our shed!

  7. These storms seem to be increasing in intensity. We can get some bad windstorms here. Tornadoes are rare in my part of Oregon, but a few have touched down, fortunately not around our immediate zone. We did lose a van to a falling tree during a severe windstorm back in 2006.

  8. Oh, we could surely do with a bit of that rain. The whole time we were gone our ‘scientific’ rain gage measured less than a mm. Though perhaps not such violent storms. It seems the weather is more than a bit confused these days.

  9. Loved seeing all of the pictures that you posted and am so glad you didn’t get the worst of them storm. Keep up the good work!

  10. Uh oh I just planted a clematis like that. Now I remember how huge one got at my old house. Yipes. Glad you did not get the most battering winds. Seems early, extra damaging when the trees still have leaves. Our first big storms come a little later.

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