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Posts Tagged ‘winter aconites’

Today’s guest picture, brightening a gloomy day here, was sent to me from sunny Barbados by my namesake and near neighbour Tom who is on holiday there.  He is to be seen waving in the picture as he stands behind the remains of one of the biggest guns ever built, the product of the HARP project.

HARP gun Barbados

We had one of those days today about which the less said the better so I shall try and match my blog to it.

It had rained very heavily overnight and was still raining when we woke up.  Our neighbour Liz popped in for a moment and stayed for coffee and a vigorous and enjoyable political discussion which kept our mind off the weather for a bit.

It had stopped raining by the time that she left so I went out on my slow bike to have a quick check on the state of our rivers on my way to our corner shop..

The Wauchope was lively….

wauchope in flood

…and the Esk was pretty full…

river in spate

…though it still had some room to spare.

After lunch, I decided to brave the strong winds which were battering the town courtesy of storm Erik and go for a walk.

Apart from the wind, it was quite a reasonable day by now….

suspension bridge light flood

…and although the river had gone down a bit, there was still plenty of water rushing under the Town Bridge, not to mention the odd small tree trunk.

downstream town brodge in flood

I am always impressed by how well designed the bridge is to stand up to the pressure of water that hits it on days like these.  The water on the upstream side of the bridge is a lot higher than on the downstream side.

up stream town bordge in flood

The strong wind made it feel very cold and inhospitable and as my feet were not at their best, I cut my intended walk short and soon headed home.

A look round the garden showed our first daffodil trying valiantly to flower but wind and rain have bent it double and it is destined to bloom  largely unseen.

drooping daffodil

On the other hand, there are winter aconites beginning to stick their heads above ground so that is very cheering.

winter aconite

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting some music by Boismortier onto the computer and then trying to play it as fast as I could. As this was not very fast, there is room for improvement.

More wind and rain are forecast overnight and tomorrow so the air of general gloom pervading this post may well continue.

The buffeting breeze discouraged any small birds from coming to the feeder in the garden and I didn’t get my flying bird camera out at all so today’s flying bird of the day turns out to be three ducks floating very carefully right at the side of the river.

ducks on wauchope in flood

 

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I have run out of new guest pictures so I am returning to my Somerset correspondent Ventetia’s trip to America.  She was driven along some beautiful  but slightly scary roads.

Venetia

While we didn’t go quite as far as the guest picture, we were visited by some very unwelcome snow here and the temperature only just crept above zero all day.

flying chaffinch

The snow was mostly very light but as it was accompanied by a brisk and bitter wind, we viewed it largely through our windows.

I did go out to take two views of our completed bridge.

P1080230

P1080230

Severe critics have complained that  the gap below the railings on both the right and left sides are big enough to let a small child through but these are people who have no bridge of their own and are jealous of ours.  A child needs a little adventure in its life.

Marching bands, acrobats, peers of the realm and assorted reality TV celebrities are being lined up for the official opening.

While I was out, I admired the winter aconites which are looking promising…

winter aconites

..but even winter aconites need a bit of help from the elements to come into full flower.

The birds were grateful for some food on a chilly day…

flying chaffinch

…and chaffinches in particular turned up in large numbers.

flying chaffinch

But the odd greenfinch….

green finch

…and goldfinch was to be seen too.

flying goldfinch

Over lunchtime, I watched Scotland making very hard work of beating a good Italian side  in their final match of the Six nations rugby tournament and then, as the sun had come out, I went for a walk to recover from the excitement of a tense finish to the game.

It looked like a wonderful day…

Esk view of George Street

…but in the brisk wind the “feels like” factor was well below freezing.  I was hoping to see some waterside birds but they obviously didn’t care much for the cold either and I had to settle for some gently paddling mallards…

mallards

…and a herring gull on a rock in the river.

herring gull in river

Among dozens of black headed gulls, we seem to have only two resident herring gulls.  They like standing in the middle of the rivers.

You can see why I often like to walk along the Kilngreen….

Sawmill Brig

… and over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks…

Lodge walks

…but even in when the sun was out, it was a bit of a penance today.  I only met one other walker and that was our friend Gavin.  He was also recovering from the stress of watching Scotland play.

Some cheerful moss on a tree stump…

moss on tree stump

…and a large and aged bracket fungus on a dead branch…

fungus

…gave me some thing to look at as I went round.

And I took a good look at a large tree on the other side of the playing field…

licheny tree

…which at first sight might look as though it had started to have some early spring foliage on it.

A closer look showed that any vibrancy in the colouring didn’t come from the tree but from its guests.

licheny tree

It is covered from head…

mossytree

to toe in lichen and moss and has so much vegetation on it that it should be declared a national park in its own right.

An onrushing blizzard of light snow hurried me home but it stopped as I got to the house and the sun came out again.

This pattern continued for the rest of day with enough snow to start lying as the evening got colder.

It is due to keep snowing on and off through the night and tomorrow is going to be close to zero again (it is -2C as I write this) but with luck, there will be no travel problems when we want to go to our choir in the afternoon.

It doesn’t feel very much like four days before the vernal equinox though.

The flying bird of the day is one of the black headed gulls from the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

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