A lot better than expected

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s recent garden visits in Somerset. This lovely pattern was captured at The Newt, which is a country estate and not an amphibian in this case.

The forecast had been a bit apocalyptic with talk of blizzards and gales and Arctic blasts, but I am beginning to suspect that the forecasters like to look on the gloomy side so that when the weather is bad but still better than forecast, we feel happy about it.

It was cold, there was a strong wind and we did get two snow showers, but as the sun shone from morn till dusk, and the two showers amounted to no more than this sprinkling of tiny hailstones…

….we were able to put up with the genuinely cold wind with reasonable equanimity.

Our admirable ironmonger’s shop opened today for the first time for several months, and Mrs Tootlepedal braved the chill to walk up to the High Street and let loose some of the suppressed spending power that the newspapers have been talking about in the hope that it will bring about an economic revival. She brought a new pair of gardening gloves. The chancellor of the exchequer will be rejoicing tonight.

I walked round to the corner shop and then did a bit of gravel raking for the drive project.

It was too cold for coffee in the garden in the brisk wind in spite of the sunshine so I had coffee indoors. I came out again and shifted all the compost from Bin A into Bin B. We are now ready to start the composting cycle again.

The birds were very busy…

…and I filled the feeder twice today, but as I was quite busy too, I didn’t have a lot of time to look at the action.

I caught a goldfinch hanging on to a swaying twig as tightly as it could..

…and a greenfinch testing out its hoity toity look.

It was too cold for anything interesting to have happened in the garden, so after lunch, I went out for a walk to see what I could see.

I started along the river and was pleased to see a grey wagtail standing still for once (though a bit too far away for a really clear picture).

I walked on over the Town Bridge and up the main road to Whitshiels, where I took the road up the hill towards the White Yett. I had been walking straight into the north wind up to this point and it was keen enough to bring a tear to the eye and even the lambs were wearing long woolly socks…

…so I was a bit hesitant about going up an exposed road. However, the first part of the road is well sheltered…

…and I think that the wind must have dropped for a moment, as when I came to a more open section…

…it was still quite calm. Even so, when I came to the end of the section of stout beech hedges around the house at Hillhead, I decided not to venture further up the hill but took the track to Whita Well along the side of the hill. This put the wind at my back.

It was a sound decision. In the beautiful sunshine and equipped with a good jacket and a woolly hat, I was very snug as I walked along enjoying the views.

I put this little panel of three views in just to show how differently the camera sees the sky and grounbd colours when it turns its head. I suppose that I do too, but I don’t notice it as much as the camera does.

I was enjoying my walk so much that instead of going straight home down the Kirk Wynd when I got to Whita Well, I carried on along the Quarry Track…

…rather surprised but very grateful to find myself out on the open hill on a day with such a bad forecast.

The views continued to please, both near…


…and far.

It wasn’t long before I came to my favourite wall and stile…

…where I noticed that a brand new bench (of a familiar design) had been put in place as a memorial to a local man who had died recently.

I sat respectfully on the bench and took in a popular view of the town…

…and zoomed in on the golf course…

….where, if aches and pains permit, I hope to play a few rounds with Dropscone when the warmer weather comes.

The gorse behind the bench is in fine condition and after a look at it…

…I clambered across the stile which has rather large steps for an old man)…

…and made my way very carefully down the hill towards the oak woods and the Round House. My knee is far from 100% and I had to watch where I was going pretty closely, so there were no more pictures until I got onto level ground.

A friend recently came round with an old postcard of the Round House, taken in the days when sheep grazed everything off the hill apart from two ancient oaks.

I tried to recreate the picture today.

…and as far as I can tell, the two oaks are still there. It shows what happens when the sheep are taken away.

I dropped down to the old railway and Skippers Bridge and made my way home along the Murtholm where buds are turning into leaves.

It was only a four and a half mile walk but as it had taken in river, road, hill track, a sporting stile, steep descent, woodland paths and river again, I thought that it had been a good adventure, and very much better than I had anticipated when I had set out for a chilly walk on a windy day.

I just had time for a cup of tea before Mrs Tootlepedal and I zoomed with my brother and sisters.

Mrs Tootlepedal produced a feast of baked potatos and baked beans for our evening meal and fortified by that, I had just enough energy left to write this post.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “A lot better than expected

  1. What considerate weather forecasters you have; only fair considering the amount you do to keep the economy afloat! Beautiful views today – the recreated roundhouse photo was interesting. Love the oaks are still there.

  2. Your bird photos and captions always bring a smile! You have a gift for catching them in unique poses. I enjoyed these sunny view on the hills, too, and the stile is a particularly nice composition. It is sunny to partly cloudy here today, but the air still has a nip to it. The daffodils will last a bit longer.

    Quite a difference between sheep and no sheep near the Round House.

  3. It’s great to see new leaves coming on the trees. One of my favorite things to see.
    I can imagine the wind being quite stiff in some of your landscape shots.
    I liked the old and new comparison of the roundhouse. It didn’t look like that much had changed really.
    All of New Hampshire and Maine have been without internet, telephone and television for hours, so I’m glad I was finally able to visit your blog before bed time.

  4. Sharing the postcard and your recreation of the Round House was very interesting, I liked going back and forth on photos like these. Amazing the two oak trees are still there! Also just wanted to say your big views’ photos were incredible! Thanks for the giggle with the lambs. 🙂

  5. How grand of you to show a ‘before and after’ scene of the Round House! I enjoy comparisons such as these for the provide an interesting insight to the past. Your walk sounds an interesting one too.

  6. Our sunshine is misleading, too. Top temperature today will be 7C. You have demonstrated that the light is good for photography. I hope the knee holds out.

  7. Very glad you had such a lovely sunny day and that your knee coped with all the stiles and clambering about.
    Well done Mrs T for boosting the economy.

  8. Judging by your photos, it was a very nice day for you to go out, the photos are beautiful again. Here we have to contend with heavy snow showers and hail, interspersed with short sunny moments …

  9. Beautiful views all round showing bright, sunlit scenes- well worth wrapping up for. Love seeing the old Roundhouse photo compared with the present- sheep do have their uses but much prefer the land when they haven’t grazed it down so much. Good to see the little grey wagtail stationary.

    1. Opinion is very divided here as you can imagine. Sheep have been grazed for so long that people regard the land as ‘overgrown scrub’ when they are taken off.

  10. I would like to trail around behind Venetia on her travels: she visits many beautiful and interesting places, and has an eye for the unusual.

  11. Your dinner sounds delicious. I’m reading backwards so happy to know your knee will improve. That stile looks challenging, too, although when I was in Scotland at age 21, I romped over them.

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