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Posts Tagged ‘mist’

Today’s guest picture shows a regular visitor to Irving’s feeder.

squirrel

I start today’s post with an item from yesterday.  Just after I had put the blog to bed, there were loud noises outside.  It was a very misty night and the pink footed geese might well have been lost and checking where the rest of the gang was.

It is rather upsetting to hear them as the geese sound really unhappy.  They were still making a noise early in the morning but they had safely gone on their way by breakfast time.

Just to join in with the rest of the town, Mrs Tootlepedal now has a cold so she didn’t come with me when I went up to the Laverock Hide to act as a fill-in feeder filler for the Moorland project.  It was just as well that she didn’t come as she likes to sit and look out for raptors but today all she would have seen today was this….

mist at Laverock

Looking west

…or this.

mist at Laverock

Looking east.

I filled the feeders, fighting off the army of pheasants around my feet, and admired the king of the castle…

pheasant

…before going into the hide to spend a little time watching the birds.

There was plenty of action….

great tit and blue tit

…but not enough light to see all of it very well.   I could see that both the blue tit and the great tit are probably long term residents of the glade as they both have rings and the birds here have been ringed fairly regularly.

great tit

The tits don’t have very large beaks and the great tit picked out a lump of peanut and flew off to a handy branch to deal with it.  It clamped it firmly under one foot and pecked at it until it was small enough to eat in one go.

great tit

I was delighted when a woodpecker arrived at the nuts…

woodpecker

I think this is the same one a little later.

woodpecker

The woodpeckers get ringed as well as the small birds.

woodpecker

I came back into the town and picked up a prescription for puffers which I need a lot in the cold and damp weather which we have been enjoying.

Mrs Tootlepedal cycled up and gave me some much needed guidance in the matter of purchasing her Christmas present and then we went home.

After coffee, we went out to see about digging up the Christmas tree from the garden.

Thanks to Mrs Tootlepedal’s expertise with the spade, it was soon resting in a pot in the garage, waiting to come in to the house  later in the week.

Christmas tree

I had time for a quick look at our own birds…

chaffinch and goldfinch

…before getting the fairly speedy bike out to take advantage of a marked improvement in the weather.  It was warm (9°C) and relatively windless and the mist was beginning to lift so I set off up the Wauchope road hoping to remember how to pedal a bike.  It had been 15 days since I last went cycling.

The legs were soon back in the old routine and as I got to Callister, the last of the mist was clearing away….

Callister mist

…so my timing was perfect.  I wasn’t in a very adventurous mood though and I turned back at the end of the straight and cycled back to Langholm.

It was a lovely day by the time that I got there….

Whita in sun

….so I turned round again and headed back to Callister to do another ten miles.

There were still patches of mist on the way….

mist on Wauchope road

…but the sun was doing its best and lit up this fine Christmas tree which needed no artificial decoration.  At about 30ft high, it might be a little too big for most front rooms though.

conifer with cones

By the time that I was on the last leg, the mist had cleared entirely and it was as nice a day as you could hope for at this time of year.

blochburnfoot

But with the solstice only a day or two away, even a really nice day doesn’t last long and when I got home, I only had time for a quick goldfinch shot….

goldfinches

…and a cup of tea before the light had faded so much that the only thing the camera could see when a blackbird walked past was its beak.

blackbird

The evening was a bit subdued because Mrs Tootlepedal’s cold hadn’t improved at all and I have got a hint of one coming back as well.

We might have gone to a screening of The Nutcracker Suite but the three piece suite seemed a better bet.

(We don’t actually have a three piece suite, just a sofa and two chairs but I couldn’t resist the joke.)

The flying bird of the day is a helicopter which was buzzing around in the afternoon.

helicopter

 

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Today’s guest picture is another Christmas cracker from my son Tony in Edinburgh.

edinburgh christmas

We had been promised that temperatures would start to rise by today but it turned out that this happy state of affairs was delayed and the lawn was frosty again when we woke up.

