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Today’s guest picture is another captured by our son Tony’s new camera, showing that it (and he) can take close ups as well as the larger picture.

oznor

It was bright and chilly when we got up and after breakfast, I went out to look for the lost perch from the feeder.  I found it easily enough and screwed it back in place and then sat back and waited to see some obliging bird land on it.

I waited in vain.

empty feeder

It was a very quiet bird day indeed and I had to look hard to see a single chaffinch in the plum tree.

lonely chaffinch

In the end, I gave up bird watching and had a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and then went out bicycling.  The thermometer had scraped up to 5°C but the wind was light so I took a more adventurous route than usual and headed up the road to Bentpath.

This involves a sharp climb at the start of the ride but does provided some excellent views like this favourite, looking towards the Gates of Eden just after the first climb.

gates of eden

Our hills are generally rounded and smooth but there are occasional outcrops and those who know tell me that if I was patient enough, I might see a peregrine falcon on this crag near Bentpath.

crag at benty

I continued on through the village and headed up the Esk valley towards Bailliehill.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of the tree planting tubes which the foresters use to protect deciduous trees when they plant them and I was interested to see how well they do their job.  Almost every tube in this group seemed to have a healthy tree sticking out of it.

new trees in tubes

Conifer forestry was very evident too as I cycled up the river and I took this shot to show the impact that farming has on the view.  Where there is a flat place by the river, a ‘holm’ as it is called round here, there is always a field on it, usually with added sheep….

filed beside esk near king pool

…but where there is no holm , the uncultivated ground runs right down to the river and is often planted with spruce and/or larch.

esk looking back to lyneholm

I took these contrasting two shots from the same spot, looking first up and then down the river.

When I got to the top of the hill at Bailliehill, I turned south to go over the watershed between the Esk and the Water of Milk.

I stopped at a cattle grid for a drink and a banana.

cattle grid

The cattle grids are necessary to keep stock in the right place on unfenced roads and they can fairly rattle your teeth if you go over them too fast.

There were no cattle about today so I didn’t have to worry about bumping into one on the road but I had to keep an eye out for potholes, though the road was in better condition than this view back along it makes it look.

road from bailliehill

Although it looks a bit desolate on the top of the hill, I had not gone more than a mile further before the countryside had changed and I was cycling among pleasant green pastures and there was enough water about to make the Water of Milk recognisably a river in the making.

water of milk

I was able to look across at the Ewe Hill wind farm and check the wind direction.  Happily it showed that I would be helped home by the breeze.

ewes hill windfarm

I left the Water of Milk when I crossed the bridge at Paddockhole….

paddockhole bridge

…and headed back towards Callister Hill and Langholm.

I stopped on the way up Callister at a spot where a good view up towards Winterhope and a chance for a breather on a steep climb are equally welcome.

view from back of callister

I was now looking at the wind farm from the other side.

The last time that I took this route was on a cold and sunny day early last year and on that occasion, I made a choice to extend my trip by taking a diversion from the direct route home, met an ice filled pothole and hit the deck.

Under the circumstances, I thought long and hard about taking another diversion this time but as the temperature was a couple of degrees higher, the roads were drier and my legs were very cheerful, I risked turning off three miles short of Langholm and going over the hill to join the main road at Canonbie, adding ten miles to the journey.

Needless to say, I hadn’t gone far along my diversion before the sun ducked behind some clouds….

looming clouds

…although it was by no means as gloomy as the camera makes out.  All the same, once the sun went in, it felt a lot colder so I didn’t hang about taking any more pictures but pedalled steadily on.

The ride added 35 miles to my skimpy total for January but as I had done the last 15 miles in just under an hour, I was quite satisfied with both the views early on and the pace towards the end.

There were still no birds about in the garden when I got back but the sun came out as soon as the bike was safely put away in the garage and the sky was full of fluffy pink clouds.

fluffy pink cloud

In the absence of interesting birds and garden flowers, I took a picture of the bowl of hyacinths which our friend Liz had given Mrs Tootlepedal at the new year.  They are flourishing.

hyacinth in flower

Although the days are just beginning to get noticeably longer, they are still don’t last very long so I lit the stove in the front room and settled down to putting two of the Carlisle choir songs onto my computer so that I can start learning them.  Learning words and music is a protracted and sometime painful process, full of small steps forward and giant leaps backwards.

