Today’s guest picture comes from a new contributor, Paul. Like myself, he is a cyclist and obviously a keen photographer. He is not absolutely sure but he thinks that this delightful shot was taken at Blea Tarn in the Lake District.
We had another cold and sunny day today, but it was even colder than yesterday with temperatures hitting -7°C overnight. It was still -3° after breakfast. Mrs Tootlepedal had left very early to catch a bus from Canonbie to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate with a group of embroiderers so I was left on my own.
I went to the new corner shop, did the crossword and then watched the birds for a while as the day warmed up a little. The goldfinches, which must come from a distance, are not interested in visiting the garden while it is so cold but there were a few resident birds about.
Traffic was thin though, so I went for a walk down to the river to see if I could find some more.
The Kilngreen was quite busy with ducks, gulls and rooks…
Wait a minute! Reindeer???
Yes reindeer. Some of the Cairngorm reindeer herd are on tour, appearing at pre-Christmas events all over the country. These ones had stayed at the company’s Yorkshire base over night.
There were old and young animals…
…and they ate the Kilngreen grass and the ready prepared food with equal eagerness.
When they time came, they were led out onto the main road….
…where they disappeared into the low sunshine as they made their way to the stable at the Buck Hotel where they would be an attraction at the town’s switching on the lights event.
I followed them down the High Street but didn’t go into the Buck Hotel, preferring to head up the Kirk Wynd and on to Whita Hill.
There are plenty of haws on the hawthorns waiting for the birds to get hungry enough to eat them and disperse the seeds.
In contrast to the colour of the berries, a stand of rosebay willowherb stalks looked very monchrome and I helped it by taking the picture in monochrome too.
Looking back as I climbed up the track, the valley below was already deep in shadow and looked very cold. The sun struggles to get above the hills at this time of year and lying at 55° North, we are on the same parallel as Manitoba, bits of Alaska and much of Russia so if it wasn’t for the gulf stream, this shot might well show a lot of snow and not much else. The effect of climate warming on the Gulf Stream is something that not enough people in government are worrying about.
Still, I couldn’t complain about the weather for my walk today and if I kept in the sun it was bracing but very pleasant all the same.
It was still freezing though. This puddle reminded of a painting of doves but I can’t pin down the artist.
It s difficult for me to capture on camera as I would like, but I do enjoy the intersecting lines of trees and hills as I walk.
This little scene cheers me up every time that I pass it.
When I got back to the Kilngreen, the reindeer were long gone but the gulls were at their posts.
I walked up to the Buccleuch Centre and a gathering of folk caught my eye. Mrs Claus was waiting for her husband. He appeared along with Santa’s little helper…
…and they were joined by a group of volunteers who were going to control the traffic. The alert reader will notice my flute playing friend Luke and his mother in the panel above. Mrs and Mrs C chatted for a while.
Soon we were joined by the appropriately dressed Langholm Pipe Band and they led off a small procession…
… of a unicyclist….
…and Santa on his sleigh (but sadly, with not a reindeer in sight).
I left them to their chilly fun and went back home to have a bowl of warming soup. Then I made some tea cake dough and left it to rise while I went back up to the town to sing carols with the Langholm Choir at the switching on of the lights.
There was quite a buzz in the Market Place…
..and we sang away lustily, accompanied by members of the town brass band until the moment of switch on came.
I then scuttled home, crossing the suspension bridge and admiring the lights on the Town Bridge as I went…
…and knocked back the tea cake dough and divided it into individual cakes and put it in the boiler cupboard to rise.
I was expecting Mrs Tootlepedal back from her trip to Harrogate but she rang me to say that the bus was stuck on the A66. Luckily the driver was able to turn round and take a diversion to join the motorway at Tebay so she got home in the end, but much later than expected. There had been a bad crash ahead of them on the A66. She was grateful for a freshly baked tea cake to give her sustenance.
We are due to have another freezing day tomorrow but then things should warm up a bit so we may get more birds back in the garden again.
In the absence of domestic flying birds, one of the Kilngreen gulls is the flying bird of the day.