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Posts Tagged ‘trees’

I have a rich seam of guest pictures at the moment, so thank you to all who have contributed.  Today’s comes from my sister Mary.  She went up towards the Greenwich Observatory and looked back behind her on the way.

greenwich view

The slight warming of our weather continued today and there was no need to use the handy pre-heating facility on the Zoe before we drove down to Longtown for a visit to the opticians.

While Mrs Tootlepedal was answering difficult questions about the comparative readability of this…or this…or this…or this…

…I went down to the riverside to have a look at the bridge over the Esk.  Some weeks ago we heard a rumour that the bridge had fallen down, but this turned out to be an exaggeration.  This was lucky as we had crossed it to get to our appointment.

I passed an extremely severely pollarded tree on my way to the river.

lopped tree Longtown

No compromise with beauty there.

As you can see the bridge is still standing with all its arches intact…

Longtown bridge

…and fortunately the section that fell down was underneath a pavement on the approach to the bridge and not under the road itself so traffic has been able to keep crossing in a single lane on the far side.

Longtown bridge collapse

The arches themselves look well enough constructed to last for another hundred years at least. Longtown bridge piers

I learn from the Undiscovered Scotland website that “the Reverend Robert Graham inherited the family estate of the Grahams of Netherby. He began by building Longtown Bridge, which crosses the River Esk on the line of the Edinburgh to Carlisle road in 1756. The bridge was widened and strengthened in 1889 and again more recently.”  It has stood the test of time.  I take it that it was the recent alterations that have fallen down.

I walked up onto the bridge approach and looked down at the damage.  Quite a bit had fallen off.

Longtown bridge rubble

Then I went and had my turn with the difficult questions.  My eyes are so different that I can read the very small bottom line of the opticians chart with one eye and only the very big letter at the top with my other one.  However, I get good glasses from Mr Hagen so I don’t bang into things too much, though this may explain why I was hopeless at sport when I was young.

The most important thing is that my eyes were passed as perfectly fit for driving.

We drove back to Langholm and I dropped Mrs Tootlepedal off at home before taking the Zoe into the local garage to get a slow puncture fixed.  This was a nervous business for me as there is no spare wheel and no jacking points on the car and the battery lies flat along the bottom of the frame.   The garage was equal to the task of getting the wheel off without electrocuting themselves and an intrusive nail was removed and the tyre satisfactorily plugged.

I got back to find our ex-minister Scott having a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal.  I was deeply surprised that his scone radar had not told him that if he had come yesterday, he would have got a teacake to go with it.

It was good to catch up with his news.

When he had gone, I looked for birds on the feeder.  They were few and far between.  I captured a lone siskin and that was it for today.

SISKIN

We had lunch and then I went out for a walk as it had got too late for a cycle ride by this time.

December is supposed to be the official start of winter, and I think it is fair to say that my walks have definitely become wintery.

beechy plains december

I passed reminders of last summer..

seed heads murtholm

…and hints of next spring…

buds murtholm

…as well as a selection of trees, both complicated…

tree skipperscleuch

…and straightforward.

tree on track to kernigal

The track took me into a spruce plantation with no views…

kernigal track

…but further along, the spruces have been felled and there were prospects of hill…

whita from kernigal

…and town.

town from kernigal

And of course, there is always moss.

moss in kernigal

The writing was on the tree trunks…

script lichen on trunk

..in the form of script lichen.

script lichen

I finished my walk with two bridges, one natural which I went under..

fallen tree hungry burn

…and one reflective which I crossed.

reflective park bridge

Early in the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to do front of house volunteer duties and after I had had a bit of choir song practice, I went along to see the show.

The occasion was not the usual entertainment at all but a recording of two programmes for Gardeners’ Question Time, a long standing and much loved BBC Radio 4 series.

