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Archive for November, 2013

The guest picture of the day was kindly provided by my sister Susan, being one that was surplus to requirements in her own blog.  It shows just how much money is washing round the City of London when they can afford such fancy bollards.

bollard

For busy readers, I should mention that Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a drive to the Lake District and back today.  It was extremely uneventful and we combined this with some useful shopping in Carlisle on our journey home.  The weather was very nice.  That was all we did today.

For those of you with a bit of time on your hands, I should confess that I took my new camera, Pocketcam, with me and gave it a good run out so today’s post is quite picture heavy.

Our plan was to leave Langholm as near to nine o’clock as we could, drive to Cockermouth and then take the narrow road into the Lake District National Park to Crummock Water and Buttermere, arriving at Buttermere village just in time for coffee.  Then we planned a pleasant 4.4 mile walk round the Buttermere in the sunshine, followed by lunch back in the village before driving home via the picturesque Honister Pass and Keswick, stopping for shopping on the way and arriving home just in time for a nice cup of tea.

As you know, “the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley” but on this occasion, everything worked out as per schedule.  It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it is very pleasing indeed.

I took one or two snaps with ‘Pocketcam’ as we went along.  Here is Crummock Water looking back towards Cockermouth.

Crummock Water

It had been a frosty morning and there was a hint of mist still in the air.  Looking south….

Crummock Water

…you could see the mist lifting which was lucky because that was where we were heading.

Just the drive along Crummock Water would have made the outing worthwhile but Mrs Tootlepedal’s cup of happiness ran over when we discovered a very neat cafe open for business just beside the car park in Buttermere.  Here we had our cup of coffee.

Cafe in Buttermere

We were looking for an easy walk round the lake (Buttermere is the name of the village and the lake) and were pleased to find a sign saying, “Go this way for an easy walk round the lake. (Two and a half hours if taken gently)”  We went that way.  We found the lake.  We walked round it in an easy manner and it took us two and a half hours.

Buttermere looked like this.

Buttermere

Our path took us down the shady west side of the lake and we were able to look across at sunlit hills at the head of the lake…..

Whiteless Pike

Whiteless Pike, I think

…and straight across on the eastern side.

Buttermere fell

Buttermere Fell

Although we were in the shade cast by Red Pike and High Stile, it was not cold as there hardly a breeze at all and walking along the fine path provided for us was a treat.  At the top of the lake, we were in woodland…

Buttermere path

…but at the bottom, we came out into open country.

Buttermere path

The little copse of trees which you can see ahead of us were growing on an alluvial fan spread by this little bickering burn, flowing from one of two corries above us as we walked.

Burn from Burtness Combe

The south end of the lake is dominated by Fleetwith Pike.

Fleetwith Pike

Our road home would be up the narrow valley to its left.

The wind had dropped almost entirely away by this time and although a light covering of cloud had obscured the sun, walking was still very pleasant.  The reflections were impressive.

Buttermere reflections

Our path took us through the green fields that you can see at the head of the lake and up to the farm in the distance.  Here we turned for home and after a short walk along the road, we took to a path that took us right along the east bank of the lake.

It was a bit more rugged than our outward journey….

Lakeside path, Buttermere

…but we were armed with walking poles and skipped over rocky steps with gay abandon,  (That is a lie:  we tottered over the awkward bits and puffed up the little hills.)  There were compensations.  The views were superb…

Buttermere from the south

..,.the Herdwick sheep were friendly…

Herdwick Sheep

…and the reflections were so stunning that it was sometimes hard to see where the land ended and the water began.

Buttermere

We even had a tunnel carved out of solid rock to pass through.

Buttermere tunnel

There were endless reflections…

Buttermere

Fleetwith Pike on the left and the hill with the intriguing name of Haystacks on the right.

…a few single trees to catch the eye….

buttermere tree

…and more reflections still.

Buttermere reflection

We resolved to try to visit Buttermere again a little earlier next year when the autumn colour would be in evidence.  Even though the colour had passed it would be hard to find a better day to walk round Buttermere than today.  The scene was the epitome of peacefulness.

