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Posts Tagged ‘Hollows’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo.  She escaped just in time from the Manitoba snow storm and arrived in London to find that it was raining a lot instead.  In the end the rain stopped for long enough for her to visit Kew Gardens where she encountered these  splendidly prickly plants.

kew

After our short spell of better weather, the weather gods had decided to bring us back down to earth today and it was raining heavily when we got up.   Mrs Tootlepedal bravely cycled off in the rain on business after breakfast while I did the sensible thing and stayed at home and arranged to have coffee with Sandy and Dropscone.

Dropscone brought his usual supply of good scones and we sconed, sipped and chatted away as the rain fell.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from the town and we squeezed another cup from the pot for her.

After coffee, I had time to do the crossword and start a tarte tatin off before we had lunch,  After lunch, the rain finally eased off and I was able to get out into the garden.

There were birds posing for me all over the place.

The rather scruffy male blackbird is looking better…

blackbird improving

…even though the female doesn’t think much of him yet.

fierce balckbird

The sparrows often have a bath in the dam behind the house and then, like this one, flit up up onto the lilac to have a flutter and a shoogle to get dry again.

fluffy sparrow

A bird skulked in the shadows on the fence…

dunnock on fence

…before flying up into the rowan tree to reveal that it was a dunnock or hedge sparrow.  It is obviously a bit slow in learning the difference between a fence, a tree and a hedge.

dunnock in rowan

As you can see, the sun had come out by this time, so I took a quick look at some clematis…

two clematis

…and a fuchsia which is coming out ridiculously late for the first time this year, together with a dahlia which is hanging on very well after looking as though it was well past it.

fuchsia and dahlia

Then, as it was too good a day to miss by now, I got my bike out and checked to see how my legs were feeling after two busy days.

It turned out that they were feeling fine and they carried me round my customary twenty mile Canonbie circuit slowly but without complaining.

There is a spot along the way where the grass always turns golden brown at this time of year.

brown hillside Kerr

I didn’t stop for many pictures as this is a well documented ride already but I needed a breather after 15 miles so I took a look up stream from the Hollows Bridge…

view from hollows bridge october

…and a bit later on was much struck by the golden colour of some bracken on the old A7

bracken old A7

The sun is getting low in the sky all day now and the trees on the far bank were casting interesting shadows on the old distillery building as I crossed Skippers Bridge.

Distllery from Skippers october

When I got home, I turned out the tarte tatin and while Mrs Tootlepedal made a pot of tea, I cut a couple of slices of the tarte to go with it.  I added some ice cream to my slice and in my view, it would be hard to find a better after-ride refreshment.

I was so refreshed indeed that after I had had a shower, I went out for a short walk.  I was motivated partly by the tarte, partly by the lovely evening light and mostly by the fact that my physio has told me to walk more.

It is not long until the clocks go back so evening walks at this time of day will disappear for some months so I was pleased to able to enjoy such a beautiful light today.

The shadows were falling fast but I had time to enjoy some gentle autumn colour on my way.  The pictures speak for themselves, I think.

tree at church

Esk in evening light

looking up esk

trees by A7 kilngreen

lodge october evening

By the time that I had crossed two bridges and was approaching the third, the sun was ready to sink behind the hill and the shadows were lengthening…

castleholm october evening

…until the monument was in the sun but most of the New Town was in the shade.

Whita in sun town in shadow

I swept  a lot of walnut leaves off the front lawn when I got home.

We had courgette fritters for tea and then I went to sing with the Langholm choir.  Because of some illness going round, we had a select turnout, but we had a most enjoyable sing all the same.

As the sun went down on my walk in the afternoon, it began to feel a little chilly and I was wondering if we would have a frost tonight.  However, it was still quite warm when I walked home from the choir and when I looked at our thermometer a moment ago, it said that it is 9 degrees C.  The forecast claims that it won’t get lower than 5 degrees overnight.  We have been very lucky to have kept our flowers for so long and it looks as thought they may still be there tomorrow.

