A stroll and a song

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “A stroll and a song

  1. I loved the shot of the snowy hillside. Treeless hills look so different in the snow.
    That’s a nice shot of the jelly fungus as well. I don’t remember seeing witches’ butter on your blog before.
    The car window frost reminds me of something you’d see under the sea. Interesting how it grew the way it did.

    1. You are right about the car frost. It did look submarine. I have had that jelly fungus in the blog before. That is why I knew where to keep an eye out.

  2. Your car window was transformed in a real artwork 🙂 Nice shot of the snow on the higher hills.
    We have 13 cm on snow in the most upper part of Belgium, (660m above sea level). There was also some snowfal in the center but not in the north where we live.

  3. I really do envy you your chaffinches. I don’t know the last time I saw one even though we have a park and a small ancient woodland nearby. Plenty of tits – and the odd parakeet!

    1. We used to have far more chaffinches. I have counted thirty or forty round the plum tree in the past. Now if I see ten I get very excited. There has been a lot of bird disease in recent years

  4. I enjoyed all the photos, especially those views of angled sun on the hills. The shallow roots of many trees are indeed a mystery, though often a strong tap root gets broken off when the tree topples, especially with large massive oaks. I remember one large diameter, venerable old maple tree back east. It grew near a pond I used to walk around many years ago. The day after a windstorm, I found it had come down. I was glad not to have been anywhere near it when it fell.

    1. The ground is so shallow and rocky that I don’t think that many of the trees will have had big taproots. They have relied on wide spreading and shallow root systems which is why they can be easily tipped over.

  5. Very glad you got your concert in and it went so well. The ice photos are quite amazing. We are also relatively dry with off-and-on cold. Sunshine is so intense this time of year, keeps us going. I wonder if we might be more appreciative if we had gotten Chaffinches instead of Sparrows.

    1. Chaffinches are a welcome bit of colour in a grey garden. Sometimes, if there are enough of them about, it looks as though the plum tree has Christmas decorations on it.

  6. A great day for a walk and lovely photos of the hills and the trees in the December sunshine. Lots of new names for the yellow fungus…I think ‘witches butter’ will stick in my mind the best! Love the flying blue tit photo -he definitely knew where he was going!

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