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Posts Tagged ‘River Esk’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba.  She was unimpressed by my flimsy  footwear in a recent picture on the blog and sent me this shot of real boot quality in her latest pair.

Mary Jo's socks

The ‘wet day’ marmalade which I made yesterday has set well, and this morning I put the caps on the jars and used some rather fancy labels.

2020 marmalade

(My handwriting was never good and has got steadily worse with the advent of keyboards and computers.)

The day was remarkably calm after yesterday’s strong winds and I was able to stroll down to sing with the church choir wearing a light jacket and a cheerful smile.  The hymns were a mixed bunch with an African tune, a Jewish melody and some old faithfuls and we had an enjoyable sing.  After a quiet time, we are going to start singing introits and anthems again so we had a practice after the service.  We were ready for coffee when we got home.

The birds were in no hurry to come to the feeder today but the walnut was playing host to jackdaws.  Jackdaws pair for life and we often see pairs of them sitting and chatting amiably among the branches of the tree.

jackdaw pair

As the welcome sun came round to the feeder, some dunnocks appeared on the ground..

dunnock

…and a pigeon landed on the electricity wire above…

pigeon on wire

…and finally a redpoll actually came and ate some seed.

redpoll on feeder

A siskin arrived too….

sisking on feeder

…but it was a very quiet morning for bird activity.  A small heap of feathers on the lawn showed that a sparrowhawk had visited earlier in the day so that possibly explained the lack of visitors.

I was pleased to see that our robin had not been the victim.

robin on wire

After our coffee, we took a quick walk round the garden.  We were delighted to see the first signs of snowdrops.

first snowdrop

We have occasionally seen them fully out by this time, so I hope it will not be long before a flower appears.

We left the garden and headed out for a visit to the river.  The rivers had fallen a lot since Gavin took his picture yesterday…

new course of wauchope

…and the Esk looked very calm…

Esk after flood

…but the lines of leaves on the bank showed just how near the road the river had been at its height.

tide mark esk after flood

It had brought down a good load of sand and gravel with it and this has blocked off the flow of the Wauchope through the second arch as it comes under the Kirk Bridge.

sandbank at mouth of wauchope

We crossed the suspension bridge and walked down the river towards Skippers Bridge.

Because we go to Carlisle for our other choir on a Sunday afternoon, we didn’t have a lot of time to spare.  Mrs Tootlepedal kept up a brisk pace and I only took a  few pictures as we went along.

The heavy rain had left fungus on a bench and lichen on a fence untouched….

fungus and lichen waterside

…but the river was high enough and the rocks slippery enough to make me think that a glimpse of Skippers Bridge through the trees was probably as close as it was sensible to get today.

skippers through trees

Although it was now a lovely day and it wasn’t much after midday, the long shadows across the field at the Murtholm reminded us that there is still a lot of winter to go.

murtholm winter shadows

And the reflective fence posts recalled yesterday’s rain.

fence post relections

It is curious that the left and right fence posts are reflected straight up and down but the centre post is at a marked angle.

The forecast for the next couple of days is appalling, with a named storm coming our way but today really was the calm before the storm.  It was a lovely day for a walk.

view of timpen january

As we walked along the Stubholm track, we passed some fine trees.  Mrs Tootlepedal gives a sense of scale to this one.

big tree at stubholm

The walk finished with a quick look at fungus and lichen on trees and walls round the park.

four lichens park wall

After a light lunch we added a useful visit to the recycling facilities in Longtown on the way to the Carlisle choir.

As we drove down, we were able to listen to the edition of Gardener’s Question Time on BBC Radio 4 which had been recorded last month in the Buccleuch Centre.  Among others, they used my question on the show so now I am famous.

The question asked for suggestions for flowers which the panel thought might make good photographic subjects.  Mrs Tootlepedal has taken up one of the recommendations and if all goes well, you will be able to see the results in the blog in the course of time.  I am not going to say what it is.  It will be a surprise.

