Mud, sweat and tears

Today’s picture is from the hills above Wellington, NZ.  Needless to say it was sent to me by my very vigorous brother Andrew.

Hill walk

It was, as forecast, a sunny but below freezing start to the day.  Strangely, once again the pavements were ice free and I was able to go and get some milk from our local shop without difficulty. Even so, I wasn’t going to risk cycling as you can easily find ten miles of ice free pedalling with ten yards of ice in it somewhere and it is those ten yards that tip you off the bike if you are unlucky.

Instead, I put out fresh seed for the birds and watched an invasion of rooks and jackdaws.

rook arriving
A rook lands in style
rooks and jackdaws
A selection of rooks and jackdaws jostle for space.
rook stocking up
Finally a rook claims precedence and fills up its beak with my food while others pick up crumbs below. In an earlier life it was a financier.

Otherwise, the garden was mainly full of chaffinches although a very green greenfinch did make an appearance.

bright greenfinch

After lunch I was faced with the choice of joining Dr Barlow as she worked at bird ringing or going to watch a game of rugby.  As Dr Barlow is going to ring again tomorrow and the chance to take the cameras to a game of rugby on a still sunny day might not come again, I chose the rugby.  I was surprised that the pitch was playable but it was in good condition in spite of the cold.

Slinging the camera bag onto my bag, I pedalled up to the ground on the slow bike.  It has been a good few years since I last went to watch Langholm play but, reassuringly, everything looked much the same as before including the home crowd which must have very loyal supporters.

It would be tedious to explain in detail what is going on for those of you who do not follow rugby football but here is some information.  Scrums and  lineouts are ways of restarting play after an infringement of the rules or when the ball has gone out to play.  Rucks and mauls are piles of bodies heaped in an artistic fashion. Although the ball can be kicked forward, it must be passed backwards.  Points are scored by tries (similar to a touchdown in American football, except that you do actually have to touch the ball down to score not just caper over the line),  kicking a field goal after a serious infringement by the opposition and drop kicking the ball over the bar from open play.  The rules are very complex and often impenetrable not only to the spectators but also to many of the players (and even the referee, if you believe the crowd).

Here is a small selection of the pictures I took.  The title of each picture includes the time when it was taken.  Langholm are in red and their opponents are Edinburgh University (a fine place of education).

14.06 lineout
14.06: lineout
14.07 University attack
14.07: Edinburgh University attack
14.07 University attack halted
14.07: The attack is halted
14.09 Scrum
14.09: A scrum early in the game when everyone is still nice and clean
15.02 University going nowhere
15.02: A maul in the second half of the game
15.16 Dirty work
15.16: Another scrum. Things have got a bit down and dirty by now.
15.16 Gone to ground
15.16: A ruck, with a player enjoying a fine mouthful of muddy leg.
15.32 Handshakes - Langholm win 14 -5
15.32: Handshakes - Langholm win 14 -5

Langholm won by a try, a penalty goal and a dropped goal to a try.  I did avert my eyes from the game long enough to take a picture of the view of Warbla from the ground.

View from the ground

Here is part of the home crowd, demonstrating their unbridled enthusiasm for the game.

15.31 The home crowd very excited

And here are the visiting supporters.  Students drinking beer.  Whatever next?

14.39 University supporters

When I got home, there was still enough light for a couple of goldfinch pictures but there were no goldfinches to be seen.  Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to the probable cause.


I am going to take part in the RSPB garden bird count tomorrow.  It could be quite simple if this bird returns in my designated hour.

I took a great many pictures at the rugby and for anyone interested, I have posted a large album on my facebook page which can be found here:

Note: you need to be signed in to Facebook to see the pictures

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

3 thoughts on “Mud, sweat and tears

  1. Good luck with the bird count, I hope the sparrowhawk keeps away. I enjoyed the comments on your rugby pictures, helpful, I guess, if you live in the USA.

  2. Excellent rugby pictures – but the spectators look rather cold!
    Hope the bird count goes well.

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