Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She found another impressive gate on a visit to Montacute House, which she describes as one of the most exquisite Renaissance buildings in the land.
The forecast for the day had not been good but by the time that we had finished breakfast, it looked as though we would get a dry morning at least with rain later. This proved to be the case.
This was a pleasant surprise, especially when we got a little early sunshine to light up the walnut tree…
…even though the sun was so low that our own house cast most of the garden into the shade.
I had a look at the birds and found a chaffinch in aggressive mood, perhaps brought on by a light shower of rain
The rain soon stopped. I had some business to do in the Archive Centre in the newspaper office and I got quite a surprise on my way to the town when I saw a head floating in the Wauchope Water just before the Kirk Brig. I was relived when I found that it was attached to the body of a swimmer. It turned out to be our old friend Cat, bird ringer and eagle enthusiast, who was having a chilly dip, swimming against the current. I took a lovely picture of her but foolishly deleted it by accident later in the day.
Cat was wearing a wet suit and said that she could stay in the decidedly chilly water for up to twenty minutes.
The work at the Archive Centre, with the co-operation of Nancy and Sandra went well. We had received a request for copies of articles about his ancestors from a man in America. He had searched our database, and had been surprised to find two of them up in front of the magistrates. He wanted to know what they had done.
In an echo of the present time, one had been found guilty of breaching lockdown restrictions by bringing a cow from Carlisle to Canonbie during a epidemic disease in 1890.
I had a look round the garden when I got home. I took the very last of the fuchsias among some other hardy survivors…
…but the poppies are fighting a losing battle now.
We had coffee indoors as our neighbour Margaret was off to get her flu jab, and afterwards, I watched the birds for a bit.
The highlight of the session was a visit from an alert rook…
..who spent quite a lot of time and effort trying to unhook the feeder from the pole so that it could get at the fallen seed.
It couldn’t quite get its beak round the problem and in the end, I shooed it away before it could work out how to do it. I used to find my old fat ball feeder on the ground a lot as rooks are clever birds.
A blackbird was less demanding, happy to scavenge for crumbs from the table.
The feeder was busy with chaffinches and goldfinches…
…but I pulled myself away from the window and went for a walk.
Mrs Tootlepedal thought that the day was too good to not to catch up on some slab work and garden tidying, so I went off to walk the five miles ’round the Potholm’ by myself.
I had my walking poles with me and I chose to walk along the riverside path rather than the road to start with. This gave me the chance to have another ,look at those odd fungi that I had seen yesterday…
…but I couldn’t get far enough down the banking to see if they have gills underneath.
I followed the sometimes slippery and steep path…
…crossing streams of water coming off the hill and under the road above me…
…up to the road to Potholm. I then enjoyed a more secure walk along the road to the bridge over the Esk.
Along the way, the wall on one side of the road showed me a never ending selection of lichens (and a thorny wild rose).
I disturbed a large flock of rooks (or crows) in the fields on the other side of the wall.
The sun came out again as I walked along…
…but it was a fleeting appearance and it was already clouding over again as I got near the bridge.
Coming home on the other side of the valley made me pleased that I hadn’t considered cycling as the wind was both brisk and chilly when it blew into my face on the exposed sections of the track.
I was dressed for walking though and kept perfectly warm, enjoying occasional bursts of sunshine…
…and views of the Gates of Eden, looking back as I strolled down the track.
As I got to the pheasant hatchery, I was reminded of the need to keep moving by seeing what happens to a pile of masonry stones that had been left lying.
You have to be careful not to sit on a bench too long round here.
I kept an eye out for interest as I walked down to the Sawmill Brig…
…and another eye out when I got to the Esk and Wauchope.
I got home in time for a late lunch. Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy putting in a new slab in front of the bench at the kitchen window as well as doing some useful gardening. By the end of the afternoon, she had put in two more slabs. The gap to the larger slabs will be filled with cobbles.
While she was slabbing in the afternoon, I was preparing digital copies of the articles from our newspaper to send to America.
We both finished in perfect time for a cup of tea.
The day ended with a sibling Zoom and a meal of salmon and spinach.
The forecast for tomorrow has changed from perpetual rain to dry during daylight. Let’s hope that it doesn’t change again.
The flying bird of the day is a blue tit in the sun.