Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘jackdaw’

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce.  It shows that when it comes to Scottish sparrows, a sparrow’s home is its castle.

bruce's sparrow

I am starting this post with a cheat, as it is a picture that I took a couple of day ago but forgot to include in that day’s post.   Mrs Tootlepedal saw a most unusual visitor on the plum and I got there in time  to take its picture.  It is a meadow pipit.  You would expect to see it up on the moor not on the plum tree in our garden, so I thought that it ought to appear on the blog, even if a bit belatedly.

meadow pipit on plum tree

Back to today.

It wasn’t as warm as yesterday by a long chalk and there was no sun about, but it wasn’t raining and we are still happy to count any dry day as a good day, even if it is a bit cold and grey.

Oddly enough, the light outside suited my pocket camera very well, and when I walked round the garden, it picked out some good detail, like the rosemary flower with its tongue out….

rosemary flower

…the emerging leaves on a raspberry cane…

raspberry shoot

…and the tiny fruits on the silver pear.

sliver pear nlossom

I am endlessly fascinated by the lengths that euophorbias go to make themselves interesting.

euphorbias

The recent compost bin reorganisation left Mrs Tootlepedal with some rough mulch on her hands, and she has bestowed it on one of the front hedges which is now well mulched.

mulched hedge

The continuing cool weather is making flowers hesitant to emerge but every day shows a little more progress…

four garden flowers

…and the magnolia is gradually shedding its winter fur coat.

magnolia peeping

Mrs Tootlepedal filled up the third log library shelf and then made a fourth while I sawed up some logs to help fill it up.

The result was very satisfactory and some sweeping up made sure that the flags on the floor of the log shed saw the light of day for the first time for many years.

completed log library

There is a little more sorting and tidying still to be done but it looks as though we will have plenty of time on our hands to do it.

We sat on a bench in front of the espalier apples to rest after our labours, and I was pleased to see the first shoots appearing on one of the apple trees.

firs apple shoot

Across the vegetable garden, the rose shoots on the fence were standing up very straight.

upright rose leaves

I went to the corner shop to collect a jar of honey which the shopkeeper had kindly procured for me and was a bit puzzled when I saw a line of people standing several yards apart from each other in front of the Buccleuch Centre which is currently closed.  The puzzle was resolved when I remembered that a butcher’s van visits the town and parks beside the Centre on a Friday.  I realised that the queue was would be shoppers correctly socially distancing themselves as they waited to buy their pound of mince.

People are taking these things seriously and I had to queue outside the ex-corner shop until it was safe for me to go in.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal took a well earned siesta and I went out for my permitted exercise.  After yesterday’s walk, it was time for a cycle ride today.  The cooler weather and a brisk wind made sure that I was back to being very well wrapped up.  Although the wind helped to get me across the hill and down to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass in good time, it also meant that the trip back up to Langholm on the old A7 was a bit of a battle.

Talking of battles, I noticed as I passed that Hollows Tower had lost the fight against the virus and was closed to visitors.

hollows tower shut

And as it was a grey day, I took a picture of a grey bridge.  It carries the new A7 and is much wider than the camera angle makes it seem

grey bridge auchenrivock

Whether on the cross country roads, the new A7, or the old A7, there was very little traffic about and I enjoyed a peaceful ride.

When I got home, I had another walk round the garden and found the daffodils in a mathematical mood.  They came in squares…

square of daffodils

…straight lines…

line of daffodils

..and triangles.

triangle of daffodils

As I came through to the middle lawn, I saw a jackdaw trying to creep off unobserved…

jackdaw leaving after lawn pecking

…but it was no good, I could see the evidence of savage lawn pecking which it had left behind.

lawn pecking

Checking the news on my phone when I got in, I found that in the midst of the virus mayhem, the government had released a statement saying that they are intending to reduce private motor car travel and increase cycling and the use of public transport.   This is a jaw dropping change of tack for a government and the Ministry of Transport whose only plan for many decades has been to increase roads and road congestion at any cost.  I don’t suppose that it will actually happen, but to have the government even thinking about it must be a good thing.

