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Archive for the ‘Cycle outings’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was out and about and saw skaters on the temporary ice rink at Somerset House.  It always looks a rather staid way of having fun to me.

Somerset house skating

We had a second sunny day today but the weather gods had another trick up their sleeve and kept the temperature between 0 and 2 degrees all day so when it came to cycling, the best that I could do was forty minutes on the bike to nowhere in the garage, a dull way to start the day.

Before I pedalled, I had a quick look round the garden to admire Jack Frost’s handiwork.

jack frost in garden

The blue pineapple is on the end of the vegetable garden railings and I think the the dangling flower head must be one of the last calendulas.

When I had finished the indoor pedal, Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the bird hide at the Moorland Project feeders and while Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car scanning the hillside for raptors, I sat in the hide watching smaller birds.  I got the best bargain I think because she saw one distant bird and I saw dozens.

There were some blue tits…

blue tit at laverock

..and great tits…

great tit at leaverock

…but there were more coal tits than the others put together.  I only saw this one siskin sharing the peanuts with the coal tits.

busy feeder at laverock

Two chaffinches made a charming tableau on the tree stump outside the hide…

two chaffinches at laverock

…and I was very happy to see a greater spotted woodpecker on the peanuts.

woodpecker at hide

When we got home, I made some lentil soup and looked out of the window from time to time.

A blackbird paused on the edge of the tray under the feeders for a peaceful portrait…

FEMALE BLACKBIRD

…while up above, it was all go for the sparrows with a goldfinch hoping to resist the invasion.

sparrows at feeder

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on a shopping mission and I went for a walk.

I went over the Town Bridge and checked on a pair of black headed gulls who were deep in conversation at the Meeting of the Waters..

two gulls

…passed Santa who is making ends meet by doing a little bus driving until the busy period comes round….

santa busman

…crossed the Sawmill Brig, my second bridge and walked up the track past the Estate offices.

There is a fine row of trees across a field which I think looks like a hedge that got away some time ago.

overgrown hedge

I wasn’t wearing very suitable footwear but I took a chance and set off along a muddy track towards the High Mill Brig.

There were many puddles but luckily, there was enough frost in the ground to make it firm enough for me to make progress and keep my feet dry.

pathead track

And there was plenty of interest along the way.  Looking down, I saw frozen moss and three sorts of lichen within a few feet of each other on a wall,,,,

moss and lichen on wall

…and looking up,  saw about a hundred birds flying overhead.  From their formation, I thought at first that they might be geese…

birds in fligth

…but a closer look makes me think they were gulls….but I am not certain.

possible ducks

At the end of the track, I came to one of the useful gates that the Langholm Walks group have organised for the convenience of walkers following their marked routes.

langholm walks gate

Following the track along the edge of the field, I came down to my third bridge of the day, the High Mill Brig…

high mill bridge

…so called because of the mill which stood nearby for many years.  The mill has gone now but the bridge carries the main road north out of the town and is still busy.

I crossed the bridge and followed the road back towards the town, crossing the Sawmill Brig again and then walking round the Castleholm and crossing the Jubilee Bridge, my fourth and last of the excursion.

There was more interest as I went along.

berry fence laurel and moss

The circular pattern in the top right frame, is the sawn top of a fence post covered with ice.  It was cold but as the day was very still, it was a pleasure to be out and about even if the sun had been overtaken by some low cloud.

On my way back through the New Town, I stopped off at Mike and Alison’s house to enquire about the state of Alison’s recently dislocated shoulder.  This was not entirely a disinterested call as she is my Friday night orchestra and I am hoping that she won’t be out of action too long as I miss the playing.  She was remarkably cheerful and made a cup of tea while I chatted to Mike.  As the tea came with a delicious ginger biscuit, it was doubly welcome.

Alison has tried a little piano playing which is good news.

I didn’t stay long as they told me that Mrs Tootlepedal had called in when she had finished shopping but had not stopped because she didn’t want me not to find her in when I came back from my walk and worry about where she was.

When I got back to the garden, I found evidence that her shopping trip had been successful.  She had bought our Christmas tree for the next four or five years.

CHRISTMAS TREE

My flute pupil Luke sent me a message to say that he couldn’t come for the usual session because of a meeting in Dumfries so I had time for a quiet sit before making the tea and going out to play trios with Mike and Isabel.

