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Posts Tagged ‘robin’

Guess whose birthday it was today.  Guest picture courtesy of her mother Clare.

Matilda's birthday

Finding things to do in the lockdown is tricky.  Mrs Tootlepedal decided to put a stone edge on one of her garden paths today.

Mrs T's path edge

I had a couple of important things on my to do list today, take the Zoe to Carlisle for its first annual service and drop my bike in at the bike shop on the way as it needs some professional care.

I spent quite a bit of time worrying about this and working out how to take the best possible precautions but the worry was needless.  I checked the garage website before I left and found the the garage was completely shut until further notice.  I decided to take the bike to Longtown anyway and rang up to check that they were open just in case.  They were open but thanks to a misunderstanding, they were not expecting my bike.

I now have a bike appointment for next week and a highly provisional car booking for two months time.

Still, it meant that I didn’t have to worry about catching the virus.  Every cloud etc etc…

Not that there were any clouds at all here today as we had another day of wall to wall sunshine.  In fact, it was too bright to make taking garden pictures easy and a very brisk wind didn’t help things either.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been impressed by the vigour of our trout lilies…

trout lilies

…and intends to spread them about the garden a bit.

She likes this combination of tulips which were sold as a complementary lot.

mixed tulip

I like these two pairs.

two tulip twice

And these two too.  The one on the right is a tiny miniature tulip.

two tulips

In fact, I pretty well like all tulips, except very fancy ones..

It was too windy for most of the insects but one or two bees ventured out to do some work.

bee on plum blossom

I made soup for lunch and made a batch of ginger biscuits afterwards.

This all took time, so it was not until later afternoon that I set out for my permitted walk.  It was too windy to go up a hill so I settled for a sheltered lowland walk.

I started off along the Esk, with plenty to look at….

cherry gull. mallard, laurel

…headed onto the Kilngreen…

esk on lovely day

…where a very neatly framed drain cover caught my eye.

drain cover and daisies

Then I crossed the Sawmill Brig and walked up the hill to take the path along the top of the wood above the Lodge Walks.

There were lambs…

mixed lambs

…nice light and shade, and dry conditions underfoot…

track to north lodge

…not to mention bluebells (with, if you look very closely,  a peacock buterfly which I didn’t notice at the time).

bluebells

I ventured on to a new track for me.  It was open and sunny at times…

new track above longfauld

…and dark and gloomy at other times.

dark wood

But I came out of the dark woods on to a familiar track and was able to enjoy once again the view across the river….

across the esk from longfauld

…and the view up the Esk Valley.

view up esk valley

My peace was shattered by the passing of a very large timber wagon…

log lorry passing

…but fortunately it disappeared in a puff of smoke.

log lorry going

Did I mention that it has been very dry for weeks?

I walked home by way of the Jubilee Bridge, passing the first wild garlic flower that I have seen this spring, as well as a handsome individual bluebell, a cheery robin, and some Corydalis on the Scholar’s Field wall.

garlic, bluebell, robin, corydalis

Just as I got home, I was nearly knocked flat by the stunning cherry blossom in our neighbour Betty’s front garden.

betty's blossom

If times were normal, we might have gone to Edinburgh to help Matilda celebrate her sixth birthday today but as it was, we enjoyed a video call and were able to sing Happy Birthday to her.  “That was very surprising,” Matilda said.

No flying bird of the day today but an oyster catcher, creeping away from me on my afternoon walk is the standing bird of the day.

P1050300

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Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s Moroccan trip.  You might find it hard to believe that this delightfully shady restaurant garden is in Morocco but it is.

morocco tiout

The first picture in today’s post is a bit of a cheat as it was taken yesterday when I went to bed.  Looking out of the window, I saw a very nearly full moon and I couldn’t resist the temptation to go back downstairs to fetch my camera and take a shot of it.

nearly full moon

Any clear skies had disappeared by morning and we had another wet and windy day.

Once again, Mrs Tootlepedal had to go off after breakfast on business, this time to Canonbie, and my slow getting up technique was called into play.  I am getting good at it and was only just up and dressed by the time that Mrs Tootlepedal returned.

