Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was out and about and saw skaters on the temporary ice rink at Somerset House. It always looks a rather staid way of having fun to me.
We had a second sunny day today but the weather gods had another trick up their sleeve and kept the temperature between 0 and 2 degrees all day so when it came to cycling, the best that I could do was forty minutes on the bike to nowhere in the garage, a dull way to start the day.
Before I pedalled, I had a quick look round the garden to admire Jack Frost’s handiwork.
The blue pineapple is on the end of the vegetable garden railings and I think the the dangling flower head must be one of the last calendulas.
When I had finished the indoor pedal, Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the bird hide at the Moorland Project feeders and while Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car scanning the hillside for raptors, I sat in the hide watching smaller birds. I got the best bargain I think because she saw one distant bird and I saw dozens.
There were some blue tits…
..and great tits…
…but there were more coal tits than the others put together. I only saw this one siskin sharing the peanuts with the coal tits.
Two chaffinches made a charming tableau on the tree stump outside the hide…
…and I was very happy to see a greater spotted woodpecker on the peanuts.
When we got home, I made some lentil soup and looked out of the window from time to time.
A blackbird paused on the edge of the tray under the feeders for a peaceful portrait…
…while up above, it was all go for the sparrows with a goldfinch hoping to resist the invasion.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on a shopping mission and I went for a walk.
I went over the Town Bridge and checked on a pair of black headed gulls who were deep in conversation at the Meeting of the Waters..
…passed Santa who is making ends meet by doing a little bus driving until the busy period comes round….
…crossed the Sawmill Brig, my second bridge and walked up the track past the Estate offices.
There is a fine row of trees across a field which I think looks like a hedge that got away some time ago.
I wasn’t wearing very suitable footwear but I took a chance and set off along a muddy track towards the High Mill Brig.
There were many puddles but luckily, there was enough frost in the ground to make it firm enough for me to make progress and keep my feet dry.
And there was plenty of interest along the way. Looking down, I saw frozen moss and three sorts of lichen within a few feet of each other on a wall,,,,
…and looking up, saw about a hundred birds flying overhead. From their formation, I thought at first that they might be geese…
…but a closer look makes me think they were gulls….but I am not certain.
At the end of the track, I came to one of the useful gates that the Langholm Walks group have organised for the convenience of walkers following their marked routes.
Following the track along the edge of the field, I came down to my third bridge of the day, the High Mill Brig…
…so called because of the mill which stood nearby for many years. The mill has gone now but the bridge carries the main road north out of the town and is still busy.
I crossed the bridge and followed the road back towards the town, crossing the Sawmill Brig again and then walking round the Castleholm and crossing the Jubilee Bridge, my fourth and last of the excursion.
There was more interest as I went along.
The circular pattern in the top right frame, is the sawn top of a fence post covered with ice. It was cold but as the day was very still, it was a pleasure to be out and about even if the sun had been overtaken by some low cloud.
On my way back through the New Town, I stopped off at Mike and Alison’s house to enquire about the state of Alison’s recently dislocated shoulder. This was not entirely a disinterested call as she is my Friday night orchestra and I am hoping that she won’t be out of action too long as I miss the playing. She was remarkably cheerful and made a cup of tea while I chatted to Mike. As the tea came with a delicious ginger biscuit, it was doubly welcome.
Alison has tried a little piano playing which is good news.
I didn’t stay long as they told me that Mrs Tootlepedal had called in when she had finished shopping but had not stopped because she didn’t want me not to find her in when I came back from my walk and worry about where she was.
When I got back to the garden, I found evidence that her shopping trip had been successful. She had bought our Christmas tree for the next four or five years.
My flute pupil Luke sent me a message to say that he couldn’t come for the usual session because of a meeting in Dumfries so I had time for a quiet sit before making the tea and going out to play trios with Mike and Isabel.
The playing would have gone better if I had brought the right bag with my flute, music stand and music in it instead of quite a different bag with none of these essentials. However, Mike and Isabel played some Vivaldi duets while I went off and got the right bag and then we played Quantz, Mozart and Telemann trios so we were all happy.
The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull above the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen.