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Posts Tagged ‘fungus’

Today’s guest picture shows a rather more ornate bench than our new one.  Venetia sent the picture to me but couldn’t say what it was like to sit on the bench as it is too tall for her to get up  on to.  A triumph of art over practicality.

venetia's seat

The short spell of good weather continued today and it was a pleasure to go out into the garden after breakfast and be greeted by genuinely warm air.

I took the picture of the daffodil of the day at quarter to nine in the morning when we were sitting on the new bench enjoying the sunshine.

double daffodil

The morning sun brought out the best in a bunch of yellow tulips too.

yellow tulips

We didn’t have as long as we would have liked to enjoy the glorious weather as it was soon time to go to sing in the church choir.  Probably because it is a holiday weekend, the choir was rather short handed so we all felt a bit exposed but we had a good sing.

We had a little time to work or wander  in the garden when we got back.  I turned my attention away from the large and showy to the tiny…

small garden flowers

…and then spent some time stalking a peacock butterfly round the garden until it was polite enough to stop for a moment (though it didn’t fully stretch out its wings).

peacock butterfly

Then  we had a cup of coffee and went on a short walk to see if the good weather had brought the bluebells on.

The walk was most enjoyable with a lot to see on the way.

I stopped to check if the lichen on the park wall was enjoying the heat.

It was…..

red lichen

…but just behind the lichen was something that I found even more interesting.

What I took to be moss was sprouting in a way that I have never noticed before.

moss

I did some research on the internet and couldn’t find anything like it so I may be mistaken in thinking that it was moss but it certainly looked like it.

Mrs Tootlepedal was very struck by the huge bracket fungus on an old tree stump nearby….

bracket fungus

…but my eye was taken by a tiny oxalis growing on a damp wall as we climbed up the slope to the Stubholm.

oxalis

It was a beautiful day for a walk.

stubholm tree

Most of the wild garlic was still waiting to come out in spite of the warmer weather but one or two plants were giving a taste of things to come.

wild garlic

Did I mention that it was a beautiful day for a walk?

Easton's walk

Mr Grumpy was out enjoying himself too.

heron

And the view down the river from below the church was spring at its springiest.

River Esk

The only black mark was the fact that the bluebells were not much farther on than they had been when I last walked by a few days ago.  I shall have to be patient.

We had time to visit the garden again before lunch.  The euphorbia continues to attract flies.

fly on euphorbia

I think that this is a hoverfly.  It seemed too small to be a bee.

…and the tulips continued to attract me.  This one is my current favourite.

orange tulip

 

…as it glows more than the others.

tulip centres

After lunch, we headed off to Carlisle for a little shopping and a lot of singing with our Carlisle choir.  It did cross our mind that it was far too nice a day to spend more of it inside but we have a concert coming up soon so we didn’t like to miss a practice.

It was still warm enough to sit outside in the garden when we got home and we were serenaded by two competing blackbirds who were singing fit to bust from a nearby roof  and holly tree.

blackbirds

The very last daffodil has come into flower….

daffodil

…and soon the age of the daffodil will be past.

I mowed the middle lawn and then we went in for a delicious lamb stew prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal in the slow cooker.

I didn’t get any chance today to linger indoors and look out of the kitchen window so the flying bird of the day is a frog which turned up in the pond among all the tadpoles.

frog in pond

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Today’s guest picture is another form Bruce’s visit to Eyam.  A helpful notice tells you that this is a wall sun dial.

Eyam sundial

It was warmer today and it got even warmer as the day went on whihc was very welcome.  It was rather damp and grey in the morning when I went out to learn something about ferns from fern enthusiast Mike Tinker.

We met at his house and his garden offered plenty of photo opportunities before we set out.  I took two of them.

Mikes garden

We started our walk on the path round the new playing field at the school.   There is a big wall at the end of the pitch whihc had a lot of interest.

There was maidenhair spleenwort, showing the very dark centre rib on the back of the leaf…

maidenhair spleenwort

…and wall rue which I had passed many times without ever realising that it was  a fern.

wall rue

…and among the interest was a strawberry tucked in among the stones of the wall and a hart’s tongue fern which was definitely past its best.

strawberry and hart's tongue

We moved on to Langholm Castle…

Langholm Castle

…where we found common polypody and polystichum aculeatum or hard shield fern.

polypody and polystichum

The hard shield fern had an interesting looking back.

