Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba where cold is really cold. She was intrigued by this strange crack in the ice on the Assiniboine River.
It was quite cold by our standards here this morning, but above freezing. On the other hand it was raining heavily so it didn’t score many marks on the ‘nice day’ scale. Things improved though, as Sandy came down for coffee and the rain stopped at the same time. We were joined by our neighbour Margaret, and we were very sociable for a while.
After coffee, I had a look out of the window and saw a dunnock on the feeder, a most unusual sight. I just caught it, before it flew off.
I went out and saw a blackbird on the roof, a much more common occurrence.
I walked round to the shop for supplies and then made a sweet potato, carrot and parsnip soup for lunch. Mrs Tootlepedal voted it ‘tastier than usual’ when we had some for lunch. I think that the parsnips probably were the secret to the added flavour.
After lunch I had another look at the feeder and once again saw only chaffinches . . .
. . . until a robin appeared to cheer us up.
It looked as though the rain might hold off, so I went for a walk to see what progress had been made in getting the road to Bentpath open. In spite of the Road Closed sign still being in place, the first signs were quite promising as the piles of logs that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had seen beside the road on our last visit had gone.
It is fair to say that the road was still not in a good state though.
I couldn’t hear any tree felling machinery in action, so I walked on . . .
. . . and found that an immense amount of clearing up had been done.
. . . and I was able to walk past the Potholm road end where the road closed sign at the other end of the damaged section was situated, and onto a clear and clean road beyond. Looking back, it was hard to realise the chaos that sat just round that corner.
I decided to walk on along the road to enjoy the very quiet road. There was hardly any traffic on it for obvious reasons. It had been raining on me while I was among the trees, but when I got to the open, it stopped and the sun came out on the hills ahead.
It was quite a contrast to the scenes half a mile behind me.
There was sun on the hill on one side . . .
. . . but snow on the far hills on the other . . .
. . . so I didn’t get overconfident and go too far.
There were bits of damage from the storm to be seen, like this hole in a clump of trees by the river. . .
. . . but it is still amazing to see the difference that a few hundred yards made to the amount of damage that was done by the wind, with other woods untouched . . .
. . . and the trees on Castle Hill looking unaffected too.
There will have to be work done on the telephone poles carrying the all important fibre optic cables before the road is fully opened.
Word must have got round about the state of the road, because in spite of the road closed signs, a couple of cars sneaked shiftily past me as I walked back to the town.
I didn’t go straight home, but walked down across the Jubilee Bridge and onto the Lodge Walks. Looking one way in the sunshine, you would wonder what all the fuss was about . . .
. . . but going the other way, you could see that something had been happening.
We are only a couple of weeks away from the shortest day and the sun was already low in the sky by the time that I looked across to the row of pines on the Castleholm.
Luckily, when I got home, there was a cup of tea and the last of the parkin to give me strength against the oncoming dark night.
I catalogued another two boxes of recorder music, had a Zoom with my siblings, made and ate some cauliflower cheese for my tea, and then wasted two hours of my life trying to get some sense out of Microsoft and utterly failing. I was trembling with frustration when I finally gave up. I will gird my loins and try again tomorrow but I don’t hold out much hope as their entire help system is designed not to help you unless you have a problem that can be answered by a robot. The contrast with my phone company’s helpful response could not be greater. I am much less impressed by Bill Gate’s philanthropy than I would be if he spent any of his money ensuring that his old business had enough staff to answer questions sensibly on the phone.
The flying bird of the day is a buzzard which flew overhead on my walk.
Footnote: We are supposed to get another storm tomorrow, but the forecasters are optimistic that it won’t affect Langholm much, if at all. I hope that these are not famous last words.