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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s recent walk along the canals of Birmingham.

birmingham canal

We kept our dry weather today but there was no sign of sunshine so the temperature was at a more natural level for the first of March.

Following on the experience of the garden playing host to a partridge (though not in a pear tree), we saw the arrival today of two doves (though collared and not turtle).

two doves

Now we are expecting three foreign hens (though probably not from France).

In the absence of three French hens, I was happy to welcome Dropscone with some of his very best treacle scones at coffee time.  After coffee and conversation, he left to discuss the problems of installing a water meter in premises with no water supply with a man from the water company who wanted to install a water meter in the old Archive premises which don’t have a water supply.   I wished him luck.

Meanwhile, the siskins had got busy back in our garden.

A chaffinch sensibly kept its head done while two siskins squabbled…

siskin and siskin cinfrontation

…and a goldfinch did its best to ignore some challenging behaviour.

siskin and goldfinch confrontation

There were enough birds about to make putting out a second feeder seem like a good idea but in no time at all, both were being monopolised by more siskins.

siskins at both feeders

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre for lunch with two of our neighbours and I made some ginger biscuits to give to a friend of ours as a birthday gift.

Once the biscuits were cooked, I went out and  sieved some compost.  The gentle back exercise involved had a very beneficial effect on my feet.  They had been rather sore after pounding the streets of Edinburgh yesterday.  As a result, when Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her lunch and gave the biscuits the thumbs up, I went out for a short walk.

The pale hellebores in the garden had taken note of my complaints about them hanging their heads down and had made an effort to look up a bit.

pale hellebores

I walked down to the river and was happy to see that the trees along the bank between the bridges were bursting into flower…

riverside blossom

…and below them, the daffodils are starting to make a show.

riverside daffodils

It is beginning to feel like spring.

There were no gulls or oyster catchers about at all but I did see a dipper standing on a rock below the town bridge.

dipper below bridge

And along the Kilngree, a female mallard was doing the same.

duck on a rock

I crossed the Sawmill Brig and was impressed by the fruitful mosses on the wall.

four mosses

Instead of walking along the Lodge Walks, I headed up the hill and walked along the top of the woods, passing this gate on the way….

pathhead gate

…and seeing two unusual sheep in the field behind the gate.

varied sheep

As I walked along the top track, there was a hint of blue sky…

blue sky

…but it was not enough to bring the sun out as the blue sky was over there =>  and the sun was over there <=. along with a lot of clouds.

Although the individual snowdrops are going over fast, there are still enough about at Holmhead to make a delightful scene.

snowdrops Holmhead

There was not a lot of peace and quiet on the walk as the birds are getting the spring spirit and I was serenaded all along my route.

black bird

The many hazels along the river bank as I walked back to the town were dripping with catkins and covered in the tiny red flowers but I resisted the temptation to take yet another hazel flower picture and settled for this white flower growing on the wall at the top of the Scholars’ Field.

wild flower

As I passed my old school, I was saddened to see that the windows are not being maintained.  Although it is unoccupied and unused, it is still sad to see a building going to seed.

school window

I dropped in on Mike and Alison on my way home to enquire about their health and was offered a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit, which I accepted.  When I left, Mike came out into the garden to show me his dog’s tooth violets which are looking very pretty.

dog tooth violet

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set off in the car with some of our home cooked ginger biscuits, tastefully wrapped in a special bag which Mrs Tootlepedal had sewn while I was out walking.  They were to be a gift for our recorder playing and choir friend Sue who was having a birthday meal with her daughter.  Her daughter had secretly organised an after meal invasion by Sue’s friends and Sue took it very well when more and more people kept appearing through her daughter’s front door.

We had a very enjoyable and social time talking to Sue and her friends and eating the snacks provided by her daughter.

In a break from the endless line of flying chaffinches, the (only just) flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

just flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She has been suffering from a bad cold but has recovered enough to walk up to Kenwood House to have a coffee and a mince pie in the cafe.  She found a very fine day for her excursion.

kenwood house in sun

We had another calm and sunny day here today but we paid the price for a clear night by having a frosty morning.

frosty chaffinches

The chill encouraged a few birds to come to the feeder and it persuaded me to go for a walk rather than a cycle ride after coffee as the the thermometer was still showing a meagre 1°C at 11 o’clock.  This may have been too cold for pedalling but it was ideal for walking as the ground was nicely firm under foot when I got on to the hill.

I walked up the track to Whita from the town.