The audience were asked to submit questions in advance and mine was among those chosen.  Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that my question related to plant photography and the panel gave some very good answers.  But whether it will feature in the programme when it is broadcast is unclear, as they almost certainly recorded more material for the two programmes than they needed.  The programmes will be broadcast in January next year.

Kathy Clugston was in the chair and the expert panel were Matthew Wilson, James Wong and Christine Walkden.  Ms Clugston was very composed and charming and the panel were extremely knowledgeable and helpful so it was a treat to be there.  Radio is a marvellous medium and the lack of fuss and egos throughout the recording was very marked.

The team had come to Langholm at the invitation of the Langholm Chilli Club, a very enterprising group which grows huge amounts of chillis in the town and surrounding neighbourhood.  You can find out more about them here if you want.

My friend Sue Toon kindly sent me this picture of the panel which was taken by Roddy. of the chilli club.

GQT

None of the panellists have wings but this is the flying bird of the day!

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony and the kingdom of everlasting sunshine, East Wemyss.  If you look closely, you might see a seal on the rock in the foreground and perhaps a cormorant too.

wemyss seascape

After our recent sunny spell, we went back to rather grey and gloomy today, but the silver lining in the clouds was a rise in the temperature to above zero.  It was a curious day because in spite of the higher temperature, the dampness in the air made it feel colder and rawer than the recent much colder but drier days.

And although the thermometer had only gone up to two degrees, by lunchtime the roads and paths were miraculously cleared of frost and ice.

It was still slippery in spots in the morning so Mrs Tootlepedal had to take care when she cycled off to a meeting about the community land buy out and I had to go cannily when I cycled to our ex-corner shop for milk and a cauliflower.

I got back safely though and was able to welcome a determined goldfinch to the feeder.

goldfinch december

It stood its ground while chaffinches circled around.

busy feeder

We seem to have a pair of dunnocks in the garden at the moment, this one…

one of dunnock pair

…and this one.

other of dunnock pair

I think they must be a pair becuase I read that they are quite fractious birds and if it was two males, then they would be trying to chase each other away.

I couldn’t find any reliable guide to tell me how to distinguish a male from a female.

A blackbird made a face at me when I asked it to pose prettily.

blackbird making facw

I have had a sore back and have not been sleeping quite as well as I would wish so I had a very quiet morning, doing nothing more active than my visit to the shop and making some dull soup for lunch.  A toasted tea cake with my coffee kept me cheerful though.
(If you like tea cakes, I can thoroughly recommend Dan Lepard’s Top Tea Cake recipe from his book ‘Short and Sweet’.  His kneading method is brilliant for people with arthritic hands)

After a bowl of the dull soup (which was enhanced by some onion gravy granules to good effect), I went off for a walk.  Although I enjoy walking up hills, coming down them again doesn’t suit my feet at the moment so I stuck to the flat today, and did an extended three bridges.

I had it in mind to take a portrait of the handsome white duck that hangs about with the mallards at the Kilngreen if it was there.

It was there but it wasn’t co-operating.

diving white duck

However, after some preparatory preening…

preening white duck

…it finally posed for a portrait.

posing white duck

Mr Grumpy was not amused to find that he wasn’t the star of the show today.

grumpy heron

Then I focussed on trees.

This one looks green enough but the green is entirely moss and lichen with not a leaf in sight…

castleholm mossy tree

…whereas this one still had a great many leaves hanging on.

castleholm leafy tree

My final one, standing between the pheasant rearing houses, had neither moss nor leaves.

pheasant pen tree

Although there was no ice or white frost left on the track that I was walking along, there was still plenty to be seen on the branches of trees that had not seen the sun lately…

frosty branches

…and this little tree trunk looked as though it had been iced by a pâtissier

iced gtree trunk

…and a fungus beside the path was fully iced too.  Very curious.

iced fungus

I had thought that going along this track might put me in danger of slipping and falling but as it was, I could stride out with some confidence.  This was lucky because it was remarkably raw and I didn’t stop a lot for pictures, although hair ice is always a temptation.

haor ice Lodge

As I got near home, I could see that Whita had retained its own little cloud for the afternoon…

Whita in low cloud

…with the monument peeping shyly through.

monument in low cloud

On my way past his house, I called in at Mike Tinker’s to collect some photographs which he had been given to pass on to the Archive Group, and he returned the compliment an hour later when he joined Mrs Tootlepedal and me for a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake. (Tea cakes have a habit of mysteriously disappearing.  I made twelve on Saturday and the last one is going to a good home as I write this.)

