Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She was very impressed by the Christmas decorations in her local hairdresser’s salon. I am too.
After a night with more rain and the sound of mournful geese calling out in the mist as they circled the town at midnight, it was a relief to wake up to dry weather, even if it was very grey once again. I read in the newspaper today that this month has been one of the dullest Decembers on record. I don’t feel quite so bad about the large number of dull pictures which have appeared on the blog during the month. Any camera needs light, and light has been in short supply.
At least we had a goldfinch on the feeder this morning to make a change from the usual chaffinches . . .
. . . but it was very cloudy when I looked back over the town on my way up to have coffee with Sandy.
After we had spend some companionable time drinking coffee and remarking that we hadn’t got a lot to say as nothing much had happened since we met two days ago, I walked home again. I was nearly overcome by excitement when there was an actual hint of sunshine . . .
. . . but I managed to contain myself as it was only a hint, and it only lasted for two minutes.
The goldfinches had disappeared by the time that I got home, and they had been replaced by two siskins, who in turn were soon overtaken by chaffinches.
After lunch, Mrs Tootleped,al and I decided that we should see the old year out with a final walk. It was a windy day so we drove down to Canonbie and went on a very sheltered walk, up one side of the Byre Burn and down the other.
To start our walk off, we went along the old road from the Hollows and enjoyed fungus on a tree stump and moss on a wall as we went.
We crossed the Byre Burn and looked down from the bridge at the Esk which the burn joins at this point. There was plenty of water going down the river after the recent rain.
Then we came up behind another couple of walkers just as we got to the start of the path through the woods. They every kindly suggested that we might like to go first. After that of course, I couldn’t stop to take as many pictures as normal for fear of holding them up. We also had to pass up the opportunity to rest for a moment on the bench with a view thoughtfully provided for tired people at the top of a steep little climb.
After negotiating a couple of small fallen trees, we got to the road back down to the bridge at the top of the Byre Burn, where we noticed a set of trees with many stems that were growing strongly from were they had been cut back. A closer looked showed that they were ash.
We crossed the little bridge and took the track beside the burn. I looked back as we walked down the path and reflected that had we been doing this walk 50 years ago, we would have been walking under a magnificent viaduct.
The viaduct was demolished in 1987 and there is no sign of it now.
The Byre Burn was bubbling along beside the track on its way to plunging over the waterfall at the Fairy Loup . . .
I took a two second video to provide a soundtrack to the waterfall. Click here to find it.
We came across some more substantial fallen trees at the bottom of the track, just before rejoining the old main road.
Luckily, some fine chainsaw work had created a way through the chaos . . .
. . . and we were able to get through without having to climb, vault or duck.
As we walked back along the old road towards the car, we saw the last surviving viburnum berries high above our heads.
It was only a two and a half mile walk, but it had felt good to get out and enjoy the fresh air, the trees and the stream. And we we had been very well sheltered from the strong wind.
I put the car on charge when we got home, and then we made some inroads into the biscuit mountain created by generous Christmas gifts. I ate the most. It is hard work but someone has to do it.
In the evening, we had the last of our regular Zoom meetings with my siblings for the year.
The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the readers of the blog for their patience over the past year when Mrs Tootlepedal and I have been leading a rather limited life. I would like to extend special thanks to all those who have taken time to add their comments to the posts over the past year. I really appreciate your contributions, and they give me extra motivation to try to find something a little bit interesting to say when I sit down in the evening to compose a post. And trying to find something interesting to say gives me a motivation to try and actually do something a little bit interesting every day (even if I don’t always manage to achieve that ambition).
A Happy New Year to all!