Getting a lecture

Today’s picture of the day shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s nephew Owen hard at work making gingerbread men.


Mrs Tootlepedal herself was busy making her walnut and banana loaf in preparation for the arrival on some more early season guests.  I look forward to eating any that the guests leave as it is among my favourite snacks.

Dropscone went out cycling in zero temperatures after breakfast but I didn’t join him.  I watched blackbirds instead.  There are a lot in the garden at the moment.


I was also watching a male chaffinch putting on a dancing display to try and win the heart of a female.

chaffinches courting
I don’t think he’s quite won her over.

A couple of Mrs Tootlepedal’s little daffodils are in flower…


…but generally things are not progressing much in the garden at the moment.  I had to break the ice on the pond again.

I was pleased to eat a couple of  scones when Dropscone arrived for coffee with a supply of them in his knapsack.   Unlike some wines they had travelled very well.

I’m not feeling at my peak at the moment and I can’t quite decide whether I am feeling seedy because I am not cycling in the cold conditions or I am not cycling in the cold conditions because I am feeling seedy.  Perhaps it’s a bit of both.  Certainly, I nearly got my bike things on for a pedal twice today when the temperature had risen a bit but a light drizzle of rain was enough to persuade me not to bother.  I’ll have to get out soon or I will have forgotten which way up the bike goes.

After a promising start, the day fizzled out into grey clouds and intermittent light rain and to fill up the time not spent cycling, I walked up to the town in a dry moment and replenished my stock of cheese which cheered me up a bit.

I had a light lunch and spent a little while wondering about the fat ball fortress.

fat ball fortress
A sparrow peers in but is not tempted.

It has always been quite busy in the past but this winter there have been very few takers and I can’t work out why it is not being used.  It is quite handy as a staging post for birds waiting to get on the seed feeder.


The have been very few blue tits, great tits, coal tits and hardly any sparrows all winter even though there are plenty around.  Perhaps someone else in the neighbourhood has put out a more sheltered feeder which they prefer.  It is not that the fat balls are not eatable because if I crush them up and put them on the ground under the feeders, they soon disappear.  It’s another of the many things in life that I can’t work out.

I stopped thinking about that and looked up in time to see a brambling crash into a chaffinch on the seed feeder.

brambling and chaffinch

After lunch, I went to a meeting with Cat Barlow and others  to talk about raising money for the moorland feeder station.  There are huge numbers of birds feeding there and the cost of keeping the feeders full is considerable and funds have just run out.  We are planning a wildlife quiz and someone suggested that  some of Sandy and my pictures might find a buyer to help raise a little money.  I have my doubts about that but we might try.

When I got back, I thought about a pedal but got not further than thinking about it and settled down instead to put a week of the newspaper index into the database and prepare some music for my flute pupil Luke and me to play.  Luke  sat his grade examination yesterday and the lady who accompanied him was thoughtful enough to ring me up to tell me that he had played very well.  I was pleased both for him and for his parents who have been most supportive and helpful in his development as a player.

After a while, I stretched my legs in the garden and noted a rose bush showing a little sign of growth.

rose leaf

As I went back inside, a chaffinch posed on the old chimney pot….


and the universal robin popped up behind me.


Mrs Tootlepedal had been at work in the afternoon and had just enough time for some tea before rushing out to a rehearsal of The Sound of Music which starts next Monday.  I went out soon afterwards when Sandy arrived to take me up to the Crown Hotel for a lecture by a noted land reform advocate called Andy Wightman.

This may well have been the best lecture that I have ever attended.  He spoke for an hour and I was disappointed when he stopped because he was so clear, so concise, so well prepared and so interesting that I could have easily listened to him for another hour.   It was was really great to be able to listen to someone talking politics calmly and sensibly and unmediated by some TV or radio person interrupting his flow all the time.  Of course TV producers don’t think that we can concentrate for more than three minutes at a time so it was interesting to hear someone who had time and the knowledge to develop a coherent argument.

One of his themes was the need for really local government and it is interesting that this chimes well with the meetings that Sandy and Mrs Tootlepedal went to yesterday which were all about trying to develop community awareness and co-operation in an effort to find workable answers to our needs without the need to rely on statutory bodies to act (or more commonly, do nothing) on our behalf without asking us.

I hope all this comes together and produces results.  The will to get results is certainly there in the town but whether the will and ability to work together is there as well, only time will tell.

Today’s flying bird is a brambling.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “Getting a lecture

      1. I don’t think I’ll be able to help very much – it’s been too long since I’ve seen my own bike. And it doesn’t look good for the near future . . . we have 3′ of snow on the ground, another foot on the way, and nowhere to put the blasted stuff. Sigh.

    1. You are serious and very polite but sadly wrong. There are good professional wildlife photographers about who are selling photos of stunning quality against which mine cannot compete. My pictures are quite interesting as a record of the birds in the garden and round about and sometimes quite striking but they are never of a commercial quality.

  1. Take care of yourself. You are important, and I am glad you are listening when your body says “rest.” Even in this, you bless us with lovely pictures and your well written thoughts. Thank you.

    1. I’m getting very good at resting although part of me will always think that it is a bit of a waste of time especially as O grow older and time seems to be running out at an ever quicker rate. Thank you for your kind wishes.

  2. I second your condemnation of the media, I often listen to the BBC world feed at night while driving, and it is as you say. However, it is still far better than the American media, where some one is lucky if the talking heads allow them 20 seconds of uninterrupted talk.

    1. Our requirement for balance in broadcasting has made many interviewers feel that they must always put a diametrically opposed view to a political interviewee which doesn’t make for sensible discussion at all. Some of the interviewers also think that they are much more important than the person that they are speaking to which doesn’t help either.

  3. Sorry you are feeling out of sorts and hope you feel better really quickly. Lovely photographs nonetheless, thank you.

  4. Lovely picture of Owen.
    Sorry to hear that you are not feeling up to a pedal at the moment – the very cold weather must be a deterrent.
    Delighted to hear your flute pupil played well in the exam.
    The lecture sounds like a delightful surprise. It is not often one can listen for an hour and wish to hear more!

  5. With the 24-hour news cycle constantly scrabbling for content perhaps it would make sense for broadcasters to present longer broadcasts that deal more thoroughly with topics.

    1. And to agree that not every case has only two arguments whoch must be diametrically opposed. I am waiting for a politician to say,”Oh there were six or seven different things we could have done and we couldn’t decide which would provide the best outcomes as they all had drawbacks so we chose this and hoped for the best.”

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