Out twice

Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa. He met this example of South Africa’s national bird, a blue crane, while out on his bicycle.

We finally got a warm day here after what seems like months of freezing or near freezing cold weather. It was only 43°F (6°C) at half past nine o’clock, but that felt pleasantly warm when I got my bike out and set off for a pedal for only the second time this month. I was cautiously still wearing plenty of layers which may have helped.

I was still a bit wary of coming across icy patches on little used back roads so I went straight down the main road south out of town. I was amazed to see this sight…

…in fields beside the road. It took me some time to work out that they have been probably been preparing the ground for commercial tree planting. If it is going to be planted with trees, they are going to be very close together. I will be interested to see what develops.

I sneaked over the border in order to take the road towards Gretna, passing these geese among the molehills beside the Longtown pond…

…and seeing the first lambs of the year when I had gone through Gretna and was on my way back.

While I was watching the lambs, a train whistled by…

…which made me sad for a moment. This is the railway line that we use to visit our granddaughter Matilda and her family in Edinburgh, a trip we haven’t made since last March.

As well as the day being reasonably warm, the wind was much lighter than the forecast had suggested so I pedalled along in a happy mood, especially as the wind was behind me on my way home. As I got near Langholm, the sun even came out for a few minutes…

…but it didn’t last. It looked as though it had rained in Langholm while I was out cycling as the streets of the town were very wet when I got to them.

I had managed 31 miles by the time that I got home and I was pleased that I hadn’t decided to add a few more miles on to my journey because it started to rain quite a lot shortly after I got in.

This was a a shame, as a small flock of goldfinches chose this moment to come to the feeder…

…in ever increasing numbers.

The waiting room was quite damp.

The rain had stopped by the time some greenfinches arrived.

Mrs Tootlepedal made some nourishing soup for lunch, and I ate it with bread and two sorts of home-made cheese.

Fortified by this, I set off for a short walk after lunch, hoping that it wouldn’t start raining again.

I had got to the top of the banking above the town when I stopped to see if I could pin down the source of some very vociferous tweeting. For once I managed to locate the bird responsible

You don’t usually see dunnocks on the top of trees making a big noise so I think that spring must be in the air at last.

I started to walk along to the Becks Burn and as I looked across towards Whita, I could see that it was enveloped in a shower of rain…

…and very soon, I was enveloped too. I began to doubt the wisdom of my outing and a sheep looked at me severely as though I might be a little short in the brain department…

…but I persevered and by the time that I got to the Becks Burn, the rain had stopped. The rivers had been running very clear when Mrs Tootlepedal and I had been on our walk yesterday, but they had become rather cloudy today.

The ground is obviously beginning to get softer.

Happily, the tracks and paths were still firm enough for my walk today, and I crossed the burn safely and climbed the steps up the bank on the far side. Once on the road past Hallcrofts, I strode out boldly. I did interrupt myself from time to time though, as this is a road with a feast of lichen of display on trees, gates, fence post and hedges.

It wasn’t a day for views so when I got down to the Wauchope road and walked back along Gaskell’s and then down to Skippers Bridge, I looked for more lichen and moss to pass the time. And I added some catkins too.

I also noted that a lot of the birches along Gaskell’s seemed to have very red/brown trunks.

I saw a most unusual striped lichen effect on one tree…

And I spotted a lot happening on another.

When I got to Skippers Bridge, I spent more time admiring the lichen on the parapet than looking at the river.

It was that sort of day.

All the same, by the time that I got over Skippers Bridge, it was back to being quite a nice day…

…and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll up the river bank to finish my walk.

The day had turned out much better than I had expected, so to celebrate when I got home, I made thirty ginger and orange biscuits. The official ginger biscuit tester tells me that they passed the taste test. I had to check them too. Several times.

We had a cheerful Zoom with my siblings and that rounded off a satisfactory day.

Our warmer weather is set to continue for several days so there may even be a flower picture or two to come.

The flying bird of the day is one of those goldfinches in the rain.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Out twice

  1. A wonderful assortment of lichens, including the cladonia! I always enjoy the birds, rain or shine.

    Those holes in the field do look very close together. It is hard to get a sense of scale. Here, I see stands of commercial poplar trees planted very closely as they grow tall and upright in nature, but that looks a bit too close in that photo. It will be interesting to see what they plant there.

  2. I think your header photo is lovely. It makes it easier to believe that spring is actually on its way. I am also fond of your Skipper’s Bridge photo. The one of the sun coming out near Langholm has a tree that reminds me a bit of the fake trees the cell phone companies make out of their towers in our area, they don’t exactly blend in to the surroundings. (But maybe in Langholm they would?).

  3. There are lots of signs of spring in this post and I was happy to see them. Nice that your catkins are starting to open.
    The lichen in the lower left of the 6 frame panel is amazing. It looks like some sort of lungwort.
    The field with lines is hard to figure out but I like it.

  4. The ‘pull’ of that train … I can empathise with the longing to see grandchildren who are growing up without us.

  5. It will be interesting to see the developments on the field with those lines of soil..very strange. Great array of lichen photos in various places and love the ‘wolf face’ on the tree trunk. It is definitely getting nearer spring with a walk and a cycle on the same day!

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