Today’s picture, taken by my brother on a cycle ride near Banbury recently, shows that we are not the only people with puddles.
Today it was Christmas. All day. Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in church in the middle of preparing a a feast suitable for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The rest of us lay about and marvelled at her industry.
Well, I didn’t just lie about. I did do an enormous festive season crossword which turned out to be based on the song Santa Baby and which was very enjoyable and I also took advantage of some better light to see if I could catch a Christmas Day robin. There were one or two about but they were too quick for me. I settled for some of the usual suspects. These ones are specially as a Christmas treat for my sister Susan who likes a bird in the bush.
I nearly got a good picture of a goldfinch at full stretch but just missed. I have put it in anyway because I love the goldfinch wingspread.
I got two feeder pictures. The first is a brambling hanging on for dear life…
…and the second is a chaffinch falling off backwards.
Some bigger birds were about too.
The Christmas lunch was all that a Christmas lunch should be and now that I am old and fairly sensible, I no longer eat so much that I feel ill so I thoroughly enjoyed it. While we were eating, the sun actually came out. I rushed out into the garden and took a shot of this special occasion.
Nobody could say that it was very convincing but it definitely was sunshine. We decided to go for a walk to shake down the first course before embarking on our pudding but sadly before we could get going, the sun had gone. It was very pleasant none the less.
Mrs Tootlepedal, as you can see, is not fond of having her photo taken which is why most of the pictures on this blog adhere to her command not to photograph her but this is Christmas and appearing once a year in full face is not too much.
The gulls on the other hand are photo happy and line up to have their picture taken.
They will do gliding on demand as well.
There was a hint of pink in the sky if you looked in the right direction.
We walked along the new path and stopped to add a fern to the moss and lichen collection.
I was hoping to catch Old Grumpy, the heron but he wasn’t there as we passed the Kilngreen. He did arrive when we were on the other side of the river and he put on his photograph face as I went as near as I could get to him.
Nearing home, I was able to add another puddle picture to my collection as we crossed the Scholars’ Field. You may need to look at it twice to see how it works.
When we got home, we attacked the Christmas pudding and then had a sit down while we opened the small heap of presents under the tree. Everyone got exactly what they wanted which is amazing, though dropping a hint to Santa seems to work wonders.
I got a lightweight but powerful set of bike lights and later in the evening I was able to sneak out for a for a two mile test ride in the dark. As a test it wasn’t ideal because I was accompanied by a brilliant moon which was so bright that I could have pedalled quite happily with no lights on at all.
I also got three books on how to improve my landscape photography. These will be very useful as there is a lot for me to learn on this front. It is all very well taking pot shots with sandycam when I am out for a walk or a pedal but good landscapes take a lot of skill and care.
The little ride I took to test my lights was so intoxicatingly pleasurable that I am really fretting to get rid of my cold and get out cycling. I have only done forty miles on the road in the whole of December between the icy weather in the first part of the month and catching a cold in the second. This means my annual mileage will come in at just under 3500 miles which is a sad comedown from last year’s 6600 miles. Last January I was hoping to do a 7000 mile year to celebrate my 70th birthday but it was not to be. I am now aiming at 4000 for next year which should be achievable and leave me with plenty of time to try to get the hang of photography in a more serious way. That is if the weather relents.
The moonlight whoch spoiled my light testing did make for a photo opportunity. There was a planet shining nearby but it is hard to get the settings right so that you can stop the moon being too bright and still see the planet. This was my best effort. You can just see the planet in the top left corner. (If you look really carefully)
It was easier just to look at the moon.
The flying bird of the day was another of those dependable chaffinches.
Thank you to everyone who has wished Mrs Tootlepedal and me a happy Christmas. Your wishes must have been of a very good quality because they worked and we had a most enjoyable day. I hope all the readers of this blog also had a good day.
GOOD NEWS: My weather forecast tells me that tomorrow will be 35 seconds longer than today. We have turned the corner.