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Posts Tagged ‘Becks wood’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s archives.  For some reason he came upon the picture from 2004 of certain young(ish) golfers enjoying a break in Majorca to get away from Langholm’s winter weather.  It snowed and I still have the umbrella that I had to buy while we were there.

majorca 2004

I don’t know what the morning was like because I made the mistake of lying down for a moment after breakfast and the next thing that I knew, it was lunch time.

Generally speaking the weather forecast had promised severe gales and rainstorms for Scotland and good weather for the north of England so for once, we were very pleased to considered English and we enjoyed a reasonably dry and warm day, though it was bit windy.

The light was very variable but I could see enough to recognise a great tit on the feeder…

great tit on feeder pole

…watch chaffinches fly in all directions…

chaffinches coming and going

…enjoy a blue tit visit….

blue tit on feeder pole

…and check out the differing styles of a greenfinch and a goldfinch.

greenfinch and goldfinch

The goldfinches gradually took over the feeder over lunch and had to compete among themselves for a place at the table.

goldfinch creeping up

As time went by there was a tiny glimpse of sunshine…

a snatch of sun on the plum tree

…and encouraged by this, I went for a walk in the afternoon.

There are still plenty of  rosebay willowherb seed heads about…

willowherb seeds

…and a lightening of the sky to the west behind this tree on the Becks track made me hopeful for a while…

becks tarck tree

…but things soon reverted to grey.

I had gone along the track in the hope that the forestry works in the Becks wood would have finished and I would be able to use the path down to the bridge across the burn.

When I got to the wood, everything was very neatly tidied up and the machines had disappeared.  I was able to walk through the felled wood upstream of the bridge and see the burn as it hasn’t been seen for many years…

 

becks burn bridge

…with new trees planted on all sides.

I could look down on the little cascade which I have photographed before…

becks burn cascade from above

…and because the trees have gone, there was enough light to let me take a reasonable picture from below the waterfall.

becks burn cascade

Luckily I had my wellies on so that I could stand on the middle of the burn to get the best angle.

I went back to the path and found that it was easy to cross the bridge, walk up the steps on the other side and look downstream towards the Wauchope valley.

 

 

Becks burn above cascade

I followed the road downhill, admiring the fine growth of catkins on every side.  It has been a good month for catkins.

catkins

There is no sign of autumn left now ….

auld stane brig

…but with only two weeks to go until the winter solstice, we are nearly on the way up towards the light again.

Another tree beside the road back to the town caught me eye…

springhill tree

…and as always, moss and lichen provided a bit of interest on a dull day.

moss and lichen

I didn’t have a great deal of time to sit around and think when I got home because it was soon time for an early tea and my second visit to Lockerbie in two days.  On this occasion, I picked up my fellow choir member Mike and we went over to sing in a Langholm Sings concert in the Episcopalian Church there.

It is a snug little church and it was very nearly full for our performance which was very gratifying.  The members of the audience were kind enough to say that they enjoyed the evening but no one could say that we were faultless and we are going to have another practice next week before we have a joint concert with the Parish Church choir in Langholm next Friday.  Practice makes perfect, we hope.

It was windy as we drove home but the threatened rain held off so the evening went as well as we could have expected.

The flying bird of the day, checking out a freshly filled feeder, is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

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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 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?

20181116_100441

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…

_DSC8709

…and a coal tit coming….

_DSC8697

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

_DSC8704

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

_DSC8700

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.

P1150658

Lumix

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

P1150659

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…

P1150662

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.

 

P1150661

 

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.

P1150663

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…

P1150667

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.

dig

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.

P1150670

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.

_DSC8717

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.

_DSC8720

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.

_DSC8723

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.

_DSC8694

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s Spanish tour.  I was excited when I saw compost in his email header but it turned out to be Santiago De Compostela and not interesting garden products. Santiago De Compostela looks quite interesting though.

Santiago de Compostela

We had another grey morning after some overnight rain and once again a keen wind made it feel pretty cool.

My morning was greatly brightened up by the arrival of Dropscone, bearing treacle scones and reports of his recent holiday in Majorca. As the temperature there had been about 24°C, he felt that he had made a good choice of destinations.

After he left, I went out into the garden to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to.  Wisely, considering the chilly breeze, she was working in the greenhouse and I was impressed by how well her seedlings are coming on in the indoor warmth.

greenhouse seedlings

My hand is a lot better so I felt able to get the push mower out and give the middle lawn a cut.  After that I needed some refreshment so I went in for lunch and a look at the birds.

The siskins were back today and eating as if there were no tomorrow.

siskins

I had to fill the feeder three times.

There was some more regrettable siskin behaviour though.

siskin attacking goldfinch

After lunch, I should have been going to Carlisle to pick up my new bike but the bike shop got in touch to say that some parts hadn’t arrived yet and the pick up was to be delayed until sometime next week.  I was  very disappointed but we watched the start of the men’s race in the Tour of Yorkshire on the telly instead…

….and then went back out into the garden.

