95 percent

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!!!

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “95 percent

  1. I do remember that panel of fine fungus specimens. Yes, those were bad news for that tree. It is always hard to see one cut down, but sometimes it is necessary for safety.

    An unusually misty winter there? We get a lot of mist in winter here. Sometimes working outside, if conditions are right, I can feel the warm sun to the west retreat in the presence of a cold air mass coming down off the mountains to the east. The mist rolls in behind it, soon enveloping everything in its path. It is an odd feeling.

    1. We used to get mists like that when we lived in the Highlands. Mostly our mists here rise out of our river valleys but this year we have had a lot of mists sitting on top of our hills.

  2. You didn’t do to badly weather wise,we had continuous rain all day followed by around 4ins of snow from 6pm and it’s still snowing now.
    Maybe as you said the other day you susrvived
    only a glancing blow from Christoff.
    Glad you managed both a ride and a walk 👍

  3. Some of the lichens on the rock look like concentric boulder lichens.
    It’s too bad to lose a tree as old as that one but it must have been wounded somehow if fungi got started on it. They cut it quickly and that’s a surprise. I don’t see any signs of rot on the stump or the logs.
    I liked the misty views but I’m glad I wasn’t walking in the mud.

  4. The views were misty, but I wouldn’t say they were bad – the misty hills are quite beautiful. Lovely rock walls, and even the pattern in the new tree stump is pretty. Sad to lose part of the trio, but as you said it’s prudent to deal with it before it falls.

    I agree that Biden, his colleagues, and all Americans have a mighty task before them, but I felt lighter today just knowing that there was a different administration in place. I wish them well.

  5. I had hoped the title referred to how nice it was, not the humidity. Being an American, I am hopeful that there will be a change for the better. But rich folks certainly do call the shots at the expense of the rest of us.

  6. Great atmospheric shots. Shame about the tree, but better safe than sorry i suppose. Dipper looked good, even if it was being evasive. Weather looks a lot better than the blizzards the Met Office was forecasting for you – hope it holds off.

  7. Your misty scenes remind me of:
    One misty moisty morning when cloudy was the weather
    I met with an old man a-clothed all in leather
    He was clothed all in leather with a cap beneath his chin
    Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

  8. I ended my blog today with some of the accomplishments President Biden did today before dark (by executive order, well planned). I do share your skepticism re politics, but it is an encouraging start. Thanks for caring about us here across the pond. It’s been a long four years.

    I love your set of sinuous shots, especially the wall.

      1. I hear you in that. I have a feeling that won’t be his priority, because he’s pretty middle of the road. But I think he is moving to the left so….I live in naive hope. 🙂

  9. A shame about the tree. Tow touches of brilliance today: ‘a good deal of sinuous visual interest close to the track as I passed the cottage…’ and the rock close-up abstract

  10. Too bad for the tree, but as you said – better save than sorry. I had to down two 40 year old thujas. They fell victim of the drought last year.

  11. I hate it when trees have to be cut down, especially the older, bigger ones, there’s so much history in them. If only we could play back what those growth rings have seen over the years, even centuries. Those lichen patterns on that stone could almost be stone age decorations? Your paths of discovery are never ending, despite being in the border(lands). I was trying to do something with that last line, but failed somewhat. Did you catch my drift at all? Back to work tomorrow, My Pioneer is prepped and ready to go, so I’m hoping to commute, because the forecast is damp but warm at 5 degrees, can’t wait to pedal again. Cheers.

    1. I’ve seen some more alarming flood pictures from Wales. I hope that you get a safe ride tomorrow. I like your thoughts about being on the border but not being hemmed in.

      The tree stump looked healthy enough but people complain a lot if trees fall on them.

      1. We, in the Neath Valley were very fortunate and were not affected by flooding. I nearly got my thoughts together, you definitely came up with a borderline one though. Cheers.

      2. Very disappointed, no pedal yet again! Forecast could not have been more wrong, got up to the worst frost I’ve seen, so far in 2021. Wimped out again, where’s my son’s bike to nowhere? Cheers.

  12. The lichen boulder is definitely interesting – it’s an amazing work of nature art! Love all the photos of the misty views, the ups and downs of bendy tracks and the curvy walls. We did a very similar walk to you today walking up very wet tracks to the top of a hill to see the flooding below of the valley…all now drying up quickly and roads opening again! Let’s all hope now for calmer, brighter and drier weather!

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