Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. She is on a short break and found an unusual bird in the hotel car park.
It was quite nippy when we got up, with the thermometer showing 2°C. However, this seems to be the lowest that it got overnight, as there was no sign of frost. Still, 2 degrees is far too cold for me to think of cycling, so I was was happy to wait until newspapers, the crossword and a cup of coffee had filled in some time before thinking of going out for a pedal. I spent some time watching the birds too.
A greenfinch was sizing up the situation, and after seeing a lot of young blackbirds in the garden over the summer, we have not seen many blackbirds at all lately, so I was pleased to see one today. Meanwhile, a blue tit tried to look inconspicuous among the greenfinches on the feeder. . . .
Even after considerable time wasting, the thermometer had only risen to 7°C by the time that I finally got going, so I took quite a lot of time and energy putting on many layers of clothing before setting off. It was worth the trouble though, because I managed to keep reasonably warm in spite of cycling into a noticeable north wind for fifteen miles.
I headed north out of town on the main road, with a view to being helped home by the wind. The leaves are coming off many of the deciduous trees, but the larches are turning a good colour to make up for that. The ride into the wind up the gentle gradient to Mosspaul was made a lot easier by the visual distractions along the way.
When I got to the foot of the final climb to the hotel at Mosspaul, I noticed that a temporary road had been laid across the hill, presumably to do with what I think is a new communications mast. My memory is not great but I don’t think that there has been a mast there before.
The narrow valley up the hill was looking autumnal . . .
. . . and it gave me some welcome shelter from the wind.
When I got to the top of the hill, I felt that it would be a pity to waste a dry day in November, so in spite of the breeze, I pedalled down the other side into Teviotdale for five miles before turning for home.
There was autumn colour on that side of the hill too, and what I think is another new communications mast.
An idea of the strength of the wind can be gathered from the fact the fact that I did the five miles back up to Mosspaul in less time that I took to go down the hill to Teviothead.
I did the last ten miles back to Langholm, downhill and downwind, in 32 minutes. All cycling should be like this. I didn’t stop for any pictures.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden while I was out pedalling, and the compost bin is getting very full.
Later in the afternoon, more material was added, and I had to put the top section section from Bin B onto to Bin A to hold it all in.
There still are some flowers left and I went round and recorded as many as I could before going in for a late lunch.
I know that the St John’s Wort berries are not flowers, but I like them, so I put them in too.
I had my late lunch, and then took the hedge trimmer out and neatened up our side of the hedge that we share with our neighbour Betty. I had been going to this for some time, but she did her side and the top of the hedge first, and shamed me into belated action. It was not a big task.
The alert reader will have noticed that the Icelandic poppy in the first of the garden flower panels above must have been taken at a different time from the others as it is the only one where the sun is shining. The alert reader would be right. I took it after I had had lunch and trimmed the hedge but I needed tom put it into the panel for reasons of symmetry. A cheerful spell of sunshine came upon us before the sun went down for the day.
It shone through the leaves of our thornless blackberry . . .
. . . illuminated the walnut leaves . . .
. . . and turned the top of Castle Hill to gold.
The good light meant that I still had a chance to look at the birds after I had had a shower.
A busy charm of chaffinches . . .
. . . were soon supplanted by an equally busy charm of goldfinches . . .
. . . though some goldfinches were less charming than others.
We had a sibling zoom, replete with good pictures from my brother Andrew and my sister Mary. After our evening meal, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to a choir practice in the church for the enhanced church choir. It was indeed greatly enhanced by members of the Langholm Community Choir and others, and about twenty of us met to start to practice some Christmas music for a possible concert, if Covid conditions permit.
We could see a planet in the night sky as we walked home, and not surprisingly a clear sky at this time of the year means a cold morning tomorrow. But we are being offered sunshine too so we won’t complain.
The flying bird of the day is a blue tit.
Footnote: I catalogued the second box of recorder music before writing this post. So far so good in my scheme to do one box a day.