Then Luke came round and we played a sonata by Hadyn and worked at a little Bach partita.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see a screening from the Old Vic of a performance by the National Theatre of Present Laughter by Noel Coward .  She enjoyed it thoroughly and I must say that this new idea of screening these London plays nationally is a very good one.

I found several moments during the day to practise choir songs but was left with a strong feeling that more practice is still needed.

The temperature is due to rise a little more tomorrow, so the prospect of a bicycle ride may not be too far off.

A chaffinch is the flying bird of the day again.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen.  Having read about the Langholm Christmas tree illumination, he sent me this shot to show that Australians can do Christmas too.

australian Christmas tree

Talking about Christmas, our resident robin is working hard to get us into a Christmas mood.

sunny robin

As you can see, we had another sunny day today but once again, it was pretty nippy and the thermometer didn’t get above zero all day.

The odd goldfinch braved the cold and made it to the feeder, but they didn’t stay long.

goldfinch departing

Mrs Tootlepedal had a quiet morning in after yesterday’s very long day, so I went off to sing in the church choir by myself.  Our potential new minister has been voted in by the congregation but will not start work for ten days so we had a visiting minister today who chose cheerful hymns and gave us an interesting sermon.

When I got home, the feeder was still quite busy but the bright sunshine is a mixed blessing when it come to taking pictures of the visitors and I settled for a flying chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…and a sitting greenfinch…

greenfinch on feeder

…before getting ready for a walk.  The robin appeared again before I could go out…

sunny robin 2

…but I managed to resist the temptation to take even more pictures of it and went out into the cold.

Out of the sun, it really was cold in the garden and this was the side window of our car.

car window ice

After three days of frost, the leaves in the garden are no longer just fringed with crystals, they are covered with them.

garden leaf ice

…and even our wooden heron has got signs of a runny nose.

garden heron drip nose

A box ball summed up the two sides of the day…

half frozen box ball

…and Lilian Austin was frozen stiff.

frozzen rose

The chilly conditions had turned every leaf on one of the golden box balls into little ice flowers.

frozen golden box leaves

I left the garden and walked up to Pool Corner where a lone larch tree has retained some its needles.

last of the larches

I liked this contrast in tree shapes as I passed the Wauchope graveyard.

three trees wauchope

Expert navigators are supposed to be able to tell the points of the compass by looking at moss growing on tree trunks.  Today, the ice on fence posts gave a pretty good indication of East and West.

frozen fence post

Who needs diamonds when its frosty?

fence post ice

I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and walked back towards the town along Gaskells Walk.  I was keeping an eye for hair ice and I was pleased to find an example beside the path.

hair ice gaskells

The track runs along the side of the hill and was in shadow so it was occasionally icy underfoot and always chilly.

 

icy gaskells

My hands had got pretty cold from taking my gloves off to use the camera and I had to keep a good eye on the where I was putting my feet so the camera stayed in my pocket and I concentrated on walking fast enough to keep warm.

I added Easton’s walk to the end of Gaskell’s walk and found another example of hair ice as I walked back along the river.

hair ice eastons

I was pleased to get back into the warmth when I got home.

When we drove to Carlisle after lunch to go to our Carlisle Choir, the temperature was -5°C and we hit a fairly thick patch of fog not long after we started.  I wondered how the electric car would enjoy these conditions but it seemed unworried, although the battery charge went down a lot more quickly than it does in the summer.

Luckily the fog didn’t last for long and we got to the choir in lovely sunshine. This was the last practice before two concerts next weekend so we worked hard to polish up some of the awkward corners that had remained a little rough.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I agreed as we drove home (-6°C) that time will have to be found during the week for some final homework on the songs.

The temperature should get above freezing tomorrow (fog permitting) and we are due to get up to double figures by Friday.  I hope we do as I have done very little cycling lately and I am getting distinctly tubby.  Two mile walks taking pictures are fun but they don’t burn calories.

The flying bird of the day is a rather dashing chaffinch, showing great determination in the pursuit of a seed.

flying chaffinch lunge

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Today’s guest picture is another from the files.  On his visit to Blackpool last month, Bruce was brave enough to venture onto the glass floor looking down from the top of the famous tower.  Rather him than me!  I don’t like the way that the thing seems to be held together by baler twine.

blackpool tower glass floor

We had an unequivocally sunny day here today with not a cloud in the sky.  The payback was that the thermometer hardly scraped above freezing all day.

It was chilly when I had a look round the garden after breakfast and even our wooden heron had got a new hairstyle.

frozen garden nov

However, the sun showed off the walnut tree well.

walnut tree sunny morning

It was far too cold and potentially icy to go cycling so I was very happy that it was a Friday and Dropscone came round with the traditional Friday treacle scones. They were very tasty today.

We ate them while we drank coffee and chatted.  Dropscone had been playing golf at Powfoot and had played a few holes with an elderly member of the club.  He was impressed to discover that the stranger had an even larger collection of second hand golf balls than he had.  It must be large, for as far as I know, Dropscone has never bought a new golf ball in all the time that I have known him.

Mrs Tootlepedal had coffee at the Buccleuch Centre with her ex-work colleagues and one of them mentioned that she has an aunt who lives in Kent who enjoys reading these posts, so I am sending greetings to Kent today in the hope that she reads this one.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a walk to the top of one of our local hills.

The walk up Warbla is on a good track, especially when it has been hardened by frost but is still not icy.  This was the case today.  We could hardly have had a better day for a November walk.

There was very little wind and in the sun, it was warm but in the shady spots, it was pretty chilly.  This horse looked as though it might have preferred to have been in the next door field.

horse in shadow

On our way to the summit, we passed trees both anguished….

bent ree warbla

…and relatively cheerful.

bare tree warbla

After a steep section, the final part of the track levels out and Mrs Tootlepedal strode out at a good pace.

warbla track Mrs t

I had stopped to take a panorama picture of the Wauchope Valley.

warbla panorama 1

Click on the pic for the full scene.

It was cold enough for the puddles along the track to be artistically icy.

warbla icy puddle

When we reached the top, we could look down into England.  A low mist covered the Eden Valley and obscured the northern hills.

warbla mist over england

I wasn’t surprised because I have seen it before, but I am still amazed to find molehills right on the top of the hill.  The soil must be very thin here and you would think that there would be slim pickings for the little creatures.

warbla mole

I walked to the edge of the hill and took another panorama, looking right over the town in the valley below.

 

Mrs Tootlepedal leaned reflectively on the trig point for a while, contemplating the glorious views…

mrs t warbla summit

…and then we headed back down the hill.  We cast a long shadow as the sun went down behind us.

long shadows warbla

The hills were casting shadows as well.

sinking sun warbla

When we got to the wall at the bottom of the open hill, there were things to be seen as usual.  I was very excited when I saw the subject of the middle frame of the panel.  It looked very exotic at first sight,  but it turned out to be common or garden heather so I got less excited.

three things warbla wall

As we got down towards the Stubholm, I looked across the valley to Whita Hill where the dying bracken added a strong touch of colour to the view….

whita from warbla1

…and the clever zoom lens on my pocket camera could read the yardage signs on the golf course practice area, nearly three quarters of a mile away.

golf course signs

I put this picture in just for Dropscone

The lights on our town Christmas tree are going to be switched on tomorrow.  I noticed that nature has been doing its own work too.

nature's christmas tree

The light was already fading when we got home and the frosty weather had been keeping birds away from the feeder so there were not a lot to look at.  I  did catch a visit from our robin who hopped from stalk to feeder…

robin panel

..before quickly flying off again.