We were soon at the north end of the lake and had time for one look back…

buttermere

..before arriving at the village…

Buttermere …and passing by the hotel, we returned to the cafe for a bacon butty and a cup of tea, more or less exactly two and a half hours after we started our walk.

As well as lunch, I bought a small piece of Kendal Mint Cake.  This is a very sugary delicacy which I used to carry with me as the 1970’s equivalent of an energy bar in those long forgotten days when I was fit enough to run in races up and down the Lakeland hills.  It was delicious then and is still delicious now but you would have to have a sweet tooth to like it.

Although the skies were cloudy now, there was enough wintery light about to let us enjoy the dramatic drive over the Honister Pass and down to Derwent Water and Keswick.

The climb up has gradients of 25% (1 in 4)….

Honister

You can just see the road snaking through the gap at the head of the valley

…and we passed a few hardy cyclists giving it a go.  Two had almost made it to the top and were tacking from side to side on the steep final ascent to the col. The road surface was rather bumpy which wouldn’t have helped them at all.

Going down the other side, with a gradient of 20%, was quite exciting as it is much more bendy than the ascent was.  Although I would quite fancy having a try at cycling up the Honsister Pass, nothing in the world could tempt me to try cycling down the other side.  Going down a narrow, twisting, 1 in 5, bumpy road with on-coming traffic is exactly my idea of hell and I take my hat (or chapeau in this case) off to those lunatics who enjoy it.

Our journey along Derwent Water rounded off our lake experience very satisfactorily and the drive back to Carlisle was swift and uneventful.  Our shopping included three different sorts of goats cheese and some Basque country ewes milk cheese so that rounded off the whole outing perfectly.

The flying bird of the day should perhaps be more accurately described as the fleeing bird of the day as I harmlessly shot a pheasant on our frozen lawn in the morning before we left on our outing.  It  had escaped, for the time being at least, the more lethal shots of the pheasant shooters.

pheasant in garden

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I am out of up to date guest pictures so I have resorted to a very narrow bridge over the river Dove which was crossed by my brother Andrew last month.   I am grateful for his generous supply of photographs

DSCN4401

It was a pleasantly sunny morning but sadly it was marred by an unpleasantly chilly and brisk wind so I didn’t take my new camera out for a cycle ride.  I did take it out into the garden and with the additional fixed lens that I bought with it, I was able for the first time to take a picture from under the walnut tree of the whole of our house.

Wauchope cottage

This was a good result because I have often been frustrated when taking pictures by not being able to get the whole subject in frame.

I tried a close up shot of a narrow plank of old wood too.

wood

That looks quite promising as well.

I got out the sour dough starter and because it looked a little lifeless, I left it to warm up and I got my zoom lens out and had a look for some birds through the kitchen window while I waited.

busy plum tree

There was no shortage of birds to look at.

Even the flying chaffinches were coming two at a time.

chaffinches

I took a picture of an elegant greenfinch perching especially for my sister Susan who finds that looking at too many flying birds hurts her head.

greenfinch

I picked a leek from the garden and then took the last two potatoes from our store to make a pot of leek and potato soup.  This was a sad moment as the potatoes have lasted us from the beginning of July to the end of November which is much longer than ever before.  This was down both to the very good summer weather of this year and the fact the Mrs Tootlepedal planted main crop potatoes as well as earlies.  Ever the optimist, she is going to plant more of these blight resistant main crop potatoes next year.  For some reason we were very slug free this summer and we can only hope that this happy state of affairs lasts into next season.

After lunch, I was delighted to see a robin practising a pose for my Christmas cards.

robin

As I have said, it was too cold and windy for a pleasant cycle so I took the new camera in the car up the Wauchope road to the alder trees and took a picture of some male catkins.

catkins

Not ideal but the best I could do before the sun went in.   I turned my attention to the haws nearby.

hawthorn

I think the new camera will be a very useful addition to the back pocket when cycling as well as being light enough to carry easily on walks.   In place of the late lamented Sandycam, I am going to name it ‘Pocketcam’.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a notion to go and see if we could find the starlings at Gretna as there had been talk of them decamping to Longtown.  We set off in plenty of time with a small flask of hot chocolate with us to warm us up while we watched.   We drove through Gretna and on to the tiny village of Rigg where we parked and waited.

There were early signs of starlings to be seen when we arrived.

starlings

I walked along the back road for a bit, becoming an object of interest to a local sheep…

sheep

…and soon saw another collection of starlings on a bigger wire with the Solway in the background.

starlings

The pylons were well stocked too.

starlings

Soon the birds left their perches and began to fly around.

starlings

I was distracted for a moment by a higher flying bird….

con trail

…but walked back to the car where Mrs Tootlepedal was watching the murmuration in action.  I wouldn’t like to be walking around these cottages when so many starlings are overhead.

starlings But the birds soon left the houses and headed out towards the shore.  There was enough starlings to put on a good show but not as many as we had hoped to see.

starlings

We stayed watching for a while as they flowed back and forth along the horizon….

starlings

…but left before they had finally settled.  We are going to try to get nearer next time.

I was hoping to start a sour dough loaf off when we got home but the starter was still remarkably lifeless so I added a little flour and we will see whether it can yet spring to life or not.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I rattled through a nice selection of flute and recorder sonatas and divisions (variations).   By dint of following some sound advice from Alison about not playing too loudly and listening to some more sound advice on breathing and breath control from the conductor of our choir, I have improved my flute technique over the past few weeks enough so that I can now play a whole sonata before falling off my chair.  This is a step forward.  Recorder playing takes much less puff.

I am still having to rely mostly on chaffinches for flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is perfect for optimists as it shows the light at the end of the tunnel.  This particular tunnel in SW Derbyshire was cycled through by my indefatigable brother Andrew.

midshires tunnel

The day was dry, the wind was light, the temperature was 5 degrees above freezing and I enjoyed two cycle rides today as a result.

I set out with Dropscone for a morning run but not round our usual route.  We chose to go to Waterbeck instead which I prefer because the road surfaces are better.  However, it came as an unpleasant surprise to find that heavy traffic from a nearby quarry had put enormous potholes into and mud and gravel onto my favourite section of the whole ride since I had last been that way.  It somehow doesn’t seem quite right that one business can wreck a road for everyone else.  Still there were good scones and raspberry jam to cheer me up when we got back.

Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the morning but was keen for a short ride after lunch so we went up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and I stopped to take a picture or two en route.

Bare tree

Another in what might turn out to be a series of bare trees.

Alth0ugh almost all the leaves are gone, the hawthorns are still bursting with colour…,

Hawthorn

…and the alders are covered in purple catkins.

alder catkins

They are quite a sight and my little camera was not up to the task of capturing them clearly.  I will have another go with my new cycling camera which arrived this evening.  I was speaking to an expert in the evening and he told me that it was unusual for there to be such a crop of alder catkins at this time of year.

After the cycle, Mrs Tootlepedal announced that she was going to pursue her avocations.  When I asked her what these might be, she replied, “Glue and glitter.” I take it that she is still making panto costumes.

In the evening, I went with Jean to the Archive Centre, where we put a couple of weeks of the index into the database.  Once again we have caught up with the work of the data miners so we had a clear conscience whene we retired to Eskdale Hotel for some refreshment.  Who should be there but Sandy  He had preferred to spend the evening carousing with friends than slave over a hot computer with us.  He looked quite cheerful about this.

In between the cycling and the archiving, I did take a picture or two in the garden where the primula by the bird feeders is looking as though it thinks it is springtime.

primula

Mrs Tootlepedal has a euphorbia and a berberis planted in a border where they catch the morning sunshine well and can also be seen from the kitchen window.

euphorbia and berberis

Enough to brighten anyone’s day.

It was a day for catching chaffinches landing.

 

chaffinch landing

From the left…

chaffinch landing

From the right….

chaffinch landing

And from both sides at the same time.

They also took off.

 

chaffinches sparring

The goldfinches were rather above this sort of thing.

goldfinch

A jackdaw had a battle to get a good grip on the fat ball feeder but only got a small morsel as a reward for a great deal of flapping and left in disgust.

jackdaw on fat balls

A blackbird gave me a hard stare…

blackbird

…and all the time, the chaffinches flew about.

