Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. She left Somerset recently for long enough to visit the smallest town in Britain (allegedly) Llanwrtyd Wells in Breconshire. There she saw this fine bridge over the River Irfon. Llanwrtyd Wells is the home of the world bog snorkelling championships.
Although it was only just above freezing when we got up this morning, almost all of the yesterday’s snow had disappeared. It snowed again lightly at coffee time and the day never got very warm, hitting a maximum of 3°C, but the snow didn’t lie, and the roads and pavements were ice free too.
We had an unusually sociable morning as first Dropscone came round for coffee, then our neighbour Margaret, and finally our other neighbour Liz. She had just completed her ten days of self isolation after family members living elsewhere in the town had had Covid. There is a lot of it around at the moment.
Dropscone told me that he had walked to the top of Whita Hill with his daughter, my recorder playing friend Susan, to celebrate the New Year. As they had gone straight up and down the steepest route, I was impressed.
When our guests had all finally departed, I watched the birds for a bit. Liz had remarked that there weren’t a lot of birds about, but perhaps they were waiting for me to have time to pick up my camera, because as the last guest left, the first siskins arrived.
They were soon followed by a small charm of goldfinches.
A flock of goldfinches is collectively called a charm, but as you can see, they are quite ready to get into an argument when they feel like it.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a walk. Mrs Tootlepedal was keen to take a rough track but after yesterday’s slippery outing, I was anxious to stick to well cleared roads, and she kindly gave way. We walked up the Wauchope road and back in a dull but safe manner.
I noted some welcome green shoots in the garden before we left . . .
. . . and we passed some cattle having their lunch too as we strolled along.
We went just over a mile and came down to the river at Bessie Bell’s. While we were there, the sun came out for a moment or two . . .
After we had enjoyed the riverside scene, Mrs Tootlepedal headed back home, and I added another mile up the road to my trip. The little bit of sunshine had passed over . . .
. . . and was shining on Whita hill behind me by this time.
As I didn’t have to worry about icy patches, I was able to keep an eye out as I walked along, and I enjoyed this whiskery tree.
Little bits of sunshine came and went, picking out the molehills and conifers.
Among the many mysteries of nature is the question of why only one patch of red hawthorn berries is left in a big patch of hawthorn bushes on the hillside.
Just beyond the hawthorns, there is a wall beside the road. It is a library of lichens. I saw all these within twenty yards and I could have added many more.
Considering that I also saw lichen on a tree trunk on the way out and more on a wall near home . . .
. . . it was a good walk for a man who likes lichens.
I turned for home after going two miles, and found myself being accompanied by the loud bleating of a sheep on top of a bank.
I don’t know whether I had upset her, or it was just life that had annoyed her, but she sounded very cross about something. Baa humbug!
I was pleased to have the time to enjoy this view . . .
. . . because when I am cycling down this little hill, I have to keep my eye on the road to check for traffic coming round the sharp corners ahead and don’t have time to take it in properly.
I was half way home, when I was very surprised to meet Mrs Tootlepedal coming the other way on her bicycle. I thought for a moment that she had come to check how I was going, but she explained that she had lost one of her scarves on the way home and was looking for it. When I told her that she still had it on round her neck under her other scarf, her reactions were somewhat mixed as you can imagine.
As the light was fading, she didn’t hang about but headed off home, and when I got back, we had a cup of tea and a biscuit to recover from all the excitement.
In the evening, I had not one but two Zoom meetings. The first was our regular meeting with my brother and sisters. The second was with my sister Susan’s New Zealand friend and occasional guest picture contributor to the blog, Stephen. He and his wife live in Auckland now, and we had a most entertaining conversation with them. Stephen promised to send me some more cheerful summer pictures from New Zealand soon.
The weather looks as though it might warm up a bit now, so I am hoping to have some cycling pictures by next week.
Today’s flying bird of a day is a chaffinch being rude to a siskin, a reversal of the normal order of things.