Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He walked across this fine metal viaduct at Bennerley, built in 1877 by the Great Northern Railway Company. At over quarter of a mile long, it is the longest wrought iron viaduct in the country. It straddles the River Erewash connecting Ilkeston in Derbyshire with Awsworth in Nottinghamshire.
My brother had a lovely day for his recent walk. We had yet another grey day here. At least our weather is consistent as it was 5°C again.
However, in another way, the day was exceptional because Sandy walked down to have coffee with me. This was a great triumph and the furthest that he has walked since his operation. I thought that it was only fair to give him a lift back up the hill in the car when we had finished sipping and chatting.
I had another cup of coffee when Margaret came round for a cup and a chat with Mrs Tootlepedal, and then I cycled round to the shop to stock up on syrup and corned beef. I made some lentil soup for lunch and entirely forgot to make myself a corned beef sandwich to go with it. I will not starve though, as a number of ginger biscuits had disappeared during my double coffee break.
After lunch, I had a look for birds and found a visiting charm of goldfinches . . .
. . . supervised by a pigeon in the walnut tree.
Mrs Tootlepedal came out into the garden with me to check on the growing number of snowdrops to be seen . .
. . . while a hip on the Wren rose also caught my eye.
Mrs Tootlepedal went in to make a gingerbread cake to Mary Berry’s granny’s recipe, while I dug over another couple of rows of the new potato bed, and then went for a short walk.
We have been advised that the Wauchope road, my most frequent cycle route, will be closed for quite a while, so I went to check . . .
. . .whether pedestrians would be able to get through, and more importantly, whether pedestrians pushing cycles would be able to get through. It turned out that cyclists pedalling cycles would have no difficulty getting through so that was a relief. In the meantime I walked on past the drainage works and took the road up to Becks Farm.
It was not a windy day . . .
. . . but it remained a very grey day.
I walked up to Becks Farm, and found that it was just as misty looking down the valley as it was looking up it, or indeed, across it.
I found that the wood near the old curling pond had been almost totally demolished by Storm Arwen, and a copse of trees by the farmhouse had been left looking decidedly odd.
There were things to look at (and things looking at me). . .
. . . until I finally stopped and turned for home when hedges and walls were were replaced by fences.
I didn’t go all the way back down the road, but turned off when I came to the path leading down to the wooden bridge over the Becks Burn . . .
. . . and I went very carefully down the steep bank to the bridge, and very slowly up the steep bank on the other side.
As I took the track back to town, I used my new found liverwort spotting skills and realised that they are to be found on every side on smooth barked trees.
Just as I came to the top of the hill above the field at Holmwood, a great racket of birds made me look up.
My Lumix told me that they were starlings.
A horse in the field looked up as I went by . . .
. . . and went back to grazing.
Today is the 54th anniversary of the day when Mrs Tootlepedal and I got married, and I called in on our friends Mike and Alison on my way home, and invited them round for tea and ginger cake to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
They duly arrived, and we were very pleased to have their company. As we are not going on sprees at the moment, tea, ginger cake and old friends were the very best way to make it a special day.
It is extremely difficult to get a good flying garden bird in this dull weather. Today was no exception.