Polystichum aculeatum

We walked up the hill to Pathhead and saw many more examples of both polypody and polystichum.  Mike explained to me that these were evergreen or semi-evergreen ferns and told me that we would need to wait about a month to see any of the new ferns coming out.

As we walked up the hill, we passed liverworts and golden saxifrage too.

liverwort and golden saxifrage

On our walk as well as ferns we saw fungus…

jelly fungus

….a hazel with a good number of flowers on it and any amount of dog’s mercury.

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Back in Mike’s garden, he showed me two of his own ferns, a soft shield fern, Polystichum setiferum….

Polystichum setiferum

…and another very handsome one of which I have forgotten the name…

Mike's fern

…and an unusual version of hart;s tongue.

hart's tongue

I haven’t done justice with the camera to all the ferns we saw and may have missed one or two out of this account.  I hope that I have recorded the ferns correctly but there was a lot to take in.  I am looking forward to the walk when the fresh ferns arrive in about a month.  Thanks to Mike for a really interesting outing.

After a cup of coffee, I went home and watched the birds for a moment.

goldfinches and chaffinches

There were still a lot of goldfinches about in argumentative mood.

sparring goldfinches

Then I checked the pond…

frog

and went in and had some lunch.

The afternoon was fine and even sunny sometimes and the wind was supposed to be quite light so I set out for a cycle ride.  Either the wind was stronger than was forecast or my legs were weaker, or both, but I found the going quite tough on the way out and had to take things easy.  I didn’t stop for much as I went along as we are still waiting for the roadside wild flowers to appear in numbers.  There were some good clumps of celandine…

celandine

…but I am still waiting for the spring carpet of dandelions to be rolled out.

A small forest of equisetum near Kirkpatrick Fleming caught my eye…

Equisetum

…and a single daisy while I was pausing for a snack and a breather.

daisy

I have cycled over the bridge at Glenzier many times and wished that it was easier to take a picture of it but you can see my problem…

Glenzier Bridge

…so this is probably the best that I will manage.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from an all day embroidery workshop and was busy in the garden.  I was unaccountably tired after a shortish and slow 31 mile ride but if you turn the distance onto kilometres, it comes to 50km and that sounds more impressive.

After watching some sport on the telly while I relaxed, I made baked eggs and spinach with a cheese sauce for tea and resolved not to go cycling tomorrow, whatever the weather.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

 

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my sister Mary in the Japanese Garden in Holland Park, London, England a few days ago. That is a nice international medley of names to go with a delightful picture taken on a dull day.

Japanese Garden Holland Park

After our very brief burst of springlike weather yesterday, we were back in the groove today with ten tenths cloud, occasional rain and a cold and uncharitable wind blowing.  It was rather disappointing.

However, there was plenty of activity going on to keep my mind off the missing sunshine.

I started with a walk after breakfast and I enjoyed the daffodils along the river bank in Caroline Street.  They brought a welcome touch of colour to a dull day.

daffodils on Wauchope

And for my daffodil of the day, I chose one from the clumps along the banks of the Esk between the bridges.

daffodil

I was hoping to catch the goosanders but had to make do with an oyster catcher again.

oyster catcher

It wasn’t very inviting walking weather so I did more leg stretching than looking around just to keep myself warm but I couldn’t help noticing a rather strange set of fungi on a fallen tree by the river bank.

fungus

They are just normal bracket fungi but the way that they sat on the tree trunk made it look as though they were floating.

I did look to see if there were any more hazel catkins and flowers about but once again I saw few catkins and only two flowers.

hazel catkin and flower

It is hard to say whether more will arrive with some warmer weather or if this is all that there will be in such a miserable spring.

There were occasional signs of life elsewhere among the lichen covered branches of the trees.

lichen and buds

And I passed a party of cheerful Tuesday walkers who had stopped to pay their respects to a small dog.

walkers

I was pleased to get home and a have a cup of coffee but I did take a quick look round the garden first….

tree peony

…where the tree peony is looking healthy and I at last got a half decent picture of the pulmonaria flowers.

pulmonaria

I also took a moment to check on the birds.

There were a lot about.

siskin and greenfinch

A chaffinch needed only a one footed attack to dislodge a fellow from the feeder.

chaffinches

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal, Patricia, our guest, and I went off to Hawick in the car to visit a small exhibition of work there by Mrs Tootlepedal’s Embroiderers’ Guild group.  She hadn’t been able to go to the opening as she was visiting her mother at the time.

The exhibition had been very well mounted…

EG exhibition Hawick

…in a small gallery in the Textile Towerhouse.  It had gone down so well with visitors that a notice pointing out that the exhibits were not for sale had had to be put up.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a couple of old favourite pieces in the show and one of her newer pieces figured on the poster which was pleasing.

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Stumpwork on the left and the new piece at the bottom right of the poster. 

We had an excellent lunch, rather surprisingly accompanied by live string playing from students of Trinity College, London.

We walked back to car, passing many bridges in the town….

hawick bridge

…both old….

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…and new…

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…and then drove home by way of Whitrope Summit and Hermitage, passing another bridge…

Copshaw road bridge

…Hermitage Castle…

Hermitage Castle…and a cottage at the back of beyond.

Hermitage road

In spite of the heavy clouds hanging low on the hills or perhaps even because of them, it was  a peaceful and picturesque drive.

It would have been nice to get out of the car for a walk but it really was cold and unpleasant even though the rain had stopped so we were happy to go straight home.

The birds had been busy and I filled the feeders again as the lowering of the seed level was leading to regrettable behaviour.

chaffinch stamping on goldfinch

I had hoped to go for a cycle ride when we got back from our outing but the wind was far too brisk to make cycling anything else but a chore so I found useful things to do indoors until Patricia kindly took us out for a meal at the Douglas  Hotel in the evening.

The food was excellent as usual.  It is not often that we eat out at all so to get two good meals out on the same day was a great treat.  It hasn’t done my slimming regime any good though.  My new bike when it comes will be a kilogram and a half heavier than the old fairly speedy one so I need to lose a couple of kilograms from my body weight to make up the difference.  This is proving hard in the cold weather when a bit of comfort eating is always likely.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, probably looking for someone to kick.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who is on holiday with his family in Spain.  His picture shows his grandson Elliot surrounded by trains at Vilanova Railway Museum.

Elliot Graham surrounded by trains at Vilanova Railway Museum

We got the promised sunshine today.  The whole country has been gloomy over the past few days so there were amusing remarks on the breakfast radio show that I listen to about a strange light in the sky.  The show comes from London where they had added warmth while we had ice and the remains of the snow.

ice and snow in April

Still blue sky is blue sky and always welcome.  Sandy is always welcome too and he arrived after breakfast and drove us up to the Moorland bird feeders were it was his day to refill the feeders.  I gave him a hand and we sat in the hide for a while to see what was about.

The answer was not much but the bit of sunlight gave me a chance to take a picture or two.

great tit, blue tit and siskin

Great tit, blue tit and siskin

chaffinch and blackbird

Chaffinch and blackbird

coal tit

Flighty coal tit

As you can see from some of the pictures, it was quite windy and cold and a pheasant looked thoroughly fed up.

pheasant

It was chilly, even in the shelter of the hide and interesting birds were conspicuous by their absence so we didn’t stay too long and went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a biscuit.

After Sandy left, I did the crossword and looked at our own garden birds.  The usual suspects were there….

redpoll, goldfinch, siskin

…but in was very pleased to see a couple of redpolls back at the feeder.

redpoll

The siskins, as well as being very messy feeders, were as belligerent as ever.

siskins

I had decided not to go to visit Matilda today as the weather demanded a cycle ride of reasonable length and thanks to the early frostiness, I wasn’t able to get out soon enough to be able to catch the afternoon train to Edinburgh.

Matilda did very well without me and swam nearly a whole width of the swimming pool on her back with no help.  She will doubtless be aimed at the 2030 Commonwealth Games.

I had a nourishing lunch and got the slow bike out.  In spite of the sun, the thermometer was only just touching 6°C (about 40°F) so once again, I was well wrapped up.  Although it was coming from the south west and should have been warm, the wind was once again both brisk and nippy so pedalling into it at the start of my journey was hard work.

This bit of road, near Eaglesfield may not look very important…..

road near eaglesfield

…but it was the first bit of road that I had cycled on for fourteen and a bit miles which was not heading into the wind.    To give an idea of the meanness of the wind, it took me one hour and forty six minutes to do the first 15 miles of the route and only seventeen minutes longer to do the next 25, which were either across or downwind.

As my average at the end of the ride was only 10 mph, the whole thing was painfully slow.  Partly this was caused by the wind and partly it was because the road I chose for the main downhill ten mile section of the trip was full of potholes and floods…

puddles and daffs

… though it did have some fine daffodils, and few celandines…

celandine and sheep

…an interesting sheep and a fine view across the Solway Firth…

skiddaw from Rigg

…as consolations.

My asthma has not been helped by the constantly wet and chilly weather over winter so I found that I needed quite a lot of concentration just to keep going and since I had to keep a keen eye out for potholes on unfamiliar roads, I didn’t find many interesting things to photograph on my route but I did stop to note the delightful blue of the Longtown gravel pit pond….

Longtown pond and windfarm

….and the new windfarm behind it.

It is good to see that as well as annoying me, our never ending supply of wind is being put to good use.

It  was still a lovely day when I got home so I had a walk round the garden….

garden flowers early april

I was pleased to see the first of the ‘main crop’ daffodils out.

…and then I had a mile and a half  walk round Gaskells to make the most of the rare good day.

I adopted a very modest pace and this let me see quite a lot as I pottered along.

I was very interested to see buds on the hawthorn…

hawthorn buds

…as this is real sign of better things to come.

I heard some loud engine noises and was surprised to see how literally the pilots of a couple of planes were taking the phrase ‘low flying’.

low flying plane

I wouldn’t be surprised if he/she found that they had moss on the undercarriage when they got home.

I saw tiny lichen and big fungus…

lichen and fungus

…and the first rabbit that I have noticed this year.

rabbit

I like the way that rabbits equate ‘standing very still’ with ‘hiding’.

Two more tried the same stratagem a little further on.

rabbits

The main purpose of my walk was to check out the red tipped lichen on the park wall to see if it had survived the frost, rain and snow.

There was a rather scraggy patch along with a promising wild flower…

lichen and wild flower

…just to prove that our park wall is a rich habitat and not just for moss and lichens.

Finally, almost as I had given up hope, I found a healthy looking clump.

lichen

My discovery of photography in my later years has provided me with a lot of pleasure but I don’t think anything is better than the ability of a camera to let you see wonders of nature that you just can’t see with the naked eye.  These lichens are tiny, the red dots like pin heads.

Mrs Tootlepedal told me in a phone call this evening that she had enjoyed both sunshine and very pleasant warmth in the deep south but I wasn’t envious.  Honestly.  They don’t have traffic free cycling routes on public roads like us.  I hardly saw a car for 34 of my 40 miles today.  Mind you, a little warmth wouldn’t go amiss.

I am really looking forward to the coming of my new bike.  I have pedalled three hundred miles on my slow bike over the past twenty two days but in the same amount of time and probably with less effort, I might have done sixty to eighty more miles on a quicker bike.

The low flying ‘bird’ of the day is the second of the air force planes that passed me on my walk.  Credit goes to the nerve and instrument reading skills of the pilots.

P1080619

Those interested can see details of the bike ride here

And you can see Sandy’s day here.

 

 

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I have run out of new guest pictures so I am returning to my Somerset correspondent Ventetia’s trip to America.  She was driven along some beautiful  but slightly scary roads.

Venetia

While we didn’t go quite as far as the guest picture, we were visited by some very unwelcome snow here and the temperature only just crept above zero all day.

flying chaffinch

The snow was mostly very light but as it was accompanied by a brisk and bitter wind, we viewed it largely through our windows.

I did go out to take two views of our completed bridge.

P1080230

P1080230

Severe critics have complained that  the gap below the railings on both the right and left sides are big enough to let a small child through but these are people who have no bridge of their own and are jealous of ours.  A child needs a little adventure in its life.

Marching bands, acrobats, peers of the realm and assorted reality TV celebrities are being lined up for the official opening.

While I was out, I admired the winter aconites which are looking promising…

winter aconites

..but even winter aconites need a bit of help from the elements to come into full flower.

The birds were grateful for some food on a chilly day…

flying chaffinch

…and chaffinches in particular turned up in large numbers.

flying chaffinch

But the odd greenfinch….

green finch

…and goldfinch was to be seen too.

flying goldfinch

Over lunchtime, I watched Scotland making very hard work of beating a good Italian side  in their final match of the Six nations rugby tournament and then, as the sun had come out, I went for a walk to recover from the excitement of a tense finish to the game.