At the choir, we found that yet another tenor had come to sing with us. That made three new members in two weeks.  The hard work of the committee in trying to attract new men to the choir seems to have paid off.

We had a very hard working practice, with three new songs to learn.  Fortunately our choir director was in fine form and she drove us along at a good pace so we got a lot done.

The weather stayed good for our drive home and as we weren’t in the mood for heavy cooking, we had boiled eggs with soldiers for our tea.  As good as a feast any day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from a recent visit to Liverpool by my brother Andrew.  He found it in a colourful mood.

liverpool

After some very grey days, we had a much more colourful day here today.  The sun shone and the wind dropped and it looked liked a good day to go outside.

As usual, I found a number of things to do indoors before getting organised, and of course, the birds needed watching.

I hadn’t had to fill the feeder for a couple of days, and although it was getting near the bottom today, it was still of interest to the chaffinches.

chaffinch panel

Seeing these two pecking at the last of the seed made me go out and change the feeders over.

two chaffinch little seed

The new feeder, well filled, proved attractive to chaffinches too.

chaffinches at full feeder

I finally ran out of excuses and got my bike out and set off up the Wauchope road.  I passed a man with a tractor with a flail attached, and found out that he had been doing quite a lot of violence to anything that he could reach beside the road.  It was lucky that he was on one side of the road and I was on the other as I might have had some difficulty getting past the debris that he left behind.

flailings on road

I decided to turn off at the first opportunity and I was soon heading uphill, away from the carnage and with my favourite view behind me.

Blocxh view january

Although the 40 mph winds of yesterday had subsided, there was still a brisk breeze left behind and I had to battle my way down the hill to Gretna Green where I was happy to take a rest and look at the clasped hands sculpture at the Old Blacksmith’s Shop tourist centre.

gretna handshake

There wasn’t a tourist to be seen today as I took a picture of the art work.  I can see what it is supposed to symbolise and newly married couples often have their picture taken under its arch, but it always looks rather creepy to me as though someone has been buried under ground and is praying to be let out.

But there are some very decorative berries in the hedge at the entrance.

gretna berries

Ignoring the cross winds, I pedalled down the new road beside the motorway into England and when I reached the outskirts of Carlisle, I turned and headed back towards Greta, going through Rockliffe.

The wind was still across but now it was marginally behind me so I made good progress.

This tree in a field at Rockcliffe looks as though it has had some battles with strong winds itself.

rockliffe tree

The wind was certainly ruffling the waters of the Esk as it flowed under the railway bridge before it meets the Solway.

troubled esk at metal bridge

Once I had reached Gretna, the way home was plain sailing as I cycled up the main roads to Canonbie with the very helpful wind pushing me along.

I turned off onto the old main road to Canonbie which has triple delights, like these three trees at Grainstonehead…

three trees grainstonehead

…and the three shaggy cows in the field, two of whom were more interested in eating than having their picture taken…

two cows at canonbie

..but one was in a more accommodating mood.

one cow at canonbie

I took one last stop for a drink and snack before getting back to Langholm and noticed some healthy peltigera lichen on the wall against which I had propped my bike.

peltigera lichen irvine house

I saw that I had done 43 miles by the time that I got back to the town and was pedalling on up the main road, thinking happily that 50 was a nice round number when we had a vote and my legs voted for stopping.  I am a democrat so I turned back and ended up with a satisfactory 45 miles for the outing.

Mrs Tootlepedal had also made good use of the better weather by going for a good walk and getting some light gardening done while I was out.  She was very cheered by seeing an actual bud forming on a daffodil in the garden.  There may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Still, we needed to replace a little of the energy expended and very fortunately she had bought some cream which, when whipped up, went perfectly with meringues.

A goldfinch arrived at the new feeder.

goldfinch at full feeder

I had a shower and then went out to investigate a claim from a blog reader that there is a small murmuration of starlings in Langholm.  The claim turned out to be quite true.

starlings over esk

By some murmuration standards, it is a small flock but it still had about a couple of hundred birds in it at its busiest.

starlings over esk 2

The starlings circled round above the Esk at the Town Bridge and from time to time, other things caught me eye.

Ducks and gulls took to the air, Mr Grumpy supervised more ducks on the river and the moon shone in the background.

duck, gull, heron and moon

In order to capture the moon, I had to make the sky dark but as you can see in the picture below, it wasn’t really as dark as that.

After they had finished murmuring, the starlings fell out of the sky in dramatic fashion and disappeared into a remarkably small bush in front of Greenbank.

starlings landing

I got home in perfect time to have a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.  Our friend Mike dropped in for a cup and helped us out by eating one of the remaining meringues.

There is talk of snow on the hills tomorrow morning but I will only believe that when I see it.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile in Canada, Joyce. She was greeted by this scene on New Year’s Eve. There will be shovelling.

canada new year

The new year here came in with clouds but no rain and no frost, so all was well set for the ‘Whisky Run’, a long standing Ne’erday event in Langholm, organised by our friends Mike and Alison with the help of their friend Charlie. It is an informal event for runners and walkers where what is important is not when you start, but when you finish. You can start whenever you like but you must try to finish at the Market Place as near to 11am as possible.

Leaving her decision to the very last minute, Mrs Tootlepedal decided that she would walk the eight mile long route and left the house at 8.25 just as it became light enough to walk safely on public roads.

I gave her a quarter of an hour start and followed.

It was as good a day for walking as you could reasonably expect on the first of January, with a light wind and generally ice free roads, but it wasn’t a great day for taking photographs early in the morning.

I also didn’t want to waste too much time stopping for snapping as I thought I might need all my time to get to the end punctually. I did stop once or twice though.

The walk starts with a stiff climb so I was probably happy to have an excuse for a breather when I had got over the first hill.

gill near craigcleuch

It was misty in the valley below me as I walked down towards the Burnfoot Bridge over the Esk.

esk at craig

I noticed a couple of horses in a field beside the road near…

ponies at craig

…the racehorse training establishment.

racetrack at craig

Passing the training track, I came to the Burnfoot Bridge, and having crossed it…

burnfoot bridge

…I plodded up the second long hill of the walk, looking back down the misty valley which had been my outward route.

mist on langholm road

At the top of the hill, I noted the cottage at Henwell which always strikes me as being a perfect example of a borders hill farm cottage.

cottage at henwell

The road took me past a small quarry which was full of cows, and I wondered if they had been stashed there by Border reivers.

cattle at henwell
I approached the Gates of Eden, which I have often photographed on more sunny days from across the valley..

gates of eden spetember

The Gates in September earlier in 2019

…though they didn’t look quite so inviting today.

gates of eden henwell

I wasn’t going to go through the gates anyway as our route took us to the right at the spot where you can see a white van in the picture above.

From there, it was straight back to Langholm with a slight kink at Potholm farm to make a detour round a bridge which got washed away some years ago.

I passed Mrs Tootlepedal at Potholm. She was making good progress and listening to the radio on her phone as she went along.

I had been walking without passing or being passed up to this point but from then on in, I caught up with other walkers…

langfauld walkers

…and was passed by eager runners. I arrived at the Market Place at five to eleven and Mrs Tootlepedal followed me in at five past, so we were both pretty happy with the timing of our efforts. The eight miles was our longest walking outing for a couple of years.

The runners and walkers gathered in the square for New Year greetings, tots of whisky, the prize presentation and a group photo. This was the last year that Mike, Alison and Charlie were going to organise the event so it is to be hoped that some others will take on the task next year as it makes a cheerful start to the year…

…especially as the Town Band always arrives to play in the Market Place while the runners are there.

town band new year

Mrs Tootlepedal and I made our way home, and on the way, we met our neighbours Liz and Ken who came in with us to enjoy a cup of coffee with a tot of whisky added and a seasonal piece of shortbread.

