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Archive for June, 2013

Today’s picture, sent to me by my sister Mary, shows the celebrated rose garden in Regent’s Park, London.

Rose Garden,Regent's Park 020

After a spell when the winds have not been too bad, today saw a return of the 30  mph gusts.  I wanted to do ten miles to bring my monthly total up to 400 miles which is my target and I chose a short out and back, starting by pedalling gently uphill and into the wind.   The outward five miles took me a painful twenty nine minutes.  The return journey took me thirteen.  On average, I have pedalled for fractionally under an hour a day this month.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I stayed in to wave goodbye to our cycling B&B guest who was looking at the branches of our walnut tree thrashing about in the wind with rather a jaundiced eye.  Who could blame him.

I did a little housekeeping and started off a sourdough loaf and then wandered out into the garden.  The wind made it hard to take flower pictures but I had to record two new appearances.

the first campanula and the first cosmos

The first campanula and the first cosmos

I have often complained that lupins start to die at the bottom before they have finished flowering at the top but this year, perhaps because of the late start, they are in flower all the way up at the same time.

lupins

The bees appreciate this, I am sure.

bee on lupin

They are also enjoying the lamium flowers.

lamium

One of the spireas has sent a shoot out pointing up to the sky instead of drooping gracefully as usual.  It is very striking.

spirea

And I couldn’t resist yet another cornflower shot.

cornflower

On the feeder, a redpoll made one of its infrequent appearances.

redpoll

When Mrs Tootlepedal returned, we had a cup of coffee and then I went off to fill the moorland feeders.  I sat for a while watching the woodpeckers as usual…

woodpecker

…but there was no sing of the jay which must have travelled on.   There were plenty of pheasants about which came in two modes – fairly smooth…

pheasant…and pretty rough.pheasant.

I didn’t stay long.

We had more B&B guests who arrived early as they were going to an afternoon (and evening) gathering and when they had gone off, Mrs Tootlepedal also went off.  She was going to meet our daughter Annie, who was arriving in Carlisle by train.

I took a couple of bird feeder shots.

a young greenfinch

A young greenfinch checking things out

siskin and sparrow

A siskin and sparrow head for the same perch

We have had a lot of wood pigeons in the garden recently.  Here one perches in the plum tree looking oddly out of scale beside two of our more usual plum tree residents.

pigeon

I had hoped to go out to take some photos but I was overcome by tiredness and sat down to watch the telly instead.  Luckily, I had a very interesting stage of the Tour de France to keep me occupied.  It is always fun when the bunch mistime their finish sprint and in this case they arrived a  single but vital  second behind the jubilant stage winner.

Annie arrived safely but unfortunately brought some miserable weather with her.

siskin

We cheered ourselves up with a little recorder duet.  Those with strong nerves can click on the link to hear a brief extract.

tootle

(I may have enhanced the reverb a little but it is hard to record recorders.)

Mrs Tootlepedal laid on an excellent evening meal and we caught up with Annie’s news.  While we were eating our tea, the sourdough loaf was cooking.  I had used my new baneton in the preparation and things looked promising when the loaf came out but as you can see, I haven’t quite mastered the loaf beautiful yet.

sourdough loaf

Uneven rising is a problem. It could be uneven heat in the oven, not cutting the top of the loaf before baking, not allowing enough time for the second rising or any combination of these or several other reasons.  Luckily, the appearance doesn’t affect the taste at all.

The flying bird of the day is not a triumph of the photographer’s art but it was a gloomy day.

flying bird

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows Mick, a very nice man who came and fitted a dish to our chimney  and two Freesat boxes to our and the B&B TVs just in time for us to watch the Tour de France on ITV4.  We couldn’t get ITV4 through our old aerial so this was a novelty and we had a very eventful stage to watch.

Mick

I was up and away before eight o’clock in the morning to take advantage of the best weather and I had completed the 28 miles Tour de Chapelknowe by ten which was a good start to the day.  I noticed Dropscone also finishing an early ride but in the opposite direction as I came back into town.

The buttercups in the fields I passed show no sign of going over yet.  They are spectacular.

buttercups

After a quick cup of coffee, I went up to fill the Moorland feeders and enjoyed forty minutes of being entertained by the woodpeckers.

woodpecker

They have taken to searching through the mixed seed to find these cylindrical titbits.

woodpecker

This one was very busy dashing to and fro to feed a young one.

