Fairly dull

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He took it a day or two ago when sunny days and thick snow were on the go simultaneously in East Wemyss.

Both the sunny days and the snow were noticeably absent here today…

…but that didn’t mean that it was good weather in any way.

It still felt very cold outside with a strong wind and the temperature only hovering about 4°C all morning. It also rained from time to time, so we took our exercise indoors. Mrs Tootlepedal watched a Sunday political programme on the telly while she pedalled to nowhere upstairs before coffee, and I listened to an agreeable hour of jazz record requests downloaded from BBC Sounds while I went nowhere in the garage after coffee.

It was very gloomy outside, but from time to time I looked at the birds. The feeder was not busy.

The angle of the feeder shows that a brisk wind was blowing and that often keeps birds away from the garden.

There were some busy moments…

….and we had another with a goldfinch, sparrow and chaffinch combination.

We had two siskins but they only made a fleeting appearance.

If anything, it seemed to get gloomier as the morning went on and I gave up trying to catch a flying bird and settled for a blackbird on the ground…

…and a bird in the bush.

After lunch, we went for a walk just to get out of the house. It was very uninviting, with the threat of rain and a strong and biting wind. The snowdrops in the garden are still waiting for some nicer weather before opening up.

We walked up the river on our way to the Kilngreen and found the gulls in formation beside the Esk…

…though what they were waiting for wasn’t clear.

At the Meeting of the Waters, a goosander popped up from a dive and paddled away from us.

It was grey, cold and windy as we walked up to take the path along the top of the woods above the Lodge walks. We were well wrapped up, so we laughed when a brief rain shower swept over us and enjoyed the colour that some lichen and moss on a fallen branch brought to a dull day.

I added another improvised bridge to my collection for this walk…

…but on the whole, we kept going as it definitely wasn’t a day for standing around.

All you could say for it was that the temperature had risen enough to take almost every trace of snow from our hills.

On our way home past the pheasant hatchery, we saw two male pheasants having a face off…

…but sadly, the light was so poor that when they did start the fight, the camera caught nothing but a blur.

As far as possible we did the walk in the shelter of trees, and I was much struck by this unusually wrinkled bough as we walked down to the lodge.

I don’t know what would make a branch pucker up like this, but whatever it was, obviously the moss didn’t like it as this was the only part of the tree that was moss free.

We got home without getting seriously rained on and we were grateful for that. In the garden, the ground is still rock solid.

When I saw there was water in a bucket reflecting vegetation…

…I thought that it might have unfrozen but a sharp tap with a garden fork revealed that the water was only a thin film on the surface and an immoveable disk of ice was still in place. It may take some time until the garden is fit for gardening.

I took part in the virtual choir practice for our Carlisle Choir and was pleased to see that another 40 members took part too. We should still be together and keen when the chance to sing as a real choir comes.

However, as I write this in the evening, the temperature is higher than it has been all day and it should stay above 7°C all week, rising unto double figures by Friday. Maybe Mrs Tootlepedal will be able to get a fork into the earth (and replant our Christmas tree which has been patiently waiting in a bucket since Jan 6th) before next weekend. The outlook for cycling is uncertain, with a lot of rain and brisk winds on the way.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch seen in the morning gloom.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Fairly dull

  1. I enjoyed all the photos from your walk. That is an unusual branch. I can’t tell from the photo if it is just an unusual bark pattern or if the wood itself is compressed, which seems unusual for a side branch. With trees used for lutherie, wood from massive species like big leaf maple show that “flamed” appearance from compression due to the weight of the tree itself.

  2. It was good to see the garden, even without flowers.
    The lichen covered branch was nice to see too. That larger yellow one is a beautiful thing.
    The improvised bridge was built using some impressive stones. Stones cut on all six sides don’t come cheap.

  3. Oh, those pheasants! They look like foppish chaps of a bygone era. I can just imagine: “Say what, you cad! You shall pay a price for your temerity!” Are they scary when they fight or is it just all noise and flying feathers?

  4. It is pleasing to see a ‘before’ view of your garden and I look forward to it swelling with colour as the seasons turn.

  5. I love all the moss and what fancy lichen. I too would be cheery at 4C. Our choir is putting together two Zoom efforts with videos this week and I have barely had time to practice but I agree it will be amazing to sing as a real choir again – I expect it will be hard to hold back tears of joy. Here’s to better weather and everything.

  6. The tree with the wrinkles does look odd! Lovely view of your garden waiting for the warm weather and your Christmas tree! Love the goosander’s haircut!

  7. Lovely set of photos as ever. It seems tree branches wrinkle either because they are rotting or dehydrated, so maybe that branch sustained some damage to its circulatory system at some point. Interesting that the moss is avoiding it.

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