No flying bird of the day today but I was happy to see a starling back perching on the holly tree again.

starling back on holly

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  It shows the Hood Monument at Compton Dundon.  She tells me that Admiral Samuel Hood (1724-1816) was the son of the local vicar who took in a navy captain when his carriage broke down. Young Samuel (and his younger brother Alexander) were so taken by the captain’s stories that they both joined the navy when they grew up.

Hood Monument in Compton Dundon

After breakfast our new car took us up to the bird hide at the Moorland feeders as I was once again acting as a fill in feeder filler.  Mrs Tootlepedal came too in the hope of seeing hen harriers on the moor but the mist was lying so low on the hillside that she joined me in the hide and we watched a woodpecker instead.

woodpeckers at hide

Unusually, the woodpecker allowed a siskin to share the feeder for a while.

As we left, the mist lifted off the moor…

mist clearing off whita

…but we still didn’t see any raptors.

We got home safely and I had a look round the garden.

A smaller bumble bee was visiting a white dicentra and Solomon’s seal and lily of the valley completed a white trio…

six garden flowers

…while more colourful flowers added a contrast.

I always like our spireas but I like them particularly when they show evidence of overnight rain.

spirea with raindrops

Dropscone arrived for coffee and after the interest shown in his drop scones last Friday, he brought a matching set of soda scones for today.

four soda scones

They were still warm from the cooker and went down very well.

While we ate, drank and chatted, I noticed a blue tit visiting the peanuts.

blue tit on peanuits garden

We haven’t seen one of these for some time so I hope that this one has a nest nearby and will be a regular visitor now.  I like blue tits a lot.

After coffee, I gave Dropscone a  very short ride in the new car and he was quite impressed by its smoothness and quietness.

When he cycled off, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set to work in the garden. We were distracted by a large aircraft making a tight turn above our heads….

passing aeroplane

…but we soon got back to work and added a second fruit cage skeleton to the new beds…

two fruit cage skeletons

…laid the wood chips which we had collected yesterday on a path between the beds…

path and sweet opea cage

…and tied together an ingenious sweet pea defence construction made by Mrs Tootlepedal from bamboos.

We did this in spite of all that the weather  could throw at us…

…though in fact, all that the weather could throw at us was a warm and gentle breeze with some very light drizzle so it was no great Hardship.

This took us up to lunchtime and I went in and watched the birds as I munched on my bread and cheese.   I had filled the feeder in the morning and it was already more than half empty thanks to a steady demand for seed.

goldfinch and siskin

I was quite tired for no very obvious reason so I had a sit down with the crossword after lunch and then I took another wander round the garden.

It just needs a warm and sunny day to bring out the full force of the rhododendrons and azaleas but the first flowers have started to appear…

rhododendrons and azalea

…and there are still tulips waiting to spread their wings.

dark tulip

After a last look at a goldfinch…

goldfinch on feeder

…I spread my own metaphorical wings and went for a slightly longer cycle ride round the 20 miles of my regular Canonbie circuit.

My favourite tree was looking very springlike with added lambs in a brief moment of sunshine..

bloch tree

…but the sun didn’t last and a few spots of drizzle and some very ominous black clouds made me think of taking a short route home.

I stuck to my guns though and was rewarded when the clouds went off to bother someone else.

There are fresh wild flowers in the verges now…

white wild flowers

These are probably stitchwort

…and a full range of green leaves on the trees beside the Esk at the Hollows.

view from hollows bridge May

I stopped to stretch my legs at Irvine House and looked at a couple of trees in the field beside the road,  If these are oaks, which I think they are, they are coming out rather earlier than usual.

two trees at Irvine House

A cow, grazing nearby, took a dim view of my photographic activity.

cows at Irvine House

There are bluebells all over the place now and this display is all that is left of one of the best bluebell woods in the area. Most of it was cut down a few years ago and the bluebells have never recovered.

bluebells on old A7

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir and unusually, we had both an accompanist and a conductor today, so we got a lot of detailed practice done.  This was handy as we have a concert coming up at the end of this month.