It took until about 7 o’clock in the evening for the thermometer to creep up to 4°C but as it had been dark for several hours by then, this was not much use.  The Met Office is promising us 9°C for tomorrow but we are not counting any chickens yet.

It has occurred to us that Christmas is coming and we had better do something about it so I spent the morning writing Christmas Cards, occasionally breaking off to make coffee and/or  look out of the window.

The cold weather had not discouraged the birds.  Chaffinches were having a hard time with goldfinches.

goldfinch and chaffinch

goldfinch and chaffinch

And with other chaffinches too.

chaffinches and siskin

A pair of starlings after the pink pellets were above such petty squabbling.

starlings

It was a better day for taking portraits than action shots.

goldfinch

After lunch, I went out for a rather tentative walk.  I wasn’t expecting to find much of an improvement on yesterday’s icy roads but in the event, with a bit of care here and there, walking was no problem at all and I was able to get 3.7 miles in by the time that the light had faded away.

I walked down the town side of the river towards Skippers Bridge and felt a good deal of fellow feeling for the greenkeeper at the Old Town Bowing Club.  His green looked more likely to host a curling match than a bowling competition.

frozen bowling green

Then I passed our sewage works, which are discreetly screened by a very nice variegated ivy…

ivy

…and stopped to check out an unusually coloured lichen on a fence at Land’s End.

lichen

It was well worth a closer look.

lichen

When I got to Skippers Bridge, I looked upstream and was struck by how unexpectedly colourful the view of the old distillery was in spite of the misty conditions.

Langholm Distlliery

Looking up at the bridge from beside the Tarras road provided a less colourful picture but I never tire of looking at this bridge and I hope that patient readers don’t mind another look too much.

skippers bridge

I continued along the Tarras road but here I had to be a bit more careful of icy patches as it is a damp road and there is very little traffic along it.  It has been closed for many months by a landslip further along.

I was able to get my eyes off the road surface for long enough to see that this was another spot with lot of hair ice about…

hair ice

…and I took a picture of an affected branch lying on the ground to show what it looks like to a casual passer by.

hair ice

You might easily pass it by thinking that it was a fungus of some sort or even a splash of paint.  I have seen some looking like a discarded white paper bag.

At the bottom of the hill to Broomholm, I faced a choice.  Either I could run the gauntlet of the icy road again or choose the track up Jenny Noble’s Gill and take my chances going  through the woods.

I didn’t fancy falling on the tarmac so I opted for the cross country route.

The local weather station suggested that the humidity was 98% and there certainly was a lot of moisture hanging about.

misty trees

I took a picture when I got into the birch wood and the flash fired automatically.  It seems to have picked up a lot of spots where the moisture was concentrated enough to reflect the light.  It definitely wasn’t raining and the moisture was not on the lens of the camera.  Odd.

birch wood

There may not be any leaves on the trees but that didn’t stop an old oak from looking pretty colourful.

mossy oak

But mostly, it was misty.

misty trees

I stopped at the Round House to enjoy the view over the town….

misty view from Round House

…and found that nature had engineered a reverse Brigadoon.  In the story of Brigadoon, a picturesque village appears magically out of nowhere.  Today our picturesque town had vanished entirely.

It was gloomy enough by the time that I got back to the Suspension Bridge for the lights on the Town Bridge to be twinkling brightly.

Town bridge with lights

I was glad that I hadn’t tried to walk up the Broomholm hill because Mike Tinker, who had dropped in, told us that he had driven up it earlier in the day and had found it a hair raising experience as the road was at times completely covered by ice.  As it was, I got round my walk in very good order, the side benefit of the frost being that once again the boggy bits of the path were frozen over.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and we played through the first movement of our new sonata without a mistake.  We were quietly pleased with ourselves.

Our food adventures continue and Mrs Tootlepedal made a very tasty leek and ham pie for tea.

