Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. His walking group took him on an eight mile hilly and windy walk near Ashbourne. As an additional hazard, he had to cross this very narrow bridge.
After a night when my sleep was often interrupted by the theatrical sighing and moaning of the wind round the house, we woke to another grey and windy day. Mrs Tootlepedal was up and about early on, as she and her co-worker Margaret were (wo)manning a stall at the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre as part of the public consultation on the proposed purchase of the Langholm Moor.
She and Margaret had a very good day, enrolling considerable support for the project and having interesting conversations with interested people.
I went along later to buy honey, venison, fish and lamb. I got the fish and some lamb for the slow cooker but the honey man and venison lady were not at the market, one through the illness of his wife and the other because she was too busy selling venison elsewhere.
This was a disappointment as the local honey is very tasty and the venison goes very well in the slow cooker.
I was perked up by the sight of an apparently well stocked cheese stall from a new supplier but then was dashed to find that it was all basically one sort of cheese but with many different things stuck in it. I am not a fan of ‘cheese with bits’, being of the opinion that nothing can improve good cheese. I bought a portion of his cheese without bits but as I thought that it was a little dull, I could see why he thought that it might be a good idea to put things in it.
When I got home, I had a coffee and did the crossword. It told me that there was a 95% chance of heavy rain all afternoon so I went out while it was still dry.
In the garden I saw an early harbinger of many crocuses to come, the sarcococca….
….an indication of why everything is so soggy and an exciting hint of many crumbles to come.
Then I went for a walk.
There were very few birds in the garden but when I left the house, I saw a blackbird having a bath in the dam…
…and when I got to the park, I saw a jackdaw on the wall…
…and another on a bench.
I often take pictures of individual lichens on walls but I thought that this corner of the Kirk wall deserved a picture of its own as it would be hard to find a stone with more lichen on than this.
I have taken pictures of the park monsters before but I don’t think that I have shown how they are cleverly carved out of two branches of a fallen tree.
Looking at the bank behind the monsters, it seems probable that it won’t belong before more trees fall down beside them.
Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like to walk along the riverside path here because of the instability of the banking. There are always little landslips going on and some of the trees look quite alarming.
I like the walk, in spite of the conditions, because there is always plenty to look at as you go along.
I could even see the tops of the hills today as I walked back along the top track.
My short walk brought me back down to the park and the wall was as full of fun as it always is.
While I had been walking along the river, the peace of the day was disturbed by the raucous calls of a pair of oyster catchers, the first I have heard this year, so instead of going straight home, I walked along the river to see if I could catch them at rest.
They were nowhere to be seen, so I settled for catching a very fine birch polypore on a tall tree stump in Mary Street.
It wasn’t hard to find as the whole stump was covered in them.
I decided to call in at the Buccleuch Centre to see how Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret were doing, and found them just ready to pack up after a good morning’s work. I was admiring some excellent woodwork on a stall when Mrs Tootlepedal turned up and bought a robin bird box. Or to be more precise, she pointed it out and I bought it. It will be interesting to see if our robin takes to it.
Mrs Tootlepedal gave me a lift home and I had some haggis for my lunch while she went for a pulled pork and chicken pie, both purchased from the market.
I took a picture of this very unusual house next to the Centre. Langholm goes in for grey stone with the occasional white or grey rendered walls so this house really stands out.
Once home, I settled down, prepared for a very rainy afternoon alleviated by watching international rugby matches.
This was not a great decision as the Wales-Italy game was rather boring and the Ireland-Scotland match was the usual crushing disappointment. To make matters worse, it didn’t rain heavily, if at all, and at one point there was even blue sky. I would have been better off going for another walk.
Still, I fried a nice fillet of sea bass for my tea and no day with a lot of lichen in it is a wasted day. And I didn’t have a dizzy spell. One of the credit side of the great ledger of life in spite of any disappointments.
There were a lot of rooks applying to fill the post of flying bird of the day.