The last of the frost (for the moment)

Today’s guest picture is another study of fine weather in East Wemyss. It doesn’t come from our son Tony though. It was taken by his partner Marianne.

Here during last night it had warmed up slightly and then it froze again as dawn arrived. Unsurprisingly, roads and pavements were sheets of ice when we set off to walk (very) carefully to church. I took my Yaktrax and offered an arm to Mrs Tootlepedal, and together we navigated the treacherous surfaces without incident.

It was the Sunday Club nativity today so there was a slightly better attendance than usual. The highlight of the nativity was a sensational fortissimo rendering of the chorus of Angels From the Realms of Glory by the children. It was safe to say that the congregation was stunned and delighted. The choir did their bit too, and our three sopranos put so much zest and skill into the descant to the last verse of Hark the Herald Angels Sing that the congregation broke into spontaneous applause, much to our surprise.

We had coffee when we got home, and then I settled down to watch the birds. It was a very grey day and the light was poor, so naturally quite a lot of birds turned up to laugh at my efforts to photograph them . . . .

. . . and they had to sit quite still if I was to get even a reasonably clear picture.

This goldfinch had the right idea.

And a blackbird tried its best too.

My latest batch of sunflowers kernels are rather large and the birds are struggling to eat them without dropping them.

Fortunately a big gang of chaffinches turned up today to make some inroads into the large heap under the feeder. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and I will have to scrape up the residue and throw it away if it gets too soggy.

It was hard to catch a flying bird, but I spotted a sparrow just as it slowed down before landing.

There was a moment when the feeder was monopolised by goldfinches . . .

. . . but then siskins arrived . . .

. . . and started throwing their weight around.

Since it was such a grey day, I added a little colour to my photographs by having another look at Mrs Tootlepedal’s surviving birthday flowers.

After lunch, in spite of a forecast of rain (which happily came to nothing), I went for a walk. The forecast suggests that the temperature will rise to 11°C (51°F) tomorrow, so this was my last chance to see our frozen rivers.

I took my Yaktrax and two walking poles with me as a precaution, and they were much needed. Paths might be clear at one moment but a sheet of ice the next . . .

. . . and it was extremely difficult at times to tell which was which. I felt pretty secure though as I went along, and got round three miles without even a hint of a slip.

I stopped on the Duchess Brig to record that fact that the river was completely frozen over for a stretch.

A little further on, I went down to the water’s edge at a place where the flow of the river could be seen between icy banks.

When I got to the North Lodge, I found that the wall beside the track had been partially demolished.

It had been in poor repair, so I suppose that the estate had deemed it a danger to passers by

I took the upper track above the Lodge Walks on my way home, passing through a leafless tunnel . . .

. . . and enjoying some ‘puddle art’ on my way.

When I got down to the Sawmill Brig, it was strange to see that while the Esk had been frozen in many places . . .

. . . the Ewes Water was not frozen at all.

At a time when the day was getting very gloomy, the white feathers of a goosander and a gull stood out (but not enough to let the camera see them very well).

Although the light was getting worse, the temperature was rising gently and the roads were far less slippery when I finished than they had been when I set out. The lawn on the garden was still rock solid though, so I spent some time cutting up the pile of walnut trimmings on the middle lawn. I took the larger branches away to be sawn up for logs. We are now ready for the rest of the branches to be chipped when the tree surgeon brings his noisy machine along.

I went inside in time to watch the end of the first half and all of the second half of the World Cup final. It was quite exciting.

I have only been out for four cycle rides this month because of the cold weather. Rather annoyingly, the forecast says that although it is going to get warmer next week, it is also going to rain a lot and be windy. Ah well.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “The last of the frost (for the moment)

  1. The church service sounds like one to remember!

    Lots of lovely photos, but my favourites are the header shot and the wee goldfinch posing up a storm.

  2. It’s been bucketing down here all day. I’m not sure if I’m glad that it didn’t when the temperatures were minus, as it would have made a lovely carpet of snow.
    No problem with dropped seed in my garden. The starlings and wood pigeons wait below the feeders for the sparrows, goldfinches, etc to throw it down to them.

  3. Amazing bird photos! I can’t believe it was -10 here a couple of days ago and yet it’s supposed to be over +10 degrees here tomorrow. It’s madness!

    Merry Christmas!

  4. The church service sounds wonderful; woo hoo for spontaneous applause! I googled yaktrax…interesting that such a simple idea is so effective. The football was deemed worth getting up for (4 am kick off) by us all, particularly The Farmer who chose the winner and scooped the pool.

    1. You are very enthusiastic. I certainly wouldn’t have got up in the middle of the night. For once I didn’t much mind who won as both teams have made good efforts to play football.

  5. How nice to be appreciated at church, especially with extras in the congregation! We have only had a few snowflakes here but the frosts have been so severe it looks as though it’s snowed; I will be very glad to see the back of all the ice on the roads and paths. Your photos of the frozen river are very interesting with the different thicknesses of the ice. I wonder why the Ewes neever froze. Is it a faster flowing river?

    1. I think that the faster flow is the answer. The Ewes is quite a modest little river but it comes steadily downhill and doesn’t hang about in pools a lot.

  6. Glad the singing went so well, both children and choir.
    You did well to remain upright on your icy walk – a good advertisement for yaktrax.

  7. Puddle art is always fascinating if you take the time to stop and look.
    I’ve noticed that our river freezes over in the wide, calm areas and doesn’t in the narrow faster flowing areas, the same as what you’ve shown here. It takes a long cold spell to freeze it over entirely.
    It was nice to see the flowers. They warmed things up a bit.

  8. Marianne’s photo is lovely, and gives a good feel for the weather out their way. That looks like a beautiful place to walk.

    I can almost hear the choir and little angels singing based on your description. I am glad you made it to church and back without icy mishap. I enjoyed your winter photo selection. I am glad you caught these scenes before it warms up and goes back to rain.

    The goldfinch looks all puffed up trying to stay warm. You need a good flock of hungry quail to clean up fallen seed under the feeders. Quail and doves seem to do that quite well here, not to mention neighboring chickens.

    1. Yes, the little birds are not quite up to the job. I am going to leave the feeder empty fo0r a day or two so if the birds want seed, they will have to pick it up. There is plenty there!

  9. Children singing at a nativity is always a heart warming occasion especially when they perform exceptionally well and then to be followed by more outstanding singing…a real treat for all. Love all the river and puddle art photos and the ‘marked’ stones – very interesting!

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