Today’s guest picture comes from Canada. Lucie, who sent it to me, is scratching her head as to why she can’t find people anxious to share a cup of tea with her on her patio when there are such comfortable looking cushions to sit on.
At least Lucie has had some sunshine. We got another grey day today but not as windy as it has been for which we were grateful.
The sunshine in my life was metaphorical in the form of Sandy who came round for a coffee in a very cheerful mood. His foot is a lot less sore and he has been sleeping exceptionally well so no wonder he was smiling.
As well as Sandy, we had plenty of other visitors today and I had to fill the feeder twice, a rare occurrence this year.
The siskins have wasted no time in making their presence felt as can be seen by this picture of a diminutive siskin blowing an incoming chaffinch away.
A chaffinch did manage an unimpeded landing a little while later.
Meanwhile the siskins took to creeping round the feeder to surprise goldfinches.
After Sandy left, I decided to go for a cycle ride as the forecast offered a few dry hours before the rain came. It was still pretty breezy with gusts of up to 20 mph so I took things easy as I went round my customary Canonbie 20 mile circuit and kept my eyes open for things to photograph…
…like trees shaped by the prevailing wind…
…and more trees with some branched pruned by the passing winds…
…and even more trees, this time standing in a relatively sheltered spot.
When I came to bridges, I stopped.
This is the Canonbie Bridge, low and wide…
…and this is the Hollows bridge a mile or two up the road, high and handsome.
Landowners grossly neglect their responsibility to provide uninterrupted views of river bridges for passing photographers as you can see from the Hollows bridge and this picture of another good looking bridge, a mile or two up the road which is almost submerged in trees and bushes, whereas….
…this ugly road bridge a few yards away is as clean as a whistle (and they have been cutting down more trees near it).
There is no justice….
…and bridges are not the only cause of photographic dissatisfaction. Road furniture is a pest too as you can see from the junction at Canonbie where a lovely bank of snowdrops has been overwhelmed by clutter.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy helping out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop so I took a look around and noticed that she has got the Christmas tree out of the greenhouse and is getting it acclimatised for life in the garden.
In the ‘signs of spring category’, new life on a rose was encouraging.
I went inside where I had a late lunch, battled with the crossword and did a little bird watching.
The stalk of the sunflower makes a convenient stopping place for birds waiting for a vacant perch on the feeder.
Some birds didn’t wait but made straight for the feeder…
…while others did their best to remove those who had got there first.
Mrs Tootlepedal returned from a very busy session at the coffee shop and had a restorative cup of tea. It must have been strong tea because as soon as she had downed it, we went off for a short expedition by car to the White Yett and then by foot up the track to the Monument.
Even on a dull day, the Ewes Valley is worth a look…
…and on any day at all, the lichens on the boulders beside the track and what I think is algae on the monument itself are very eye catching.
Mrs Tootlepedal had brought her binoculars with her and took a moment at the summit to scan the skies for interesting birds…
I looked down on the town, eight hundred feet below…
…and then we went back down the track to the car before we got caught in the rain which was threatening to arrive.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of a performance of Don Quixote by the Royal Ballet company while my friend Susan arrived to take me to Carlisle where we had an excellent evening of tootling. The ballet was very good too, Mrs tootlepedal reported.
It was raining lightly as Susan and I drove down to Carlisle and it was very wet as we drove home so I was lucky to get my cycle and walk in before the rain arrived. Sometimes the weather goods relent and give a man a break. However, it does say that it is going to rain all day tomorrow so it was just a small break.
Another horizontal chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.