Posts Tagged ‘ruined cottage’

Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, who turns out to be in Namibia at the moment.  She sent me this portrait of male and female Long-tailed Paradise Whydahs.  The males are in full display mode.

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah

Our welcome spell of fine weather continued today but with a reminder that we are still in the winter months in the shape of some early frost on the lawns.

The temperature was slow to rise and I was feeling a bit tired so I went back to bed after breakfast and read a book until midday.  It was very relaxing.

I got up into my cycling gear although it was still rather chilly unless you were out in the sun.  I gave Mrs Tootlepedal a hand in the garden for a while and then went in to make some lentil soup for lunch…

…and watch the birds of course.  There were plenty of shady characters hanging around the feeder.

shadowy chaffinch

After lunch, I had another wander round the garden and after I had visited the pond, where I found a pile of  frogs which had not been put off by the chilly morning…

three frogs get friendly

…I helped Mrs Tootlepedal set up the boards for one of our new fruit beds.  They are going to have cages on them this year to protect the crop from the birds.

I couldn’t pass by a particularly fine bunch of crocuses without my shutter finger twitching…

sunny crocus clump

…but I finally pulled myself together and got my bike out and went off for a pedal. It was genuinely warm in the sun and I passed a cyclist coming the other way in short sleeves and shorts.  I am glad that I had retained a few layers because by the time that I finished the ride and the sun was dropping in the sky, it felt pretty chilly.

My  route took me past two ruined cottages.  They are both getting more dilapidated with the passage of time not unlike the photographer.  The first one is only a couple of miles from home.

Blochburnfoot cottage

I couldn’t have asked for a better day for a pedal as there was hardly any wind and the sky was cloudless.

callister view sunny

It wasn’t quite hot enough to get the gorse flowers to smell of coconut though.

gorse flowers

A correspondent asked me recently if there were a lot of poles and pylons in our area and I thought that I would show that there are and that they cast a long shadow too.

view with pylon shadow

As I came down from Kennedy’s Corner onto the Solway Plain, I passed the second ruined cottage, which is now almost wholly holey.

ruined cottage

The tree beside it looks a lot better than the cottage does.

tree by cottage

Although the sky was blue and it was pretty clear in the hills, there was a very murky layer lying on top of the land below me as I looked ahead.  It didn’t look very appetising at all.

murky mist

When I got down that level, it wasn’t visible but it was colder.

There are telephone  and electricity poles along almost every road around us and quite often a pylon makes its presence felt as well….

pylon at the end of the road

…but if you choose the right road, nothing interrupts the view at all.

bent tree

There was quite a lot of traffic about today and I was passed by two low flying aircraft….

low flying plane

…and held up by a traffic jam near Glenzier.

traffic jam near Glenzier

The farmer told me that they were having to move the sheep out into the fields by day as it was too hot for them in the shed at the moment.  This was them going home to bed for the night.

When I got back after 30 gentle miles, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished planting out the raspberry canes in the new bed.  They are Malling Jewel and should fruit in midsummer (if we get one this year).

new raspberry bed

There are gooseberries and blackcurrants to be sorted out next.

I admired some hopeful wallflowers and went in to have a cup of tea and some ginger nuts (shop bought).

wallflower feb

I was just getting up to make a slice of toast after I had polished off the biscuits, when my eye was caught by movement under the feeder.

Our part of the town seems to have two resident partridges now…


…as neighbours on both sides of our garden have seen them perched on their fences.  I wonder where they are roosting for the night.

The day wound down with a shopping trip for me and then Mrs Tootlepedal created a delicious evening meal with the products from the shopping bag, a very satisfactory division of labour.

I was pleased to see that the proposed deterioration in our weather has now been put on hold for a day or two and we are being promised another sunny day tomorrow.  We are really being spoiled and will get a big shock when normal service is resumed.

A questing chaffinch obliged by posing as the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture from my sister Mary shows some reflections on the Regent’s Canal.

regent's canal

The day started with s stiff breeze and a good deal of rain but the breeze was quite a lot less strident than yesterday’s near gale and the garden was full of goldfinches as a result.  They didn’t always seem very happy about the rain though.

goldfinch and siskin

This one was joined by a lone siskin visitor.

I had to go up to see my friend Arthur on a matter of computer assistance and by the time that I returned, the rain had begun to slack off and the light had improved enough to make watching the goldfinches with camera in hand a sensible thing to do.


Some were very busy…


…and others were more chilled out.


…but mostly they were busy.

There were chaffinches about too in typically feisty form.


You can see from the pictures that there was even a hint of sun so I stepped out to visit the froggery.


This one had a minder in the background.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work again in  order to keep me in the style to which I am accustomed and I got the speedy bike out and resolved to see how strong the wind was.

garmin 24 Feb 14It was very strong in gusts but the gusts were reasonably far apart and the base wind speed was tolerable.  I was feeling a lot better than I was when  had to give up on Saturday and had enough energy to jump off the bike on several occasions to take a picture (or two).

I hadn’t decided how far or where to go before I set out but as the ride went on, the reasonably warm temperature (8 degrees C), the moderate wind and the high clouds with occasional patches of blue sky led me on and on and I ended up doing a loop of thirty miles.  The wind  got stronger as I went round but fortunately by the time it was at its fiercest, I was heading for home with the wind behind me.

The first 6 miles uphill and into the wind took me a good length of time as I pedalled well within myself to avoid getting too tired.  This led to a slow overall time but an amazingly pleasant ride as I had plenty of energy left even when I had finished.

My first photos were on a watery theme with two of my favourite little cascades on the Wauchope and a picturesque puddle being ruffled by the wind.

wauchope cascade

wauchope cascade

There was plenty of water going down the river.


And in the fields all round my journey.

I passed this ruined cottage between Kennedy’s Corner and Chapelknowe.

ruined cottage

After passing through Glenzier, I decided to take the morning run route home past the Kerr.  There had been signs saying that the road would be closed and I wanted to check this out.  The road past Ryehills was closed and I had to take a small diversion past Tomshielburn and Barnglieshead.  This road had been closed earlier and I was keen to see what sort of job had been done on it.

Parts had been gloriously resurfaced….

Tomshielburn road

…but parts had been left without improvement at all.

The ways of the roads department are a mystery to us all.

There were more puddles to be seen along this stretch…


horse and puddle

The horses at the back would have come to see me but they had lost their water wings.

…and some fine lichen on an old gatepost.


You could read all sorts of things into these patterns.  I can see Punch and Judy.

I finished my ride with a look at the Esk in langholm.  In spite of all the rain and puddles, the river hasn’t looked like flooding.


It is quite full though.

I dropped in on Maisie’s grandparents who have returned from New Zealand and was greeted with a cup of tea and some welcome ginger biscuits.

I took a picture to prove that they had got back safely.  You can tell from their naturally relaxed manner just how good I am at putting my portrait subjects at ease.

Mike and Alison

They are not at all jet lagged.

In the evening, I went across to Newcastleton with Sandy for a meeting of the camera club.  We both had several pictures in the competition and the judge truly loved out work.  He said so several times.  Sadly, he loved others’ work even more and we didn’t trouble the scorer as they say.

He showed us some of his own work as an entrant in top competitions and as they included a great shot of a goldfinch, I considered him a wonderful photographer.  It was a treat to look at his pictures and to hear his remarks ab0ut ours so Sandy and I came home well satisfied.

In spite of all the goldfinches, a neat chaffinch sneaked in as flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch













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