The playing would have gone better if I had brought the right bag with my flute, music stand and music in it instead of quite a different bag with none of these essentials.  However, Mike and Isabel played some Vivaldi duets while I went off and got the right bag and then we played Quantz, Mozart and Telemann trios so we were all happy.

The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull above the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen.

flying gull

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Canadian correspondent Mary Jo.  She was on a long drive when she took this picture near McLean, Saskatchewan.They have had several foggy days with no wind, and the resultant hoar frost is spectacular.

canadian hoar frost

There was no frost here today but it was still pretty cool and with a brisk wind blowing, it took me a little time to get up the energy to put on my cycling gear and go for a pedal.

As it was, I battled into a 20 mph plus wind up to the top of Callister Hill and then it started to rain so I turned round and came home.  Still, I managed 12 miles in  almost exactly an hour of cycling so it was slow and short but still better than nothing.

I found Mike and Alison in the kitchen chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal when I got back.  Alison has had a recent fall and dislocated her shoulder so there won’t be any Friday evening sonatas for a while.  Under the circumstances, she was remarkably cheerful.

Not long after Mike and Alison left, Mrs Tootlepedal went off too.  She was going to enjoy  a Christmas lunch with her embroidery group at a local hotel.  I set up my camera on a tripod and watched the birds for a bit.  Traffic was slow and the light was poor but there is always something to enjoy.

I liked the sight of the chaffinch on the right looking out for incoming goldfinches.  As it is the panto season, I thought that I could hear a faint cry of “It’s behind you!”

chaffinch on the lookout

It was a day of goldfinches and chaffinches again for the most part…

chaffinches to and fro

…but I did spot a robin…

robin on chimney

…and we got a visit from a redpoll too.

redpoll and goldfinch

I was intending to go for an afternoon walk just to take a picture or two but the light was terrible and drizzly rain put me off so I just lounged around watching a combination of Call Me Madam with Ethel Merman and some rather dull English rugby on the telly.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from her lunch, well fed and well pleased with the company and shortly afterwards, Mike arrived with an old electric fire of his which he is lending us to fill the gap left by gas fire which we have recently had removed.  There is a bewildering number of possibilities in the electric fire market so this will give us leisure to research the possibilities and keep warm at the same time.

Falling seems to be the fashionable thing at the moment as I learned that my sister Susan fell this morning and has broken a bone in her arm.  When I rang her up, she was remarkably up beat too but very, very cross.  I can sympathise with that.

Tomorrow, we have a church service in the morning followed bu a choir practice and then a practice followed by a concert in Carlisle in the afternoon.  An early bed is called for I think.

The flying bird of the day is chaffinch of no great distinction.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s recent encounter with the terrifying invaders of Derby.

derby militia

We had a really good sunny day today and with nothing on our calendar, I tried to make good use of it.

The down side of a bright and sunny morning at this time of year is that it tends to be pretty chilly and that was the case today.  Although it wasn’t freezing, it was only just above zero so I decided that a morning walk was a better bet than a cycle ride.  Having hit the deck last winter after meeting unexpected ice on a ride on a cold but sunny day, I am going to be more cautious this time round.

The moss on the wall at the park was gently sighing as I went past on my way to the top of Warbla.

breathing moss

The Stubholm track had delights of various kinds.

fungus and robin stubholm track

When I got out on to the open hill, I could look across the Wauchope valley towards the recently felled Becks wood.  The plastic tubes show that they are planting deciduous trees there rather than replanting the conifers.   I shall be interested to see what sprouts out of the tubes in the course of time.

new planting in becks wood

You don’t have to go far up the track to the modest summit of Warbla (275m) before you are rewarded with splendid views. (A ‘click on the pic’ should bring up a larger version)

panorama from Warbla

I cut up hill off the track and was taking the direct route to the summit when I was halted by this obstruction.

warbla web

I carefully made my way round it and was soon beside the mast looking down towards England where the mist was rolling along one of the river valleys.

mist in Engalnd

It was altogether more cheerful to look towards Whita and the town and I tested out my new phone on the bigger picture.

dav

Looking down at the New Town with the Lumix in hand again, I could see the Kirk Wynd heading uphill from the centre of the town.  This was the route that I had taken on our last sunny day.

View of kirk wynd from Warbla

I rang Mrs Tootlepedal to tell her, “I made it,  top of the world, Ma” but it was no good waving as our house is in the part of town that is tucked under the hill out of view.

View of town from Warbla

I took the track on my way back down…

track down warbla

…and was surprised to find that it was still reasonably firm under foot in spite of the rain.  It was slippery in places though and once again, I was glad that I had taken my walking poles with me.   They are helpful going up hill but indispensable when going down wet grass.

track down warbla with tree

Once again, I looked across the valley to the Becks Wood and could see a major operation in progress as a digger was lifting up great chunks of cleared brashings and dropping them into a large chipper from which they were being taken up a conveyor belt and fed into a lorry.  It was a noisy business.

jenkinson timber lorry

I decided to come home  by a different route and left the track and dropped down onto the Wauchope road where I was hailed by a passing cyclist who stopped for a chat.  It turned out to be my old friend and ex colleague Nigel, who was also enjoying the good weather.  He was on an electric bike and told me that it was going to let him go up hilly routes which he couldn’t have managed under his own steam as he has not been in the best of health lately.

He thought that I might rather scoff at an e-bike but I am totally in favour of them as they extend people’s cycling life and range.  Which is better: getting a little help or sitting at home wishing that you were out on a bike?   It is as they say, a no brainer.  I wished him well and he went off to climb the steepest hill that he could find.

Nigel

I walked home past Pool Corner where an elegant set of catkins caught my eye.

catkins pool cornee

Nigel and I were not the only ones enjoying the sunshine.

two sunny goldfinches

greenfinch in plum tree

The temperature was not exactly climbing to the heights as it was still a meagre 4°C when I got back from my walk but as there had been no sign of ice anywhere, i decided to have lunch and go for a bicycle ride in the afternoon.

It took a bit of time for my legs to throw off the morning walk (going downhill really tests them) and to get used to the chill but after a few miles I began to enjoy myself and cycled happily round my standard 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I had already taken 50 pictures while on my walk so I didn’t stop too often to add to the total as I pedalled along but these two belted Galloways were irresistible.

belted galloways

Shortly after I passed the cows, I encountered Nigel on his way home from his hilly ride,  Considering that he had been out for well over two hours, he looked very cheerful.

I was so pleased to be out on  a familiar route that I took a picture of my old friends at Grainstonehead…

three trees grainstonehead

…and the Hollows Tower was tempting too.

Hollows tower

The sun gets low really early now so I couldn’t hang around and pressed on home, feeling the chill when I entered the shaded road along the banks of the river Esk as I headed back into town.

A cup of tea and a slice of toast were just the thing to revive me and after a shower, I sat down at my computer and checked out a set of pictures which I am showing at a lunch in the Buccleuch Centre tomorrow.

I finished that just in time to welcome Luke for our weekly flute session.  Once again, we had an entertaining time playing duets and we worked at getting a little more speed into our playing.  I don’t know if it is helping Luke but all this work is certainly helping me.

The usual Monday evening trio playing was on hold this week and while I always enjoying playing with Mike and Isabel, I was quite pleased to have a quiet evening in as after having had the whole of November off, I am finding that walking and cycling are harder work than they used to be.

I tried to find a flying gold or green finch of the day but I couldn’t get anything nearly as satisfactory as this chaffinch so once again a chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

It is going to freeze hard tonight they say so I am glad that I got a tootle and a pedal in today.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was watching this team of rowers battling into a very strong wind during the recent storm when he heard unsympathetic onlookers on the bank shouting, “Faster!”

nottingham rowers

The wind had dropped here today but it was still raining when we got up.  I looked at Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge in the evening and found that there has been three inches of rain this week.

I went along to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast and replenished our supplies of cheese, honey and fish and meat.  There were plenty of stalls and a good crowd of buyers so every one seemed happy.

When I got home, I peered at the birds and found that most of our visitors were goldfinches again…

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…with the now familiar coal tits in evidence…

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…and the jackdaw with the white feathers too.

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The rain persisted all morning but I had a stubborn crossword to struggle with so the time passed and after lunch, the rain eased off and I got ready to go out for a cycle ride.

I was just leaving when my neighbour Liz phoned and told me to look at her garage roof.

I looked and saw two partridges.  The partridges are birds that are put out for shooting parties to take pot shots at so these two had sensibly got out of the woods and into the town where they will only be subject to people shooting them with a camera.

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I hoped that when I got back from my cycle ride that I would find them in the pear tree in our garden and thus solve the Christmas present question.

There were still a few drops of rain about when I set off up the road but it wasn’t too cold, the rain soon stopped and the wind was behind me so I was contented enough.

