A good companion

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who found a sunny day for a walk by the canal at St Pancras today. Every inch has been built on round there now.

After another night of rain (two inches in the rain gauge since Saturday), we woke to another grey morning. The run of gloomy weather is severely curtailing our coffee with Margaret in the garden and once again we had to settle for coffee at home alone.

Both Mrs Tootlepedal and I did a little independent shopping in the morning. I watched birds before I went out.

The goldfinches were back in force again…

…but a sparrow did manage to squeeze in among them.

I walked to John’s shop today so that I could look out for waterside birds on my way. I was rewarded by a dipper in the Esk…

…and three neatly posed gulls on their posts on the far side of the river at the Meeting of the Waters.

When I got back, there a was a shock to the system as the sun came out and lit up a chaffinch….

…and a male blackbird…

…but it had gone in again by the time that this female blackbird arrived.

I made some leek and potato soup for lunch. Nancy, the most dedicated of our archive group data miners, had brought round some sheets ready for entering into the newspaper index database and as Sandy was looking for something to do, I took them up to him after lunch.

I was going on for a walk, so Sandy put his walking shoes on and came with me as far as the end of the Becks track. He has been having trouble with a sore shoulder lately and he was pleased to be able to have a stroll. I was pleased to have his company.

There is not a lot of news about in these days so we ambled along in companionable silence for the most part, occasionally remarking on the general gloominess of the weather lately.

We saw a fine crop of fungus on a log.

This sort of fungus has done really well in the recent wet conditions and I see it all over the place on old logs on my walks.

When we got to the top of the bank above the Becks Burn, Sandy turned for home…

…and I tottered very carefully down the steep path to the stream. The burn had less water in it than I had expected after the rain. Our natural drainage system has been working well.

Just to make a point about fungus, I saw this log as I climbed up the other side of the little valley.

It’s everywhere.

I walked down to the Auld Stane Brig and considered my options. It was dry and there was a hint of sunshine to the west so I took the path up the lower slopes of Warbla…

….and then walked down to the Kernigal wood.

Our local hills were free of clouds today but over to my left, I could see that there was hill up the valley with its head still firmly in the clouds.

The track through the Kernigal was wet in places, to say the least…

…but as I had prudently put my wellies on again, I splashed through the puddles with a nonchalant air, and enjoyed the silhouettes of pine trees against a fairly cheerful sky.

When I got down to the Murtholm track, I had a choice of going home directly or taking a longer route down by the river and over Skippers Bridge. It wasn’t raining so I chose the longer route but I was unsurprised when it started raining about three minutes later. I kept going as there was a hint of sunshine behind the hill…

…although the puddles in the field showed that it was raining quite hard,

Luckily, I was sheltered from the wind, and as the rain was coming straight down, I didn’t get very wet. The rain didn’t last very long, and I was able to walk back to town along the other side of the river in a cheerful mood. All the same, it had got too dark for taking proper pictures so I settled for a look through Daniel’s window at the old distillery…

…and a glance of respect at the last wild flower beside the river.

As I crossed the suspension bridge, I saw two brave ladies who had just come out of the Wauchope after what must have been a very invigorating swim. I pulled my coat closer round my body and hurried home for a nice cup of tea and some rich tea biscuits.

After my cup of tea, I spent time downloading and printing out the monthly planner for 2021, a sure sign that we are getting near the shortest day and ready for the approach of another year. I usually look forward to a new year with confidence but I am not quite so sure this time. People say, “Oh it can’t be as bad as 2020.” but that is setting the bar pretty low. We shall see.

At least that glimpse of sunshine earlier today provided me with a very respectable flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “A good companion

  1. Some great bird close ups today,especially the dipper showing itโ€™s wonderful colours.
    My daily walk on our local peat moor is the boggiest Iโ€™ve ever known it,I have to tread extremely cautiously to avoid a mud bath or worse.
    Lovely shot of the silhouetted pines.

    1. The ground is getting really sodden here. Our neighbour Liz suggested that if the whole town turned out and jumped at the same time, so much water would come out of the ground that we would get a flood.

  2. I love the tree silhouettes and the chaffinch photos. The female blackbird has a thoughtful expression. The past couple of days have been dry here which has made life much more pleasant.

  3. It’s nice to see you and Sandy out for a walk again.
    The photo of the pines could have been taken here but the bare hillsides couldn’t have.
    All in all that was a fine walk. I think some of the fungi might be turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) but I can’t be sure.

    1. There were certainly trametes among the fungi. I was very happy to have a stroll with Sandy. He has not had his troubles to seek as they say round here.

  4. From the look of the paths you walked, you’ll soon be able to start growing rice! Or maybe cranberries . . . those would be more seasonal.

    1. Yes, there are lots of people offering them in return for planting cookies on your computer!! I use a generous firm which offers them without cookies.

  5. It is good to see Sandy out and about with you again, and I enjoyed the photos from your day. It looks like you had a variable weather day there, much like we have been experiencing here.

    The HVAC repairman came for the heat pump. He replaced a circuit board, which he found a tree fog had electrocuted itself on, shorting the board. The remains of the frog were behind the board on the underside. Stretched out and fried, he had shorted the power plug coming in. The man said they run into that once or twice a year.

  6. I enjoy photographs of fungus – what a variety you encounter! The sunlit chaffinch is a really good photograph which I took particular delight in.

  7. I enjoyed the three birds posing on the posts, and I agree with you about setting the bar rather low with 2020. Let’s hope we’re going upwards quickly in 2021!

  8. The trio of seagulls is a lovely photo and all the other bird portraits too. You found lots of frilly fungus and some lovely trees on your walk and walking with a friend adds to the enjoyment of any walk.

  9. The Dipper was a cheering sight for the day. As you know, I like Dippers. On the frog story – I was once electrocuted after a mouse chewed some wiring in a poultry feeder. It was a bit of a surprise but i was, to be fair, a lot better off than the mouse.

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