Seeing the Old Year Out

Today’s picture is from my recorder playing friend Sue’s holiday trip to the New World.  It shows the Biosphere in Montreal.  It looks a bit draughty to me.

biosphere

The last day of the year was very much in the style to which we have become accustomed.  It was gloomy and wet.  The cloud never lifted above 500 ft the whole day.  It wasn’t cold though so I put my wet weather gear on and set off round the morning run on the slow bike.  It rained the whole way round and the very damp conditions didn’t do my breathing any favours.  I took so long that Mrs Tootlepedal had made and drunk her own coffee before I got back.

I then had to spend quite a bit of time pulling wet clothes off and putting them into the washing machine before I could make and drink my coffee.

In spite of the gloomy day, I was glad to have a pedal on the last day of the old year as it has been a year of steady pedalling for me.  For those interested, I have updated the cycling page to reflect the pedalling year.

It was a rotten day for taking bird pictures and it was a rotten day for the birds too.  I have taken some rough shots to give an impression of it all.

miserable goldfinch
A miserable goldfinch

The next bird was so rain sodden that it was hard to recognise.  I think it is a greenfinch.

miserable greenfinch

more miserable goldfinch
An even more miserable goldfinch. The chaffinch looks not too bad.
Another miserable goldfinch
Another miserable goldfinch
Even more miserable goldfinches
Even more miserable goldfinches

The only birds that looked perky were the bramblings who seem to be more waterproof than the gold and green finches.

brambling

Even they couldn’t really brighten the day up as they sat around on dripping branches.

brambling and chaffinch
Chaffinch on left, brambling on right.

I devoted a lot of the afternoon to making bread.  My daughter Annie had sent me a recipe for a hand made loaf using the ‘sponge’ method.  Just in case it didn’t work, I made a loaf in the bread machine as well.  The bread machine loaf was made with a ready mixed packet of serious ingredients from Lidl.

machine made bread.
This is not bread for the frivolous bread nibbler.

The other loaf required endless making.  You made this bit and let it rest and then you made that bit and then you put this bit and that bit  together and let them rest again.  Then you kneaded the dough in a very gentle way three separate times, letting it rest in between.  Then you roll out the dough, roll it up and put it in a bread tin and let it rest again. Finally, you get to cook it, but of course you have to change the oven temperature half way through the process.  The whole thing took until 8 o’clock in the evening.   The result looked very nice.

Bread made with love and patience
This is bread made with love and patience

Time will tell which tastes best but the three minutes it takes to make the machine loaf compared with the six hours for the other loaf may well influence my future course of action, no matter how lovely the patient bread tastes.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I may or may not wait up to see the New Year in but we will both be jolly pleased to see the old year out as it has been a bit of a wash out.

Late newsflash: Mrs Tootlepedal has just brought me a slice of the patient bread.  It is delicious.  I shall know what to do on the next really wet afternoon.

I know that there are readers in both Canada and USA so I am adding another of Sue’s holiday pictures to maintain a balance.

staten island ferry

I would like to wish a happy New Year from Mrs Tootlepedal and me to all our readers with grateful thanks for your many useful, amusing and kind comments over the past year.  Keep them coming.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Seeing the Old Year Out

  1. Happy New Year. I, too, am ready to see the last of 2011. May all of us dry out and fluff up a bit in the coming months. Pedal on rejoicing.

  2. Wishing Mr. and Mrs. Tootlepedal a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.
    I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. T for a year’s worth of great pictures and amusing comments. I wonder if he realises just how much he is enjoyed by many readers near and far. Keep up the good work!

  3. Happy New Year! The dome in Montreal looks like the dome I saw in Montreal in the 1967 World Expo. That one was moved somewhere else and was a might bigger.

    Those poor wet birds!

  4. That is the way we made bread when I started in the bakehouse You set the sponge the night before, added the rest of the flour at 5am plus fat and salt. Mixed then rested,knocked back and rested again. moulded into balls of dough, rested and then moulded into loaf shape, into bread tins, left to rise and fired. All this for a shilling a loaf and if it was under weigh you got sent to jail.
    Happy new year.

  5. What a lovely looking loaf of bread. Makes nice toast as well.

    It’s interesting to read Dropscone’s comment. The recipe is from Dan Lepard’s excellent baking book “Short & Sweet”, and that’s just what he says in the introduction to the recipe – that it’s how bread used to be made (minus the going to jail bit). Definitely not something to do if you are in a rush, but jolly nice if you are pootling round at home. He does have faster versions mind you.

    Having said that, I have also tasted the signature Tootlepedal machine-made bread and it’s very tasty too…

  6. Happy New Year to you both.

    Your bread looks very good – have you time to open up a bakers shop?

  7. I am proud to have 2 of my pictures on your blog on the last day of the year. A very happy New Year to you both!

  8. I must say, the ‘patient’ bread looks absolutely gorgeous, well done for making the effort.

  9. Yes, the patiently and lovingly made loaf looked excellent and I am glad it tasted the same way. Wishing you a new year full of blue skies and wonderful pedalling weather!

  10. Tootlepedal, imagine my surprise to see a comment by ‘me’ up there and even an answer from you! I think you have another Gerry in your midst because that wasn’t me (I originally thought I must have been drunker than I had imagined last night…).

    In any event, Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Tootlepedal. Your homemade bread made my day. I can smell it from southern France (if it smells like my mom’s homemade bread, that is..).

  11. The patient bread is almost always better if it works out. The bread machine product is so convenient but I find the crust is not as good. We have an excellent bakery only a block away from our house so we don’t use the machine much, anyway.

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