I was surprised to find a dandelion out as well as a garden escape on my way up the Kirk Wynd but the blooming gorse on the hill was no surprise as it is out all over the place.

dandelion, shrub and gorse january

There was no lichen looking cheerful on the wall at the top of the track but the moss was remarkable.  I don’t think that I have ever noticed it looking quite like this before.

moss heads

The view up the Ewes Valley did not disappoint and the weather seemed set fair for a stroll.

ewes valley from kirk wynd

When I got to the open hill, I didn’t continue straight up to the monument but turned right along the face of the hill following the old quarry track along the contours.

Looking across the town, I could see the Craig Wind Farm turbines rotating very lazily in the light breeze.  It was a pleasure to be out on such a day.

craig wind farm

I had a look at the trig points on the top of Warbla and Timpen.  In these days of digital mapping, they serve no useful purpose but I am glad that they haven’t been taken away as they provide a punctuation mark at the summits.  Both of them were dwarfed, the one on Warbla by the communications mast beside it, and the one on Timpen by a blade of a turbine nearly a mile away behind it.

two trig points

Three sheep pondered on my activities.

three sheep

When I reached the wall at the end of the track, I paused to look over the town.

town from quarry track

Below me, a field lined with tall trees vividly showed the difference between sunshine and shade.  I was glad to be in the sun.

shadowy frost

There are many photo opportunities round Langholm and this stile over the wall at the quarry is one of the most popular and I hardly ever cross it without stopping to take a picture.

quarry track stile

Today, this turned out to be slightly embarrassing for a gentlemen who was having a pee behind the gorse bush and hadn’t seen me coming.  He soon drifted out of shot though, muttering as he went.

I went diagonally down the hill towards the oak wood and followed the track through the wood down to the road…

oak wood round house

…passing an elegantly decaying tree trunk….

tree trunk

…and some fine hair ice on my way…

hair ice skippers

…to Skippers Bridge.  It was far too good a day to miss the photo opportunity there.

skippers bridge reflection

I walked back along the river without seeing anything exciting enough to make me stop again and got home after four miles just in time for lunch.

I was reflecting as I got back to town that I had just crossed moor and mountain and passed field and fountain and as it is Epiphany, I thought that  perhaps I ought to bring Mrs Tootlepedal some rich gifts.  I stopped at our corner shop and purchased milk and honey.  These would have been a pleasant surprise for her if I hadn’t met her cycling home from an errand just outside the shop.  She came in with me.  Still, she appreciated the thought.

Over lunch, I looked out of the window and saw some sparrows.

sparrow eating seed

The males have rich colours on their backs which show up well in sunshine.

sparrow in sun

Once again, there were not many birds about so I let my lens stray towards the sedums round the feeder.

sedum

After lunch, I had an appointment with the speech therapist in Dumfries, 35 miles away but once again, thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to see and speak to her online which saved me a lengthy drive and a lot of time.  It is a very efficient system which has worked perfectly both times we have used it.  As a result of this week’s consultation, I will be humming down a straw into a glass of water for the next seven weeks.  She assures me that it will work wonders.

Later in the afternoon, I settled down to putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group’s database and finished putting the choir songs onto the computer.

This took longer than I expected and when I finally finished, it was time to cook some corned beef hash for my tea.

I have decided this year to keep a record of my walks as well as my cycle rides, partly to stop feeling that I should be cycling even when the conditions are not suitable and partly out of interest to see how far I walk.  I am only counting actual expeditions like today’s, not the ordinary pottering about house and garden.

As a result, I find that I have walked or cycled every day in 2019 so far, cycling 77 miles and walking 20.  That seems like quite a good balance.

I did find a flying bird of the day today as a chaffinch, some sunshine and a camera in hand all appeared at the same time for once.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is a reminder of a sunny day just past and shows an unusual view of the Benty bridge and church.  It was taken by my friend Bruce and stars his wife, Lesley as ‘The Lady on the Bridge’.

benty bridge

The sun made infrequent appearances today and in between the sunny spells, there were frequent showers of light rain.  It made planning a day difficult.  However, it was reasonably warm and the wind was light so cycling and gardening were on the menu.

The minister dropped in for coffee, his coffee radar being perfectly attuned.  As he brought a couple of eggs from his large flock of chickens with him as a gift, he was even more welcome than usual.  He is a keen cyclist and naturally our conversation turned to cycling.  When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal was so inspired by his cycling efforts that she got her speedy bike out.  I pumped up the tyres and we pedalled off to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, her first bike ride since New Year’s day.

