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Posts Tagged ‘pine tree’

Today’s guest picture is the final one from Venetia’s Moroccan trip.  It shows a gecko basking in the sun.

gecko

It was another grey day here but slightly warmer and not actually raining as I walked to church in the morning.  Our bus driving organist had been called to do an an extra shift owing to shortage of staff in Edinburgh but a late replacement appeared so we had accompanied hymns even if they were not the ones that we expected.

I went out into the garden when I got home to check on frogs.  Once again there were none to be seen so I had to make do with a pulmonaria and a bit of colour on a viburnum…

pulmonaria and buds

…and some lawn talk with my neighbour over the garden hedge.  Another sign of spring.

Things in the garden are developing very slowly in the continuing damp, grey and cool weather.

I went back in and watched the birds for a while.  There has been a brisk demand for seed over the past few days and I have been kept busy refilling the feeder.

A siskin watched a queue of chaffinches filing past…

siskin watchinmg chaffinches

…and although this siskin has got its head stuck into the seed, its tail and wing position show that it is fully aware of the incoming chaffinch.

chaffinch and siskin

A bird needs to be alert as there is no knowing when a passing chaffinch might decide to give you a hefty kick.

all action siskins

Quieter scenes were also available.

chaffinch on pole

In both directions.

siskin on pole

We had a second helping of tomato soup for lunch and I printed out 200 more envelopes and covering letters for Mrs Tootlepedal.  These are going to go down to Canonbie where other people will deliver them.

When I looked, I saw that the seeds had dropped below the top perch level and a helpful chaffinch had to explain to a pal that the seed was down here now.

chaffinch too high

Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t come to church as she was busy again delivering brochures in the town for the proposed community buy out.  She is not alone in this work and one of the team came round to collect more envelopes.  While she and Mrs Tootlepedal mulled over the work in hand, a heavy shower of rain swept through the garden and by the time that they had finished talking, it had gone.  Good timing.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off in the car to deliver envelopes to some of the outlying houses in the area and I didn’t go with her to help as I wanted to go cycling.  There was alarming talk on the news websites of old people in the UK being made to remain in their homes for a long period in the not too distant future so I wanted to get some exercise while I still could.

I got my cycling gear on and just as I was going to go out, it started to rain. In normal circumstances, I might have got fed up and stayed a home but having told Mrs Tootlepedal that I couldn’t help her, I thought that I ought to actually go for a bike ride, so I set off.

I chose a route up the Ewes valley as this meant that I would start with the wind and rain at my back and not get discouraged too soon!

The rain persisted but never came to much so I quite enjoyed my wind assisted cycle up the hill to Mossspaul.

I wasn’t intending to stop for pictures in the rain but this unusual little waterfall in the middle of a field caught my eye.

unexpected oxbow waterfall ewes

When I looked at the scene more closely, I could see that I was watching a geography lesson in action.  All the makings of the formation of an oxbow lake were before me.

oxbow lake ewes

It is not often that you see that.

There was plenty of water running off the hillside and every little stream was busy.

stream at mosspaul

When I stopped at Mosspaul  after ten miles, I took a moment to enjoy this pine tree…

pine at Mosspaul

…before setting off back down the hill to Langholm.  I had feared that it might be an unpleasant battle with wind and rain but the rain had eased off and the wind came round a point or two and was often more across than in my face.

All in all, it was a much more enjoyable ride than I had expected when I started out, and as I managed to average just over 14 mph for an outing for the first time this year, I was a happy man when I greeted Mrs Tootlepedal who had returned from her post outing and was busily folding the letters which I had printed earlier.