There was a good deal of flying about and I tried to get a good aerial picture but they were either going away from me…

flying woodpecker

..or simple flying too fast.

woodpecker

They are easier to catch when they have been glued to a tree.

woodpecker

When I got back to Langholm, it was my turn to watch over the photo exhibition for a couple of hours.  Sandy dropped in to have a chat and then went off to photograph the nesting swallows.

When I was relieved of my duties, I came home and mowed both the lawns.  They have responded well enough to treatment to merit a picture.

lawns

The golden box balls need clipping as you can see.

It was soon time to go back to the photo exhibition for the last time and take down the pictures.  We had had more than 100 visitors over the two weeks and the comments had been very heartening but we will have to see what we can do to arouse more interest if we try again next year.

During the afternoon, I was able to admire the roses which are starting to make a show.

roses

My walk round the garden was accompanied by the continuous buzzing of bees and other insects.

hawkweed and comfrey

Hawkweed and comfrey were popular bee destinations.

astrantia

The astrantia attracted a different clientèle

A large clump of geraniums couldn’t fail to catch the eye.

geraniums

I was a bit sniffy when Mrs Tootlepedal brought this rodgersia to my attention and thought that it was dull.  Closer inspection reveals that it is a very pretty flower.

rodgersia

The eryngiums give triple value by looking good before they come out…

eryngium

…as well as looking splendid when they are fully out and dramatic when the are over, as I hope to show in time.

Mrs Tootlepedal accompanied on one of my strolls and we nearly trod on this fluffy siskin which munched away at the seed on the ground without paying us any attention to us at all.

siskin

Other siskins were more energetic…

siskins

It is hard to see what is going on here.

A very young sparrow managed to find a spare perch.

sparrow

We had a B&B cyclist who arrived feeling quite puffed out having bicycled from Dunbar into the wind all day.  He reckoned that he had done about 10o miles.  I would have been more than puffed.

After an early tea, we set out for the Langholm Parish Church and the second of our two performances with the Langholm Sings.  There were a lot of competing events on the town tonight and we were pleased to draw an audience of over 60 who seemed to enjoy the concert.  The church is considerable larger than Kirkandrews where we sang yesterday so it was slightly less satisfactory for us to sing in, as we didn’t get the same feedback as we sang but the audience seemed to think that we had made a good sound.  We are taking a break until September after this effort.

Although I have enjoyed taking part both in the photo exhibition and the concerts, it will be a bit of a relief to have no commitments for a while at least.

The flying bird of the day is two graceful siskins, one flying and one nearly flying.

siskins

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture shows Wetton Mill tucked into the hill in Staffordshire where my brother Andrew was having one of his rambles.  Apart from the attraction of its situation, there is a tearoom there too.

mill

I woke up with the time and energy to go cycling.  I leapt up,  drew the curtains and saw the rain coming down and the energy drained away as if by magic.  When Dropscone rang to suggest coffee and treacle scones without the bother of cycling first, I agreed.  By the time I had finished breakfast, the rain has stopped of course.  Still, the treacle scones came warm from the pan and were tasty enough to make me forget about pedalling for a while at least.

The demands of concert preparations and looking after the photo exhibition have made finding time for cycling hard this week as the best weather for cycling always seems to coincide with something else that I have to do. I hope to do better next week.

Meantime, I found two dryish moments to mow the lawns during the day and the care and attention that they have been receiving seems to be paying off as they are both looking almost respectable.  They were surrounded by damp flowers refusing to come out though.

peony

A reluctant peony

white rose

A rose tried its best

meconopsis

The last meconopsis of this bunch looked a little depressed

bee on foxglove

The bees weren’t discouraged though.

A new flower has sneaked onto the scene.

 

martagon lily

The first of many martagon lilies

I looked after the photo exhibition for an hour before lunch and two hours afterwards and I had enough visitors to keep me entertained.  All this didn’t leave me with much time to stare at birds though I managed a peek or two.

great tit and chaffinch

A great tit and a chaffinch pose for the camera.

sparrows

An older sparrow bears down on a youngster.

sparrow

The male sparrows are strongly coloured when you have time to look at them.

We were visited by several starlings of various ages.  This one has a very flexible neck.

starling

A young starling tired every trick it knew to draw its parent’s attention while on a wire behind the house.

It tried making a fuss and moaning. Neither worked and it flew off.

It tried making a fuss and moaning. Neither worked and it flew off.