We are going to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to go to Edinburgh tomorrow and this will be the first serious outing for the new car.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He has gone to Wales for a jaunt and on his way, he stopped at the ancient city of Chester.

chester

I started the day by selling some postcards to the paper shop to help Archive Group funds and then visited the data miners in the new Archive Centre.  They were working hard in cramped conditions as an art exhibition had taken some of their space.

We were promised some sunshine today but it was rather grey and windy when I set off south to visit Mary, my singing teacher for another lesson.  After concentrating on basic technique and breathing in previous lessons, we moved towards singing a song today. This was exciting but it only went to prove how difficult it is to put lessons into actual practice as faced with having to think of notes and words at the same time, I relapsed into many of the bad habits that we had worked on eliminating.  However, there were moments when things went well and I had plenty to think about as I drove home.

As I neared home, I met better and better weather and by time that I got there, it was a lovely day.

I had a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch and then went out into the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  The drumstick primula is nearly spherical and a cheery daisy winked at me from  the lawn but the recent frosty mornings have turned the tips of the magnolia petals brown…

white garden flwoers

There was some colour about too.

pink garden flowers

I helped Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been working hard all morning,  to get the first of the new vegetable beds level and then left her to sort out the soil while I went for a pedal.

I aimed to add a couple of miles to yesterday’s distance and that was enough to let me go for a circular trip of fourteen miles up the Wauchope valley, over the hill, and back down into the Esk valley.

It was quite windy so I was easily tempted into stopping for some pictures along the way.  I thought that I should note a bare tree as it will not be long until the trees are covered in leaves again.

bare tree wauchope school

I looked back down the Wauchope valley as I climbed up the hill.  It was a pastoral scene indeed…

pastoral scene wauchope

…with added calf.

calf

I was accompanied by the bleating of lambs as I went round.

new lambs

I liked this combination of blackthorn and pine tree at the Hollows…

blacthorn and pine Hollows

…but I liked this newly surfaced patch of road there even better.

repaired road Hollows

There had been some savage potholes the last time that I cycled through the hamlet.

Hollows Tower was open for business but the lack of cars in the car park showed that it probably wasn’t doing a lot.  It is still early in the year to expect tourists.

Gilnockie Tower

I didn’t see much in the way of wild flowers but there were celandines and dandelions here and there…

wild flowers in verge

…and I saw the wood anemone when I left my bike for a moment and walked down a fisherman’s path…

path down to river

…to the river at Broomholm.

Esk at Broomholm

As the leaves are not out yet, I could see the bridge to Broomholm Island through the branches.

Broomholm briodge

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had finished the veg bed and had added some compost at the far end to help the soil.  She has also dug in her winter beans which were grown as green manure.

new veg bed

Nearby, she has a planting of tulips.  They are Mystic Van Eijk, a pale pink variant….

mystic Van Eijk tulip

…of the ordinary Van Eijk tulips….

Van Eijk tulips

…which look very lovely when some low evening sunlight shines through them

Van Eijk tulip in evening

We sat on our new bench, enjoying the welcome warmth of the sun.  We were sheltered from the wind and thinking that life wasn’t too bad at all.

Then we went on for a cup of tea and the last of the home made ginger biscuits.

I had a look at the birds.  They had not eaten much seed at all during the day as not only had Mrs Tootlepedal been busy in the garden, but we had had builders in working on our roof as well.

It hadn’t improved the birds’ tempers at all.

goldfinch shouting at chaffinch

Then  Luke came round to play the flute and we rediscovered something that we already both knew very well, practice makes perfect.  Well, we weren’t quite perfect but we were both a lot better than we were last week and you can’t ask for anything more than that.

Sunday’s slow cooked lamb stew made another appearance for our evening meal and Mrs Tootlepedal made a tasty broad bean hummus to go with it.

The better weather means that we are due to have some chilly mornings, but the days should be fine for some time ahead so I hope to be able to get a few more cycling miles under my belt.  This will be a very good thing, as thanks to being off the bike for a month, I have a great deal more of me under my belt at the moment than is good for my health.

