Today’s guest picture comes from Canada where Mary Jo had two visitors. She tells me that they were huge, noisy, and regarded traffic (including a semi on the avenue at the end of the street) with total disdain.
We had a day with plusses and minuses as far as the weather went. It was generally less rainy and more sunny than yesterday, which were the plusses, but it was colder and windier too. The weather wizards said that it was a ‘feels like zero’ sort of day and they were right. If the sun wasn’t out you could feel the bitter wind.
Mrs Tootlepedal put some bread scraps out and this attracted a good deal of attention as blackbirds, jackdaws and rooks all paid us a visit.
And then it started to rain.
A chaffinch looked thoroughly fed up as he ploughed through the rain to get a seed.
All the same, it wasn’t too long before we found a dry spell for me to visit the shop and Mrs Tootlepedal to walk up to the stables collect another half bucket of horse poo.
We needed a coffee to recover from this excitement and then, in spite of the chilly wind, we went out and laid another slab. I am not going to put a picture of this on today’s blog as I think that readers may rightly feel that one slab looks very like another. Three to go.
After another plate of Mrs Tootlepedal’s perky curried parsnip soup for lunch, and a look a the birds, where a greenfinch was having his lunch…
…while a pigeon kept a beady eye on affairs…
…I put my faith in a forecast of fair weather for the afternoon and went for a walk.
It didn’t rain, it was often sunny and the roads were dry…
…so some might wonder why I wasn’t out on my bike. What the camera doesn’t show is the very vigorous wind that was strong enough to make walking really hard work and might easily at times have made it tricky to stay on my bike in some of the gusts.
I was very happy walking and in deference to my recovering knee, I chose an undemanding flat route up the good surface of the Wauchope road. I did make a couple of very small diversions, one of which produced an actual wild flower to photograph…
…and the other of which took me through a delightful little wood beside the Wauchope Water. It is only about 400m long and not much more than 20m wide at its widest, but it never fails to please, especially on a sunny day.
At the end of the path through the wood, several venerable larch trees reach down to offer treats to the passing pedestrian.
Further up the road, I paused to catch my breath after battling into the wind on a long exposed straight. When I looked back, I could see the site of a prehistoric settlement on the top of an escarpment with trees on it.
I reflected that old men had probably been walking along this narrow valley complaining about their knees for two thousand years. I felt proud to be carrying on a great tradition.
When I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse, I walked up the Cleuchfoot road for a couple of hundred metres and enjoyed the gentle ripples of first the Logan Water where it is joined by the Bigholms Burn…
…and then the Glencorf Burn, one of my favourite spots.
I walked up the burn for a few yards, and for the second visit running I disturbed a hare which must have been drinking from the burn. Unfortunately, it lived up to its name and hared off so quickly that I couldn’t snatch a shot of it at all.
I noticed a sign of the times. As well as selling some of the Langholm moor to the community, the Duke has sold some local sheep farms to a forestry business, and I could see signs of planting further up the burn.
He can get a better price for land designated for forestry than he can for sheep pastures so we are going to see a lot more trees and less sheep around us in the years to come.
Talking of trees, I liked this little row near the road.
After stopping to eat a Medjool date or two, I set off home. As I went, the clouds came up and I felt the full force of the ‘feels like zero’. Luckily the wind was behind me at this point so I didn’t get too cold, but I was still glad of a good set of strategically placed woollies.
With the wind behind me, I sailed back down the road to Langholm without stopping until the sun came out just as I got to the Auld Stane Brig. A flash of white in the river alerted me to the fact that the goosander pair was swimming just above the bridge
Unfortunately, the female spotted me before I spotted her and made off under the bridge in a most unhelpful way.
I had to make do with some nice buds in the hedge and a fine moss ‘hedgehog’ on a branch nearby.
It had been too cold for Mrs Tootlepedal to do any gardening but she walked round the garden with me when I got home and we admired the blue scillas and chionodoxas.
I checked on tadpole developments….
…and went in for a well earned cup of tea and a couple of chocolate digestive biscuits.
News came today that the paperwork has been completed and the money paid over to complete the formal purchase by the community of the Langholm Moor from the Duke. To celebrate, I drove Mrs Tootlepedal up the hill after our tea and we looked about with a proprietorial air.
Then we drove down into the Tarras Valley and watched the goats for a bit.
It will take time for the effects of the change of ownership to show in the land management and appearance but it is good to know that serious plans are under consideration for a nature reserve and conservation.
We had a family zoom when we got home, and later on I made some more goats cheese. I was able to have a taste of it on some home made crackers as I wrote this post.
With noble self sacrifice (and to retain my sanity) I didn’t watch the Scotland vs France rugby game and as a result Scotland won. (To be absolutely honest, I did sneak a look every now and again and almost inevitably bad things happened, so I went away again.)
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.