Not here

Today’s guest picture from our son Alistair, shows that Matilda needed a parasol to cope with the bright sunshine in Edinburgh today.

matilda parasol

We didn’t get any sunshine here at all.  What made things more annoying was incessant talk on the radio about not letting the good weather tempt us to go out and have fun and break the lockdown.  Just poking a nose outside the back door was more than enough to show that it was quite cold enough for us to need no encouragement to stay inside at all.

I took some pictures of birds to prove that we were visited by one chaffinch, two siskins and three greenfinches in the morning.  (I was waiting for four turtle doves but they didn’t appear.)

chaffinch, siskins, greenfinches

Then I settled down to some serious time wasting which lasted until lunchtime. (I was helped by a good supply of ginger biscuits and a knotty crossword.)

After lunch, I did some desultory fiddling about in the garden and couldn’t find anything new to photograph, so I took a daffodil picture…

morning daffodil

….and sat on a bench waiting for something to happen.

The resident blackbird turned up looking rather cross…

blackbird not shouting

…perhaps because he didn’t think that I was paying enough attention.

blackbird shouting

I was sitting under the Forsythia.


I went in and put the cello and piano parts for the first movement of a Mozart divertimento onto the computer and cheered myself up by playing along with the result.

In fact I cheered myself up enough to ignore the chilly wind and get my cycling gear on and go out for a pedal.  I had chosen the best part of the day because it warmed up  a degree or two and the wind dropped a bit as the ride went on.  I enjoyed a tour round my familiar 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

The economic slowdown has brought some benefits to cyclists as the roads were extremely quiet and the views were quite a bit clearer than usual.  I could see details of the Lake District hills across the Solway….

skiddaw from ryehill

…and a bit of colour and some features on the hills on the other side of the Eden Valley.

pennines from ryehill

Both sets of hills are about 35 miles to the south of us as the crow flies.

I don’t know whether this fallen tree near Ryehills has appeared in a post before, but it struck a chord with me today.  I thought that I knew exactly how it felt.  Things have just got too much for it and it needed a lie down.

resting tree ryehill

My three favourite trees at Grainstonehead are still upright…

three trees grainstonehead

…and when I looked between two of them, the clearer light let me get a good view of the old Liddle railway viaduct a mile away up the valley.liddle viaduct

The savage cutting of the roadside verges and thrashing of many hedges mean that there is not a lot to look at as I cycle past but a few things caught my eye as I went along.

will, dandelion, butterbur and anemone

The patch of butterbur at the Canonbie bridge is very striking.

The landslip on the old road near Irvine House has left a slight better view of the river.

river esk irvine house

My Garmin record tells me that the temperature was over 10°C (50°F) by the time that I went cycling and it did feel a little warmer than it has been, but the cold wind made me glad that I was still dressed for winter pedalling.

When I got home, I found that the jackdaws were creeping about pecking the lawn again…

two jackdaws

…but the condition of the lawn is so poor anyway that it doesn’t upset me.

I like these little daffodils with their windswept petals.  They seem to suit a windy day.

evening daffodil

The tree peony is still reaching up to the heavens, in supplication perhaps for some sunshine.

tree peony raising hands

We don’t have a lot of new flowers but we are getting more of fritillaries and grape hyacinths every day…

fritillary and hyacinth

…and there are encouraging signs of buds on the clematis by the front door.

clematis bud

The red tulips have still not come out and it looks as though they may be pipped at the post by a late surge from a couple of yellow tulips outside the kitchen window.

yellow tulip early

There is a lot of good stuff being offered for free at the moment by arts companies that are closed to the public.  Having had a play from the National Theatre a couple of days ago, we watched Handel’s Acis and Galatea from the Royal Opera and Ballet company today.  They are streaming Cosi Fan Tutte next week.

No flying bird again but a strikingly green starling perched on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree in the early evening is the standing bird of the day.

green starling

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Not here

  1. We watched Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat last night. Not my favourite by far but had always wanted to see how Donny Osmond dealt with the part. Looking forward to next weeks offering from ALW. Our national ballet also streamed Hansel and Gretel – now theres a sentence that would have been deemed nonsense 20 years ago 😊

  2. I’m intrigued that you call doing a knotty crossword time-wasting. I would say it’s giving your brain a jolly good work-out.
    Starlings are such handsome birds.

  3. I think there are many out there who could commiserate with that fallen tree these days. 🙂 The stores here are short of many things. Still can’t get peroxide, isopropanol, gloves, or masks. And red lentils? Why red lentils?

    Your blackbird appears to want to have a word with you. I hope he was not too cross.

    That is a very greenish and handsome starling. It is unfortunate they are considered an invasive species here.

  4. It’s been too cold here as well to make me want to go outside (-18 this morning), so I stayed in and sewed masks. Shortages are occurring here as well – yeast is the latest. At least that makes a bit of sense – still trying to figure out why people stockpiled paper products.

    The clematis looks lovely set against the stones.

    1. Yes, I read in the paper here that yeast was hard to find. I have a stock which will last for a couple of weeks. -18 is a bit extreme. I hope that you warm up soon.

  5. Sorry you missed out on the sunshine, it was lovely in the Deep South. I always enjoy the pictures you take of the Lake District over the Solway and this was a particularly good one.

  6. We had sunshine today for the first time in a few days and I saw many people out and about on my way to the woods. Unfortunately I didn’t see anyone else there.
    The flower bud on the clematis was a big surprise. Our plants haven’t even come up yet.
    If I thought for a very long time I don’t think I could come up with a better place name than Eden Valley. That and all the flowers made this a fine read.

  7. Just to let you know how much we enjoy reading your blog. It’s quite a tonic in these extraordinary times. Thanks for your effort.

  8. Love the starling photo – it’s amazing he doesn’t trip up when he flies off- his ‘toes’ are all tangled! Enjoyed the photos from your ride especially the viaduct peeping through the trees. The plays, ballet and concerts available on YouTube now are excellent- we are spoilt for choice!

  9. Thanks for pointing out some of your silver linings. I’ve been hearing a bit about the decrease in pollution and seeing far less traffic (though I suspect the two are related). Looks like it turned out to be a good day after all. Wishing you and Mrs T good health!

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