Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She noticed this ferocious looking bird while on a walk from her home to collect her car from the garage.
I am starting today’s post with a backward reference to yesterday’s post. It was entitled, “Taxing day” and alert readers must have wondered why. I was a bit tired when I wrote the post after thinking of the title and entirely forgot to mention that I had taxed our car during the day. The post title was ironic because taxing the car took less than two minutes on-line and cost me nothing, so it was very un-taxing to say the least.
We got a slight improvement in the weather today, just to soften us up for some wet and windy weather to come in the middle of next week. It was a degree or two warmer and we actually got some pleasant sunshine, so there was a definite feeling of spring about again.
When I looked out of the window, I could see chaffinches assembling in the plum tree…
…and when I went out to do a little gardening, I could see that the crocuses were opening, roses were budding and birds were about, both high and low.
We had coffee and biscuits and then after another look at the birds…
…it was clear that the sun was out to stay for a while, so I went cycling.
I hadn’t been able to lay my hands on my bike computer so I tried to used a phone app instead today. I found out when I got back that it works better if you have your mobile data turned on (which I did not).
It was still pretty cold so I had to be well wrapped up again and I found it hard not to be able to check my speed as I went along. All the same, I enjoyed the outing and stopped to take some sunny pictures on my way.
Starting with this tree beside the junction at Wauchope Schoolhouse.
Apart from the occasional cultivated field, the green has been steadily washed and frozen out of the countryside over the past three months and we are in a rather brown state for a month or two.
The sky was blue but the light was odd today…
…and it produced some unusual contrasts when I looked at passing trees.
There was no consensus among the Canonbie cows today about whether it was a day for standing posing, sitting posing, or just getting on with lunch.
The light was still odd when I stopped at Canonbie Church.
It looked more like late evening then the middle of the day.
Once again I cycled through the town and out of the other side to add a little coda to my outing. Mrs Tootlepedal was saying the other day that the eye learns to enjoy the subdued winter colours, and I thought that these three views from my eventual turning point proved her point. I liked them all.
I was talking on the phone to Dropscone later in the day, and we agreed that we have been very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place during the lockdowns that have beset us for a year now.
I got home after 24 miles in an unspecified amount of time to find that two good things had happened while I had been away. Mrs Tootlepedal had felt strong enough to come down and make herself a light lunch. This was very heartening. And even better, while she was up, she had found my bike computer. It was lying on the floor under a table and hiding behind a wastepaper basket. I know, life holds many mysteries.
After a shower and some lunch of my own, I went out into the garden to do some tidying up and have a look around. The crocuses were beside themselves with joy about the sunshine…
…and the frogs were pretty perky too.
When I went in, I had time for a quick look out at the birds before the regular virtual choir practice.
There was a collared dove on the edge of the feeder tray giving me a hard stare…
…and a steady stream of chaffinches at the feeder.
The virtual practice went as well as could be expected and after a cup of tea and some digestive biscuits with Mrs Tootlepedal, I went out for a quick walk before cooking the evening meal. Unfortunately, I had left it too late and the sun had gone behind some thin clouds and the light was fading.
There was just enough left to see an oystercatcher standing on one leg beside the Esk…
…and a brown duck paddling vigorously down the Ewes water.
In between the oystercatcher and the duck, there was a strange reflection from the Langholm bridge.
I noticed a little sign of spring among the conifers on the Castleholm…
…but thereafter, I kept the camera in my pocket and listened to the birds singing as an accompaniment to my walk home.
After the evening meal, we were greatly entertained by a WhatsApp video call from our granddaughter Evie who was enjoying the last of her supper before going to bed.
It is not going to freeze tonight, and it is almost certainly going to rain tomorrow. To tell the truth, we need a little rain to freshen things up in the garden but I just hope that it knows when to stop.
The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch.