After yesterday’s sunny seascape from East Wemyss, I have gone to the other side of the weather and the other end of the country today. My sister Caroline took this study of the rolling seas off Southsea on a very grey day.
After the persistent rain here yesterday, it was a relief to wake up and find that the rain had stopped.
I was so excited by this that I put my cycling clothes on after breakfast and got ready to go out for a pedal. The forecast suggested that there might be a window of opportunity before the rain started again.
It turned out to be a very small window indeed, as it was raining by the time that I had cycled half a mile. Still, I had new gloves on and I was anxious to try them out so I kept going. The gloves are supposed to be waterproof and they have special fingertip material so that a mobile phone can be used with the gloves still on.
They turned out to be waterproof and I took this picture of the generally low cloud at Cleuchfoot with my phone just to prove that the magic fingers worked.
…and then I took this one of the Glencorf Burn just to prove it again.
I must say that my phone is a bit of a liar as it makes the day look a lot brighter than it actually was.
It was raining pretty steadily by the time that I had done five miles so I headed back to Langholm, uncertain about how far my enthusiasm for testing new gloves would last.
I had the wind behind me and it was really quite warm for the time of year so I found that my enthusiasm lasted quite well. Indeed, it carried me through the town and up the main road to the north for another four miles.
However, the main road was running with water and had some serious puddles so the thought of cycling back into the rain with the chance of meeting a lorry and a puddle simultaneously and getting soaked diminished my enthusiasm by a considerable amount. Fortunately my four miles up the main road had brought me to the Sorbie road end, so I was able to solve the problem by going up the hill and through the Gates of Eden on quieter roads. This was redoing the first loop that I did on my last ride..
It was still pretty damp though…
…and I was impressed by this rush of water coming off the hill, through a hole in the wall and into a drain under the road.
I found that I had done eighteen miles when I got back to Langholm, so for the sake of decimal neatness, I popped up the Wauchope road for a mile and the return trip took my distance up to 20 miles. I did think of doing the second loop of my last ride too but the rain started to get heavier so 20 miles seemed to be enough.
In spite of almost continuous rain, my waterproof socks and gloves kept my extremities dry and I enjoyed the outing a lot more than I had expected.
I had time for a cup of coffee and some Garibaldi biscuits as well as a look at the birds before going for a shower.
A goldfinch summed up the day nicely.
In spite of the rain though, the feeder kept busy, very busy at times…
…and late comers got a warm welcome.
Chaffinches and goldfinches were the most frequent fliers…
…and took care to keep an eye out in both directions.
Business on the fresh jar of peanut butter has been very slow since I put it out, so I was happy to see a blue tit having a peck today.
The rain kept going after lunch and I spent a relaxing hour or two doing nothing more demanding than listening to an interesting programme on the bad situation caused by ten years of misconceived austerity. It wasn’t a polemic, just a sober accounting exercise.
The forecast suggested a break in the rain around four o’clock so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a walk. We had a touching faith in the forecast since it was still raining when we set out, but our faith was rewarded and our walk finished in dry conditions. It was exceedingly gloomy and this was annoying when we came across a small flock of oystercatchers on the Kilngreen, the first of the season…
…and in the dim light, I couldn’t get close enough for a good picture…
…before they flew off….
…leaving a familiar figure on his own beside the water.
We saw a dipper at the Sawmill Brig but that too flew off. Only a tree, lately washed downstream, was left to focus on.
We could hear a lot of spring bird song as we walked round the new path on the Castleholm but it was hard to see any of the singers as there was no let up in the gloom even after the rain stopped.
Street lights were reflected in the river.
When we got back, we had a late cup of afternoon tea and then I made some cream crackers. I had been eating home made cheese on shop bought crackers yesterday and thought it would be good to eat home made cheese on home made crackers today. The crackers were passable for a first effort, but once they were made, I realised that I had rather carelessly eaten the last of the home made goat’s cheese at lunchtime. I ended up eating shop bought cheese on home made crackers. I will try to make cheese and crackers simultaneously next time.
The rain came back in the evening but we are promised a better tomorrow (perhaps). Let us hope so.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.