Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Sharon. She took a walk up into the hills in the recent good weather and visited the Lady Florance Stone. As it is International Women’s Day today, she feels that this would be a good day to celebrate Lady Florance Cust’s daring ride straight down this steep brae with the Eskdale Hounds on 20th February, 1861, which the stone commemorates. Who am I to stand in the way of a daring woman, especially when she is galloping full tilt down a steep hill? The men of the hunt hesitated so she showed them the way.
The forecast for today was very poor, with a lot of rain on offer in the morning. As a result I planned a useful day indoors. In the end, it was only occasionally wet, but I still went through with my plan.
I started with two washes, colours and whites, and then walked to the shop for supplies (and back again). Then I made a batch of firm and crumbly goats cheese, which came out well, and followed that with a set of date rolls. I thought that they were respectable enough for a photograph…
…and they certainly tasted good.
Among the cooking tasks, there was time to watch the birds for a bit, but all there was on offer were endless chaffinches, rather roughly photographed because of the poor light.
The feeder was pretty busy though…
…and a siskin managed to sneak in between all the chaffinches.
I had another look when the cooking was finished and saw that a few goldfinches had arrived…
…and chaffinches were finding getting a perch a harder task.
Mrs Tootlepedal had come down to breakfast and then retired upstairs to do some work on her computer for the moorland buy out project which is busy getting organised for the future management of the moor.
After lunch, I looked out at the birds again, and settled for some quieter shots in the still dim light. Greenfinches have suffered a large population drop in recent years so I am always happy to see one at our feeder…
…and a blackbird…
…and a pigeon were keeping an eye on events under the feeder.
I had a walk round the garden but the crocuses were shut and there wasn’t much to see apart from a cheery frog under the bridge over the pond…
…and another couple who had chosen the open water (but weren’t on speaking terms).
The snowdrops are starting to go over but luckily a good looking crop of regular daffodils should soon the join the early ones which are already out.
In the middle of the afternoon, I looked again at the forecast and this time it said that it wasn’t going to rain any more. As it was warmer than it has been lately and not too windy, I went for a short cycle ride round my habitual Canonbie circuit. It did rain a bit, but not enough to get me wet and the wind was tolerable so I enjoyed the outing. I didn’t hang about to take pictures though, as the light was still poor and I didn’t want to test the weather gods’ patience too far.
As we are promised some heavy rain, I thought that I would record just how low the Esk is at the moment by looking at it from the Byreburnfoot Bridge. It could barely trickle over the rocks.
The bridge itself is home to a fine colony of lichens.
I took one other picture when I was on on the old main road a couple of miles out of Langholm. I thought that Mrs Tootlepedal’s winter colours looked good here.
When I got home, I took a cup of tea up to Mrs Tootlepedal and noticed that a pair of jackdaws were perching outside her bedroom window.
It was good to know that someone had been keeping an eye on her while I was out having fun.
After the regular sibling Zoom in the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal joined me downstairs for fishcakes and cauliflower cheese for our evening meal.
I was determined to try to get another bird rather than a chaffinch for the flying bird of the day. The other birds are not nearly so keen on hovering as chaffinches are, and this was the best that I could do as a siskin flitted away from the feeder in the midday rain.