She didn’t need any help so I went for a short  walk.  The day had dried up and there was even a hint of sunshine.

monument in late sun

Waterside birds are paired up.

three bird pairs

And other signs of spring are to be seen.

three sings f spring

The birds still look as though they are finding life…

oyster catcher in esk

…a little chilly…

heron

…but the crocuses on the Kilngreen are certainly brightening things up.

kilngreen crocus panel

The sun didn’t come out so I didn’t dilly dally but willow and moss made me pause for a moment or two…

willow and moss

…and I went to check on the hazel catkins beside the Esk on the Castleholm.  When I last looked, there were several female flowers but very few catkins.  Today, there were a lot more catkins but I had to look very hard to find a flower and in the end, I only saw one and it was nowhere near the catkins.

The weather seems to have confused the hazels.

hazel catkin and flower

I made some corned beef hash for tea and we settled down for a quiet night in.  It had been strange to have no Carlisle Choir to go to but at least we had got the delivery work and a cycle ride done between us so we hadn’t wasted the day.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, approaching the feeder with the confidential manner of a head waiter at a posh restaurant.

flying goldfinch

Footnote:  The Coronavirus news is everywhere. 

Yesterday I read a headline that said “Borders Shut” so I thought that we had been closed down without us knowing about it.  It turned out to be about the closure of international borders in Europe not the border counties of Scotland.  Phew.

Today it said “UK over 70s to be confined to home for a long period”.  That was most unwelcome.  Closer reading showed that in Scotland, us old folk will be allowed some freedom to toddle about outside if we are prepared to ca canny, which we definitely will do.  Phew again.

Don’t think that we aren’t taking this seriously, because we are. 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Alison and Mike Tinker’s New Zealand visit.  As well as bridges, they have flowers over there too.

kowhai flower

I try to keep off politics in this blog, but I cannot hide the fact that the English results of our general election were a disappointment to me and will lead us into a cloudy future.  Our very unfair first past the post voting system meant that in the UK, the conservatives got a thumping majority in parliament with about 45% of the vote and in Scotland the SNP won nearly all the seats with roughly the same percentage of the vote.  This is ridiculous on both counts.  The result is that Boris Johnson can claim a ringing endorsement for leaving the EU with a percentage vote that was much smaller than the winning margin in the actual EU referendum and which would have seen Brexit defeated and Nicola Sturgeon can claim a ringing endorsement for a second referendum on independence with exactly the same share of the vote with which the nationalists lost that first independence referendum.   I weep.

Under the circumstances, I was happy to have a busy day to keep my mind off things, starting with coffee and scones with Dropscone.  It is fair to say that he was probably more satisfied with the overall election result than I was.

When he left, I took a quick look at the feeder and was happy to see any visitors at all as a cat had earlier made a determined, but luckily unavailing, assault on our birds.  I do not subscribe to the cats’ protection league.  If there was a league for protection from cats, I would subscribe to that.

bright goldfinch

A rare sparrow turned up to try out a fat ball…

sparrow on fat ball

…and the robin posed on the hedge.

robin on hedge

It was fine but chilly at 3 degrees C so I went for a short three bridges walk, hoping that it might warm  up a bit later on.

Among the black headed gulls at the Kilngreen, I spotted this larger juvenile.  I can’t tell what sort of gull it is and would welcome advice from knowledgeable readers.

young gull

I can recognise a heron though and I found Mr Grumpy looking unusually alert.  I thought that I was going to get a flying heron of the day shot for a moment but he was just stretching his wings and soon subsided unto a characteristic pose.

heron panel

I paused on the Sawmill Bridge to look for dippers.  I didn’t see any but I was impressed that I was on the bridge at exactly the right time to be able to photograph its shadow falling on the water below (and with my shadow just showing  on the parapet.)

sawmill brig shadow

The birch trees on the Lodge Walks are almost all bare now but the hornbeams…

lodge walks near shortest day

…still have a lot of keys attached.

hornbeam

The sun picked out a pine on the Castleholm…

sunlit pine

…and I was happy to see signs of things to come as I walked back along the path to the Jubilee Bridge.

bud and catkin december

I crossed the bridge and walked along the river bank behind the school where there were berries to be seen in abundance.  These are yew…

yew berries

…and this is a very productive snowberry bush.

snow berries

Its white berries made a contrast with some pink ones further down the bank.

snowberry panel

I bought a couple of meat pies from the butcher’s van beside the Buccleuch Centre and took them home where Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate them for lunch.