It looked like a wonderful day…

Esk view of George Street

…but in the brisk wind the “feels like” factor was well below freezing.  I was hoping to see some waterside birds but they obviously didn’t care much for the cold either and I had to settle for some gently paddling mallards…

mallards

…and a herring gull on a rock in the river.

herring gull in river

Among dozens of black headed gulls, we seem to have only two resident herring gulls.  They like standing in the middle of the rivers.

You can see why I often like to walk along the Kilngreen….

Sawmill Brig

… and over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks…

Lodge walks

…but even in when the sun was out, it was a bit of a penance today.  I only met one other walker and that was our friend Gavin.  He was also recovering from the stress of watching Scotland play.

Some cheerful moss on a tree stump…

moss on tree stump

…and a large and aged bracket fungus on a dead branch…

fungus

…gave me some thing to look at as I went round.

And I took a good look at a large tree on the other side of the playing field…

licheny tree

…which at first sight might look as though it had started to have some early spring foliage on it.

A closer look showed that any vibrancy in the colouring didn’t come from the tree but from its guests.

licheny tree

It is covered from head…

mossytree

to toe in lichen and moss and has so much vegetation on it that it should be declared a national park in its own right.

An onrushing blizzard of light snow hurried me home but it stopped as I got to the house and the sun came out again.

This pattern continued for the rest of day with enough snow to start lying as the evening got colder.

It is due to keep snowing on and off through the night and tomorrow is going to be close to zero again (it is -2C as I write this) but with luck, there will be no travel problems when we want to go to our choir in the afternoon.

It doesn’t feel very much like four days before the vernal equinox though.

The flying bird of the day is one of the black headed gulls from the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone’s niece Hilary.  It is of an Egyptian Vulture.  It was taken at Zurich Zoo on Saturday and makes Mr Grumpy look like a little ray of sunshine.

It is of an Egyptian Vulture. Taken at Zurich Zoo on Saturday.

Little rays of sunshine were in short supply here today as this was the view when we got up.

snowy garden

It wasn’t even good quality snow, just a soggy flump which turned to slush as it fell.

wet snow

It snowed quite a lot more during the day without adding to the sum total of snow on the ground at all.

Sandy came round for coffee as we are going to give an illustrated talk about the Archive Group in Canonbie tomorrow and we had to settle the details.  After he left, I walked through the slush up to the Archive Centre and made some copies of a DVD of the History of the Mills and Railway in Langholm.  We are going to show the DVD tomorrow and with luck, we might sell a copy or two for funds.

I had a look at the birds when I got back but things were still pretty gloomy.

goldfinch

The snow hadn’t stopped birds arriving but there weren’t very many.

busy feeder snow

I was pleased to see a couple of greenfinches.

greenfinches

After lunch, there was a moment when the sun came out so I put on my wellies and went for a short walk.

Whita snow

The hills looked better with a hint of sun on them…

snowy monument

…and if I had been feeling better, I would have rushed up to the monument while the going was good.

As it was, the recovery is still a work in progress so I settled for a very slow walk at a low level, taking my puffer before I set out and creeping up the only hill on my route.

Although it was very slushy rather than crisp, there was still a scenic view or two to be had.

Langholm Bridge snow

Sadly the sun didn’t make much of an effort and it soon clouded over.

Snowy scene

But snow brightens things up.

Ewesbank stream

It was an odd sort of walk.  There were fairly snowy bits….

Pathhead path

…with extensively snowy views to the left…

snowy whita

…but when I turned the corner at the end of the field, there was hardly a flake of snow to be seen.

path along top of woods

I was glad to have the shelter of the trees for the rest of my walk as it started to snow again and the wind got up so I would have been thoroughly wet if i had been in the open.

As it was, I kept my head down, admired a striking jelly fungus in the heart of the wood….

jelly fungus

…and got home, reasonably dry and content.

Even a short walk is lot to take on at the moment and I found myself fast asleep in front of the telly for most of the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening, I had to decide whether I was fit enough to sit through a live screening of Rigoletto from Covent Garden at the Buccleuch Centre.  Mrs Tootlepedal was not up for a night out yet so I hummed and hawed about going and in the end, at the very last moment, decided that it might be worth the trouble.

I make a lot of decisions of variable quality but this was one of the very best that I have made recently.

The first scene in this production is appalling, treating the audience as if they are incapable of any imagination and showing the actors no respect at all but thereafter, the brooding setting and singing of Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto and Lucy Crowe as Gilda transformed it into an evening of wonder and emotional satisfaction for me.

And when I came out, the town was carpeted with a fresh blanket of crisp white snow.

