Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Bridge’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent visit to New Zealand where they saw this handsome NZ kingfisher.  I don’t know which of them took the picture.

NZ kingfisher

It was reasonably warm for the time of year again this morning but once again the effect was somewhat spoiled by light drizzle and a very strong wind.  I stayed indoors and did some useful stuff.

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off to the dentist for some treatment and I filled some of the time while he was out by watching the birds.  I was able to confirm that we have at least four lesser redpolls visiting us at the moment.

busy feeder with redpolls

I am not sure if the hidden bird at the back of the feeder is another redpoll or a siskin.

There were plenty of siskins shouting and beating people up.

busy siskins

A wood pigeon brought a more stately air to the proceedings.

pigeon

The forecast was for a fine afternoon with a further rise in the temperature so after lunch, I thought of cycling although the wind was a bit off-putting.  However, I did manage to get into my cycling gear and go out.  Virtue was rewarded when it turned out that the wind had dropped considerably from the morning and although it was still noticeable, it wasn’t totally discouraging and I enjoyed pedalling in some warm air.

There were signs of spring along the road and although the prettiest was probably this primrose…

primrose

…..the most welcome was probably this larch twig, a real forerunner of the new green season.

larch bursting

As always, I looked at a wall if I stopped to take a general view and I liked this crusty set of lichen…

lichen on wall

…and was interested to find that there were some tiny red spots of colour among the stems when I put the picture on the computer.  I hadn’t been able to see them with the naked eye.

The most noticeable thing was not the roadside flowers or the larch needles but the fact that the grass has at last started growing in the cultivated fields.

Ewes valley april

We are greening up….

Ewes valley april

…although the rough hillside has some time to go yet before it goes green.

I was a bit sorry to find that the day was more amenable to cycling than I had thought that it would be as I could have gone a more interesting route if I had realised.   I made up for my dull route choice by stopping at the Kilngreen to buy a nougat wafer from the ice cream van there and I ate it while sitting on a bench by the river and enjoying the bird life.

This is a lesser black backed gull (I have to thank a reader who corrected my view that it was a herring gull last time one appeared in a post),

lesser black backed gull

And these are a small fraction of the hundreds of rooks that swirl about in the sky over the town.

rooks

I took a picture of the Langholm Bridge to show how much the river has dropped since yesterday…

Langholm Bridge

…and then I pedalled home, arriving just as the sun came out.

It was such a lovely afternoon that I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal, who was just having a cup of tea indoors after some hard work in the garden, to come and drink it outside.

Mrs T's new bench area

She has almost finished her new bench area so we put a couple of plastic chairs out and tested it.

This is the view that we had from the chairs.

daffodils

It was wonderful to be able to sit out and enjoy the warmth and the sunshine as this was our first opportunity for months.

The new lawn shaping has been completed and this is how it looked this afternoon.

new look middle lawn

You can see the new bench are on the right.

I was quite pleased to see the grass on the middle lawn trying to win the battle against the moss so I got the mower out and mowed the front lawn.  There is no picture of the result there as the moss is still winning hands down.

I had time for a camera-wander.  I got a fleeting glimpse of a tadpole in the pond….

tadpole

…which was very encouraging.  There were lots of others about too.

The first fritillaries are out…

fritillaria

…and I found a corydalis in a pot and the rosemary next to the greenhouse.

corydalis and rosemary

The temperature is due to drop back a bit but even half a day at 18°C was enough to cheer us up enormously.  We have had such a long spell of cold and cool weather that we had begun to think that things might never warm up again.

The are a lot of daffodils to choose from but this one was my daffodil of the day today.

daffodil

I made some risotto for our tea and then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing with the Langholm community choir.  Our concert with the local orchestra is in two weeks so we worked hard.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.  It is not a good picture but I think that it conveys some of the energy that these tiny birds put into their visits to the feeders  so I have put it in.

flying siskin

I would like to thank Canadian reader and Langholm exile, Joyce Lewis, for a very kind mention of this blog in an article which she wrote for our local paper.  It is very nice to think that the pictures can bring back youthful memories of the area.

