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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  She went to the Haynes International Motor museum in Yeovil with her friend Venetia, and her eye was caught by this shiny Morris Oxford 6 saloon from 1930.

haynes motor museum

I got up intending to have a quick breakfast and go cycling but like so many of my good intentions, this one was unrealised.  In the end, I had a slow breakfast, did the crossword, waited for a rain shower to pass, checked on the butterflies in the garden…

more butterflies

….and then finally went cycling.  By this time the wind had got up and was blowing pretty forcibly so I reduced my intended route distance from 30 miles to 12 and even then had quite a hard time cycling the six miles up hill and  into the wind to my turning point.

The grass is pointing to my way home.

 

blowing grass

I was freewheeling along a flat section at 25 mph with not a breath of wind in my face at one time on my way home, and that gives some idea of the briskness of the breeze.  Under the circumstances, I was quite pleased to have managed even 12 miles.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had done some serious lawn edging.

edged lawn

I had another walk round the garden and was pleased to find that lots of flowers had survived the four inches of rain that we have had during the week…

six garden flowers

…and that bees were busy visiting some of our newer blooms.

two bees

After lunch, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to do some more gardening in the sunshine, I drove down to Canonbie to visit the flower show there.

As well as jams, jellies, needlework, art, flowers and vegetables, there are always other attractions at the show and this year, there was a modest display of falconry.  It was slightly hampered by the very strong winds but a couple of patient birds sat on their perches taking an interest in what was going on.

This is a Harris Hawk..

harris hawk

…but I can’t remember what this striking bird was.

falcon canonbie

There are usually some static engines on display and this fine oil engine was the star of the show this year.

static engine canonbie

Some more mobile vehicles were to be seen as well.

two tractors canonbie

When I went into the hall to see the photographs, I was surprised to find that I had managed to acquire two first prizes and a second ticket from my twelve entries.  Sandy had been in the prizes as well and we shared  a trophy with yet another exhibitor for most points in the coloured photo classes.  We all had had a first and a second.

There were a lot of pictures on display and quite a number of different people had caught the eye of the judge.  This is very satisfactory and should bode well for the entries next year.  I would like to thank Linda for taking my pictures down to show and putting them up for me.

After a tour round the flowers and vegetables, I went for a walk along the river.  As I crossed the bridge, I saw a dipper below.

dipper in esk canonbie

A started my walk at the church and was pleased to find sheep safely grazing in the glebe fields.

sheep canonbie church

I felt that I was being laughed at as I took the path down to the river but it was only a conifer covered in strange fruit.

pine fruit

It was very peaceful walking along the grassy bank of the Esk…

esk at canonbie

…although a little waterfall splashing down the banking further on showed how wet it has been.

waterfall at canonbie

I was going to walk along the river for a good bit but the path became very muddy and as I didn’t have suitable footwear, I had to turn back and go back to the hall by the route that I had taken on the way out.

I met Sandy there and he kindly offered to bring my pictures back after the show had ended, so I was able to drive home and find out what Mrs Tootlepedal had been up to in my absence.

She had lifted the onions.

onions 2019

We had a cup of tea and then we drove up to the White Yett and walked up the track to the monument on Whita Hill.

It was still very breezy but the sun was shining, so I expected to get some good views.  Once again my expectations were unrealised as it was pretty hazy, but when the sun shone in the right place, views of some sort were available.  This is the Ewes valley.

ewes valley august evening

There is a plan to put a lot of exceedingly tall wind turbines on the top of these hills and although I am a supporter of wind power, we think that this is a step too far.  We can already see about 60 turbines from the monument but they don’t impinge on the views too dramatically,  These huge turbines would overwhelm the valley altogether.

