I have learned my lesson

Mary Jo from Manitoba has answered my request for guest pictures and has sent me one not from Manitoba but from London.  It shows Abney Park in Stoke Newington, one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ garden cemeteries of London.  It is a woodland memorial park and a local nature reserve.

Abney Park

It was another chilly day here with the wind coming from the north east, but at least it was dry.  Our electric car allows us to plug it into the household supply so that we can get the car nice and warm before we set off on a cold day, so I was quite snug as I drove south to have a final singing lesson from Mary, the former conductor of our Langholm choir.

This was my final lesson because Mary has made great improvements in my singing but even she cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  As I will never be a solo singer, what I have to do now is try to remember all that she has taught me when I sing innthe choir rather than load my brain up with more instructions that I couldn’t follow anyway.

I am very grateful to her for her patience and skill.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepdal had just about finished her first section of hall decoration so I made some lentil soup and we had a celebration lunch.

After lunch, I had a look to see if the new feeder was still pulling in customers.

It was attracting goldfinches again…

goldfinches chatting

…but it didn’t please a jackdaw who took a grumpy look and flew off.


The feeder got busier as I watched it…

busy feeder

..but it had quiet moments too and this goldfinch took the opportunity in one of these peaceful intervals to hone its Napoleon impression.

straight goldfinch

C’est Magnifique.

I did think of cycling as it was six degrees C in the afternoon but the north wind was gusting up to 20 mph and the ‘feels like’ temperature was a measly 2 degrees so I went for a walk instead.

I had my cycling camera with me once again as Pocket Camera has remained stubbornly dead and the replacement hadn’t come yet.

I pointed it at some tiny but bright lichen on a wall at the top of the golf course…

lichen with red

…and a few yards later, when I had got onto the open hill, I spotted a gorse flower.

november gorse flower

Gorse seems to be able to bloom in almost every month of the year.

I turned left and strolled along this grassy path among the dead bracken…


bracken track whita

…passing trees…

two trees whita

…of different types…


pine tree Copshaw road

…on my way to the road to Newcastleton and a grey view up the Ewes Valley.

ewes valley

I crossed the road and follwed a track across the hillside, past this trio of remarkable trees…

three old trees

…which continue to grow in spite of only just touching the ground and not having a lot of trunk.

old hollow tree

As I came back down the hill towards Whitshiels, I could see a river of larch running through the spruces on the far side of the valley.river of larch

…and many fungi growing in the grass at my feet.

fungus at whitshiels track

I followed the track down through the woods and walked over a carpet of larch needles as I got near to the main road.

larcgh covered whitshiels track

On the seltered bank of the Ewes Water there are still some autumn leaves.

colour by the river

Instead of heading straight home when I got back to the town, I crossed the Sawmill Brig and walked round the new path on the Castleholm.

There were dozens and dozens of large cones on the noble firs beside the  when I took this picture in August….

noble fir cones castleholm

…but they must be very tasty because this is all that is left now.

eaten noble fir cone

It hasn’t snowed here yet but there was storm of snow berries beside the Esk as I walked along the river on my way home.

snowberry storm

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal told me that the replacement camera had arrived.  I used it to take a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal contemplating a repair job its predecessor.

camera repair

….whihc, after contemplation, was left for another day as we couldn’t find a good online guide to the job.

I nipped out in the fading loight to show that while almost every other flower in the garden has given up, Rosy Cheeks is still smiling (after a fashion).

rosy cheeks

I hope for some good weather to use the new camera tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a traditional chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “I have learned my lesson

  1. The jackdaw is such a handsome bird. I am impressed at how quickly your new camera arrived – hope it works well for you.

  2. I like the before and after photos of the noble fir cones! I also admire all the different lichen and other plants on the wall; the conditions must be perfect for lichen growing.

  3. I wish we had something that bloomed year around like the gorse.
    I wonder what made the trees grow stilted. Usually if there isn’t a stone under them then whatever it was rotted away.
    I like the bare trees and the misty landscapes. Your winters seem more forgiving than ours.

  4. Your walk was most enjoyable. I too like observing anything and everything in my immediate environment as I pass through it and appreciate your eye for interesting features. The trees in today’s post are particularly interesting.

  5. I was interested to see your guest picture, Tom. Abney Park is where many of my mother’s family are buried and is possibly one of the cemeteries that my father used to take me to on our Sunday walks when I was a child. For some reason I don’t seem to be receiving email updates on your posts now, so I may have missed a few.

    1. I can’t suggest a reason for the lack of email updates.

      How interesting to learn of your connection to Abney Park. I must confess that I hadn’t heard of it until Mary Jo sent me the picture.

  6. Lovely walk with beautiful photos. All the goldfinches flapping their wings could launch your new rocket feeder…looks good!

  7. Your post has cheered me up no end as I sit here having a break half way through my night shift in my signal box. I had a real “shoes full of water” drenching cycling in. All my gear is strategically placed around heaters drying out, hopefully, for the return homeward in the morning. Her indoors told me earlier it has been snowing heavily up the valley in Glynneath where I live, which makes me grateful I parked my old Yaris in Aberdulais. With any luck the snow won’t come that far down the valley. The forecast is for rain all night now so the snow should clear away before my trip home, and my gear is dry again lol. Cheers, keep the posts coming, they are definitely one of the highlights of my day, Thank you.

    1. I must say that I admire your capacity to cycle in miserable weather with wet feet. I might be able to do it once but I would find it very hard to do it on a regular basis. I hope the snow didn’t reach you.

      1. Hi tootlepedal, I’m pleased to tell you, good fortune smiled on me, so no snow, just another thorough soaking, but hey as long as I’m warm. Once I’m wet, wet, I can’t get any wetter, no matter how slow I pedal lol. Still not pedalling tonight, the rain is hammering down. Cheers.

  8. Those trees are practically levitating.

    Glad your new camera came. I am impressed to see that the phenomenally capable Mrs T is contemplating a fixit job on the old one. Funny Allan hasn’t tried that on any of our defunct cameras, as he is quite handy.

  9. I am just catching up here. These are beautiful photos form your walk. I especially enjoyed the larches, that river of gold among the other conifers.

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