Today’s guest picture is another of Gunta’s fine bridges.  This one is at Newport.

newport bridge

It was another gloomy morning here with occasional rain.  Even the chaffinch on the feeder seemed to be a bit hunched against the weather.

feeder in the rian

The rain stopped but it didn’t make this blackbird feel any happier about things.

proud blackbird

At one moment, I looked out of the window and thought that the rain had caught fire…

sparkle in the garden

…but it turned out to be the reflection of the Christmas tree, newly decorated by Mrs Tootlepedal.


The morning was full of preparations for a seasonal visit from our granddaughter Matilda and her parents, but I had some time over lunch to look at the birds.

In spite of the fact that the sparrowhawk had passed through the garden earlier in the day, the birds were back in force and the goldfinches were doing a lot of lurking.

four lurking goldfinches

There was action on every side when siskins arrived as well.

four siskin and goldfinches in action

…and a dunnock could only stand and stare.

dunnock fluffy

Though, when it comes to staring, there was nothing to compare to a passing jackdaw.

mean jackdaw

I got really excited when there was the tiniest glimpse of sunlight, picking out a chaffinch on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree….

sunny chaffinch december

…but it was only a glimpse and it was back to grey when I went out for a short walk in the afternoon while our potential visitors were driving down from Edinburgh.

The berries on the severely cropped shrubs beside the Wauchope are looking amazing.

berries at kirk brig

I walked along the river and when I crossed the Town Bridge, I saw an excellent turn out of gulls at their posts on the Castleholm.

many gulls on posts

The only gull left in the river was the young gull that I saw before.

young gull

I walked across the Sawmill Brig and took the track out towards the High Mill Brig, stopping to gaze at sheep grazing under a bare tree…

tree with sheep

…and then to wonder at the sheer variety of lichens growing within a yard or two of each other on the wall beside the track.

four lichens on same walltwo lichen on same wall

To avoid a boggy piece of ground at a gate, I went into the field and looked at the wall from the other side.  There was hardly any life on the side exposed to the elements.

tree and wall

At the end of the track, I had a look up the main road to the north, down which our visitors would come in the course of time.

lookingup A7

As I went to cross the Ewes Water, I thought that the sun might have come out again when I saw a patch of yellow, but it was just the topmost twigs on a tree.

yellow tinged twigs

Two hundred yards further on, there was a genuine brightening and the trees at the Rugby Club bridge were lit up by actual sun.

sun at RFC bridge

They are building a third log cabin at the Whitshiels cafe and are at a stage which reveals clearly the cunning interlocking method of construction.log cabin

As I got back to the Sawmill Brig, the sun had already sunk behind more clouds…

sunset castleholm

…and the light rapidly faded as I walked home across the Jubilee Bridge, my fifth bridge crossing of the day.

It was dark by the time that Matilda, Al and Clare arrived but there was still time for Matilda to enjoy a couple of board games with me before tea.  I was fortunate to come out top at Snakes and Ladders but Matilda comfortably beat me at Ludo so honour was satisfied.

On behalf of Mrs Tootlepedal and myself, I would like to wish all blog readers a happy Christmas and thank them for their continued attention over the year.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, an uncommon visitor these days.

flying sparrow

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

43 thoughts on “Visitors

  1. First time I’ve been on the computer and recieved this at night, so I’ve time to say Merry Christmas to you and family. I still think you should call the track to the High Mill bridge ” going along Baggra”

    1. I would say that if I could remember the name when it comes to writing the post after a hard day. Happy Christmas and a good new year to you and yours.

  2. Christmas greetings to all at Wauchope Cottage! May your day tomorrow be filled with good food and much fun. 🎄🇨🇦

  3. Thank you Mr. Tootlepedal for helping me with my Christmas shopping. My grandchildren are getting the board game Carcassonne which I had never heard of until you posted about playing with Matilda. It will give me a chance to tell them about the time their Grandfather and I toured the castle 40 years ago making the guides very nervous as he walked with the aid of braces and crutches. He was disabled, but very determined. I enjoy your blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  4. I see Nigel Slater on your bookshelf. I am reading his Christmas Chronicles. He writes about more than food. Good book for putting one in the right mood for the day. Happy Christmas

  5. Thank you for posting all the wonderful photos, merry Christmas and may the new year bring much happiness.

  6. That’s a fiendish looking jackdaw, enough to ward of the sparrow hawk maybe.
    I’m a bit of an amateur engineer so found your shot of the log cabin construction very interesting.
    Best wishes and happy Christmas to you and your family.

    1. Mrs T tells me that the builders have to allow for gradual shrinkage in their calculations. I hope that the new year brings a great burst of bicycling to you.

  7. My Wish for you, Mrs. T, those you love, and Fellow readers is that we share the pleasures of life, as we share the pleasure of your blog. united in the joys of a life lived well. and in harmony. peace and goodwill to one and All.

  8. Happy Christmas to you, Mrs. T., and your family. Thank you for your interesting daily posts about your life in such a lovely part of the world.

  9. Merry Christmas to you and the family! The day there looks much like it was here on Christmas day.

    That is a beautiful stone wall by the bare tree, even more so the lichens and mosses residing on it.

    Log homes are my favorite type of dwelling besides old castles and stone homes. Built to last.

  10. A bit late to the season’s greetings, but I’ll try sending some wishes for a far better year than the one that’s about to end. (If you managed to follow that rather convoluted sentence.) 🚴‍♂️ Here’s to many pleasant tootlepedaling miles to come.

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