I am getting very excited by the strong looking potatoes in my bag in the greenhouse and have to be forcibly restrained from checking for the crop before it is ready.

potatoes

I had to leave the birds and the garden to go inside and prepare a few remarks for the concert to go between the numbers.  Soon it was time to go down to Kirkandrews.  It was perfect cycling weather by this time of course and the Esk looked peaceful as it rolled on behind the church.

river

The church looked peaceful too.

Kirkandrews

Even the basses looked peaceful.

basses

We had four talented youngsters to sing solos and a duet along with solos and duets from members of the choir and our conductor.  The  choir was pretty well balanced with 4 basses, 6 tenors, 5 altos and 7 sopranos and we had a varied programme with numbers from Mozart to Les Miserables and singers aged  from 14 to 87.  As a bonus, our conductor gave us  a very nice tune on the mouth organ on which he turns out to be an expert.  Most importantly (and amazingly),  we had an audience of 100 including the mayor of Carlisle and the little church was full to the brim.  The church has a fantastic acoustic and the audience was pleasantly surprised by how rich the choir sounded.  We were too.

The concert went very well and was short enough that we were out of the church in an hour and a half, even with a substantial interval devoted to drinking wine.  (Note to other choir conductors: as we left no one said, “Oh I wish you had sung another four numbers which you hadn’t had time to rehearse properly.”  I have never heard anyone complain that an amateur concert was too short.)

The size of the audience was a tribute to the indefatigable publicity work of a member of the church who was very keen to use the concert to raise money to keep the church going.  She was very satisfied with the evening.  I hope we get a decent audience when we sing tomorrow in Langholm or it will feel a bit of a let down.

Today’s flying bird picture shows a sparrow in danger from a marauding siskin.

siskin and sparrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture is from my sister Susan’s recent canal adventure in the Highlands.  It shows a lock at Fort Augustus with a glimpse of Loch Ness in the background.

Fort Augustus

The long dry spell came to an end with a spell of steady rain from after breakfast until it was just too late in the day to make use of the better weather.

I have been impressed by the steps that Gerry, of the Vicious Cycle, took earlier in the year to reduce the weight of his bicycle and also by Dropscone’s purchase of a lightweight carbon fibre machine so I have been reducing my weight in a slightly cheaper way.  I have been following the Tootlepedal Secret Dieting Plan™ and have managed to lose about half a stone in the last few weeks.  This will no doubt enable me to fly up the hills in time but it may also be contributing to me feeling a little tired at the moment.  As a result, when I saw the rain this morning, I took my cycling gear back off and spent a good deal of time tidying up the room where I keep my music and photography stuff.

When I say that I keep it there, I mean that I pile stuff up in great heaps until the threat of imminent collapse and danger of crushing call for action.

Nothing is more tedious in the process of tidying up than knowing that within a few weeks, chaos will reign again but it was very pleasing to look round on a well ordered space, if only for a time.

I went to sit in on the photography exhibition over lunch and can report that we have now had more visitors than there are pictures hanging on the wall.  We hope to get over the hundred mark by the end of the show on Saturday afternoon.  Considering that the gallery will have been open for sixty hours, it cannot be described as being overwhelmed by visitors but those that have come, have been very appreciative in their comments.  Dropscone holds the record for the quickest circuit of the eighty pictures.  It took him three minutes but then he did have his gym shoes on.

The persistent rain kept me indoors for the most part and prevented me from caring for the lawns.  I did stare out of the window of course.

goldfinch

A goldfinch shows what sort of day it was.

siskin

A siskin agreed

sparrows

A family of sparrows seemed happy enough.

blackbird

A blackbird was untroubled.

The black plastic is Mrs Tootlepedal’s answer to the amount of mess under the feeders.  This is a bit mysterious since during the winter, there was little or no waste.  I think it is because the siskins find the seed a bit too big for their tiny beaks and they are by far the most numerous visitors just now.

siskins

The are all over the place.

greenfinch and siskin

A greenfinch didn’t take too kindly to being bossed about by a siskin.  The siskin backed down.

My sister Susan likes shots of birds perching in the plum tree but now that the leaves are out, the camera finds it hard to focus on the birds and my eyes aren’t good enough to get a sharp picture without the autofocus.  All the same, to welcome her back from her holiday, here is my best effort of the day.

green on green

Green on green!  Bring back winter and a nice bright chaffinch.

The rain eased off enough for me to take a quick dive round the garden.

potential rose

A potential rose lurking among the leaves.

