Today’s guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen. Having read about the Langholm Christmas tree illumination, he sent me this shot to show that Australians can do Christmas too.
Talking about Christmas, our resident robin is working hard to get us into a Christmas mood.
As you can see, we had another sunny day today but once again, it was pretty nippy and the thermometer didn’t get above zero all day.
The odd goldfinch braved the cold and made it to the feeder, but they didn’t stay long.
Mrs Tootlepedal had a quiet morning in after yesterday’s very long day, so I went off to sing in the church choir by myself. Our potential new minister has been voted in by the congregation but will not start work for ten days so we had a visiting minister today who chose cheerful hymns and gave us an interesting sermon.
When I got home, the feeder was still quite busy but the bright sunshine is a mixed blessing when it come to taking pictures of the visitors and I settled for a flying chaffinch…
…and a sitting greenfinch…
…before getting ready for a walk. The robin appeared again before I could go out…
…but I managed to resist the temptation to take even more pictures of it and went out into the cold.
Out of the sun, it really was cold in the garden and this was the side window of our car.
After three days of frost, the leaves in the garden are no longer just fringed with crystals, they are covered with them.
…and even our wooden heron has got signs of a runny nose.
A box ball summed up the two sides of the day…
…and Lilian Austin was frozen stiff.
The chilly conditions had turned every leaf on one of the golden box balls into little ice flowers.
I left the garden and walked up to Pool Corner where a lone larch tree has retained some its needles.
I liked this contrast in tree shapes as I passed the Wauchope graveyard.
Expert navigators are supposed to be able to tell the points of the compass by looking at moss growing on tree trunks. Today, the ice on fence posts gave a pretty good indication of East and West.
Who needs diamonds when its frosty?
I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and walked back towards the town along Gaskells Walk. I was keeping an eye for hair ice and I was pleased to find an example beside the path.
The track runs along the side of the hill and was in shadow so it was occasionally icy underfoot and always chilly.
My hands had got pretty cold from taking my gloves off to use the camera and I had to keep a good eye on the where I was putting my feet so the camera stayed in my pocket and I concentrated on walking fast enough to keep warm.
I added Easton’s walk to the end of Gaskell’s walk and found another example of hair ice as I walked back along the river.
I was pleased to get back into the warmth when I got home.
When we drove to Carlisle after lunch to go to our Carlisle Choir, the temperature was -5°C and we hit a fairly thick patch of fog not long after we started. I wondered how the electric car would enjoy these conditions but it seemed unworried, although the battery charge went down a lot more quickly than it does in the summer.
Luckily the fog didn’t last for long and we got to the choir in lovely sunshine. This was the last practice before two concerts next weekend so we worked hard to polish up some of the awkward corners that had remained a little rough. Mrs Tootlepedal and I agreed as we drove home (-6°C) that time will have to be found during the week for some final homework on the songs.
The temperature should get above freezing tomorrow (fog permitting) and we are due to get up to double figures by Friday. I hope we do as I have done very little cycling lately and I am getting distinctly tubby. Two mile walks taking pictures are fun but they don’t burn calories.
The flying bird of the day is a rather dashing chaffinch, showing great determination in the pursuit of a seed.