The non-flying bird of the day is a ‘shopping trip’ goosander having a nap beside the river this morning.

goosander

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda.  She is off school but obviously getting good art lessons at home.

matilda's wolf

Here, we had another dry day with a lot of thin cloud again.  It did get slightly warmer in the afternoon and may well have got into double figures at last.

We are limited in what we can do and where we can go so my first activity was to walk round the garden and admire the primroses.

primorses garden

We are allowed a shopping trip so I cycled round to the corner shop and passed the oyster catchers on my way home.  This one likes standing on one leg a lot.

oyster catcher one leg

Then I did a little compost sieving and followed that by making some potato soup for lunch, using chives from the garden for added flavour.

After lunch, it was time for garden action again.  Mrs Tootlepedal was clearing out the old strawberry bed.  We have decided that it makes more sense to buy the excellent strawberries produced by a local grower than use up a lot of space for a not very bountiful or tasty crop of our own.

I finished sieving the compost in Bin C and started turning out the contents of Bin B into Bin C.  I am taking this in gentle stages and did about a third of the pile before hanging up my fork and going for a walk,

Apart from shopping, we are allowed one excursion for exercise each day, and as it was far too windy for comfortable cycling, a walk was the choice for today.

In decided to visit the top of Warbla and as I walked up the track from the park to the Stubholm, a ray of sunshine brightened the day…

sun on trees stubholm track

…but it didn’t cut through the haze and the rest of the walk was pleasant enough but didn’t offer anything in the way of sunny views.

I saw horses…

two horses stubholm

…and the bench that my neighbour Liz likes to sit on when she takes her dog for a walk in the morning.

bench on warbla

As I got near the top of Warbla, a gap in the cloud let the sun pick out this blasted tree…

tree on warbla

…and when I got to the summit, I was able to take a quick shot over the town before the clouds  began to close again.

town and ewes cloudy day from warbla

I couldn’t stop on the summit as the wind threatened to blow me over the edge so I began to walk down the other side of the hill towards the cattle sheds which you can see below.

view down from warbla summit

This was an adventurous route for an old man with dodgy knees, crossing rough ground and finding gaps in old walls…

warbla wall

…but fortunately there was a reassuring sign telling me that I was going in the right direction.

walks sign warbla

Just as I was getting towards the bottom of the hill, I saw a cloud of sheep ready to head upwards…

sheep gathering below warbla

…so I had to make a diversion and was able to watch them heading uphill as I passed below them.sheep at skipperscleuch

I came to Skippers Bridge and the water was low enough to let me take a picture from the upstream side….

skippers March

…where I could enjoy the clear water splashing over the rocks…

esk at skipeprs

…and get a good view of the old distillery building.

distillery March

I walked home along the Murtholm.  There are not a great many hazel catkins this year but one bush is doing very well and when I looked more closely, I could see that it also had a lot of female flowers on it.  I have never seen three flowers together like this before.

three hazel flowers

The sheep were safely grazing…

sheep eating

…and I rounded off my walk by seeing a garden escape adding a little colour to the river bank above the Park Bridge.

colour at the park bridge

When I got home, I saw the familiar pair of piebald jackdaws on the path beside the dam. It  seems amazing that that prominent white feather has not fallen off.

piebald jackdaws

I passed a family party of four on the hill and a lone dog walker on the flat during my walk so I reckon that it was isolated enough to be fine.  If the weather stays good, I hope to have a cycle ride for my permitted excursion tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal is crocheting a blanket to keep herself occupied during the shut in and I am waging a losing battle against my computer security suppliers which may well take me the rest of my life.  We are both keeping busy.

The flying bird of the day is not flying.  It is a jackdaw perching on the park wall.

jackdaw on park wall

For some not very clear reason, no birds are coming to the feeder at all at the moment so flying birds will be at a premium.

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother who took refuge from some rain in a coffee shop.  I thought that his biscuit wittily showed rain coming down from a cloud but a closer look makes it clear that it is a sheep.

andrews biscuit

Storm Jorge politely delayed its arrival in Langholm until the late afternoon.  This allowed a small group of jackdaws to visit the feeder in peace.  I had put out some fat balls which the jackdaws like.

One of the jackdaws with white markings was the first to fly in…

clambering jackdaw

…and its friend with the strange white feather was not far behind.  It always looks as though the feather might fall out at any moment but it seems to be very well attached.

white feather jackdaw

Although it was dry and occasionally sunny, it was quite breezy as this ruffled jackdaw shows.

ruffled jackdaw

A rather battered looking blackbird turned up too.

curious blackbird

I was not feeling very perky today so although Mrs Tootlepedal would have liked to make better use of the extra day which the leap year had given us, I was all for lounging around at home.

We were able to get out into the garden after coffee to complete our work on a holly bush which had got a bit too tall in the back border.  A well organised photographer would have taken before and after pictures to show the progress but such a person was not available.  All the same, the holly bush looks more ordered now.

A reader was asking how the frog spawn in the pond is getting.  Recent cold mornings have taken their toll but a lot of the future tadpoles still look OK(ish), though the cold temperatures mean that not much development is to be seen. It is early for frogspawn though and we expect more to arrive later on.

frogspawn late Feb

In other areas of the garden, there is definite movement with leaves on a rose…

rose leaves shooting

…and more on a spirea…

first spirea leaves

…and signs of a peony…

peony shoot

…and actual flowers on the rosemary by the greenhouse.

rosemary flower february

The rhubarb is developing delightful complications.

growing rhubarb

When we had finished clipping and shredding and then distributing the shredded mulch back on to the garden, it was time for lunch.  Our work was speeded up by the arrival in the garden of a young lad who declared that he was bored and was looking for old people to help.  There should be more young people like this.

After lunch, I settled down to do some bird watching while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to shop for supplies.

There were plenty of birds about, stocking up before the stormy weather to come (and wasting seed again).

more siskins

As always, where there are two siskins about, there is likely to be an argument going on.

two flying siskins sparring

A hopeful female approaches a feeder full of males…

lady siskin at a loss

…and another looks heavenward as there is no room at the inn.

siskin praying

The feeder became quiet for a moment and a redpoll sneaked in.

redpoll in sun

Often I have to look hard to see a flying bird but today, I couldn’t miss them.

four flying birds

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her shopping trip and we settled down to gently snooze while watching horse racing on the telly.

Outside, the siskin horde had arrived and the walnut tree, the sky above the garden, and the feeder were all alive with busy movement.

lots of siskins

As the evening went on, the wind became stronger and the rain became heavier but if it gets no worse than this, we should bebe alright.  We are keeping our fingers crossed once again.

The flying bird of the day is one of the visiting jackdaws.

flying jackdaw

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my recorder playing friend Susan.  She works in Carlisle and had to take the bus to work today as access to her car parking space was impossible.  The lake on the right of the picture is in fact a riverside park and only a temporary lake.

susan's flood carlisle

They may have had too much water in Carlisle but we had snow in Langholm today and this was the view from an upstairs window when we got up.

garden snowy morning

As you can see, there wasn’t a lot of snow in the town but I could see quite a good covering on our hills when I went to the shop after breakfast.

timpen with snow

When I got back home, i discovered that the snow had brought an influx of birds to the feeder and there was a queue in the plum tree.

birds in plum tree

Susan’s father, Dropscone dropped in on his way home from the gym, not to have coffee but to get some documents copied.  He needed them for a battle with the council which was trying to charge him for removing a water meter which didn’t exist.

As soon as he left, more snow arrived.

snowy day

It came down quite heavily but the temperature was just high enough that as soon as the snow hit the ground, it melted.  This continued through the day and although it really snowed quite a lot, there was less snow in the garden by tea time than there had been at breakfast time.