The light didn’t improve though and I only stopped once on my 12 mile ride.

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A quick walk round the garden when I got back also only produced a single shot. The snowberries seemed appropriate for the first official day of winter.

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The partridges were in our garden when I cycled in, but I alarmed them and they scurried off so I didn’t get a chance to put out seed to tempt them into the pear tree.

I didn’t have long to get changed.

The town’s Christmas lights were due to be switched on and our choir had been asked to go and sing carols with a group of players from the Langholm Town Band.  Mrs Tootlepedal came with me and we squeezed onto this little platform outside the Town Hall, looking for all the world like a Punch and Judy show.

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We sang twice and in between efforts, I sneaked along the road to see the reindeer in the yard of the Buck Hotel, regular visitors to his event.

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This one was getting a feed of lichen.

The High Street was very festive with a good crowd out to welcome Mrs and Mrs Santa Claus, listen to the band and see a variety of entertaining turns as they gathered outside the Eskdale Hotel waiting for the  big switch on.

P1150769

The lights came on right on schedule and the Christmas tree looked very fine.

mde

Cars had to make their way carefully between the throng…

sdr

…and there was some of the fun of the fair for younger people.

sdr

There was even a flurry of snow but it has to be said that this came from two ingenious snow guns.

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It was a very cheerful event.

I enjoyed a small fillet of sea bass for my tea, a fish that I had never cooked before.  I will certainly cook it again as it extremely easy to cook and it turned out to be very tasty.

The varied activities, combined with unusually interesting programmes on the telly in the evening, left me feeling that winter hasn’t been bad so far.  Long may this happy state of affairs continue.

The flying bird of the day wasn’t available so a posing partridge is standing in.

_DSC8876

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a trip which my brother Andrew made to Shipley Park a while ago, when there as still some colour in the trees.

Shipley Park

We woke to a fine calm and often sunny day but in spite of this, I had a very restful morning.  Indeed, it was so restful that for most of the time, apart from a visit to the shop to buy a bottle of milk, very sensitive cameras would have had to have been deployed to detect any movement in me at all.

I did occasionally cast an eye out of the window to see if there were birds about but they were not much more active than me.  Goldfinches arrived in small numbers…

goldfinch crowd

…and a chaffinch glowered at me from the chimney pot.

chaffinch on chimney

More chaffinches arrived and in the end…

chaffinch landin November

…it was hard to avoid a flying chaffinch for a short while at least.

four flying chaffinches

After lunch, I was a bit ashamed of my lethargy, feeling that I was wasting a day which was perfectly usable so I got into my cycling gear, wrapped up well and went out for a pedal on my slow bike (my new bike being at the cycle shop for a service).

When I was in the bike shop yesterday, I had purchased some bamboo socks which claimed to be waterproof and I tried them out today to see if they were warm as well.  With the temperature at 7°C as it was today, cycling can easily lead to cold feet which make pedalling literally a pain.  The socks turned out to be very good and I had an enjoyable if sedate 15 mile ride.

As I was in no hurry, I stopped for photographs as I went along.

There was some low cloud about and although the hills in the distance were bathed in sunlight as I went past Bloch Farm…

ewe hill windmills

…I was under a cloud as I passed my favourite tree.

bloch tree

When I got to the top of the hill at Tarcoon, I could see sunshine and clouds over England ahead of me…

clouds over england

…and by the time that I got to the road down to the Hollows, the clouds seemed to be laughing at me.

laughing cloud

…although I was basking in the sunshine by this time.

two trees november

It had turned into a lovely day for a pedal where I was….

View of Glenzier road

…so I sailed down this road to the Hollows, crossed the Esk by the Hollows Bridge and puffed up the hill on the other side of the valley and returned to Langholm through Claygate.

This gave me an additional river to cross as the Tarras lay among the trees between me and Whita..

Looking from Mumbie

I enjoyed the sweep down to the river…

dav

…crossed the bridge when I came to it and was able to take a breather on the way up the steep hill on the other side of the bridge because this is where the road has been closed for three years.

Tarras road 2018 closed

Luckily there is a small gap between the blocks for an elderly cyclist to push his machine through and take stock of the damage…

Tarras road 2018

…before passing through the barriers at the far end and getting back to work.