Henry Street in snow

The flying bird of the day was a tricky proposition and the only one that I could find was hiding.

busy feeder snow

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Irving who found a place without trees at Castle O’er.  Not an easy thing to do.

Castle O'er

After deciding a couple of days ago  that I wasn’t going to take part in the annual New Year’s Day “Whisky Run” because of the snowy conditions, I changed my mind entirely when the snow disappeared as quickly as it came.  As a result, I leapt out of bed this morning to greet the new dawn, put on my walking shoes and set out after breakfast.

The Whisky Run is a friendly affair that accommodates both serious runners and gentle walkers, the only condition being that you should try to start out at a time that will bring you to the Market Place in Langholm as near 11 o’clock as possible.

The main route takes the participants up the road on the west side of the River Esk, crosses the river at Burnfoot and then brings them back by track and road on the east side of the river along the Langfauld and then finishes along Langholm’s High Street.  At just over 8 miles, it is the longest walk that I have done (as far as I can remember) since I did the same event last year.

I left myself plenty of time to do the walk and got round in two and a quarter hours, having paused to take a few picture on the way.

By the time that I had got to the far end of the route and had turned for home, the sun had made an appearance and picked out the windmills on the far side of the valley..

P1060398

I looked back across the river at our local racehorse trainer’s track.

P1060401

I got near to the Gates of Eden but didn’t go through them.

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I liked the way that the sun had picked out a single field further down the valley.

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The track was in better condition than I had feared and I stopped and looked back at Golf and Bauchle Hills behind me…

P1060408

…and across to my favourite spot in the whole valley.

P1060409

I passed a merry group of walkers who had gone for the shorter five mile option, including Mike Tinker on the right in the green,.  He was one of the founders of this popular event more years ago than he cares to remember.

P1060411

I stopped to look back at a view…

P1060413

…which I had seen in very different circumstances only three days ago.

View of Potholm from Langfauld

I continue to be amazed at the swift disappearance of so much snow so quickly.

I arrived a bit early and was able to watch bands of runners enjoying making the finish….

P1060416

…and after a while I got the opportunity to take a group photo of some of the runners and walkers…

P1060427

…and watch Alison, my Friday night orchestra, present the prize to the winner, flanked by the second and third placed runners.

P1060432

While we waited for the prize giving, we were entertained by the Town Band which was doing its annual New Year’s Day perambulation of the town.  It paused to play for us….

P1060422

…and then proceeded with further perambulating.

P1060425

Mrs Tootlepedal, having arrived at the Market Place ready to help Alison with the finish, found enough volunteers already in place and went off to bicycle round the five mile route herself.

I made some potato and leek soup and peered about to see of any birds had survived the Hogmanay celebrations.

_DSC0519

The goldfinches were back, though the arrival of an argumentative siskin caused a little bafflement on the perch.

_DSC0535

There are still plenty of blackbirds in the garden.

_DSC0538

_DSC0540

The day was mild enough at 5°C for Mrs Tootlepedal to brave the occasional short shower and do some digging in the garden as a start to her 2018 great gardening improvement scheme and it seemed a pity to me not to make use of a possible cycling day myself so while she delved, I pedalled off on my slow bike.

My major plan for the start of the new year is to lose some of the unwelcome weight that two slack months in November and December have piled on.

The best way to lose weight for me is to eat a little less and exercise a little more but since I like eating a lot, it tends to be a bit of a problem if the weather is not co-operative.  Ten miles on the slow bike is not much but it is better than nothing….and I only had a small plate of fish pie for my tea.

I saw a few things on my way.

P1060433

It was lunchtime at the cow cafeteria.

P1060434

Moss and a fungus on an old tree stump.

P1060437

Alder catkins.

I took the New Hampshire Gardener’s advice after failing to get a good picture of the catkins on the tree and picked this twig off and laid it on a wall stone to get a better contrast with the background.

Then I looked at the wall stone and took a picture of it as well.

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I avoided any showers and had a most enjoyable leisurely ride.  When I got home, I prepared a cycling spreadsheet for 2018 and entered my first few miles into it.  Having narrowly failed to make 4200 miles last year, I will try again this year so there are just 4190 miles to go. Here’s hoping for some good weather!

One of my resolutions for the new year is to go on more exciting outings with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We just didn’t do enough in the  way of getting out and seeing things last year, mainly because of the weather so I am determined to do better in 2018.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

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