Today’s guest picture is another from Laura in Michigan and shows a handsome bridge in the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids.
We discovered an absolutely horrible day here when we woke up, with sheets of rain being blown across the garden by a brisk wind. I needed galoshes and an umbrella just to dig out a leek and get the bird feeder in and fill it up.
This was my only excursion into the great outdoors in the morning.
I was glad that I had filled the feeder though, because it attracted a good deal of custom, though some visitors looked a bit glum.
I was distracted from the birds by the twigs of the climbing hydrangea just outside the window.
After some quiet days at the feeder, things perked up quite a bit, and as well as the siskin and goldfinch, we got a selection of chaffinches…
…a sparrow and a great tit…
…as well as blue tits which didn’t stop for a picture, and a good number of low level birds as well.
This collection was added to later on when Mrs Tootlepedal sneaked out for long enough to scatter some fragments of cheese on the lawn and drive. The jackdaws, with their finely tuned cheese radar dropped in…
…and were joined by a crow.
The leek from the garden made a welcome appearance at lunchtime, and together with some commercial potatoes and onions, made up a warming leek and potato soup.
It had felt as though it might never stop raining but the forecast had been a bit hopeful for the afternoon and it turned out to be right. The rain fizzled out and we went for a walk. I had a look in the garden before we left and found two roses doing their best.
In search of a change of direction, we drove down to Claygate, passing the river Esk flowing generously under the bridge at the Hollows…
…and parked the car at Gilnockie Hall.
We had in mind a very square circular walk with four sides of about half a mile each. As we walked up the road through Claygate village on the first leg, we were slightly discouraged to find that it had started to rain again. We were protected by good hedges though, so we walked on and were rewarded when the rain blew away, a glimpse of blue sky appeared, and before we had gone very far, the sun came out.
The sun went in again as we started the second side of the square, walking straight into the wind. Mrs Tootlepedal was glad that she had brought some high-spec crochet protection wear with her.
Things got better when we reached the shelter of the North Wood. The first thing that we saw appeared to be a lot of litter scattered around but a closer look showed that it was fungus.
The third side of the square is a section of the old railway line from Langholm to Riddings Junction. It is still firm under foot 150 years after it was built, but parts of it needed careful navigation…
…while other bits were more pleasant, especially when we got back into the sunshine.
We felt the bite of the wind when we came out into the open…
…but it didn’t take us long to get to the station…
…and onto our last leg back to the car.
The sun was fully out now…
…and we got back to the car at the hall in very good order.
Mrs Tootlepedal spotted an insect on the car….
…but sadly it was on the wrong end of the vehicle so instead of having a bee on our bonnet, we had a bee on our boot. (This mild attempt at humour may be mystifying to any readers whose cars have a hood and a trunk.)
As far as the daylight hours went, the day had finished a lot better than it had begun and we were in a cheerful mood when we got home in time for a cup of tea and a slice of toast.
Even the spirea beside the greenhouse looked to be happy.
It is getting dark so early now that there was no time for any other outdoor activity and we subsided into winter mode for the rest of the day.
We roused ourselves to answer a phone call from our daughter and have a Zoom meeting with my siblings. My brother Andrew is indignant that the UK government has been insufficiently open about the facts behind the decision which led to the current lockdown in England. He brought a graph to the meeting to prove his point. We were impressed.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, glimpsed dimly through the gloom after lunch.