I spent time talking on the phone to insurance companies about our car insurance.  Two minutes on the phone to one company got £100 knocked off their renewal quotation.  Who knows what I might have got it down to if had stayed on the line longer.  I find this sort of thing rather depressing but it does give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘an old and valued customer’.  They are trying to take advantage of their old customers and extract extra value from them.

I cheered myself up by checking on the birds. The snow had encouraged birds to visit the feeder.

There were some siskins….

a few siskins

…and a lone pigeon.

pigeon

Because it was such a miserable day, Mrs Tootlepedal hit on the happy idea of asking some of our neighbours over for lunch.  I bought some rolls and pate from the shop, while Mrs Tootlepedal made leek and potato soup (the last leek of the year from the garden) and a sticky toffee pudding.

Our neighbours Liz and Margaret and Liz’s daughter, Jane joined us for lunch and we ignored the sleety snow while we tucked in to good food and enjoyed good conversation.  We all agreed that Mrs Tootlepedal had had  a very good idea.

As we ate, we noticed more and more birds arriving outside so I went to check on the feeder.  I was distracted on my way by the sight of two unusual jackdaws on the dam side of the house.

mottled jackdaw

They are a regular pair and we often see them in the garden and round about.

I was even more distracted when two more jackdaws started what looked a serious argument…

jackdaw fight 1

…and for a moment i feared that this might lead to a fatality…

jackdaw fight 2

…but the fight stopped as suddenly as it started and all the jackdaws flew off.

When I turned round and looked at the feeder, I found that it was indeed very busy with a mixture of chaffinch, goldfinch and siskin.

busy feeder chaffinch goldfinch siskin

Very busy indeed.

busy feeder chaffinch goldfinch siskin 2

As time went on and the snow came and went, gradually all the birds on the feeder turned into siskins…

siskin crowd

…and there were a lot of siskins.

many siskins

Far more than we have seen hitherto this year.

flight of soskins

At one time, we counted well over 50 siskins on and around the feeder, the plum tree and the walnut tree.

I put out a second feeder to cope with the rush and by the time that I had got back inside and looked out again, they were both very busy.

two feeders out with siskins

After our lunch visitors had gone, I mooched about for a bit and then decided that I would go out for a walk come what may.  The snow showers had been heavy but none had lasted long so I waited for a gap in the weather, put on waterproof boots and trousers, topped that off with my new warm coat and set out.

There was quite a lot of snow on Whita…

whita with snow

…and the monument on the top of the hill looked very artistic.

monument with snow

Although I was well wrapped up and ready for anything, I was still pleased when the sun came out just as I left the town.

 

wet day at pool corner

As you can see, it was still pretty damp and I was glad that I had wellies on.

haws with raindrops

We have had  light frost, strong winds, heavy rain and now snow over the past few days but the lichens have positively enjoyed the weather and were looking better than ever as I passed them on wall and fence post today.

lichens

The sun persisted as I walked along Gaskells…

gaskell's snowy day

…but when I extended my walk to take in Easton’s on my way back, the snow started again and I had to keep my head well down and my camera in my pocket for the rest of the way.

It must have got a little colder as night fell because as I write this in the evening, more snow is falling, and this time it is settling.  It is still just above freezing so it will be interesting to see if we are going to wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow morning or just a heap of sodden slush.

We are in for a few cold days and then it is going to warm up a bit to herald the arrival of another storm (called Dennis this time) next weekend.    You can have too much of this sort of thing.  I have always thought that it was a bad idea to give storms names.  It gives them ideas above their station.  You used to get one or two a year in the good old days and now we are getting them once a week!

Still, it stops us getting bored.

The flying bird of the day is one of the fifty siskins.

flying siskin

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another Lake District study from cyclist Paul.  He visited Buttermere on a lovely autumn day a couple of years ago.  It is one of my favourite spots.

buttermere

The day here was a forecasting mixture, with the BBC having the upper hand in the morning and the Norwegians taking over in the afternoon.

So the morning was calm and not too cold.  There were very few birds about in the garden.  The robin has got the hang of using the basket to act as a launching pad to the seeds.

robin at feeder

I am not quite sure what I did in the morning but it must have been quite dull because I have forgotten all about it.  There was coffee and a crossword involved but there was something else unimportant too because I didn’t get out for a walk until nearly midday.

It turned out to be a very good morning for a walk along the river.  I was greeted with suspicion by a sparrow on the hedge as I walked down to the Meeting of the Waters….

sparrow on hedge clinthead gardens

…where the gulls obligingly flew up and down until I had had my fill of watching them.

four flying gulls

They then returned to their perches on the fence posts and I turned round to see what the noise was behind me.  It was men preparing to put in new telephone poles.

new poles bar brae

It is good to see our infrastructure being taken care of.

I crossed the Sawmill Brig and strolled along the Lodge Walks.  Looking down, I could see that the supply of beech nuts has greatly exceeded the demand for them this year.

beech nuts

I took the upper road to Holmhead.  As I went through the woods, I was serenaded by the music of little streams.

little stream longfauld

The sun came out as I walked and I was in a happy place.

road to holmhead

I daresay that this pheasant, a survivor of the recent war against birds, was quite happy too.

surviving pheasant

When I got to Holmhead, I walked up the path through the snowdrops.

snowdrops holmhead 5 feb 1

There were snowdrops to the left of me…

snowdrops holmhead 5 feb 2

…and snowdrops to the right of me.

snowdrops holmhead 5 feb 3

They are not quite fully out yet and if I get a sunny day next week, I will come to see them again.  They are early this year.

When I had left the snowdrops behind, I went as far as the North Lodge where I admired the view up the valley….

view from north lodge

…and then turned for home.

The sun hadn’t lasted long but it was still a pleasant day for a walk.  My enjoyment was boosted when I met a man who had come to Langholm from Gretna.  He told me that he had had to drive through very thick fog which had only cleared just as he reached the town.  I felt lucky that the Norwegian influence hadn’t quite got to Langholm.

I had wondered if the early snowdrops would mean early hazel flowers too, so I walked back along the riverside towards the Jubilee Bridge and peered at catkins.  With the greatest difficulty, I saw a speck of red and the faithful Lumix was able to translate this into an actual tiny flower for me.  The camera has better eyesight than I have.

hazel flower

Like the snowdrops, this wasn’t fully out yet so I will have to come back and have another look later on.

A passer by told me that the heron was waiting for me on the river bank so I passed the Jubilee Bridge by and walked down to the Meeting of the Waters.  The passer by was right.

I was happy to see Mr Grumpy…

heron behind fence

…but he wasn’t so happy to see me and flew off…

heron taking off

…leaving a gull on a fence post to keep me company.

gull on post

I went back to the Jubilee Bridge and crossed it on my way home, noting the the monument wasn’t pointing to anything today as it had its head in the clouds.

monument in mist

I was greeted by a jackdaw when I got back.

jackdaw staring

After a quick lunch of cheese sandwiches, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to do some business in the town and went out on my bicycle.

After the success of my short outing on the slow bike yesterday, I took my fairly speedy bike out today.  I had been quite warm in a light jacket on my walk so I dressed accordingly for my cycle ride.  It didn’t take me long to find that the Norwegian weather had arrived and I had to cycle into a thin and chilly wind under a heavily clouded sky while being slight underdressed for the occasion.

I pursued a policy of going slowly and carefully but still managed to go a bit further and a bit faster than yesterday without falling off.  I stopped on the top of Callister to see if there were any signs of the new wind turbines yet.  There were none but I did enjoy some very artistic tractor marks in the field opposite.  When you look at the central motif again, you realise that it took quite a bit of skill to make the pattern.

artistic tractor marks callister

I arrived home after 15 miles in perfect time to put the kettle on for Mike Tinker who was just walking round to our house in the hope of a cup of tea.  We were joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when she had finished her business, and we enjoyed some tasty oatcakes with our cuppas.

The weather is much on our minds at the moment with storms about.  We missed the one last weekend but it looks as though we are all going to get caught by an even worse one next weekend.  It has been good to have a few nice days for walks and cycle rides and Mrs Tootlepedal put up a robin nesting box today.  If the robin finds it in time, it will have somewhere to shelter from the rain and wind.

In the meantime, Mr Grumpy stars as the flying bird of the day.

heron flying with head

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  His walking group took him on an eight mile  hilly and windy walk near Ashbourne.  As an additional hazard, he had to cross this very narrow bridge.

A windy walk near Ashbourne

After a night when my sleep was often interrupted by the theatrical sighing and moaning of the wind round the house, we woke to another grey and windy day.  Mrs Tootlepedal was up and about early on, as she and her co-worker Margaret were (wo)manning a stall at the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre as part of the public consultation on the proposed purchase of the Langholm Moor.

She and Margaret had a very good day, enrolling considerable support for the project and having interesting conversations with interested people.

I went along later to buy honey, venison, fish and lamb.  I got the fish and some lamb for the slow cooker but the honey man and venison lady were not at the market, one through the illness of his wife and the other because she was too busy selling venison elsewhere.

This was a disappointment as the local honey is very tasty and the venison goes very well in the slow cooker.

I was perked up by the sight of an apparently well stocked cheese stall from a new supplier but then was dashed to find that it was all basically one sort of cheese but with many different things stuck in it.  I am not a fan of ‘cheese with bits’, being of the opinion that nothing can improve good cheese.  I bought a portion of his cheese without bits but as I thought that it was a little dull, I could see why he thought that it might be a good idea to put things in it.

When I got home, I had a coffee and did the crossword.  It told me that there was a 95% chance of heavy rain all afternoon so I went out while it was still dry.

In the garden I saw an early harbinger of many crocuses to come, the sarcococca….

crocus, sarcoccoca, rhubarb and rain gauge

….an indication of why everything is so soggy and an exciting hint of many crumbles to come.

Then  I went for a walk.

There were very few birds in the garden but when I left the house, I saw a blackbird having a bath in the dam…

blackbird bathing

…and when I got to the park, I saw a jackdaw on the wall…

jackdaw on park wall

…and another on a bench.

jackdaw on park bench

I often take pictures of individual lichens on walls but I thought that this corner of the Kirk wall deserved a picture of its own as it would be hard to find a stone with more lichen on than this.

lichen on church wall

I have taken pictures of the park monsters before but I don’t think that I have shown how they are cleverly carved out of two branches of a fallen tree.

park monsters

Looking at the bank behind the monsters, it seems probable that it won’t belong before more trees fall down beside them.

dangerous bank at park

Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like to walk along the riverside path here because of the instability of the banking.  There are always little landslips going on and some of the trees look quite alarming.

dangerous tree Eastons

I like the walk, in spite of the conditions, because there is always plenty to look at as you go along.

moss and lichen eastons

I could even see the tops of the hills today as I walked back along the top track.

view of castle Hill from stubholm

My short walk brought me back down to the park and the wall was as full of fun as it always is.

lichen, spleenwort, moss park wall

While I had been walking along the river, the peace of the day was disturbed by the raucous calls of a pair of oyster catchers, the first I have heard this year, so instead of going straight home, I walked along the river to see if I could catch them at rest.

They were nowhere to be seen, so I settled for catching a very fine birch polypore on a tall tree stump in Mary Street.

birch polypore

It wasn’t hard to find as the whole stump was covered in them.

fungus on birch stump Mary St

I decided to call in at the Buccleuch Centre to see how Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret were doing, and found them just ready to pack up  after a good morning’s work.  I was admiring some excellent woodwork on a stall when Mrs Tootlepedal turned up and bought a robin bird box.  Or to be more precise, she pointed it out and I bought it.  It will be interesting to see if our robin takes to it.

Mrs Tootlepedal gave me a lift home and I had some haggis for my lunch while she went for a pulled pork and chicken pie, both purchased from the market.

