Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s walk at Ashbourne. When he had crossed that narrow bridge featured as guest picture a couple of days ago, he found that an earlier landowner had dammed the little river and produced a big lake.
We had a surprise today when we woke up. We found that it wasn’t raining. Indeed, it was the first time that we could really appreciate how far the year has moved on since the winter solstice as it was already a bright day at breakfast.
The day was made brighter still by an early appearance from the robin. It popped up, took a seed, went off to eat it, had a look round and came back for another.
I went out with my camera just to prove that the sun was out in case it disappeared and didn’t come back again. The forecast had been terrible so the good day was a surprise.
I took a look at the garden from the road outside…
…and enjoyed the sun shining on the moss on the back path when I went back into the garden..
It has been so damp in recent years that the garden is gradually sinking under the weight of the moss.
I went back indoors and spent a little time watching the birds. Goldfinches and chaffinches got in early before the siskins took over.
But it didn’t take many siskins before a chaffinch had second thoughts about flying in.
And when one was brave enough to come close..
…it got a warm welcome…
…and went away again.
The day got brighter still when Sandy appeared for coffee. He is going off for an operation on his foot tomorrow, so this will be his last visit for some time. The operation should be quite quick but the recovery will not be. I will have to stir my stumps and go and have coffee with him as he sits with his foot up.
When Sandy left, it was such a nice day that Mrs Tootlepedal was tempted out to do some gardening and I went with her.
The first task was to put the Christmas tree back in its bed. It had been sitting in a pot at the back door until a dry day came but seems to have taken no hurt.
The snow drops were enjoying the sunshine too.
I got so excited that I sieved some compost…
…while Mrs Tootlepedal cut back a dogwood.
I shredded the prunings and added them to the compost bin.
Then I dug up a leek and made some soup with it for lunch.
While the soup was cooking, I went back out and noted a tree peony and some tulips reminding us that spring will come.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal had some work connected to the possible community land purchase to do (it is a very complicated matter) so I did the crossword and put a fruity malt loaf into the breadmaker.
When Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her work, we went for a walk. There had been a terrific shower of rain while she was working but it had passed, and the day was once again inviting us to go outside.
I chose a route which I hoped would give us sightings of interesting birds and I was pleased to see my first posing oyster catcher since last July standing on a rock in the Esk…
…and the first goosander since Christmas swimming in the Ewes.
There was a good sighting of the white duck at the Kilngreen which I couldn’t miss but I didn’t see the most interesting bird of the day, a tree creeper on the Castleholm, at all.
You can see it in the panel above. Mrs Tootlepedal, who had just been lamenting not seeing any tree creepers for a while, spotted the bird and pointed it out to me. I couldn’t make it out, however hard I looked. Luckily, I pointed my camera in hope in the general direction that Mrs Tootlepedal was pointing, and it did the seeing for me.
It was a short walk but we were both delighted to be out in the sunshine. I loved the low winter sun catching the moss on the wall beside the estate offices…
…and it picked out the mossy branches on this tree too.
Talking of moss, Mrs Tootlepedal was rather taken by the very neat division between moss and lichen on this tree further along the path.
On a nice day, there is always something to look at on a tree or a branch on the ground.
Although we peered up into a lot of other trees…
…we didn’t see another interesting bird.
We had a cup of tea when we got home and not long afterwards, my friend Luke appeared and we played a trio sonata by Godfrey Finger, with the computer and my Roland keyboard providing the accompaniment. The sonata is really for two oboes but it suits us very well on our flutes. We would like to have a real, live pianist but they are hard to find these days.
After Luke left, the slow cooked lamb stew provided another meal and we followed that with a slice of the freshly made fruity malt loaf.
The BBC weather forecast on the TV for tomorrow has been full of foreboding, talking of gales and even snow in the offing. The Norwegian weather forecast for our area is much more benign and offers another day of sunshine with brisk but not silly winds, so unlike the keen Brexiteers, I am hoping to take the Norwegian option tomorrow.
A hopeful chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.
Footnote: Alert readers will have noted that I haven’t mentioned being dizzy today. This is because I wasn’t dizzy. I didn’t mention a sore foot either for the same reason. If this goes on, I will have nothing to complain about and may even be back on my bike again.