Sitting on the fence

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Simon. He took advantage of the fine weather yesterday to visit High Cup Nick in the northern English hills.

I start today’s post with an apology regarding yesterday’s effort. After successfully publishing the full post, I managed in a moment of absent mindedness to post an update with most of the original post deleted. This meant that those who received and read the post in their e-mail box, got the whole thing, but anyone who used their browser only got the truncated update. I have rescued the original text, put the photos back in, and the full post should now be available for everyone. I would like to thank my friend Mike Tinker who rang me up and pointed the error out to me.

Now to today:

I started the day by having coffee and scones with Dropscone. He is very depressed by his golf at the moment, but like every golfer, he lives with the dream that tomorrow his swing will be a thing of beauty again, so instead of selling his clubs and taking up origami, he will continue to stride across the fairways.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove down to Glentarras, where we joined a big squad of volunteers removing fencing from the pheasant pens in a wood on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

There was plenty of stuff to shift . . .

. . . and the wood looked a lot better without it.

A considerable area was fenced in, and as we only moved about a quarter of it, more visits by the volunteers will be required.

After two hours of hard work, we were refreshed by hot Ribena and a blueberry muffins before we set off home.

I had a quick look at the bird feeder in the garden . . .

. . . and then after a bowl of lightly curried parsnip soup and some scrambled eggs on toast, I went for a short walk.

There were no dippers, herons or oystercatchers on view today, just a gull disappearing over the town bridge . . .

. . . and a duck swimming calmly in the low waters of the river . . .

As I walked along the Kilngreen, a flurry of gulls playing find the free post caught my eye . . .

. . . and a pair of mallards splashed down into the Ewes Water.

I was well sheltered from any wind and at 7°C, it was pleasantly warm for a January walk, but there was no doubt that it was still winter, as the view up the Lodge Walks showed.

I took the bottom road from the Lodge along the pheasant hatchery . . .

. . . and noticed this striking growth on a tree.

I have always thought that these shapes were just moss, but reading another blog recently has made me wonder if they might be liverworts. I will have to take a better photograph next time that I am passing, and check them out carefully.

It wasn’t sunny, but it was a clear day and I enjoyed the views of the surrounding hills on my walk.

I looked at things closer to the path as well.

The estate has continued to clear up the mess left by Storm Arwen, and the path above the Duchess Bridge was looking very neat today . . .

. . . though the bridge itself still is in need of repair.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal busy in the garden. She had dug over a couple of rows of the new potato bed, so I chipped in with a couple more rows. We are about half way through the task now. I had a walk round the garden after that, before going in for a cup of tea and a Garibaldi biscuit or two.

I found a bunch of potential snowdrops, cheery colour on a golden box ball, and a definite bud on a tree peony.

After my cup of tea, I spent time practising a hymn that we are going to sing as an introit with the church choir on Sunday.

In the evening, we were visited by an old friend of our daughter who dropped in for a glass of wine, reminiscences of times past, and a catch up on present news. Among other things, he told us that he had been looking in a drawer at his father’s house where he had found a recorder that he had learned to play in my class as a very small boy. He can still play Three Blind Mice he told us with pride.

The flying bird of the day is a gull who wasn’t interested in finding itself a post, and glided serenely past me on the Kilngreen.

Footnote: I will try not to make a mess of publishing this post. If you have read this far, I will have succeeded.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Sitting on the fence

  1. The peony and snowdrop buds are encouraging.
    I’d say those are liverworts on the tree but it’ll take a macro lens to be sure.
    I’m glad you were able to salvage yesterday’s post. You made it sound easy.
    My favorites today are the mallards. Swimming or landing, they’re pretty birds.

    1. The mallards are often overlooked because they are so common but they are pretty, I agree.
      Thank you for your pointer to the liverworts on the tree. I have passed them without looking carefully at them many times.

  2. My goodness, between volunteering to move all that fencing, walking, digging in the garden, watching birds as well as socialising, you have enjoyed a very actively busy day.

  3. Pretty sure that’s Frullania dilatata, dilated scalewort, a liverwort, no closer photo needed. I’m very fond of your fencepost gulls, and those landing mallards are lovely.

  4. I was very happy that you were able to restore yesterday’s post, because it was a bit of a tease to read that it was chock full of photos and then not be able to view them all! You sometimes apologize for photo-heavy posts, but they are among my favorites as I love seeing both the similarities and differences between your surroundings in Scotland and mine in northeastern U.S. I’ve shared your blog with my Mom, who has now become a daily reader too, and she also enjoys all the beautiful landscape photos. You’ve inspired her to look up and try a few new recipes as well! (And speaking of recipes, curried parsnip soup sounds divine.) Thank you for sharing your little slices of life with us!

  5. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, especial gulls and mallards in action. As for the pheasant fence, was it there to keep them in or keep them out?

  6. Another great header photo and FBOTD to enjoy. Interesting to read about ‘liverworts’ …must check out some around here that I too thought was just dried moss! It’s amazing the things one finds when looking in drawers …never the thing one is looking for though!

    1. I had noticed the liverworts before and thought that they looked too dark to be normal moss. They are quite striking.

      You can waste a lot of time finding things that you weren’t looking for in drawers. 🙂

  7. WordPress can be full of unpleasant surprised. I write on my iPad, and the app does best for writing text, while the web browser does next for adding photos. Sometimes it is hard to get them to agree on the final version, or I get flummoxed and hit publish instead of save draft before I am done proofreading.

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