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s recent trip south and shows a public sculpture in Sheffield.  The sculpture is called ‘Double Helix’.   I like the sculpture but don’t know how it got its name as it looks more like a contorted screw eye than a double helix.

sheffield sculpture

Our slightly warmer weather continued today but so did large quantities of rain which fell from the sky with gusto during the morning, making everything soggy again.

As the rain was accompanied by a very brisk wind, even when the rain stopped the day didn’t feel a great deal better.

Happily, while the rain was at its worst….

puddle

…I had the pleasure of Dropscone and Sandy’s company for a cup of coffee and a scone.  They are both off to southern European sunshine islands for holidays shortly and so they didn’t mind the weather here as much as I did.  It makes going abroad more fun if the weather is horrible at home.

The rain stopped after lunch and I was able to go out into the garden to capture the daffodil of the day….

daffodil

…but it was too wet to wander about or do any lawn care so I came back in and watched the birds.

They were very busy again today but you can have too much activity so I settled for some quieter portraits of our regulars today.

siskin

repoll

goldfinch

A greenfinch turned up and was probably quite surprised to be treated with an unusual lack of respect by both siskins and chaffinches.

greenfinch being hounded

The siskin flew away and the chaffinch just bounced off so the greenfinch continued feeding quite unruffled.

Mrs Tootlepedal was helping at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop over lunchtime and when she came back, the weather was too unsympathetic to garden so she went for a rest and after doing some computer work, I went for a walk.

It was still very windy but it was warm enough to make walking a pleasure if you could get out of the wind.

I walked along the park wall to see if the red tipped lichens were enjoying the warmer weather….

cladonia

…and found that they were thriving.

I thought that it would be better to walk along the top of the bank at Stubholm rather than along the rather soggy riverside path so I went up the track and along the top of the wood.   I am impressed by the fact that only some of the trees on this steep bank have fallen over so far.

tree on bank at Stubholm

When I got down to the Murtholm fields, I could see that quite a bit of rain had fallen….

puddle at Murtholm

…so it was no surprise to find an oyster catcher in one of the fields (in a rare moment of sunshine)…

oyster catcher and lambs

…as well as traditional sheep and lambs.

The willows are starting to show along both banks of the river.

willow

And there was plenty of water coming down the river past the old distillery building.

Langholm Distillery from Skippers

As it got near Skippers, it was foaming and boiling…

Esk at Skippers in spate

…but the new bridge repairs are holding up well and the bridge is still standing.

Although the river was quite high, it wasn’t high enough to need all three arches of the bridge.

skippers in April

I entertained myself by looking at lichen on the bridge parapet (right frame in the picture below)…

lichen

…and a very pretty sort on the fence at Land’s End (in the left frame).

I stopped off at the Co-op to acquire some fish cakes for my tea and then walked back to the suspension bridge.  Looking  up river from the suspension bridge, I could see that the Langholm Bridge was using all three arches…

Langholm Bridge in april

…and looking downstream, I could see three goosanders on the gravel bank beside the Wauchope.

goosanders

I was expecting them to get up and swim away when I got close but obviously they thought about swimming much as I had thought about cycling in these conditions and they were fast asleep and going nowhere.

The garden continues to show a little more colour each day…

spring flowers

…and I was happy to see the dicentras coming out as they are great bee magnets.

dicentra

It was far too wet and windy for bees today though.

When I got in, I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that it was warm enough to be out in the garden in spite of the wind and we spread a little manure about in a helpful way and then she stayed outside doing useful tasks for a while before the wind blew her back inside.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to some serious sock darning while I looked through my pictures and tapped away at the keyboard for this post.  In this throwaway age, it is rather reassuring to be able to wear well darned socks.

We are told that it is going to get suddenly very warm for the time of year tomorrow afternoon and then stay quite nice, if a bit cooler, for the next three or four days.  I hope that this turns out to be true.