The flying bird(s) of the day are the only two chaffinches which approached the feeder when I was looking out of the window before cycling so I feel very lucky to have captured them at all. They have been carefully balanced for gender and left and right tendencies in the pursuit of political correctness.

two flying chaffinches

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Today’s guest picture is another one from Joe and Annie’s recent Highland holiday and shows what you get if you arrive at the top of a mountain, namely a view of more mountains.

top of mountain

Our welcome spell of relatively mild weather continued today but once again, the morning was very grey and there was even a little drizzle early on.   I was very happy therefore to entertain Sandy to a cup of coffee when he came round to collect the Archive Group projector and a copy of a 1967 parish magazine for scanning.

Sandy and I haven’t been going for any walks lately because he has been having trouble with his feet and as I enjoy these walks, I was glad to hear that he is going to seek medical advice.  I hope that he gets good treatment and that we will be able to resume some walks again early next year.   He taught me almost everything I know about photography and it is always an education to see what he sees when we are out and about.

Scott, our ex-minister, has obviously lost control of his coffee radar since he has left Langholm as he arrived for a surprise visit only after Sandy and all the coffee in the pot had gone.  I wasn’t even able to offer him a cup of tea as I was changed and ready to go out on my bike when he came.  At this time of year, there is no time to spare as it gets dark so early so I left him chatting to Mrs Tootlepedal and went off pedalling into the distance.

It was still very grey and as I went over Callister, I was swathed in low cloud.  it wasn’t long though before the clouds began to lift….

clouds lifiting off windmills

…and there was a good patch of blue sky in the direction that I was heading.

tree at Giar road

There had hardly been any birds in the garden in the morning so I was pleased to come across a great flock of starlings near Waterbeck.  They rose like a vast animated carpet from a field as I passed.  By the time that I had got my camera out, many of them had settled in some trees.

starlings at West Craigs

I was soon pedalling along in what passes for bright sunshine in the winter and although some of the remaining clouds looked a bit sinister, I had sun with me for the rest of my ride.

cloud and sunlight

As well as the big flock of starlings, I passed a large array of hundreds of geese in a field near Chapelknowe.  I think that these are pink footed geese which visit Scotland for the winter from Greenland and Iceland.

geese in field at Chapelknowe

My legs were in a helpful mood today and after a hard working first ten miles with some climbing and the wind against, the last 20 miles of my ride were much flatter and with a friendly wind now assisting me and my legs in full working order, I fairly whizzed along (by my standards).

I stopped for a breather at Half Morton with ten miles to go.  There is a convenient wall there for propping up bikes and riders, not to mention a fine tree to admire.

tree at Timpanheck

My final pause was to take a view, a favourite not just because  of the neat framing of the hills round Langholm but also because when you see it, it means that there are only five miles to go to a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

Low cloud over Langholm

I found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden when I got home and there were a few chaffinches on the plum tree too.  Mrs Tootlepedal soon went in and the dratted chaffinches remained firmly stuck in the tree and only came down to the feeder when the light had gone too far for decent photography.

chaffinches in plum tree

In the evening, we were visited  by Mike and Alison, as is customary on a Friday, and since Alison’s injured shoulder is still preventing full piano playing, we settled for some wine and beer drinking and general conversation instead of music.  The early renewal of Friday evening music making is another of my New Year’s wishes.

The lack of flying birds is getting to be embarrassing and I didn’t get one at all today.  If there was any flying, it always seemed to be right behind the feeder.

invisible flying bird

 

 

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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 Gavin’s Spanish holiday where he came across this chap.  Hard to know what he is thinking.

IMG_5854

We had a lovely day here, warm with light winds.  I will say that again: We had a lovely day here, warm with light winds.

There was an article in my newspaper this morning pointing out that this has been the coldest spring for 30 years and that it is likely to continue to be cold until June.   You can see why everyone thought that today was so special.

It was a bit unfortunate then that I had to spend quite a bit of time making sure that everything would be ready for the return of Mrs Tootlepedal.  This involved brushing, sweeping, hoovering, dusting, cooking and ironing so I was kept quite busy.

Mike Tinker popped in to say that he had seen a pair of goosanders at the Langholm Bridge so as soon as I had finished ironing a couple of shirts, I went out to see if I could see them.  Unfortunately but predictably, they had moved on.  (It takes me quite a time to iron a couple of shirts.)  I snapped a pair of oyster catchers instead….

oyster catchers

..and came home.

I had time for a walk round the garden.  The tadpoles were showing definite signs of life….

frog and tadpoles

…and once again, I found a frog in the pond.