They are several times the height of our monument.

monument sugust evening

When we arrived at the monument, we were being buffeted by the wind to such an extent that we didn’t stay for long.  I did look over the wall and down onto the Solway plain which stretches between our hills and the English hills which you can just see though the haze in the distance.

view of Solway plain from whita

When the sun came out from behind the clouds, the monument cast a long shadow over the moor.

shadow of monument

As we turned to go back down the hill, a patch of sunlight played on the top of Castle Hill across the valley.

castle hill august evening

As we went back down the hill to the town in our car, we passed several notices calling for care and warning of sharp bends and sudden steep sections.  When I checked, I found that there is a cycle sportive coming this way tomorrow from Hawick.  I just hope that the wind drops a bit or it will be hard work for the cyclists.

After a busy day for us both, we were refreshed by corned beef hash and rhubarb crumble with custard for our tea.

The falconer at Canonbie was able to fly an owl over a very short distance in spite of the wind so I have got quite an unusual flying bird of the day today.

flying owl canonbie

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  It shows the Houses of Parliament which is nominally the seat of our government.  Sadly, we are currently not being governed at all.

View from Lambeth Bridge

In a shocking challenge to the established order, it rained today…

wet poppy

…but as it only rained for about five minutes and not very hard at that, it didn’t make any difference and I still had to potter about watering anything I thought might benefit from it.

I also managed some weeding and a little strimming of the paths in the vegeatble garden and I edged the middle lawn.

It was cloudy and definitely a bit cooler than it has been so that was very welcome.  Encouraged by this, I got my bike out after coffee and the crossword and set out to see how my legs were feeling.

They were feeling fine so I did a 32 mile circle of familiar roads at a gentle pace (I was trying hard but the pace was gentle), keeping an eye out for anything interesting.  Once again, I found that if I stopped and looked around, there was usually something to look at.

My first stop was not far from the town.

orchid

There are orchids and red soldier beetles all over the place.

red soldier beetles

I stopped about 2o miles further on to check out a verge.

wild flowers 1

There was a good variety of flowers to be seen.

On my next stop, about 4 miles from home, there was an even greater variety.

There were all these…

wild flowers 3wild flowers 2wild flowers 4

…and many more.

wild flowers 5

Looking at the hedges and verges certainly keeps me occupied while I am pedalling along….and give me a good excuse for stops for a breather.

The light wind and cooler temperature made for very agreeable cycling conditions and I had worked up an appetite for a sardine, lettuce and potato salad for a late lunch when I got home.

I watched the bird feeder while I was in the kitchen.

Two sparrows posed artistically for me.

sparrows

An interesting time trial in the Tour de France gave me a good excuse for a rest after lunch and then a visit from Mike Tinker caused me to stir my stumps and get back out into the garden.

The sun had come out by this time and it was a lovely afternoon.

I mixed a little more watering with some flower watching.

The new iris is adding to its charm…

lily

…and the tall sunflowers are reaching ever higher into the sky.

sunflower

The calendulas don’t seem to mind the dry conditions…

calendula 1

…and have a nice assortment of styles.

calendula 2

Then I had to go in and have a shower and get ready for my flute pupil Luke to arrive.  As I hadn’t done any practice for a fortnight, I couldn’t complain too much about his lack of practice.  He has just started his first job so I suppose he has other things to think about at the moment.

I picked some peas and beans for my tea and enjoyed them with some fish cakes and then I had a selection from the cheese board to round off the meal.

One last expedition to the garden for watering followed, where I noticed that a leycesteria has flowered underneath the apple tree….

leycesteria

…checked out another of Mrs Tootlepedal’s new nicotianas…

nicotiana

…and discussed the political situation with a couple of blackbirds.

blackbirds

The flying bird of the day picture is provided by the aerial ballet department.

flying siskin and flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s sunny visit to Bath.

From canal towpath looking towards the boatyard

We got up to another grey and miserable morning here although once again it was unseasonably mild.

Mrs Tootlepedal is partially recovered but by no means back to full working order.   She is very touched by the good wishes expressed by readers of the blog.

