Promise betrayed

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan and shows her neighbourhood pig, sensibly masked up but in festive mood. The tree beside it is cheerfully blossoming.

There were moments today when a ray of hope was born. It was reasonably warm for the time of the year and there was quite an expansive spread of blue sky over the garden after breakfast for a while. Sadly, it was only flattering to deceive and as we got nearer to coffee time, it started to rain out of the blue sky, clouds came over and the sun never arrived.

Not many birds arrived either, even before the rain started, and it was rare to see more than two chaffinches at a time.

Occasionally a blue tit or a coal tit would join in.

I liked this chaffinch, which looked as though it had had already eaten plenty of seed but was still heading for more.

There weren’t even many blackbirds about and this was the only one to come in range of my camera today.

I found that there was a chilly wind but no riverside birds when I walked round to John’s shop after the rain had stopped. To make matters worse he told me that it had been a fine sunny morning when he had been in Carlisle an hour earlier, only twenty miles down the road.

Still, some soup with bread and cheese for lunch cheered me up and then I went for a walk..

The rain had stopped and to a certain extent, the skies had cleared and I had a faint hope that the sun might come out as I went along.

There had been articles in the paper and items on the radio in the morning about paths in popular walking areas being made ever wider by the influx of walkers during the recent restrictions. Walkers were accused of wearing inappropriate footwear and avoiding muddy sections thus widening the tracks to the detriment of the very beauty among which the visitors were walking. It is true to say that there has been a lot of walking round Langholm in recent months and our paths are suffering from the same effect in places and getting ever wider. I goodly put my wellies on and ploughed straight through the middle of puddles and boggy bits when I came to them today.

As I spent the majority of my walk on roads and tracks, it wasn’t too much of a hardship.

I walked through the town and up into the oak and birch woods on my way to Broomholmshiels.

The bracken round the oaks is still lending some colour to the woodlands…

…and there were some splendid birch polypores on a fallen tree…

…as well as a river of moss down a gully.

And there was always a bend in the path to add an air of uncertainty as to what might be round the corner.

You never know when you might meet a charging rhinoceros.

When I came out of the woods, I noticed that the work to remove the stones from the new road made by the pylon maintenance crew had been completed.

It looks a bit stark now but I don’t think that it will be too long before plant life will creep in again.

Looking across the valley to my right, I could see that once again the sun was shining where I wasn’t, a common theme on recent walks and rides….

…but it was dry and fairly clear when I looked behind me…

…with the occasional hint of blue through the clouds.

I took the road back down to the river, enjoying more twists and turns…

…past one of my favourite walls, home to frequent outburst of ferns in some places…

…and mini forests and meadows of moss in others…

…as well as lots of lichens.

I didn’t think the my camera had done the lichens justice so I called my new phone into action…

…and got a surprisingly good result as the light was not very good and these red fruiting bodies are so tiny that I had to look quite hard to see them with the naked eye in real life.

I got to the final bend that stops the road plunging straight into the river…

…and walked along the bank of the Esk to Skippers Bridge, and then back home by the Murtholm track. Of course far from the sun coming out, it had started to rain by this time so it needed something quite colourful or unusual to get my camera out of my pocket on an increasingly grey afternoon.

Hazel catkins provided some modest colour rather earlier than normal…

…but a horse at a gate was by far the brightest thing that I saw.

When I got to the park, it was obvious that the carved monsters were no more happy about the weather than I was.

Still, the rain had stopped and I got home more or less dry, and there was a cup of tea and some good biscuits on hand there, so the four and a half mile outing could be reckoned as a success.

The dark evening soon arrived and the rest of the day was spent quietly indoors doing puzzles, reading, watching box sets and eating the very last of the brisket for our tea. There may have been tinned peaches and ice cream to follow but I won’t mention them as I don’t want to make readers too envious.

The Norwegian forecast for Langholm offers rain all day tomorrow and Saturday. I might try a different forecast to see I can get anything better.

A chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Promise betrayed

  1. You are not the only with lass that decent weather, it is cold here and raining. Not so pleasant. πŸ™‚

  2. Great day I say, and another great post. That mobile camera phone certainly brought out the colourfulness of fruiting lichen, and I loved the winding road and that beautiful horse. I saw the knee specialist today, who informed I need to get a new left knee, but the way things are, it will be at least two years before I am at the top of the waiting list. So he gave me a leg brace that looks like it should be on Robocop. It straps on to my leg from below my calf to the top of my thigh. I must get a picture for you to laugh at. Getting it on is a major exercise in itself, lol. He also gave me another small brace like the ones I’ve been using when I ride my bike. It is his idea that using the braces and pedalling frequently will mean, eventually a simple knee replacement as opposed to a complex version, caused by over stretched ligaments. All doctorese to me. Next thing I need is a set of walking poles? Keep chasing the sun and blue skies. We are enjoying excellent rain here as another storm sweeps in from the south west, and it looks like I’ll be battling the rain and a headwind on my ride homeward in the morning. Doesn’t bother me, I am just so grateful I can do it, while so many others cannot. We just have to count our blessings. Hope you and yours are all keeping safe, things are really bad down here on the Covid front. Statistics confirm over a thousand residents in our village alone, are currently infected, 180 of whom are being treated in hospital. I think we should all cancel Christmas till better times. Anyway I better get back to my work on this graveyard shift, sorry bad choice of words. Stay safe up there. Cheers.

    1. Your Covid statistics look very alarming when I read about them Keep safe.

      I would never laugh at a knee brace having worn one that sound much like yours to play golf for over ten years. I had severely damaged cruciate ligaments and it kept me going. All the same, the best thing was the cycling as it kept me fit when otherwise I would have been limping around doing nothing much. I hope that you get your new knee as mine transformed my life.

  3. The carved monster, the horse and the beautiful lichens and fungus make for an interesting walk – not to mention all those twists and turns!

  4. Such a beautiful walk, even in grey weather. Mosses and lichens look so festive in the rain, especially the cladonia. I think those ones are called British Soldiers?

    Grey and rainy here tonight. No viewing of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in progress, or the growing moon. A bleak forecast for the week.

    1. There are unwanted side effects from getting people out into the country but the benefits probably make it worthwhile. Well used paths almost always create a scar though.

  5. Our walking paths have widened as well after the rain last week turned things into a skating rink: we now walk on the edge of people’s lawns! But the snow will come, and will pack into a good walking surface.

    The wall and the sloping paths make for a beautiful place to walk, despite the grey and gloom. It’s quite remarkable how two different cameras can see the same thing so differently.

  6. All the twists and turns in the roads and tracks and those ferny walls make very pleasing and atmospheric photos! Amazing what phones can do these days: track and trace, take wonderful photos and sometimes phone people too!

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