More free miles

Today’s guest picture comes from David, a Langholm exile in New Zealand who is the son of our friend Mike Tinker. David took advantage of a beautiful summer day to walk up Mount Vernon and look back down on Blenheim where he lives.

Back in frozen Langholm, I didn’t get the opportunity to cycle to nowhere this morning, as I had to drive to somewhere instead. Another routine visit to the infirmary in Dumfries was required. Mrs Tootlepedal was quite pleased to find that it hadn’t been cancelled and I was pleased that it was a lovely day and the roads had all been well gritted so the drive across was a pleasure. We plugged the car into one of the free charging points in the hospital car park and went inside.

Half an hour later, we were back in the car, and a measly ten miles of charge had been added to the battery. The Scottish government may be keen to entourage electric vehicle ownership with a free boost in the hospital car park, but they certainly aren’t dishing the current out generously.

Still, it was a lovely day and the snow capped hills in the distance were a treat….

…and ten free miles are still ten free miles. Mrs Tootlepedal saw two buzzards and a red kite on our way, so we drove home in a contented state of mind and got back in time for lunch and a look at the bird feeder.

The peanut butter feeder is giving me the opportunity to watch coal tits and blue tits. This was a coal tit having a peck today…

…and posing for a picture afterwards.

A blue tit had a nibble too.

Once again, there were not many birds at the seed feeder and those that did appear were almost all chaffinches. They made a valiant effort to get picked as flying bird of the day. The came in upwards…


…on the level…

…and mob handed.

One chaffinch stood aside and let the others compete.

After lunch, I went for a walk, keeping as far as possible to ice free surfaces. The ice is very bad and a local shop is doing a roaring trade selling spikes for worried walkers. I am waiting for my new Yaktrax to come as I prefer them to spikes.

On my way to the Kilngreen, I could see that the gulls were getting all their ducks in a row in a manner of speaking, though some had been driven round the bend, possibly by Brexit….

…but there was no sign of Mr Grumpy, the heron.

I walked up the Lodge Walks and made a circle round the unused sports field. Between every tussock on the pitches there was a patch of icy snow and each patch of icy snow had a jewelled edge…

…so that it seemed almost a shame to tread on them.

In spite of the ice, it was grand day for a walk…

…so crossing the sawmill Brig, I walked up the ice free footpath beside the main road to Whitshiels. Here I tried the hill road but after about 100 metres, I found it too icy for my taste. I came carefully back down and walked along the main road itself up to the High Mill Bridge, dodging onto the verges whenever a vehicle came by.

Once over the bridge, I found that some kind soul had mowed a grassy path beside the safety barrier next to the road…

…so that I could walk up the hill to the lay-by in comfort.

I enjoyed the winter colours of field and hillside…

…and hedges and hills…

…and added a new bridge to my collection.

I found a wide verge to let me walk on safely until I got to this curiously marked stone….

…which may or may not be an old milestone.

I went a little further on and took the look up the Ewes valley which you can see in today’s header picture. The low sun showed that our smooth looking hills are not always quite as smooth as they look.

Then I turned to walk home.

On my way back, I enjoyed a big sky over Whita…

…and the sun sinking behind the pine trees on the Castleholm.

I found an old friend standing mournfully on a rock between the Town and Suspension bridges.

In spite of the sunshine, it was pretty cold out so I was glad to get back home after my four mile outing in perfect time for a cup of tea to warm me up.

Catching up on my correspondence kept me busy until our evening meal, and then a very interesting program about the Tutankhamen excavations delayed the writing of this post so I have had a reasonably busy day for the first day of our new lockdown. (Travelling for medical appointments is permitted.)

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, hard to believe I know.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “More free miles

  1. The birds are getting used to your new feeder now. Nice close up of the coal tit.
    Some good winter sunshine landscapes favourite is the sun sinking behind the old pines 👍
    I spent most of the afternoon sweating over a hot stove, cooking a few dishes from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at home” series which I highly rate,he keeps it simple and manageable to most folks..
    I made apple & blackberry pie,which turned out well apart from overdoing the stem ginger,I won’t be adding that next time.
    Also meat balls in fresh tomato and basil sauce,with tagliatelle which we all enjoyed.
    I might have an indoor spin tomorrow to make up for no walk even today.

  2. I do enjoy your comments about the gulls, as well as the photos themselves, and the sitting chaffinch is beautifully framed.

    Mr. Grumpy seems to lead a very solitary existence – are there no other herons in the area, or is he just very good at social distancing?

    Hope your Yaktrax arrive soon. Mine are somewhere between Richmond, BC and MB. But I shouldn’t even think of complaining about the wait – the volume of parcels in the system these days must be incredible. The box-making business must be one of the few that are booming.

  3. Sunny and cold in your area, but the views are beautiful! The birds are always a treat, and I enjoyed the seagulls on their fenceposts, and a happy Mr. Grumpy. The smaller birds cooperated with the camera man, and those some fine portraits.

    I watched sunrise today, in a mostly clear sky over frozen ground and 32 degrees. Yesterday’s 56 did not stay around long under mostly clear skies last night. About ten minutes after the sun cleared the horizon, a large bank of clouds swallowed our sunny morning, and it has been mostly cloudy to overcast all day here.

  4. Many lovely bird and view photos and commentary to enjoy but two stand out – the sunset behind the pines- I do love a pine tree – and the striking photo of Mr G! He certainly lives up to his name! He’s not a very elegant heron so wonder what he is!

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