I am getting rather stout.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture involves an elaborate play on words.  Whereas a recent guest picture showed a links in Spain where Dropscone played golf and photographed, today’s guest picture shows a lynx in Spain which Venetia saw and photographed.

lynx

We had another dry and sunny day today, the third without rain in a row.  We are beginning to worry that something has gone wrong with the weather.

For once, a sunny and clear morning was accompanied by proper low autumn temperatures and there was a touch of frost about when we got up.  There are still a few leaves left on the plum tree where this pigeon was perching.

pigeon

It was too cold for cycling but ideal for walking so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off for her monthly coffee morning with ex work colleagues, Sandy and I had a coffee at home and then set off for the White Yett and a walk up to the monument.

It was the sort of day when you might expect a little early morning mist in the river valleys  and as we got up the hill, there was a hint of some here and there.

Hint of mist in Esk valley

But it didn’t amount to much and the sky was crystal clear as we took the track up to the monument.

Track to Monument

The sun obligingly provided the monument with a halo as we drew near.

Monument with halo

We enjoyed the sunny view over Langholm.

Langholm

A sheep was enjoying the view too.

sheep enjoying view

However, there was a bit of mist to the west and as we got near the top of Whita Hill, we could see the remains of the nuclear power station at Chapel Cross looming up through it.

Chapelcross in mist

Further to the west, Criffel could just be seen above a strip of cloud running up the Nith estuary.

Criffel

And when we got to the top of the hill, we could see the Lake District hills in the distance across a whole sea of mist covering the Solway plain.

Solway covered in mist

The camera can’t do justice to the scene at all.

To the south,  banks of mist shrouded the hills beyond the Tarras valley.

Eden valley in mist

I took a couple of pictures to try to convey the sense of a brilliant white sea lapping at the rising ground towards us.

police mast and mist

We walked past the police mast and looked down from the edge of the hill.

Mist over Canonbie

It was a splendid sight and we were very pleased to have been in the right place at the right time to see it.

Even as we stood there, the mist was beginning to lift.

Mist lifting

And turning back, it was a different day…

Monument in sun

…with Langholm below us bathed in sunshine.

Langholm from Whita

As you can imagine, we took a lot of pictures and I had a very hard time picking out a few for this post and I am fairly sure that there are quite a few others which might have been better than ones that I have used.  The trouble is that when I have too much choice, my brain goes to mush and I make bad decisions.

Still, I liked this picture of the McDiarmid Memorial as we came back down towards the car.

McDiarmid memorial

And you can’t go wrong in my view with a couple of lichen pictures to round a walk off.

lichen boulderlichen boulder

I had a look at the garden when I got home to see if any flowers had survived the cold morning.

garden flowers

It was lunchtime by this time and once again, I put the camera up at the kitchen window to see what was happening at the feeder both while I was preparing the meal and relaxing after it.

A goldfinch and a great tit sized up the possibilities…

goldfinch and great tit

…and then came down for a snack….

_DSC8225

…while once again any amount of flying chaffinches whizzed to and fro.

flying chaffinches

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to continue working on her new path and I put on a good many layers of clothes and cycled off into a eager and nipping wind.

For the first time for several months, I thought that it was worth putting my overshoes on because cold feet can be a big problem when cycling.

Still, it was delightfully sunny even if it wasn’t very warm….

Bigholms road

…and I enjoyed a thirty mile ride, particularly as the wind behaved itself and after punishing me for the first twelve miles, stayed in position and blew me home for the next eighteen.  You can see that I had made a sound route choice.

I had time to go over a few songs for our Carlisle choir before tea so I felt that I had made good use of the day.  I am only sorry that because we were shooting into the sun, I couldn’t properly convey the spirit raising joy of the brilliant white sea of mist that greeted us on our morning walk.  The scene will remain in my memory for some time.

Alison, my Friday evening orchestra, was not well so there were no sonatas today but I wasn’t entirely unhappy to have a quiet night in as the last few days seem to have been quite busy.

