Another trip to Dumfries

I had to go a few weeks back into the files to find today’s guest picture. Our son Alistair sent us this shot of strange tracks in his Edinburgh garden in the February snow. What kind of a creature was this?

The temperature dropped to 27.5°F (-2°C) overnight but there was no ice about when we got up and the day steadily warmed up, hitting a balmy 55°F (13°C) in the afternoon. As there was wall to wall sunshine all day, it was another good day to have to drive to the hospital in Dumfries, though I had to defrost the car before we started. While I was there, I inadvertently mislaid Mrs Tootlepedal and came home alone. Luckily the hospital rang later to say that I can have her back tomorrow.

I got back at midday and after a quick burst on the shopping bike to pick up supplies from the corner shop, I had time to walk round the garden and enjoy the first day of spring. Snowdrops…

…and crocuses were celebrating.

There was quite a lot of buzzing going on and it wasn’t hard to spot where it was coming from as the bees were out in force today.

They were moving rather slowly for once, perhaps finding it hard to get going after the cold morning, so it was unusually easy to catch them in the air today.

They had a good choice of colours to aim at.

After lunch, I had an hour to kill while I waited for a loaf to finish cooking in the new breadmaker so I had plenty of time to admire the endless capacity of siskins to look for a fight.

Greenfinches are tough customers too but tend to rely on a hard stare rather than flapping wings. This one might have been chanelling Clint Eastwood, “You call those claws?”

When the bread came out, I went for a walk, having peered closely at a big crocus before I left.

The pair of oystercatchers remaining on the Esk were polishing up their social media presence as I passed….

…while on the Kilngreen, a white duck was as ready as it could be for the camera.

I walked on to the cafe at Whitshiels, and then took the road up the hill towards the White Yett. It was a hazy day in spite of the sunshine and blue sky, and as a result the views were muted as I looked up the Ewes valley…

…but this did bring the foreground into a sharper focus.

Shortly after passing the tree, I left the road and struck straight up the hillside…

…but the monument seemed like too steep a target, so I joined the track that contours round the back of the hill to the Castle Craigs.

This gave me the chance to enjoy not just one…

…but two cairns with a view…

…on the way to my destination at the cairn on the Castle Craigs.

There is a handy bench here…

…where an elderly person may rest for a while and enjoy the view…

..before returning to the town by way of yet another cairn with a view…

…a very vocal robin on a tree at Whita Well…

…and an exciting wall.

The house felt very quiet in the temporary absence of Mrs Tootlepedal, but she had left me some ham rissoles for my evening meal. After the regular sibling Zoom, they went down a treat with some baked beans.

I had over ordered milk and finding myself with a litre to spare, I made some crowdie cheese in the evening. If I have time, I will make some more home-made cream crackers to go with it tomorrow.

We are promised another frosty night, followed by another sunny day, so if all goes well I shall have another good drive over to Dumfries to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch concentrating hard.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “Another trip to Dumfries

  1. Are your cairns cemented together? I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a thing. The views from them are certainly lovely, though. And I am jealous of your wide variety of crocuses.

    1. I don’t know about the cairns. I will have to look next time I go past. They shouldn’t need to be cemented but they are new constructions so perhaps they are.

  2. I wonder if Alistair’s photo of tracks were made by the rare three-toed Matilda-bird. 🙂

    Another beautiful sunny day in Langholm! Your bird commentary is spot on, and those crocuses are shouting “Spring!”. Even the cladonia looks jubilant.

    I hope Mrs. T is well.

  3. The garden was great to see with all the early bulbs blooming. I’m very anxious to see a repeat performance here.
    That’s a beautiful shot of the interior of a crocus.
    I hope Mrs. T. is well and was able to come home on time.
    Did you get to see the meteor? I heard it went over Scotland.

  4. The white duck is simply beautiful, especially with the light on its face and chest.

    I join others in passing well wishes to Mrs. T., and am hoping that her recent heaving about of paving slabs was not the cause of her hospital stay.

    We are due for some warm temps here as well – supposedly hitting the impossible high of 10ºC by the weekend!

    1. No, it was not the slabs but just life which caused her problem. That has now been sorted and she will need some time to recover. !0 degrees C! Wow. We were 6 degrees here on a sunny day.

  5. The garden path through the snowdrops is straight out of my Famous Five inspired childhood dreams. Best wishes to Mrs T. A night in hospital is never top of anyone’s to-do list.

  6. I am pleased to learn that Mrs.T should be home after only a night away for your beautiful garden in the sunshine should be a tonic for her – if she will take the time to sit on one of the well-placed benches to admire the flowers rather than get to work straight away. Lovely views today and I especially enjoy seeing those cairns.

    1. She won’t be doing any gardening for a bit so I am hoping that she will supervise me while I get some of the essential spring work done for her.

  7. Like others, I wish Mrs T well.

    Your spring is much earlier than ours here in the mountains. It is good to see healthy bees out visiting the early flowers. One worries about the health of bees. They have their own pandemic, starting a few years before ours.

  8. Lots of lovely photographs today. I like the garden ones of snowdrops, crocuses, and bees. The white duck is magnificent. Alistair’s tracks were made by a three-toed sloth

  9. I was interested in your use of “cairns” describing what I would call stone pillars. We have loads of cairns here in Wales, but they are usually burial mounds built 2-3000 years ago? What exactly are your cairns? Cheers.`

  10. Very pleased to read above that Mrs T is home safely and will I’m sure be treated to lots of special treats. Everything in your post seems to be happy from the smiley frog right through to the bees the open crocus and the serene duck. Love your three cairns walk, the beautiful views and the cheeky robin to round your day off.

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