An unexpected opportunity

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. It shows that they have autumn colour in London too.

We woke to sub zero temperatures (-2°C) but some cheerful sunshine made up for the cold. I had a look at the birds after breakfast . . .

. . . and then went for a short three bridges walk hoping too get some sparkling frosty pictures.

The day was bright enough . . .

. . . but there was no sparkling frost about, and I had to make do with a reflective gull in the Esk between the bridges.

At the Kilngreen, I saw a pair of thoughtful mallards . . .

. . . and even the Sawmill Brig seemed to be thinking about something with watchful eyes.

I passed bright berries at the gate of the Lodge Walks . . .

. . . and some cheerful leaves tucked away in a corner . . .

. . . as I went up the otherwise almost leafless avenue.

There were different leaves on some of the tree trunks though.

I cut across the Castleholm . . .

. . . towards the Duchess Bridge, noting fine fungus . . .

. . . and treading on frozen moss on the path as I went.

When I was crossing the Duchess bridge, I had thought to myself that this was just the a sort of day when I might come across hair ice. Lo and behold, I came across some hair ice.

I hope to see many more examples as the winter months go on. The fungus that causes this phenomenon has become much more common round Langholm in recent years.

I got home in plenty of time to have coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret, and when coffee was over, I had another look at the birds.

I had expected to see quite a lot of feeder activity on a chilly but calm and sunny, day but there were not as much as I thought that there would be . . .

. . . and the seed in the feeder went down slowly.

A collared dove sat in the plum tree for long enough for me to take a picture . . .

. . . but that was the full extent of our avian excitement.

Mrs Tootlepedal had made stock from the remains of my birthday roast chicken, so I made some leek and potato soup with it for lunch.

I may have used the hand blender a bit too enthusiastically when preparing the soup, so if anyone wants some leek and potato flavoured wallpaper paste, I have a good supply.

I kept a close eye on the thermometer, and when I found that it had reached a balmy 5°C by the time that I had finished my soup, I put on many layers and went out for an unexpected pedal. It was much less windy than was forecast, and while the sun was out, it wasn’t too bad at all. When the sun went in, the rest of the ride was quite chilly. I was glad that I had chosen a relatively quick and easy 20 mile pedal up to Mosspaul and back.

I took a few pictures on my way, but as my hands got cold when I took off my gloves to use the camera, it was only a very few.

I chose a good moment to take that last picture as it let a small queue of traffic pass me while I was stopped. In general though, the traffic was very light today, and my ride was more peaceful than usual for a main road on a working day.

I did get generously sprinkled with grit when the gritting lorry passed me just before the High Mill Brig on my way home, but as I was going to Carlisle by car in the evening, I thought that this was a very good thing.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had gone out for a three and a half mile walk round Jenny Noble’s Gill. She returned as the light was fading.

In the evening,, my friend Susan came round and she drove me to Carlisle where we had an excellent evening of music making with our recorder quartet. I am very grateful for the lift as I don’t enjoy driving in the dark very much these days.

I collected some more boxes of the music from Jenny that she and I had collected from our former player Roy’s daughter, and I will add them to the catalogue of his music that I have been making. When I am finished, it will be the first time that we actually know of all the music that we have available to play. There is a lot.

The forecast for the next few days is cold and windy, with the possibility of gales, so I was very glad to get my little ride in today. It took me almost up to 300 miles for the month, a very good total for November, and my best for this month since 2014. If the gales abate in time, I might try and get one last ride in before the end of the month. (If you think that I might be slightly obsessed with cycling miles, you are probably quite right.)

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Footnote: we are volunteering on the moor tomorrow. Let us hope that the gales wait until we have finished.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “An unexpected opportunity

  1. Once again you’ve given me hair ice envy since we’re not situated in a zone where it might make itself known. Though your photo is nearly as good as encountering it in the wild. 😉

  2. You had a beautiful day with the low-angled late autumn lighting to take all these photos. I hope your upcoming cold and windy weather does not produce gale force winds.

    The reflective gull is quite striking, and I enjoyed the feeder activity and my favorite view of the Lodge Walks. The hair ice photo is a treat. I don’t think I have seen any here in my area.

    1. You need to have a specific fungus to create the conditions for the wood to produce the effect. I hadn’t seen any until a few years ago when I started to notice it.

  3. The light must have been perfect and the air very clear for your photographs are all beautiful. You certainly packed a lot into your day!

  4. I find silk liner gloves make all the difference to taking photos in the cold. Sending link in email since i don’t seem to be able to add it here.

  5. I laughed when I read about that tasty wallpaper paste. I wonder what might happen if that was actually used to hang the paper on kitchen walls… what critters might come.

  6. Good to see the lovely photos from your active day. Hair ice already.. time seems to have flown since last winter! Not sure you’ve fitted in a cycle ride/walk today as it’s been blowing very hard here!

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