Ken has had many medical troubles this year but between visits to the doctor, he has somehow managed to squeeze in over 6000 cycling miles this year. Memo to self: must try harder.

When they left, I watched the birds for a bit.

I was happy to see a redpoll chatting to a siskin on the plum tree….

redpoll and siskin

…and took the fuzzy picture because it is an unusual sight. It does show how similar on size and build redpolls and siskins are.

At the feeder, one chaffinch leaned round the corner and gave another chaffinch a really nasty shock when it approached.

astonished flying chaffinch

A collared dove looked down from above.

collared dove

And Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the walnut tree was dripping with big black birds.

jackdaws in walnut

Over coffee, Ken had told me that he had cycled thirty miles yesterday in very low temperatures while I had been walking up my hill, so I thought that I ought to at least make an effort in slightly milder conditions today and went for a 16 mile ride up and back down the main road after lunch.

I didn’t stop to take photographs as it was still very grey and I wanted to get home before the light faded. The only picture I took was the old toll house at Fiddleton. I had stopped there anyway as that was where I turned to come home.

Thanks to a kindly wind which helped me up the hill and didn’t make too much of a nuisance of itself on the way back down, I averaged just under 14 mph. This was a promising start to my 2020 cycling year.

fiddleton toll

Strangely, neither Mrs Tootlepedal or I was fit for a great deal in the late afternoon and evening so it was lucky that the Magnificent Seven was available on the telly to remind us of the days of our youth. It stands up remarkably well to the test of time and still has some of the coolest film moments that I can recall.

I would practise that gunfighter’s walk if my knees didn’t creak so much.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, doubtless the first of many in 2020.
flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  I have seen many murmurations of starlings before but I have never seen one where the starlings murmured in the actual shape of a starling.   She was on the Somerset levels when she took this amazing picture.

Ham Wall on the Avalon Marshes

We had another morning of family fun with Matilda and her parents and then, after a light but creative lunch, Al, Clare and Matilda got into their car and drove off to Edinburgh.  There was no argument, it had been a very good Christmas, and we were sad to see them go.

On the down side, as is probably inevitable over the Christmas period, too much eating had gone on, and both Mrs Tootlepedal and I felt that a good walk was needed to help shoogle down some of the surplus calories.

We started off at two o’clock and it was already very grey as we walked up the road past Holmwood…..

P1010144

The camera needed its flash to record another concrete fence post with a mossy head.  This one looked as though it needed a hair cut.

P1010145

The ways of walls are curious.  This one beside the road was absolutely covered in moss until it wasn’t.  Why the moss had chosen to stop there is one of the questions that may never be answered.

P1010146

And just round the corner, the moss gave way to a huge collection of spleenwort.  The wall is covered with it for many metres.

P1010147

We turned off the main road and walked along the quiet back road to Potholm.  Even on a grey day, the country has its charms…

P1010148

…and the mist was rising off the hills as we went along.

P1010149

Our plan was to walk to Potholm along one side of the Esk, cross the bridge and walk back to Langholm on the other side of the river.  We paused to consider our options though when a furious fusillade of shots rang out across the valley.   A pheasant shoot was taking place along our route home.

Would it be finished by the time that we got there?  We thought that it would, and walked on.   There must have been a lot of pheasants about though because the shooting went on for ages and we were across the bridge at Potholm before it stopped.

I looked back from the bridge at Milnholm farmhouse, judiciously perched on a little ridge above the floodplain.

P1010151

I had been a bit worried that it might be dark before we got home and the forecast had been for a good chance of rain on the way, but it stayed dry.  It even got a little brighter at one moment so we could look back down the valley and the see the way that we had come.

Our road is hidden behind the wall that runs along the top of the fields.