We had coffee and I kept an eye on the birds.  The indifferent weather had brought them to the feeder in good numbers and siskins and goldfinches took it in turn to fill the top layer of perches…

siskin and goldfinch trios

…while gangs of siskins monopolised the bottom layer.

siskin circle

There was a brighter moment and I popped out into the garden to see if there were any frogs about.  The weather didn’t suit the frogs though, and the pond was deserted.

I walked round the garden and was pleased to see the first signs of Forsythia flowers.

forsythia

Going back in, I had another look at the birds.  A redpoll was copying the siskins and wasting good food.

redpoll dropping seed

A goldfinch, ruffled by the brisk breeze, posed in the fake tree.

goldfinch fake tree

You are supposed to be able to tell a male from, a female goldfinch by how far behind the eye the red patch extends and various other subtle signs,  They are usually too subtle for me but I think that this is a male.  (I am happy to be corrected by any passing expert.)

goldfinch head

As it looked as though there might be a dry spell for a while, I went for a walk and indeed, it was almost sunny as I set out, passing a blackbird, looking a bit the worse for wear as I went.

blackbird in garden

It got gloomier as I walked along the river but there was a lot to look at.

There was wild garlic growing along the river bank, and potential bluebells lined the path up the hill…

garlic, bluebell, script lichen

…and while the writing was not on the wall, there was plenty of script lichen on birch trees.

I don’t know what causes this striking brown staining on a silver birch.

stained birch tree

A robin, sitting on a  fence at a stable, kindly let me add to the collection of peaceful birds to please Mrs Tootlepedal.

robin stubholm

There have not been a great number of catkins so far this year but they are beginning to appear, and while I was looking at a healthy crop, I noticed a tiny red spot in the background.  I knew then that they were hazel catkins and the red spot was a flower

hazel catkin and hazel flower

When I looked more closely, there were dozens of the flowers out and I had never found them so easy to see before.

I was hoping to extend my stroll but some very strong gusts of wind heralded the arrival of a rain shower.  I speeded up my steps and stopped looking for interesting things but my luck didn’t hold out.  I was still a few hundred yards from home when a heavy shower of rain and sleet got me thoroughly drenched in a very short time.

A toasted cheese sandwich restored my good humour.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal took a break from her work and came out for a walk with me.

We drove up the hill and parked near the Roman camp at Broomholmshiels.   It was windy and gloomy but the Romans had chosen the spot because it commanded a good view up the valley and even on a grey day, it is still a good view.

roman view

It was extremely wet underfoot and we splodged through the glaur, trying hard not to slip over.

Nothing could take away from the enjoyment of the fine trees in the wood alongside the camp…

roman tree

…and we think that this is probably the nicest wood in the area.

roamn wood

It is not every day that you can see a good looking tree alongside a Roman ditch.roman ditch

On the far side of the camp, we came to the old railway.  There is a fine bridge over a deep cutting…

railway roman camp

…but the line has been neglected at this point and is more of a river than a track, so we had to leave the bridge and walk along for a bit before we could join the trackbed just where an embankment gave way to a shallow cutting.

This was the best bit of walking of the outing and we could enjoy a view to the valley below as well as thistles making ornamental patterns in the grass…

railway broomholm

…and some bits of the old railway like these metal posts and a one of the clamps that used to hold the rails.

The line stops at a bridge over the road that we had driven up.   Here the walk became difficult.  The bridge has been demolished and although there is a signpost indicating a walking path, the way has become blocked by a fence and many fallen trees…

footpath broomholm

…but a dingly dell full of snowdrops was a consolation for the battle through the brushwood.

There were pine cones and moss along the track…

cone, moss, cress and celandine broomholm

…and wild water cress and early celandine as we walked back up the road to the car.

But the best thing for me was a good crop of scarlet elf cupsAs  just at the old bridge.

scarlet elf cap

This is a beautiful fungus and it was popping up all over the place when we looked.

Although it was only a walk of one and a half miles, it felt like an adventure and even on a soggy, windy day, it was full of enjoyment from start to finish.  And it didn’t rain.

