Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She was delighted to spot a squirrel in her garden. She points out that it was so cold that the squirrel was using its tail to keep its ears warm.
It rained heavily here over night but it had stopped by the morning and we got a relatively calm day. Along with the gentler winds, the temperature had dropped too and it was just over 3 degrees C at breakfast time.
My back had decided to sulk and it took me some time to get it loosened up but this did give me a moment to watch the birds.
The robin auditioned for the Christmas card spot…
…and chaffinches approached the feeder with great concentration…
…and sometimes even with suspicion.
The goldfinches were eating elsewhere today and we got a siskin instead.
A blue tit proved to be less sunflower seed orientated than the other birds and tried the fat balls and the peanuts as well as the seed.
By midday I had eased off my back enough to go out for a gentle stroll.
Our new minister was going to be inducted to the parish in the evening and the church heating was on as I went by. I could only just restrain myself from saying, “Holy smoke!” as I passed.
In spite of the heavy overnight rain, the river was not high when I got to it, although there was enough water going down to make a decent ripple….
…and the line of debris on the far bank suggested that it might have been quite high earlier on.
I walked down the river and came to my favourite piece of fencing at Land’s End. The fence itself is unremarkable but it is home to a beautiful lichen which is really enjoying the present weather. This little patch, about an inch across, was on the edge of a bottom bar…
…and a few yards further on, I found a bigger patch covering the whole width of a top bar.
I approached Skippers Bridge from the north…
…and when I had crossed over and begun my walk back up the opposite side of the river. the sun came fully out and lit up Timpen Hill.
Everything looked more cheerful in the sunshine and I marvelled at the intricate tracery of oak branches on one side of the track….
…and the intricate tracery of the iron gates of the farmhouse on the other side.
The sunshine even made a big puddle in the field look quite beautiful…
…and the bare trees at the far end of the Murtholm looked delightful too.
As I came into the wood, a pigeon stood frozen under the trees. It was quite happy to sit still and let me take its picture so I suspect that it may not have been very well.
I had a quick lunch when I got home and after checking that the temperature was still safely above freezing (it was 3.8°C), I went out for a short cycle ride.
I had originally planned to go a bit further but the late start to my walk and the brief afternoon light kept me down to 11 miles. The light was still good for a while and gave the bulls at Wauchope Schoolhouse a golden gleam.
It began to cloud over though and as I passed Westwater, only a patch of larches was getting any sun.
I didn’t hang about as it was pretty cold with the sun behind the clouds and I was satisfied that I had least got some stretch into my legs.
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had pruned the roots of the Christmas tree and put it into its pot. We will let it rest in the garage now until Christmas Eve.
When I went inside, I spent about quarter of an hour on my bike to nowhere in the garage to make up for my short outdoor excursion. To be honest, I could quite easily have done the extra quarter of an hour outside if I had wanted to as Mrs Tootlepedal went out and cycled about the town quite happily for a bit of exercise after we had had a cup of tea.
In the evening we went to church for the service of induction for our new minister. The small church choir of nine, enhanced by four members of Langholm Sings, sang the Hallelujah Chorus as a processional to start the service off and all things considered, it went pretty well.
The induction service itself was a serious business and a lot of ministers from other churches in in the presbytery had come along to lend their support. I had never been to such an event before and didn’t realise that both the minister and the congregation had to make solemn promises about belief and good behaviour before the minister could start work. I hope that everybody sticks to their word.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that the weatehr and train services will let us go to Edinburgh tomorrow and visit Matilda. Neither are very reliable at the moment. There is even talk of snow.
The flying bird of the day is a curious chaffinch.