P1010152

As we passed the lonesome pine, we could hear gamekeepers whistling to their dogs as they collected the ‘bag’ for the day.

P1010153

The shooting had finished by the time we got to the scene and we were able to walk past unscathed.

When we were passing the pheasant hatchery, we noticed another victim of the wet and windy weather.  Our trees grow in shallow soil.

P1010155

By the time that we got to the Duchess Bridge, it was too dark to take pictures…

P1010156

…but we were very pleased to get home while it was still light enough to be able to walk in comfort.  We had managed 5 miles in just under two hours and it had been warm enough for us to unbutton our coats and I had taken off my new Christmas gloves too.

The trouble about having a good walk to shake down too much eating is that it gives you an appetite.  I had two slices of Christmas cake with my post walk cup of tea. Ah well, I can always have another walk tomorrow.

It’s very quiet here with no-one to play Ludo and Snakes and Ladders with me.

The flying birds of the day are a small flock of gulls, disturbed by the pheasant shooters and looking for somewhere with a bit of peace and quiet.

P1010150

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Today’s guest picture is another East Wemyss view from our son Tony.  They don’t don’t just do golden sunshine and handsome canines there, they do purple skies too.

east wemms purple

We were intending to catch one of the super duper 5 coach new trains from Lockerbie to Edinburgh today but having checked the early services and found them either late, starting from the wrong station, having only three coaches or cancelled  (or any combination of these), we cracked and decided to stay at home instead.

We might have considered driving the 80 miles to Tweedbank to get a more reliable service from there but the thought of driving home in the dark through the forecast heavy rain didn’t appeal either.

A generally slightly gloomy mood in the Tootlepedal household was not lightened by seeing a cat prowling around the garden chasing our birds so I was pleased to see that a dunnock had survived.  They are often to be found at ground level and are targets for feline predators.

dunnock

The light wasn’t very good after some heavy overnight rain but a good quantity of siskins found their way to the feeder today.

siskin coming to feeder

At times they monopolised the perches.

siskin looking down

A blackbird with a bright yellow beak turned up as well.

balckbird

Rather surprisingly, the skies lightened up a lot and instead of sitting around and having coffee and whingeing, I put a loaf in the bread maker and went for a bicycle ride.  I had given my knee a good twist and bump yesterday while getting up too quickly to answer the phone, so I was anxious to keep it moving today to stop it stiffening up.

It was a bit sore at first but it soon settled down, and it got no worse as I pedalled along.  It did mean that I had to adopt a very low gear for going up hills though and this resulted in a very slow pace.

For once, the wind was reasonably light and while the sun was out, it was a treat to be dawdling through the countryside.

I took this small tribute to the wind turbines and the pylons that make and deliver the electricity to our house that lets me write these posts.

Minsca wind farm

The turbines in the picture above are quite noticeable but they are nothing to a couple of proposed wind farms which are wanting to put 600ft high turbines on top of our small hills.  They may be more efficient but they will overpower our surroundings and we are hoping that they will not get permission.

Turning a little bit to the right after taking the wind farm picture, I managed to get a view of hills with no turbines on them.  If I had gone another degree or two to the right, more turbines would have come into view.

view towards ewe hill

Although my ride started brightly, there were lots of clouds looming up behind the trees…

gair road tree

…and most of my ride was in their shadow, though annoyingly it was one of those days when there always seemed to be a of blue sky where I wasn’t.

When we drove to Lockerbie Station last week, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that she could see two tower houses within a few hundred yards of each other from the old main road and wondered why they had been built so close to each other.

The two houses only become visible from the same spot when the leaves are off the trees.  I could see them both today.

tower house old A74 1

Robgill Tower: 15 century

tower house old A74 2

Bonshaw Tower: 16th century

Both of the original towers now have more modern houses beside them.

