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.