Another blow

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon.  He was walking along the Esk near Canonbie when he saw these people having fun.


It was a better day here today with outbreaks of sunshine and no rain until the evening.  Unfortunately, the persistent strong wind was on the go again and it made things feel very chilly unless you could find a sheltered spot in the sunshine and out of the wind.

I had a busy morning, starting with a visit to the shop to panic buy a bottle of milk.  Fortunately, there were quite a lot of bottles to choose from as the people of Langholm are keeping very calm.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy on envelope business as more addresses appear which need deliveries.  I went off to visit Sandy and take him some newspaper index sheets to put into the Archive Group database.  He has two weeks to go before the plaster comes off his leg so he was quite pleased to get something to occupy his time.  I was quite pleased to get an excellent cup of Brazilian coffee and a ginger biscuit or two (or three).

I couldn’t stay long as the final business of the morning was to go with Mrs Tootlepedal to the funeral of a man with whom I used to play in the Town Band and who was the father of one of our daughter’s first friends when we came to Langholm.

When we got home from church, we set about copying more inserts and stuffing them into yet more envelopes.  Luckily another member of the team arrived to take a load to deliver to Canonbie.

While this was going on, I had a moment to watch the birds.  There were plenty about.

busy feeder

Including quite a lot of chaffinches….

flying chafinches

….one of whom made a very stylish approach to the feeder.

flying chaffinch with style

I tried to take a few posing birds for Mrs Tootlepedal’s pleasure but the strong wind was making perching on the fake tree a tricky business.  This greenfinch was hanging on to a wildly swaying twig for dear life, its feathers thoroughly flattened.

greenfinch hanging on

A siskin enjoyed a lull in the wind.

siskin posing

While a greenfinch…

greenfinch on stalk

…and a redpoll found more stable perches.

I think that this one may be a female…

quizzical redpoll

…and this one is a male with its courting court on.

red redpoll

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off in the car to deliver some brochures to far flung houses and I went for a walk.  I had hoped for a cycle ride but it was far too windy for cycling to be fun.

I walked down the Esk and was pleased to see a male goosander, even if it was too far away for a good picture.

male goosander

As I walked up Hallpath, I saw a bird of a different feather, or rather no feathers at all, as it is another of the fine wood carvings that grace the town.

wooden peacock

I was walking out to the Laverock bird hide to see if the planned felling of the diseased larch plantation there had begun.

It is a frequent walk but I never tire of it.  I noticed this tree which in its ample girth was strangely reminiscent of the photographer.


The path was muddy in places but not nearly as wet as I had expected after another four inches of rain last week.

jenny noble track

The oak wood looked as inviting as ever…

oak wood

..but I plugged on past this fine gorse bush…

gorse on broonholmshiels track

..pausing to look back at the view up the valley…

view from Broom holm

…before getting to the hide.

The plantation was still there and although the bird feeders have been taken down, there were still a lot of birds about, particularly a large flock of chaffinches.    It will probably take them a bit of time to realise that the feeders are not going to magically reappear.  I hope that they find a new source of food soon.

On my way back to Langholm (down the road) I noticed something odd in a pylon.  A closer look showed that it was a man with a good head for heights.  Considering that the wind was blowing briskly, I was very glad that it was him and not me up there.

man up pylon

On my way back down the hill, I passed my favourite wall covered with moss which comes in many styles…

A small forest.

moss forest

A waving meadow.

moss meadow

And a mini mountain.

moss mountain

I crossed over Skippers Bridge and walked home along the west bank of the Esk.  The hazel catkins are flourishing at last and I was able to see both catkins and flowers close together today.

hazel flower and catkin

Mrs Tootlepedal had just got back before me and we enjoyed a well earned cup of tea and a slice of fruity malt loaf after our endeavours.

My flute playing friend Luke arrived on cue and we had a very successful play.  We are trying to develop a bit more style in our playing so a contrasting set of pieces, an arrangement of Easy Winners by Joplin, a slow movement form a trio sonata by J J Quantz, and a couple of fiddle hornpipes certainly gave us something to work on.

I made a simple evening meal of baked potatoes and then Mrs Tootlepedal and I sat down to try to make some sense out of the news.  It was hard work.

I thought that I had detected the hand of the prime minister’s special adviser in last week’s bold plan to let a lot of old people die in order to provide acquired immunity for the young and fit.  Today, I sensed that the sudden dawning on the prime minister that the age of the average Tory voter might not make this an election winning plan could have caused this week’s volte face, and the sudden concern for the health of the elderly.   We wash our hands.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.  As long as there is seed, they are content.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: I took my cycling computer in my pocket for today’s walk and it tells me that I did 5.7 miles at just over 4 miles an hour, though I did spend an additional  half an hour taking pictures along the way.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “Another blow

  1. We had a windy day here but unfortunately people here are not staying very calm. Now restaurants have to close.
    That’s a great shot of the hazel flowers and catkins. A hard one to get!
    Good to hear that Sandy is doing well. When he can finally get up and around I hope he’ll still be able to go outdoors. It’s an iffy thing here.

  2. Surely I do not hear a trace of cynicism in your reading of Boris’s change of plan? That would be like Americans suspecting that Donald’s plan to deal with the virus is predicated on how it might effect the Dow Jones. Or we Canadians believing that Justin wasn’t sure what to do until the Provincial Premiers took the initiative…
    My entire family still lives in Ireland. I joke, but I’m worried. Stay well.

      1. The temporariness seems to be up for debate. I have heard sensible people talking of twelve to eighteen months. I hope that they are wrong.

  3. A little crazy here. Lots of empty shelves at our local store. Kids home from school stressing parents. Thank goodness for your fine photos to take our minds off things. Love the female redpol. Looks as thou she has on her Sunday best chapeau. But the weather is fine and my leek starts go in tomorrow. Glad things remain calm over your way.

  4. Those are fine bird portraits, and I enjoyed virtually traveling along on your day out. I am always fond of the Lilliputian forests of mosses, too.

    Things seem more grim over here, too, with more closures, cancellations and postponements.

    1. We are not getting much news from abroad at the moment as the media here are obsessed with our own problems so it is interesting to hear how you are doing.

      1. Restaurants are closed except for take out service, panic buying continues with one local grocery store now limiting toilet paper to one 6 pack per family per week. Music is shut down everywhere. Traffic is way down on the roads.

  5. I share your political analysis. To the end it’s votes that count.
    4 mph? That’s really fast! For me it’s three, at that on the flat!

    1. That because I used the garmin and it stops every time that I stop so the speed is just for the time that I was walking. I expect you would find that you were going faster if the pauses weren’t included.

  6. A wise analysis of your PM’s motives.

    Your camera defined every feather on the sitting birds and the chaffinch photos are so graceful. I love that long horizontal mossy branch.

  7. Glad for our son and his wife doing the shopping for us. They deliver to the door as they don’t want to contaminate us. Public life has come to a standstill. I made a first outing to the garden as we enjoy a spell of fine weather.

    1. I am pleased that someone is looking after you. We are not at a standstill yet but that may come. We are very limited. We could do with some of that fine weather.

  8. Wonderful pictures of birds, as always, and some mighty fine pictures of moss. That advisor sounds as though he stepped right out of a fantasy novel. Evil!

  9. Great photos of the birds especially that redpoll portrait. The oak wood looks rather sinister and that old gnarled tree…well…it’s seen a lot in its lifetime and has many interesting thoughts on life.

  10. Brilliant selection of photos. We ignored the government and went out for a family meal tonight. It seemed reasonable to carry on as planned as we don’t know if we will all be here in three months.

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