The light had turned quite golden by this time….

tree with seeds

…and I had one last swoop downhill to get back to the Esk…

golden light

…which was well in the shadows by this time.

skippers bridge in November

I was very pleased to find that I had been able to cycle up two quite steep little hills without having to get off and walk and without, so far as I can tell, having set back my leg recovery.

I hope that there are a few more good days like this before the end of December. As long as I am well wrapped up, winter cycling is very satisfying .

We had thought of going out in the evening but the charms of a comfy sofa and Strictly Come Dancing persuaded us to stay in.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.

flying goldfinch

Endnote:  My brief remarks about hope in yesterday’s post caused some comments.  They came after I had been listening to an interesting radio programme in which Melvyn Bragg and guests discussed the development of ideas about hope, which was left in Pandora’s box either as a consolation or as another evil, and which later became the companion of faith and love.  You can find the programme here if you are interested.  I am not sure whether it will be available to overseas readers.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s Highland Tour.  As well as stunning scenery, he noticed this very curious gate.

IMG_0979

As it happens, Dropscone is exactly half a year older than me to the day so to celebrate my arrival at the same age as he is, he brought round some of his traditional treacle scones to go with coffee this morning.

As there wasn’t room for 77 candles on the scones, we ate them unadorned.

After he left, I got my new bike out for the first time for a month and tested the state of my leg by pedalling the six miles to the top of Callister Hill and back again.  This was my first ride on the new bike for a month.  12 miles may not be very far but it is a lot better than 0 miles…and my leg was quite happy about it all.

I went along the Wauchope road and this meant that I passed no less than three sets of barriers placed to stop motorists driving too close to the edge of the road where the banking has been showing signs of collapse…

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The bottom of the fence not the top should be at road height!

…and one where the banking has disappeared entirely….

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…and still hasn’t been repaired.  The lack of repair does not come as a total shock.  A group of enthusiasts is holding a ‘hands over the gap’ birthday party to celebrate the third anniversary of a continuing road closure on another local road which suffered a serious landslip.

My cycling road is still open to traffic but the little burn that runs along side it…..

P1150673

…is not going away and will continue to eat into the banking just as huge and heavy timber and quarry lorries will continue to thunder along above it on a road which is not designed for them.

It is an intractable problem.

I got to the top of Callister Hill and noticed a great number of cars parked on the access road to the proposed new windfarm there.  They are obviously busy preparing the way for the arrival of the turbines so I took this view of the ridge where they will stand and will take the view again as the turbines  are erected over the coming months.

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I heard an interesting programme on the radio last night as we drove back from Lockerbie.  It was about hope and the question of whether hope is a curse or a blessing.  I thought of it as I started my cycle ride today in a light drizzle because I was hoping that it would stop as I went along.  This hope was based on the weather forecast.  One of the questions raised in the programme was; can faith and hope co-exist?   This seems to be because if you have faith you don’t need hope and if you are merely hoping, you can’t have faith.   Is hope a trap for the unwary and stupid optimist? Is faith a snare for those who don’t learn from experience and keep on believing that something will happen that never happens?

Anyway, I had faith in the forecast and hoped that the rain would stop and it did…

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…and I had a sunny ride home past the landslide.

I had time for a quick look at the birds over lunch.

The goldfinches were back again…

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…but frequently flew off and let other breeds sample the delights of the sunflower hearts.

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A chaffinch looked askance at a greenfinch heading towards the feeder at a great rate of knots.

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More greenfinches arrived and surveyed the scene briefly…

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…and one came down to the feeder but didn’t look very grateful when it got there.

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After lunch, we went to Carlisle where I put the new bike into the bike shop for its second after-sale free service.  It has done two and half thousand miles now and I am more than happy with it.

Then we went off to a shop in an enormous shed which sells a huge range of goods at a modest price.  Mrs Tootlepedal bought some decorative items which she will add to the pantomime dress that she is making.

I had recently seen pictures of a good murmuration of starlings at Gretna and as it was getting near dusk, we decided to drive home by way of the site to see what we could see.  We saw a fine sunset…

sdr

…but no starlings and got bored and drove on.  We did see some small flocks flying about as we left and wondered if we had been too hasty.  I didn’t have my starling camera with me so I will have to come back another time, equipped with both patience and the right camera to see if the starlings are still around.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I played some tricky pieces with varying success but considerable enjoyment.  I am not playing at my best at the moment and will have either to practise harder or try to work out what I am doing technically wrong…or both.