A chaffinch once again is the flying bird of the day.  They are very reliable.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our younger son Alistair.  He came across these Christmas baubles in the Botanical gardens in Edinburgh.  As they were the size of footballs, he was quite impressed by them.

baubles botanic

We didn’t have much sparkle here as it was another grey and chilly day.  Any brightness was provided by the arrival of Dropscone (with scones) for coffee.  When he left, he was thinking about going to play golf as the temperature was around 5°C and I thought that it was just warm enough for a pedal.

Although it has been cold, it hasn’t rained recently so the roads were dry enough for comfortable riding and I had a calm pedal round my customary Canonbie route.  I had thought of going a little  bit further but was happy to settle for just the twenty miles as hands and feet were getting quite cold by the time that I got home.

Between not wanting to stand around getting even colder and the very poor light, I was intending not to stop for any stop for pictures but I was brought up short by a new sign beside the road at Hollows.

canonbie walk board

Some enterprising group has encouraged the council to put up a set of signs along a popular walking route from the village.  They are nicely done.  This one has the added benefit of being placed near a set of some slightly mysterious stone sculptures which have been anonymously placed in a little wood beside the river.

carving 1 hollows

There are disconcerting when you first see them as they are so unexpected.

carving 2 hollows far

The inscription on the helmet is quite apposite.

carving 2 hollows

When I got home, I took a picture of the first snowdrops of the year which are on the bank of the dam at the back of our house.  They have arrived a week or two earlier than usual this year.

snowdrops by dam

In the garden, the magnolia buds are looking healthy and ready to burst.

magnolia bud

I had lunch and tried to catch a bird at the feeder outside the kitchen window.  It was one of those days however when the very poor light and the flighty behaviour of the very few birds that were about meant that I didn’t take a single garden bird picture, a very rare occurrence.

In the end, I went for a short walk just for the sake of finding something to look at but I had left it too late and the already poor light had got even worse.  I pointed my camera around all the same.

This gull had found a taller spot to sit on rather than the fence posts at the Kilngreen and was on top of an electricity pole.

gull on lectricity pole

There were no gulls at the Kilngreen when I got there and after a pretty dry spell, there wasn’t much water in the rivers either.low water

I had to use the flash to take pictures of lichen on the sawmill Brig parapet…

bridge lichen

…and some spleenwort on the wall by the Lodge gates…

spleenwort back

…but there was just enough light to note that a mole had been busy down here too.

moles by lodge gates

I have a soft spot for trees that seem to have been cobbled together from small pieces.

many treed trunk

And I liked the combination of different bark colours, moss and lichen on this tree on the Castleholm.

moss and lichen on tree

But all in all, the cold and the greyness didn’t encourage me to linger and I soon got home again.

I had made some ginger biscuits in the morning and although they weren’t as successful as my last batch, they were quite suitable for dunking in a cup of tea so I did just that.

Since our Carlisle choir starts again this Sunday, I spent a little time doing some singing practising and then had another cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker who had come to call.

As Mike’s wife Alison is not back to full piano playing fitness after injuring her shoulder, there was no music in the evening and Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent a quiet evening in.

I couldn’t find a flying bird in the garden today so this distant shot of gulls flying across the Esk this afternoon is my best effort at a flying bird of the day.

flying gull flock

 

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Today’s guest picture from my South African correspondent, Tom, shows a jackal.  Not something we see round here at all!

jackal

My day was conditioned by an awful warning of heavy rain;  one of those warnings that comes with a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in the centre.  We were to expect rain so I expected rain.

It was a pleasant sunny and dry morning,  a little breezy to be sure and not warm by any means but fine for cycling so I cycled; but I expected rain by lunchtime and when I saw some very dark clouds looming up, I took the hint and cut a putative 35 mile ride down to 25 miles.  Some cows took a dim view of my cowardice (or prudence).

tarcoon cows

I stopped on the Hollows Bridge to record the first turning of the leaves….

hollows bridge view

…but my camera misinterpreting my wishes, kindly slid the incipient yellows back to light greens so the effect was less impressive than I had hoped.

Still, I got home dry and warm;  but still expecting rain….the forecast had put it back to three o’clock by this time.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a slice of bread and raspberry jam and went out to mow the drying green grass before the rain came.

Bees, butter and hover flies were having fun on the Michaelmas daisies beside me as I mowed…

insects on daisies

…and the the poppies looked gorgeous as always.

poppies

The large lilies are developing and I wondered if they would attract a butterfly or two.

They did.

peacock butterfly on lily

I saw an odd thing at the other side of the garden….

peacock butterfly

…a peacock butterfly with only one pair of eyes.  It must have had its second wing tucked under its first.  I have never seen this before.

After I had finished my cycle ride, I had arranged with Sandy to go for a walk (before the rain came) and he arrived on cue and drove us to the top of Callister where we intended to walk round the forestry plantation.  We were discouraged when we found that there were fierce signs telling us not to enter on account of forestry operations but a queue of cars emerged through the gate and one of the drivers kindly told us that there were no operations going on today and that we could proceed with care.

We proceeded with care.

Although we were in the sun, there were dark clouds about….

Callister walk

…and depending on which way you looked, sometimes very dark clouds.

Callister walk

We walked on expecting rain.

I led Sandy down the middle of a wide forest ride.  It was very tussocky and hard going and if you lifted your head to see if there was anything interesting to see, you tended to fall over.   We therefore didn’t see much until we went into the forest beside the ride to see if the going was better.  There we saw fungus…

fungus

…and when we emerged back on to the ride, we saw a very unusual set of fungi, pressed like buttons on a sofa in the peaty side of a drainage ditch.

fungus

We battled on to the end of the ride and joined a track.  It is fair to say that I enjoyed plunging through the heavy going a good deal more than Sandy did.  I used to do a lot of orienteering and ground like this was second nature to me.

We came to a pond beside the road….

callister pond

…which would have looked better, I thought, without the telephone pole at the end of it.

callister pond

And it started to rain.  I was so appalled by this that it soon stopped and disappeared apologetically.

We continued our walk expecting rain.

We were walking round a small valley and crossed the stream that flowed out of it.  It dropped into a dark and mysterious pool as it flowed under the track.

callister pool

Strange spirits might dwell in a pool like that.

It was a lot brighter at the dark pool than it used to be because they are going to build another windfarm to add to our local collection at the far side of the forest and to that end, a lot of tree felling has been taking place.

tree felling callister

…which leaves a bit of a mess to say the least.  It is amazing though how the ground recovers as a look at a new plantation nearby shows.

callister plantation

There were three existing wind farms visible as we walked and we could see the offices for the soon to be built farm beside our track.

windfarms

I welcome these wind farms as we have a tremendous amount of wind round here doing nothing but annoying innocent cyclists so it is good to see it being put to good use.  Each turbine must take a little energy out of the wind and this should make it easier for me to pedal about…..though I do realise that we might need a whole lot more turbines before any noticeable effect could be felt.

The tree felling led to some impressive piles of logs beside the track.

callister logs

Like this heap, quite a few of the piles had ‘chip’ written on them and we wondered of they were going to be chipped for use in the wood fired power station at Lockerbie.

There were some plants to be seen as we walked.

callister plants

callister plants

As we got near to the end of our walk, black clouds over Callisterhall looked threatening.

Callisterhall

It is a pity that this is no longer an inn as our two and a half mile walk had been quite tiring with tough going at the start and some hills on our way back.  A light refreshment would have gone down well.

We had to wait until we got home until we got a much needed cup of tea and a Jaffa cake or two to restore our energy levels.

When Sandy left, I set about sieving the rest of the compost in Bin D and while Mrs Tootlepedal distributed the results around the vegeatble beds, I turned most of Bin C into the now empty Bin D.  When I flagged, Mrs Tootlepedal lent a hand.  As a special treat for those pining for compost bin illustrations, I photographed the result.

compost bins

The contents of Bin C had rotted down well.

We didn’t stay out in the garden too long as we were expecting rain but we did have time to look at some flowers before we went in.

I have picked three favourites.  Mrs Tootlepedal likes the dahlia on the left for its colour, the big bumble bee likes the dahlia in the middle for its pollen and I like the new hellenium on the right for its shape and pattern.

dahlias and hellenium

Everyone was happy.

Dropscone had dropped in before I went cycling this morning with a generous gift of a sea bream which he had acquired on his recent travels and Mrs Tootlepedal cooked it for our tea.  I don’t think that I have ever knowingly eaten sea bream before and I thought it tasted very good.  Dropscone says he will tell me all about where he found it when he comes for coffee tomorrow.

As I sat down to write tonight’s post, the rain finally arrived.  I had been expecting it.

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She found a very prominent fairy ring on her brother’s lawn.

fairy ring

Mrs Tootlepedal is still away visiting her mother, whose hundred and first birthday is imminent.  This means that I am having to make up my mind for myself here with no assistance and this is quite wearing.  On top of this, I am getting rather fat because every time I wander into the kitchen to share an interesting thought with Mrs Tootlepedal, she isn’t there and I eat something instead.  Luckily she will be back next week and all will be well.

The forecast offered a dry morning and a wet afternoon so in an ideal world, I would get up promptly and go for a cycle ride and then do useful things indoors in the afternoon.

It turned out to be an ideal world.

I didn’t waste any time in the garden but got on the bike after breakfast and did thirty miles.  I stopped for one picture….

Esk at Hollows

…just to prove that I had been out.  The wind was lighter than of late but the sky was grey so it was not a day for views.

I did notice when I got home that I had a serious outbreak of helmet hair which I have decided to share.  Nervous readers should look away now.

helmet hair

I flattened my hair down and mowed the greenhouse grass, did some poppy dead heading, cut down some plants which were beyond their sell by date and had a walk round the garden.

The poppies had appreciated the dry morning.

poppies

This was my favourite poppy of the day.

poppy

The should be a mixture of poppies and cornflowers growing round the front lawn but they are both taking their time thanks to the cool weather. Still, there are a few cornflowers about.

cornflower

As I walked between the flowers and the compost bins during my tidying up, I couldn’t help but enjoy the jumble of white clematis and red rose on the arch through to the veg garden…

clematis and rose

…and the clematis growing along the fence too.

clematis

If every flower has the same number of petals, there must be three different clematis growing there as I can see flowers with six, five and four petals in the picture.

I am always interested in fruits and berries and so are the birds.  I am keeping an eye on the plums and the blackbirds are keeping an eye on the rowan berries.

plum and rowan

Those rowan berries are in a neighbour’s garden.  Ours aren’t quite as ripe yet.

My neighbour Liz kindly took a surplus turnip off my hands and I picked some more carrots and beetroot. I am eating the beetroot at golf ball size and they are absolutely delicious as snacks.

After lunch, the forecasters’ predictions arrived in the form of a persistent spell of rain which lasted several hours.   I caught up on my correspondence and packed up the camera lens which I am trading in, having been offered a very fair price by the company which will sell me my new lens.  I then braved the rain and took the parcel up to the post office only to find the that post office was closed.

I brought the parcel home again and did some muttering.

Then I did some ironing …and a bit more muttering until getting a bit of advice from the ‘Call Mrs Tootlepedal Hotline’.

I had corned beef hash for my tea and was pleasantly surprised to find that our new potatoes taste very good when mashed and fried.

Recently I have had a choir to go to on a Wednesday night but that has finished now so finding that the rain had stopped, I filled in the time by wandering aimlessly about.

The bed at the end of the drive gave me a cheerful farewell as I left the garden.

pot marigolds and nasturtiums

For some reason, the rather grey light seem to suit the church so I stopped being aimless and pointed the camera at it as I passed.

Langholm Parish Church

Our usual mallards have been joined by several darker ducks with bright white breasts this summer.

darker duck

A little research tells me that they are probably mallard hybrids rather than anything more exotic.