In spite of the light winds, I was far from my cycling peak today and pottered along.  After I had done the first fifteen miles, I spent most of the rest of the ride trying to ride above a continual rumble of complaints from my legs by conducting coruscating imaginary interviews in my head with prominent politicians, after which they all said that they were very sorry and promised to mend their ways.

I stopped from time to time to stretch and have a snack and tried to find something to photograph when I did so.

gaunt tree

An open gate and a track down from the road gave me an opportunity to get a good picture of the first bridge across the River Sark.  A few miles to the south, this mighty stream forms the border between England and Scotland.

sark bridge at Milltown

As I got near Langholm, mist was beginning to form in the fields beside the river…

mist on fileds at Auchenrivock

…and by the time that I got to Skippers Bridge, it had begun to thicken up both to the north…

Langholm Distillery mist

…and the south.

mist from Skippers Bridge

I managed 33 very slow miles but as they had kept my knee exercised and added a few more miles to my very poor annual total, I was tired but happy when I sank into a chair and had a cup of tea and some parsnip and sweet potato soup for a late lunch.

As Mrs Tootlepedal also made a delicious venison stew for our tea, I ended the day in a much better mood than I started it.  I wasn’t surprised to read in a newspaper this morning that Lockerbie has the worst record of any station in Scotland and the third worst in the whole UK for punctuality and reliability.  I wasn’t surprised either to find that the railway company are accordingly raising the fare to Edinburgh by 5%.

I didn’t have time to watch the birds a lot this morning and it was too dark when I got back so this siskin group will have to do as flying bird of the day.

three shocked siskins

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Today’s guest picture comes from Mike and Alison’s recent trip to New Zealand to visit their son and his family.  Knowing that I like a bridge, Alison showed me this picture to prove that they have bridges in New Zealand too.

NX bridge

I am pleased to have a little sunshine in the guest picture because there wasn’t a hint of  sunshine here today.  It was grey, very windy (45 mph gusts) and often very rainy too.

The birds weren’t keen to fly in to the feeder but our resident dunnocks pottered about on the ground in the shelter of the hedge behind the feeder…

dunnock

…and a lone goldfinch appeared.

goldfinch

When I was taking the picture of the goldfinch, I realised that it had stopped raining for a while at least, so I put on every waterproof I could find just in case and went out for a short walk to stretch my legs.

There was a fair bit of water going down the river but that didn’t put off a dipper from doing a little dipping…

dipper in Esk

…and two crows found rocks to stand on as the water rushed by.

two crows in the water

I crossed the Town bridge and went on to the Kilngreen where there were a few gulls about. The wind was so strong that when they tried to fly into it, they went slowly enough for even my pocket camera with the zoom well zoomed to catch them in the air.

flying gull lumix 2

I couldn’t do much about the light though so the results are far from perfect.  I took the pictures  just to show how strong the wind was.

flying gull lumix 3

Looking at the Meeting of the Waters where the Ewes coming from the right joins the Esk, it was easy to see where it had been raining the hardest.

meeting of the waters

The Sawmill Brig was getting its feet wet today.

sawmill brig with water

And I got my feet a bit wet as I puddled along the path round the bottom of the Castleholm.

puddles on path

Sheep were astonished at the sheer beauty of my rainy day get up (woolly hat with cap underneath, scarf, big coat, waterproof trousers and a grumpy expression).

inquisitive sheep castleholm

But it was quite warm and it wasn’t raining so after admiring some artistic lichen on a gate…

lic hen on gate

…and some more on the gatepost..

lichen on gatepost

…I decided not to cross the Jubilee Bridge…

jubilee bridge

…but to walk a little further up river and cross the Duchess Bridge.

I was just admiring a fern garden on a tree and thinking how much rain is needed to get a result like that….

ferns on tree

…when it started to rain very heavily.

I was grateful for my ample clothing and for the shelter from the wind that walking along the river bank provided, but the last few hundred yards of my walk through the town got me and my gear thoroughly soaked.  The wind was so strong at one point that my legs were going  forwards but my body was going backwards.

