Today’s guest picture comes from my New York correspondent Mary-Jane. She was in a snowy Central Park when she met these charming animals. There is some debate as to whether they are dogs or polar bears.
All trace of snow and ice has gone here, and we had another reasonably warm day. Unfortunately, a brisk and chilly wind didn’t make going outside quite as attractive as it should have been. I spent the morning being very careful not to forget that I had an important dentist’s appointment. It is quite hard to get dentists’ appointments just now so it is vital not to miss one.
While I was waiting to set off, I was entertained by chaffinches arriving on the feeder…
…and that pheasant back again for a strut on the lawn in a little burst of passing sunshine.
They didn’t make me lose sight of my impending visit, so I was in a chipper mood when I set out in good time for the appointment. I even had a moment to spare to check for dippers at the Kirk Brig (none available)…
…and to stop while crossing the suspension bridge to see that the Esk had gone very brown after the thaw.
I was outside the door of the surgery bang on time so it was just a little disappointing to find that I was in fact two days early for the appointment which was on Thursday 18th and not Tuesday 16th, a mistake which I thought that anyone could easily have made.
Now I will have to try not to forget it on Thursday. Ah well.
After I had had a cup of coffee and some ginger biscuits, I went out for a walk round the garden. The snowdrops are now officially out.
And I found that there is still a little ice about as the disk of ice in the bucket has diminished but not disappeared yet. I like the 3-D bubble effect in the ice.
The daffodils are bunching up nicely.
When I went back in and looked out, I saw that the pheasant was back, making sure that I got its best side.
I had enjoyed my short walk to the dentist so I went out for another one before lunch.
I discovered that the Esk might be brown but the Ewes water was not, and there was a distinct colour clash where they joined forces at the Meeting of the Waters.
You can see a good flock of gulls in the picture above. They kindly took to the air as I went down onto the Kilngreen and flew over me several times…
Two came down a bit closer to me…
…and I struggled to get all of them into the frame.
I think that they must have been hoping that I was bringing food because they pursued me up the river and nearly made me miss an old friend on the opposite bank.
I went up the Lodge Walks to Holmhead and saw plenty of snowdrops on my way and when i got there…
…though it may need another week and a sunny day to see them at their best.
I liked this little tree stump with a mossy tablecloth set on it.
I was surprised to see a brand new gate across the track at the top of the pheasant hatchery…
…but it looks as though they have left enough space to add a pedestrian gate beside it.
As I crossed the Duchess Bridge, I met a man who was leaning against the railings looking fixedly down the river. He told me that he was hoping to see a kingfisher as he had seen one passing under the bridge several times lately. I might have to go and do some leaning against those railings myself.
There was a good deal of birdsong to be heard as I went along, and in the milder weather this was a definite hint of spring. This hint was confirmed by our neighbours’ currant bush when I got home.
The wind had been gusting at around 30mph all morning, but the forecast suggested a slight easing in the afternoon so I gave it an hour or so to calm down and decided to do twenty miles on my bike.
The weather gods were in a jovial mood and it started to rain as soon as I went upstairs to put on my cycling gear. I was having second thoughts but then the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started so I got into my gear, went downstairs and got my bike out. It promptly started to rain again. I went back inside and had third thoughts, some of them unprintable, and then rain stopped again. I pedalled off up the Wauchope road, and thankfully the weather gods had had enough fun and left me to enjoy a dry ride.
The icy patches which had been there when I walked up the road recently had all disappeared and in spite of a still brisk wind, cycling was enjoyable. I wasn’t entirely confident that I would stay dry as the clouds were very low over the hills and I couldn’t see the background scenery at all when I got to Cleuchfoot.
I didn’t want to spend too long cycling into the wind so I made another diversion up to the Kerr wood and then headed back to Langholm. Having done 12 miles by the time that I arrived in the town, I did another eight miles going up and down the main road to the north. The clouds were still sitting on Whita…
…but they were lifting and there was even a hint of blue sky as you can see. The view up the valley was reassuring…
…and it had turned into a much better day by the time that I got to my turning point at the Sorbie road end.
This road goes through the Gates of Eden from the ‘wrong’ side and I must cycle along it this summer as it has some good views.
I took the boring option today though, and pedalled back to Langholm into the wind down the main road. I had judged the distance just right and the cycle computer beeped to indicate 20 miles completed as I cycled through our front gate.
There are more wet, warm and windy days to come in the forecast so I hope that some of them will be as kind as today was so that I can get a few more cycle outings in.
Since it is Shrove Tuesday, Mrs Tootlepedal made pancakes for afters at our evening meal. We ate them with caster sugar and lemon juice and they went down very well.
The flying bird of the day is one of the overhead gull gang.