Dull day

Today’s picture shows the latest arrival in Mrs Tootlepedal’s extended family.  It is her great niece, Lara.


It was another very grey, miserable day today but at least it was reasonably warm.  Dropscone was waiting in for the gas man and I had to go for a blood test so the morning run fell by the wayside.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I sought to put a dull day to good use by going shopping but we didn’t rush out and I had time to peer about to see if any waxwings had reappeared on our walnut tree.

There was a goldfinch on the plum tree.


And blue tits galore.

blue tits

A coal tit visited the seed feeder.

coal tit

And lots and lots of greenfinches came too.  We counted seven or eight on the feeder or perched on the pole at one time with more on the plum tree behind..

A representative sample of greenfinches

But no waxwings.   And then the phone rang and Alison Tinker said, “Look at your walnut tree.”

I looked.


I nipped upstairs to where I had the 500mm lens with a 2xteleconverter set up on a tripod and pointing at the tree.  I attached the camera and looked but the results were disappointing as a brisk wind was waving the branches about and I couldn’t get a slow enough exposure to get a good picture.  This was the best of a bad lot.


We are promised a chance of sunshine tomorrow so if by happy coincidence the waxwings return while the sun is shining, I will hope to do better.  Mrs Tootlepedal goodly e-mailed a number of bird organisations with news of the waxwing sighting yesterday.

The waxwings didn’t linger long and the best I could do after they had left was a blackbird in the plum tree before we went to Carlisle.

blackbird in plum tree

The drive to Carlisle was uneventful and we did some useful shopping.  I started with some frames and glass for my photographs at two big sheds at each end of the town.  Mrs Tootlepedal bought a pattern and some wool to knit a jersey for Lara’s brother Owen at one of them.  Then we  went to the town centre for a bite of lunch at the Cathedral coffee house.

Carlisle has got quite a few of the old buildings round the Cathedral still standing.

Abbey Street
This is the lane to the town centre from the car park once we have climbed up through the old city walls.
Cathedral door
Cathedral door

This is the jumble of buildings across the road when we left the cathedral grounds.

I took my old little camera and it made me very glad that I have bought Sandy’s camera because as you can see, the lens has gone a bit funny on it and produces flared patches.

It is a commonplace thing to say that the modern town centre is dying but the centre of Carlisle seems far from dead.  There are still a lot of varied shops and there were plenty of people going about their business while we were there.  I bought some pre-loved choir music (which I hope our choir will like) from a splendid second hand bookshop near the cathedral while Mrs Tootlepedal refreshed her wardrobe in M&S.

Then we went to the public library to ask about the possibilities of hiring music for the choir.  The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and they will be able to supply us with any amount of stuff at a very reasonable rate.  We enjoyed our visit to the library because of the helpful and cheerful staff and we reflected that it was really nice to be in a place where we didn’t have to worry whether anyone was trying to pull a fast one on us or sell us something which we didn’t need or flog us a dodgy contract.  We used to fondly believe that Britain was a relatively uncorrupt country but these days we are bombarded by flagrantly dishonest phone calls and texts by people trying to rob us, banks rip us off and the ex publicly owned utilities compete in trying to baffle us with impenetrable deals.  The library was an oasis of calm in this turmoil.  Unbelievably there are those who think that the library would be better off it was run by a hedge fund. Equally oddly there seem to be many Americans who think that we are living in a socialist paradise here.  If only we were.

On our way home we called at a garden centre to buy some sand for top dressing the lawn and we took the opportunity to have a nice cup if tea and a scone while we there.  As Mrs Tootlepedal remarked, it is a real day out if you got to two cafes on the same day.  The day was so grey that it was practically dark when we got home well before sunset.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy where we worked hard and followed that by a visit to the Douglas where I enjoyed my weekly ration of a half pint of beer.  It was particularly good.  To round off a dull day that was in fact quite interesting, I note that Celtic beat Barcelona in the European Championship.  I didn’t think that I would ever be able to write that sentence.  I wonder what the English news media will make of it.

The flying bird of the day is a rather murky greenfinch.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

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