A grand night out

Today’s picture shows a new flower. It’s a rather small sunflower against a background of zebra grass.

sunflower zebra grass

It was another fine morning but I had tasks to do. I dropped stuff off at the Archive Centre. I had forgotten that it was Friday and so I inadvertently interrupted the people who were reading in the newspaper for the blind. They were very forgiving.

I continued south to the Houghton Hall garden centre where I topped up my supplies of local goat and sheep cheeses together with a Somerset cheddar. I also topped up my bird seed supplies. Later in the day, I was able to take some bird action shots showing where the seed goes.

sparrow and seed
A young sparrow clumsily kicking seed about. Better parenting is needed.
sparrows and seeds
Two sparrows wait below as seeds float down from the feeder above.
bickering sparrows
Two bickering sparrows compete for seed

I found time to mow the drying green and the grass round the greenhouse. This is an unskilled job requiring motorised machinery and is not at all restful. The drying green is on a site where we kept hens in times past and the resultant years of chicken manure cause the grass to grow at a fantastic speed even though the hens are long gone. The garden is looking a lot better for a few dryish days but it has got an autumnal feel about it at present. We need some warmth. However, there are plenty of bees and associated small unknown flying objects about. (Unknown to me, that is.)

chive and friend
A chive and friend

The gladioli in the vegetable garden are perking up and Mrs Tootlepedal has given them individual stakes.

gladiolus and friend

Another plant has appeared in a corner of the dry bed.

lemon balm
The delicate flowers of lemon balm

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went to Carlisle to the funeral of the mother of one of her workmates while I went for a windy ride round the morning run.  I had hung out a load of washing just before I left and a few drops of rain at the fifteen mile mark were very motivating in getting me home at speed. I was helped by a stiff wind behind me and I didn’t drop below 20 mph for the last four miles.  In fact the rain didn’t come to anything so I had no need to rush after all.

I got an opportunity while I was having a cup of tea to catch a shot of a blue tit in flight. This is not easy to get. The photo isn’t brilliant but the blue tit is because it can obviously fly without using its wings.

flying bluetit

I was joined in my tea drinking by Bruce and Lesley. They dropped in to return some clip boards that Lesley had been using while escorting the judge for the Bonnie Langholm garden competition around the town. She had seen some fine gardens. Mrs Tootlepedal returned from the funeral and we enjoyed a slice of parsnip and cranberry cake that my brother and sister had kindly given us last night. I had thought that parsnip and cranberry cake seemed to be a step too far in trendy flavours but it turned out to be delicious so I had to eat my words along with the cake.

In the evening Jean, my archiving companion, had invited Mrs Tootlepedal and myself to be her guests at the first concert of the new season at the Buccleuch Centre which her son had sponsored in her name.  The Buccleuch Centre receives no public funding and sponsorship is one way of meeting the management costs for the hall. As guests of the sponsors, we had a drink and nibbles before the concert and were able to meet the stars of the show. These were none other than Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, the incomparable fiddle and accordion duo. Local paparazzo Gavin Graham was on hand to capture the scene.

Phil and Aly 1
Our hostess Jean with Aly and Phil

Phil and Aly were very relaxed and affable considering it was ten minutes or so to the start of their show and stayed and chatted with us all.  For us it was a bit like having a few words with Mozart and Haydn.  They are living legends and have been touring and playing together for 25 years. They can sell out halls anywhere in the country.  They certainly sold out the Buccleuch Centre tonight.

Mr Tootlepedal and Phil
Mr Tootlepedal and Phil
Awkward pose
Mr and Mrs Tootlepedal and Phil gaze somewhat awkwardly at the camera

We were actually chatting about quilting among other things.

Thanks go to Gavin for sending me these so soon after the concert ended.

The concert itself was superb. Phil, who is a first rate raconteur as well as a brilliant musician,  had armed himself with some new jokes of high quality and the duo played a mixture of familiar and new tunes. They are a treat to watch and listen to in every way. They have absolute confidence in themselves, each other and the music that they are playing so that they never have to strive for effect. They just sit there quietly and companionably pouring out golden sounds, sometimes slowly and with feeling and sometimes so fast that you cannot believe that they can actually do what they are doing.

They don’t feel that they have to jazz up the tunes or jump up and down to show how hard they are trying and best of all, they don’t play too loudly. Mrs Tootlepedal and I feel honoured to have shaken their hands tonight and grateful to Jean for giving us the opportunity.

I leave you with a picture of a parliament of sparrows and chaffinches in the plum tree. They are getting very concerned about the financial situation and are calling on policy makers to take action. They have a plan for bankers who have foolishly lent our money to people and countries who can’t afford to pay it back and who now want us to pay them so that they can pay us back our own money but I am not allowed to tell you what it is they want for the bankers as they don’t wish to be sent to prison for inciting a riot.

sparrow convention
The wise birds of Wauchope

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

6 thoughts on “A grand night out

  1. You look very dapper in your evening wear!

    As for the blue tit, I’m afraid we’d have to select a different name for that species on this side of the ocean! 🙂

  2. Nice to see your photograph on your own Blog. It was a most enjoyable concert and special thanks to Jean for inviting us all.

  3. Sounds like you did indeed have a grand night out. The Buccleuch Centre is a wonderful addition to the cultural life of Langholm. You are lucky to have it and you can even walk there in a few minutes! What could be more convenient?

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