Lying low

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. It shows the Exeter Bridge across the River Derwent in Derby. It was built in 1929. I always enjoy a picture where I get two bridges for the price of one.

We had a cold and grey morning with occasional light rain, and a cold and grey afternoon without rain. Although it wasn’t freezing, the temperature never got above 3°C all day.

In the morning, I idled about and watched some birds who posed for me. It was lucky that they stood still, because the light was poor for moving objects.

A green finch…

…worked on presenting its best side

A female chaffinch had the posing off very nicely…

…while a male chaffinch didn’t quite get it right.

I tried saying, “Watch the birdie!” to get him to look at the camera but it didn’t work.

A blue tit looked dashing…

…and a sparrow tried to pretend that it don’t know it was being photographed.

Mrs Tootlepedal kept busy, but I occupied myself by reading the papers, doing the crossword and drinking coffee, and in this way managed to fill up all the rest of the time until an early lunch.

Then we made the best of things by going for a walk in the afternoon.

In a successful effort to make sure that it didn’t rain, we wore our heavy coats, and when we were half way round we met a man coming the other way who had brought his umbrella with him for the same purpose. The weather gods appreciate it when you make an effort.

All the same, it was quite gloomy when we took the riverside path from the Duchess Bridge up to the road.

We had to watch our footing as we went along, as there was a thick covering of soggy leaves on the at times narrow path, but we had our sticks with us and we made the tarred surface safely.

Nature was painting with a limited palette today…

We had chosen a well sheltered route, and although we could see the turbines on the hills above us going round quite vigorously in the low cloud…

…it was very still down in the valley…

…and we could enjoy the views without getting our noses cold.

We had to search for colour and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a dandelion growing out of a wall at Potholm…

…but we could hardly miss a chicken on a fence.

Grasses, both tame and wild, offered a contrast to the prevailing dark greens and browns.

When we reached the top of the hill at Potholm, we could see a group of patient and hardy hill cattle getting as much grass in as they could in the time available.

The walk back to the town along the Longfauld was very peaceful. We passed a beech wood showing the open habit that makes a beech wood so appealing to the eye, even on a dark day…

…and Mrs Tootlepedal gives an idea of the scale of the conifers we passed a bit further on.

There were a lot of cars parked at the pheasant shooting headquarters at Holmhead so we wondered if pheasant shooters were about. We had heard no sounds of shots so we presumed that they had gone to shoot elsewhere. Mrs Tootlepedal saw some promising snowdrops beside the road.

By the time that we got to the Duchess Bridge, our peace was interrupted by a fusillade of shots. Fortunately, the shooters were well away to our left and we were well out of range.

We stopped to chat to Mike Tinker as we passed his house, and he told us that he had been walking on the same route in the morning and had found himself very much among the shooters and pheasants. He and our friend Gavin, who was walking with him, put their heads down and scampered out of range as quickly as they could.

We had been lucky to have such a peaceful walk. The shooters must have been having a long lunch while we were strolling along.

I found a nasturtium still out in the garden when we got back. It needed a flash for the camera to see it too.

Our walk was a fraction under five miles and we had been able to enjoy it more perhaps than we had expected to, thanks to the still, dry conditions. A cup of tea and a ginger biscuit (or two) was very welcome when we got back.

The cold weather is set to continue and it looks as though I will be doing more walking than cycling in the next week. Our son Alistair had a sprinkling of snow in Edinburgh this morning and there is talk of a possibility of some here tomorrow. It is more likely to rain though, so we were well advised to get our walk in today.

A chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Lying low

  1. That ‘limited palette’ of nature’s colours is quite subtle. I’m currently knitting a four-colour sweater in pretty well that palette – and excluding the bright green in the lower part of the picture.

      1. It is indeed. It’s going to take longer to finish though. Today I realised that, with just two sleeves to go, it was going to be far too small, so I’ve totally undone it and will start again, this time checking my tension first – as one is always meant to do.

      2. I never could knit successfully as the tension got so bad that I couldn’t get the needles out of the work to do another stitch.

  2. I simply love how you catch the stillness and beauty of things. When reading your blog, as if I hear you telling the story. Thank you for sharing and the addition of the pictures brings so much peace and calm for me.

    Be blessed.

  3. When we were walking up the path from the Duchess Bridge to the Potholm road the shooters were down beside the river and the Pheasants were flying high over our heads when we heard what we think was lead shot dropping down through the trees over our heads. It didn’t half make us speed up the last few hundred yards to the road.

  4. Snowdrop shoots already! Soon I will start seeing daffodils shoots here in the more protected places. Some Dutch iris shoots are up a good 5 inches, much to my surprise, but this has been an off year.

    I enjoyed all the photos, even on a dreich day. 🙂 The birds were good at portrait sitting for you, and I especially loved the chicken on the fence.

  5. I never tire of shots of your beautiful stone walls, and the posing chicken made me chuckle!

    Snowdrops already? You’re still scavenging photos of last year’s flowers in your garden. Do they often overlap like that?

    1. Mrs T tells me that she thinks that the snowdrops are early this year. It has been relatively mild in November so maybe they are getting mixed messages about what time of year it is.

  6. That chicken on the fence made me smile. Those conifers are huge. I enlarged the picture so I could get a better look of Mrs. Tootlepedal next to the giant trees.

  7. Another pleasant outing with some just rewards (least of all the biscuits afterwards). The area looks very peaceful – except for the pheasant shooters! I too enjoyed the wall and the chicken.

  8. I think the limited palette you both experienced on your walk is still beautiful. It amazes me how the colours change in different light and weather. As always it’s great to be out there. There is snow “on dem dere hills” here in South Wales, brrrr! Cheers

  9. I’ll say yet again, your gloomy days are so pretty and give me a nice change of pace from winds and wildfire smoke that we’ve had again the past few days. I don’t like the thought of hunters shooting nearby as you and Mrs T are out for a walk, though!

  10. The news has been full of the thunder snow in Edinburgh today and views of heavy snow and there you are walking by those beautiful rolling hills and wooded glades and not a flake in sight! Long may it last so those little snowdrops don’t get too damaged. Good shots of all the birds showing their colours including the chicken!

  11. Beautiful greens in your photos this week. The shooting sounds disconcerting. We hear the sound of duck hunters shooting every day now. Fortunately, even though they are shooting right at the edge of town, they are aiming out into the grasses along the smallish river bay that our town sits next to.

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