I got home safely though and enjoyed cold beef and fried bubble and squeak for lunch.

After lunch, the weather settled down to being constantly beastly so I settled down to putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Database.

I then tidied up the front room a bit for the most important gathering of the year, The Langholm Archive Group Annual General Meeting. (Drum roll and fanfare.)

Eight members were present and we congratulated ourselves on having extended the newspaper index from 1848 to 1901 and past the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the South African war.  The photographic collection has increased too, thanks to the work of Sandy and as we get a continuous trickle of inquiries and many remarks about the usefulness and interest of the website, we decided to keep our work going for yet another year.

Thanks go to all the volunteers who make it happen.

In spite of its great importance, the meeting was over in twenty five minutes and I was soon able to sit down to an evening meal of baked potatoes followed by baked apples, a warming treat on a miserable day.

I couldn’t get a flying bird in the garden so the flying bird of the day is one of gulls at the Kilngreen battling into the wind.

flying gull lumix 1

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie.  She and Joe took Evie to the children’s zoo at Battersea Park but as Evie fell asleep, Joe and Annie did most of the animal watching for her.

annies animal

I started the day with a visit to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre where I made purchases of fish, honey and meat and ordered a capon for Christmas.  While I was there, I turned down a kind offer of a cup of coffee from Mike Tinker on the grounds that I was going cycling and had no time to spare.

Having spurned the coffee, I had no alternative but to turn my words into action so I wrapped up well when I got home, and went of for a twenty mile pedal round my well worn Canonbie route.

It was grey but dry and the brisk wind was coming from the best possible direction and it helped me more than it hindered me as I went along.

I kept an eye out for trees along the way and saw several.

These are the remains of an old hedge.

3 trees raehills

And this one has seen better days.

blasted tree

This one lives on the edge of the first hill after the Solway Plain and as a result knows the local south westerly wind very well.

tree chapelhill

It wasn’t a day for views and I  could hardly see England at all.

view from Tarcoon

My final tree was this impressive specimen at Woodhouselees near Canonbie

Woodhouselees trees

The recent rain had lent impetus to a little tributary of the Esk at the Hollows….

spout at Hollows

…but it has been pretty dry recently after a prolonged period with an easterly wind, so there was not a great deal of water coming down the river.

esk at Hollows

There was enough though to keep the Archimedes Screw at the mill turning over sweetly, making green energy with little fuss.

archimedes screw

W hen I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had dug up the Christmas tree ready to be brought into the house when Christmas Eve comes for another festive scene .

Christams tree dug up

I had timed my bike ride well as the weather  got steadily worse as the day went on and by the time that we went to Carlisle in the afternoon for the first of our two choir concerts it had turned into a horrible day.

Luckily, as is often the case, the weather in Carlisle itself was better and we were able to get a little shopping done before going to the warm up and concert performance.  We usually have a primary school choir performing with us and this tends to add good numbers to our audience.  Unfortunately on this occasion the children weren’t able to be there as their conductor had suffered a family crisis and was called away.

Nevertheless we got a good audience (i.e. more than there were singers in the choir and we are a big choir) and they received our singing enthusiastically.  St Cuthbert’s Church is a good place to sing and as it is the custom of our choir directors to have short concerts, both the audience and the choir members left the church in a very good mood.  The choir are going to do it all again tomorrow afternoon in a different venue.

The Christmas lights outside St Cuthbert’s Church, which have been silver angels in previous years, are golden kings this year.

St Cuthberts Kings

I counted them and I think that there are three.

I think that the brisk wind must have kept the birds away from the feeder today as I hardly saw any birds at all, let along a flying bird, so a greedy goldfinch, trying to get a big beakful of seeds, is the non flying bird of the day today.

goldfinch

The weather forecast is terrible for tomorrow, Sunday, but we might get a bit of sun on Monday. 

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