The grey morning was much improved by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee and his already excellent scones were improved in my case by adding some of Mary Jo’s gift of saskatoon jam to them.  In my view, Dropscone’s plain scones and saskatoon jam are a match made in heaven.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about getting to the bottom of whatever it was that had made our phone line go dead and our internet flicker intermittently. By using our powers of deduction and a small screwdriver, we found the problem and cured it, probably just in time for the town’s power supply to be knocked out be the coming storm Ophelia.

Ophelia has been wreaking havoc in Ireland but it was extremely calm here in the morning and early afternoon.   Our neighbour Liz popped into to ask if we had seen the sun.  We went to have a look.

It was very odd.

The camera found it hard to record the clouds and the sun both in the correct shade but this is definitely how the sun looked.

red sun

It kept changing colour as the cloud of dust passed and I had several goes….

red sun

…until finally it got too bright for both me and the camera to look at.

red sun

It was sufficiently striking to make the news later in the day and the experts say that it was either Saharan sand or Portuguese wild fire particles or both that had provided the film of rusty colour.

After lunch, I had a look round the garden.  The light had improved and the bees and hoverflies were back on duty again.

bees and hoverflyhoverfly on poppy

A late astrantia has come out to join the poppies.

astarntia and poppy

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma add a delightful feminine touch.

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to make more of the ornamental strawberry next year.

ornamental strawberry

But the most exciting thing in the garden is the new tray under the bird feeders which means I can start feeding the birds again.

feeder tray

It is a heavy duty plastic cement mixing tray and Mrs Tootlepedal drilled the neat hole in the centre of it to let the feeder pole fit through.

It was warm (66°F) and fairly still so I took the opportunity to go for a short cycle ride in my outdoor gym and stopped for pictures on my way.

It was rather gloomy as I came back to town on my first lap….

Manse Brae

…but I headed down to Skippers Bridge to take a couple of pictures because I feared that if the storm is as windy as predicted, there may be few leaves on the trees when it is gone.Skippers BridgeLangholm Distillery

On my second lap, there were a few drops of rain and then the sun came out.Glencorf burnHawthornBlochburnfootAuld Stane Brig

Nowadays, the gloomy predictions of storm and tempest are often worse than the reality so keen are the weathermen for us not to be caught unprepared for bad weather so it will be interesting to see what scenes like these will look like in a couple of day’s time.

I looked round the garden when I got back.  I found some more colour.

charles ross applesclimbing hydrangea

…and then went in to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was.  She had been well enough to do a little work in the garden while I pedalling but she is still a bit fragile.

Although the light was fading, I looked at the bird feeders through the windows.

sparrow and blue tit

A gloomy sparrow and an astonished blue tit consider the sodden pink pellets

blue tit

A blue tit sits and thinks

A sparrowhawk flashed through the garden without it catching anything or me catching it.

It astonishes me how quickly birds find out that food of one sort or another is available.  I said to Mrs Tootlepedal only yesterday that I hadn’t seen a sparrowhawk about for weeks.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive time.  He played at a practice of  our local orchestra yesterday and felt that he had been able to play quite a bit of the music.

In the evening, I went to the Camera Club meeting.  Ten members turned up and we were treated to a very interesting and varied selection of photographs from winter scenes to remind us of what is coming, through stunning local wildlife portraits and action shots and striking black and white studies to a record of a recent African safari, complete with lions, rhinos, hippos and elephants.  We were very well entertained.  One member had brought in some very beautiful large prints which led to a lot of discussion.

The flying bird of the day is having a rest.

chaffinch

It is blowing hard as I write this. Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  As well as enjoying the delights of Venice lately, she also sampled a beautiful evening at Clapham Junction before she left for the continent

sunset over Clapham Junction

It was another day of variable weather but at least the rain was sporadic rather then persistent which was a relief.

I started the day by going to Longtown in the rain to pick up a new pair of glasses.  The optician has to deal with an extreme difference between my right and left eye and has given me a rather neat bifocal lens which he hopes will let me read with both eyes at the same time.  This will be a novelty if it works.

