Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She passed this striking corner building on one of her recent walks.
The ninety five percent of today’s title refers to the average humidity of the day here. It was pervasively damp, and if it wasn’t raining, it was humid enough to make you believe that it was raining. Like yesterday, it was a grey day so although it was a degree or two above freezing, I wasn’t very tempted to go out for a bicycle ride and spent 50 minutes on the bike to nowhere instead.
As usual, any gaps in the morning were filled with footering about reading newspapers, drinking coffee, doing the crossword and watching birds, if there were any birds to be seen.
The avian day started slowly with just a dunnock scurrying about picking up fallen seed…
…and a robin investigating the peanut butter feeder.
Away from the feeder, there were quite a number of birds to be seen but they were perched high in the walnut tree, like this small flock of pigeons….
Later in the morning, chaffinches arrived…
…and then they were joined by a few goldfinches.
It was raining steadily again after lunch, but when I checked the rain gauge, it was not registering very much at all. It has been an odd couple of days, with a lot of time spent raining but not much actual rain falling. Our local weather station recorded only a third of an inch today.
Still, it was wet enough to require waterproof trousers, an umbrella and the wellington boots for my outing.
I started off with dippers in mind and spotted one on the far side of the river when I got to the suspension bridge. I eagerly crossed the bridge and as I did so, the dipper flew back across the river to the side that I had just left. I knew what would happen if I crossed back over the bridge, so I took a long range shot…
… and walked on.
My memory is not very reliable but I don’t remember having so many misty days in winter before. Mist was wafting about again today as I walked down the riverside.
Some alert readers may remember this fine show of fungus on a tree beside the Co-operative Store which appeared in a post in early December (with an extra ivy shot)
I had feared that this fungus might have been fun for a photographer but that it signalled bad news for the tree, and today when I got to the spot, there was a pile of logs, a few snowdrops and a marked absence of tree.
This is a great pity as the three trees in a row made a grand sight, but having a large tree falling on passers by or on the store behind it was probably a risk that it was sensible not to take.
I walked on and enjoyed the contrast between the winter heads of daisies and willowherb on the river bank.
I hadn’t really decided where I was going to walk before I set out, so when I got to Skippers Bridge. which was looking mean, moody and magnificent…
…I had to choose a route. I crossed the bridge and took the track up towards the Kernigal. There was a good deal of sinuous visual interest close to the track as I passed the cottage…
…but as far as views went, looking up…
…and looking back down…
…produced the same result, more mist.
Instead of sticking to the main track, I took a forestry track that I hadn’t followed before and headed up through some dark woods, too dark to photograph until I got to a thinner piece of planting and looked back.
I had hoped that the track would lead me up to a gate onto the open hill, and as it was pretty heavy going in the soft ground, I was very pleased to come to a gate…
…and not to have to go back down the track again.
Once on the open hill, the walking was better but the views were just as bad, whether looking forward…
… or back.
The ground was quite slithery and I had to keep my head down, but this provided me with a good look at a small rock covered with very decorative lichen.
It was only about a foot long but it had a really good collection. I had a closer look.
When I got back down to the road at the Auld Stane Brig, I had more route choices, the Becks track, Gaskell’s Walk or straight back down the road. My legs got to choose so I went straight back down the road. Walking over soft ground in wellies and waterproof over-trousers is hard work these days.
Back in the garden, I took a look at a rhododendron bush.
It is looking quite promising but last spring it had looked promising too, and then it got clobbered by a late frost. I hope it has better luck this year.
My walk had only been just over three miles but it had felt quite varied and even adventurous. In spite of dire warnings about snow and gales, there had been no wind and the rain had eased off a lot as I walked. As a result, in spite of lowish temperatures, I had been a little too warm if anything. Our son Tony has recommended a pair of lightweight waterproof hiking trousers and I think that I will look into getting a pair of them.
I had a cup of tea and watched Joe Biden getting inaugurated. He has a heavy load to carry and I hope that he can manage. However, as America, like Britain seems to be run by and for the benefit of only the insanely rich, I am not tremendously optimistic about meaningful change.
The day ended with a Zoom with my siblings and Mrs Tootlepedal’s fishcakes for our evening meal so I felt a bit cheerier after that.
The flying bird of the day is not a chaffinch!!!