Roman in the gloaming

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.

morocco tiout

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.

nearly full moon

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…

siskin and goldfinch trios

…while gangs of siskins monopolised the bottom layer.

siskin circle

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.

forsythia

Going back in, I had another look at the birds.  A redpoll was copying the siskins and wasting good food.

redpoll dropping seed

A goldfinch, ruffled by the brisk breeze, posed in the fake tree.

goldfinch 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.)

goldfinch head

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.

blackbird in garden

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…

garlic, bluebell, script lichen

…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.

stained birch tree

A robin, sitting on a  fence at a stable, kindly let me add to the collection of peaceful birds to please Mrs Tootlepedal.

robin stubholm

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

hazel catkin and hazel 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.

roman 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…

roman tree

…and we think that this is probably the nicest wood in the area.

roamn wood

It is not every day that you can see a good looking tree alongside a Roman ditch.roman ditch

On the far side of the camp, we came to the old railway.  There is a fine bridge over a deep cutting…

railway roman camp

…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…

railway broomholm

…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…

footpath broomholm

…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…

cone, moss, cress and celandine broomholm

…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.

scarlet elf cap

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.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Roman in the gloaming

  1. You’re camera was in overdrive today,hope it doesn’t overheat 😉
    Some excellent closer than usual bird shots,very nice indeed,and welcome signs of spring which can’t come soon enough.

  2. The views, the moon and the hazel blossoms were enough to make this post worthwhile but the scarlet elf cup was the icing on the cake. I’ve seen them exactly once in my lifetime.
    It’s too bad that you won’t be able to put all that singing practice to good use but it does seem wise to avoid groups of people for now. At least that’s what we’re being told.
    Years ago I did a post on the gloaming and wondered if I’d ever hear anyone else use the word. I’m glad someone finally did.

  3. I think possibly reading your post is the most routine thing I do in life. It always gets my day off on the right note! I often end my day thinking “I could have done more, possibly forgetting what glorious little things have been enjoyed.
    With that in mind, I thank you, and those you love, for my daily dose of positivity
    even on the most gloomy of days.

    1. I completely agree with this comment. When the news seems full of worldwide catastrophes, how heartening to know that we who lead ‘little lives’ are continuing on. Because Community is what will get us through. Thank you.

      1. Thank you Ken and Terena. I like to take an interest in the ‘bigger picture’ even when it is quite depressing as it is now but on the whole, I like to enjoy the smaller things as much as I can and it is a great honour if other people share my enjoyment.

  4. As your oldest sister I much appreciated, on your behalf, Ken’s comment. Glaur is a splendid word and the red of that fungus had to be seen to be believed.

  5. I’ve never seen those scarlet elf cups – wonderful. At first glance the string of forsythia looked like birds on a wire. A Roman ditch – now that is something.

  6. That singing practice is not at all wasted, it is a valuable thing in itself. I always am astonished at the obsession of the British with competition. I for one don’t want to stand in the front line – to much of a good target – I am happy to be the best in the second rank.

  7. I enjoyed this virtual walk through your countryside! The birds are well behaved at the feeders, and sitting nicely for their portraits. 🙂

    Our forsythias seem to be stuck at the unfurled flower stage, opening very slowly this year.

    The brown stain on the silver birch is interesting. If you ever learn what causes it, please share with your readers. My guess would be fungus.

  8. Such a lovely walk with so many interesting things to enjoy and following in the footsteps of Romans was an added bonus. The goldfinch photos are wonderful. Sorry about the competition but the rugby is still on…at present!

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