When I got home, I had time to have a coffee and the last slice of the oat, plum and ginger bake before I had to put on my sombre clothes and go to a funeral.  There was a good attendance as the funeral was for a local hero, Jimmy Maxwell, captain of Langholm Rugby Club in its most successful period ever, a rugby international and the chairman of the Common Riding committee for many years.

To us, he was the man who as a builder had done many alterations to our house when we first arrived in Langholm and who was responsible later on for putting in the ties that hold the house together and keep a roof over our heads.

Luckily the rain had stopped by the time that we came out of church.

I was sitting in the kitchen after the funeral when a knock on the door heralded the arrival of Sandy with two friends, Fred and Irene, who wanted to look round the garden.

Sandy with Fred and Irene

They are regular blog readers and wanted to to take the chance to measure my pictures against the real thing.  The enjoyed a garden tour and took an apple each with them as they went on their way.  Fred is just off to Africa where doubtless he will find interesting things to photograph.  I noticed as we finished our tour that the nerines beside the bird feeder are beginning to look their best.

nerines

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Annan where she had been receiving treatment for a painful toe and was very pleased with the results.

I had to spend a bit of time getting everything organised for a trip back up to Bentpath in the evening where I was going to give a talk to the Women’s Institute there.

I did think of fitting a short cycle ride in but another heavy shower made me unthink.

There was time to watch the finish of the Tour of Britain stage before I checked on the weather again and went out for a short walk.  My plan was to take a variety of photographs which might help to demonstrate some good and bad  things to do with a camera and which I could use in my talk later on.

I started beside the river.

Langholm bridge

Considering how much it has rained, the river was quite calm as it flowed under Langholm Bridge

The sawmill bridge

The view up stream from the bridge

heron

A local resident getting ready to fly

Then I walked up the Lodge Walks and across the Castleholm

fungus in fence post

I went from broad views to small with this fungus in a gate post

moss in a gate post

And this moss garden on another gate post

trees

I spent some time trying to convey a feel that the trees are just beginning to turn but there wasn’t really quite enough contrast

Oak galls

The selection of oak galls gets ever gaudier

Rosebay willowherb

I was peering at the the final few flowers on the rosebay willowherb….

P1020545

…when I was joined by a bee and a fly

I left the Castleholm, crossed the Jubilee Bridge and made my way home.

Warbla in evening sun

Warbla looking cheerful in the evening sun

Langholm Primary School

My old school looking a bit neglected. No use has been found for the building since the new school was built across the road.

A hoverfly in Mike and Alison's garden

A hoverfly in Mike and Alison’s garden which kindly opened its wings to make a better picture for me.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal talking to two more garden visitors.  It turned out that our neighbour Isobel had brought ex Langholmite and now Canadian resident and  blog reader Joyce to see the garden in real life too.

Isobel and Joyce

It was very nice to be able to put a face to a long time reader and commenter.

Joyce particularly enjoyed the fabled compost bins and was pleased that I give the credit for the garden to Mrs Tootlepedal, the gardener and don’t pretend that I do all the work myself.

I just had time to make a sausage stew for my tea, cook a batch of rolls which Mrs Tootlepedal had shaped earlier in the afternoon and pack my stuff into the car before it was time to go up the road to Bentpath.  I checked the weather before I left and saw no need for a rain jacket. Needless to say, it was bucketing down when I got to the village hall, a mere six miles north of Langholm and I got quite wet getting the stuff from the car into the hall.

After the ladies had had a business meeting, I got down to business with a run through of various styles of camera and lenses and then a slide show of the pictures that I had taken for the recent flower show competitions with a demonstration of how they had been edited and a run though of the afternoon’s photos from the walk with some explanation of why some had been reasonably successful and why others had been failures.

The talk seemed to hold the interest of the audience…..