Some plants were in the pink.

hellebore

And Mrs Tootlepedal was very pleased with this purchase of these primulas as they came from the bargain tray at the garden centre .  Although they are  basically for next year, they are adding a good dash of colour in the short term.

primula

I was very pleased to see bees buzzing around among the gooseberry flowers.

bee on gooseberry

They were still busy there when I checked again in the early evening.

In the absence of my new bike, I contemplated a ride on the slow bike but as I think that riding the slow bike with its straight handlebars may have contributed to my sore hand, I thought that I would wait until my hand was completely cured before going out on it again and went for a walk instead.

I went to see if it was possibly to walk through the newly felled Becks Wood, a favourite walk before the loggers got to work.

On my way, I passed a dead nettle…

dead nettle

…a rapidly maturing lamb…

lamb

…any amount of dog’s mercury and sprouting leaves…

dog's mercury and new leaf

…and two sheep.

sheep

There wasn’t a tree left standing in the wood when I got to it and all the felled timber had been removed. More in hope than in expectation, I followed the old path and found that it was easy to get down to the bridge across the Becks Burn…

Becks bridge

… looking a little forlorn in the open air, devoid of mystery now the trees beside it have gone.

The path up the other side was in good condition and I could soon look back at the way that I had come..

Becks wood

…and be thankful that the path through the woods has been reinstated and exists again, even if the woods don’t.  The area will soon be replanted and many new plants will grow now that there is light and air about so I am not sad about the change.  It makes life interesting.

Having crossed the Becks Burn, I made my way down the road and then crossed the Wauchope Water by the Auld Stane Brig…

auld stane bridge

…and climbed a short way up Warbla on the other side of the valley so that I could look back at the felled wood.

Becks wood from Warbla

They have made a thorough job of the felling and taking the timber away.

The day was getting warmer but the taller hills were still shrouded in low clouds…

Castle hill from Warbla

…so there was not much in the way of views.

There was plenty of other interest though as I walked back home past ash trees laden with male flowers…

ash tree flowers

…primroses peeping out of a  wall and rabbits trying hard not to be noticed…

primrose and rabbit

…and hints of this and that.

garlic, bluebell and fern

The woods are covered in wild garlic and bluebells just waiting for a bit of heat to burst into action.

This weekend has a very good forecast so perhaps by Monday, the promise will be fulfilled.

The Beechy Plains are looking beechier by the day…

Beechy Plain

…and one or two wild garlic plants have tried their best.

garlic and fly

That fly gets about.

I got home in time to watch the last few kilometres of the Tour of Yorkshire.  It had an excellent finish.

After tea, the sun came out and we went back into the garden again to make the best use of the day.  I zipped round the drying green with the light mower and felt quite positive about my hand.

Unfortunately my Friday night orchestra was otherwise engaged but Mike, her husband came by himself so we enjoyed a glass of beer and conversation with him with no musical accompaniment.

The flying bird of the day is two sparring goldfinches.

goldfinches quarrelling

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, absolutely the last in my locker, is an Irish sheep which wondered what Dropscone was doing in Ireland.

irish sheep

We had a sub zero night but a sunny day and the temperature soon rose above zero although it didn’t make a serious effort to get much higher.

If you were sheltered and out in the sun, it wasn’t too bad a day but if you were exposed to the brisk north easterly wind, it was just as well to be thoroughly wrapped up as the sun was no protection form the bitter chill.

A robin shrugged off the early morning cold…

robin

…while a dunnock tried the ostrich method of keeping warm.

dunnock

As I spent the morning in the Welcome to Langholm office (not welcoming any visitors but doing some useful archiving work), the weather was a matter of indifference to me but I certainly didn’t dilly dally on the way home.

The snow had gone and so had most of the birds at the feeder and we had a very quiet day today with a small gang of greenfinches the most notable visitors over lunch.

greenfinch

I did think of going for a ride on the slow bike after lunch but the thought of pedalling home into the strong and biting wind made me choose to go for a walk with Sandy instead.  The innocent may think that there is little difference between a bike ride and a walk on a cold day but if you pedal at 10mph into a 15mph wind, you are turning it into a 25mph blast and that makes a cold wind even colder.  And for some reason, walking into a wind is not as soul destroying as cycling into one.

Anyway, Sandy and I went for a walk.

I looked at a couple of flowers in the garden as I went out…

winter aconite

crocus

…but it wasn’t warm enough to tempt the frogs to come out and play.