An outstretched chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who found this slightly unlikely windmill.  It is not producing flour but dispensing curried sausages in the market square in Nottingham.  Well I never, what next?

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We had a chilly day here but it was dry which was a relief after some overnight rain.  My leg rehabilitation is going well and I did half an hour of boring cycling on the bike to nowhere in the morning.  It didn’t give my leg any problems but I found it quite tiring after so long with no exercise.

We had coffee wen I had showered after the pedal and then I mixed doing the crossword with some bird watching.

I managed to catch a blue tit going…

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…and a coal tit coming….

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…among the many chaffinches and goldfinches who kept each other on their toes.

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There were moments of peace and quiet though the goldfinch on the left scored no points for good table manners.

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After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a service in church to celebrate the life of one of our local businessmen, a great philanthropist, who died recently after a long illness.  I had spoken to him at the last producers’ market a week or two ago and he was in good spirits so it was a great shock when he died soon afterwards.

I would have liked to go to the service myself but unfortunately it clashed with an appointment with the speech therapist and as this was already a bit overdue, I didn’t want to postpone it further.

Normally I would have had to drive the 40 miles to Dumfries to see the therapist but she was trialling a video calling service so instead of getting into the car, I sat down in front of my computer and had the session remotely.  It was very satisfactory as the technology worked flawlessly and the speech therapy advice was clearly transmitted and received.  As it was the first time that either I or the therapist had used the system, we were both relieved to find it so easy to use and efficient.

After the session was over and Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from the church, I went for a short walk to stretch my legs and check if the morning’s efforts on the stationary bike had done any good or harm.

It had done some good and I was able to walk with no inconvenience at all which was very satisfactory.  I took my new phone and the Lumix with me in spite of the fading light and tested them out in poor conditions.

I went along the track to check on the state of the felled wood at the Becks Burn.

We haven’t had enough gates recently.

sdr

The phone

There was some heavy traffic on the track to negotiate.

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Lumix

There any amount of small sheds and stables along the way.

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Lumix

Men have been busy clearing the small branches from the floor of the wood that were left when the usable tree trunks were taken away…

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Lumix

…and there was a great heap on the far side of the burn, waiting to be taken off to Lockerbie to be used as fuel in the wood burning power station there.

 

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I was happy to see that people were already busy planting new trees and there was a plentiful supply of little saplings and the protective tubes that they are planted in.

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Lumix

It was too muddy to walk through the felled wood so I turned back and went down to the road by the Auld Stane Brig through the field.

The light was fading fast but there was enough left to see a bare tree behind me…

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Lumix

..and Warbla across the valley when I looked ahead.

dav

Phone

The phone was impressive in the gloom and when I zoomed in on the Graveyard below, it politely asked me to hold the camera still while it sharpened up the shot after I had taken it.

dig

Phone

I tried it on another gate and without asking, it brightened up the scene considerably.

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Phone

I considered walking home along Gaskell’s Walk but I thought that it was too cold for that to be much fun and took the direct route back along the road instead.

This impressionist reflection of the trees in the pool at Pool Corner was my reward.

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Lumix

None of the pictures along the walk would win any prizes but I was very pleased with both the camera and the Lumix as they had managed to create a reasonable record of a gloomy (but very enjoyable) short stroll.

It was soon dark and when I went upstairs later on to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was getting on with her dressmaking, my eye was caught by the brightness of the moon beaming through an upstairs window.  It was low over Whita Hill so it loomed large and I got my bird watching camera out and started shooting.  I was rather annoyed to find that something was getting in the way of my shots and impinging on the lunar disc.

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It dawned on me after a while that it wasn’t a bit of a window frame but that the moon was passing behind the monument on the top of the hill.  As soon as I got set to take a shot, I found that the moon had moved so  I moved too from window to window trying to catch the monument in the dead centre of the disc.  You don’t realise how fast the moon shifts through the sky until a moment like this but I did my best.

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I didn’t have time to fiddle about with the camera settings or fetch a tripod so these hand held shots had to do.

From start to finish, the moon passed behind the monument in about four minutes, getting higher as it went so it was a click and hope situation.

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I may not get such a chance again so I was pleased to have seen it.

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a lecture about a local Roman fort and I went off to sing with the Langholm choir.  The speech therapy and the singing lessons are helping my voice a lot but sadly, they haven’t entirely helped me to sing the right note every time. More practice is required.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch caught in the brief period when the sun was out.  It has a beady eye.

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