An oasis of calm

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. Some late sunshine provided her with a show of nature’s own fairy lights using raindrops.

After several windy days, it was a relief to wake up to a much quieter day today. It was chilly though, as a glance out of the window showed.

Luckily, the snow had stayed on the hills, and the town was ice and snow free. This kept the birds happy . . .

. . . and our little wren was to be seen, popping in and out of the undergrowth.

On the downside, a jackdaw was eyeing up the lawn pecking possibilities.

Margaret came round for coffee, and then I made a pot of lentil soup for lunch. Although it was only 4°°C, some cheerful sunshine after lunch made it look like a very reasonable day for a pedal. I had hurt my elbow yesterday, so I took the precaution of having a quick test on the bike to nowhere before getting wrapped up and taking my road bike out into the real world.

With the wind at a very reasonable 6 miles an hour, it was the first day for some time that bicycling was an unalloyed pleasure from start to finish. I stopped to look back as I climbed up the hill out of the Wauchope valley. The day looked very benign.

Switching my view a little bit to the left though showed that it was still pretty chilly.

Luckily for me, the sun continued to shine, and I pedalled along quite happily. I’ve been meaning to stop for some time to take a picture of this intriguing sight.

It is a reminder of storm Arwen. What you’re looking at is a section of a telephone pole. It had been blown over and has been cut off above and below the joint to the wires. It looks very odd indeed hanging at about eye level.

There was a hill of sheep to be seen soon afterwards.

I got down to the Canonbie by-pass at a good speed, with the light wind helping me down the hill. Naturally, I was expecting to have to work harder to get home, but the wind was so light that it didn’t make much difference to my enjoyment at all.

I realised that I was a bit illustration light as I got to the last three miles of my trip, so I parked my bike against a wall, and as always, where there is a wall, there is a lichen or two . . .

. . . and there was a little wood across the road, with more lasting damage from Arwen still lying around and blocking the path. I include an ivy covered tree taken a few hundred yards further back down the road.

I got home just too late to find most of the crocuses in the garden still open in the sunshine . . .

. . . and Mrs Tootlepedal told me that they had been making a grand show half an hour earlier. I found one fully out and have added some potential colour from other crocuses, primulas and daffodils.

The most promising of all were these:

I had set off quite early for my bike ride, so there was still time to add a short three bridges walk to make use of the unusually calm day. Mrs Tootlepedal had been working in the garden and thought that she had made quite enough use of the day already, so I went off by myself.

It really was a lovely day as I got to the river. . .

. . . and the resident pair of oystercatchers were enjoying the sun as much as I was.

Although the snow on the front of Whita Hill had disappeared, there was still some left on the north facing slopes of Timpen when I got to the Kilngreen.

There were plenty of mallards about, with the green of the drakes’ heads turning to purple as the light came from a different angle, and one of them made a big splash.

A rook turned to look at me as I walked past.

I couldn’t resist another look at the moss on the Castleholm wall once I had crossed the Sawmill Brig. I love the colours that the low sun brings out.

I wandered round the new path, over the Jubilee Bridge and round the Scholars’ Field without finding anything very exciting to see, apart from a few gulls. I was quite happy not to stop because the call of a cup of tea and a slice of toasted brioche with raspberry jam was getting stronger by the minute.

While the kettle was boiling, I noticed a sparrow on the feeder, a rare visitors these days

Suitably refreshed, I settled down to catch up on reading the Saturday newspapers and before I knew it, dusk had fallen and it was time for our evening meal.

It was really good to have such a calm and pleasant day after days of winds, especially as the next week looks as though it is going to be pretty windy (40 mph gusts) almost every day.

The flying birds of the day are a trio of gulls seen on my walk.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “An oasis of calm

  1. Those are great shots of the pixie cups. I’ve never seen them look so tall.
    The moss spore capsules came out well too. I’ve been wanting to try the new camera out on them but I can’t find any.
    The flowers and snow on the hills were beautiful to see. Spring hasn’t gotten its foot fully in the door here yet.

  2. I generally like seeing snow up in the hills but not where I am down below. We have not seen any winter wind storms quite like your recent ones, yet.

    The lichens look like a thriving forest among the moss. You had some beautiful angled lighting today for photography.

  3. Awesome to see your wren again, I now remember s/he was in 2-posts ago and smiled then knowing you were excited to have it around. Looks like the two oystercatchers are looking a little bashful here…..they remember you catching them in the act couple days ago. 😉

  4. What a lovely day you had today! Excellent photos of the lichen and the moss. It was nice seeing the difference the angle of light made on the mallards and the flying seagulls of the day are very handsome. Well done getting such a good shot of the wren!

  5. You were lucky indeed to have such a calm and sunny day. Pleased to see a sparrow – they have long since vanished from here.

  6. How I wish I could send you some of my fifty or more sparrows… We are going through the extreme winds now and I am glad yours have ended. I know it’s no consolation but after rain and a thaw last week I noticed hundreds of starlings taking advantage of what a grassy lawn had released. Lovely lichens and mallard iridescence.

    1. I am expecting more sparrows as spring comes. Mrs T doesn’t like them because they eat her growing vegetables. I hope that you survive the extreme winds. We are due to get more strong wind tonight.

      1. Sparrows will eat just about anything, I guess that’s why they’ve survived everywhere they’ve hitched a ride to. I just checked the forecast here for tomorrow night and there are thunderstorms predicted overnight into Wednesday. I hope your winds aren’t too bad tonight.

  7. How fortunate to have such a lovely day to enjoy your walk plus a cycle ride. Langholm must be the envy of the whole nation! Love all the bird photos, the views and the lichen city!

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