A day of unrest

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony in sunny East Wemyss. Three days ago, his sun had unusual sparkle.

We needed a guest picture with sparkle because after a gloomy day yesterday, we had another fairly gloomy day today. It was dry and warmer than it has been lately, and it stayed above freezing all day, but it was still pretty grey. It was a difficult day to read as far as the weather went, but there was a moment after breakfast when the sun nearly came out, and Mrs Tootlepedal picked this good moment to have a walk up to the road to inspect the state of a potential manure mine. Would the parking be satisfactory for the car? Would the manure be unfrozen enough to shift? Would it be well rotted? These are questions that are well above my pay grade, so I left her to it and got ready to go for a bicycle ride.

I did waste a little time watching birds before I went.

Blue and coal tits were busy at the peanut feeder and a blue tit gave me a friendly acknowledgment when it visited the seed feeder too.

The robin was very busy, popping about and posing…

…but otherwise birds were scarce and this was as busy as the feeder got.

I spent some more time waiting for a delivery that didn’t come and then finally got out. Any hint of sunshine had disappeared by this time, and I thought that I would do a straightforward ride up the main road to the north of the town for ten miles and then come back again.

It turned out not to be as straightforward as all that. I hadn’t gone more than a mile out of town, when it started to rain on me. It was a sort of sleety rain that felt like it might turn to snow if I kept going north. I took the hint and turned back, went through the town and headed down the main road going south.

This was an excellent idea as far as the rain went, as it soon stopped. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really tell the difference, as I found that I was pedalling into very misty conditions instead. I had a double set of front and back lights on my bike so I ploughed on regardless. It was lucky that I didn’t want to go over the border in to England, as it turned out that as far as I could see, England wasn’t there.

To be fair, I couldn’t see very far.

I turned for home and headed up through Canonbie. I had hoped for some views from my cycle ride to add a little variety to this post. This was the point of view today.

One cow stood out though.

…and a sheep was even clearer.

I was very pleased to get twenty miles on the clock in spite of the lack of views, and both Mrs Tootlepedal and the delivery had arrived safely while I was out.

I was so disappointed with the scenic haul from my bike ride that I went out for a walk after lunch.

The snowdrops beside the dam behind the house summed up the day well. Hopeful but soggy.

The mist had been thinning when I got back to Langholm on my bike, but as I went out for my walk, it seemed to be thickening up again while I walked up the track past the golf course. I could hear the plaintive cry of a golfer who had lost sight of his ball after a good shot.

I looked over to my left and saw Castle Hill covered in mist….and then, literally a minute later, I looked again and saw that the mist had dramatically shrunk. It was very odd.

Warbla appeared above the mist…

…and as I got higher, the mist got lower. Strange.

But all was not quite as it seemed. When I turned to look ahead at my route along the quarry track, the mist was attacking again.

…and soon it was creeping up behind me as well.

If, as I sometimes do when faced with a long and not particularly interesting post with a lot of pictures, you scroll through my efforts today at pace, you could hardly get through them more quickly than the weather changed as I walked on. One moment, it was this..

…and six minutes later, the views were back again as if by magic.

By the time that I got to the wall, the gorse was in the clear…

…and it looked as thought there had never been a drop of mist anywhere.

There was even a hint of sunshine as I walked down the track to the woods once I had crossed the stile, and there were some dramatic views across the valley too…

I was coming down into more mist…

…and I wondered if it would get thick enough to make navigation problematic.

It didn’t thicken up though, and when I got into the woods, it hardly seemed misty at all. I had to keep an eye out for occasional large icy patches surviving from the recent cold weather.

The bracken offered a splash of colour…

…as I headed down the track named after Jenny Noble’s Gill.

By the time that I had got to the road beside the river, the mist had disappeared entirely and the day had become dull with high clouds. I stopped to admire the hard work of the man who is building his walls…

…but otherwise, I kept going as the light had faded and there was little of interest to detain me, apart from a hart’s tongue fern…

…as I got near the park.

I made it home more or less bang on four o’clock, the perfect time for a cup of tea and a slice of toast and home-made strawberry jam.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been able to get out into the garden for some gardening activity while I was walking so we both had quite a contrasting day to yesterday.

