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.
Including quite a lot of chaffinches….
….one of whom made a very stylish approach to the feeder.
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.
A siskin enjoyed a lull in the wind.
While a greenfinch…
…and a redpoll found more stable perches.
I think that this one may be a female…
…and this one is a male with its courting court on.
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.
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.
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.
The oak wood looked as inviting as ever…
..but I plugged on past this fine gorse bush…
..pausing to look back at the view up the valley…
…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.
On my way back down the hill, I passed my favourite wall covered with moss which comes in many styles…
A small forest.
A waving meadow.
And a mini 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.
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.
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.