Icing on the cake

Today’s guest picture comes from Annie and Joe who had taken our granddaughter Evie down to the river Thames to enjoy the golden evening light.

The temperature fell very low (-10C, 14F) last night here, and when I looked at our thermometer just before midday, it was still pretty chilly outside our kitchen window.

Once again, I took the sensible option after breakfast and went for a pedal in the garage.

Things didn’t go quite to plan as I pedalled for what was obviously about half an hour before looking at my phone and finding that I had only been going for 18 minutes. On some days, indoor pedalling is like that. I pulled myself together though, clamped my headphones more firmly on my head, and managed to last for fifty minutes in all before cracking and going for coffee.

After coffee, I went to look at the birds. I wondered whether the cold would keep them away, but there was a decent turnout today.

Considering how many sparrows appear in the veg garden in spring to eat Mrs Tootlepedal’s young vegetables, it is surprising how few turn up at the feeder in winter to eat my seeds. One came today…

…along with some familiar figures like this coal tit…

…and blackbird.

Chaffinches again made up the bulk of the visitors…

…and a robin made several appearances (or possibly two robins making some each).

Mrs Tootlepedal had got a recipe for soda bread from a friend and she set about making a loaf at lunchtime. In anticipation of a slice of this bread with some raspberry jam at tea time, I set off to work up an appetite.

It was quite nippy when I started and I found that the cold overnight temperatures had frozen part of the dam behind our house, and where the whole dam wasn’t frozen, the cold had created artistic icy fringes.

With that in mind, I wasn’t totally surprised to find some ice floating down the Esk when I got to the Meeting of the Waters…

…and there was more upstream.

In spite of the ice in the river, the pavements had been very well gritted and cleared so I was able to walk in comfort up to Whitshiels. The road from there up the hill to the White Yett was a different matter though…

…and I put my Yaktrax on before walking up the hill. In spite of the ice, I was following in the footsteps of several other walkers and I was passed by a couple of brave motorists who were coming down the hill very carefully.

The effort of walking up the hill was amply repaid by the views. I could soon see that fresh snow had fallen on hills up the valley…

…and I got some lovely views as I went.

Walls had been picked out by the snow…

…and I thought that my favourite clump of pines deserved a picture of their own.

My favourite view was as good as ever.

I got to the White Yett and tackled the icy track up to the monument.

From there, I looked across the Langholm Moor to Tinnis.

In spite of the sub zero temperatures, walking up the road had been quite pleasant but once I turned on to the hill track, it became plain that I had been sheltered from a very astringent wind so I wasn’t tempted to hang around at the top of the hill (and the light wasn’t very good for views down to the town anyway) and soon set off back down the track.

I didn’t fancy going home straight down the steep face of the hill in the tricky conditions, but I thought that the diagonal track across the Birnie Braes that I had come up the other day would be more comfortable, so I took it.

It had been well trodden and was both easy to follow and safe to walk on, and I soon found myself able to stop and look around as I descended. To the west, the skies were cloudy and mist was rising from the Nith estuary as I looked past Warbla and the Solwaybank windfarm towards Criffel in the distance.

Although it was still before three o’clock, it had the feel of evening as the sun was low in the sky behind the thin clouds. I like to pay tribute to the producers and conveyors of the electricity that makes this blog possible, and I thought that they made striking pictures today..

As I got near to the golf course, I stopped for one last look at Warbla and the view…

…and hopped over the fence on to the golf course to walk down to the town.

I found that I wasn’t the only one on the golf course having fun, as several sporting young ladies were sledging down the practice fairway…

…supervised by proud but nervous (“don’t go ever the edge!” “watch out for that tree!”) parents.

I have had some good sledging on that slope in bygone years.

I was able to take my Yaktrax off as I left the golf course and walk safely home on well cleared pavements.

At just under five miles, it hadn’t been a long walk, but the ice on the river and road, the snow on the hill and the merry cries of the sledging children had made it seem like a real winter adventure so I was very cheery when I got home. This cheerfulness was greatly increased by a slice or two of Mrs Tootlepedal’s freshly baked wholemeal soda bread with my afternoon cup of tea. I felt that I had earned them.

