Concerted action

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.


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.

A reluctant peony
white rose
A rose tried its best
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.
An older sparrow bears down on a youngster.
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.


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.


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.


The church looked peaceful too.


Even the basses looked peaceful.


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











Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “Concerted action

  1. Haha Love that last photo! Congrats on your successful concert, I’m sure your next one will be equally well attended. I think photos of flowers wet from rain are just beautiful, those drops add a new element and sometimes even enhance the colors. Have a lovely weekend!

  2. I almost feel sorry for what the sparrow in the last photo was about to receive, but they’re quite capable of dishing it out also, as you have ably shown in the earlier photo.

  3. I’m glad the concert went well, hopefully the next will too. That peony looks like it’s going to be beautiful. Good luck with the potatoes too, hard not to have a peek isn’t it?

  4. It almost looks as if one could jump onto the roof of the tucked-away tearoom from the hillside.

    Congratulations on the successful concert. I have been to professional performances that were too long.

  5. We were more balanced than that – there were seven altos too, unless you are disqualifying some of us! Thanks for doing such a great job as compère; you were so entertaining you even kept my husband awake.

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