The flying bird of the day is one of the flotilla of chaffinches at full stretch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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For today’s guest picture, I have gone back into my files and found this wild eyed, tongue-sticking-out carving which my brother noticed on a visit to the Guildhall in Exeter in January.

Guildhall carving

It was a day when the clouds came right down to the ground so although it was warm enough at 10 degrees C and the wind was light, it was generally another very gloomy day when either it was raining or it was going to rain.

I had a few tasks to do after breakfast – taking the key to the Day Centre for Mrs Tootlepedal’s embroiderers group meeting, putting petrol in the car, visiting the Archive Centre – but these didn’t take long and I was soon back home, staring out of the window in a hopeful sort of way to check if it had stopped raining yet.

Generally it hadn’t.

An annoying feature of this sort of day when cycling and walking are not attractive options, is that I have plenty of time to watch the birds but very poor light to take pictures of them.  Needless to say that didn’t stop me taking a lot of rather indistinct shots.

The siskins were very active again.  The damp weather hadn’t improved their manners.

siskins

Nor had the rain dampened their enthusiasm for an argument.

siskins

I believe in the modern parlance, this sort of thing is called a twitter storm.

siskins

I really enjoyed a goldfinch passing through and trying to pretend that it wasn’t hearing the abuse being shouted at it from all sides.

goldfinch and siskins

Rather like a school teacher at a school disco.

One siskin sought a quieter snack.

siskin on pink pellets

Luckily, I had a very tricky prize crossword to do so that took up a lot of time and then I enjoyed a light lunch of soup and rolls accompanied by some Stilton cheese on a wafer biscuit.

I had another look out of the window after my meal and thought that I saw something different among the regular chaffinches in the plum tree…

chaffinches and redpoll

…and sure enough, that bird in the bottom right corner is a redpoll, common visitors in some years but very scarce this year.  It paid a flying visit to the feeder….

redpoll

You can see how it gets its name.

…and then flew off.  I hope that it comes back with some friends as I like redpolls a lot.

The forecast had offered a very small hope that things might get better after lunch but it was still rather damp and I didn’t want to get soaking wet on my bike for two days running so I went for a short walk instead.

I met a fellow camera club member by the river and as it had stopped raining, we too stopped and chatted for some time.  He is an interesting chap with a profound knowledge of photography and a bit more selective over his shots than me.  He said that if he gets one shot in a month that he is pleased with, then he considers that he is doing well.

He was rather taken with the low cloud among the hills on the golf course and said he might come out again to try to capture an image.  This was my effort.

Trees in mist on golf course

(As it is a Saturday, Dropscone might have been up there in the mist trying to play golf.  If he was, I didn’t envy him.)

We parted and I walked on, encouraged by the warmth in the day in spite of the gloom and by some signs of spring along the river bank.

blossom and daffs

I saw no waterside birds as I walked along the Kilngreen and over the river onto the Castleholm but I had to take a second look at this tree….

Castleholm tree

…which in the dim light almost looked as though it was covered in leaves.

It wasn’t.

tree Lichen

….it was actually dripping with lichen.

I took two pictures of the trees on the far side of the Esk, one in colour and one in black and white and the fact that I had to look very closely to see which was which when I put them on the computer shows exactly what sort of day it was.  See for yourself.

Esk side trees

Esk side trees

At this point, just to suit the mood of the day, my camera battery ran out so I headed for home, stopping to be cheered up by Mike and Alison’s cherry tree (taken with my phone).

cherry tree

I still had hopes of a late cycle ride but it was so pervasively damp, even when it wasn’t actually raining, that I gave up the idea and took a shot of Mrs Tootlepedal’s miniature daffodils…

daffs

…and went back inside.

This turned out to be a very bad idea as I was unintentionally in time to watch Scotland getting thoroughly thrashed by England on the rugby field.   I should have gone cycling in the rain, it would have been more fun.