Following my success in thinking about things and then seeing the things that I had thought about appear, I bought a lottery ticket along with my fish fingers this afternoon.

I am going to have to think a bit harder it seems.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

In contrast to yesterday’s Antiguan sun, today’s guest picture shows a typical day in Derby.  My brother Andrew was suffering in the rain there a couple of day ago.

Derby

We had another very welcome dry day here today and things are even beginning to hint at drying out a little.  A bit more warmth would help the process.

A brisk wind also helps and we got that today, the downside being that it was a pretty chilly breeze and it made the day which was theoretically warm at 10°C feel a good deal colder.  Still, it was a useful day for a pedal and some gardening so we were happy.

My fairly speedy bike was still in the bike shop so I went out on the slow bike and stuck to skulking 18 miles twice up and down the Wauchope valley, as far out of the wind as I could stay.

I was impressed by the dedication of a flock of sheep to getting their strength up and stopped for a shot…

sheep

…and as I always look closely at a wall when I am leaning over one to take a photo, I took some lichen pictures while I was at it.

lichen on wall

I like the variations in colour, shape and style that the lichen on our roadside walls provides.

Otherwise, I kept my head well down in the crosswinds on the ride and didn’t take any more pictures.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had completed some errands round the town and was busy gardening.

She is very pleased with the early crocuses this year and so am I.

There are some brighter ones about…

crocuses

…but the bulk of the flowers are a delicate pale violet and I like them both for themselves and when they mingle with the snowdrops.

crocuses

And because I like eating it, I was very happy to see that the rhubarb is looking very promising.

rhubarb

Then I went inside and looked out.  The kitchen makes a warm and comfortable bird hide and supplies good coffee too (Rwandan today).

I looked high…

greenfinch

…and low.

dunnock

After lunch, I went off for a walk.  It had been gently sunny while I had pedalled along in the morning but the clouds had come over for my walk and it was a grey afternoon.

Pathhead track

Snowdrops provided some cheer both at the start and near the finish of my walk.

snowdrops

On grey days, I tend to keep my eyes on the foreground and ignore the views and there is always something to help to pass the time.

This wall provided a home for some luxuriant moss.

mossy wall

And a birch tree had a neat circle of script lichen.

script lichen

As always, walls are a never ending source of delight and today I came across a growth which I hadn’t seen before.  It is the coral like structure on the left in the panel below.  I think that it must be lichen but I am by no means confident about that.

lichen on wall

On the other hand, I am confident about this.

cladonia

This is definitely cladonia lichen.

I had already stopped at a promising piece of wall before I had noticed the tiny spots of red so either my lichen radar is improving with practice or I was just lucky because I didn’t see any more along the the wall.

cladonia

It really is very red indeed.

I started and finished my walk with a visit to the Kilngreen in the hope of seeing some oyster catchers.

There was a pair at the Meeting of the Waters when I was on my out but they flew off with a gull before I could get too close…

oyster catchers

And there was a pair (probably the same pair I would imagine) in the same place when I came back an hour later and they flew off again, first to further up the bank of the river…

oyster catcher

…and then again to join the gulls on the fence posts.

Luckily one of them flew right past me.

oyster catcher

When I saw that I wasn’t going to get close to them, I took a shot through an arch of the Langholm Bridge which gave me a lot of pleasure even on a grey day.

Langholm Bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden again when I got back and I fell easily into a supervisory role.  It is a suitable role for me as it doesn’t involve doing anything else but walking around and saying, “That looks good.”

In the evening, I went to sing with our local choir and enjoyed myself not least because I am sitting next to my cello playing friend Mike who is an excellent singer and keeps me right.

He remarked that he and his wife have been enjoying the frog pictures on the blog so here is one from today, especially for them.

frog

The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull which  flew by while I was tracking the oyster catchers.  It has almost got its spring black head.

black headed gull

END NOTE

Oh and the title of the blog refers to a telephone call which I received from the bike shop this evening to tell me that the fairly speedy bike has got a two inch crack in the frame so it is time to say farewell to an old friend. Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that it is just as well to discover a crack like that when it is in the bike shop and not when you are going down hill at 30mph.

