Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s Moroccan trip. You might find it hard to believe that this delightfully shady restaurant garden is in Morocco but it is.
The first picture in today’s post is a bit of a cheat as it was taken yesterday when I went to bed. Looking out of the window, I saw a very nearly full moon and I couldn’t resist the temptation to go back downstairs to fetch my camera and take a shot of it.
Any clear skies had disappeared by morning and we had another wet and windy day.
Once again, Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off after breakfast on business, this time to Canonbie, and my slow getting up technique was called into play. I am getting good at it and was only just up and dressed by the time that Mrs Tootlepedal returned.
We had coffee and I kept an eye on the birds. The indifferent weather had brought them to the feeder in good numbers and siskins and goldfinches took it in turn to fill the top layer of perches…
…while gangs of siskins monopolised the bottom layer.
There was a brighter moment and I popped out into the garden to see if there were any frogs about. The weather didn’t suit the frogs though, and the pond was deserted.
I walked round the garden and was pleased to see the first signs of Forsythia flowers.
Going back in, I had another look at the birds. A redpoll was copying the siskins and wasting good food.
A goldfinch, ruffled by the brisk breeze, posed in the fake tree.
You are supposed to be able to tell a male from, a female goldfinch by how far behind the eye the red patch extends and various other subtle signs, They are usually too subtle for me but I think that this is a male. (I am happy to be corrected by any passing expert.)
As it looked as though there might be a dry spell for a while, I went for a walk and indeed, it was almost sunny as I set out, passing a blackbird, looking a bit the worse for wear as I went.
It got gloomier as I walked along the river but there was a lot to look at.
There was wild garlic growing along the river bank, and potential bluebells lined the path up the hill…
…and while the writing was not on the wall, there was plenty of script lichen on birch trees.
I don’t know what causes this striking brown staining on a silver birch.
A robin, sitting on a fence at a stable, kindly let me add to the collection of peaceful birds to please Mrs Tootlepedal.
There have not been a great number of catkins so far this year but they are beginning to appear, and while I was looking at a healthy crop, I noticed a tiny red spot in the background. I knew then that they were hazel catkins and the red spot was a flower
When I looked more closely, there were dozens of the flowers out and I had never found them so easy to see before.
I was hoping to extend my stroll but some very strong gusts of wind heralded the arrival of a rain shower. I speeded up my steps and stopped looking for interesting things but my luck didn’t hold out. I was still a few hundred yards from home when a heavy shower of rain and sleet got me thoroughly drenched in a very short time.
A toasted cheese sandwich restored my good humour.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal took a break from her work and came out for a walk with me.
We drove up the hill and parked near the Roman camp at Broomholmshiels. It was windy and gloomy but the Romans had chosen the spot because it commanded a good view up the valley and even on a grey day, it is still a good view.
It was extremely wet underfoot and we splodged through the glaur, trying hard not to slip over.
Nothing could take away from the enjoyment of the fine trees in the wood alongside the camp…
…and we think that this is probably the nicest wood in the area.
It is not every day that you can see a good looking tree alongside a Roman ditch.
On the far side of the camp, we came to the old railway. There is a fine bridge over a deep cutting…
…but the line has been neglected at this point and is more of a river than a track, so we had to leave the bridge and walk along for a bit before we could join the trackbed just where an embankment gave way to a shallow cutting.
This was the best bit of walking of the outing and we could enjoy a view to the valley below as well as thistles making ornamental patterns in the grass…
…and some bits of the old railway like these metal posts and a one of the clamps that used to hold the rails.
The line stops at a bridge over the road that we had driven up. Here the walk became difficult. The bridge has been demolished and although there is a signpost indicating a walking path, the way has become blocked by a fence and many fallen trees…
…but a dingly dell full of snowdrops was a consolation for the battle through the brushwood.
There were pine cones and moss along the track…
…and wild water cress and early celandine as we walked back up the road to the car.
But the best thing for me was a good crop of scarlet elf cupsAs just at the old bridge.
This is a beautiful fungus and it was popping up all over the place when we looked.
Although it was only a walk of one and a half miles, it felt like an adventure and even on a soggy, windy day, it was full of enjoyment from start to finish. And it didn’t rain.
We had a cup of tea and some toast and honey when we got home, and then Mrs Tootlepedal set to work folding hundreds of letters from the community buy out group ready for stuffing into envelopes tomorrow, and I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.
When I had finished, I joined in the letter folding, got our evening meal ready, did some more letter folding, and then left Mrs Tootlepedal still folding while I went away to write this post.
What I didn’t do was practise any songs for the choir competition tomorrow. It has fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak as the choir committee has decided that it would be wiser if we didn’t take part. I completely agree with that decision.
It is a bit of a pity though, as this is the first time that I have truly felt that I have properly learned off by heart all the songs that we were going to sing in a competition….and moreover felt that I could actually sing them correctly. Such is life.
Tomorrow there will be more strong winds and rain and possibly an early frost as well. Sometimes, it is quite hard to be cheerful.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.