We had a cup of tea and some toast and honey when we got home, and then Mrs Tootlepedal set to work folding hundreds of letters from the community buy out group ready for stuffing into envelopes tomorrow, and I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

When I had finished, I joined in the letter folding, got our evening meal ready, did some more letter folding, and then left Mrs Tootlepedal still folding while I went away to write this post.

What I didn’t do was practise any songs for the choir competition tomorrow.  It has fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak as the choir committee has decided that it would be wiser if we didn’t take part.  I completely agree with that decision.

It is a bit of a pity though, as this is the first time that I have truly felt that I have properly learned off by heart all the songs that we were going to sing in a competition….and moreover felt that I could actually sing them correctly.  Such is life.

Tomorrow there will be more strong winds and rain and possibly an early frost as well. Sometimes, it is quite hard to be cheerful.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from camera club member Simon.  He took a walk along the old railway line to Longtown and managed to find himself under three bridges at the same time, the main road, the old railway and a footbridge.

simon's bridges

The weather, which likes to have its little joke, decided that a day when there was no time for  walk and when Evie was due to go home would be just the day to put on a show of sunshine after a week of more or less continuous rain.

Now I like a joke as much as the next man, but even I thought that this was going a bit far and allowed a smidgeon of bitterness to enter my soul.

Leaving Mrs Tootlepedal and Annie to combine Evie care with talking to the project leader about the proposed community land purchase, I went to church where a diminished choir and a service with few hymns made for a thin singing experience.

As we were preparing for Annie and Evie’s departure after lunch and I had to some shopping, there wasn’t even a lot of time to look at birds when I got back.

Still, it was good to see them perching in the sun.

sunlit siskin

sunlit robin

sunlit chaffinch

When I went out into the garden for a moment, I turned my eyes to the hills and wished that I had had time to climb.

Castle hill with Cattle

In the garden, there were still no frogs to be seen but the first of the miniature daffodils has come out…

miniature daffodil

…the chives are looking promising…

chives early

…and the rhubarb is developing.

rhubarb developing

I used to think that hellebores were a bit dull but in recent years, I have changed my mind.

hellebore backlit

Back inside, there was another moment to watch the birds.  The sunshine hadn’t improved their manners at all…

two siskins vs chaffinch

…but at least one chaffinch made it safely to the feeder and enjoyed a seed.

sunlit chaffinch looking round

After lunch, I had a quick look to see if the sun had brought the crocuses out…

open crocuses

…and then it was time to pack Annie, Evie, the pushchair and an enormous case in to the car and pray that the Zoe would behave and take us to Carlisle.

The Zoe behaved impeccably and we arrived at the station in plenty of time and found that the train was more or less on time.  These days the railway experience wouldn’t be the same without some excitement, so a train from another railway company got stuck at the platform at which our train was due to arrive.  With a couple of minutes to go, there was a rush of pushchair, case and passengers over the footbridge to catch the down train from the up platform.  All was well  though and we got Annie, Evie, the case and the pushchair onto the train and it pulled out on time as we shed a tear and waved goodbye.

It really was a lovely day in Carlisle as they left…

citadel in sunshine

…but we ignored the lovely day and headed indoors to our Carlisle Community Choir practice.  Fortunately, it was a very good session and the tenors recovered some of their self esteem after last week’s travails.

And even better, it was still light as we drove home so we were able to watch a pretty spectacular starling murmuration over our heads as we went back through Longtown.  If we get a decent day, we will try to go down to see the starlings with camera in hand next week.  There seemed to be a lot more birds than when we watched them a month ago.

The house seems very quiet.

The flying bird of the day is a choice between this rather impressionistic study of a goldfinch…

impression of flying goldfinch

…and this neater but duller shot.

flying goldfinch

Take your pick.

I have time on my hands tomorrow: the forecast is for sleet and snow.  Ha ha.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited Stourhead with her friend Venetia.  As she knows that I like a bridge, she sent me this picturesque example.

stourhead

I am still quite tired as having a very youthful visitor is not straightforward.  Getting down with the kids is fine. It’s getting up again that is such hard work.

