Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who passed the Derby Silk Mill Museum of Making at twilight and stopped to record the occasion.
After all the dark foreboding, Storm Dudley passed over us without leaving much of a trace at all, and we woke up to another fine, mostly dry and mildly windy day. It was a lot chillier though, so although the sun was shining, the crocuses were not interested in opening their petals when I looked in the morning. I didn’t have much time for wandering around the garden, or looking at birds . . .
. . . as the chief business of the morning was getting the Langholm Initiative newsletter organised and sent off for approval. I managed this by lunchtime, and by coincidence, the crocuses managed to get their petals open by that time too.
There had been a light shower of sleety rain during the morning, but the weather looked set fair for the afternoon, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I wrapped up exceedingly well, and ventured out for a walk in the chilly wind.
We hoped to see a dipper or two, so we started our walk by going along the riverside. No dippers were to be seen, but you couldn’t miss a pair of oystercatchers between the bridges . . .
. . . and we found seven more when we got to the Kilngreen.
These were in a flighty mood.
We crossed the Sawmill Brig (no dippers in sight), and walked up the Lodge Walks and on to the North Lodge.
On our way, Mrs Tootlepedal was struck by the sinewy nature of this tree . . .
. . .which doesn’t just affect the trunk, but twists up into the branches as well.
We were serenaded by several robins on our outing. This one was beside the Lodge Walks.
The snowdrops at Holmhead are just about at their best.
The forecasters are saying that they may be joined by some real snow overnight.
As we walked, we could hear the calling of a buzzard, but it was too high and too far away to get a good picture.
The view up the valley when we got to the North Lodge was tempting . . .
. . . but keeping in the shelter of the trees and out of the biting wind was even more tempting. We turned back and took the track along the top of the woods.
Once again, we could hear the cries of a buzzard, but this time, the eagle eyed Mrs Tootlepedal spotted it crossing the track right above our heads. Bang, bang, I shot it twice.
I tend to think that buzzards are inquisitive birds because they often seem to fly over my head when I am out for a walk or a bike ride. They like to know what is going on in their patch.
We were very well protected by the trees as we went along, and with the sun out, it was a remarkably pleasant afternoon for a walk. The trees were attractive as well as functional.
Mrs Tootlepedal picked up a fallen branch with a snakeskin pattern for me to photograph.
Another tree had fallen across the track since I last walked along here. I nipped round the end of it and was going to photograph Mrs Tootlepedal vaulting over it, but she was to quick for me and had leapt over before I could get my camera out.
Another sheep was looking after us today . . .
. . . while two more got on with the serious business of eating grass.
As we dropped back down the hill to the Estate Offices and the Sawmill Brig, we noted some very cheerful dogwood in a garden . .
. . .and I peered at some peltigera lichen battling with moss for space on a wall.
On our way out, we had noticed that the electric car charging points at the Kilngreen were open for use. They were attracting attention . . .
. . . this afternoon but no customers. We might have to drive round with the Zoe soon to see if they will work for us.
When we were crossing the town bridge, Mrs Tootlepedal stopped to talk to a friend who is suffering from Long Covid. I crossed the road and watched as a dipper shot from under the bridge and into the far distance without a moment’s pause to pose. It wasn’t to be a dipper day.
However, some loud calls made me look at a bush beside the river, and there was a wren, quite happy to have its picture taken.
As we walked back towards the suspension bridge, the oystercatcher that we had seen on our way out had a definite gleam in its eye, and was soon making sure that we won’t be short of new oystercatchers.
We found that we had done three and a half miles by the time that we got home, so a cup of tea and some toasted slices of the fruity spiced loaf from the breadmaker were very welcome.
Although the spiced loaf had come out well, I found that the spices weren’t really to my taste, so I had got the breadmaker to make a brioche loaf while we were out.
We haven’t really explored the different loaves the breadmaker can make, and this was another venture into the unknown. The loaf turned out very well, and had the additional advantage of tasting delicious when we tried some later on. I will definitely make it again.
Having got approval from the boss, I posted out the newsletter, and then the Olympics provided us with a restful way of filling our time after our walk. It is an oddity that so much adventurous sporting activity among the young contestants is an excuse for so much idleness among the elderly spectators.
The flying bird of the day is that buzzard from our walk. It is not often that one flies so slowly and so low overhead.
Footnote: I have heard from Sandy, and he reports that his operation has gone well and he hopes to be back home early next week.