Diagonal

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She visited Hestercombe Gardens, near Taunton, and has kindly sent me photographs of a selection of doors and openings. This is one of them. Others may follow.

We had another grey day here to go with the very sombre international news, and the continuing indisposition of Mrs Tootlepedal, who can’t shake off her cold.

The dull morning was enlivened by the appearance of Dropscone, bearing scones, for morning coffee. He tells me that the crows have stopped stealing balls on the golf course. However, as they have turned their attention to pecking up the fairways instead, he is still not charitably inclined towards them.

After coffee, I cast my eye over the bird visitors. An elegant collared dove alighted on the lawn . . .

. . . and a good number of siskins, with the occasional goldfinch, came to visit the new feeder.

I went out into the garden to check for signs of spring in general . . .

. . . and frogs in the pond in particular. There were several frogs in the pond, but once again they saw me coming and dived for cover, with the exception of one somnolent character who let me creep closer and closer without being disturbed.

I went out again at lunch time to see if there were any interesting birds flying about over head, but all that I saw were more siskins on the feeder.

After a morning of taking minutes at a Zoom meeting, Mrs Tootlepedal retired to bed for a well earned snooze in the afternoon, and I went out for a walk. It was dry and quite warm at 12°C, but more of the strong winds that have plagued us recently made it a poor day for cycling for an old man.

I was hoping to see a dipper in the Wauchope as I crossed the park bridge, but I was quite content to see my first grey wagtail of the year instead.

Apart from obliging wagtails who stood unnaturally still, it wasn’t a good day for taking photographs, so I kept my camera in my pocket until I got to Skippers Bridge where I took a picture just to show how low the water in the river has got again.

It looked like this when I went past on February 20th.

I walked along the left bank of the river and up the hill, and as I went along, I peered about.

I had thought of visiting the bird hide, but the wind was so brisk and the light was so poor, that when I got to Broomholmshiels, I turned for home, and got the wind behind me. Work to clear storm blown trees is going on at the far end of the track through the woods, so I decided to go up the hill diagonally to keep above the woods.

I took a track that was used when the power lines were replaced in December 2019. They built a road, replaced the cables, and then took the road away again. It is hard to believe that this is the same track.

It was obvious that I wasn’t the only one to walk this way.

The path took me up to the pylon line and then along it. It was in great condition and it made for good walking, with good views across the valley.

I got to my favourite stile (see today’s header picture), looked down over the town . . .

. . . and then beetled along the quarry brae and back down the Kirk Wynd as fast as I could. The clouds were getting thicker, the wind was getting stronger and the temperature was dropping. It felt as though rain was coming.

I couldn’t pass a colourful lichen or a good patch of snowdrops . . .

. . . but otherwise, I kept going. It was so gloomy when I got home, that I was really surprised to find that it was still the middle of the afternoon. It felt like early evening.

I did a quick frog check . . .

. . . and went in.

Although there were still at least two hours to go before sunset, there was no temptation to go out into the garden, so I made Mrs Tootlepedal a cup of tea, and set about finishing putting a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

The day finished off with a sibling Zoom. My sisters and brother had been very adventurous with stories of coming back from a holiday in Bournemouth, playing tennis, lunching in a pub and visiting stately homes in Lincolnshire. I felt like a country mouse.

The rain did arrive in the evening, so I was glad to have been able to get a dry walk in. I won’t complain too much about the weather though. We were supposed to have had a pretty rainy week, but as you can see from our low river, it has been remarkably dry.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin, casting its eye over the new feeder.

Footnote: I append a map of my 5 mile walk provided by Strava. I went round anti-clockwise.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Diagonal

    1. It was interesting how the frog seemed to change its position in the water when it was the camera that moved and not the frog. I had to check that it was all one sequence of photos.

  1. Langholm is nicely tucked in between the hills. You have some nice views from those hills.

    The lichens are always interesting to see. The scarlet elf cup is as colorful as any bloom.

    Your frog is very patient is photographers. 🙂

    I hope Mrs. Tootlepedal feels better soon.

    1. They did a very good job of repairing the damage done to the hill when they were working on the pylons. When public works are often done badly, it is refreshing to see good work like this.

    1. We are a bit limited by storm damage at the moment but we have enough to be going on with. We are helped by having public access to all open land in Scotland.

  2. Love the photo of Hestercombe- top of list to visit as a family member works there. How lovely to see the yellow wagtail, the frogs and those views. As always the photos are excellent at capturing the mood of the walk…it looks cold!

  3. I wonder if your siblings’ excursions are where they unfortunately got Covid? Almost all my friends have had it by now, some with lingering effects but most recovered just fine. (Except for the one who refused vaccination, she was on a ventilator for five weeks! With months of recovery and physical therapy predicted for her. And is vaccinated now.)

    Regarding the road, it sure doesn’t take nature long to take something back.

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