We had a look at the forecast and as it said that it would rain all afternoon, we prudently went for a walk with Evie in the morning.  It was quite chilly so it was just as well that Evie was ready for any weather.

Evie in pushchair

By co-incidence, we met three people on our walk who were very happy to see Evie.

On our way out, we met our neighbour Margaret…

Evie meets margaret

…at the furthest extension of our stroll, we met our neighbour Liz (and Riley, who was pleased to see Evie too)….

Evie meets Liz and Riley

…and just as we got home, we met Archivist Nancy.  Our friend Gavin was on hand to record this final meeting.

Evie meets nancy pic by GG

We wanted to show Evie the best of the area so this is us going past the sewage works.

Evie going past sewage works

On the river side of the path, we could see marks left by the recent flood.  Evie was very impressed by the hardiness of these snowdrops.  They had been many feet under water on Saturday night but they had survived to flower another day.

snowdrops beside river after flood

We reached the end of the town where we took this picture to record the distinguished visitors Evie and her mother Annie along with Mrs Tootlepedal.

Evie at lands End

I must admit that while Mrs Tootlepedal and Annie were talking to Liz at this point, my attention wandered to a favourite fence.

lands end lichen

All these delights were within a yard or two.  A little further along the fence was the longest streak of this lichen that I have ever seen.

lands end lichen strip

On our way back, we noticed a pussy willow…

first pussy willow

…and a delightfully scented Mahonia near the co-op.

mahonia at Co-op

Mrs Tootlepedal and Annie went into the Co-op to do some shopping while I wheeled Evie three times round the car park.  She was asleep so I didn’t need to chatter away to her and once again found myself distracted by lichen, this time on the metal bars separating the car park from the road.

co-op lichen 1co-op lichen 2

Evie did raise a finger in protest at the delay, so I pushed on when the others came out of the shop….

Evie's fingers

…and apart from stopping to identify the source of some very loud singing near the river…

robin beside river

…we didn’t dilly dally and got home just before the rain started.

Evie was very good and didn’t cry at all.

I made some soup for lunch from the remains of yesterday’s chicken stew with some added lentils and then we settled down for a quiet afternoon in, from time to time looking out of the  window to watch the rain come down and some birds appearing at the feeder.

busy feeder rain

Annie was happy to see siskins which she  doesn’t get at her feeder in London  The siskins weren’t very happy to see a chaffinch approaching….

siskins being rude to chaffinch

..but at least one chaffinch did land and enjoy a seed or two.

siskins and chaffinch rain

Mike and Alison came round for afternoon tea and the chance to get to know the current holder of the title of The World’s Greatest Baby.

There was a teatime treat too as Mrs Tootlepedal had known that Annie and Evie were coming and had baked a cake.

We had macaroni cheese for our evening meal and Evie took to it with great gusto and some of it even made it into her mouth.

Once again she is sleeping peacefully as I write this, the perfect guest.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

Footnote:  To greet is the Scots word meaning to cry.  Evie is the least crying baby that I have ever met, I think.

Further footnote:  Our own robin was so cross about a foreign robin getting into the post that it insisted that I put this picture in too, even though it is not very good.

robin close up

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from camera club member Simon.  He was taken for a walk on our local hills by a friend.  They walked yesterday morning before the storm came.  A good choice.

simon's hill picture

The storm arrived with some force yesterday evening, and we had a rather restless night  as the wind howled round the house and rain hammered on the windows.  We opened the curtains with some trepidation this morning but everything still seemed to be there so we breathed a sigh of relief.

It became clear that there had been quite a lot of rain though when we went to church.

Storm Ciara rivers

As it was still raining hard when we went in, we did offer a small prayer that we wouldn’t need a boat to get home.

storm ciara esk

In fact, it had stopped raining by the time that we came out and although the Wauchope still looked high, a glance at the tidemark on the river bank showed that the water level had already begun to drop.

storm ciara caroline st

While Mrs Tootlepedal went home to make a pot of coffee, I walked up to the Kilngreen to take a contrasting picture…

storm ciara meeting of waters

…to the one that I took yesterday morning at very much the same time of day.

view of timpen before storm ciara

When the River Esk is high, I always wonder at how much the bridge acts as a dam to the flow with the river level on one side of the bridge being a good two feet higher than the other.

storm ciara langholm bridge

I got home and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s coffee.  The wind had calmed down a lot by this time and the rain had kept away so I was able to spot a few birds on the feeder.