I am going to try to take a picture of a daffodil of the day for a while.  Here is today’s effort.

daffodil

There are peonies growing so fast that that they blurred the shot.

peonies

And there was a good number of bees buzzing about.  Unfortunately they were mostly interested in the hellebores and as the hellebores’ heads hang down, it was hard to get a picture of the bees visiting.

bee on hellebore

Spot the bee.  There is one in each frame.

I am very happy to see that the redpolls are still coming and there were more than two today.

edpoll

The feeders were busy….

chaffinch approaching feeder

…but so was I so I didn’t get many shots.

I had time for a short cycle ride after an early lunch and I was able to discard a layer or two in the sunshine and wear mitts instead of gloves.  This was very welcome but it didn’t make me pedal any faster.

I made a short diversion to look at the alder catkins….

alder catkiner

An interesting shape but still no females flowers to be seen.

…and enjoy the rippling of the little burn beside the tree.

arrisgill  water

I had a much better view from the top of Callister than I had had on my last ride and I have no doubt that readers will be as surprised as I was to see that the turbines at Minsca were not turning, a very rare situation.

minsca windfarm

It was even odder than usual because the wind turbines on the Langholm side of the hill had been going round.  Some freak of land shape must have directed the wind in one way and not the other because there was no breath of wind on my cheek when I took the picture above but after noting a fine lichen on a nearby wall…

lichen on wall

…and being mightily impressed by the clouds behind Langholm…

clouds over callister

…I found a light but distinctly helpful wind behind me as I cycled down Callister and back home…

celandine

…passing turbines that were turning and this lesser celandine on my way.

I had time for a shower and a final look around before I went to Carlisle to pick up Mrs Tootlepedal from the station.  She had come up from London in the company of my stepmother, Patricia who is visiting us for a few days.  The weather had been horrible in London so they were very pleased to find the sun shining in Carlisle.

We hadn’t been in the house for long before it started to rain rather unexpectedly.  However, it was very nice to see that the weather gods were only using the rain to provide a high quality welcome home for Mrs Tootlepedal.

rainbow

Mutter, mutter mutter, “Those telephone wires always spoiling a picture,” mutter, mutter, mutter.

rainbow

Ah, that’s better.

The rain didn’t last long and I took a moment to check the feeders before we had our tea.

greenfinch

After our evening meal, Patricia, Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a gentle and pleasant walk along the river in the gloaming.  Rather annoyingly,  two goosanders swam past us, safe in the knowledge that the light was far too poor now for photography.

The flying bird of the day, in the nick of time, was that greenfinch I saw before tea.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to the Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park last week.

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park 29.04.17 004

Our welcome spell of dry and often sunny weather continued today, although once again it came with enough added wind to make my morning pedal down to Canonbie and back quite hard work on the return part of the journey.

I had a quick look round the garden before I set off and was pleased to find another bee hard at work on the apple blossom.

bee on apple blossom

Nearby, the strawberries are just beginning to flower….

strawberry flower

…and I saw a strangely static wasp which looked as though it was glued to a rhubarb stalk.

wasp on rhubarb

I was a bit pushed for time on my cycle ride so I only stopped twice for photographs, once to look at the river near Byreburnfoot….

River Esk

A lot of leaves, not much water.

…and once to look at the bluebells in the wood at Skipperscleuch.  They looked potential from the roadside….

bluebells

…so I left my bike and walked up into the woods.  I was a bit disappointed because although there were bluebells…..

bluebells

…there wasn’t the complete carpet that I was hoping for.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that I am looking a bit too early and they will come out fully soon.  I hope that she is right.

I got back from the ride and as usual, I found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden.  She was in the greenhouse, preparing things to plant our later….

plants

…although, as you can see on the left of the panel, some things are already out in the vegetable beds under cloches.

She is enjoying the dry soil which is much easier to prepare than the more usual heavy, soggy stuff we get in spring.

I had another quick walk round the flowers and saw the first blossom on the clematis by the back door and a potential allium giving notice of a fruitful flower future…

strawberry, hyacinth and allium

…while the grape hyacinths are beginning to wave goodbye.

The apple bee was really getting down to business and filling its pollen sacs.

bee with pollen

Although Mrs Tootlepedal and I have dead headed a host of golden daffodils, there are still quite a few standing.

daffodil

The cool weather has helped them last for a long time this year.