I don’t remember exactly when I bought the fairly speedy bike, a Giant SCR, but I must have had it for over ten years so it will have done about 40,000 miles at least.  It has been a good servant, comfortable and reliable and I will be very happy if my new bike turns out to be as good.

I am going to look at getting a replacement suitable for a elderly gentleman with no great bike handling skills but who enjoys getting a few miles in over a year. Like Two Ton Tessie O’Shea used to say about herself, it will be built for comfort more than for speed.  I know my limits now.

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows a very cool customer who turned up in my son Tony’s back garden yesterday.

Tony's snowman

Tony was busy again today.

tony's igloo

I notice that he got out of the igloo before he let anyone stand on it.

The snow was still here this morning in Langholm too.  The wind had sighed and moaned round the house all through the night but it hadn’t blown the snow away and we didn’t have much in the way of drifts which was a relief.

After a quiet morning, having coffee with our neighbour Liz and laying in a fresh supply of milk and potatoes, I went out to see if I could turn our snow laden hedges into castle walls….

hedge with snow

It wasn’t very successful.  To make it work at all, I would have to leave a layer of snow on top of the hedge under each cut and that seemed like more hard work than it was worth.

The birds were rather quiet today again with only a single goldfinch showing up all day…

goldfinch

…with no siskins or greenfinches at all.

This left the feeder to the chaffinches…

flying chaffinches

…and the ground below to robin and dunnock.

robin and dunnock

The chaffinches didn’t appreciate being left alone and showed a regrettable tendency to kick each other.  I liked the rather grand operatic feel of this little battle.

fighting chaffinches

After lunch, I had to go to a volunteers’ meeting at the Welcome to Langholm office and took a small diversion on my way home.

It was cold.

ice

In John Street, the natives were clearing ice off the road.

Big Dave

Where the cars had compacted the snow, it was so hard that Big Dave was using a pick axe to loosen it before shovelling it away.

For once it didn’t start snowing as soon as I went for a walk….

Langholm Bridge

….but the wind made it the coldest day of the present spell by far.

ice in Ewes

Because I didn’t have my big camera and lens with me, the sky was full of gulls circling above my head.

gulls

On the wall by the Sawmill Brig, a small outcrop of moss had broken through the snow…

moss in snow

..whether it had got some heat about it or whether it was just the added moisture that it retained, I couldn’t say.  Nearby, a bigger patch had thrown off the snow and was looking very happy.

P1070856

It was too cold to hang around snapping so I looked at the castle ruins…

Langholm Castle

…and kept walking.

The most outstanding feature of the walk was the number of icicles above my head as I walked through the town.

icicles

Two views of Henry Street.

P1070840

Oddly, only one side of the street had icicles.

There were one or two that I made sure I didn’t step under.

icicles

On a wall near our house, I saw this sheet of ice….

icicles

…and having seen a sheet of ice on Venetia’s blog describing a visit to Bedford NH, I took a closer look with my camera set to video record.  She had seen tadpoles under her ice and sure enough, there were tadpoles under this one too.

I was grateful to Venetia because if it hadn’t been for her blog, I would never have given this sheet a second look.  I thought that the tadpoles were fascinating.

It was rather a gloomy day with no break in the clouds and a chilly wind so I was glad to get back home and I didn’t go out again.

At least the cold weather means that I am getting some hymn singing practice in.

The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch.  It is not the sharpest picture that I have ever taken but it is one of the most elegant.

flying chaffinch

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest pictures (there are two of them) show that snow was spread from London to Edinburgh today.  They come from our son Tony in Edinburgh and our daughter Annie in London.

Edinburgh snow

Edinburgh at 8am

London snow

London at 9 am.

And to fill up the sandwich, here is Langholm at midday.

