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Posts Tagged ‘Santa’

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…

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…with the now familiar coal tits in evidence…

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…and the jackdaw with the white feathers too.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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Today’s picture shows the garden early in the morning.

snowy garden

I checked with my infallible high-tec snow depth measurer…

snow measure

That much snow had fallen during the night.  It meant a busy time at the feeders….

busy feeder

…both in the air and on the ground below….

ground crew

A chaffinch flies in to join the ground crew.

As usual the feeders were in deep shadow but it wasn’t too long before the plum tree offered basking opportunities.

brambling basking

Brambling and chaffinch taking in some rays.

It was the first Saturday of the month so I went to the producers’ market at the Buccleuch Centre and made my usual purchases of fresh fish, venison and local cheese.  I called in my local corner shop on my way home to make sure my spending power was spread about.  The shopkeeper complains about the producers’ market and I can feel his pain but he doesn’t sell fresh lemon sole or venison so I feel bad but not too bad about going past his door to get to the market on one day a month.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was waiting for a B&B couple to arrive so I packed the big camera up and put sandycam in my pocket as well and set off to walk up the third of the four Langholm hills.  This time, Whita was my target.

Whita

There hadn’t been enough snow to properly cover the hills round the town.

I took the direct route to the summit and was able to look back as I puffed my way up the track past the golf course to see the hills I walked on yesterday.

Timpen

The going underfoot was snowy but not slippery and walking was quite comfortable and there was no need for my anti slip Yaktrax  which was just as well as I hadn’t put them on.

I used the panoramic ability of the sandycam to capture just a taste of the views that I was enjoying.

snowy hills

There was no mist over the Solway today and the low sun glistened on the waters of the firth.

solway

As always at this time of the year on a sunny day, the contrast of light looking south and north is striking.

When I reached the summit of Whita, I was able to look across the valley to see the tiny black dot which was the trig point that I had stood beside yesterday.  It was dwarfed by the windmills on the hill behind.

Timpen and Craig

It was chillier today in a light wind and the windmills were actually making a little electricity.

I decided not to risk walking back down the steep face of the hill and instead I took the easier track down towards the McDiarmid Memorial and the road.  Before I got to the road, I decided to take a diversion and walk round the back of the hill and visit the Castle Craigs.  This involved a track rich with cairns.  There was one at the start…

cairn

…one a bit further on which I haven’t included here and one at the Castle Craigs complete with a handy bench.

castle craigs

The cairn there commemorates 200 years of the Langholm Common Riding and marks one of the furthest extents of what was once the common land.  There is a fine view behind it.

Castle Craigs

I don’t sit on the bench but walked back to the track down to the road and then on down the road.  After a while, I turned back onto the hill and walked along to the top of the golf course.

It was looking brilliant with untouched snow covering fairways and greens and the cropped grass made for an easy walk back to the town. I was crossing the High Street when I heard what sounded like the Town Band playing seasonal music in the distance so I walked along to the Town Bridge to see what was going on.  It was the Town Band, or at least a part of it.

Town band

I wasn’t expecting to see the person following the band along.

Santa

He had two local medal winning paralympians, Libby and James Clegg in the back of his sleigh.  They were going to help turn on the Christmas lights later in the evening.

By the time that I got home, my legs were complaining vociferously about the steepness of the walk up the hill and the folly of the diversion to the Castle Craigs.  I soothed them with tea and toast.

Not long after I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing with a small group from the local operatic society to add to the general jollity at the switching on of the lights.  I went up a little later to watch her at work.

carol singing

She was wearing her carol singing pink coat.  There was a good crowd out and they gave a resounding cheer when the lights came on.  I recorded the illuminated tree for posterity.

tree

Because of the way the lights are draped over it, slightly squashing the branches in, it does look a little more like a cactus or an aubergine than a Christmas tree but we like it all the same.

On my way home, I stopped to snap the war memorial in the park.

war memorial

It looked very striking in the snow.

Another good day was rounded off by that rare thing, an excellent TV drama.  This was back to back programmes five and six of the Killing, my favourite gloomy Danish police investigation.

There was a rather different flying bird of the day today.  I caught this beautiful brambling entirely by accident.  I was trying to get a ‘perching in the plum tree’ shot when it flew off.

brambling

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