As a photographer, I was interested in this picture of a chaffinch when I looked at it on the computer.  The low sun was definitely behind him and yet he appears to be lit from in front.  I can only assume that a reflection from the feeder was responsible.

frontlit chaffinch

Later on, Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday evening visit and I tried to put all the useful advice I have been giving Luke to good use in my own playing as Alison and I played Telemann and Loeillet sonatas.  (More work is needed but at least it is good advice.)

A rather gloomy chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

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I have run out of current guest pictures so I looked in my files and I am using one from last month again.  I  was so impressed by my sister Susan’s guerrilla gardener’s work that I am showing his/her earlier effort to brighten the neighbourhood.  Everyone should be doing this.

20191004_142951 (1)

We had a brighter morning.  Hooray.  We could even see quite bit of blue sky as we ate our breakfast.  It wasn’t quite as good as it might have been because the blue sky was on one side of the house and sun was on the other side where the clouds were, so we didn’t actually get any sunshine in the garden.

All the same it looked like a day for a bike ride.  There is a gap between looking and being and that gap was filled by coffee, toast and the crossword.  I am still finding it quite hard to discover where I have put my get up and go in the mornings.

I killed a little time by looking at a greenfinch.

_DSC5928

And then I cleaned the feeder and refilled it.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Hawick on embroidery business before I finally managed to get the wheels turning and hit the road.  The temperature was still in single figures and with a north easterly wind, the ‘feels like’ factor was strong enough to make me grateful for every one of the many layers  in which I was encased.

This picture, taken three miles after my start, summed up the day quite well, I thought.

P1190346

But it wasn’t raining and the chilly wind was behind me so I pedalled along cheerfully, stopping from time to time to take pictures.

This is an old mission or outreach church at Kirtleton, now converted to a private dwelling.P1190347

I like the potential oxbow lake near Waterbeck.  The tree on  the left of the recent landslip must be considering its position nervously.

P1190348

Considering their size and the enormous weight of wire that they carry, pylons have very dainty feet.

P1190350

It is a curiosity that beech hedges retain their leaves long after beech trees have shed theirs. I am told that this is because by routinely cutting hedges below 2 metres the plants are kept in their juvenile state, so retaining their dead leaves which get pushed off the tree with emerging new growth in the spring. 

It cheers up the roadside on a dreary day.

 

P1190351

Any hint of blue sky disappeared as I pedalled along, but the rain stayed away so I could stop to indulge my liking for bare trees without getting the camera wet.

This one was leaning politely to one side to make room for passing traffic (only me today).

P1190353

And this one was retaining a little foliage in spit of its exposed position.

P1190354

The hedges here are hawthorn and have lost their leaves.

The wind had helped me on the way out and for the first twenty five miles of my outing, I was able to average a respectable 13.3 mph.  Coming home into the wind and up the gentle hill was a different matter and for the last 15 miles, 12 mph was all that I could muster.  I was happy to stop and admire the well appointed village centre at Glenzier, with its refurbished hall, bus stop, post box and telephone kiosk.

P1190355

The bus service is infrequent however, and in general, cycling to Langholm is the quickest way to go.

I have done very little cycling in November so my legs were more than happy to suggest ending the journey after forty miles when I got back to Langholm.  As it was getting gloomy again by this time, I was quite happy to fall in with my legs.

I had a cup of tea and checked on the birds.

Our resident robin was hopping about under the feeder.

_DSC5931

…and a lone siskin was testing out the peanuts.  I expect to see a lot more of these before the winter is over.

