Today’s picture, sent by Gavin, shows a pair of Dolphins in Victoria the capital of British Columbia on Vancouver Island. Very smart work with the clippers here.
As if to reproach us for planning to go away, the day dawned with brilliant blue skies and a radiant sun. As if to remind us of why we are going away, the temperature was 6°C (47°F) so Dropscone and I were well wrapped up as we went round the morning run. The wind was lighter than it has been lately with the result that we just hit the magic 15 mph for the 20 mile trip which made a good signing off as it will be Sunday before I am back on a bike (if all our travel arrangements have gone as scheduled).
I have done far more cycling this month than recently and as a result my knees are speaking to me in what can only be described as a rather grumpy manner and they will certainly appreciate a few days off.
There was no coffee and scones as we had quite a bit to do to prepare for going off but this didn’t stop me from glancing out of the window at odd moments. Chaffinches were the only birds to be seen when I first looked out and the good light made them a pleasure to snap. They were flying all over the place.
After I had done some necessary work, I took a break and walked into the garden.
I took this picture of the last of the fuchsia flowers. They will all be gone by the time I get back.
But some flowers are still trying. Behind the pink phlox, you can just see some potential blue phlox flowers in the background.
If it doesn’t freeze while we are away, maybe they will be there to welcome us home.
And there are still buds waiting to open on the pink dahlias. I think they will be lucky to see the light of day as flowers though.
As I write this, it is pretty cold and it may well be that the garden will be over by the time we get back.
While I was making my lunch, I was entertained by a coal and a great tit arriving at the feeder to join a siskin.
A sparrow looked morosely down at them…
…as they tucked in.
After lunch, I put another week of the 1883 paper index into the database and then set about packing. As Mrs Tootlepedal says, the art of packing is not putting things in the case, it is taking out the things you don’t really need…and then going out to buy the things that you really do need. I took a break and looked out of the window. A chaffinch caught the late afternoon sunlight.
And a great tit posed gracefully for me.
I went out to see if the sunshine had tempted any butterflies in spite of the chilly wind. There was a small tortoiseshell on the Michaelmas daisies.
It fluttered a yard or two away and spread its wings for a picture.
As I went in, I saw a siskin in the plum tree.
and passed a peacock butterfly sharing a bit of sedum with a bee.
The packing was more or less completed and then we had tea and made our way to the Buccleuch Centre to take in a concert by the Water Tower Bucket Boys. I had seen them last year but Mrs Tootlepedal had missed them so she came along this time and Sandy joined us as well. The first half of the concert was absolutely splendid as they gathered round a single microphone and played acoustic instruments. The repertoire was early American country folk songs and bluegrassy instrumentals and we enjoyed this very much. For the second half, they plugged up, turned up the volume and shouted at us in a sort of country rock style. While their playing was good, the electronic sound took the individuality out of their playing and they sounded like many other groups playing the same sort of stuff. Although we still enjoyed it, Mrs Tootlepedal and I would have preferred another helping of the first half. Others in the audience went wild for the second half so there is no pleasing everyone.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in a classical position.
I am hoping to be able to post while we are away but I am only taking the little camera so there won’t be any bird pictures for a while. Our next door neighbour is keeping an eye on the house for us and is going to feed the birds for me so I am sure they won’t miss me.