Today’s picture comes from my brother and shows the extraordinary lengths some people go to in order to celebrate the Queen of England’s diamond jubilee.
We have gone from very warm to very chilly in one day here and we woke to a grey cloudy day with a raw northerly wind blowing again. This was very discouraging after a week of lovely weather. I went to the producers’ market to buy a few things and when I returned both Mrs Tootlepedal and I set to work mowing. She did the back lawn and the drying green with the hover mower while I attacked the front lawn with the push mower. Because I am under orders to take it gently, I left the middle lawn alone, although it needed a trim even after yesterday’s cut. The front lawn is a mess of moss but the middle lawn has benefited from the warm weather while we were away.
The birds looked as though they were feeling the cold weather as much as us.
They certainly seemed to be stocking up on seed as there were many more today than yesterday.
They were not just at the seeds either. The peanuts were unusually busy too.
It was not only the birds that were hungry. The gooseberry bush has been invaded by the dreaded sawfly and it is making short work of the leaves.
I don’t know why the dratted birds don’t come and eat them up. They eat everything else they can in the vegetable garden. I took as many as I could off by hand and sprayed the plant with soapy water but I am not hopeful. Sawfly are a real pest.
The alliums and rhodies on the back path are looking good. I don’t know how that yellow flower sneaked into the picture. It may have to go.
It was very nice to be able to stare out of the window at a wide variety of birds as the lack of small birds near the cottage was the only drawback of our recent holiday.
We had greenfinches…
…occasional goldfinches among the siskins…
…sparrows which make the siskins look tiny…
…a single redpoll…
..and of course, chaffinches although they seem to enjoy being on the ground more than on the feeders just now.
Talking of feeding preferences, the sparrows like the fat balls in the fortress but although they are happy to perch on it, the siskins never go in.
There are one or two flowers which I missed in my inventory yesterday.
Yet another azalea. This one doesn’t seem to be too well as you can see from the discoloured leaves but it is flowering quite strongly.
I took this picture of the lilac blossom because I find it wonderful that it packs so many tiny flowers into such a small space.
Mrs Tootlepedal did a lot of work in the garden today. She was weeding in particular to catch up after our holiday.
In the afternoon, we went to the Buccleuch Centre again, this time for a practice for our singing group with our local orchestra for a concert later in the day. We sang a couple of hymns with the orchestra which went quite well and then rehearsed two songs which we are singing by ourselves. One of the songs we have practised a lot but the other is seriously under rehearsed. Our conductor just laughs and says it is good to live on the edge. We came home for a quick bite of tea and look at a blackbird…
…and a rare chance to catch on camera that moment when all the birds who are feeding on the ground get startled at the same moment.
Then we put on some red, white and blue clothes (it was a jubilee concert) and went off to sing in public for the first time.
Our first song went very well and after that our quality was a bit variable. The orchestra conductor was too busy looking after the orchestra to bring us in at the right times at a couple of awkward moments but on the whole it went not too badly for what is supposed to be a group which is singing just for fun.
With the chaffinches tending to keep away from the feeder perches, it is hard to catch them in flight so the chaffinch of the day is a siskin.