Fortified by my pie, I checked the thermometer and seeing that it had crept up to 4 degrees, I wrapped up and went out for a short cycle ride.

When the sun was out, it was lovely…

cleuchfoot road

…but some clouds came up from behind me and the catching the sun became a bit of a here and there affair.  I was here and the sun was mostly over there…

distant sun on hills

…so it got a bit chilly and I settled for fifteen miles in case it started to freeze.  I was encouraged to go home when I was passed by the council gritting lorry which sprayed me liberally with grit.  I took the hint.

I saw two mushrooms on my way, one in the sky…

mushroom cliud

…and the other with some friends beside the road.

fungus by wauchope road

I didn’t dilly dally when I stopped cycling and it wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal and I were heading down to Longtown to pick up our new spectacles.  When we had collected them, we headed for Gretna and purchased some warm socks and gloves for the season.

It was dark by the time that we got home.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their traditional Friday evening visit and Mrs Tootlepedal cracked open a bottle of reasonably priced fizzy wine with which we we raised a toast to an uncertain future.

Alison and I then improved the day by playing some enjoyable music.

While I was at the Kilngreen on my walk, I tried to catch a flying bird of the day by tracking a gull with my pocket camera.  It nearly worked.

flying gull just

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who spotted this.  She tells me that she had not touched a drop.

pink elephant

We had a sunny day from dawn until dusk and the garden was once again filled with butterflies…

two butterflies on sedum

…but I let them get on in peace today and when I wasn’t having coffee and treacle scones with Drospcone, I walked round the garden dead heading as much as I had patience for and otherwise looking at flowers.  Dropscone and his daughter Susan are going on holiday in the North of Scotland next week so I hope that one or other of them will be able to send me a guest picture or two.

The flowers are still worth looking at.

new rose

…and I enjoyed the play of light and shade…

shady dahlia

…the bright colours….

shady poppy

…and the occasional piece of serendipity like these anemones poking their heads up through an azalea.

two anemones in azalea

I haven’t been dead heading the Welsh poppies with any great regularity so I am always pleased to see one smiling at me as I pass.

welsh poppy

The garden was buzzing with bees and hoverflies.

Dahlias…

bee on dahlia

…and Michaelmas daisies were favourite insect haunts.

daisy with bee

I tried to get as close as possible to a butterfly having a snack on a daisy…

daisy with butterfly

…but I need a steadier hand to get a good result.

This is what they were all looking at.

close up of daisy centre

Crown Princess Margareta has appreciated the sunshine and the Rosarie de l’Hay was in a welcoming mood.

roses

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning of meetings so I made some soup for lunch for lunch. and when she came back, we enjoyed it with some bread and cheese.  Fortified by this, I went out for a cycle ride.

The fine weather has let the farmers go on cutting grass for winter feed longer than usual, and there were fields of cut grass all along my route.

view at between the waters

The farm here stands on a little promontory between two small streams and is know as Between the Waters, a very appropriate name.

between the waters

The wind was light and the day was pleasantly warm without being too hot so I pedalled along in a happy mood at a modest pace and without stopping for too many pictures on a familiar route.

I recently put some English road side pine trees into a post so I thought that I ought to put one of my favourite Scottish roadside pine trees in to keep things balanced.

Tree near KPF

I stopped for a drink of water and a short rest at twenty miles and needless to say, I looked at the wall that my bike was resting on.

lichen at Half Morton

A bit further along the road, a small herd posed artistically for me.

cows posing prettily

I wasn’t feeling very adventurous or energetic as Mrs Tootlepedal has kindly passed a bit of her recent cold onto me, but it didn’t stop me adding another 31 miles to my total and I was pleased to have been able to make some use of a perfect cycling day.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal peeled some of our apples and between us we made another tarte tatin in our smart new tarte tatin pan.  Mrs Tootlepedal had cut the apples into very neat shapes and on this occasion I didn’t overcook the caramel sauce and the result of this was a great improvement on our first two efforts.

burst

I have made a note to myself reminding me that if I want to make tarte tatin, it is a really good idea to get the frozen puff pastry unfrozen before you start and not to have to resort to desperate measures to defrost it in a hurry.

We have got a lot of apples to eat, so I will get a chance to remember that soon.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round for their last Friday visit for a while as they are going to see their granddaughters in New Zealand next week.  Alison and I enjoyed some farewell music, and once again Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights.

When Mike and Alison  had gone, Mrs Tootlepedal and I ate quite a lot of the tarte with some vanilla ice cream.  It was good.  (We did offer Mike and Alison some, honest.)

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow that had flown up into the rowan tree to grab a little shade.

shady sparrow in rowan

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin.  He is visiting his son in California where he was impressed to see that every other parking space at his son’s place of work had an electric charging point..

Apple EV charging

We had an unusual day here today in that it didn’t rain at all.  People were walking round the town looking nervously at the sky and wondering what had gone wrong.

It was an early autumn sunny day though, being quite chilly in the morning and not warming up until later in the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal spent the whole morning manning a stall at the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre where she gave out information about the proposed community land purchase scheme.  I went along for the more mundane purpose of buying fish and meat.  I would have bought cheese and honey too, but the cheese man has stopped coming, and the honey will not be ready for another month or two.

When I got home, I prepared for a cycle ride by drinking coffee and doing the crossword until it got a bit warmer.

I went out into the garden to check the temperature and spotted not one, not two, but three butterflies, a peacock by itself, a red admiral with a small tortoiseshell, and finally all three together.

three butterfly panel

The Abyssinian gladiolus and the mallow were pleased to see the sunshine….

galdiolus and mallow

…but the pick of the flowers for me today was this cosmos.  It was very happy not to be bowed down with raindrops.

cosmos

I went back in and fuelled up on some haggis and finally got going just before midday.

For once, the wind was behind me as I cycled out of town and I had a most enjoyable time cycling through the peaceful pastoral countryside…

pastoral scene

…though the verges have been so heavily mown that there was not much in the way of wildflowers to be seen.  This ragwort was growing in a crack in the concrete on a motorway bridge.

ragwort and insect

My route took me down into England.  There are many good things about cycling on the back roads of North Cumbria; the generally excellent road surfaces, the lack of traffic and the absence of hills among them, but one of the things that I like best are the many lone pine trees that I pass along the way.

Some are tall and thin…

pine tree harker

…and others, shorter and stout.

pine tree 2 harker

After 30 miles with the wind being mostly helpful, there came the inevitable time when I had to turn into the wind to pedal home.  It wasn’t very strong so I made reasonable progress but I was happy to stop and look at the cliff beside the River Lyne where it is crossed by the Longtown road.

It is a strikingly coloured sandstone cliff, all the more surprising…

cliff cliff

…because it sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise gentle and flat  landscape

river lyne at cliff

Looking  from the bridge, I could see the Longtown windmills slowly tuning in the light breeze.  The fact that they were facing directly in the direction that I was going to have to pedal to get home was not encouraging.

longtown windmills

Still, as I say, the wind was not strong so I made steady progress.  On the longer rides, I like to stop roughly every five miles for a minute or so just to stretch and to make sure that I remember to eat and drink regularly.

My next stop after the bridge over the Lyne gave me the chance to look across the River Esk and see Netherby Hall, the site of Young Lochinvar’s daring feat.

netherby hall

On this occasion there was no “racing and chasing on Canonbie Lea” as I maintained what could charitably be described as a steady pace for the rest of my way home.  The journey was enlivened by having to listen to remarks made by  my legs on the lines of,  “Whose idea was this then?” and “Any chance of a cup of tea soon?” and “I hope you’re happy because we aren’t.”

I had to stop to talk to them severely at the bus stop at the Hollows and this let me enjoy some orange hawkweed and a hedge full of convolvulus.

hawkweed and convolvulus

I don’t know why my legs were reluctant to co-operate over the last few miles.  Perhaps the hilly walk yesterday had put them off.  Still, they got me home and 50 sunny miles had been completed so I wasn’t complaining (much).

Mrs Tootlepedal, with great forethought, was cooking a large heap of drop scones when I got in and half a dozen of these with some homemade raspberry jam soon made everything right.

So right, in fact, that I was able to go out and mow the middle lawn.  When I had put the mower away, I had a last look round the garden.

The verbena is looking very fine.  I wasn’t very taken with it when it first came out, as I thought that it was rather spindly and insubstantial, but it has got better and better as time goes on, and it is another of those flowers of which each head is a little garden in itself.  I like that.

verbena

Mrs Tootlepedal likes the gorgeous blue of the gentians which are growing in a pot beside the chimney.

gentian

The sedums were glowing in the evening sun and they had attracted several visitors.

sedum and insect

As well as flowers, the garden is full of flying things.  The starlings which live in our neighbour’s holly tree have taken to perching on our new electricity lines and there are often several to be seen.

starling on wire

The mint is still very busy with these bright green flies…

greenbottle on mint

… and every time you walk past it, there is a mighty buzzing as they all fly up into the air..

There was a family of sparrows lined up on the house gutter and I was interested to see that as in all families, there was one that was sulking and refusing to get its picture taken.

sparrows on gutter

Mrs Tootlepedal rounded the day off by cooking some the fish from the morning’s market for our tea.  It went well with potatoes, turnips and beans from the garden.

Then we had the double pleasure of watching the highlights of both the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain.  The Tour of Britain is in Scotland for a couple of days and it was nice to see the peleton on familiar roads.

The flying bird of the day is a mechanical one.  It passed over the garden in the evening and as it was carrying a big TV camera, I wondered if it had been busy photographing cyclists earlier in the day and was on its way to Kelso for tomorrow’s stage.

helicopter

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s American adventure.  No prizes for guessing the name of this animal.

P1300370

We woke to an unexpected scene this morning….

snowy garden

…though it was only unexpected as it had arrived sooner than I was expecting.

There wasn’t that much of a snowy scene though when I walked down to the river after breakfast….

River Esk snow

…and although it was only just above freezing all day, the snow tended to fade away as quickly as it had come.

While it was there, it made a good background for a greenfinch on the feeder….

greenfinch

…and the brighter light showed off the rich colours on the back of a dunnock which often looks like a rather dowdy bird.

dunnock

It is one of my favourite garden birds.

 

I also like blue tits so I was pleased to see one in one of the sunny patches that interspersed the day.   You can see the nippy wind ruffling its  feathers.

blue tit

Because the wind was blowing briskly from the ‘wrong’ direction, the birds couldn’t hover when visiting the side of the feeder where I usually catch my flying visitors and there were very few birds today anyway, not surprising when this sort of thing happened.

snow

I stopped trying to get a FBotD shot and went off to have lunch at the Buccleuch Centre with Mrs Tootlepedal in an effort to forget the weather.  It worked well as we had an excellent meal.

After lunch, I settled down to work at my computer and time fairly flew by.  When I looked up, the sun was out again so I put on my coat and went for a short walk.  I was hoping to see river side birds and I wasn’t disappointed.

Mr Grumpy was catching some late afternoon rays…

heron

…and the ducks were doing likewise.

mallard

Crossing the Sawmill Brig, I looked down in the hope of seeing a dipper.

dipper

The Lumix did exceedingly well considering that it was quite far below me and in shadow.

The moss on the wall had survived the snow….

P1070734

…and I was impressed by the enthusiasm of this clump which had managed to find a place to grow between two cut logs.

P1070735

On the side of one of the logs, I could see the the seed holding cups of another moss.  The brown ones are empty (I think) and….

P1070736

…the green ones are still in business.

P1070737

In spite of the low sunshine, it was very nippy and the clouds behind Whita were beginning to look threatening…

P1070739

…so I took a picture of some fine pines…

P1070740

…put my camera in my pocket and headed home without stopping again.

I got in just as it started to snow.

It is promising to be colder and to snow more tomorrow.  What fun.  All the same, there are many parts of the country both to the south and north who are having a harder time than us so we mustn’t grumble.

Under the circumstances there is no flying bird of the day so the dunnock creeps into the frame instead.

_DSC1704

 

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Today’s guest picture is the last from Dropscone’s trip to the south.  His daughter Susan is a great motor racing fan so she took him to visit the historic Brooklands track.  There is not much of it left.

Brooklands

Yesterday’s rain had disappeared today.  This was particularly pleasing as I had to start the day by visiting the Moorland Feeders where I was acting as a fill-in feeder filler for the regular couple who are enjoying (I hope) a holiday in New Zealand.

It was almost sunny so I was hoping for interesting birds and some good light.  I got neither.  Oddly, the light was very poor, probably because it was hazier than it looked at first sight.  We seem to be in a  period of very high humidity and it was lurking around the 90% level all day.

There were a great many chaffinches…

moorland feeder chaffinches

…and a lot of squabbling siskins…

moorland feeder siskins

…and of course, the usual seed thief.  Not sorry today, not sorry at all….and making sure that I got her best side.

female pheasant

I don’t know when the birds here were last netted and ringed but a least one chaffinch is loyal to the feeding site.

ringed chaffinch

I stayed for quite a time as it is easy to feel that the moment that you get up to go all sorts of interesting birds will turn up so you linger for another few minutes just in case….but they didn’t so I left and went home.

There were siskins and chaffinches there too.

siskin and chaffinch

We did have a brief visit from two blue tits to break the monotony…

blue tits

The one on the right has something in its beak which gives it that odd look.

…but mostly it was chaffinches.

chaffinch flying

It was warm enough to stroll round the garden and I took a picture of some very damp snowdrops in the morning and then again in the afternoon.  In spite of the dry day, some of them were still damp five hours later

snowdrops

After lunch, I went for a thirty one mile pedal.  I would have liked to have gone further but my legs were on strike and thirty one rather slow miles was my limit.  I had to work so hard just to get round that I didn’t have much energy or thought for taking pictures but I did stop once or twice, if only to get a breather.

There was some fine gorse on the Gair road.

gorse

but it didn’t stand out in the grey conditions.

Things brightened up for the second half of the ride though and I stopped to admire a wind sculpted tree…

Tree near Chapelknowe

…though the road men may have helped the effect by lopping branches on the road side.

I stopped again at our own mighty  Río Pequeño, the boundary between Scotland and England.  No need for a wall here, only a very daring person would attempt to cross this river when they came to it.

Sark

The sun was making things very pleasant as I approached the last few hills before getting home…

Tarcoon

…but my mood was slightly darkened as I plugged up the next hill when I was passed by an old geezer pedalling an electric bike….and not just passed but left for dead.  It was most annoying.

He looked thoroughly serene.

When I got home, I had a walk round the garden to check on the daffodils.  There is still only one rather depressed one out but there is promise of more soon.

early daffs

The low sunshine was so golden that I couldn’t resist a quick jaunt on the slow bike down to the river.

Town Bridge

The days are getting longer but the sun is still pretty low at 4 pm.

pine trees

The low sun brings out the colour on the trunks of the pine trees

Mr Grumpy and friend were to be seen just up from the Meeting of the Waters.

heron

It was a case of taking the rough….

mallard

…with the smooth.

I had a last look at the pine trees….

pine tree

…and went home, where I had a sit down, a shower and a massive fry-up for my tea.

In the evening, I went up to the Archive Centre to help a new archivist get to grips with our system.  It is a fairly tedious business at first with a great deal to learn but he stuck in well and we made a lot of progress.  Another session or two will be needed before he becomes a fully fledged data miner.

There was a goldfinch or two among the chaffinches and siskins in the garden and this one made flying bird of the day.

flying goldfinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture from my sister Mary shows Mr Grumpy’s London relative in Regent’s Park.

Mr Grumpy making a London visitToday’s chapter of the great end wall saga started well with the early arrival of the chimney pot removal gang and progressed smoothly with the actual removal of the aforesaid pot.

chimney goneWhile this was happening, I made some ginger biscuits and was then visited by Dropscone bearing scones.  My ginger biscuits were a fraction undercooked (a fault on the right side) and Dropscone’s scones were, as always, quite perfect.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal retired for a session on her bike to nowhere and I got togged up for a walk in the chilly sunshine.  I was just about to set out when Sandy arrived and he joined me on my expedition.

Because of the good company and the pleasant sunshine, I was happy to walk a little further than I had intended and got over two and a half miles for the first time.  My knee was very happy about this but the rest of me was pretty jiggered by the time we got back.

Our route took us over the Esk….

river eskand onto the Castleholm.

We were held up by a colourful robin.

robinWhen I looked at the picture on the computer, it looked as though it had been swimming but somehow that doesn’t seem very likely.  We saw several more robins on our walk.

There were a number of small birds flitting around and this blue tit stopped just long enough for a quick snap.

blue titThere was a lot to look at as we went round and I have picked out a tall pine tree….

pine tree….a twisted branch reaching out towards the river….

branch…a fine view of the hills…

Timpen…a bunch of catkins…

catkin…the road through the woods…

woods…a few snowdrops…

snowdrops…a tree stump rotting in a picturesque way….

tree stump…and ducks in the Ewes going this way and that.

mallardsIt is noticeable from a photographic point of view how different the colouring of both the duck and the water is considering they were taken within a few yards of each other and with minutes.  A member of our camera club was complaining about ‘cheating’ by using a photo editor at our last meeting.  He doesn’t realise how much a camera does without asking.

I stopped for a last look back as we crossed the town bridge…

Castle Hill…and collapsed gratefully into a chair when I got home.

You can see the pictures that Sandy took on our walk if you visit his blog.  He saw a waxwing in his garden this morning and although we kept an eye out, we didn’t see one on our walk.

Once again, Mrs Tootlepedal provided me with an excellent meal.  This time it was a bowl of nourishing bean and chilli soup (with croutons) and I was so perked up that after lunch, I took her up to see the new bird hide at the Moorland feeder station.  It looks very good but is still lacking a floor.

There were few birds about so Mrs Tootlepedal went off on foot to walk the two and a half miles home and I strolled along the road across the moor.

tarras roadI visited a boulder in a roadside glade that I noticed on my last walk along this road and picked out a prominent lichen.

boulder lichenAs I walked along, I startled a little bird which I can’t identify.

redpollBack at the hide, the feeders went unvisited but the usual crew of pheasants strutted about.  One caught a ray of sunshine on its breast.

pheasantThese birds are free of the chance of being shot as the shooting season has come to an end but they will have to find their own food from now on.

By the time that I had finished my short walk and driven back to Langholm, Mrs Tootlepedal had also arrived in the town and jumped into the car for the last few hundred yards.

A cup of tea and a ginger biscuit was our reward when we got home.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Sandy and we finished off the last week of my index backlog.

A very satisfactory day was made even better by the availability of a convenient black headed gull as flying bird of the day.

gull

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