The geums under the feeders are looking superb.

geums

After I came in from the garden, I had time for a shower and a light lunch and then we got into the car and drove to Dumfries where we visited the Infirmary and I had a small and painless operation to remove a skin tag from my eyelid and then Mrs Tootlepedal drove me home again.

Always keen to combine business and pleasure, she worked in a visit to the council civic amenity waste site (The Dump) on our way and dumped some of the wood from our old compost bin and several buckets of unwanted stones from the garden.

We arrived home in a cheerful mood.

My lawn co-workers were busy excavating the moss from the middle lawn.

jackdaws

They are jackdaws.

jackdaws

While I was out thanking the jackdaws for their tireless toiling, I took a look into the mystery of the dark heart of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Alnwick tulips.

tulip

I was just about to cook my tea when Sandy rang up and suggested that I should go out into the garden and look up.  I did.

This is what I saw.

strange cloud

The oddest cloud that I have ever seen was rising from behind the trees…..

strange cloud

…and stretching half way across the sky.  It was so long and thin that I couldn’t get it all in one shot.

Even Sandy, who was a bit further away, couldn’t quite get it all in.  He sent me this shot.

strange cloud

The cloud ended rather like a feather just to the right of Sandy’s shot.

The conditions that could cause a cloud like this are a complete mystery to me.  I thought that perhaps it might be a con trail from a long departed aeroplane which had condensed as the temperature dropped in the evening but Mrs Tootlepedal, and others who saw it, were of the opinion that it definitely was just a cloud, although a very strange one indeed.

Apart from it, there was not another cloud in the sky.

Once again, I didn’t have much time to look at birds and this goldfinch was the best that I could manage as flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Liz, Mike Tinker’s daughter, who is on holiday with her family in the West Highlands.  The picture shows the view from their holiday home window.  Close examination of the large red boat shows that it is loaded with cut timber and is the Highland equivalent of our log lorries, taking trees from local forests as they are felled.

log boatWe got up to a sunny morning and although it was still on the cool side for July, just having the sun out made it feel warmer than it has been lately.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent a large part of the day in the garden and I spent some time there too.  During the day, I turned compost Bin A into Bin B and before I had turned my back, Mrs Tootlepedal was already busy filling up Bin A again.  At least the bins are in the right order now with the newest compost in Bin A and the oldest in Bin D.   I shall have to get busy sieving the contents of Bin D but I need a little dry weather before I can do that properly.

The feeder was busy again….

siskins

The siskins never stop making their opinions known

siskin

This one showed a nifty ability to stand on a non existent perch

The chaffinches are more modest in their approach and often look a bit apologetic about barging in.

chaffinchesIt was very agreeable to have some good light to look at the flowers.  Although things were still damp as you can see from the day lily, at least the poppies could hold up their heads.

day lily and poppyThe stachys lanata or lamb’s ear was positively glowing with delight at seeing some sunshine.

stachys lanataI made some lentil soup for lunch and as I was cooking it, we were visited by Scott, the minister.  He is taking part in a hundred mile cycle sportive in London at the weekend.  He had brought his bike round to see if I  thought that there was anything that needed doing to it. This is mass entry event with thousands taking part and he is looking forward to it.  He has done lots of training for the event but his one worry is mechanical failure or punctures during the run as he has no knowledge of bike mechanics and can’t change an tube.   I offered to show him how to do it but he felt it was too late to master the skill so close to the event.  I pumped up his tyres for him, patted his bike and wished him well.  He will rely on a Good Samaritan helping him if disaster strikes on the way round.

The soup turned out well and I thought that I would go out for a short pedal myself after lunch.  Rather annoyingly, as soon as I had got my bike kit on, it started raining out of a clear blue sky.    It was only a passing shower though and I was soon on my way.  My knee is still not fully back to normal and as I had done thirteen miles last time that I went out, I thought that I might do fifteen to eighteen miles today.  However, when I got to the top of Callister, the sight of these clouds in front of me….

clouds on Callister…and this heavy rain shower in the valley behind me….

clouds on Callister…persuaded me that twelve miles might be quite enough and I turned for home.  I got there safely, quite dry and with my knee in good order but looking back from the garden, I could see that the clouds had been following me down the road.

cloudsMike Tinker, who was discussing a cup of tea and a dainty biscuit with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got in, has done some research and tells us that the white thistle we saw yesterday was a marsh thistle which very occasionally produces white flowers.  As always, he is a mine of information.

Amazingly, the rain stayed away from the garden and let Mrs Tootlepedal finish trimming the internal hedges….

hedge trimming…and me mow the middle lawn.

When I finished that, I picked a couple of pounds of blackcurrants and looked round the garden to see what I could see.

roses

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma perked up in the sun.

dahlias

The fancy dahlia has been joined by two more restrained friends

There are now four clematis blooming on the fence along the vegetable garden.

clematis

Two showy….

clematis

…and two plain

As always, I enjoyed peering closely at flowers….

astrantia and lily..and the Goldfinch rose once again surprised me by how much it changes as it grows older even side by side on the same stem.

goldfinch roseMy favourite rose of the day though was one of the moss roses.

moss roseWe had potatoes, broad beans and turnip from the garden for our tea and there is no doubt that home grown food always tastes better than the shop bought stuff  (and even when it doesn’t taste better, it feels as though it does).

I am hoping to get a few more miles in tomorrow as the forecasters are speaking of another dry day.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin looking for someone to argue with.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture from my brother Andrew shows that we are not the only people getting a bit of rain.  He found the Dove Walkway running with water when he visited it yesterday.

The Dove Walkway after the stormAfter several weeks of very restless nights following my knee operation, the last few nights have gone a bit better and I thought this might offer me an opportunity to cut down on my pill intake.  Accordingly, last night I abandoned the alarming yellow pill that I have been taking and went to bed with some trepidation instead.

The result though was very satisfactory and I had the least disturbed night for weeks.  In fact it was so good that after coming down for breakfast in the morning, I went upstairs and went to sleep again.

I woke up feeling quite perky and since it wasn’t raining for once, I arranged to go for a walk with Sandy.  He has been suffering from a sore toe but felt that it was well enough for a test stroll.   I spotted a redpoll on the feeder just before we set off.

redpollOur route took us up to the Auld Stane Brig and just before we got to it, we noticed a tree looking rather ghostly in the sunlight, almost as if it had been whitewashed.

tree at wauchope castleCloser inspection revealed that it was covered in lichen.

tree at wauchope castleA little further on, Sandy took some interest in a fence pole.

Sandy photographingHe was looking at one of my favourite little lichen gardens.

lichen on fence postIt always has something to interest the eye when you go past it.

After crossing the bridge, we returned to the town by Gaskell’s walk.  Here we were in the shade and as it was a raw and chilly day, we didn’t linger too long.  The recent winds have done a bit of damage and this tree, snapped off exactly where a polypore was growing, caught our attention.

polyporeI have passed that tree many time and never noticed the fungus before.  It must have been hidden behind the trunk.

Although we were in the shade, the hills to our left and ahead were bathed in sunshine.

Meikleholm Hill

You can see the hardy hill cattle on Meikleholm Hill

Castle Hill

And there are some more on the right near the very top of Castle Hill too.

When we got up to the Stubholm, we got into the sunshine again…

Stubholm…but although it looks very cheery, it was still very chilly and we didn’t hang about as there was a real nip in the wind.

Going down the track to the park, we did stop for a moment to admire the fungus on a fallen branch.  It has survived the recent frosts and sleet very well.

fungusIt is noticeable that if anything stands still for long in our woods, it gets covered in moss.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether it gets some sunshine…

Marker stone…or not.

troughBoth Sandy and I were quite pleased that we hadn’t chosen a longer walk.

After lunch, I had another little walk up to the dentist and back and that was more than enough for me and I spent the rest of the day mainly resting, though I did manage a gentle pedal on the BtN in the garage at tea time.

The sleep in the morning and the rest after the visit to the dentist were a pity in one way because apart from one short and very sharp hail, shower, we had a dry and mostly sunny day and I should have made better use of it.  Mrs Tootlepedal made excellent use of it by doing some extensive clearing up in the garden.

We were very cheered to find that it was still light at four o’clock and it does seem that that we have started get the longer daylight at last. It always takes longer than you feel it should after the winter solstice for the days to wake up and pay attention.

The clouds were catching the last rays of the sun as Mrs Tootlepedal came in for a cup of tea.

Four o'clock cloudsFour o'clock cloudsAfter our cup of tea, I put a week of the newspaper index into the database while Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a delicious cheese flan and some very tasty mini mince pies. In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see a film at the Buccleuch Centre but my get and go had gone and I lounged around idly at home.

The gardening activity meant that there were no birds to be seen in the afternoon but luckily I had caught a flying chaffinch before I went off for my walk with Sandy.

chaffinch

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