Today’s guest picture marks a return to sunny East Wemyss, where, as usual, the weather was fine for Tony’s afternoon walk with his dogs.
We had a fine day here, but as it was freezing when we got up, a modest 4°C at midday, and back to below freezing by the evening, it wasn’t a day for cycling in spite of the sunshine.
Even Dropscone was worried a bit about cycling in potentially icy conditions as he arrived bringing scones to go with morning coffee. Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to a meeting, pushing her bike, and hoping to be able to cycle home later.
Dropscone was well, and had tales of improved form on the golf course. His scones were good too. When he left, the front window of our car was still frozen, with a different colour to be seen when looking from inside and outside the car.
Under the circumstances, I was in no hurry to go out, and happily spent some time watching the birds. For once there were more than just chaffinches to watch . . .
. . . and I was very happy to see a goldfinch back on the feeder. So happy, indeed, that I took two pictures of it.
Having arrived, it was then bombarded with chaffinches arriving from every angle.
Other birds were keeping their eyes open.
I made some potato soup, and when Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her meeting, we had the soup for lunch.
After lunch, I went for a walk.
It may have been too cold for comfortable cycling, but it was a fine day for a stroll up the hill, with conditions underfoot very good. It hasn’t rained very much in general lately, and tracks and paths were surprisingly dry for the time of year, and there was no ice about.
Dropscone had told me that quite a few trees in the golf course had been felled by storm Arwen, so I went to have a look. I found casualties on the sixth hole.
The shallowness of the roots makes you wonder how the trees manage to stand up at all.
Just above the golf course, there was a fine show of cladonia lichen on a wall . . .
. . . and a bit further up, there were several outbursts of tremella mesenterica (common names include yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler, and witches’ butter) on some old hawthorns.
It was such a nice day that I opted to take the old quarry track along the face of the hill . . .
. . . so naturally the sun chose this moment to hide behind the only cloud in the sky . . .
. . . but it wasn’t long before it repented of its wickedness, and popped out to shine on me . . .
. . . and the town below.
In spite of the sunshine, I could see snow on the higher hills to the north . . .
. . . while our local hills were snow free.
I exchanged glances with a sheep beside the track . . .
. . . and enjoyed the sun making a crop of haws sparkle.
I vaulted lightly over the stile on the wall at the end of the track when I got to it. . .
. . . and paused on the other side to look back.
The sun and I then both descended in unison as the shadows lengthened over the town below . . .
. . . and it had almost disappeared by the time that I got down to the woods and the track back to town.
I had worried that the path down the hill might be slippery, but it was in excellent condition and I was pleased to see that the little birch wood on the hill was still standing.
I was on to well trodden paths by this time (and it was getting chilly), so I kept my camera in my pocket and headed home without more ado.
I arrived back just in time to meet Mike Tinker passing the house. I invited him in and we had a cup of tea and a catch up. While he and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted., I made a sausage stew for the evening meal. We needed an early meal, as we had to go out to the church later on for a final practice and a warm up before our short carol concert.
The concert went very well, with more in the audience than in the choir, excellent refreshments at half time, and good money raised for the organ repair fund. On top of that, the choir sang pretty well. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even without the company of fellow bass Mike, who has been laid low by a chest infection, and wasn’t able to join us.
We got the concert in just in time, as the covid situation is deteriorating daily. We have had to cancel a proposed meal out for the choir next week.
The flying bird of the day, among all the chaffinches, is a determined blue tit.