Westerkirk WI

…who kindly posed for a mass portrait afterwards.

The possibilities offered by photo editing led to some questions after the talk.

This was followed by an excellent cup of tea, sandwiches and cakes.  Giving a talk to the WI is always a satisfying experience because if anyone is skilled in providing a nice cup of tea and cakes, it is them.

The moon was out as I drove home.

No flying bird of the day as that dratted heron was too quick for me when it took off.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was struck by the elegant simplicity of this device for opening all the windows of a glasshouse near Denholm in one fell swoop.

glasshouse window opener

The forecasters tend to look on the gloomy side of things and although we were promised a morning of rain,  thunder and lightning, in the end we got nothing more shocking than another heavy shower and the arrival of Dropscone for coffee.

Dropscone was due to play in a golf tournament near Denholm in the afternoon so he was a bit apprehensive but unless he was very unlucky, he should have been all right because the rest of our day here was fine, often sunny and quite pleasantly warm for once too.

This let me get out into the garden to pick some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s carrots.  We are plagued by carrot root fly so Mrs Tootlepedal has been taking extra precautions this year and they seem to have paid off.  Carrots have joined the beetroot and wild raspberry jam in the home produce section of our kitchen.

carrots, jam and beetroot

The wild raspberries produce a rather ‘pippy’ jam but it does have a very good flavour.

The scientific rain gauge shows just how heavy our brief showers have been…

rain gauge

…but I was able to get out into the garden to do some dead heading and tidying up.  The last of the delphiniums are now assisting the compost.

By early afternoon, not only was the washing hanging out and drying quickly but the poppies were holding their heads up in a very satisfactory way.  I didn’t photograph the washing but I did snap a poppy or two.

 

poppypoppypoppypoppy

Once again the bees had not been discouraged….

bees on poppy and cornflower

…and I was particularly pleased to see a small tortoiseshell as well as the more common large white.

white and tortoiseshell butterflies

The tortoiseshell was hiding in a box ball but I should be able to get a better picture in a few days if it keeps coming to the garden.

I had received an unexpected letter from Germany a few days ago and in it, a lady who has started to read the blog fairly recently introduced herself and told me that she would be coming to Canonbie.  She added that she would be happy to share a cup of tea, a biscuit and some conversation with me.  We had a mutual friend in a colleague who taught across the landing from me in Langholm Primary School some forty years ago.

A cup of tea alone is a considerable inducement but when a biscuit is added, who can resist so I got on the fairly speedy bike, readjusted my new mirror and set off to cycle down to Canonbie by my usual route.

Instead of looking for wild flowers today, I thought that I would look at views on my way.

There was no shortage.

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills

Whita Hill seen from Chapelhills

Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon

Looking down over the Esk valley from Tarcoon

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe

Cows at Mossknowe: taking the longer view

View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead

View through my favourite trees at Grainstonehead

Liddle Viaduct at Riddings

Testing the zoom: The Liddle Viaduct at Riddings seen from Grainstonehead about a mile away.

The old road passes Woodhouselees

The old road passes Woodhouselees

As you can see, it was a beautiful afternoon with the added bonus of not being too hot so that when I got to the house that I was visiting, I was in good order to pay a social call.

My welcome was very warm and the tea was refreshing, the biscuit nourishing and the conversation interesting.  It was useful to get a view of Brexit and Britain as seen from abroad as our press is generally very insular and we don’t have much of a view of what is going on over the Channel.  I was pleased that my blog had lead to such a sociable and informative occasion.

I stayed an hour and then cycled on home and took one last view on my way.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

I thought that the completed silage and the puddle gave a good reflection of our changeable weather.

The wind was very brisk again and I was happy to find it pushing me back up the hill into Langholm.  We should be grateful for the brisk wind, as it has been helpful in getting things dry after the heavy rain showers.

