Fade to grey again

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce. He is on a family visit to Sheffield and came across the Cobweb bridge on the Five Weirs Walk.

After our brief sunny interlude, we were back to grey today. Very grey. It was quite warm though and it wasn’t raining so Mrs Tootlepedal was able to bicycle off to do some work at the Langholm Initiative, and Dropscone was able to cycle round, with scones, to have coffee with me.

His golf game is not good at the moment, he told me. To make things worse, crows keep sweeping down onto the golf course and stealing the golf balls from the fairways. He and his playing partners recently lost nine balls on a single outing. Why the crows do this is a mystery, as it where they cache the balls which they steal.

After coffee, I went off to help out with the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve volunteers. Nine of us turned up today to help Kat, our leader, clear unwanted pheasant rearing fences and equipment from a wood in Glentarras. We had made a good start last week, but there was still plenty to do. After clearing the fence down a very steep bank, we were able to get into a more open part of the wood.

The sharp eyed may just be able to make out the posts and wire behind the clump of bracken in the middle of the picture above.

It is hard work, as the fence is stapled to the ground and very firmly fixed to the posts. We still have at least another day’s work to do to finish the clearance. Everything has to be taken out of the wood and here are a gang tackling a load of folded up wire . . .

. . . and here is Kat taking away a roll of coiled up hose used for providing water for the young birds. Kirsty is carrying the water basins.

We worked hard for an hour and a half, and then assembled at the bottom of the hill for a group photograph . . .

. . . before heading back along the track in some light drizzle for the now traditional hot Ribena and biscuits.

We were parked beside the bridge over the Tarras Water, and I took the opportunity of nipping down to the river bank for a better look at it.

Although it doesn’t show in the picture, it was raining quite persistently by this time, so after a quick look at moss and lichen on the bridge parapet . . .

. . . and some catkins nearby . . .

. . . I jumped (heaved myself) into the car and drove home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day today. After her Langholm Initiative meeting, she had gone off for coffee with her ex work colleagues, and now after lunch, she went off again, this time to do some work on her curtains with a local sewing group.

I had all sorts of virtuous plans for afternoon exercise, but after the vigorous exercise in the morning, the prospect of going out again in very grey, wet and windy weather did not seem appealing. I did manage to get as far as the garden for a moment or two. It was damp.

The snowdrops along the back path have some way to go to match the ones that I saw yesterday on my walk . . .

. . . but the sarcococca is thriving.

When I went back in, I modified my original plan to include some indoor cycling on the bike to nowhere, and then I re-modified it to doing nothing. I did that very well.

My new plan lasted into the evening. It went so well that I even forgot about our regular Zoom with my brother and sisters, and had to be reminded to join the meeting half way through.

We have got weather warnings for the next two days, so although we may see some sun tomorrow, it is going to come with 50 mph winds. I will not be cycling.

There were few birds in the garden, and none at all when I was looking out of the window, so there is no bird of the day today, flying, sitting or swimming.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “Fade to grey again

  1. I watched the recent fast motion video of the project’s clearance on Facebook today, but it was too fast motion for me to see whether you and Mrs Tootlepedal were there when it was filmed.

  2. Some very commendable work being done by all you Tarras valley nature reserve volunteers,.
    Our little local area of Chapel wood which was originally cleared and replanted some 20 years ago by volunteers with donations from local businesses,is in need of some rejuvenation.
    I might have a word with some like minded neighbours to see what can be done.
    I’m surprised there are still berries left on the bushes,there must be more than enough to go round.

    1. These were small rose hips and they don’t seem to be attractive to our garden birds. There are still quite a lot of berries about in the garden and on my walks which is indicative of how few birds there are about this year.

      I hope that you can get a group together to work in your woodland.

  3. You all did quite a bit of work this morning, and I enjoyed all your photos from the day. The snowdrops are a pleasure to see. Our own have not come up yet, though there is a nice drift of them along the roadside on the way to town.

    I very much liked the cobweb tunnel and “spider” guest photo. πŸ™‚

  4. Dropscone being able to play golf in January is amazing. The easy answer would be that the crows think the golf balls are eggs but I thing they’re a lot smarter than that.
    It was nice to see the catkins opening. Spring is coming quickly there.
    Is all of the cleanup being done because pheasants aren’t being raised anymore or are they being raised somewhere else?

    1. There is no evidence at all as to where they take them. They have taken so many over the past year or so that you would think that someone would have seen the hoard.

  5. I certainly had a laugh when I read about the crows.

    But… regarding golfers, golf balls, and crows… there is always the possibility that the story about the crows is just an excuse for golfers hitting their balls to places unknown and unfindable. I’m not suggesting that is what happens, but it is a possibility. On the other hand, I have trouble visualizing any of the crows I’ve seen being able to carry off a golf ball — too big to carry in the beak, and perhaps too big and/or slipper to carry in the claws. But maybe crows in Scotland can do such things.

    1. The crows take the balls off in their beaks. It definitely is happening. Dropscone can’t often hit his ball far enough to lose it these days. πŸ™‚

  6. A gray day but some lovely pictures. I especially like the photo of the moss. Must be a weekend for bad weather as a blizzard is blowing up the coast, and it will be hitting Maine tomorrow.

  7. This sounds like a well-balanced day: hard work in the morning, scones with Dropscone, taking in a bridge as well as photographing interesting things. Not at all bad.

  8. Crows have a way of dealing with lost or mislaid eggs. So Dropscone and his pals might succeed with yellow or red balls.

  9. I particularly like the raindrops on rose hips and the view of the catkins. I’ve been removing wire fence strung on posts damaged in a storm here and it’s very tough work, even without being stapled to the ground.

    1. It doesn’t take a great length of chicken wire to make a heavy load, and the poles are quite hefty too. I am sorry to hear of your storm damage.

  10. Interesting Cobweb bridge photo- bet there are lots of real spiders in those dark brick cavities. I like the moss, lichen and dewdrop photo very much and the smiley, happy volunteer photo says it all!

  11. I find quite a few golf ball on my field next to the course. The field is quite a bit higher than the course and I wondered how they got there, then I saw a crow dropping a ball from well above the field, and it dropped down to where the ball had landed. I can only assume it thought it was going to eat a broken egg!

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