I was so morose now that I made some tea cakes and this was rather more successful….

tea cakes

…so that, apart from suffering from tea cake poisoning from excessive consumption, I am ending the day in comparatively mellow mood considering the weather, the rugby and the continued absence of Mrs Tootlepedal.  Tea cakes are the best medicine.

A goldfinch provided me with the flying bird of the day.

Flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from Irving’s Brecon canal trip.  I think that these are these are the top two locks in the Llangynidr flight of five.   I do like a nice lock and this picture has two.

Canal locks

After our bright snowy interlude, we reverted to more normal weather and woke up to a grey morning after a night of rain.  As you might expect, the view of Whita from our back window showed how much of the snow had gone….

Whita

…but somewhat surprisingly to those who haven’t seen it before in these conditions, our  front lawn retained its white blanket.

front lawn with snow

Now that our Carlisle choir is back in business for the new sessions, Sundays have taken on a familiar shape.  Mrs Tootlepedal goes off to song in the church choir and I prepare something for the slow cooker for our evening meal.  It was a beef stew with carrots and parsnips in a red wine gravy today.

While I am cooking, I keep an eye on the birds.

siskins

The siskins have become regular customers.

blackbird

The blackbird allowed me to take him in a less aggressive pose today

On a perfect Sunday, I would go for a pedal after the cooking is over but today there were some very icy patches on untreated roads so cycling wasn’t an option for a timid person like me and I decided on a very careful walk down to Skippers Bridge and back instead.

There had been a bit of drizzle earlier on but it was dry when I set out.  The rise in the temperature led to a very misty morning.

Christine in the park

The going underfoot was generally rather treacherous so I had to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the next step ahead which meant that not much other than icy puddles caught my eye.

I did stop to enjoy some misty trees as I went along the Murtholm track.

Murtholm mist

It would probably have been a good day to be on top of one of our hills looking over a sea of mist in the valley below but getting to the top of a hill in the icy conditions might have been a problem. I was happy to walk slowly along the river, walking poles in hand.

I was aiming for the Skippers Bridge where contractors have been felling some trees beside the river as a preparation for fixing the cutwater which was damaged in the big flood a year ago.  They were going to start some work on the masonry on Saturday but the freezing conditions meant that they have had to postpone this.

The view from the bridge to the north hasn’t changed….

Langholm Distillery in mist

…but some trees have been cut down on the south side…

Skippers Bridge

…giving me a little clearer view of the right hand arch.

Looking downstream, I could see that a low flying duck might well keep below the mist…

Esk from Skippers in mist

…though I didn’t see any ducks trying this out.

I walked back on the other side of the river and an ice free pavement let me look around a bit.  I saw what I took to be a very bright piece of ivy…

ivy

…though it was surprising to see it at this time of year.

After a while, I had to forsake the riverside path as it was too icy to be safe for an old man and walked past the Co-operative Store instead.  The trees on the far bank of the river made a striking picture when I looked over the buildings there.

Trees over Co-op

I managed to get home without slipping over which was satisfactory as I don’t want to add to the current queues at the A&E department at the hospital in Carlisle.

There was a great contrast in the weather from yesterday as I went over the suspension bridge.

Esk at Langholm

We had a light lunch (just as well after yesterday’s feast) and set off to Carlisle to sing with our choir. It was a thoroughly worthwhile trip because we included a little useful shopping on our way to the practice and the practice itself was one of the best we have had.

We worked hard on two songs, both of which were challenging in some ways but relatively easy to sing as far as the harmonies went and both of which were taken at a comfortable pace.  This is very important to me because I find singing very quick songs hard work as I find my brain lagging behind my mouth and many wrong notes tend to materialise as I struggle to keep up.  Andante Moderato is my favourite tempo.

We got home safely, in spite of one or two misty moments on the road back and the slow cooked stew turned out very well.  To provide a coda for an enjoyable day, Mrs Tootlepedal made some semolina pudding.  A very sound decision.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to Madeira and shows ‘Autonomia’, a monument to celebrate Madeira’s regional autonomy in 1976.