When I got back home, I had enough energy left from talking and cycling to mow the greenhouse grass and trim back the climbing hydrangea so that it no longer threatens to block our gutter.

hydrangea

I see when I look at the picture, that the trim might need straightening up a bit.

I also had time for a look at two flowers, a nicotiana, a favourite of Mrs Tootlepedal who loves the scent in the evening and a red astrantia, which has waited until the paler varieties are dying back before making an appearance.  As regular readers will know, I dearly love an astrantia so I was very pleased to see this one finally coming out.

astrantia and nocotiana

I was also pleased to see a water lily in flower.  Often when rain fills up the pond, the water lilies get drowned.

Whita seen from the old A7 near Irvine House

It has started to rain again as I write this. We have several more days of sunshine and showers to come but if the balance between the rain and shine is the same as it was today, we won’t complain too much.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a peacock which was observed by Dropscone on a visit to Leeds Castle in Kent during  his recent holiday.

peacock

Although there were hints of sunshine offered by the weather forecast for today, they were not forthcoming in actuality and we had a chilly, grey day with a nipping east wind. I started out by going up to the Moorland feeders with Mrs Tootlepedal to act as reserve feeder filler.

When we had filled the feeders,  she sat in the car and scanned the horizon for exciting raptors (in vain) while I sat in the hide, hoping for exciting new visitors (also in vain).

There was a shy woodpecker….

woodpecker great tit coal tit

…who was soon replaced by some more forward great and coal tits.

There was a seed pilfering pheasant….

pheasant

…and a great quantity of chaffinches and siskins…

siskins and chaffinches

…but when two other bird watchers came into the hide, I wasn’t too unhappy to pack up and leave them to it.

On our way back to the town, we stopped at Skippers Bridge to check on the work.  The workers must have faith in their scaffolding….

Skippers Bridge repair

….because the water was foaming away not far beneath their feet.  They are making good progress though…

Skippers Bridge repair

…and have built up a lot of new facing.  The man on the right was being fed stones to pack into the space behind the new wall.

Skippers Bridge repair

If they keep on at this rate, it won’t be long before they are finished.

While I was on the bridge, I stole a glance at the parapet.

Lichen on Skippers

I did have some idea of going out for a chilly pedal when we got home but the fact the I would have to face the nippy wind on my return journey persuaded me that making some leek and potato soup was a better plan.  We have still got several leeks in the garden so there will probably be more soup before the end of the month.

I watched the birds in between times.

goldfinch and chaffinch

I enjoyed the goldfinch on the right landing on a wing and a prayer

I am so used to seeing our birds that I sometimes forget just how pretty and colourful they are.

blue tit and goldfinch

Instead of cycling on the slow bike, I took pictures of the belt drive and the solid back tyre which together with the hub gear make it almost maintenance free…

slow bike

…even if they may make it a little slower.

A fresh crocus caught my eye.

crocus

The promised breath of springtime.

I did get some exercise in the end though as Sandy came round for a walk in the afternoon.

The promised sunshine stayed well away and we had a rather grey and featureless stroll.  In fact things were so dull that we started to see what pressing buttons on the camera might do.

A smart filter made a striking job of this track view.

Pathhead track

I did say that it was rather a grey day…

bridge at Holmhead

…so I took a rather grey picture to go with  it.

We thought that we would look to see if there were any snowdrops at Holmhead.

snowdrops

We found several…

snowdrops

…hundred.

We were still pressing buttons on the camera and we found a handy setting which will pick out a single colour from a scene.

Holmhead

We were like children in a sweetie shop.

Castleholm single colour

Sandy single colour

It was a pity that Sandy didn’t have a brighter jacket on.

I even showed the button to Mrs Tootlepedal when I got home…

tea pot single colour

…but she kept remarkably calm.

In the evening I went out to the first meeting of 2107 for our Langholm Choir, ‘Langholm Sings’.   We had a good practice, which started with some familiar music just to get us in the groove.  I noticed a few familiar mistakes were still in the groove too.  We ended the practice with a couple of new pieces and these were very enjoyable so the new season looks promising.

The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch looking for a male to give her some space.

flying chaffinch

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Dropscone did Forth bridges while he was in Edinburgh.  He went over the rail bridge by train, walked back over the mile long road bridge on foot and found time to take this artistic misty picture of the new crossing in between times.

Forth bridge

We had another fine day today but it was decidedly chilly and never got above two degrees in our front garden all day.

I started the day off by going up to the Archive Centre to print out some sheets for the data miners and I had to watch my step pretty carefully as I went because there were some slippery spots on the way.

When I got home, I had a moment to look out of the window…

Two goldfinches threw themselves so far off the feeder in their battle that they almost reached some sunshine…

sparring goldfinches

…but by and large, the birds came and went anonymously.

chaffinch

I had arranged to have coffee with Sandy and when we had finished our cup (and a slice of fruity malt loaf), we set off for a walk.

The good thing about a little freezing weather is that it makes our often soggy and boggy tracks and paths very suitable for walking along dry shod so we enjoyed a very pleasant two and a half mile walk in good conditions.

We went up Jimmy’s Brae and followed the track to the Beck’s Burn

We weren’t expecting to find much of interest to photograph on our way but thanks to adopting a very stately pace, many things caught our eye as we went along.

A leafy tree is bonus at this time of year after frost…

leafy tree in December

…but we have had very calm weather on the whole which must have helped the leaves to stay in place.

Up on the hill, the hardy cattle grazed placidly.

Hill catlle

We got into the woods and I was taking a picture of this wall, which has been overtaken by tree planting…

Old wall, Becks Burn

…when I had a closer look at the twigs of the tree on the right.

catkins

A reminder that days will get longer again

As we walked down the slope to the bridge across the Becks Burn, a tree trunk arrested us.

fungus and lichen

Sandy tried to capture the fungus on one side of the trunk and I admired the luxuriant lichen on the other.

Once across the burn and through the woods, we followed the road down to the Auld Stane Brig.  We followed it slowly though, as there were a thousand little icy treats to look at on the way.

frozen plants

Even the fence posts were worth a look.

frozen fence posts

It was quite surprising to find a bit of lichen that wasn’t covered in sparkling ice crystals.

lichen

We finally got going again and crossed the bridge…

p1070806

….and went along Gaskells Walk.

I was keeping an eye out for hair ice as I have seen it here before and I was not disappointed.  We saw several specimens before we finished our walk but none of them were terrifically photogenic.  These were the best two.

hair ice

There was some fungus still to be seen as well.

fungi

There was a ray of sunshine on a frosty glade beside the track and it was so appealing (to me at least) that I have put two pictures of it in.

Pool corner glade

Pool corner glade

Eskdaill Street  and Castle Hill were bathed in sunlight when we got to the top of the bank.

Eskdaill Street and Castle Hill

We walked to along to Stubholm and then came back along Eastons Walk, thoroughly satisfied with our outing.

Sandy went off home and I made some carrot and potato soup for lunch.

I had a look out of the window while it was cooking.

A robin was very busy trying to get into the blog.  It is hard to believe perhaps that all the pictures are of the same robin, taken within minutes, but they are.

robins

robins

I don’t know another bird that can change its shape so much just by turning its head.

The chaffinches approaching the feeder were less anonymous now.

chaffinch

I was going to do something interesting after lunch but the need to practise songs for concerts came first and then a visit to the chemist for a throat gargle and some joint ointment came second.  By the time that I was thinking of a third thing, it was almost dark so I had a cup of tea and another slice of fruity malt loaf and that was enough excitement for me.

The evening was devoted to tootling.  First my flute pupil Luke came and we made progress on a Telemann canon and then I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel and we made good progress on our new Mozart trio.  It would be hard to find a better use for a cold winter’s evening.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches finding a little light over a frosty lawn.

chaffinch flying

 

 

 

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