Just in time

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon from Canonbie. He paid a visit to Langholm to do some shopping a day or two ago before the snow came and took the opportunity to enjoy our hills and sunshine.

We had a little morning sunshine today but it didn’t last and it certainly wasn’t strong enough to thaw the frost in the garden.

It did shine on one of the occasional visiting chaffinches…

…though it had gone before the others got there.

A blue tit tried the peanut butter…

…but didn’t come back for seconds.

It was well below freezing when I walked round to John’s shop. On my way, I took a picture of the frosty trees and shrubs lining the Wauchope Water at the park bridge.

My younger son had rung me up to say that he was so worried by the recent alarming rise in Covid cases in the south of Scotland that he thought that we should go back to having our groceries delivered as we did in March. I may have to pay attention to him.

When I got back, I had a walk round the garden to enjoy the winter scene.

The conditions have produced a lot of crystals…

…and it reminds me a bit of Strictly Come Dancing with all the sparkle.

When I went in to have my coffee, the sun came out for long enough to light up our robin.

Mrs Tootlepedal had put out some cheese and fat scraps on the drive and they soon found takers.

And it was not long before they were all gone to the bafflement of this jackdaw.

After some nourishing Scotch broth with bread and cheese for lunch, I went off for a walk under cloudy skies.

Mr Grumpy was on hand at the Kilngreen to wish readers a very happy new year…

…and nearby, a female mallard stood on a rock and admired her reflection.

It was still cold, but there was little wind and I had my big coat on so I was warm enough to be comfortable as I negotiated the many icy patches on the tracks through the woods to Potholm.

Once I got to the beech woods, there were branches sprouting ice hair all over the floor of the woods. The fungus that creates the effect has obviously spread all round the town.

I had to keep a careful eye on the ground as the going was very variable and little patches of ice turned up without notice, so I may have missed many interesting things on my way. I did see this clump of young larches sprinkled in frost…

…while the spruces behind them had none at all.

I liked the subdued palette of colours that this view provided…

…but mostly I kept my hands on my walking poles and the camera in my pocket until I got to the road at Potholm which was generally ice free.

Just before the bridge over the river, I spotted this combination of two of my favourite subjects, a mossy wall and a gate.

Looking ahead, I could see that low clouds were forming on the hills again…

…and quickened my pace a little, as it would get colder if the mist came right down.

The sight of a flock of crows and gulls flying over a large frozen puddle in a field didn’t make me feel any warmer.

I pulled my hood over my head and walked on, checking on the clouds from time to time.

They were getting lower.

This allowed me to take a picture which let a tree stand out against the misty background.

As I got to the road back to Langholm with a mile still to go, it started to snow lightly and I took no more pictures until I reached our garden. There, the contrast on our hedge between the side which catches the sunshine and the side which doesn’t appealed to me.

The snow had got a little heavier by the time that I stood outside our back door…

…and after another half hour had passed, the garden looked quite white.

I was pleased that I had got my walk in before the snow started to lie, as the combination of snow and ice would have made some of the tracks that I followed, quite treacherous.

As it was, we were snug indoors and a cup of tea and a slice of toast kept us cheerful.

The evenings are still very long as it gets dark around four o’clock but I managed to fill this one up without doing anything worth remembering.

I will take this opportunity to wish all the patient readers of these posts a very happy new year, especially those who have stuck with me for the whole of yet another year of chaffinches, rambling and pedalling. If circumstances don’t allow you to be happy straight away, at least I hope that we can all be a lot more cheerful before 2021 comes to an end.

Almost inevitably, another flying chaffinch is the final flying bird of 2020.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

61 thoughts on “Just in time

  1. Please don’t underestimate the importance to us, your readers, of the chaffinches, rambling and peddling. During such a strange and fearful year, your funny and gentle comentary about your day to day doings were a balm to frazzled nerves. I am in the heart of the Canadian prairies and I work in long term care, so being able to escape for a few minutes every day to the gentle hills and mists fo Scotland is a gift. Thank you.
    Happy new year, and may 2021 be a brighter year for all of us.

    1. That was a very nice comment to receive. It put a smile on the end of a frowning year. I hope that the opportunity to range a little further afield will come in 2021 as finding something new to picture is getting harder all the time (as you will have noticed).

  2. I agree, your posts are a bright spot in the day, and are valued! Thank you for another year of news and beautiful photos from your corner of Scotland. I have learned much here.

    So, a frosty and snowy end to 2020? That is a beautiful chaffinch FBOTD to see this year out!

  3. What a beautiful post. I believe we’re all glad to tie up the year 2020 and toss it to the wind. Just so you know, I’ve enjoyed each and every one of your posts; the birds you highlight feel like old friends to me, the countryside scenes are fodder for my travel dreams. Best wishes for 2021.

  4. Your robin looks like he’s posing for the camera..he’s a new minor celeb 😊
    2020 has been a bad year all round but your blog has shed a welcome ray of sunshine to all your followers I’m sure.
    Thanks and happy new year 🚴🏼‍♀️

  5. The frosted bushes made a fine shot.
    It was nice to see Mr. Grumpy and the robin.
    My favorite was the mossy wall and gate. You could spend a lifetime studying all the mosses that must be there.
    I agree with the others; your posts made 2020 a more peaceful and beautiful year.

