Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. On one of her recent walks, she passed this fine example of a Victorian gothic building at Holly Village in Highgate.
After another sub zero night here, we had a fine dry day which struggled to get above zero, though it did manage to climb to 2°C for three hours in the middle of the day. (It is back down to -4° as I write this….and going down further as the night goes on)
Under the circumstances, fifty minutes on the bike to nowhere seemed quite a sensible way to pass the time in the morning. Mrs Tootlepedal had to make a trip to the town on business which she did very carefully, both as far as the ice and the virus were concerned. Then she did some cycling to nowhere on her own indoor cycling machine when she got back.
After cycling, coffee and recovery, I watched the birds for a while.
Two robins appeared and chasing about ensued. The victor came back and perched for me.
Unlike yesterday when the snow seemed to have encouraged visitors, perhaps the colder weather was keeping them away today as there were few about in the morning. The peanut butter feeder is obviously not so frozen that it can’t be pecked as a dunnock turned up and had a snack.
A jackdaw on top of the walnut tree looked a bit fed up with the weather but it is hard to tell what the starling was thinking.
A robin returned but whether is was the same as the previous poser, I cannot say as all robins look the same to me. This one was obviously a round robin. They are wonderful birds for changing their shape and can look slim and sleek one minute and perfectly circular the next.
We had an early lunch, and after I had checked on the birds and found quite a few chaffinches out now that it was a bit warmer…
…we went for a walk.
Mrs Tootlepedal had acquired a set of very reasonably priced studded overshoe crampons on her visit to the town and she put them on before we set off.
It felt colder today in the town than it had felt on the top of the hills on my last two walks, but it was no hardship to be out…
…and we were rewarded with a ‘big sky’.
The cold doesn’t discourage the lichen…
…and the icy path round Gaskell’s didn’t discourage Mrs Tootlepedal now that she was properly studded.
I looked across the valley to Meikleholm Hill…
…where my missing Yaktrax is lying among the tussocks, but as I had my new set on, I too could walk along the track with confidence.
My hands got very cold for some reason, even though I was wearing my cycling gloves so I didn’t take many pictures on the walk. When we got to the road, we found that it was pretty clear and we took our anti-slip devices off and walked home safely…
…taking great care over one or two icy patches on the way.
The ground is like concrete after so many frosty days and we had a walk round the garden when we got home to see if anything was showing. Some brave early daffodils are keeping their heads up…
…but the eternally sprouting broccoli has finally given up and hung its head.
I liked the effect of the snow on a golden box ball, making it look like a green Christmas pudding…
…and I looked rather sadly at the garden bench which has seen neither coffee nor conversation for weeks.
I was pleased to get indoors to warm up my hands and when they got a little less cold, I looked at the birds again and found a coal tit pecking at the peanuts…
…while a blackbird scavenged for broken sunflower hearts.
A few chaffinches arrived. A male came with such force that he seemed to blow a female off the other side of the feeder.
Another stood on the sidelines and watched the action.
The weather stayed fine and if my hands hadn’t got so cold the first time, I might have been tempted out for another walk, but I stayed in and put some of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.
Later in the afternoon, when I looked out of the window, I was rather sorry that I had not gone out because the light was perfectly lovely…
…but I was still pleased to have done some useful work.
On the vaccine front, my stepmother has had both her shots and my youngest sister is getting her second shot tomorrow. My two older sisters are still waiting to see of they will get their second shot as originally promised, but as they haven’t been told that they are not getting it, they are quietly hopeful. Our neighbour Margaret has received a date for her first dose, so things are moving along generally which is encouraging.
We had a lively sibling zoom meeting and then I finished the day off with corned beef hash while Mrs Tootlepedal dined on a lightly boiled egg.
To no one’s surprise, the flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.