Looking back

Today’s picture is from my brother Andrew and shows a view of Wellington Harbour on New Year’s day.

wellington harbour

On reading other people’s blog, I see that the thing to do is to have a retrospective view of 2011 at this time.  I am ever a keen follower of fashion so here goes:

2011. Weather not very good, didn’t get out much.

On the other hand 2012 started off very well with a pleasant sunny day.  The garden was full of birds on bushes which didn’t have raindrops on them…

blue tit
Its legs look remarkably blue

…the street outside was loud with the sound of music as the town band made its annual procession round the town..

town band
They were having a break when they passed Moodla Point

…and there was a plentiful supply of bread in the house.

I should have seized the opportunity and started the year with a decent pedal but I gave my bad knee a tremendous tweak last night when getting the bottle of port out of the cupboard for a celebratory glass and I didn’t want to do it more damage as it was still rather sore.  Instead, I went with Mrs Tootlepedal to the moorland bird feeding station and topped up the feeders.  They were full of birds again within minutes of us finishing.

MF blue tits greenfinch

And a woodpecker arrived to make my day.  They are such attractive birds that seeing one of them makes the task of filling the feeders a pleasure.

MF woodpecker chaffinch

There were so many birds about that it had to share the feeder.

MF woodpecker great tit
This is a great tit on the other side

I was just thinking  that I ought to call it a nutpecker rather than a woodpecker when it lived up to its name.

MF woodpecker on wood

The neighbouring nut feeder was playing host to a good number of greenfinches.

MF greenfinches

I was pleased to see a fine male pheasant right in front of me.

MF Pheasant

I have received a request from a Mr Tom Stothart of Walter Street to put less bird pictures on the blog.  He should think himself lucky.  I took 80 pictures of birds during the course of today so he is getting just a fraction of what I could put on.

However, the readers’ wishes are always upmost in my mind so I have compressed a series of lively finches in the garden into a composite image.

battling goldfinches, chaffinches and siskins

Fortunately I had anticipated Tom’s wishes and taken a set of pictures of the chimney pots of Henry Street.

Henry Street chimneys
These are from three adjacent buildings

It shows how many open fires were needed to heat a building in the good old days.  I managed to drop my camera lens cover out of the window while I was taking these shots and I had to get a ladder out and retrieve it from the gutter.  Mrs Tootlepedal, who spends quite a lot of time helping me to remember where I have put my lens cover, was not amused.

In the end, the weather was just too nice to waste and I got the slow bike out to give my knee a little test.  I pedalled up the Galaside to a little past the quarry at Peden’s view.  Looking back at Whita Hill on the way up the road in the low sunlight showed just how many humps and hollows there are on the hillside.

wrinkly Whita
Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that the hollows are mostly old quarry sites

The stone dyke up the hill in front of me was picked out very sharply.  The people who built these walls weren’t afraid of hard work.


I took a last glance at a sun kissed hillside….

sunny slope

..before heading home by way of Bruce and Lesley’s where I took in a small glass of beer in honour of the season.  When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden.  There is a daffodil in bud there, most unusual for January 1st.

January 1 daffodil

Tom visited us in the evening which rounded off a very satisfactory day.  Even better is the fact that the short pedal hasn’t had a harmful effect on my knee.  Weather permitting, I will give it a longer go tomorrow.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “Looking back

    1. It’s been gloomy but remarkably hard frost free. We’re a bit worried that everything will start to grow and then be clobbered by a late frost.

  1. I’ve never before noticed how interesting those chimney pots are, they make a very interesting picture. Loved the local views and the fine shots of the birds at the feeding centre.
    Thank you for your birthday wishes, we are going to celebrate by going to Montreal to see “War Horse”. We are looking forward to seeing it. Incidently, we took out grandchildren to see “Tin Tin” over the holiday and I’m sure I noticed the name of Joe Cornish in the titles at the beginning. Is this the same Joe of “Attack the Block” fame?

    1. He is the very same. He’s a busy chap.

      I’ve looked at those chimney pots hundreds of time but it must have been the right light at the right time of day that made them so interesting.

  2. Your 2011 cycling mileage makes me think that you did get out a little.

    I have have a vague memory that there was a period in Britain when people were taxed on on the number of chimneys they had.

    1. It was a window tax and you can still see bricked up windows in some old houses.

      I did a fair bit of cycling but it was almost all from the house and back again.

      1. There has been no shortage of different taxes, I expect. I was doing a bit of googling last night. This is the tax I was thinking of:


        When I originally heard about this I was told that the tax had the strange side-effect that some people would put up chimney pots not actually attached to a fireplace so as to give the impression that they were rich enough to afford lots of hearths. I can’t verify that at the moment, but it sounds plausible.

  3. Splendid views of the hills, and also of the woodpecker. Glad your knee stood up to a gentle pedal. We have the fine weather down here today at last!

  4. Glad the short pedal didn’t damage your knee further and keep the bird pictures coming, I love them!

  5. I believe that band was lacking a quality musician or two. I see opportunity all around you Mr. Tootlepedal! I hope your knee is on the mend soon. If your going to injure your knee, I can think of no more noble a purpose than doing so in the pursuit of alcohol.

    1. I used to play in the town band in years gone by but I was never any good. They are much better without me.

      When I was young I used to hurt my knees after drinking the alcohol. It’s a sign of advancing age that I now do it before drinking.

  6. Glad you knee did not act up. And I and my wife enjoy the birds, so please continue them in whatever manner you choose. Whita Hill reminds me of some pictures of English golf courses. Wicked! All the best for a new year.

    1. I see what you mean about the resemblance to a seaside golf links. I’ll keep the birds coming as long as the birds keep coming to the garden.

  7. May I offer a possible solution to your lens cap problems?
    A moderately long piece of string, attached to the carrying strap of the camera at one end and fixed to the cap on the other (by glue or other means) will put a stop to SAR tours for the darn thingy.

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