It was a blue sky day and almost all but the faintest of traces of the snow had gone.

view from Scott's knowe

We walked along the track to see how the Becks Wood had fared and found it had disappeared entirely.  Later in the walk we looked back from the other side of the valley and not a conifer had been left standing.

becks woodI was just saying to Sandy as we stood on the edge of the felled area and looked at the scene that it used to be a spot where you could find scarlet elf caps and at that moment, Sandy looked down and saw that one or two had survived the felling.

scarlet elf cap

Somehow this was very heartening.

We left the wood and walked down to the Wauchope road where an array of walls and fence posts played host to some good looking lichen…

lichen

…and some less charming varieties.

lichen

We struck up the lower slopes of Warbla to get the view of the felled wood and took advantage of the good weather to look at some other views as well.

Here is Sandy surveying the countryside…

sandy on warbla

…and here is the countryside that he was surveying.

view from warbla

I liked this arty shot with the view framed between two trees.

view from  warbla

As we took the track down to the Stubholm, we couldn’t help noticing some very active moss on the wall.

moss

I must have passed moss like this before without looking at it twice but now that I am more moss aware, I looked at it a lot.

moss

The sheds at the Stubholm looked cheerful enough in the sunshine and we were pleased to get out of the wind as we dropped back down into the town.

sheds at Stubholm

Mrs Tootlepedal was enjoying herself in the garden and the benefit of some outdoor work in the sunshine on reasonably dry ground stayed with her for the rest of the day.

I helped out with a little shredding of some pruned roses but I had to go in soon as there was preparation to be done for the monthly camera club meeting in the evening and my flute pupil Luke was also due.

He turned up with every evidence of having done some practice so we had a good session.

After he went, the phone rang.  It was my neighbour Liz making sure that I didn’t miss the striking effect of the setting sun on the slopes of Whita.  It was worth a look.

sunset on Whita

After tea, I went off to the Day Centre for the camera club meeting.  We had a better attendance this month and the members had brought in an interesting and varied selection of images for us to look at so that ended the day in a very satisfactory way.

The flying bird is one of the relatively few chaffinches that turned up at the feeders.

chaffinch

Sandy has posted a selection of pictures from our walk here.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my ex-colleague Ada.  She has been enjoying the sun in Tenerife and sent me this picture to torment me as we watched the snow come down here.

Down below is the busy resort of Playa de Las Americas

Down below is the busy resort of Playa de Las Americas

Here is the contrasting view from our bedroom window this morning.

snowy garden

And it kept on snowing for some time…

chaffinch in snow

…leading to some poor manners at the ground feeding station.

blackbird and robin

Dropscone dropped in for coffee, not only bringing the traditional scones but also rich gifts of sardines which he had picked up at a very reasonable price on his way back from a meeting up the borders last night.  He is an expert at finding very good ‘end of day’ offers at supermarkets.

The price of the sardines reflected the fact that today was their last use by date so Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed pan fried sardines for our lunch.  They were very good.

The snow stopped and the day brightened up a lot….

starlings and goldfinches

A couple of starlings joined our usual visitors

….so when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help out at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop, I put on my wellies and went for a walk.

I checked on the bridge as I set out.

dam bridge repair

The men had only worked for a relatively short time this morning but whether that was because of the snow or because they are waiting for things to set, I don’t know.

I left the bridge and headed for the top of Warbla, hoping to get there before any new snow showers appeared.

In fact, as I walked up the hill, the skies cleared and the sun came out, first on nearby hills….

snow on the hills Arkleton

…and then, as I followed the advice of the pheasants to go this way…

pheasant print in snow

…on the track where I was walking.

Warbla in snow

Even more pleasingly, it stayed out for the rest of my walk and I was able to enjoy a view across the valley to the felled Becks Wood which I visited a  day or two ago.  They have been very busy tidying the felled trees up.

pBecks wood from Warbla

At the top of the hill, there is an old trig point, elevation 276m, which showed which way the wind was blowing this morning…

Warbla trig point snow

…and some good views.

Esk valley with snow

By this time, the sun had removed all the snow from the lower slopes.

langholm with surrounding snow

I met a man in a car at the summit, where there are several masts, who told me that he was working for EE.  As EE is the telephone company that provides my mobile reception, I was pleased to see that they were on the job even in snowy conditions.

I used the phone connection while I was up on the hill to show that my face is pretty well back to normal after the ugly business of 12 days ago.

selfie on Warbla

I put the fairly rapid healing down to liberal use of arnica.

I thought that the redundant stile at the top of the hill was looking good but went through the new gate beside it on my way down.

stile on Warbla

I had noticed as I had come up the hill, that the telephone engineer’s car had stopped several times and the driver had got out for some curious reason.  As I followed it back down the hill….

EE car on Warbla

…it stopped several times again.  The mystery was solved when I saw the driver get out and take photographs.  It was good to know that he was enjoying the views as much as I was.  He kindly offered me a lift but it seemed like too good a day not to walk.  Besides, I wanted to take more photos.

