Today’s guest picture comes from our younger son Alistair. He came across these Christmas baubles in the Botanical gardens in Edinburgh. As they were the size of footballs, he was quite impressed by them.
We didn’t have much sparkle here as it was another grey and chilly day. Any brightness was provided by the arrival of Dropscone (with scones) for coffee. When he left, he was thinking about going to play golf as the temperature was around 5°C and I thought that it was just warm enough for a pedal.
Although it has been cold, it hasn’t rained recently so the roads were dry enough for comfortable riding and I had a calm pedal round my customary Canonbie route. I had thought of going a little bit further but was happy to settle for just the twenty miles as hands and feet were getting quite cold by the time that I got home.
Between not wanting to stand around getting even colder and the very poor light, I was intending not to stop for any stop for pictures but I was brought up short by a new sign beside the road at Hollows.
Some enterprising group has encouraged the council to put up a set of signs along a popular walking route from the village. They are nicely done. This one has the added benefit of being placed near a set of some slightly mysterious stone sculptures which have been anonymously placed in a little wood beside the river.
There are disconcerting when you first see them as they are so unexpected.
The inscription on the helmet is quite apposite.
When I got home, I took a picture of the first snowdrops of the year which are on the bank of the dam at the back of our house. They have arrived a week or two earlier than usual this year.
In the garden, the magnolia buds are looking healthy and ready to burst.
I had lunch and tried to catch a bird at the feeder outside the kitchen window. It was one of those days however when the very poor light and the flighty behaviour of the very few birds that were about meant that I didn’t take a single garden bird picture, a very rare occurrence.
In the end, I went for a short walk just for the sake of finding something to look at but I had left it too late and the already poor light had got even worse. I pointed my camera around all the same.
This gull had found a taller spot to sit on rather than the fence posts at the Kilngreen and was on top of an electricity pole.
There were no gulls at the Kilngreen when I got there and after a pretty dry spell, there wasn’t much water in the rivers either.
I had to use the flash to take pictures of lichen on the sawmill Brig parapet…
…and some spleenwort on the wall by the Lodge gates…
…but there was just enough light to note that a mole had been busy down here too.
I have a soft spot for trees that seem to have been cobbled together from small pieces.
And I liked the combination of different bark colours, moss and lichen on this tree on the Castleholm.
But all in all, the cold and the greyness didn’t encourage me to linger and I soon got home again.
I had made some ginger biscuits in the morning and although they weren’t as successful as my last batch, they were quite suitable for dunking in a cup of tea so I did just that.
Since our Carlisle choir starts again this Sunday, I spent a little time doing some singing practising and then had another cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker who had come to call.
As Mike’s wife Alison is not back to full piano playing fitness after injuring her shoulder, there was no music in the evening and Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent a quiet evening in.
I couldn’t find a flying bird in the garden today so this distant shot of gulls flying across the Esk this afternoon is my best effort at a flying bird of the day.