Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited Coal Drops Yard beside the canal near St Pancras on one of her recent walks. It is described on Google Maps as ‘an upscale shopping centre in stylish digs’, and is normally crowded with visitors.
Although the wind is moaning and the rain is battering at our windows as I write this in the evening, we had a dry day and made the most of it.
It was cold again but that didn’t keep us out of the garden, and after breakfast, we got another slab in place in the drive project. This leaves us with two to go. The work took us conveniently up to coffee in the garden with Margaret. To reward us for our hard work, the weather gods provided some sunlight to go with the digestive biscuits, and a robin provided a musical accompaniment.
Our neighbour Liz dropped in to chat, so we had a cheerful time.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal got busy with some gardening. She has set herself the task of remodelling the front beds and this has given her plenty of work to so. I washed, sieved and raked gravel on the drive to get a level surface to go with the slabs. This work took us almost up to lunchtime. I did have a moment to wander round the garden before my cheese toastie.
Daffodils caught my eye…
…and I was happy to see developments on both the silver pear and plum trees.
After lunch, we went back out into the garden to do more gardening and drive work but I stole a quick look at the birds before I went out.
Chaffinches were besieging the feeder.
When I had had enough fun washing and raking gravel, I wandered round the garden again and saw promising dog tooth violets and cowslips…
…and drumstick primulas which Mrs Tootlepedal liked a lot.
In spite of the cold and windy weather, it really did start to feel a bit springlike.
I packed away the tools, had another quick look at the birds…
…and went off for a walk. It was still too windy for an enjoyable cycle ride as I am strangely reluctant to head off into a stiff breeze (30mph gusts) in single figure temperatures (45°F).
I chose a sheltered route for my walk, and spent some time trying to get good pictures of first a pied wagtail and then a grey wagtail in the Wauchope Water. Both birds skipped from rock to rock a second before I could get my camera focussed and I took many unsuccessful shots. I have put some of them in a panel just to show that I tried.
The little Lumix has many merits, but chasing small birds about on a grey day is hard work for it (and me). Larger birds standing still are simpler.
I crossed the Sawmill, Brig and walked up the hill past the Estate offices. Peltigera lichen is abundant on the wall beside the road.
Although it goes along the side of the open hill, I walked along the Baggra. As the wind was behind me and there is a hedge and then a sheltering wall, I was quite comfortable. One benefit of the regular windy conditions is that things dry up quickly after rain, and the track was in very good condition.
I saw hill cattle on the field on one side of the track…
…and more lichen, tiny cladonia this time, in crevices in the wall on the other side of the track.
I got to the end of the track, followed the path round the field, came down to the High Mill Brig and then walked back towards Langholm along the main road. It wasn’t a day for beautiful scenery, as any hint of that morning sunshine was long gone, but there were still things to look at beside the road…
…and I walked back over the Sawmill Brig and round the Castleholm in pursuit of more.
I saw willow flowers…
…what looks like a garden escape…
…and a lone hazel flower among the catkins.
I took my walking poles with me today, and although they are a nuisance when you are trying to take pictures of wagtails, they certainly take a lot of the pressure off my knees. I got round the 3.7 miles with no complaints from my joints at all. This is good because the wind and the rain look set to continue, so bicycling will give way to walking in these conditions. I may even have to contemplate the bike to nowhere.
We change to British Summer Time tomorrow. This is the weather gods’ idea of a really good joke.
The just in time flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.
Footnote: For gardening reasons, we moved the bird feeder a yard or two nearer the house to day. It will be interesting to see if that means that I can get better bird pictures (when the weather improves).