Today’s guest picture come from my Welsh correspondent Keiron who knows that I like a tree.
We woke to some rather disappointing rain which took its time before it passed over, but it had brightened up by the time that we had had coffee and I looked out to see if there were any birds about.
The feeder started quietly with a mixed bag of chaffinch, greenfinch and goldfinch…
…but it got a little busier…
…as time went on.
The finches made themselves scarce when a starling arrived.
I couldn’t hang around for the sun to get to the feeder. This is late in the morning at this time of the year and I wanted to get a bit of sunshine for myself.
I haven’t been out on the bicycle for nine days, so this was too good an opportunity to miss. I finally got going at about midday. It takes me a long time to get organised. I get my bike out, and then I keep on having to go back in and get all the things that I have forgotten – phone, camera, glasses, snacks, water bottle, helmet etc. It wouldn’t be so bad if I got them all in one go but I go back and get one, go out again, and only then remember the next thing. It is a kind of miracle when I actually put foot to pedal and get going.
Just before I left, Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to the amazing lichen on a twig from the plum tree.
I was pleased to see my new heron friend in position at Pool Corner as I left the town.
I had thought of going for a slightly longer ride than my default 20 miles but after sampling the joys of cycling into what the Norwegian weather forecasters call a light breeze and what I call a stiff wind, I changed my mind and settled for a pleasant and leisurely ride round the Canonbie route.
After five miles, I came to the wood where I had seen a track being made among the trees on previous rides. The track must be completed and the foresters haven’t wasted any time.
In the ‘old days’, the foresters used to fell the trees and then drag them out to be cut and stacked. Nowadays they have the machines to fell, cut and lay them in neat rows where they once stood.
One side effect of the felling is a new view of the Solwaybank windfarm.
They were a few clouds about, but the sun peeked though just as I came to this little green hill half a mile further on.
The ‘gentle breeze’ was coming at me in the form of a brisk crosswind, so I concentrated on cycling until I got down to the bottom of the bypass and turned for home. With the breeze behind me, I stopped for some pictures on the way back.
The three tree trees at Grainstonehead have lost all their leaves now…
…and looking between the bare branches, I could see the viaduct over the Liddle Water which takes the railway line across the border.
Campaigners are working hard to get rail traffic running on this line again after fifty years. I hope that they succeed.
I stopped again at the Hollows Tower….
…which has been restored and now operates as a visitor attraction, especially for members of the Armstrong clan. (They are trying to keep as open as much they can under the present circumstances and those interested in the border reivers can find information about the tower here.)
I made my last stop to record a tree that is almost entirely covered in ivy near Irvine House.
I got home very happy to have been out on my bicycle after such a long gap (and relieved that the ride had postponed the necessity of using the bike to nowhere for a bit at least). With a bit of luck, I might get out again tomorrow, though low temperatures are forecast.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy on the drive while I had been out and after I had had a bowl of her excellent ham broth for a late lunch, I came out to lend her a hand for the last stage of putting a new slab in place. I took a picture of the twelfth slab, along with the tools of her trade.
It is a major work. She has replaced twelve slabs and still needs to do one more just to have completed half the task.
In between helpful moments, I wandered round the garden searching out surviving flowers.
There are a few left in fairly poor condition.
Still, we are quite lucky to have any this late in November.
The perennial wallflower deserves a picture of its own as it seems to be perpetual as well as perennial. When a flower dies, it just sticks its neck out a bit more and grows another flower.
I went shopping, and as I have over the years had quite a few grants from the National Lottery for various projects, I think that it is only fair to buy a scratch card every now and again to put a bit back into the fund. I had won five pounds on the last card I bought so I kept £1 back and invested £4 on two fresh cards. When scratched, these revealed that I had won £12. Next time I go shopping, I will keep £2 back and re-invest £10, and if this rate of return keeps up, I have calculated that I only need to go shopping 12 more times before I become a millionaire. I will remember my friends.
Our Langholm choir is attempting a simple virtual choir number for a virtual Christmas concert and I am going to record my contribution tomorrow so I had a practice after a quick shower. It has been nine months since the choirs stopped singing and my voice has got very rusty through lack of use. I hope it stands up to the task tomorrow.
Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some tasty mince and tatties for our tea so the day was firmly entered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.
I got two pictures of a rook flying home late in the afternoon and it is the flying bird of the day.