Foxglove

Drops of rain on a foxglove echoing the patterns inside the flowers.

candelabra primula

A close up of one stage of the candelabra primula.

gooseberries

The gooseberries are thriving after Mrs Tootlepedal warded off the attack of the sawflies.

wheat

A curiosity: this is a product of the bird seed.

Most of the afternoon was spent playing with my music reading software.  It is there to make it easy to edit music which has been scanned in and it works a treat but like so many wonderful IT products, it tempts you into doing things which you otherwise would have managed to live quite easily without doing and so wastes as much times as it saves.  I love it.

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from helping with the driving for the disabled rather sodden.  She had had a puncture on her way and although she could have changed the wheel herself,  a helpful man at the driving had changed it for her unasked while she was escorting one of the drivers round the course on her bicycle so at least she wasn’t dirty as well as wet.

In the evening, when it was dry and the sky cleared, I joined Sandy and Jean at the Archive Centre and we all worked hard enough to feel that the post work refreshment was well deserved.

When I got home, I took a picture of the sky above.

fluffy cloud

It was taken at half past nine. The nights are long on a fine day.

For those interested, I can reveal that the Tootlepedal Secret Dieting Plan™ consists merely of eating less.  It is guaranteed to work and saves you money at the same time.

If you look at Sandy’s blog, you can see how well he did when he went to see the swallows’ nest last night.

A siskin made flying bird of the day today in gloomy conditions.

flying siskin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture is another from my daughter’s visit to Edinburgh where she is working at the Film Festival.  It shows the Dean Village towering above the river below.

Dean village

We had quite a sunny day here too, seventy miles to the south.  Once again I managed to stagger out of bed and be on the bike by eight o’clock but that was the extent of my vigour as I found the actual pedalling hard work today and limited myself to 25 miles at a very steady speed.  The route was so dull and my willingness to undergo extra stopping and starting so low that although I took my camera with me, I never took it out of my back pocket.

When I had got home and had my shower, it was time to go out to see the asthma nurse for my annual check to see if I am still breathing.  I was asked to blow into a peak flow meter which checks how you are doing and my first result was so weedy that I gave the device two huge puffs to prove how well I was.  As a result, I felt quite poorly for some time afterwards.  That served me right for trying to show off.  Anyway, it turned out that I am still breathing so I was sent home for another year.

Then there was just time for lunch and I had to go to my old school at Canonbie to borrow a keyboard for our concert on Friday.  The headmistress has kindly lent it to us for the weekend.  I purchased this keyboard, a Yamaha PF85, many years ago when I was head there and I can remember whipping it in and out of its cupboard with no bother.  Since then, it seems to have put on a lot of weight somehow and I had to get help to carry it out to the car.  Mysterious.

I took it home and then pedalled up to the town to see how Sandy was getting on looking after the photo exhibition ….

Sandy

… it wasn’t very busy.  We had a chat and he showed me a new motion sensing camera which he has just bought.  It looks very promising and if it works well, I may buy one too as it would be interesting to see what goes on in  the garden after dark.  I left him to snooze on and pedalled up to the Kilngreen.

Some movement near the far bank of the Ewes Water caught my eye.

wagtail

It was a wagtail and it kept me entertained for quite a while, swooping and diving over the water picking up insects.

wagtail

A couple started throwing bread to the ducks nearby and that gave me a chance to capture a gull passing on its way from the picnic.

gull

I cycled on up to the site of the nuthatch nest.  They are long gone but a pair of swallows were busy at their nest in an open shed.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t go to the nest if I was in a position to use a camera so I just had to sit and watch them zipping too and fro.  They are elegant fliers and a joy to watch.

I was consoled by the surrounding trees in the sunshine.

castleholm

castleholm

I cycled home and took a turn round the garden with sandycam in hand.

delphinium

A delphinium is developing nicely.

Mrs Tootlepedal had pointed a new rose out to me in the morning.  It was rather hidden behind some shrubs though.

rosa gallica complicata

She tells me that it is a rosa gallica complicata even though it looks quite simple.

I found another one hiding behind a hedge on the front lawn.  It was easier to see.

rosa gallica complicata

Other roses are nearly ready to join the show.

rose bud

This is one of my favourites and I look forward to seeing it in bloom

candelabra primulas

The new candelabra primulas have settled in well.

allium

A completely different sort of allium has also just come out.

