On a dull day here, a cheerful guest picture was needed, so I have gone back to early December when Laura, my Lake Michigan correspondent, was at Weko Beach, Bridgman at the right time of day.
For the first time for what seems like weeks, it wasn’t freezing when we got up. I stood outside the back door after breakfast hearing nothing but the gentle drip of snow and ice thawing.
It still wasn’t very warm though, so I was quite happy to spend 50 minutes staring at the wall of the garage on the bike to nowhere instead of risking stray icy patches and penetrating damp chills on my road bike.
Low cloud was firmly clamped down on our hills and it was very gloomy indeed, so from a photographic point of view it was an unattractive day, but from a not falling over when you went outside, it was a much better day than the recent sunny spell.
The bird feeder was poorly attended and I didn’t find much to look at apart from a pair of blue tits on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree.
As a result of this, I decided to go for a short walk in the hope of finding a flying gull. The tops of our hills were not the place to be today…
…so I stuck to well cleared low level paths.
Even though the ice in the dam behind the house had melted away…
…and the main road was completely clear…
…so much so that I briefly regretted not having gone cycling, there were still a lot of very icy areas….
…which made me pleased that I hadn’t..
…and the grass, which looked green enough, was a snare and a delusion. Although the lying snow had melted away, the frozen ground underneath was now covered in a sheet of ice which made it worse to walk on than the icy paths.
In a marked contrast to yesterday, instead of snowy views, I saw snowberries on my stroll today…
…and instead of pines picked out by snow and sunshine with a blue background, I saw dull outlines against a colourless sky which might just as well have been black and white.
I walked up the unfrozen section of the Lodge Walks and fell into conversation with two friends at a gate. A robin joined us and perched on the gate post a few feet away from us…
…and then tried several different positions in an effort to provide me with the killer shot.
It then leapt down to the road and ran about around our feet. Robins are not shy birds.
As I crossed the Sawmill BRidge, I noticed that the Ewes Water was still pretty low in spite of the snow melt, and it was amazingly clear too…
I looked down river from the Langholm Bridge at an almost entirely snow free bank and church…
…and got home in time for a little action on the drive project before lunch. The frosty weather had caused one of the slabs that had been put in as part of the project to rock when trodden on. Thanks to the thaw, we were able to prise it up and Mrs Tootlepedal put enough sand under it to get it back on the level again. It may need further treatment when the ground dries out, but it will do for now.
My hopes of finding some flying gulls at the Kilngreen was fully realised as they flew up as I approached and then passed in front of me several times, some up in the sky…
…some low over the river…
…and some in between.
I think that many parents must have been taking their children to feed the ducks during the lockdown and so the gulls were expecting me to be carrying bread too.
I had soup and the last of Mrs Tootlepdal’s soda bread for lunch and then had another look to see if there were any garden birds about.
The answer was that there were very few, and only a blackbird waited long enough to get its picture taken.
The Carlisle Community Choir has started its new session of virtual choir practices and there was a good turnout of members to greet the new year when I logged on later in the afternoon. Our conductor is considering a second go at a virtual performance. I hope she gives it a try as I enjoyed our first effort, and the result was better than we all expected. It will motivate me to try to get my voice back into something like singing condition again.
As Mrs Tootlepedal took on the cooking duties for our evening meal of the last of the Christmas ham, I had nothing to do for the rest of the day, but I did it very well.
It is going to get quite a bit warmer and rain tomorrow according to the forecast, so perhaps our paths may become usable again without special footwear.
One of the middle layer of the Kilngreen gulls is the flying bird of the day.