It got dark early so after my soda bread and raspberry jam, I sat at my computer and put some more of the newspaper index into the Archive database.

I cooked the last of the Christmas chicken from the freezer in an onion and mushroom gravy for our evening meal, and followed that up with peaches and ice cream. All things considered, and in spite of the best efforts of politicians and pandemic to make our life gloomy, I felt that this was definitely a day to enter on the credit side of the great ledger of life….and outside, it is warmer now than is has been all day, and the thermometer is supposed to stay above freezing all day tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a questing chaffinch.

.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Icing on the cake

  1. Minus10 must be quite chilly for you, so you’re to be commended for your walk. The view of the sinuous wall and the pine trees is very beautiful.

    Sledding, as we call it, is such fun! I don’t think it ever loses its appeal, except perhaps for the difficulties in getting up when you reach the bottom of the hill. 🙂

    1. I couldn’t take the bumps that come with sledding these days. It would be alright if we had deep snow but our sledge runs tend to be on icy strips down rough routes. And we don’t have proper stout wooden sledges any more, just plastic tea trays.

  2. Some great shots today,especially the old pines contrasting well against the snow covered hills.
    As you say very surprising to see ice on the river Esk,great shot it is too.
    Another good effort on the ride to nowhere..I also managed 45 mins today,but it took nearly all day to summon the motivation..but I felt better for doing it.
    The birds seem to be getting used to the new feeder now👍

    1. I wouldn’t say that there was a rush to get at the peanut butter but a trickle is better than nothing. Well done for the indoor cycling session. I take my indoor efforts so easily that I wonder if they are doing me any good.

      1. I do my best to make mine what seems to me at least fairly tough,but I’m glad I don’t have a power metre,I’d be disappointed for sure.
        I do try to attempt some interval training but it’s a little haphazard I’m afraid,..still it’s a good workout.
        Any ride is better than none.

      2. I had a look at Fulgaz and smart trainers but I don’t think that I could justify the expense. This year has been atypical as I have hardly biked indoors at all in some years.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice on your rivers before.
    You certainly had some beautiful skies there today!
    It was nice to see children having fun. I’ve always thought they should be given as much time as possible to do just that.

  4. I enjoyed all these frosty scenes from your day. My favorite photo is that meandering stone wall. I am glad you had a good showing of birds show up for seed. They need plenty of fuel to stay warm.

    It has been many years since I had soda bread. Now and then, an Irishman in our engineering department used to bring in soda bread made by his wife. It was good.

  5. Really good capture of the chaffinch! Very, very nippy at your home. Colder than in Maine. Those snow-covered stone walls are so pretty. I bet that bread tasted good.

  6. You did very well getting out and climbing about in such cold and frosty weather – the views were well worth it judging by your excellent pictures.

  7. I thank you sincerely for sharing your life, thoughts, town, and country. With us.
    Your efforts are inspiring, your words full of humour. I feel over the years following your blog and in the sharing of your views and thoughts, it’s often like spending time with an excellent neighbour!
    During this time when it’s often felt there’s a plague upon or close to) all our houses? Then surely it’s a time to stand together suitably distanced, and work together toward the time when we can sit for hours and Mull over the rights or wrongs with friends

    1. I quite agree that co-operation should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds just now. I cannot understand why the Conservatives didn’t make the pandemic a matter of national importance from the start and work with the other parties to get an agreed course of action. Perhaps Dominic Cummings may have had something to do with that but maybe it never even crossed their minds which is a pity..

  8. Another delightful and uplifting posts. Super wintry photos…just love the solo pine tree and that wavy stone wall is quite beautiful. Children enjoying sledging sums up the winter really…your granddaughter might not be sledging yet but she has great views over London to enjoy. Stunning photo of the chaffinch braking and coming into land.

  9. Mmmm, we had peaches and ice cream for dessert last night, too.

    I deeply admire your commitment to walking even in winter weather and bringing us those beautiful views.

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