With a song and a smile

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who was exploring the back ways of our neighbouring town of Annan when he came upon this attractive bridge.

annan little bridge

Perceptive readers may have noticed that I was feeling a little gloomy when I sat down to write last night’s post (thank you for the kind wishes expressed in the comments)  and they will be glad to hear that things are a lot more cheerful today. This is down to enjoying two choirs, a little excursion and some bird variety.

The day started with the first choir in the Langholm Parish Church where we sang an introit and an anthem as well as four hymns.  In between the singing, the minister gave us all a severe warning to keep a good eye out for the devil who would be pursuing us like a roary lion and seeking to devour us.   We took his advice and managed to get through the rest of the day safely.

The weather was calm and occasionally sunny when we got back from church so after a little bird watching, where I noticed a chaffinch trying to pick up tips from a goldfinch on how to be really cool…

shocked chaffinch cool goldfinch

…and Mrs Tootlepedal marvelled at the delicate colouring on a pigeon…

pigein feb

…I took a walk round the garden.

In spite of collecting over 200 walnuts in the autumn, there are still a lot to be seen lying around in the flower beds.  Most of them have been pecked open but this one looks as good as new.

walnut on ground

The garden is full of snowdrops which were looking good in the sunshine but getting a good picture of the snowdrop flower requires the photographer to lie flat on the ground…

garden snowdrops

…or to take advantage of one from a small vase full which Mrs Tootlepedal had picked and brought indoors.

Rather than go for a walk, I took out the slow bicycle and cycled along to the Kilngreen to look for dippers and oyster catchers.  I could only find gulls.

flying gull

It was a pleasant day though so I cycled on over the sawmill brig, past a moss covered tree on the Castleholm…

castleholm tree

…and up the Lodge walks to Holmhead where I was hoping to find a good show of snowdrops to make up for the lack of waterside birds.

I was not disappointed…

Holmhead snowdrops

…and I got a bird among the blooms as a bonus.

pheasant among the snowdrops

The snowdrops and the pheasant cheered me up so much that I resolved to take advantage of the good weather and cycle a couple of miles further up the Esk valley…

 

esk valley

…and then cross a bridge and cycle a couple of miles down again on the opposite side of the river.

There were some grey clouds ahead….

lonesome pine

…but my road down the opposite side of the river looked very inviting so I pressed on…

potholm road

…up the track to Potholm.

Potholm track

When I got to the farm house at Potholm, there was another fine show of snowdrops on display.

potholm farm with snowdrops

What wasn’t so satisfactory was the accompanying shower of rain so that by the time that I crossed the bridge over the Esk….

potholm bridge

…all sign of blue skies had disappeared and I was getting quite wet and things looked gloomy for the road home.

milnholm and tree

This put paid to any further photo opportunities, except a stop under the sheltering trees at the road end to enjoy a door that has been overtaken by time…

old door in wall

…and a wall that has probably got more spleenwort per square inch than anywhere else in the world.

spleenwort wall

I was lucky in that I was cycling along the very edge of the rain shower so I didn’t get as wet as I had feared but it was still annoying to find that the sun came out almost as soon as I had got home.

I had some baked beans on toast for  my lunch and watched the chaffinches competing for seeds for a while…

busy chaffinches

…and then it was time to head for Carlisle and the community choir practice there.

Our usual conductor was busy elsewhere but she had sent down an excellent substitute and he was very thorough, technically interesting and helpful, very charming and quite funny.  As a result,  two hours of hard work passed in a flash.

Also encouraging was the fact that it was still just about light as we left the church and drove home.  We are inching towards spring.

Mrs Tootlepedal had prepared a fish pie for our tea and as that is one of my favourite meals, it rounded off an excellent day.

It is not the cleanest picture that I have ever taken but I really liked today’s flying bird of the day.  The subdued colours of both bird and background seem to match the rather reserved manner of the chaffinch as she approaches the feeder.

flying caffinch

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “With a song and a smile

  1. Oh! your patch of snowdrops took my breath away. How lovely to convince the pheasant to pose so nicely with a sea of snowdrops for background. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in such thick profusion.

    Pity you got wet, but you might have missed that “door that has been overtaken by time”. I really enjoyed that bit. I think I might be catching a whiff of spring in the air… despite the white on the hills.

  2. It’s great to see the woods and yards full of snowdrops. We have them here but not like those.
    I like the shots of the crypt and the wall full of spleenworts. I know where to see a crypt much like that one but I don’t know where to find a spleenwort.
    I’m glad the foot cooperated and let you have such a good day despite being rained on.

  3. Always, a pleasure, usually read in the morning, to start my day? however still the early Mon, I go to bed content.

  4. The snowdrops and the pheasant, what a great picture! And you left me guessing how the previous pictures of snowdrops were taken 🙂

  5. Stunned by the display of snowdrops and the colourful pheasant among them.
    Glad both choirs were so enjoyable. The FBOTD looks very calm and peaceful.

  6. Hoorah for the wonderful scenes of snowdrops, landscapes and an obliging pheasant to lift everyone’s spirits….together with the slightly lighter evenings life feels brighter for all.

  7. The snowdrops and the farmhouse and the old door and the ferny wall made me happy.

    Here is a video for you. I hope you’ll be able to see it. Hummingbirds. Dan Hinkley is a famous plant collector.

    1. Wow, looks like it posted in full; did not know it would do that. It’s been down in the low 20s F here. I read that hummers are being found almost frozen by their feeders (not Dan’s. His lights must be for warmth.) The advice was to collect them into a shoebox and keep them in the dark garage overnight to protect them from freezing. They go sort of dormant. And then let them out in the morning!

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