I exchanged a few words with Mr Grumpy as I walked down to the Kilngeen…

heron

…and thought that a bunch of ragwort on the bank of the Esk just above the Meeting of the Waters added a nice touch to the scene.

ragwort

I was pleased to find that there was still a banded snail or two on the stump of one of felled trees along the Lodge Walks.

snail

Although the evening was fundamentally grey and it looked as though it might well rain, every now and again a shaft of sunshine illuminated the scene….but always a little bit away from where I was.

sunshine behind trees

Like behind a tree….

sunshine on the Esk

…or round a bend in the river…

monument

…or on top of a hill.

But I got round dry and saw a most unusual thing on my way.

ragwort

A ragwort plant with no insects on it.

It was nearly seven o’clock by this time so perhaps all the insects had gone home to bed.

My last picture was a pleasing tangle of grasses.

grasses

No flying bird of the day but there is a very badly painted blackbird and a splashy sparrow.

blackbird

sparrow splashing

There were plenty of puddles to choose from.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my daughter Annie in London, hundreds of miles to the south of us.  She wants to point out that it was very cold down there this morning.

frozen London leaves

We might have been forgiven for feeling a bit smug when we saw her picture because it was a comparatively warm day here with the temperature well above freezing from dawn until dusk and likely to stay so for tomorrow as well.

On the minus side, the birds had abandoned the garden almost completely and there was hardly a seed eaten all day.

I had arranged to have coffee with Dropscone and I didn’t see a bird worth snapping before he came.  He is playing slightly better golf at the moment so he was more cheerful about his game than he has been lately.  He and his daughter Susan are going on a short city break in Edinburgh tomorrow and as Mrs Tootlepedal and I will be there too, visiting Matilda, Edinburgh will be unusually busy.

I did see a bird after he left (to go and play golf).

robin

And it got a bit nearer later on.

Robin

But that was about it.

I didn’t have long to watch the birds, even if there had been some about, as I wanted to take advantage of the warmer weather (6°C) to get some miles in.

I had a quick lunch and set off on the fairly speedy bike.  The roads were clear enough to let me do a circular ride with confidence that I wouldn’t find any icy spots.  The trouble with setting out straight after a meal though is that your system is too busy digesting the food to give you much help with the pedalling but I stuck to the task and things settled  down after a while.

With the light wind behind me, I enjoyed the return half of the journey.  I had a camera with me but didn’t stop because even at 6°C, cycling is quite a chilly business.  Because you are well wrapped up from the cold, you tend to work up a light perspiration so if you stop for too long,  you get very clammy and that makes for chilly riding when you start again.

However, a little burst of sunshine when I was only a few miles from home suddenly lit up a section of woodland in such a striking way that I was forced to a halt and get out the camera.

Hollows

It was very annoying to find an electricity pole in the middle of the view.  If it hadn’t been there, it would have looked like this…

hollows

…but you can’t do anything about this sort of thing and just have to put up with unwelcome intrusions into your pictures..

There was another pole in front of the Hollows Tower too…

Hollows Tower

…but it couldn’t spoil the soft light which made the scene an enchanted one for a few moments.  By the time that I got home, after 31 miles, the clouds were back in force and it was so gloomy that Mrs Tootlepedal came in from the garden where she had been working and joined me for a cup of tea and a mini Jaffa cake.

I had planned to get a short walk in after my pedal and perhaps find a flying bird but it was far too dark for that so I did some music practice instead.  After yesterday’s 170 pictures, I only took seven in total today so the conscientious reader can only be grateful for that.

In the evening, I went off to a Langholm Sings choir practice and we had a very good session.  We have a concert with our local orchestra on Sunday and we are reasonably well prepared for it (I hope).  Time will tell.

The leaves of the day belong to a very healthy looking wallflower which seems impervious to frost.

wallflower

The flying bird of the day (the only one I saw) just qualifies as the chaffinch hasn’t quite reached the feeder.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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