Autonomia

It was another chilly but sunny morning here and it looked as though it might well be one of those days when a trip up a hill could be rewarded by some delightfully misty views below.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get our timing quite right and arrived at the White Yett to get an interesting view up the Ewes valley…

Ewes Valley

…with a hint of mist over the town….

Misty morning

…but even the sheep thought that there were better views to be had elsewhere and were heading off.

Whita sheep

The drive was a little nervous as Mrs Tootlepedal had reported that the car’s information system was claiming that she was using unfeasibly large amounts of petrol when she went to Lockerbie on Thursday.  A quick check today showed us that the car’s computer system thought that we had used seven miles worth of petrol to go three miles.  This was a bit alarming even though though there wasn’t any smell of leaking petrol so we took the car to the garage and left it there and walked home.

Looking back up at the hill from which we had just descended, it seemed that there might have been a good photo opportunity if we had waited a while….

Mist on Whita

…but a few minutes later, when we looked again, the mist had all but disappeared.

Mist on Whita
I was just telling Mrs Tootlepedal about the noisy dippers I had heard on the river a couple of days ago when she said, “What’s that?”

It was a noisy dipper, singing and dipping in the Wauchope.

dipper

We watched for a short time and then another noisy dipper came shooting down the river and both of them left in a hurry.  I still can’t make up my mind whether the singing is a love song or a war cry.  I would be pleased to get a view from any dipper savvy readers.

On our walk along the banks of the Esk, we saw Mr Grumpy catching a ray of sunshine in a gloomy spot….

heron

…and a fine display of both male and female alder catkins.

Alder catkins

We had a cup of coffee and then I settled down to watch a bird or two.

There were two robins about today and I took several pictures of them but one robin looks very like another so you will have to say for yourselves whether this is two pictures of the same robin or two pictures of different robins.  (There definitely were two robins in the plum tree at the same time on one occasion but not sitting where I could photograph them together.)

robin

Otherwise, it was a case of the usual suspects.

goldfinches

Although we had had to clear ice off the windscreen of the car before our trip up the hill, the roads were clear and when the thermometer showed 4°C at midday, I put on as much cycling gear as I could find….

Tootlepedal in the buff

…and went off to do 21 miles up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse.  It was cold enough to make cycling less than an unadulterated pleasure and it took me some time to get the legs warmed up on the first  section uphill to Wauchope Schoolhouse but after that I kept a very steady pace and my bike computer told me that I did the three downhill, downwind sections of the journey within a few seconds of each other.

When I went out cycling, Attila the gardener went to work too and by the time that I got back, she had made a very neat job of the marigold bed at the end of the drive.

neat flower bed

I started to watch a bit of Andy Murray playing Milos Raonic in the ATP tennis semi finals but it got too much like hard work so as the sun was still out, I went for a short walk to see what I could find at the riverside.

Mr Grumpy had moved.

heron

There were gulls on all sides.

gulls

And mallards on the Kilngreen

Mallards

I walked home via the new path.  There are a pair of Noble Firs beside the path.  They have large cones which don’t fall off…

Noble fir

…but which are obviously on some creature’s dinner menu.

There was a bit of a stushie going on with loud cries and shouting when I came to cross the Jubilee Bridge but it turned out to be nothing more alarming than a game of football.

Langholm football

I watched for a bit but it was getting decidedly parky by this time so I didn’t linger too long and left just before the final whistle blew.

I was more than happy to have a slice of Mrs Tootlepedal’s walnut and banana loaf and a cup of tea from my new teapot to warm me up when I got home.

I then subjected myself to some cruel and unusual punishment by watching first Andy Murray play tennis and then Scotland playing Argentina at rugby.  In the end, they both held on to win very tight matches by the narrowest of margins so a day that started badly with the car needing attention, ended very well with national pride satisfied.

