Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He took his son Nick on a ten mile walk up as many hills as he could find. Nick is going on a Nepal trek soon and needed some practice. Here is Nick on Ecton Hill at 1211ft.
My morning walk to the (corner) shop once again took me along the river. The weather had improved enough for the oyster catcher to get its head in the air.
The weather forecast was a lottery today and trying to find out what was going to happen depended entirely on when you looked at it, as it changed every hour or so. This made planning a dry cycle ride tricky. It was supposed to rain at eleven and be sunnier in the afternoon, but it didn’t rain at eleven and the sun came out at twelve and lit up the siskins.
Sunshine is always welcome but does pose shadow problems for me.
There was plenty of action but not enough to call for two feeders, so I took one back in and washed it thoroughly.
The sunshine was a great motivator though, and I had a very early lunch and went off on my bike to add a few miles to my meagre monthly total. February has been a rotten month for my cycling as it started with dizzy spells which kept me off the bike and just as I recovered from them, the rain and gales started and didn’t stop for two weeks.
It was a novel experience to be cycling in the sunshine.
I wanted to record that it was a colourful day compared with yesterday’s monochrome ride so I took a picture of a tree. Because it was not raining or snowing, I was able to look at the result on the camera and much to my surprise, I found that it wasn’t colourful at all.
Behind my back and without my permission, the camera had gone into monochrome mode and that explained the extreme lack of colour in yesterday’s landscapes. I apologise for misleading readers but I would say in my defence that it was a pretty monochrome day and curiously, my photo editor still insists that the picture above is in RGB colour so the camera must be withholding secrets even from Photoshop. I like the monochrome tree anyway.
Still, I moved the dial on the camera back to its proper setting and took a picture of some more trees.
The sunshine became rather variable as I pedalled round my customary Canonbie circuit..
…but it was shining when I got to Hollows Bridge and found that there was still a fair amount of water flowing down the Esk.
On the other side of the bridge, a fragile tree looked as though it might plunge into the river at any time.
The roads were generally quite dry but there were still puddles about and shortly after I had passed this one…,
…I was forced to stop at a traffic light. This had been put up to cope with yet another roadside landslip.
I could see trees at dangerous angles…
…and as the road is close to the bank of the river here, trees had been pulled out of the soil as the bank collapsed. The road was just intact but barriers were encouraging the traffic to keep away from the affected side of the road.
The wood on the other side of the road has recently been felled and these trees are not so sheltered from the blast as they were. I don’t know how long these unaffected trees will last…
…or the ones that perch in a lonely fashion on the steep bank on the other side of the road.
During the second half of my ride, it had started to rain once or twice but I scowled so furiously at the clouds that the rain apologised and went away. I was enjoying myself so much that when I got back to Langholm, I was thinking if adding some extra miles but this time it started to rain seriously, with a bit of snow thrown in for good measure, so I took the hint and went straight home.
Mrs Tootlepedal was working in the garden and the rain was so local that it had hardly stopped her at all. I had a look round the garden myself.
..and felt that the flower of the day was the single blossom on the winter honeysuckle.
The sun came out again as I went in.
Mrs Tootlepedal told me that the helicopter which is taking materials to the pylon on the golf course was back in the air again, so I went upstairs to have a look to see if I could see it.
It was very busy zipping to and fro. They must have been pleased to be able to get back to work after the strong winds of the past two weeks.
As I watched, the rain started again so I shut the window after I had taken this final shot of the helicopter, like young Oliver, going back for more.
I was thinking of going for a late walk but the weather seemed too unreliable so I settled down to try to improve the security of the Langholm Archive Group website, a necessity these days when browsers may stop people viewing insecure sites. This is above my pay grade but I ploughed on and succeeded with two of the three parts of the site but made the third part so bad that my browser had a fit when I tried to view it.
Fortunately, the web hosting company was able to provide a solution when I retailed my woes to them.
Unfortunately, the security certification process has upset the formatting of the sites and I have had to ask for help again. This sort of thing makes my head hurt. They have kindly replied but the suggested solution may need me to seek yet more help.
In the meantime, I did find a sunny flying chaffinch of the day. Hooray.