A reason to be grumpy

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony, who spotted an audacious attempt by a ship to make off with the Bass Rock, an internationally important nesting site for gannets. Luckily it was seen in time and they made them put the rock back.

We had another sunny morning here today, but it was even colder than yesterday and we didn’t venture out into the garden until we had had our coffee indoors. The temperature had got up to 6°C by this time but the brisk north wind made it feel a lot colder. A lot.

I watched the birds on the feeder basking in glorious sunshine just before coffee.

Chaffinches arrived in the sun and left under a cloud…

…and among the usual sparring siskins, a female redpoll appeared so it looks as though we have a pair.

When we went out, we wisely kept ourselves warm by working hard. I was doing more raking, sieving and levelling of the gravel in the drive and Mrs Tootlepedal was delving away as she remodelled the front border. She broke off from time to time to cast an expert eye on my efforts, and between us, we made good progress. We won’t know how successful we have been until it rains hard and we see if puddles develop, and where they develop.

I was projecting a walk after lunch but when I looked out of the window, I got a shock…

…so I found something do indoors instead.

When I looked out again, there were dark doings at the feeder…

…but it had stopped snowing so I went for my walk.

After yesterday’s hilly test for my knee, I took a low level walk today and went ’round Potholm’. As usual I started along the river…

…but by the time that I had got to the Kilngreen, it had started snowing again, and it was heavy enough to make me wonder if I was doing the right thing by being outside. A shape loomed up through the snow…

He and I shared a world view at that moment….

…and it wasn’t cheery.

However, I had quite well founded hopes that the shower would blow over in the brisk wind, and by the time that I had crossed the Sawmill Brig, I could see sunshine behind the snow at the Lodge gates.

I pressed on undaunted, hoping that the sun would last.

It did its best and only occasionally disappeared behind swiftly moving clouds so I was able to enjoy lichen and fungus…

…a phenomenally phat pheasant…

…green shoots on the forest floor…

…and a fine view up the valley when I got to the North Lodge.

Walking up the track to Potholm is a treat at this time of year as it is a popular spot for primroses. It was no surprise to see lots of them today. I could have added many more to this little gallery…

…but I was really amazed to see a lone bluebell in a very shady spot. It is weeks ahead of schedule.

I had chosen my direction in the hope that the wind would be behind me as I crossed the Potholm Bridge…

…and walked along the exposed road past a wonderful blackthorn.

My hope was fulfilled, and with the chilly wind at my back, I was able to look around and enjoy the sight of larches getting a little colour on the opposite side of the valley…

…striking lichen on the roadside wall…

…and lambs practising looking cute.

I did think for a moment of extending my walk by taking the track up on to Meikleholm Hill but a timely flurry of snow told me not to be silly. I took the direct (and well sheltered) route home down the road, passing a wall of moss and spleenwort, a lone scarlet elf cup lit by a transient ray of sunshine…

…and a lovely display of dandelions growing in the cracks in a wall as I got back to Langholm.

Leaves are developing in spite of the snow and cold wind…

…and I ended my five and a half mile walk in a cheerful mood, even though when I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed that the cold wind had literally brought a tear to my eye.

A cup of tea and several freshly made ginger biscuits added to my feeling of well being.

Although I had enjoyed my walk, it had also made me quite tired, so the rest of the afternoon and evening was very peaceful and uneventful.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the morning sunshine.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “A reason to be grumpy

  1. It was indeed a very cold day here as well,a few hundred feet up from our small fold the windchill was well below zero so I cut short my daily dog walk to a few easy miles in the snow showers,our moors offer little to no protection.
    Your spring flowers and tree buds offer some encouragement,but surely we must be due some warmer weather..it is April after all.
    Good bike ride in the cold the other day👍

    1. Looking at the forecast for us, I am not banking on taking off my winter woollies any time soon.

      I was pleased to get out after a sub zero morning but it has been so dry lately that there has been no chance of icy roads.

  2. We’ve been having similar weather here with sun that makes you think it will be warm, and a wind that proves you wrong. I am crossing my fingers for an absence of puddles in the drive – somehow I doubt you’ll have to wait long for enough rain to put it to the test.

    And that is one fine array of ginger biscuits!

    1. The rain is promised for next week so that will be the test.

      I am working on weighing the ginger biscuits in the cooking process to get a uniform size. Obsessional, me? Surely not.

  3. Both Derrick and Quercus reported snow as well. We had a sub-freezing morning here, but a warm sunny day in the 50s.

    That lichen photo does jump out at one, and is a very nice closeup. I enjoyed all the photos, a real mix of spring and winter attempting to hang on.

  4. Those biscuits look yummy. I made myself a treat today, too, inspired by your old partner, dropscone. Mine probably isn’t a proper drop scone, but I pretend that it is. And it is tasty.

    For years I tried to get a good pheasant photo like that. But then one moved into my back yard, so now it isn’t so hard. I listen for him crowing to proclaim his turf and then it is just a matter of poking the camera out the window to take his picture, strutting through the grass.

    We had a bit of winter come back last night, too. There was a thin layer of snow this morning, but it didn’t last long.

  5. Love your son’s photo and comment. Many photos to enjoy today amazing the colours and patterns of the pheasant…he does look well fed! The blackthorn looks wonderful with the dark background and the little fence makes it very paintable!! Ginger biscuits are the ideal thing to cheer one up in this weather and to warm one up.

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