Looking across the valley, I could see three timber wagons waiting to pick up logs from the enormous pile at the Becks Wood.

Becks wood timber wagons

When I got to the wood at the bottom of the hill, I stopped to look at the moss on the wall.  Although moss often looks rather short and stumpy on a wall, if you pull a single strand out, it turns out to be longer and thinner than expected.

moss

Once again, there were a lot of different sorts of moss close together.

moss

I passed a very sunny horse….

sunny horse

…and made my way back to the garden where I got quite excited by a daffodil bud.

daffodil bud

I had made a lamb stew in the slow cooker in the morning and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked some potatoes and green veg to go with it and the resultant evening meal made a good ending to day which turned out to be a lot better than it had looked likely to be when we woke up in the snow.

The flying (jumping) bird of the day is one of the starlings leaving the feeders.

flying starling

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My South African correspondent, Tom, thought that it was time to make the blog more attractive to the wider public so he has sent me this delectable picture of bare flesh.  They have to put up with a lot of fine weather down there.

feet

There was once again no danger of sunburn in Langholm as the temperature stayed near freezing all day.

I had to go back to the health centre to get the dressings on my scratches from the bike crash changed again.  Things are healing up very nicely though and I should be be clear of sticking plaster by the end of the week with luck.

After his own spell of illness, Scott, the minister, proved that he had got his coffee radar working well again and appeared for a visit just as coffee was on the go.  He is a keen cyclist and in view of the continuing bad weather, he has taken out a gym membership and had been spinning away in the gym before he came to see us.  I am thinking about the possibility of going to the gym.  But only thinking about it.

We had a look at progress on the dam bridge repair while he was with us.

dam bridge repairs

The concrete has set well and the big concrete beams were being lowered into place.

After Scott left, I made some vegetable soup for lunch and kept an eye on the birds while it was cooking.

Sometimes I wonder if there are more interesting things going on round the back of the feeder than at the front.

chaffinches

I have put out some ground level food and it is beginning to attract some customers.

blackbird and dunnock

A blackbird and a dunnock test out the new treat.

Two greenfinches arrived and showed magnificent disdain for the attempt by a chaffinch to unsettle them.

blacgreenfinches and chaffinch

And we were pleased to see a random great tit.

great tit

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal set about stripping the old varnish off the dining room table and I went out for a walk.

I stopped at Pool Corner to show the sluice and caul that provide the water for the dam (and create the pool that gives Pool Corner its name)…

pool corner and the dam

…and while I was leaning on the wall and contemplating life, a dipper flew in and posed briefly for me.

dipper at Pool Corner

I walked up the Hallcrofts road to have a look at the progress of the felling at the Becks wood.  It is extensive.

Becks wood felling

You can click on the photo to get the bigger picture if you want.

A skilful combination of man and machine was adding to the already enormous pile of logs beside the road.

P1070286

On a wall nearby, I studied a strand of moss and thought how much it resembled a conifer tree in miniature.

moss strand

I had checked the forecast before I had set out and it offered only a very small chance of any rain and I suppose it was right in a way as I had dry spells and I also went through a couple of heavy hail showers but it never actually rained.

sunshine and hail

Taken a twenty minutes apart

At least the hail stopped and looked good on some clumps of moss.

hail on moss

Although I am mostly thinking about moss, I haven’t lost my taste for lichens and fungus.

The lichen on the fence post at the Auld Stane Bridge was looking very healthy.  The red spots are so tiny that I didn’t see them until I looked at the picture on my computer.

lichen

And there was a good set of birch polypores beside the river as I went along Gaskell’s Walk.

birch polypore

After the hail showers, i would have been more appreciative if the sun had shone on me rather than on nearby hills…

sun on hill

…but at least it stayed dry for the rest of my walk.

Following some recent advice I looked at the sori on the back of ferns…

fern sori

…and following my own inclinations, I was impressed by the variety of moss within a square yard on the park wall.

mosses

The dam bridge repairs are now a spectator sport…..

dam bridge repairs

…and they are a subject of considerable interest in our neighbourhood.

I was a little tired today after all the excitements of going to Manchester yesterday so I was not as unhappy as I might have been to find that the usual Monday evening trio playing had been cancelled.  My flute pupil Luke came though and we had an enjoyable time working on a sonata so it wasn’t a totally tootle free day.

We noticed with sinking heart a telephone engineer climbing the pole outside our house in the late afternoon and were very relieved when he did what he had to do without cutting off our phone line this time.

When the workers had left, I popped out to record their progress on the bridge repair.  They and their machines had worked hard today.

dam bridge repairs

The forecast is for more strong winds, low temperatures and possible snow so I don’t think I am going to be able to test my cycling appetite and abilities for a few days yet.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in expansive mood,

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

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