The usual sibling zoom meeting in the evening was enlivened by a couple of sets of old family photographs of past holiday trips, the only trips which are available just now. I am going to try to find a few of my own and scan them in for the next meeting. The trouble is that I didn’t take many pictures in those days, and a lot of them weren’t very good when I did take them. I have learned a lot from Sandy and other members of the camera club since then.

The slow cooked lamb stew made its third and final appearance at our evening meal so we will have to think of something else to eat now.

The flying bird of the day is not just the best one that I captured this morning but the only one.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

44 thoughts on “A day of unrest

  1. Our weather here was similar to yours and I did consider a bike ride,but with the mist worsening I thought better of it and settled for a longish walk instead a wise decision as it turned out.
    Some great atmospheric shots of the strange movements of mist.
    Chris packham gave a very interesting explanation on Winterwatch yesterday of why gorse flowers all year round.
    Your robin is almost a family member😊

  2. “…England wasn’t there”.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ That reminds me of a headline in one of the English newspapers MANY years ago, saying (and forgive me if I paraphrase), “Fog engulfs the English Channel, Continent cut off”. Or words to that effect.
    Well, it was -28 today in my little corner of Saskatchewan but I walked anyway. Because “It’s a DRY cold”. As the locals say.

  3. I wish we had mists like that here. I’d love to hike through it but I think a bike ride would be a little dangerous here with the traffic we have.
    The harts tongue fern looks like it had spore cases on it, if that’s what the darker lines were.
    The wall builder is doing a fine job. It makes me want to build another one. I can’t think of anything quite as satisfying.

  4. Snowdrops are so promising πŸ™‚ It doesn’t matter that it’s “minus stupidly cold” here – somewhere has snowdrops!

  5. I find mists can creep about, and come and go rather quickly. I enjoyed your photos, especially the gorse in bloom, a pretty sight in January along with the snow drops.

  6. I don’t think that many Scots are missing England. Beautiful mist-enshrouded hills and dales. And another day in winter has gone. Thanks for taking us along.

  7. The cow and sheep pictures are excellent despite the misty weather conditions, Tom. And how lovely to see the snowdrops! We just have the snow part, several inches of it, so it will be a while before we can enjoy anything of that nature in the garden.

  8. Lovely to see all those wonderful misty photos and the snowdrops and gorse…good old gorse showing off their bright golden flowers! Does your camera club have any online tutorials or is this an opening for a Mr T camera tutor: Ten Steps to Taking Brilliant Photos!

    1. You are too kind. The chief lesson I have learned is to remember that the camera sees everything while my eye is very selective so I have to try to be really careful about composition and contrast. A good photo editor helps a lot too. I would be lost without Photoshop.

      1. Thank you for those hints. I don’t have a photo editor except for the photo help on our computer which allows me to crop…there are filters too …maybe I’ll try those out!

      2. I didn’t presume to offer you a hint as you already take very good pictures. Modern cameras do immense amounts of processing for you whether you want them to or not. I take a lot of shots in poor light and the editor helps me to make them viewable.

  9. Fabulous fog images! Your cow that stood out shot reminds me to tell you I no longer look like him, I cut my own hair last week. πŸ™‚ I gave up on waiting for it to feel safe to get one done at a salon. Too many people still don’t wear masks in the U.S. 😦

  10. I can honestly say I have never been tempted to rush through one of your blog posts because of too many pictures or any mundanity (there’s a word I don’t use very often ). I find my daily fix of the Borders fascinating every time. Even now when I am reading through posts that I haven’t read over this past week or so, to catch up. Now I wouldn’t repeat the exercise even to catch up on episodes of a favourite drama I’d been following on TV. I certainly wish I could build those retaining walls you admired on that wonderful walk of yours. I would love to be able to do that with some similar craftmanship and hedging also. My up and down rear garden could do with some loving attention on both fronts. I have so much to do when I retire, how will I manage to fit it all in? My gardening ambitions are all plans, no idea, much like my cycling all the gear, no idea! And I am nowhere bear getting there . Cheers.

    1. The wall is an impressive piece of work. I am envious of people with practical skills like that. You have to factor in the sitting around drinking coffee peacefully when you retire too. That takes up a lot of time.

      I will keep trying to avoid mundanity. πŸ™‚

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