Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair and is a result of a recent visit to Edinburgh zoo where Matilda paid close attention to feeding a parrot.
In the morning, we entertained Sandy to a cup of coffee and got an update on the state of his walking. He is suffering a lot more than I am and is not getting about much at all on foot just now which he is finding very frustrating. I don’t blame him.
He can drive though and after coffee, he drove me up to the High Street where we had our picture taken in the newspaper offices (which are also our new Archive Group base). The resulting photograph will be used in an article in our local paper on the work of the Archive Group.
Sandy then drove home while I went for a short and slow walk of under a mile and a half just to have a look around. The camera club theme for our next meeting is ‘Street Photography’ so I had a little practice on an unsuspecting couple who were walking down to the Buccleuch Centre to meet friends.
As Mike, on the left, is my cello playing friend and Anne, on the right, is a regular blog reader, I don’t think that they will be too cross to have been spied on.
They were walking too fast for me to catch them up so I stopped on the town bridge and had a look around.
The gulls were making a point.
When I got down to the Kilngreen, I could see that the black headed gulls are beginning to develop the colour which gives them their name.
The gulls on the posts were busy moving each other up. A gull would land on an already occupied middle post and set off a chain reaction along the line.
Across the Ewes water, I could see the remains of Langholm Castle peeping through the trees.
As I crossed the Sawmill Brig, I had to slow down to let a rush of traffic past.
And then the rush of traffic stopped for a chat.
This was lucky as she told me that in spite of a little sunshine, some of the paths that I had intended to use were still covered in ice where trampled snow had not melted. As she warned me that they were still extremely slippery, I chose another route.
This took me past a mass of lichen on tree branches…
A recent post from the New Hampshire Gardener made me look more closely at these.
Nearby a rook was playing ‘I am the king of he castle’ on an old tree stump.
There were interesting needles both on a noble fir tree….
…and fallen to the ground in one of the recent windy storms.
I finished my walk by calling in at the Buccleuch Centre, passing this patient lion just outside the door.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy inside the centre helping in the coffee shop and I did think of stopping for lunch there but after greeting Mike and Anne, I went home and had a sardine sandwich by myself. I wanted to watch our birds.
Unlike Matilda, I had no parrots to feed in the garden but I had filled the feeder and as I ate my lunch, there was steady flow of less exotic birds, led by our usual chaffinches.
Collared doves were keen to join in….
…and were soon down at ground level scavenging for fallen seeds.
They were joined by a robin who ventured into the tray under the feeder.
Up above, chaffinches were deep in conversation.
When I looked at the pictures later, I noticed that this chaffinch had been ringed. It would be nice to know where it had come from.
It was quite a reasonable day at 5°C with not much wind and I fully intended to go for a 20 mile bicycle ride. The weather looked set fair so I wasted time listening to the radio, watching the birds and doing the crossword and then I remembered that I had promised to send a picture to the newspaper for a ‘snow picture’ compilation they are putting in this week’s edition and by the time that I had finished this, quite a lot more time had passed than I realised.
I should have been paying attention because a quick look at the weather forecast showed that rain was in the offing so I huddled on my cycling gear and set out in hope.
The hope was soon dashed as it began to rain before I had gone three miles and it was the sort of rain that didn’t look as though it was going to stop anytime soon. I wasn’t anxious to get cold and wet so I turned for home and soothed my troubled soul with some retail therapy at the Gretna Gateway in company with Mrs Tootlepedal who had some shoes to collect from a shop there.
She had ordered them online and was very pleased to find that although they were on a special offer at the shop, they were still quite a bit dearer than the price that she had paid. The ways of retail are mysterious.
It was pouring with rain by the time we set off home and I was very glad that I wasn’t out on my bicycle.
Once home, we locked the door, shut the curtains and ignored the horrible weather.
I did manage to catch a traditional flying chaffinch of the day today before the weather turned nasty.