Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She took a boat trip down the river Thames to Greenwich today and passed the famous Cutty Sark which these days seems to float on a building.
Our current cold spell got colder today. The overnight temperature dropped to -5°C (22°°F) at breakfast time and didn’t rise above freezing all day. (It is back down to -5.5 again as I write this in the evening.)
In the circumstances, I was both surprised and full of admiration when Dropscone arrived on his bicycle for coffee and scones. Fortunately for his safety, the roads were dry as bone and not icy at all. Still, it felt pretty chilly outside as I discovered when I went to fill the bird feeder.
After coffee, I had a look round the garden to see how the roses had coped. Like Dropscone, they were showing great hardiness in the cold but . . .
. . . only the winter jasmine seemed impervious to icicles.
I had a look at the birds when I was out in the garden and found starlings bunched together and a jackdaw reading between the lines.
When I went back inside and looked out at the feeder, I found that traffic was very light. This was just as well considering my shortage of seed.
There were a few chaffinches fluttering around and one or two goldfinches.
They were joined briefly by a blue tit.
A goldfinch, posing on a twig, changed shape as it changed position.
Although it was cold and not sunny, there was not much wind at all so I decided to continue my exploration of the hills round Langholm on foot with a visit to Warbla. To give myself a little extra distance, I started my walk by going along the track to the Becks Burn. I could see my target summit across the valley.
It was a cold looking day as I arrived at the bridge over the burn . . .
. . . but the sun came out as I climbed up the other side.
I was hoping to get some sparkly frosty pictures, but the sun soon disappeared up the valley . . .
. . . as I climbed up the lower slopes of Warbla . . .
. . . and I wasn’t tempted to rest on the bench and enjoy the view back towards the Becks Burn when I got to the main track.
I had seen some things of interest on my way though. Crab apples don’t seem to have any takers. I didn’t offer one to the horse as feeding other people’s horses is not acceptable these days.
As I got near the top of the hill, I could see the skeleton of what used to be one of my favourite trees.
It looked like this in February last year . . .
. . . so it may have finally come to the end of its long life.
From the top of the hill, I looked down over Langholm . . .
. . . and reflected that in the ‘good old days’, the town would have been shrouded in smoke from chimneys.
It was chilly on the top of the hill, so after a look across to the mist filled valleys to the south east . . .
. . . I was soon on my way down the far side of the hill towards the river.
I wondered if the Esk valley would be filled with mist but when I crossed Skippers Bridge . . .
. . . the river was pretty clear.
As I walked home along the town side of the river, the skies cleared a bit but the sun had already sunk behind the hill that I had just left and I was in the shadows again.
I had seen some fine frosty ornaments on my walk with lichen on a fence post, a trackside plant, moss on a wall, and roadside bracken all playing a part.
The calmness of the day was underlined by the reflection of the church in the Wauchope Water as I neared home.
The tree surgeon has given us a price for trimming the walnut tree. We have accepted it and if all goes to plan, he will start work tomorrow. I took a couple of pictures of the walnut as I came back into the garden after my walk today. It may be the last time that I turn the corner and see the tree in all its glory.
I hope that we will still be able to see the late winter sunshine catching its lower branches as it is always a pleasing sight in the winter months.
My thick winter coat had kept me nice and warm on my walk but a cup of tea and a slice of gingerbread were still very welcome after five bracing miles.
Later on, I finished putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database. I have got behind in this work and I must be a bit more methodical to catch up.
The Met Office says that our daytime temperatures will not rise above 1°C for a week but at least we should get some cheerful sun again tomorrow. There may be some early morning fog first though.
The flying bird of the day is a shy chaffinch.