Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Simon. He walked up to Langholm from Canonbie yesterday, and as he knows that I like a good gate and tree, he sent me this picture which he took on the way.
It was above freezing again here, but it was still cold and windy when we got up, so I was happy to loaf about reading the papers and doing the crossword until Margaret came for coffee.
When she left, it was threatening to rain as well, so I went back into loafing mode, and dawdled around until it was lunchtime. I did look out of the window from time to time.
First there were goldfinches and siskins . . .
. . . and then there was an outbreak of violent action . . .
. . . and finallly it was chaffinch time at the feeder.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy making up her last curtain, so I went for a walk after lunch.
Since there was what Shakespeare describes a a nipping and an eager air, I tried to find the best route for keeping out of the gusty winds. My plan was to go to Potholm, keeping in the shelter of the trees on the way up, and then come back on the other side of the valley, safely under the lee of the hill. It seemed a bit optimistic as I went along the Esk to the Kilngreen, feeling the bite of the wind keenly, but I was rewarded by the sight of three oystercatchers, these two . . .
. . . and another on a rock in the middle of the river, too far away for as good shot.
Once I got to the Lodge alks, my plan ca,me together most satisfactorily, and I really wasn’t troubled by the breeze for the rest of my walk. The fact that the sun came out helped, but it didn’t last for long and by the time that I had got to the snowdrops at Holmhead, it had gone further up the valley . . .
. . . where it stayed.
It was surprisingly warm out of the wind, and I walked at a good pace so I was able to unzip my jacket and take off my gloves as I came down to cross the Esk at Potholm, passing the bank of snowdrops below the farmhouse on my way.
Across the river, the sheep had been busy eating turnips, and the farmer had opened up more for them. The ungrateful animals much preferred his silage though.
That was the last ray of sunshine that I saw. The sun was sinking and the clouds were rising . . .
. . . though it wasn’t nearly as dark as the camera thought that it was. There was plenty of light to let me look at the lichens on the wall beside the road. These four were all within inches of each other (to get the full beauty of the lichens, click on a frame in the galleries). . .
. . . and I didn’t have to look hard to find three sorts of moss (and more lichen) as I walked along.
I was so well sheltered from the wind that it was very peaceful as I looked across the narrow valley to the track below the trees on the other side which I had taken on my way out.
As you get near the end of the Milnholm road, the wall becomes a home for spleenworts and ferns.
It is almost always worth turning over a fern to see what lies behind.
As I went back to town along the B709, I could see that even though it is two and half months since the big storm, they have still not found the time to repair the broken telephone poles, and wires are tied to the fence.
Although the sun was almost behind the hills when I reached the town, the clouds had cleared away and I could see the moon sailing high in the blue sky.
Once home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had not only finished sewing her second set of curtains, but had hung them up too.
They look very snug.
My late afternoon and evening were as uneventful as my morning had been.
Unfortunately, the wind has dropped this evening, and this means that we are in for a cold night and a frosty morning. They are talking about -3°C, not cold at all by the standards of some of my readers in America and Canada, but quite cold for us. We will have to wait and see how the crocuses and snowdrops take to this.
The flying birds of the day are a chaffinch studiously ignoring a goldfinch’s rude remarks.