Today’s guest picture comes from Gunta, a correspondent and fellow blogger who lives in SW Oregon. Knowing that I like bridges, she has sent me this fine example, one of the most notable bridges in the Pacific Northwest. It crosses the Rogue River near its mouth.
We are only a day or two away from the shortest day of the year and there was no mistake about that here as the weather varied from quite gloomy to very gloomy. In two weeks time, things will start to look up again, but it couldn’t have been much darker than it was today.
I was hoping for treacle scones to cheer things up but Dropscone had been sent off by his daughter Susan to do some necessary seasonal shopping and was unavailable.
I watched the birds instead.
Siskins are messy eaters. I don’t know how they do it. Food flies off in every direction.
Birds were flying off in every direction too.
We had mostly siskins and goldfinches again and when chaffinches tried to get a seat at the table, they were given a frosty welcome.
In general, I idled the morning away and eventually cycled round to our new corner shop with a camera in my pocket and hoping to see something interesting at the river side on my way. Not a bird was to be seen.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to have a lunch with her ex work colleagues and I contemplated a grey cycle ride while she was away, as it was reasonably warm and the wind was light.
Luckily she rang me up to remind me that my Langholm choir was due to sing carols at the old folks’ lunch at the Day Centre. That put the kibosh on cycling and left me just enough time for a quick wander round Gaskell’s Walk.
I like to keep an eye on fences and I was impressed by the full head of moss on this concrete post at Pool Corner.
Even in winter, a little valley still has charm. This is the Becks Burn just before it joins the Wauchope Water.
A bit further on, a burst of red and pale green caught my attention. The bottom half of the branches on a hawthorn bush were covered in lichen with hardly a haw to be seen and the top half was covered with haws with hardly a scrap of lichen about. Nature is mysterious in its ways.
Some vandal, trying to be helpful, had put a discarded welly boot over the top of a fence post at the Auld Stane Brig, doubtless thinking that the boot’s owner would come and rescue it. As this fence post is home to a lovely little lichen garden, I was worried but when I pulled the welly off, I found that the garden had survived.
Indeed, it was looking very healthy…
…but I didn’t put the welly back.
One of the advantages of winter walking is that when the leaves fall off the trees, you can see things better. I enjoyed the swirling waters of the Wauchope rushing through a rocky ravine below the path.
The silver birches which have sprung up since the conifer plantation along the path was felled have turned a rather rich brown colour.
There was no escaping the fact that it was a gloomy day though, unsuitable for taking pictures and with the clouds firmly clamped on the hills.
The sheep looked up from their grazing as I passed. We have a good variety of sheep around the town.
As I came down the steps that lead to the park, I noticed that someone had cleared the path that circles the big tree next to the playground.
I thought that this resulted in a rather cinematic image and fully expected to see a beautiful but sad person, pacing slowly round the circle accompanied by mournful mood music.
No such person appeared and I walked on.
Even the trees looked sad today.
When I got home, I saw a blackbird on a neighbour’s roof and a collared dove on a wire.
The only bright spot in the garden itself was some snowberries.
I had just enough time for a bowl of soup before I went off to sing carols. A good number of choir members had turned out for the occasion and we gave a lusty rendition of several favourite songs and were rewarded with a good round of applause when we finished….or perhaps because we had finished. Sometimes it is hard to tell.
By the time that I got home, it was too dark to do anything outside so I sat at the computer and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group index and practised my flute, with the computer playing the continuo part, until Mrs Tootlepedal came home from yet another meeting of the proposed moorland buyout group. They are working very hard on the project.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had an enjoyable play. I wasn’t playing particularly well myself in spite of the earlier practice, but just making music is always a cheerful thing to do.
With Christmas fast approaching, I fear that there is no alternative but to go shopping ourselves tomorrow. If the weather forecast is right, I might get a short pedal in before we go.
The flying bird of the day is one of the many goldfinches. In the poor light, this was the best that I could do.