The guest picture of the day, taken by her husband through the car windscreen, comes from my Canadian correspondent Mary Jo, who has been visiting British Columbia. There is quite a lot of snow there as you can see from the road verges. She tells me that people get helicopter rides to the top of the mountain so that they can then fall down it on skis. It takes all sorts.
We had a little frost but no snow here this morning. In fact we had a really good sunny day as we drove our daughter and granddaughter to the station in Carlisle to catch the London train. We arrived in plenty of time, the train arrived on time, Annie and Evie got on board safely, and we waved farewell as the train pulled out of the station. (It may look as though it is coming into the station but that it because it is a push-me-pull you train that works in both directions.)
We drove home in a slightly subdued state of mind.
I cheered myself up with a crocus focus when we got back to the garden.
They are lasting quite well.
I had a look at the birds over lunch, and found them rather subdued too, with nothing like the action we have seen over the past couple of days.
After lunch, we decided to go for a walk as it was still a fine day. In spite of the sun, I felt that it was too cold and windy for enjoyable cycling, so I was happy to go with Mrs Tootlepedal wherever she wanted. It turned out that she wanted to do the Target Burn walk, a sporting choice requiring some hard work.
We started along the riverside . . .
. . . and visited the Kilngreen, where two electric cars were charging up up at the new charging point.
Three black headed gulls were living up to their name . . .
. . . and there was another chance to focus on crocus.
We walked up the main road and then took the track along the Ewes Water to the Target Burn.
Once we had forded the Target Burn, and climbed up through the wood, we came out into welcome sunshine on the hillside.
There was quite a lot of cloud about, and we never saw the whole Ewes valley in sunshine at one time . . .
. . . but it was a fine day for a walk all the same. We saw things of interest along the way, including a mass of frogspawn in one of the many puddles. (Click on a picture if you are excited by frogspawn, moss, fungus or lichen.)
There is a regrettable loss of height as you have to drop down into a little glen half way up the hill, but it is made tolerable by the charm of the scene when you are at the bottom of the dip.
There is no escaping from the steepness of the last few yards up onto the road though.
There was quite a lot of stopping to admire the view.
All was well once we had scrambled up the final bank onto the road, and we went gently downhill for the rest of our walk.
We were passed by quite a lot of cars on what is usually a very quiet road, and a friend we met later in the walk wondered if there had been bird watching going on on on the moor. We didn’t see a single interesting bird on the hill.
I took a few familiar views as we pottered down.
And just after I had taken that last picture, we were overtaken by an old school friend of our son Tony. He obligingly slackened his pace and walked with us back down to the Kilngreen, catching up on news and chatting about old times as we went.
This made time pass very pleasantly, and in no time we found ourselves back in the town, looking upriver from the Langholm bridge.
We met another friend beside the Esk, and while Mrs Tootlepedal chatted to her, I counted six oystercatchers standing on the gravel beside the river. I could only get three of them into one shot though.
We have a lot of oystercatchers round the town now, and they fly over the rooftops through the night disturbing the residents with their raucous calls. Not everyone is as fond of oystercatchers as I am.
When we got back to the garden, I had a final crocus focus for the day . . .
. . . and then we went in for a welcome sit down and cup of tea after five miles of good walking.
The house seemed strangely quiet without Evie and Annie in it, and we were quite content to let the rest of the day slip away without us disturbing it with unnecessary action.
The flying bird of the day is another black headed gull, but this time one without a black head. This might indicate that it is a young bird.