Today’s guest picture shows our son Tony’s dogs visiting the castle near his home in Fife. I may have used this picture before (I can’t remember) but I have put it in regardless to remind myself that Mrs Tootlepedal and I stood in that exact spot last weekend.
It was a day of mixed weather but it was dry when I took this shot of a visiting collared dove during coffee and treacle scone time in the company of Dropscone.
These may well have been the last treacle scones of 2018 but I hope that there will be many more in 2019.
It had started to drizzle while we were sipping and it was still drizzling when I set off after coffee to put in twenty miles on my bicycle. By the time that I had gone half a mile, it was raining steadily and I was pleased that I was wearing a peaked cap under my helmet to keep the rain of my glasses. I persevered though and was rewarded when the rain stopped after twenty minutes.
I had gone out along the Lockerbie road to see if the second of the two repairs to the failing banking had been completed and was happy to find that it had…
…even if the road patching was a bit rough and ready. Should we keep on getting inches of rain every week, it will be a tribute to the engineers’ skill if the fence stills looks so regular in the spring.
I went to the top of Callister and then turned back and went through Langholm and out of the other side. Although the rain had stopped, it was still damp, with wisps of mist rising from little valleys…
….and on top of Whita, the monument was swathed in low cloud.
Mrs Tootlepedal was out at a festive lunch with ex work colleagues when I got back so I had a lonely lunch and checked on the bird feeder.
The seed had gone down and there were some lively goldfinches about….
Mrs Tootlepedal returned and set about cooking a plum pudding for our Christmas meal. I saw that the weather had brightened up a bit so I went for a short three bridges walk.
The clouds had lifted from the top of Whita…
…and I found a goosander swimming up the fairly turbulent waters of the Esk.
I love the goosanders’ jagged hair style.
A gentle sunlight appeared as I walked up to the Town Bridge but I was concerned to see so much debris caught against one of the arches.
Once I was on the town bridge, I was able to look up the Ewes Water towards the Sawmill Brig, my next target. It was hard to remember how gloomy and damp the start of my cycle ride had been, only three hours previously.
You can see a row of gulls on the posts in the picture above and I was hoping that one would take flight as I walked past them along the Kilngreen so that I could capture a flying bird of the day but they stuck resolutely to their posts.
It was really quite a nice day by the time that I had crossed the Sawmill Brig and started walking up the Lodge Walks, admiring this tree on the Castleholm as I went.
The little ‘tin church’ was looking very demure behind its picket fence…
…and it is just a pity that no use can be found for this charming building.
I continued up the Lodge Walks for a bit..
…and enjoyed the sun picking out some fresh moss…
…and I looked for little splashes of colour on lichen on a gate post. The spots of red are so tiny that they are hardly visible to the naked eye.
As I crossed the Castleholm on my way to the Jubilee Bridge, I looked up at my favourite lichen clad tree and wondered once again at the fact that a more or less complete coating of lichen doesn’t seem to affect its ability to produce seeds and new buds.
I didn’t linger too long though as the sun was getting low….
…and the clouds were re-assembling on the top of Whita.
Still, considering it is the shortest day of the year, I can’t complain as I had had scones, a cycle ride and a walk.
The only thing missing was a tootle in the evening but Mike Tinker came round to tell us that his wife Alison, my Friday night orchestra, has not sufficiently recovered from dislocating her shoulder to be able to play sonatas yet. I hope that it will not be too far into 2019 before we can start playing again.
We had a test morsel of Mrs Tootlepedal’s plum pudding in the evening and it was delicious, light, fruity and very tasty. I am really looking forward to Christmas day.
The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.