Sandy came round for tea after the exhibition closed and then decided to go on a swallow hunt so I shall look at his blog soon to see of he had better luck than I had.  He told me that he had a some visitors after I had left and that he had actually sold a picture to one them.  As the buyer is an artist, he was very pleased.  Another local artist has asked for a copy of another of his pictures so that she can paint it.  There will be no living with him soon.

When he left,  I stared out of the window for a while.

goldfinch and siskin

A siskin gives a goldfinch its usual rude greeting

goldfinch and siskin

On this occasion, the goldfinch returned the compliment with interest.

siskins

The siskins kept at each other both by shouting….

siskin

…and with feet.

The raggedy blue tit returned.

blue tit

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from an afternoon at work and we had tea and set off to a final concert rehearsal at the church at Kirkandrews where we will give the first of our two performances.  I foolishly failed to take a camera with me and when we got there,  the church looked gorgeous in the evening sunlight and the setting sun as we drove home was sensational.  It was one of those days when my brain wasn’t at its peak.

One of the picnicking gulls is the flying bird of the day.

black headed gull

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture, sent to me by my daughter, shows a well known Edinburgh dog.  He is named after a church and has a pub named after him.  I have often in my youth tipped my hat to him when passing on the way from the pub but only once when passing on the way to the church.

Geyfriars Bobby

Today I spent almost all the day sitting down in various ways and in various places.  It started when a planned early start actually happened and I was out on my bike shortly after eight o’clock.

It was a fairly dull ride as I had a deadline for my return and I took some fairly dull pictures to go with it.  It seemed only fair.

oyster catchers

A pair of oyster catchers on a gate near Wauchope Schoolhouse.

  My route took me over Callister and then on into the flat country beyond Eaglesfield.

eaglesfield  bus stop

A very jolly bus stop in the village.

I was looking for a gentle forty miles and more by good fortune than skill, the forty miles clicked up exactly as I returned to my starting point.

It was unexpectedly chilly at only 50 degrees F but the lack of wind more than made up for that.  The skies were  grey but clear enough for me to be able to see the Solway Firth and the hills beyond as I left the hills behind me.

Solway

My way was brightened up by many fields of buttercups

I travelled along roads both narrow….

narrow road near KPF

…and broad….

A7

…and both types were pleasingly lined with wild flowers and largely traffic free.

The spy cows were on the lookout for me as I passed.

cows

My Garmin tells me that my moving time was accomplished at 15 mph but my average was 14.8 mph.  I shall obviously have to read the handbook to find out what is going on there.  It also claims that I faced 1377ft of climb  but over 40 miles that is an insignificant amount.

I just had time for a shower before it was time to go and sit in at the photo exhibition.  I wasn’t greatly disturbed by people clamouring to look at pictures but my flute pupil’s mum and a friend came in which was nice.

There was a few minutes for a bacon butty before I was off again, this time for a couple of hours in the tourist information point at the Kilngreen.   There were tourists and I gave them information but not many and not much.

I took ten minutes when I got home again to get out the camera and let the new lens stretch its legs.  Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the whole day, while I was sitting about, in marginally re-siting the feeder pole and cleaning the ground underneath so that we can enjoy the birds and still be able to clean up the inevitable mess more easily than before.  The birds seemed unflustered by the move of half a metre or so.

redpoll

A redpoll heading for the new feeder site.

redpoll

It took a moment to find the right side.

A siskin had the same problem.

siskin

The siskins were as stroppy as ever.

stroppy siskins
stroppy siskins

stroppy siskins

In the end, all the males ganged up and shouted at a female.  Fairly typical behaviour in many walks of life.

siskin gang

I had a quick sprint round the flowers.

hosta

A variegated hosta looking well

alliums

The alliums are mere ghosts now.

weigela

The weigela next to the road is beginning to show up well

And yet another white flower has appeared.  I’ll need to take advice as to what it is, as my agent is unavailable as I write this, but it looks lovely.

white flower

The hawkweed meadow and the irises beyond it have been victimised by an arty filter on my computer.

hawkweed and irises

I wish that I could learn to paint but it is one of the many things that have proved to be beyond me.

After this burst of photography, I retired indoors and sat at the computer to finish transposing the solo for the concert.  This took a bit of time and then I had a moment to make and eat my tea before shooting off to Carlisle (without Susan who was unavailable) to play recorder with the group.  We were four tonight and enjoyed playing some excellent music.  I may have remarked before (but that has never stopped me from remarking the same thing again) that any day when you get to play a piece by Giles Farnaby is a day to be entered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.  We played two pieces by Farnaby.  Double entry. What joy.  Good home made cake afterwards as well.

