A stroll with Mrs Tootlepedal

Today’s guest picture comes from my Manitoba correspondent, Mary Jo. At first sight it might look like a row of gallows along the roadside, but she tells me that they are used to take electrical connections over the sidewalks. The electricity is used to heat up oil or cylinder blocks before trying to start cars on very cold winter days. We don’t know what cold weather is here!

It was a degree or two below zero here today when we got up, but as the sun was out, we took it in our stride. Mind you, we didn’t go as far as to stride out of the house, because we were both quite tired. I let a special holiday prize crossword fill up my morning, and I watched the birds for a while too.

When I saw that the lack of seed was causing a ruckus . . .

. . . I went out and filled the feeder up. This had a double benefit as I scared off a visiting sparrowhawk when I opened the back door. Fortunately, the little birds had seen it coming and got out of the way safely.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a walk. It was a beautiful afternoon with a cloudless sky and the cotoneaster at the end of our drive was positively glowing.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been noticing pairs of jackdaws on all sides. They form lifetime bonds and look rather charming as they perch in their pairs. We passed a couple as we set out.

In spite of the sunshine, it was still only about 4°C. Where the sun hadn’t shone, icy patches and frosty grass could be seen. At the Kilngreen, Mr Grumpy had taken on the role of international man of mystery . . .

. . . but the view up the river was as good as it can be at this time of year.

I kept an eye out as we walked along up to the Sawmill Brig, passing decorative white berries (Mrs Tootlepedal collected some for planting at home) . . .

. . . a black headed gull . . .

. . . a fine piece of hair ice at Walkers Hole . . .

. . . and an opportunity for those with time on their hands to count the tree rings to see how old one of the trees blown over by Arwen was. (I thought at least 70 years old on a rough count.)

With only two or three days to go before the shortest day, the sun really struggles to get up over our hills at the moment, so any tendency to look behind us as we walked was dazzling, mist was starting to rise from the Ewes Water, and the grass in the field hadn’t seen the sun all day . . .

The cold temperatures had kept the ground reasonably firm underfoot, so the going was generally good, and I could raise my head up as we went round and enjoy the trees.

We were walking more or less straight into the sun as we came back along the Baggra . . .

. . . but I could look to the side to see frozen moss on the wall beside the track . . .

. . . mist rising over the town . . .

. . . and the new view over the rugby pitch and up to Whita.

The recent tree felling here means that this is probably the first time for over twenty years, that walkers have been able to enjoy this view from the track.

As we came back down the hill to the Castleholm, we got into the shadows and it felt quite cold. We didn’t hang about, but headed home without stopping again, except to say hallo to a charming puppy who wouldn’t stand still long enough for me to get a good picture.

On our way into the town, we were passed by a gritter lorry spraying the road, and it is below freezing again as I write this post.

We had walked just under three miles, and were quite happy to slump down in front of the telly and watch some horse racing from Ascot.

My cold has been getting steadily better and I hope to be able to declare myself cured by tomorrow morning.

I made toad-in-the-hole with vegetarian sausages for our evening meal, and there was enough batter left for us to have a pancake with sugar and lemon for our pudding.

We got the second monthly delivery of Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday flowers today, and I hope to get a photograph of them when she has arranged them to her satisfaction. Some of last month’s flowers are still on the go.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “A stroll with Mrs Tootlepedal

  1. It’s always nice to see the hair ice. I still haven’t seen any here.
    It takes a lot of time and patience to count all the growth rings in a tree.
    I’ve never seen a shrub with so many white berries. Do you know its name?

    1. Mrs T thinks that it is Sorbus cashmiriana. It is expensive to buy so I hope that she gets some luck with the berries. I agree that life may be too short to count tree rings though some scientists make it their life’s work.

  2. Tell me Tom. What’s you toad in the hole recipe. Never done it but want too.

    Get Outlook for Android ________________________________

    1. Batter: 4 oz plain flour, half pint milk, 1 egg beaten, pinch of salt and a few herbs if you like. Put flour in bowl, make a well and put the beaten egg in it, mix, add milk bit by bit, mixing as you go until you get quite a runny batter. Let it rest for a while. Heat the oven to 200 degrees fan and put a dish with some oil in it to heat up. You can either fry the sausages separately or put them in the pan in the oven for ten minutes to brown a bit. If they are not there already, put the sausages in the hot dish, pour on the batter to almost cover the sausages and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, having a look to check.

  3. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, and also found the hair ice a special treat. We are in a slightly warmer, rainier period now. It will most likely be a grey Christmas here this year.

  4. Love the tree-mendous photos and good to see hair ice again! Favourite photo is Mrs T walking down the lane it’s very atmospheric.

  5. Good to read you’re on the road to recovery. Your shot of the river could almost be our ‘creek’ this time of year… except the hillside is missing the stumps or monotonous growth of Douglas Fir trees covering it.
    In case I return to hibernating again, I’d like to wish both you and Mrs T a healthy and happy Christmas. 🙏🤗

  6. I didn’t know jackdaws pair bonded for life, I wonder, is it the same for all corvids, I’ll be googling later for that. It really was a beautiful day for a walk for you both. I’ve had a cough, cold for a fortnight now, and have been doing lateral flow tests, checking for the obvious, but thankfully all have had negative results. A lifelong friend’s 70th birthday celebration has been cancelled for next week, because of fears over getting all his oldie pals together. We all seem to be stuck in a rut because of this pandemic, and the rules keep changing. As far as I have observed most people are ignoring whatever rules are supposed to be in place anyway. Cheers.

    1. We are taking things very cautiously. It would be a pity to come so far without catching Covid and then fall at the final fence.

      I don’t know about pother corvids’ bonding habits.

      Have you tried the new wheel yet?

      1. No, I haven’t actually pedalled my Pioneer with the SwytchBike front wheel in place. Unfortunately, the mechanic at Merthyr Bike Workshop was unable to get the cantilever brakes in the correct position. Neither, can I. I’ve contacted SwytchBike’s help desk stating the brakepads are rubbing directly on the tyre and they have suggested changing the position of the washers on the fork interface. Which means I, now, have to have go at mechanicking? Work and home commitments has meant I have yet to get around to it. I am hoping to attempt the suggested rearrangement tomorrow morning in the shelter of our gazebo. So wish me luck, cheers.

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