Needless to say although it was fine as we set out, it rained quite heavily when we were two miles up the road.  Luckily, it soon stopped and we had a gentle and pleasant ride.  Since the weather was good when we got home and I needed the miles, while Mrs Tootlepedal turned to gardening,  I set off again to do the journey again.

It soon started to rain again.

Once again it stopped and I pedalled on.  I passed a small landslip, a common occurrence on our steep banks….

landslip

…and which once again shows how shallow the soil is on our hills.

Thanks to quite a bit of rain lately, there was a good amount of water coming down the Wauchope.

wauchope cascade

Yesterday I had seen seated cows and today it was the turn of the sheep to sit down.

sitting sheep

I didn’t stop for too many pictures as I didn’t want to get wet again if I could help it.

I ended up doing six and a half miles with Mrs Tootlepedal and seven and half miles by myself which, while not a great distance, at least got a few miles in on a damp day.

I set the camera up at the kitchen window while I was having lunch and had a look at the birds.  We had a good variety.

Sometimes there were siskins…

siskins

…and there was a good number of goldfinches…

goldfinches

…and of course there were chaffinches…

chaffinches

…but our most interesting visitors today were a pair of lesser redpolls.  Here is one showing why they got their name.

redpoll

At this time of year, they have very red breasts too to show themselves off.

redpoll

They are very small birds, much the same size as the siskins and make the chaffinches look big by comparison.

redpoll and chaffimnch

I had a walk round the garden after lunch.

I was most impressed by how much moss there is on our azaleas.

moss on azaleas

Each plant seemed to have a little clump of moss at its branch junctions.

I liked the range of colours of the moss on our old pile of stones.

moss in garden

We wouldn’t mind though if it stopped raining for long enough this summer for a lot of the moss to get discouraged and die away.

There were more signs of spring to be seen.

lilac buds

It is not too long before it will be lilac blossom time.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal got really stuck into the business of making a new seated area next to the middle lawn.  I went for a walk.

I have seen two very impressive displays of British Solidier lichen in America recently on blogs from Gunta and the New Hampshire Gardener  so I went along beside the park wall to see if I could find any there.

There were some to be seen but they were very tiny…

cladonia

As you can see, they hardly poked their heads above the surrounding moss.

I couldn’t find an army of them but there was enough for a small troop.

cladonia

Our friend Mike Tinker, who is a fern enthusiast, has promised to take me out on a walk to try to teach me to distinguish between varieties.  I look forward to it as there are a lot of ferns out there.  I passed some today.

ferns

Did I mention that it started to rain almost as soon as I set off on my walk?

Still, it was only light rain and I was pleased to see signs of wild garlic emerging….

garlic

…as this is a marker for the start of the wild flower season.

It wasn’t a day for views and I was happy to get some shelter from the trees along the Beechy Plains.  I was looking for birch trees in particular to see if I could spot any script lichens.  It turned out to be quite easy as almost every birch I passed seemed to have a patch…

script lichen

…or two.

script lichen

Mrs Tootlepedal was still working hard on her seating area when I got back but she came in for a cup of tea and a biscuit to get out of a heavier shower of rain before going out again.  There is a difference in height between the main lawn and the seating area and she has been swithering between a step, a slope or a dugout area, all of which have good and bad points about the construction required but after some experimentation today, she has settled on a step.

I look forward to seeing the results.

While I was out cycling yesterday, the man who made our new compost bins arrived with some new raised beds for Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden….

new veg beds

…and they are waiting to be installed.  You can see that the old beds are past their best.  It will take a lot of labour to get the new beds set up but Mrs Tootlepedal is not afraid of hard work and I am always available to do a bit of supervising.

I did some lawn spiking today in the hope of encouraging a blade or two of grass to grow among the moss.

I ate the minister’s eggs as part of a mushroom omelette for my tea.  They were very good.

The flying bird of the day is two chaffinches.  I couldn’t choose between them.

flying chaffinches

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is an owl spotted by Dropscone on his recent visit to Kent.  It was keeping an eye on things near a graveyard.

owl

We had another cold, grey and wet morning today with added icy patches so I was very happy to find things to do in the house.  The  ground is still rock solid and the rain was producing fine puddles on the lawn.

lawn puddle

Sandy came round for a cup of coffee and our neighbour Liz dropped in to recover with another cup of coffee from the shock of finding her drains blocked with water all over the kitchen floor.  Luckily, a plumber soon arrived and unblocked the pipe.

What with the visitors and the crossword (done to an accompaniment of Miff Mole and his Molers), the morning passed more pleasantly than it deserved.

It was soggy outside…..

goldfinch and siskin

…and the light was absolutely rotten so flying birds were out of the question.  The blackbirds were very much in evidence again…

blackbirds

…with the apples continuing to attract customers. I rarely looked out of the window and saw less than four blackbirds round the feeder and often as many as seven or eight.

Other birds dropped in too.

pigeon and dove

Finally, the weather took a turn for the better and the rain stopped.

chaffinch and goldfinch

I had to wait for the bread machine to deliver the dough for a batch of rolls before I could get out for a walk though and by that time, the light had begun to fade.

There was a hint of blue sky….

blue sky

…but the low and misty cloud that you can see in the picture above, persisted and it made sure that no sun came out to warm me on my way.

A glimpse of Mr Grumpy cheered me up…

heron

…and I enjoyed the duck in the foreground pretending to swim but sensibly keeping himself just out of the water by standing on a rock.

mallard

A goosander was quite happy to swim away as I came past.

goosander

It was still pretty chilly out but all traces of frost and snow had gone…

Meeting of the Waters

…and the morning’s ice had gone too, leaving me with a remarkably pleasant walk for a dull, cold day.

I passed the disused church on the Lodge Walks, reflecting that in its early life as a church for visitor’s to the Duke’s summer lodge, the ministers must have been chosen for their ability to play cricket as the first two appeared regularly on the pitch for Langholm Cricket Club matches.

Tin church

A flock of sheep found me interesting as I walked past them…

sheep and tree

The ram had his harness on.  It carries a block of paint which marks the ewes so that the shepherd knows which ones have had the benefit of his attention.

sheep and ram

As they were all facing me, I couldn’t tell if he had been doing his duty.

I was interested to see several protective cages with canes marked in red in them.

P1060033

These are an indication that replacements for the felled trees along the Lodge walks will soon be in place.

As always, there was lichen to look at.

lichen

And fungus too.

P1060035

Both of those were on the felled trees that are going to be replaced.

The light was fading fast so I crossed the Duchess Bridge…

P1060037

…and made my way home.

I met Mrs Tootlepedal, out on an errand, just as I reached Mike and Alison’s house and we dropped in to see if they would like to come round for scones and music tomorrow afternoon as we are busy in the evening.

This was agreed and while we there, we were entertained with nice cup of tea and several topless tarts.  (These were mince pies, which owing to a miscalculation of the available pastry, had been made without lids.  They were still delicious.)

As we left, I took a picture of this beautiful orchid on their kitchen windowsill.

P1060041

In the evening, I went off to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group and we had a most enjoyable time.   The icing on the cake was seeing a shooting star flashing across the sky as we drove home.  A little research told me that this was one of the Geminids.

When I got back into the house, I went upstairs for a look out of the window. The sky was brilliantly clear thanks to the lack of any moon and Mrs Tootlepedal and I could see the Milky Way behind the usual constellations with the naked eye, a very rare thing for us.  Although we waited for a while, we didn’t see a shooting star.  The internet tells me that 2am will be the best time. That may be a bit late for me.

Owing to the poor light, no flying bird of the day today and owing to laziness, no inferior substitute either.

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Today’s guest picture is another from Mike and Alison’s New Zealand adventure.  Mike thought correctly that it might warm me up.  He tells me that it shows Mapua with Rabbit Island in the background.

mapua-rabbit-island

At the other end of the earth from Mapua, we had a suitably dark and grey occasion here as we approach the shortest day.

Sandy has been suffering from a cold too but he was improved enough to venture out for a cup of coffee this morning.  Mrs Tootlepedal had made some mince pies last night and these went down very well with the Monsoon Malabar.

I took a moment to look out of the window after coffee and was rewarded with a display of landing skills from the chaffinches.

Chaffinches landing

A robin arrived….

robin

And a chaffinch posed prettily for those who like a more restful bird shot.

chaffinch

Over lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be a volunteer at the Buccleuch Centre and I thought that a walk in the woods might be a good idea, especially as a friend had suggested a spot where I might find some bullfinches and/or redpolls.

I didn’t want to walk too far so I set out in the car to get to a convenient spot but I hadn’t gone far before a slightly stuttering engine and two warning lights suggested that a visit to the garage might be prudent.  As I was just outside the garage when the warning lights came on, this wasn’t too difficult to arrange and having the left the car in the care of the mechanics, I walked on regardless.

A walked up Hallpath, past an intriguing wall….

Hallpath wall

Why the same wall should be so different just a few yards apart is a mystery to me.

