Today’s picture gives a feeble impression of another night scene. It shows the moon and Venus which were dazzlingly bright as I came home tonight. They looked much closer together in real life than in the picture.
Our unseasonal fine weather continued, although it was quite chilly (4°C) when Dropscone arrived for the morning pedal. By the time we got round, the temperature had risen to 8° and I was overdressed. The pleasant, nearly windless conditions gave us the opportunity to set our best time of the year so far, though still not as fast as we would have done it last year. However as we just exceeded the magic average speed of 15 mph, the scones tasted extra good with our coffee.
The winter rush of birds round the feeder seems to be well and truly over and I have to work a lot harder to get a good action shot. I settled for some sunny portraits in the morning today.
Mrs Tootlepedal went to a choir practice while we were cycling and on her return took the Kangoo up to the manure mine to do some serious manure collecting with our neighbour Liz, who is the owner of the manure.
They then went back and got a second load which was delivered to Liz.
While they were gone, I sat in the warm sunshine with the camera to hand.
There was a woolly willow catkin (salix lanata) just beside my ear as I sat.
The walnut tree is the last to get leaves but on a sunny day, I like it better in its bare state than when it is clothed.
Looking across the front lawn, I saw a blackbird hopping about on a hedge.
The daffs on the far side of the middle lawn were looking cheerful.
I apologise if some of the garden pictures are a bit mundane but they act as a record for Mrs Tootlepedal so that she can check what things were out at a given date. And I like looking at them anyway.
After lunch, I packed some Handel sonatas and my recorder in a bag and went up to the High Street to play them with Mike (cello) and Isobel (piano). It was the first time that I had played with them and I enjoyed it a lot. Having a cello to add beef to the bass line is a rare treat for me, though Mike was complaining about not having his own share of the tune to play. It can’t have been too bad as we have agreed to play again next week.
On my way home I was unexpectedly entertained by Bob and Nancy to a cup of tea and a tea cake so life was exceedingly good.
There was slightly more bird feeder action in the afternoon so in between mowing the front lawn (or ‘pressing the moss’ as we call it at this time of year) and sieving another bucket of compost, I was able to catch a chaffinch in flight.
And on one occasion, two at the same time.
The other day I saw jackdaws systematically trying and succeeding in ripping the top of the fat ball feeder so I have put it back in its fortress and mover it off the plum tree. I am happy to say that the sparrows have found it in its new position.
The birds are no fools and today I watched a rook lifting a peanut feeder off its wire hanger and throwing it to the ground. This was no accident as it had two or three tries at it before it succeeded.
Mrs Tootlepedal washed the inside of the car after her manure collecting and I was shamed by this into washing the outside of the car. It is not somethinmg that I do often but I think once a year is not too much to ask.
In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came. He is taking a flute exam this week and I hope he manages to play as well as he can because if he does he will certainly pass it. It is heartwarming to see how much he enjoys playing.
After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Hawick to hear a lecture from a chap called Andy Wightman, a campaigner on land reform and for more openness on these issues. He is the author of a fine book called ‘The Poor Had No Lawyers’.
I went to the Buccleuch Centre to watch our local musical theatre group perform a production of The Wizard of Oz. It was a very enjoyable evening with some excellent singing both from the soloists and the chorus. It is a pity in a way that the best song in the show comes in the first few minutes but the girl playing Dorothy sang it so well that it brought a tear to my eye. Bob, who was the Tin Man, did exceedingly well considering that he was suffering from a heavy cold when we had tea in the afternoon.
I did manage to find a chaffinch to appear in the role of chaffinch of the day.