So for a day when I spent about nine hours sitting down, it was a very enjoyable and varied experience.

A siskin obliged with a nice flying pose.

siskin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture, in the absence of any fresh contributions from friends and family, is another look at the dolphins that my brother and his wife met on their recent visit to Wales.  They look more exciting than our frogs.

dolphins

My plan for the day was to wake up early, leap out of bed and go cycling before breakfast as I had a number of tasks for later on.  I managed the early waking part all too well but didn’t quite get round to the leaping out of bed part until it was far too late to go cycling.   The rest of the day was filled by one thing after another and the chance of cycling further than the High Street slipped away, never to return.

I was sitting in the kitchen, waiting for the porridge to cook when I thought that I heard a bird cheeping in the boiler room.  I had.

blackbird

The blackbird chicks have obviously left the nest and this one had explored an open door.  It got out safely and sat around looking very disgruntled by the tardiness of its parents in the matter of feeding it.

blackbird chick

There are a good many young birds to be seen around at the moment.

young  birds

I started the day by waiting in for a parcel.  Our TV reception in the B&B room is so poor that we have decided to move with the times and get a satellite dish so that our guests may have a wider selection of free channels to watch.  The added bonus for us is that we will be able to watch ITV4 which shows the Tour de France.  The parcel contained one of the two Freesat boxes which we will need to decode the signal.  The parcel tracking system worked very well.  It said that the parcel would be delivered by Dave between 9.45 and 10. 45 and Dave delivered the parcel at 9.47.

I was whiling away the waiting time by putting a week of the newspaper index into the database. I have got behind in this in the recent good spell of weather and will have to get a bit of discipline or the backlog will become unmanageable.

When I had finished that, I made a cup of coffee for Mrs Tootlepedal who had been to a choir practice, mowed the drying green, picked some strawberries and cycled up the town to buy some weedkiller to deal with the forest of weeds on our drive.  Another volunteer was doing the late morning slot for minding the exhibition so I came home and sieved a bucket of compost and mowed the front lawn. I used the last of my moss killer and feed to cover the patches on the lawn that showed up the bits that I had missed yesterday and then had lunch.

Somewhere in between this, I made a loaf of plain bread in the machine and started off a sourdough loaf.

I did manage to take a picture or two of the garden birds and flowers.

One or more families of sparrows are tucking into the fat balls with great gusto.  Mrs Tootlepedal counted ten on and in the fat ball feeder at one time during the day.  This was the early shift, nibbling noisily while a goldfinch waits for space on the seed feeder.

goldfinch and sparrows

The goldfinch found some space a moment or two later.

goldfinch

In general, the garden is going through a slightly whiter phase at the moment after the vibrant colours of spring. The insects don’t seem to mind.

white flowers and insects

I don’t mind either.  There is a good variety of ‘white’ to be seen….

geranium, philadephus and spirea

geranium, philadephus and spirea

…and still a bit of colour too, new and old.

colour

As the yellow azalea fades away, a yellow rose is growing to take its place.

rose and azalea

The vegetable garden is looking very healthy at the moment but I took this picture of a potato flower which is not in the garden.

potato

I am growing it in a bag in the greenhouse in an effort to get really early potatoes which are slug free.  I tried this last year without any great success but I am hoping that the better weather this year will be more fruitful.

We have regular visits from both blue and coal tits.  These are coal tits.  The one on the right looks a bit harassed.

coal tit

These are blue tits.  The one on the right looks very harassed!

blue tits

The siskins are very much in evidence.  This one started off giving a neighbour a warning off and when that didn’t work, it really went ballistic.

siskin

After lunch, I went off to do the afternoon session at the photos and was pleased to welcome a fair number of interested visitors and spent most of my time chatting to them.  I am now optimistic that by the end of the two weeks, we will have had more visitors to the exhibition than we have photographs in the exhibition.

When I got back, I did some work using my computer to transpose a song for one of the soloists to sing at our forthcoming concert and then my flute pupil Luke came.  We very nearly managed to play a whole movement of the Loeillet sonata which we are practising without stopping.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will achieve this next week.  It will be a milestone in developing his concentration.

Later in the evening, I went out to play with Mike and Isabel.  We enjoyed ourselves as usual and in addition, I tried singing a song which I have been practising as Isabel has said that she will help me to sing better.  She didn’t actually laugh at me which was encouraging.

I found a chaffinch to act as a traditional flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch

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