John Street in snow

In the end, we got more snow than either Edinburgh or London and rather surprisingly finished up with 6 inches by the afternoon.

It snowed on and off all day.

WARNING FOR BUSY PEOPLE:  There are far too many pictures in today’s post so just take note of the snow and get on with your life.

I had to put on the full set of waterproof clothes and boots to go up to the town for a cup of tea and a meeting with a mover and shaker on a possible call for the Archive Group to be involved in an arts project.  It is all very much up in the air at the moment but the mover and shaker is very articulate and persuasive so funds may appear and the thing take off.  It sounds quite exciting.

On my way home, I went over the Langholm bridge but it was snowing hard enough to spoil the view.  I noticed that it was cold enough to have ice forming on the river’s edge.

meeting of the waters

We used to have more snow I think,when we first came to the town forty years ago and looking in the records, I see that the last serious snow fall here was in January 2016 and the one previous to that was quite late in the spring of 2013 so today’s minor blizzard was a bit of a novelty.

I spent a lot of the day watching birds.  Mrs Tootlepedal kept an eye out too and noticed a single brambling while I was out.  She took a shot on her camera and as there were a lot of other birds about, I have tinkered with her picture to pick out the brambling.

brambling

The brambling is on the right of the picture.  The rest are chaffinches.

She also saw a lot of starlings and unlike the brambling which didn’t come back, they returned.

starlingsstarling

We also had a visit from a song thrush, a very rare visitor to our garden. It sat on the plum tree for a while, assessing the situation and then…

song thrush

….returned to try out the feeder.

song thrush

Sadly it couldn’t get organised to grip the perch in such a way as to get its beak into the seed opening so it perched on the feeder pole for a while…

song thrush

…and then went off sulking.

All through the day there was always a small crowd of chaffinches under the feeder…

chaffinches in snow

…as well as a flock in the plum tree…

plum tree with chaffinches

…and a usually a whirlwind round the feeders themselves.

busy feeder

We could count thirty or forty birds at a time.  The odd goldfinch turned up too…

goldfinch

…but it was mostly a chaffinch day.

On the ground what looked like a dropped glove….

blackbird in snow

turned out to be a blackbird which was digging for buried food.

And a small black blob turned out to be a robin, perfectly spherical to beat the chill.

robin

A dunnock shrugged its shoulders against the wind.

dunnock

And the blackbird found a better placed food block on the chimney pot.

blackbird

Sometimes birds seem to be a stupid as people and in spite of there being several empty perches, this chaffinch thought it best to gratuitously stamp on another one.

battling chaffinches

I hope it gave itself a sore toe.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal decided that a walk down to the Co-op would be a good excuse for taking a little exercise and as it had actually stopped snowing, we got well covered up and went off.

I took a camera of course.

Langholm bridge and trees

When we had done a little shopping, Mrs Tootlepedal headed for home and I walked on to Skippers Bridge in the hope of some winter wonderland pics.

I was quite glad of the exercise, which was strenuous not least because when they plough the roads to get the snow off, they just push it onto the footpath and this makes for smooth running for vehicles and heavy going for elderly pedestrians.

A7 in snow

As I walked, the snow got heavier and heavier and this put paid to any picturesque shots of Skippers Bridge…

skippers bridge in snow

…so I settled for a close up of catkins among the snow as I walked back on the other bank of the river.

snow and catkins

The snow eased off and I followed these two walkers up to the Stubholm…

Stubholm track

…and then went back home by way of a diversion along Gaskell’s Walk from which I got this view of a snowy Eskdaill  Street.

Eskdaill Street in snow

I had to be careful not to knock the bushes beside the path…

snow

…but I enjoyed looking across at the snowy trees at Pool Corner.

Pool Corner with snow

On my way along the road from the Auld Stane Bridge, I passed a scientific snow depth measuring device….

snow on fence post

…and an ice covered pool at Pool Corner.