_DSC5938

On the feeder, resident birds were keeping an eye out…

_DSC5940

…for incoming traffic.

_DSC5941

I had a shower and spent some time going over songs for the Carlisle choir Christmas concert.  With ten days to go, any spare moment can be usefully spent doing more of this as we are slightly under rehearsed and there are quite a few tricky  corners to be negotiated.

On consulting my spreadsheet, I see that today’s bike ride took my total distance for the year to over 3000 miles.  As I was hoping for 4000 miles when the year started, this is well below target but trouble with my feet in the early part of the year kept my cycling miles well down for three months, so I am quite pleased to have hit this B target.  I have done 2000 miles in the last six months and that has been very satisfactory.

If the weather is kind in December, I may be able to add a few more miles before the years end.

I didn’t get a chance to catch a good flying bird at the feeder so I have sneaked in a few low flying gulls in a field near Glenzier to act as flying birds of the day.

P1190352

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Stephen, my Australian correspondent.  He says that it is easy to see the effects of the bush fires raging in the Blue Mountains while walking the streets of Sydney, especially as the sun comes up behind the haze at dawn.

sydney ash

We were hoping for some sun here today and we did get a slightly warmer day but sunshine was strictly rationed and we got only a very small glimmer now and again.  In spite of the grey skies, our visitor Patricia thought that a walk would be useful after her long sit on the train yesterday so we got in the car and drove down to the Hollows where we set out on foot to visit the Fairy Loup.

This 1.7 mile circular walk starts by going along the old A7, which was closed to traffic after a landslip about 40 years ago. One half of the carriageway remains and it is used occasionally by a local farmer as you can see from the tracks between the layer of beech mast which covered the rest of the road.

old a7 Byreburn Mrs t and Pat

There was interest along the way, with a flourishing crop of vetch and some colourful bramble leaves…

vetch and bramble

…as well as a selection of mosses on a wall….

moss on A7 wall

…and ferns and script lichens as well.

fern and script lichen

The winter months are the best for actually seeing the waterfall at the Fairy Loup but even without the leaves on them, the tree branches are growing so much that a clear view is impossible.

fairy loup November

We have had a dry spell lately and there was really very little water going down the Byreburn.

above the fairy loup

We passed a sensational crop of fungus on a pile of wood chippings.

fungus beside byreburn

Our direction of travel round the walk was well chosen because when we came out of the shelter offered by the Byreburn valley, we found that the nippy wind was behind us as we walked back down the road to our car.

There was even a little sunshine to light up the gates that we passed…

two gates gilnockie

….though it came and went and the clouds were back as we walked through these well clipped beech hedges near the old station.

neat hedge gilnockie

The sun came back to light up the last few yards of our walk and picked out some broom…

broom Gilnockie

…and the trunks of the trees beside the road…

trees byreburn wood

…as well as a thin string of ivy climbing a substantial tree…

ivy byreburn

…and the white lichen making a twisted tree trunk positively shine.

tree byreburn

We didn’t go directly home after our walk but stopped at the Buccleuch Centre for a light lunch in their excellent foyer coffee bar.

I had a look at the bird feeder when we got back after lunch, but there was very little avian traffic and the light was poor again, so I put my bird camera in the bag on the back of my slow bike and pedalled down to the river to see if I could see a bird or two there.

I saw several gulls perched on the electricity wires beside the Esk but they stayed stubbornly put as I watched so I left them to it and cycled over the bridge and on to the Kilngreen.

gulls on wire

There was  more movement here.  A large flock of ducks came rushing down the river towards me as soon as i got near the river, mistaking me perhaps for someone with bread in his pocket.  When no bread was forthcoming, they circled around and headed back up river muttering morosely.

ducks hoping for bread

One late-coming duck flew up at great speed.

swift duck

There were plenty of gulls about and they lifted themselves off the rocks where they were perched and took to the air from time to time.

two gulls

It was chilly so I didn’t spend too long watching them.

