Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He took this dramatic cloudscape over the Forth this afternoon. As you can see from the angle of the sea, it knocked him a bit sideways.
We were braced for a dramatic day here with Storm Dudley in the offing, but the morning was more miserable than alarming with steady rain.
The birds on the feeder kept an eye out for danger at first but soon settled into seed eating while the going was good.
Margaret braved the rain to come up for a quick cup of coffee. When she left, Mrs Tootlepedal helped me change to the lubricant in the hub gear box on my road bike. We brought it into the kitchen to give the oil a chance to warm up, and then Mrs Tootlepedal read the instructions while I got my hands dirty.
The sharp eyed will be able to see the syringe waiting to draw the mixture of dirty lube and cleaning fluid out of the hub.
After we finished with the bike, I made a spiced fruity wholemeal loaf in the breadmaker. This was an experiment as I had never tried one before. It involved two eggs.
The rain stopped after lunch, and as the wind had not got up as much as we had feared, I decided to go for a walk while I could.
I set off up the Wauchope road, passing a good flow of water going over the Pool Corner caul, a couple of gates, a fine old hedge, and an untouched crop of haws. (Click on the panel for the bigger picture.)
It was warm for the time of year at 50°F (10°C), so in spite of the wind, it wasn’t a bad day for a walk.
As I went up the road, I kept an eye out for hazel flowers among the many catkins. I saw one.
When I got to Bessie Bell’s, I scrambled down the bank to admire the cascade . . .
. . . and when I had scrambled back up again, I was met by a sharp shower of rain. I was almost thinking of turning back, but I had waterproof trousers and my winter coat on, so I boldly headed onwards, muttering imprecations about the weather gods . . .
. . .and about five minutes later, I looked up and was very happy to find that the sun had come out.
When I had the chance, I left the road for a few hundred yards and walked through a narrow wood beside the river. It is a favourite place of mine . . .
. . . and I was very pleased to find that it was largely undamaged by recent storms, though a couple of trees had been dislodged from right on the river bank and were now in the river.
Further along the road, I came to a wall that is home to many lichens. Today I was looking for a glint of red. I found one, and then a few yards further along the wall, I found a forest.
Since it continued to be sunny, I walked on until I got to the field where I had seen two buzzards on my bicycle ride yesterday. They had rudely flown away on that occasion, but that didn’t happen today, but only because they weren’t there at all.
There were just a few crows circling over the ruined cottage.
I looked round for something that was there, and found a nice collection of alder catkins waiting for some better weather.
I had got out of the most sheltered part of the valley by this point, and the wind was strong enough to persuade me that walking with it behind me would be more relaxing that continuing to battle into it. I turned and headed for home, under supervision.
The sun shone for almost all the way back and I was was fully aware of what a privilege it is to live in such peaceful countryside.
I had a final look at the water going over the caul at Pool Corner from above the caul.
I got home after a five and half mile walk which I had never expected to be able to enjoy in view of the gloomy forecasts. I even had enough energy left to get excited about a daffodil in the garden.
I had the last of the oatmeal biscuits with my post walk cup of tea, and then watched a bit of the Winter Olympics with Mrs Tootlepedal.
In the evening, we had our regular Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters, and found that it seemed to be quite windy everywhere.
However, we are hoping that our weather is not going to be anything like as bad as we feared over the next two days, although there are some bad conditions elsewhere. I looked on the BBC website and found alarming pictures of damage both to the north and the south of us. I can’t quite work out why is not blowing as hard here. I am just grateful that it isn’t.
I didn’t get a flying bird today as there were not many visitors to the feeder but this goldfinch summed up the morning quite well.
Footnote: The spicy fruit wholemeal loaf came out well but is a rather odd creation. I don’t know if I will make it again. Perhaps it just needs getting used to.