I had a very good look round the garden when I came back from my pedal to see what the frost and Attila the Gardener had left and found enough rather ragged blooms to make up a composite flower of the day.

November flowers

The flying bird of the day is a fierce goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from  Edinburgh and shows Matilda, who may not be hiding quite as well as she thinks.

Matilda

We had a still and chilly morning so it was no surprise to find some mist about. Mrs Tootlepedal, in her restless search for entertainment, went off to the church choir annual social and coffee morning, an occasion when riotous behaviour is legendary.

As I was left with time on my hands, I decided to try to rise above the mist and drove up to the White Yett and walked up the track to the monument.

I succeeded in my aim.

Misty valley

As I climbed towards the monument, I could see the mist hugging the town below me.

misty from whita

As I got higher still it became plain the the mist was rising from the rivers and I took a panorama shot to try to give an impression of the view. (You can click on it to enlarge it a bit.)

Mist panorama

It wasn’t the clear blue sky above my head that I had hoped for but it was a beautiful day for a walk and I can’t pass the monument without my shutter finger twitching uncontrollably.

Monument

After a final look at the mist curling along the course of the Esk…

Mist in the Esk valley

I strolled back down to the car and drove down into the mist…

Mist

…and back home in time to have a coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal.

I put out some pellets on the lawn feeder and a smart starling got there before the jackdaws…

starling

…which didn’t meet with universal approval.

Jackdaw

Soon, the jackdaws were back in business…

_DSC7973-1

…and the starlings could only wait in line.

starlings

I was pleased to see a/the brambling back again.

brambling

…as bramblings are among my favourite birds.

After an early rush of goldfinches and greenfinches had subsided, the chaffinches took their chances.

chaffinches

As you can see, the sun had broken through the mist so I had an early lunch (sardine pâté again, still not working) and while Mrs Tootlepedal had a quiet afternoon, I got the fairly speedy bike out and went for a bike ride.

With the sun and a very light wind, it was a great pleasure to be out on the road, even with the temperature at a rather meagre 5°C .  I was cycling down the road to Waterbeck when I noticed another fallen tree….

fallen tree Waterbeck road

…and I was very grateful firstly to the people who had cut it up so neatly and secondly that I hadn’t been cycling past it when it fell down straight across the road.  You can see the narrow but neat repair to the road that I enjoy cycling along.  It lasts for three miles.

I pedalled on through Waterbeck to Eaglesfield and then turned to come back through Gair. The Gair road had been closed for work last time I tried this route so I was keen to see what they had been doing.

It amazed me.

Gair road

They have put in a firm verge on one side of the road or the other for its whole length.  Then they had then put a bollard every twenty metres or so to stop anyone driving on it.  As the road is just under three and a half miles from junction to junction, they must have used hundreds of bollards.  (A quick calculation arrives at the rather disappointing total of about 270 if each gap really is 20m.)

I suspect that this work may be connected with the arrivals of windmills to a nearby new windmill farm.

As I pedalled home, the sun drifted behind the low haze and the light wind was in my face.  The mist was creeping in again as well…

Wauchope mist

…so I wasn’t unhappy to get home with just 26 miles on the clock.  Rather dispiritingly, I only took a few minutes less than it takes an elite runner to run the same distance but in these cold months, my old legs don’t work as well as they do when there is a bit of heat about.

The day had got too gloomy for another walk or any more cycling so I made a large pile of drop scones and ate them all (with a little help from Mrs Tootlepedal)

Other than that, the day drifted quietly away with an enjoyable and fruitful  visit from my flute pupil Luke and a couple of hours watching two episodes which we had recorded of the new series of The Bridge, the only TV drama which I watch.

After our brief spell of cold weather, we are now being promised temperatures up to 13°C in a day or two.  Goodness knows what the birds and plants think of this erratic pattern.

The flying bird of the day is a determined jackdaw.

jackdaw

 

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