I took a picture of this very unusual house next to the Centre.  Langholm goes in for grey stone with the occasional white or grey rendered walls so this house really stands out.

BLUE HOUSE

Once home, I settled down, prepared for a very rainy afternoon alleviated by watching international rugby matches.

This was not a great decision as the Wales-Italy game was rather boring and the Ireland-Scotland match was the usual crushing disappointment.  To make matters worse, it didn’t rain heavily, if at all, and at one  point there was even blue sky.  I would have been better off going for another walk.

blue sky

Still, I fried a nice fillet of sea bass for my tea and no day with a lot of lichen in it is a wasted day.  And I didn’t have a dizzy spell.  One of the credit side of the great ledger of life in spite of any disappointments.

There were a lot of rooks applying to fill the post of flying bird of the day.

flying rooks

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Gunta, who sent me this charming photo of snowy plovers resting in horse hoofprints on a beach.

snowy_plovers-5753

We had a day with plenty of birds about and some dry and occasionally sunny weather…

plum tree of birds

…which came with the first sign of snow of the year when I looked out of an upstairs window.

monument with light snow

As it was our day to go to Edinburgh and the recent timetable changes require us to leave home shortly after coffee, I had no time to explore the snow and stuck to a quick tour of the garden where I saw the winter jasmine and..

winter jasmine january

…that first daffodil bud that Mrs Tootlepedal had noticed yesterday..

first daffodil bud

I noticed that there were quite a few blackbirds about too but they were shy and I only just caught this one before it disappeared.

blackbird january

A jackdaw hung about for a bit longer.

jackdaw chaecking things out

By the time that we got to Lockerbie Station, the sky was blue…

lockerbie town hall

…but a pile of snow on the platform bore witness to a heavy shower of sleet earlier in the day…

snow lockerbie station

…and there was plenty more snow to be seen when the train got into the hills.

snow on train to edinburgh

We had had time to admire the pile of snow on the platform before we left as the train was quarter of an hour late.  However, it bustled up the line and got to Edinburgh only a few minutes behind schedule.

We popped across the road from the station and enjoyed a light lunch in an art gallery cafe and, having lunched, we enjoyed three free exhibitions in the gallery itself.  The best of the the three was of the work of Mary Cameron.  She was quite unknown to us but we really enjoyed her work and felt that we should have known about her earlier.

burst

She had a wonderful range of subjects in the exhibition, including such a harrowing picture of horses after a bull fight that the French government made a postcard of it which it then used in its public campaign to discourage bull fighting in France.

We went back across the station to do a little shopping and catch the bus to Matilda’s.

The station was busy and we watched the London train roll into the platform to pick up passengers for the trip south.

burst

Matilda was in good form and we were joined by her other grandparents and her aunt and cousin for our evening meal.  Alistair cooked a delicious feast, this time a lentil and dahl, and we all tucked in.

After the meal, we caught the bus back to the station.  Knowing the railway comany’s unreliable habits, I had carefully checked that the incoming service from Lockerbie was running and would arrive in time to take us back to Lockerbie.  We were pleased to see it roll into the platform as we got to the station.

To say that we were therefore a bit stunned to see on the departure board that our train south had been cancelled is a bit of an understatement.

It turned out, as far as anyone could tell, that they were going to keep this train to act as the next train two hours later and if we wanted to get to Lockerbie meanwhile, there was a bus waiting outside the station to take us there.

We took the bus.  And arrived at Lockerbie an hour behind schedule which is why this post is hurried, I haven’t answered yesterday’s comments and I am not going to read any posts tonight.  I will try to make up for these omissions tomorrow.

On the plus side, the bus was remarkably smooth and comfortable, the driver competent and cheerful and motorway traffic light, so the actual bus journey, though long, was not too bad at all.

I took a flying goldfinch picture which didn’t come through the editor quite as it should have, but I liked it all the same so it has sneaked in…

flying goldfinch

…but the official flying bird of the day is this chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »