Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew in Derby. It has been snowing hard there today. He has a good supply of croissants to hand though, so he isn’t worried about being snowed in.
We had several degrees of frost here, but no snow. It was theoretically a pleasant sunny day, but when I ventured out to fill the bird feeder, it was raw enough to send me straight back in and instead of doing anything useful or energetic, I made batch of ginger biscuits. Somehow, this managed to take up the whole morning, though I did find time to check on the birds.
Chaffinches came in two by two…
…a dunnock stopped for a moment in a sunny spot among the emerging daffodils…
…a beady eyed blackbird dropped in…
…and the robin honed its posing skills.
After lunch, I had time for a walk before my virtual choir practice. In spite of the low overnight temperatures, the town was still ice free, and walking was a pleasure.
The banks of the Wauchope showed the clear difference in temperature between sunshine and shade….
…though the temperature in general had climbed just above freezing by this time.
I walked down to the Esk in the (very faint) hope of seeing the kingfisher again, or at least a dipper, but I had to make do with a mallard scratching its head at the Kilngreen.
It is a curious trick of the light that its head should look so blue when it usually appears to be green.
A child came down to the water’s edge to feed the ducks and this caused a riot among the gulls.
In the car park, there was a great deal of Covid testing going on. They are trying to do some mass testing in Langholm after a rash of cases. We are going to try to get tested ourselves sometime in the next two days, but the process seems to be complex.#
I crossed the Sawmill Brig and walked up the racecourse, looking at the trees beside the river…
…and enjoyed the contrasting results.
The grass at my feet offered another contrast, with most of it being frost free but with the longer stems being still covered
When I had passed the Lodge and stopped to take a photograph of more trees in the shade on the far side of the field, a passer by stopped and remarked that he only though it was worthwhile taking frosty trees if they were in the sunshine.
I took a few pictures regardless..
…and thought that there was just enough sun…
…to provide some visual interest all the same.
Each to his own taste, I say. I enjoyed the subdued effects.
Trees that had been in the sun for any length of time were almost frost free.
I got as far as the North Lodge before taking the upper path back. There was plenty of sparkle about…
…and I could have spent a lot of time on my walk from start to finish recording shades of white.
It was a beautiful day…
…but it was still chilly when I was among the trees.
I looked at the view from the end of the path and liked the way that the foreground and the background had completely opposite green and white effects….
…white on the right in the field below and on the left on the hill, depending on where the sun had hit the ground.
I walked back along the river but didn’t see any interesting birds. When I got to the church, I saw this…
…and thought, “Holy smoke! ” to myself.
I got back in time for a cup of tea before the choir practice. Our conductor has talked of doing another virtual performance so I have been trying to get my voice back in shape by singing hymns. This has had some effect but more work is needed. Luckily no one can hear you in a virtual choir practice.
Mrs Tootlepedal improved the shining hour by doing a stint on her bike to nowhere while I sang, so we both got a little exercise in on a cold day.
It was our 53rd wedding anniversary today and we nearly drank a bottle of cider between us to celebrate. Somehow though this didn’t seem really to be a celebratory time, so we had a cup of hot chocolate and a fruity yoghurt instead. Still talking after all those years.
The flying bird of the day is one of those scavenging gulls.