A greenfinch arrived and thought that it would prefer the perch above it, occupied by a siskin.  A siskin is feisty but no match for a determined greenfinch so an exchange was negotiated.

greenfinch and siskins

In spite of the slightly better conditions, Mrs Tootlepedal and I were in two minds as to whether it would be sensible to drive to Carlisle for our afternoon choir as there were reports of flooding on the road.  Discussion was cut short though when we read an email from the choir saying that the practice had been cancelled anyway.  A good decision, we thought.

A few more birds caught my eye both on the feeder…

robin, dunnock, chaffinch, siskin

…and below

The robin wanted to make sure that I got a close shot.

robin on stalk

A check with the forecast suggested that we were in for a spell of sunshine and showers with wind gusts at no more than 40 mph so I decided that a walk would be in order, hoping to get more sunshine than showers.

There was remarkably little debris about and the flow of the Wauchope under the Auld Stane Brig was nothing like the storm last year where the level was so high that the trees washed down the stream couldn’t get under the bridge and ended up on the bank above the bridge.  The roots of one are still there.

debris and auld stane brig

I walked up the Becks road and took the path down to the bridge across the Becks Burn.  Mrs Tootlepedal had been mildly worried that the burn might pose a threat to an elderly walker, but by the time that I got there, the sun had come out and the water was running at a comparatively gentle rate.

Becks Burn storm ciara

I crossed the bridge and walked back to the town along the track in pleasant conditions.

whita from becks

In fact conditions were so pleasant that instead of going directly home, I walked through the Galaside wood and round the Scholars’ Field…

scholars storm ciara

…and over the Jubilee Bridge.

jubilee bridge trees

A glance down from the bridge reminded me that it hadn’t been so pleasant a few hours ago…

swollen esk

…and although the path round the bottom of the Castleholm looked inviting….

new path storm ciara

…frequent puddles had to be navigated…

puddle new path storm ciara

…and the river was not far away.

full esk new path storm ciara

When I got to the Kilngreen, the waters had dropped far enough for an oyster catcher to perch on a fence post in safety.

oyster catcher on post

As I walked back past the church, a small flock of oyster catchers swirled through the sky above my head.

flock of oyster catchers

I got home from a three mile walk which I hadn’t expected to be able to take let alone enjoy and then sank into sloth for the rest of the day.  Mrs Tootlepedal did get out to do a little gardening so the day wasn’t entirely wasted.

We have been lucky again as there was enough water at Hawick 20 miles up the road to seriously damage a building beside the river.

Looking at the forecast now, it seems that the worst may well have passed us by and we can expect some damp and windy weather for the next couple of days but nothing worse.

We are grateful.

The flying bird of the day is that greenfinch avoiding the first siskin that it met..

flying greenfinch

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Today’s guest picture is another Lake District study from cyclist Paul.  He visited Buttermere on a lovely autumn day a couple of years ago.  It is one of my favourite spots.

buttermere

The day here was a forecasting mixture, with the BBC having the upper hand in the morning and the Norwegians taking over in the afternoon.

So the morning was calm and not too cold.  There were very few birds about in the garden.  The robin has got the hang of using the basket to act as a launching pad to the seeds.

robin at feeder

I am not quite sure what I did in the morning but it must have been quite dull because I have forgotten all about it.  There was coffee and a crossword involved but there was something else unimportant too because I didn’t get out for a walk until nearly midday.

It turned out to be a very good morning for a walk along the river.  I was greeted with suspicion by a sparrow on the hedge as I walked down to the Meeting of the Waters….

sparrow on hedge clinthead gardens

…where the gulls obligingly flew up and down until I had had my fill of watching them.

four flying gulls

They then returned to their perches on the fence posts and I turned round to see what the noise was behind me.  It was men preparing to put in new telephone poles.

new poles bar brae

It is good to see our infrastructure being taken care of.