When I got home, I put on my cycling gear and went out into the cold garage and cycled on the bike to nowhere for half and hour.  Listening to the radio helped to lessen the tedium of looking at this view.

garage view

In the evening, I took Patricia and Mrs Tootlepedal out for a meal as a premature celebration of my birthday which is tomorrow.

As I have had a persistent feeling all year that I am a year older than I actually am, tomorrow is not going to be a big day as nothing will change….except of course that I might then start to think that I am another year older than I actually will be. For the record, I will be 78 tomorrow and I only hope that if I live to be 90, I will still be able to walk round the Fairy Loup with as much zest as our 90 year old guest Patrica demonstrated today.  She is a wonder.

The flying bird of the day is one of those Kilngreen gulls looking for a handy rock.

gull landing

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Today’s guest picture shows a very unusual public library.  Mary Jo took the picture and it show her library.  Standing at her gate end, it does a surprising amount of lending.

Mary Jo's Library

Although the temperature here was above freezing all day today, it wasn’t much above freezing.  As a result, after preparing a beef stew for the slow cooker, I put in half an hour on Mrs Tootlepedal’s exercise bike to get my legs turning over.  I have had a period of cycling inaction recently due to cold weather and trips to various cities.

Unfortunately, the bike doesn’t suit my build or my pedalling  style so I will have to go back to pedalling on my old road bike in the  cold and gloom of the garage if the weather stays cold.  It was good pedalling in the warmth and watching the telly but as any cyclist will know, pedalling with the wrong set up can lead to serious damage to joints so out in the cold it will have to be.

After I had cycled, I checked on the birds.  The rise in temperature had brought them back to the feeder…

chaffinch and goldfinch

…and there were plenty of birds flying in…

chaffinch arriving

…and flying out again as the perches got crowded.

goldfinches leaving

A couple of goldfinches looked disapprovingly at an incoming chaffinch…

chaffinch and suspicous goldfinches

…but the arrival of a greenfinch drove one goldfinch mad…

greenfinch annoying a goldfinch 1

…and for a while, it attacked the greenfinch from all sides.

greenfinch annoying a goldfinch 2

Greenfinches are pretty imperturbable though, and this one saw off the flurry of attacks with great aplomb.

greenfinch annoying a goldfinch 3

Then I made a tarte tatin and some bread in the bread machine and while I was waiting for them to mature, I went out for a quick walk.

It was cold and grey but once again, the wind was light so it wasn’t too bad a day for a stroll.  I was pushed for time so I didn’t hang about too much taking pictures.

A couple of gulls at the meeting of the waters caught my eye…

two blacxk headed gulls

…and looking up I could their friends sitting on the fence posts on the Castleholm.

gulls on posts

I said good afternoon to Mr Grumpy…

heron

..and walked over the sawmill Brig.  The leaves are gone from almost all the trees now…

bare trees on bank

…although the hornbeams on the Lodge walks still have a little colour left.

hornbeam

With the leaves gone, it is moss that is adding colour to many of the trees…

mossy tree branch

…and a spread of fungus was to be seen on the end of a felled tree beside the path.

fungus on tree end

A visit from my stepmother Patricia was the reason for all the cooking and for the slight rush on my walk.  When I got back from my outing, we went off to Carlisle to collect her from the train.  We managed to fit in a visit to a recycling point and a supermarket before we met her at the station so it was a well planned occasion.

Patricia’s train arrived bang on time and we carried her safely back home with us where she enjoyed the beef stew for her evening meal.

After the meal, I sneaked out for a practice with the Langholm choir as our concert is coming up quite soon and then we had the tarte tatin for our supper when I got back.

The temperature is due to keep rising over the next two days and the sun may even shine, so I hope that we will be able to show Patricia some of our surrounding countryside while she is here.

The flying bird of the day is a questing chaffinch, wondering whether the seed round the other side of the feeder is any better than the stuff on this side.

flying chaffinch

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