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.