Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. In spite of some morning frost, he still had some fine autumn colour to enjoy in Derby today.
We had the first really frosty day of the winter today here with the thermometer touching -4°C (25°F) over night and staying below freezing until coffee time.
It was a pleasant day though, so I was able to go out into the garden after breakfast to enjoy Jack Frost’s artistic touches.
The roses got a shock.
We were visited by a tree specialist who is going to give us a price for reducing the height of our walnut tree which has got too big for its boots. We get a bit worried when we see it thrashing about in the strong winds, especially as they seem to be getting stronger and more frequent every year.
Margaret came round for coffee and there was a good deal of conversation on the subject of the cost keeping warm. However, we agreed that at our age keeping warm is a priority so we will have to grin and bear the cost.
When she left, I looked out of the window at the birds and got a treat.
A greenfinch was enjoying some of the few seeds that I have got left.
Then I had another look round the garden. In spite of the temperature rising to just above zero, nothing much had melted.
Feeling that it was a day for some inner warmth, I made a nourishing pot of leek, potato and carrot soup in the air fryer and we enjoyed a bowl of the soup with bread and cheese for our lunch.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal took her exercise on her bike to nowhere indoors, and I headed for the hills. Or, to be more precise, I headed for Whita Hill by way of Whitshiels and the road to the White Yett. Sheep were sensibly too busy grazing to spare a glance at a passing stranger.
In spite of a few clouds in the sky, I remained in brilliant sunshine as I walked up the road, enjoying a couple of my favourite views on the way.
I like the way that the low winter sun brings out the wrinkles in our landscape.
When I got to the White Yett, I took the track up to the monument. I was walking straight into the low sun at this point, and it was a relief when I got to the top of the hill and could shelter behind the monument for a moment. I looked back over the moor to the newly acquired section of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, and I looked back at the monument itself as I headed onwards.
It was too cold to linger for long on the summit in spite of the fine views, but I did stop long enough to look over the Esk valley to the sunlit hills which I had climbed on my walk yesterday.
I came nearly to the end of the last hill in Scotland and looked out over the broad sweep of the Solway Plain . . .
. . . before following, first the mountain bike track and then the forestry track past the pylons down the hill.
I passed some fine examples of iced puddle art . . .
. . . on my way down to the fine old oak tree that sits on the track from Broomholmshiels back to the town.
The hillside that I had just come down was bathed in late sunlight . . .
. . . but as I turned right and headed through the woods . . .
. . . the sun soon dipped behind the hills, and the rest of my walk was in the shadows.
I crossed the river by Skippers Bridger when I came to it, and took the track along the Murtholm to get home. This is an attractive option now that they have re-opened the walk along the river to the park. They have made a wonderful job of the repair and it is in better condition now than it was a year ago before the storm.
There was a bonus of some amazing hair ice to be seen on the Beechy Plains too, so it was a good route choice.
I was pretty cheery when I got in after an invigorating 6 mile walk, but I was even cheerier after a cup of tea and some gingerbread with Mrs Tootlepedal.
As darkness fell, I found something useful to do on the computer before the evening Zoom with my siblings.
After the Zoom, I made kedgeree for our evening meal (in a very old fashioned way on the hob) and Mrs Tootlepedal added carrots and parsnips so our meal was both tasty and healthy.
It is the full moon tonight, and another clear sky . . .
. . . makes it no surprise to find that the temperature is back down to -4°C as I write this post. The Met Office think that it might go as low as -7° before morning. Brrr!
The flying birds of the day are a large flock of either rooks or jackdaws which rose up and flew past me on my walk.