…along an undulating track…

Round house track

…until I came to the spot where the birds might lurk.  There were certainly a good number of small birds high in the trees but the light was so poor that I had no way of telling what they were.

I turned off the main track and struck up the hill towards open ground….

View of Meikleholm Hill

It’s a wonderful spot for electricity wires getting in your view.

…but even when I got clear of the trees, the view didn’t improve much.

Misty view of langholm

I was following a well worn path…

 

Whita

…and heading for the pylon on the right….

whita pylon

I thought it might look more impressive in black and white

I walked on past the pylon until I came to my favourite stile…

stile at Whita quarry

…and was very surprised to see a gorse bush in full flower on the other side of the wall.

gorse on Whita

From there, my route was across the face of the hill on the old quarry track.  I passed a sheep sensibly lying down with its back to the increasingly gusty wind.

sheep on Whita

After passing a lonely tree…

whita tree

…I dropped back into the town by way of the golf course and the Kirk Wynd.

Town Hall

The clock told me that I had been out for just under an hour which was quite enough as it was threatening to turn from mist into drizzle.

Beside the suspension bridge as I crossed the Esk, an old friend was standing on a rock….

heron

Facing him, a duck had found a rock of its own.

duck

When I got home, I had time to look at a robin trying all the feeders in turn….

robin

…before the light disappeared completely.

Although it takes a week before the days actually start getting longer again, it is good to know that tomorrow is the literal depth of winter and it will be uphill towards the sunlit uplands from then on.

I got a call from the garage saying that inexpensive repairs were required and these should be completed by tomorrow.   I may complain about computers in cars from time to time but it is undoubtedly a good thing to be able to hook up your car to a machine and have it tell you within moments exactly what is wrong.

I am still suffering mildly from my cold and so the rest of the day was spent in gentle activity indoors until we went off to a film in the Buccleuch Centre in the evening.

As the film was White Christmas, this turned out to be a cheerful way to round off a dull day.

The flower of the day is a tiny yellow flower which I found on the practise fairway at the golf club…

yellow flower december

…and the flying bird of the day is an expansive chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows Dropscone’s grandson Leo on the starting line for the Langholm Grand Prix.

leo

The promised rain is still holding off and it was another calm, grey day, ideal for cycling today.  Sadly, I had arranged to take my bikes down to the bike shop in Longtown for their annual service so cycling was not on the menu.

As a substitute, I took the camera and a tripod out into the garden to try to take some better plant pictures.  I took too many so some will appear in pairs.  Small blue things were in vogue.

chinodoxa and scilla

A scilla had come out to join the chinodoxa

Mrs Tootlepedal has been staining the back fence and it made a striking background for a daffodil.

daffodil

There is potential about.

currant and euphorbia

And of course there are frogs.

frog

This one looks as though it might have injured an eye.

Sandy came round for coffee.  He told me that he had knocked a hard drive off a table at home and injured it so he is hoping that skilled men will be able to recover the files for him.  I am hoping so too as there is a lot of his work for the Archive Group on the disk.

When he went, I watched the birds for a while.

chaffinch

A sharp portrait of a chaffinch landing

chaffinches

It looks as though words might have been spoken between these two.

After lunch I went out for a walk.  Sandy is far from well walking wise at the moment and Mrs Tootlepedal was at a meeting so I went by myself.

I had two aims, first to take a picture or two and second to test out my hip after a few days of exercises.

I chose a mixed, track, path and road route of just under five and a half miles and was very pleased with my hip, which got round without complaining at all.

The pictures were a bit mixed as it was a very grey day and spring is on hold so there was not much new to see.

I saw pulmonaria in a garden near the start and some fine lichen and a sturdy snowdrop in the middle.

plants

I saw cool catkins and catkins in love on my way round.

catkins

I didn’t see a bullfinch and I didn’t see much in the way of green leaves but I did see other things. ..

chaffinch and ash

…so it wasn’t a dull walk.

In rather church-like moment, I could see hills when I lifted mine eyes and lambs safely grazing below.

sheep and warbla

The river is low but there is a bit of water running through the bridge at Skippers…

Esk at Skippers

…but I don’t think that you will see the pool below the bridge much calmer than it was today.

Esk at Skippers

I walked up the hill to the Round House…

Round house

…and was just thinking that it had not been a very colourful outing when I came across this fine specimen in a garden just as I got back to the town.

blossom

That cheered me up a lot.

I went down to fetch my bikes before the shop closed but came back with only one.  This was the fairly speedy one and even it wasn’t fully serviced.  I will have to take it back for a new chain and set of rear gear rings in a few days time.  The mechanic had had a very busy day so I don’t blame him.  People will keep coming in and demanding that their bike be fixed at once.  Mine will be quite usable meanwhile and the appalling creak in the saddle area has been fixed.  This will make cycling a lot more peaceful than it has been recently.

I got a bit of a shock in the evening when Sandy rang up to ask if I could give him a lift to Carlisle tomorrow as his doctor has sent him for some  checks in the hospital there.    I hope that he won’t have to stay long.

I had several attempts during the day to get a left to right flying bird…

chaffinch

…but a right to lefter was still the best effort and so it is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows more of the endlessly sunny weather that Dropscone is having to put up with in Malta.

Malta

In fact we too had to put up with some sunny weather here today.  This came as a bit of a shock but the kindly authorities, worried in case we became too excited, took it away after lunch and covered it up with cloud again.

While the sun was out, I watched a blackbird in the plum tree wondering whether he too could try the feeder.

blackbird

He thought better of it and flew off elsewhere.

I put on my walking shoes and went off to make the most of what sunshine there was going to be by walking up to the top of Warbla.  With the temperature at only 1°C, I was a bit worried about icy conditions underfoot but it turned out to be a perfect day for walking.

Others had had the same idea….

walkers on warbla

 …but they had got up a good deal earlier than me and were coming back down from the top. They told me that they had met a gang of ramblers at the summit but they must have chosen a more adventurous down because I saw no sign of them.

I met some sheep too.  They were lurking under some trees, well shaded from any sunshine….

sheep

…but they seemed quite content, munching away on the reeds.

The views from the summit were as rewarding as ever.

views from warbla

Although it only a small hill, you get fine views in almost every direction and in spite of the snow capped hills in the distance, it was warm enough to let me stop and enjoy them all.

views from warbla

views from warbla

Juts in case Dropscone reads this post in far away Malta, I took a shot of the golf course, still a brilliant green while the surrounding fields lose their colour.

Golf course

It was only half an hour off midday but the sun rises so little into the sky at this time of the year that the fence posts round the mast were casting  long shadows.

fence post shadows

It is at times like this that we remember that we live on the 55th parallel north, level with Canada, the very south of Alaska and much of Russia.  We are not far south of Moscow and if it wasn’t for the warming waters of the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current, I wouldn’t be looking at these pleasant scenes at all.

As one of the possibilities of the current rate of global warming is that the Gulf Stream may be switched off before it reaches us, I am thinking of buying some extra big wellies just in case.

The stroll back down was as pleasant as the walk up but it was noticeable that anywhere that the sun hadn’t reached, was still frozen.

Wauchope valley

I left the track and walked across the frozen grass down to Gaskell’s walk which runs beside the Wauchope Water.

I passed this fine tree….

tree on Warbla

…and went along the track.  My main object was to look at the cracks at the top of the walk that my neighbour Liz had pointed out but there was a lot of hair frost to look at on the way.

This was the most impressive.   It  is hard to believe that such a slender branch could exude so much moisture.

hair frost

When I got to the spot, the crack was quite impressive too.

Crack on gaskells

If you look closely, you can see that a little slump has occurred and half the path has dropped a little at the far end.  There was an mention of this in our local paper this morning with a note that those in charge of these things are considering what it might cost to effect a repair.  You can get an idea of how steep the bank is from the picture and it runs right down to the river about 100 feet below so the cost might be considerable.

The mosses on the park wall had been dealt a blow by the frost so I focused on some neat leaves instead.

Leaves on Park Wall

It was time for lunch when I got back and then the rest of the day was spent making marmalade.  We started with this….

marmalade oranges

 …and ended some hours later, sticky but happy, with this.

marmalade

Fourteen jars should keep us going for a bit.  The taste test comes tomorrow morning.

During the day I got an email from my friend Bruce with an interesting pair of pictures in it.  He had been to visit a friend, Evelyn Carlyle, on the other side of the county and found that she had used this picture of mine from a post in November….

gate and wall Lamb Hill

…as the basis for an embroidery.  After painting the basic colours onto Bondaweb, she used fabric, wool and threads to achieve her effect.  She used free motion machine stitching and used feather stitch, granite stitch and some vermicelli stitch.  Here is the result.

Evelyn Carlyle embroidery

I was very pleased that someone had found a picture of mine interesting enough to embroider.  I liked the result too.

I did manage a flying bird of the day between the mountaineering and the marmalade.

flying chaffinch

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