Today’s guest picture is a welcome contrast to our prevailing weather. It shows the ground staff taking the covers of one of the university cricket pitches at Sydney University. It was kindly sent to me by my Australian correspondent, Stephen.
We could have done with that sunshine here today but the rain gauge is creeping up to five inches for the week and the skies were cloudy again.
There is not much to say about the day.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to have some socially distanced coffee in an approved manner and I did some world class mooching around while she was out. I was waiting for a parcel.
I watched birds from time to time.
There was a mix of chaffinches and goldfinches on the feeder…
…but it was mostly chaffinches, often arguing with each other…
…and occasionally fighting.
The parcel arrived on schedule and proved to contain a delicious selection of French foods, a gift from our son Alistair. It included a sausage described as both superior and of an ancient style. This is very exciting.
I went back to bird watching. While I was outside collecting the parcel, I had noticed about ten collared doves sitting on our power line. This one looked nearly as happy as I was about the weather.
Although it didn’t appear to be very windy, a chaffinch approaching the feeder seemed to be being buffeted by gusts judging by its oddly ruffled feathers…
…unless it was just a bad hair day. Another chaffinch, posing on the feeder pole, seemed quite unruffled.
Mrs Tootlepedal returned and we set about finishing writing our Christmas cards, and after lunch we drove off in light rain to obtain the necessary stamps. We thought that we might have to drive to Canonbie, as Langholm no longer has a post office, but we just caught the visiting mobile post office before it left town. Mrs Tootlepedal stood in the queue. This was pretty noble as the weather goods chose this moment to amuse themselves by letting loose a really heavy shower of rain.
The stamps were purchased, applied to the envelopes and returned to the man in the van, and as we got home, the rain stopped. I took the opportunity to sneak out for a short three bridges walk.
W S Gilbert in The Mikado wrote:
See how the Fates their gifts allot
For A is happy, B is not
Yet B is worthy, I dare say
Of more prosperity than A
On this occasion, Mrs Tootlepedal was B and I was the undeserving A. As I got a dry walk in which I hadn’t expected, I did not let this upset me too much. I have often been undeserving before.
The down side was that it was so dark that taking pictures was not really a rewarding activity. I did notice that although the river had gone down a bit after overnight rain, it was still going under the suspension bridge at a fair lick.
Oddly enough, the river is flowing from left to right and the wave is a stopper going the wrong way.
The ducks at the Kilngreen can only be described as looking like ducks out of water…
…a pretty sensible policy as the rivers were high…
..and even Mr Grumpy had retreated behind the fence.
The ducks at the Sawmill Brig were keeping out of the flow as well.
In spite of the gloom, the clouds were higher than they have been and I even got a view as I reached the Castleholm.
At first glance you might think that some of the trees still have green leaves…
…but a closer look shows that the green is a combination of lichen and moss.
Fearing that I might become mossy if I stood looking at things any longer, I walked on up to the Lodge, passing a different sort of lichen covered tree on my way.
On our recent walk, Sandy and I had discussed the fact that some views don’t translate well to the camera even though they are quite pleasing to the human eye. This was one that he picked out.
Somehow the camera can’t convey the feeling of standing on the Duchess Bridge and looking up the Esk and watching the river swirling under the bridge. It just makes it look gloomy.
It was gloomy of course and I had to use a flash to get a bad picture of more hazel catkins…
…which I have put in just to show that everywhere I walk now, the hazels are covered in catkins.
I finished my walk with a trip to Pool Corner to see if the alternative heron was there but maybe there was too much water going over the caul…
…to make it a good place to stand.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal came out and we switched our usual roles while I did a little gravel raking on the drive project and she did some supervising.
It was warm and still, but it was so dark that we didn’t last long and went in for a cup of tea and a biscuit.
Our church organist is intending to have a virtual carol ready for an online Christmas service so I practiced my part and was chastened to find that I would need quite a bit more practice if I was going to get it right.
The evening rolled on with a sibling Zoom meeting at which lively political disagreements flew back and forth across the internet and finished with a substantial plate of corned beef hash for tea.
More rain is in the offing for tomorrow. What joy.
The flying bird of the day is a fuzzy chaffinch for a change. (I am going slightly stir crazy as you may have noticed.)