When you’re smiling

Today’s guest picture is another from Laura. It shows a Lake Michigan winter scene.

Our spell of wet and windy weather continued today. Unfortunately, the driest bit of the day was in the morning and I spent it indoors, waiting to go for my dental appointment. I might have gone out for a short walk or a bicycle ride, but I didn’t want to find myself stuck out in the country should an accident have occurred when I ought to have been smiling at the dentist.

I passed some of the time with crossword and coffee and some of it by looking at birds. There was a selection available with goldfinch, siskin and chaffinch all able to put up with the brisk wind today.

The amount of time that flying birds actually have their wings closed is surprising to me.

When I went out, I noticed that a small twig which had fallen from our walnut tree had a good covering of lichen on it.

I walked off to go to the dentist with time in hand, and then found myself scampering home to collect my mask which I had forgotten. As I was then pushed for time, I cycled round instead of walking and arrived early. They were still busy with the previous patient so I had to stand in the entry outside the surgery for a while. A passer by remarked that she hoped that I had got the right day this time. I rightly assumed that she was a blog reader.

I stood there for long enough to take a photograph or two. The surgery is on the left…

…and on my right behind the wall is the Thomas Hope Hospital with some good architectural features…

…and a curious moustachioed face looking down at me.

I got into the dentist after the previous patient emerged and was out again within minutes, the proud possessor of a fully formed smile. I won’t put a picture of it on the blog for fear of scaring children and horses. As I had been waiting to get my gap filled since well before Christmas, I certainly felt that I had something to smile about at last.

I had been worried that it might start raining while I was at the dentist but I cycled home in the dry and had another look at the birds when I got there. A greenfinch had arrived and was checking things out from Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree.

It needed a little practice with its table manners I thought.

The forecast was for heavy rain to start at two o’clock, and as it was just midday now, I reckoned that I had time for a short walk and a late lunch before the rain came.

Mrs Tootlepedal set about making some leek and potato soup and I walked up onto Meikleholm Hill.

The early signs were good as Whita was clear and the clouds quite high when I looked back on my way up…

…and as I got onto the open hill, I could see sunshine a little way up the valley.

However, my rapture at the sunshine was severely modified by the fact that it was raining where I was standing.

As I walked up to the water tank and then along the track along the hill…

…the rain got heavier, the day got gloomier and all the views disappeared.

I passed one of the improbable tracks plunging through woods made by our local mountain biking community…

…and was pleased to get into the shelter of some forestry myself.

There were some odd spots of colour to cheer a grey day up as I came down the hill to the road, in the shape of fungus…

…and the ever present moss.

It rained on and off for the rest of my walk but as I walked back to Langholm along the road, I got my camera out to record some more moss, this time sprouting away on a wall…

…and a delicate pink and grey lichen, almost hidden by moss further along the wall.

Most of the concrete fence posts along the road have mossy heads, but among them I noticed one where a peltigera lichen had taken hold.

I got home feeling rather soggy but was cheered up by a warming bowl of excellent leek and potato soup.

I was a bit at a loss for something to do in the afternoon which didn’t involve sitting on the bike to nowhere in the garage, so I made a batch of goat’s milk cheese. We had some goat’s milk and yoghurt in the fridge, courtesy of our admirable corner shop (he got it in specially).

Last time I tried this cheese, I got confused as there are two different methods, giving different results and I mixed them up. This time, I paid close attention and ended up with a very passable soft cheese. This blog has been powered by two cream crackers, spread with Scottish butter and a good wodge of fresh goat’s cheese on top.

The flying bird of the day is that greenfinch on its way from fake tree to feeder.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “When you’re smiling

  1. There are very few things better than a good wodge of goats cheese. Glad you’ve got your smile back intact; your scampering back for your mask made me smile a little 😁

  2. I wish I had lichens like that first one in my trees. And I wish my trees looked like that mossy one.
    I doubt I’d be a very good mountain biker. I’d be too busy looking at everything but the trail.
    Glad the trip to the dentist was a success.

  3. A nice assortment of lichens. The small walnut twig entrusted with the yellow green cups and shields was quite interesting. If you look towards the right side of the photo, up near the top of the branch, there appears to be a small Guby-like being with two little eyes focused off somewhere to the left, and a little open mouth expressing disbelief.

  4. Your hospital with a mustache made me smile. Is Scottish butter different from “regular” butter, or simply better as it’s made in Scotland? (while we’re at it, why does “Scottish” get two “T’s” and “Scotland” only the one, do you know?)

    1. Scotland is the land of the Scots and Scottish follows our general rule like run and runner or hit and hitter.

      Scottish butter is the same as any other butter but coming from grass fed Scottish cows and travelling less food miles make it my choice.

  5. Your mossy weather makes me feel right at home! 😏
    Good to hear you managed to make it to your dental appointment. I haven’t been brave enough to have one this past year.

  6. I think we’re all getting a bit more exercise these days with all the trips back to the house to pick up a mask and sanitizer.

    Lucky you to have such a helpful local grocer!

  7. How encouraging to meet a blog reader. I once noticed a solver working on one of my Independent crosswords on the London Underground. I had an impulse to introduce myself, but chickened out.

  8. Wonderful lichen and moss photos. Look forward to seeing your full smile soon…when you can go on another lovely cycle ride!

  9. My blog today will be powered by five Oreo cookies (we usually don’t have them in the house, but we indulged in a recent mail order). Not nearly as elegant as goat cheese. Your dental clinic is on a charming little street. Congrats on a full set of teeth!

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