Pool Corner iced over

The temperature stayed around 1 degree all day today and it is to be colder tomorrow so with a bit of luck, we will have avoided the icy conditions that come with thaw and freeze.  Still, if need be, I have an old pair of Yaktrax which can be called into service.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hoping to go to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening to watch a ballet performance of The Winter’s Tale but sadly and with dramatic irony, the Winter’s Tale was cancelled by real winter conditions and the Buccleuch Centre was forced to stay shut.

There are warnings of more snow tomorrow so we will just have to wait and see.  If there is more snow, I hope it comes with some sunny spells to keep a snapper happy.

Today’s flying bird is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

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

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s picture comes from my friend Bruce who saw a horse in a field across a canal.  We will get closer to it tomorrow.

kelpies

We had another near freezing but sunny day today and it was most frustrating.  I have hardly done any cycling this month, what with bad weather and a long and irritating cold so I have been hoping to put a mile or two in before December comes.

Thus I spent a lot of today anxiously looking at the thermometer and frozen puddles in the drive, hoping that the thermometer would rise and the puddles melt.

Neither happened and the thermometer stayed stuck at 4°C and the puddle stayed frozen.  I am very aware of being a great deal more fragile than I was ten years ago when 4° would have been an invitation to go out for a pedal and a gentle fall wouldn’t have been too serious.  I have fallen off more than once in ice and snow but time passes and joints and bones are not what they were so I have become risk averse.  99% of a trip might be ice free but that 1%, a shady corner on a damp stretch under the trees, might be just enough to spoil things.

So I had coffee with Sandy, looked at a bird or two…

greenfinch

A greenfinch enjoying the sun

robin

And a robin feeling the cold in the shade

…and then went for a short walk before lunch to give things a chance to warm up.

Pool Corner was very peaceful…

Pool corner

…but the larches on the bank behind it are almost at their very last gasp.

Pool corner

In the absence of leaves, I looked at branches….

bare tree

…and walked up the track onto the lower slopes of Warbla from where I could see a few views for a small amount of climbing.

monument from Warbla

Meikleholm Hill

Castle Hill

Where the sun hadn’t reached, the frost remained and reminded me of why I wasn’t out on my bike.

frozen leaf

If I had a serious mountain bike, winter riding would be more possible but I don’t have one and skinny tyres make ice a threat.

After lunch, I looked hopefully at the thermometer again and then went for another short walk in a rather grumpy state of mind.

The blue flash of a kingfisher, a very rare sighting for me, as I went along the banks of the Esk cheered me up and after crossing the Langholm Bridge, now back to complete calm after the recent rains…

Langholm Bridge

….I walked along the Kilngreen beside the Ewes Water….

Kilngreen

…and communed with the ducks.

mallards

Mr Grumpy saw me and decamped to the opposite bank of the river.

heron

I too crossed the river.  The low sun shining through the moss on a wall caught my eye…

moss

…and I caught the eye of a sheep.

sheep

I was on the same bank as Mr Grumpy now.  He looked ready to flit back to the other side at a moment’s notice so I left him alone and walked on….

heron

…under the trees and into the sun.

tree in low sun

I passed the castle ruins…

Langholm Castle

…and found myself in the shadow of our hills as I walked up the river Esk to the Jubilee Bridge so that the only sunlight was now in the branches of the trees above my head.

sunny branches

The temperature was already dropping when I got home but where the sun had struck the soil in our garden, it had made it soft enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to plant a few more tulips and I spiked some of the middle lawn.

As the light faded, Eric, a fellow member of the Langholm choir tenor section, turned up and we had a useful practice together.  Christmas concerts are looming up and all the practice that we can get in is useful.

The day rather fizzled out after that and in spite of the two walks and the singing practice, I was left with the strong feeling that it had been wasted.  As the next two days are forecast to be sunny but even colder, I fear that any dream of cycling miles in November will have to be abandoned.

There is always the gym…..aaaargh!.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, caught at a busy moment on the feeder.

flying chaffinch

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »