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Posts Tagged ‘reindeer’

Today’s guest picture comes from a new contributor, Paul.  Like myself, he is a cyclist and obviously a keen photographer.  He is not absolutely sure but he thinks that this delightful shot was taken at Blea Tarn in the Lake District.

blea tarn

We had another cold and sunny day today, but it was even colder than yesterday with temperatures hitting -7°C overnight.  It was still -3° after breakfast.  Mrs Tootlepedal had left very early to catch a bus from Canonbie to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate with a group of embroiderers so I was left on my own.

I went to the new corner shop, did the crossword and then watched the birds for a while as the day warmed up a little.  The goldfinches, which must come from a distance, are not interested in visiting the garden while it is so cold but there were a few resident birds about.

robin dunnock blackbird

Traffic was thin though,  so I went for a walk down to the river to see if I could find some more.

The Kilngreen was quite busy with ducks, gulls and rooks…

duck, gulls and rook

…and reindeer.

reindeer on kilngreen

Wait a minute!  Reindeer???

Yes reindeer.  Some of the Cairngorm reindeer herd are on tour, appearing at pre-Christmas events all over the country.  These ones had stayed at the company’s Yorkshire base over night.

reindeer head

There were old and young animals…

reindeer panel

…and they ate the Kilngreen grass and the ready prepared food with equal eagerness.

When they time came, they were led out onto the main road….

reindeer leaving kilngreen

…where they disappeared into the low sunshine as they made their way to the stable at the Buck Hotel where they would be an attraction at the town’s switching on the lights event.

reindeer going to the Buck

I followed them down the High Street but didn’t go into the Buck Hotel, preferring to head up the Kirk Wynd and on to Whita Hill.

There are plenty of haws on the hawthorns waiting for the birds to get hungry enough to eat them and disperse the seeds.

hawthorn

In contrast to the colour of the berries, a stand of rosebay willowherb stalks looked very monchrome and I helped it by taking the picture in monochrome too.

rosebay willowherb

Looking back as I climbed up the track, the valley below was already deep in shadow and looked very cold.  The sun struggles to get above the hills at this time of year and lying at 55° North, we are on the same parallel as Manitoba, bits of Alaska and much of Russia so if it wasn’t for the gulf stream, this shot might well show a lot of snow and not much else.  The effect of climate warming on the Gulf Stream is something that not enough people in government are worrying about.

chilly valley

Still, I couldn’t complain about the weather for my walk today and if I kept in the sun it was bracing but very pleasant all the same.

ewes valley sunny

It was still freezing though.  This puddle reminded of a painting of doves but I can’t pin down the artist.

icy puddle whita

It s difficult for me to capture on camera as I would like, but I do enjoy the intersecting lines of trees and hills as I walk.

potholm hill

This little scene cheers me up every time that I pass it.

view from copshaw road

When I got back to the Kilngreen, the reindeer were long gone but the gulls were at their posts.

gulls on post

I walked up to the Buccleuch Centre and a gathering of folk caught my eye.  Mrs Claus was waiting for her husband.  He appeared along with Santa’s little helper…

Santa and friends

…and they were joined by a group of volunteers who were going to control the traffic.  The alert reader will notice my flute playing friend Luke and his mother in the panel above.  Mrs and Mrs C chatted for a while.

Soon we were joined by the appropriately dressed Langholm Pipe Band and they led off a small procession…

pipe band santa

… of a unicyclist….

unicycle santa

…and Santa on his sleigh (but sadly, with not a reindeer in sight).

 

santa in TT road

I left them to their chilly fun and went back home to have a bowl of warming soup.  Then I made some tea cake dough and left it to rise while I went back up to the town to sing carols with the Langholm Choir at the switching on of the lights.

There was quite a buzz in the Market Place…

fun inmarket place

..and we sang away lustily, accompanied by members of the town brass band until the moment of switch on came.

christmas tree lights

I then scuttled home, crossing the suspension bridge and admiring the lights on the Town Bridge as I went…

lights on bridge

…and knocked back the tea cake dough and divided it into individual cakes and put it in the boiler cupboard to rise.

I was expecting Mrs Tootlepedal back from  her trip to Harrogate but she rang me to say that the bus was stuck on the A66.  Luckily the driver was able to turn round and take a diversion to join the motorway at Tebay so she got home in the end, but much later than expected. There had been a bad crash ahead of them on the A66. She was grateful for a freshly baked tea cake to give her sustenance.

We are due to have another freezing day tomorrow but then things should warm up a bit so we may get more birds back in the garden again.

In the absence of domestic flying birds, one of the Kilngreen gulls is the flying bird of the day.

flying gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was watching this team of rowers battling into a very strong wind during the recent storm when he heard unsympathetic onlookers on the bank shouting, “Faster!”

nottingham rowers

The wind had dropped here today but it was still raining when we got up.  I looked at Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge in the evening and found that there has been three inches of rain this week.

I went along to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast and replenished our supplies of cheese, honey and fish and meat.  There were plenty of stalls and a good crowd of buyers so every one seemed happy.

When I got home, I peered at the birds and found that most of our visitors were goldfinches again…

_DSC8869

…with the now familiar coal tits in evidence…

_DSC8871

…and the jackdaw with the white feathers too.

_DSC8874

The rain persisted all morning but I had a stubborn crossword to struggle with so the time passed and after lunch, the rain eased off and I got ready to go out for a cycle ride.

I was just leaving when my neighbour Liz phoned and told me to look at her garage roof.

I looked and saw two partridges.  The partridges are birds that are put out for shooting parties to take pot shots at so these two had sensibly got out of the woods and into the town where they will only be subject to people shooting them with a camera.

_DSC8879

I hoped that when I got back from my cycle ride that I would find them in the pear tree in our garden and thus solve the Christmas present question.

There were still a few drops of rain about when I set off up the road but it wasn’t too cold, the rain soon stopped and the wind was behind me so I was contented enough.

The light didn’t improve though and I only stopped once on my 12 mile ride.

P1150754

A quick walk round the garden when I got back also only produced a single shot. The snowberries seemed appropriate for the first official day of winter.

P1150756

The partridges were in our garden when I cycled in, but I alarmed them and they scurried off so I didn’t get a chance to put out seed to tempt them into the pear tree.

I didn’t have long to get changed.

The town’s Christmas lights were due to be switched on and our choir had been asked to go and sing carols with a group of players from the Langholm Town Band.  Mrs Tootlepedal came with me and we squeezed onto this little platform outside the Town Hall, looking for all the world like a Punch and Judy show.

P1150758

We sang twice and in between efforts, I sneaked along the road to see the reindeer in the yard of the Buck Hotel, regular visitors to his event.

P1150764

This one was getting a feed of lichen.

The High Street was very festive with a good crowd out to welcome Mrs and Mrs Santa Claus, listen to the band and see a variety of entertaining turns as they gathered outside the Eskdale Hotel waiting for the  big switch on.

P1150769

The lights came on right on schedule and the Christmas tree looked very fine.

mde

Cars had to make their way carefully between the throng…

sdr

…and there was some of the fun of the fair for younger people.

sdr

There was even a flurry of snow but it has to be said that this came from two ingenious snow guns.

P1150774

It was a very cheerful event.

I enjoyed a small fillet of sea bass for my tea, a fish that I had never cooked before.  I will certainly cook it again as it extremely easy to cook and it turned out to be very tasty.

The varied activities, combined with unusually interesting programmes on the telly in the evening, left me feeling that winter hasn’t been bad so far.  Long may this happy state of affairs continue.

The flying bird of the day wasn’t available so a posing partridge is standing in.

_DSC8876

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  She was very taken by this festive shop front.

festive shop

We had a slightly warmer but very much greyer day today with only the occasional glimpse of sunshine.  It was still pretty chilly when I walked along to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre to buy those necessities of life, fish, cheese, honey and venison.

I added a luxury or two in the form of some haggis and a pound of mince.

The arrival in the last two months of a cheese man from Cumbria with an enticing selection of farm produced cheese has brightened my life immeasurably.  Sadly, owing to being somewhat overweight after an inactive November, I can only look with longing at the cheese that I have purchased as eating it would make me even stouter.

I looked out of the window when I got home in the hope that the finches would have returned.

There weren’t many about  and the reason for their absence is still a mystery.  I don’t think it can be a sparrowhawk threat as the robins were still about and quite happy to pose on a twig.

robin

And there were several dunnocks….

dunnock

…a coal tit….

coal tit

…and more robins…

robin

…as well as a fruitarian blackbird.

blackbird with apple

A few chaffinches did finally arrive…

chaffinch

…with some looking as though they had had a big night out when it came to staying steady on the perches.

chaffinches

But on the whole, there were just a fraction of our usual visitors.

With cheese in mind, I had an early lunch and got the fairly speedy bike out.  I had intended to do thirty miles but it took me so long to put on the many layers of clothes required to keep me warm and the toil of trying to pedal with all the layers in place meant that I was quite pleased to have an excuse to cut the ride down to twenty miles.

The excuse came when I turned onto a narrow road and found not only a man cutting hedges, always a risk to cyclists as hawthorn twigs tend to end up in the road, but also large mounds of semi frozen slush over the road as well.

I turned for home….but not before taking a picture of a passing tree…

tree

…and the nearby farm.

farm

I stopped once again on the way home to look up the valley towards Winterhope….Callister view

…and noticed more windmills on the top of the hill than I expected.

windmills

I haven’t been along this road in this direction for some time but as far as I can remember, there weren’t as many turbines as this last time I came past.  The row on the right weren’t turning in the wind so I think that they must have been added to the Ewe Hill windfarm fairly recently.

I was even more pleased about cutting my trip short when I got home and it occurred to me that I was supposed to be singing with our local choir in the Market Place as part of the festive fun which goes along with the switching on of our Langholm Christmas Lights.

When I got to the Market Place, our leader Billy was looking around anxiously for some singers.

billy

The Market Place was en fete….

lights switch on

…and though it might look a little sparse at first sight, there were further stalls along the High Street, carved bears waiting round corners…..

carved bear

…and Santa’s reindeer behind the Buck Hotel.

reindeer

Many shops were offering little drinks and snacks  and a good number of people were on the move, enjoying the treats.

Quite a few singers turned up and we had a hearty unaccompanied swirl through several unison carols to the delight of a small but appreciative audience.  After a pause for refreshment, a number of players from the Town Band arrived and we sang another set of carols with them, this time to a larger but equally appreciative audience.

I don’t like to have too much excitement in my life at one time so when we had finished singing, I made my way home without waiting for the lights to be switched on.  The celestial lighting was more than good enough for me.

sunset

I had fish for my tea.

It looks as though the weather might be kind enough for another pedal tomorrow so December is turning out very well so far.

With not many birds to watch, this greenfinch was the best that I could for the flying bird of the day.

flying greenfinch

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