I crossed the Sawmill Brig and strolled along the Lodge Walks.  Looking down, I could see that the supply of beech nuts has greatly exceeded the demand for them this year.

beech nuts

I took the upper road to Holmhead.  As I went through the woods, I was serenaded by the music of little streams.

little stream longfauld

The sun came out as I walked and I was in a happy place.

road to holmhead

I daresay that this pheasant, a survivor of the recent war against birds, was quite happy too.

surviving pheasant

When I got to Holmhead, I walked up the path through the snowdrops.

snowdrops holmhead 5 feb 1

There were snowdrops to the left of me…

snowdrops holmhead 5 feb 2

…and snowdrops to the right of me.

snowdrops holmhead 5 feb 3

They are not quite fully out yet and if I get a sunny day next week, I will come to see them again.  They are early this year.

When I had left the snowdrops behind, I went as far as the North Lodge where I admired the view up the valley….

view from north lodge

…and then turned for home.

The sun hadn’t lasted long but it was still a pleasant day for a walk.  My enjoyment was boosted when I met a man who had come to Langholm from Gretna.  He told me that he had had to drive through very thick fog which had only cleared just as he reached the town.  I felt lucky that the Norwegian influence hadn’t quite got to Langholm.

I had wondered if the early snowdrops would mean early hazel flowers too, so I walked back along the riverside towards the Jubilee Bridge and peered at catkins.  With the greatest difficulty, I saw a speck of red and the faithful Lumix was able to translate this into an actual tiny flower for me.  The camera has better eyesight than I have.

hazel flower

Like the snowdrops, this wasn’t fully out yet so I will have to come back and have another look later on.

A passer by told me that the heron was waiting for me on the river bank so I passed the Jubilee Bridge by and walked down to the Meeting of the Waters.  The passer by was right.

I was happy to see Mr Grumpy…

heron behind fence

…but he wasn’t so happy to see me and flew off…

heron taking off

…leaving a gull on a fence post to keep me company.

gull on post

I went back to the Jubilee Bridge and crossed it on my way home, noting the the monument wasn’t pointing to anything today as it had its head in the clouds.

monument in mist

I was greeted by a jackdaw when I got back.

jackdaw staring

After a quick lunch of cheese sandwiches, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to do some business in the town and went out on my bicycle.

After the success of my short outing on the slow bike yesterday, I took my fairly speedy bike out today.  I had been quite warm in a light jacket on my walk so I dressed accordingly for my cycle ride.  It didn’t take me long to find that the Norwegian weather had arrived and I had to cycle into a thin and chilly wind under a heavily clouded sky while being slight underdressed for the occasion.

I pursued a policy of going slowly and carefully but still managed to go a bit further and a bit faster than yesterday without falling off.  I stopped on the top of Callister to see if there were any signs of the new wind turbines yet.  There were none but I did enjoy some very artistic tractor marks in the field opposite.  When you look at the central motif again, you realise that it took quite a bit of skill to make the pattern.

artistic tractor marks callister

I arrived home after 15 miles in perfect time to put the kettle on for Mike Tinker who was just walking round to our house in the hope of a cup of tea.  We were joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when she had finished her business, and we enjoyed some tasty oatcakes with our cuppas.

The weather is much on our minds at the moment with storms about.  We missed the one last weekend but it looks as though we are all going to get caught by an even worse one next weekend.  It has been good to have a few nice days for walks and cycle rides and Mrs Tootlepedal put up a robin nesting box today.  If the robin finds it in time, it will have somewhere to shelter from the rain and wind.

In the meantime, Mr Grumpy stars as the flying bird of the day.

heron flying with head

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Today’s guest post is another from Joyce’s Bermuda collection.  As well as glorious beaches she visited the zoo at Flatt Island where she found this lovely lemur.

ring tailedlemur flatts village aquarium

When we woke up, we were very pleased to find the Norwegian weather forecast had been reliable and we had a second sunny day in succession.  What was even more satisfactory was that there was no sign of the strong winds with which we had been threatened so it was as good a day as one could reasonably expect in early February.

We had to wait in for the gas man to come and service our boiler so I had time to admire the smash and grab technique of the robin…

smash and grab robin

…and cycle to the corner shop, passing an oyster catcher on the way.

oyster catcher on gravel

When I got home again, there were starlings on every side.

There was one on top of Irving’s holly tree and one  on top of the walnut tree …

starling on walnut and holly

…and when I went round the back of the house to investigate loud twittering, I found many more starlings in a bush at the back of Henry Street. (There were noisy sparrows in there too.)

starlings back henry street

While the gas boiler inspection was going on, I walked round the garden.

The crocuses had opened to greet the sunshine…

first open crocus

…and there were signs of life all over the place.

wallflower, euphorbia, crocus, magnolia

In defence of the often criticised service industries, I have to report that the gas engineer came on time, did the job cheerfully and quickly, and went on his way with a smile.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning at the computer on the proposed community land purchase business and she had more to do after lunch.  While she slaved away, I took the opportunity to test my cycling head to see if there was any dizziness still in it.

I got the slow bike out because it has wide handlebars for a steadier grip and it doesn’t have toe clips on the pedals so if I needed to stop quickly, I could put my foot down immediately.  I cycled at a very sensible pace so that I wouldn’t put pressure on my breathing. As a result, I enjoyed the outing.

It was still a lovely day…

field near Bloch

…and I stopped after three miles for a little rest and a chance to view a favourite cascade on the Wauchope Water.

I took a bird’s eye view from above…

Wauchope Schoolhouse cascade from above

…and a trout’s eye view from below.

Wauchope Schoolhouse cascade from below

I turned up the Cleuchfoot road and followed the Logan Water for a mile.

Logan Water

I looked politely at the lichen on the wall when I parked my bike for that photo.

wall lichen

In the end, I managed ten miles in just over an hour and got home without having to stop for a dizzy spell.  This was most satisfactory and if the weather stays friendly, I will try to go a little further tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her work by the time that I got back, and she kindly agreed to forgo a gardening opportunity and come for a walk with me instead.

We went along the Lamb Hill….

Lamb Hill tree

…and on to the road to Newcastleton.

There is a gap in the trees there which gives a fine view up the Ewes valley.  I like the way that the hills meet each other on the diagonal just as a child might draw hills in a colouring book..

view from Copshaw road

We walked up the road and then took the path across the lower slopes of Whita which leads to Whita Well.   We couldn’t see much ahead of us as we were walking straight into the sun but when we stopped and looked back, we were well rewarded for our little climb.

ewes valley from Whita

After a soggy start, the path across the hill became very acceptable.

grass path on Whita

Above us, we could see the monument pointing out where to look to find the moon.

monument and point

When we got to Whita Well, we came to the bench which kind people have put there for the convenience of elderly walkers who are in need of a sit down.

We sat down.

bench at whita well

We were well sheltered from the light breeze, and it was a great treat after so many damp and gloomy days to sit in the sun and take in the rays.

As we walked back down to the town, we passed a good show of gorse, though it wasn’t warm enough to generate the coconut scent that gorse has in summer.

gorse at whita well

We also passed this sign at the top of the golf course.

helicopter warning sign

It was laid flat on the ground though as the helicopter wasn’t flying today.

We got home after two and a half miles of quite hard work and were very happy to have a sit down, a cup of tea, and several slices of fruity malt loaf which doubtless more than made up for any calories we might have expended while going up the hill.

Although the atmospheric pressure is due to stay high tomorrow, we might find ourselves in some misty conditions and the temperature might be low enough for a morning frost.  Looking at the BBC weather forecast for the temperature in the afternoon, I find it is two degrees better than the Norwegian offering, so I will opt for the BBC this time.

The slow cooked lamb stew made a third and final appearance for tea, this time in the guise of a light curry with rice.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

flying siskin

A literal footnote:  Sandy has sent me a message to say that his operation has gone well.  Thank you for the kind wishes that you expressed.

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