Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She found the the council had let things grow beside the seaside at Portsmouth.
After overnight rain, a welcome event for the garden, we had a cool grey, windy day here today. I dillied and dallied after breakfast, and didn’t really get into action until Mrs Tootlepedal left for a coffee meeting with ex-work colleagues.
I had a cup of coffee of my own, and then took a walk round the garden.
It was not a morning for hanging about outside, so after a visit to the corner shop, I went back inside and made some lentil and carrot soup and passed the time by doing puzzles in my newspaper.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off again, this time to join a group of stitchers who are making a banner to commemorate the first charter given to Langholm 400 hundred years ago.
I watched the birds for a while. A chaffinch managed to get past hostile siskins and settle on a perch . . .
. . . but that didn’t last long, and soon it was 100% siskin mayhem . . .
. . . with a goldfinch playing a bit part.
This was too exciting for me so I went for a walk.
Once again, I saw what I think is a young grey wagtail popping up and down on the rocks near the Kirk Brig, and once again, it stood still for long enough for me to get a picture.
I walked across the Town Bridge and took the path up to the Lamb Hill. A horse was having a rest in a field as I got to the hill road.
It wasn’t really a very inviting day as I went up the road . . .
. . . but the sheep looked happy enough, grazing in the long grass. (Perhaps they were looking for the government’s long awaited social care policy reforms which were kicked into the long grass immediately after the election and which have never been seen again.)
Once I turned onto the open hill, things got better as the cool wind was now behind me, and I stopped to admire the view.
A sheep stopped grazing to run the rule over me.
I got to Whita Well and didn’t take advantage of the bench there as it was not really a day for sitting and thinking. I am glad that I kept moving because a little way along the track to the quarry, a strange bird call made me look around.
It was a really creaky sound and there several calls and answers going on. Usually when I hear an interesting bird call, I can never actually see the calling bird, but on this occasion, the birds jumped up and down impatiently until I focussed on them.
A little research when I got home, told me that they are whinchats, summer visitors to Langholm.
This is the first time that they have appeared on this blog, so I was very pleased to see them.
I liked this tree on the immediate horizon above the whinchats.
All the way along the hillside, the ground was covered in tiny white flowers . . .
. . . which I think are bedstraw of some kind.
Everywhere I looked, I could see a sprinkling of white.
I strolled along the quarry track. It was still dry as a bone in spite of the overnight rain, and it was a pleasure to walk along it. I crossed the wall by the stile which appears in today’s header picture.
Going down the hill on the other side of the wall, I came across many more patches of the little white flowers . .
. . . and more whinchats too. These were shyer.
I looked down to see the Co-op store and the old mill buildings beside the River Esk.
. . . I was stopped in my tracks by a wild rose beside the path . . .
. . . and then I stopped again voluntarily to chat with a neighbour who was doing much the same walk as me but in the opposite direction. We had met earlier, just as I left the house to start my walk.
She remarked that everything is incredibly green at the moment, and I couldn’t disagree with her.
She continued her uphill journey, and I kept going downhill, crossing the old railway beside Jenny Noble’s gill.
This old stile is no longer needed and I could walk through an open gate to get down to the road back to Skippers Bridge.
The river is now so low that I could stand almost in the middle of it to take a picture of the bridge from the ‘wrong’ side. The old distillery loomed above me.
A lively burst of song alerted me to the fact that there was another grey wagtail about, and I spotted it on the far side of the river, testing the zoom on my Lumix to the full. . .
As I walked home along the Murtholm track,I passed many bursts of flowers, but it was sad not to find a single insect on any of them.
I found that I had walked almost exactly five miles by the time that I had got home. Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her stitching, and under her guidance, I made some dropped scones to go with my cup of tea.
The last event of the day was the regular Zoom meeting with Mrs Tootlepedal and my siblings. I should have been playing duets in the evening but that too was a victim of the covid cases in the town.
We are due to get another grey and windy day tomorrow, but after that things should warm up a bit, and I may get out on my bike again.
I was going to use a picture of two crows on Whita as the flying bird of the day . . .
. . . but when I looked through my pictures after I got home, I found another candidate. I have never had a flying whinchat of the day before, so even if it is not a great picture, here it is.