    1. We have been exceptionally fortunate in our situation in a horrible year so if I have been able to bring any little light in the darkness, it was the least that I could do.

  6. Hair frost is magical! I could almost feel the cold emanating from the ice puddle. I also enjoyed the subdued palette. Never underestimate the enjoyment I get from your great turn of phrase. A very happy HEALTHY 2021 to you both (Im with Alastair- get the groceries delivered!) from all on the Homestead

    1. Thank you. We will do our very best to be sensible. I hope that NZ continues to keep the virus at bay so you and your family can enjoy another good year on the homestead.

  7. Let’s hear it for flying chaffinches! Those frosty pictures are beautiful. Believe it or not, you have more snow than we do. A very happy new year to you and yours. Stay safe, be well.

  8. Love that fence and gate and all the beautiful crystals and frost shots. Mr. GBH is marvelous. Best to you and Mrs T for a healthy and happy new year. Stay safe!

  9. Mossy wall and gate is a glorious photo. The frosty nature photos are gorgeous, too. Please please please take your son’s advice and stop going to the shops for at least a month till you see how the pandemic will play out in your area over the winter. I do think he’s right, and you are fortunate to have the option of grocery delivery. Wish we did. Your blog is a balm to all of us. Happy New Year and here’s hoping for a return to the old ways of shopping and socializing by mid 2021.

    1. I can but second strongly Tangly Cottages advice. We have the benefit of our son living quite near so he is doing the shopping and delivers to the door. Have a beautiful 2021.

  10. Such alien scenes bring me joy and I view them with great interest. I have enjoyed all the scenic pictures today and am pleased a robin made its bright appearance too.

  11. Even though I live in the Rocky Mountains of the USA, I watched the BBC news this evening. It was all gloomy… covid and brexit and such. Your accounts of birds, frost, weather, and walks are a pleasant contrast. Thank you for the cheer they provide.

    1. The news has been gloomy but then news programmes love bad news much more than they like good news. Still, I am hoping that 2021 will bring both of us some relief from all the surrounding sadnesses.

  12. Hello TP,
    I completely agree with the above comment from TT. Your blog is a remarkable achievement and a world away from the depressing torrent of “news” which we’re subjected to if or when we turn the radio on. My new year resolution is to tune in here a little more often to bring a lift of normality and wonderful images in these trying times,
    Best wishes to you both for 2021, and I look forward to plenty more walks, birds, mosses and walls.

      1. Thanks TP, I realise I have my own curious approach to blogging, which is a little at one end of the spectrum! I might even touch on this in a planned next post. I do though formally follow, or dip into a tiny number of fellow bloggers, ( limited simply for time reasons), and gradually declining over the years, as people seem to give up, who have a clarity of thought and an observational eye for detail which I really enjoy, and your blog is most certainly one of these,
        best wishes

      2. Now that’s pertinent TP – I’ve already shelled out once for a dat upgrade, and it now looks as though I’m up to 86% of my bigger data allowance. It also looks like the next option is to change plans to a more professional one, at over double the price, rather than just the one off payment I had to make early on to raise it to 13 GB, I think? Have you already passed this point?
        Best wishes

      3. I am on a business plan which costs a bit but gives me more picture space than I will ever use. It is an extravagance but I use it a lot as you may have noticed so I think that I get value out of it.

      4. Thanks for that TP – I’m guessing this is the way I’ll have to go, and as you say, if you’re a long term blogger, rightly or wrongly, WP has a big part in one’s existence, and I agree that relative to other extravagances, it’s a pretty amazing service. Very useful to know anyway, so thank you,
        best wishes

  13. Happy new year to you both to .In normal years we would have been enjoying the weather at camp site in Newcastleton, we have had a bit of snow but not the frosts you’ve had, must be because we are near the sea here in Balloch Highland. Take are, stay safe.

    1. We are going to try our best to stay safe, I can assure you. It always sounds a little strange to our ears when someone talks of having a holiday in Newcastleton but it shouldn’t do as Newcastleton is a lovely place.

  14. Happy New Year to you and your family. I do enjoy seeing all the local views so thank you for all the photos!
    My favourite is always Mr Grumpy… I hope he will one day be the FBOTD.

    1. Happy new year to you. It is going to be another frosty day tomorrow here. We didn’t get anything like this last year so it is good to et some proper winter weather.

  15. Happy New Year ! It’s realy winter at your place. I loved to see the ice cristals and the birds comming to the feeder.
    All the best for 2021 !

  16. Happy new year Tom. Thoroughly enjoy your daily posts and keeping up to date with life in the Muckle Toon.

  17. Thank you for the New Year good wishes. Love all the photos today it all looks very cold and chilly! Love the mossy wall and gate and the bright robin redbreast to cheer everything up! Mr Grumpy looks quite stoical about the weather …wonder if he’d like some cheese and fat scraps?

  18. I’m with the son on this one – on-line groceries are annoying but they are very much safer, and it would be unfortunate to get caught out now we are so close to a vaccine. I am really looking forward to going shopping again and doing it properly, even though my lazy inner self is now quite used to pushing a few buttons.

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