With wings spread...

With wings spread…

flying chaffinch

…and with wings tucked in

In the evening, a knock on the door heralded the arrival of two parcels.  One contained Mrs Tootlepedal’s belated birthday present.  We are trying hard to reduce our excessive gas heating bills so her parcel contained an electric blanket and a very snug pair of winter boots.  She intends to laugh in the face of winter weather from now on.

My parcel contained my birthday present to myself in the form of a replacement for the lost Sandycam.  It is a Nikon J1, compact and light enough to slip into the back pocket when cycling or a coat pocket when walking but with an excellent lens and some very intelligent programming inside.  It also has a mount which I can purchase which will let me use my Nikon DSLR zoom lenses and which acts as a converter to increase the zoom factor considerably.  I may get Santa to provide that.  The whole thing is very exciting and the first test will come tomorrow.  I am going to try not to lose it.

The flying bird of the day, and this will surprise some of you, is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s picture continues the record of the riotous celebrations of Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday.  After yesterday’s birthday porridge, today we saw the official birthday cake.  No expense has been spared.

Birthday cake

Mrs Tootlepedal would like to thank all those kind commenters who wished her a happy birthday and to tell them that she did indeed have a happy birthday.

The weather finally relented and we got a day that was well up to the seasonal norm as far as temperature went so I took the opportunity to stretch my cycling legs a little.  Dropscone arrived after breakfast and we set off round the morning run the wrong way until we got to Glenzier hall.  There our ways parted, as he continued round the morning run and I headed off to the west.

garmin routeThe distance that shows between the start and finish on my Garmin map on the left (click on it to visit the route) was created by an absent minded failure to start recording until we had gone nearly three miles.

Where possible, I kept to fairly main roads as there is quite a lot of hedge cutting going on at the moment and cycling over thorn hedge clippings is not recommended.  On the more busy roads, the cars soon sweep away the cuttings.  As it turned out, even the little lanes were clear of peril and I had an untroubled ride.

The wind was very light and the temperature just into double figures and my only problem was being slightly overdressed.  Once you have got used to putting on several layers for cold weather pedalling, it is hard to persuade yourself to take some off again.

On my way back, I passed the blacksmith’s shop at Gretna…

Gretna Green

…and was too polite to photograph a happy couple as they walked across the courtyard with only a single friend in tow.  A busy looking photographer with a fancy flash trotted across the road and followed them into the cottage so I expect he makes a reasonable living from the wedding business.

There is still a morsel of autumn colour left here and there…

Near Gretna

…and a welcome bit of new surface on this back road near Gretna.

I stopped in a lay-by opposite Hollows Tower to eat a final piece of cake and took the opportunity to add to my many pictures of the tower while I chewed.

Hollows Tower

I had only three or four miles of busy main road left at this point.

A7

In all, the trip came to 43 miles and thanks to adopting a steady speed, I got home in good order.

I had a moment to look out of the window and saw a robin looking back at me.

robin

After lunch, Sandy and I went up to the Moorland feeders where Cat Barlow was ringing birds again.  We were hoping to meet some interesting birds in the nets but although there were plenty of birds in them, they were mostly old friends and quite a few had already been ringed.

There was a single tree sparrow among the coal and great tits.

tree sparrow

They are handsome birds and easily distinguished from house sparrows by being a lot browner on the head and having a dark patch under the eyes.

tree sparrow

A greenfinch showed off its elegant tail feathers for us.

greenfinch

And it is always a pleasure to meet a robin.

robin

It wasn’t a great photo opportunity because apart from the routine roll call of birds, the light was fading fast too.  This did give Sandy the notion to go and stand in a field.

Sandy in a field

He was trying to capture this dramatic cloudscape.

Broomholm cloudscape

There were fine clouds to be  seen on every side.

Broomholm cloudscape

But it wasn’t long before it got too gloomy….

Broomholm cloudscape

…and we headed for home and a cup of tea.

In the evening, we went off to our usual choir practice and at last we have been given a list of items for our upcoming concerts.  We can sing most of them quite well.  We are going to visit churches in two neighbouring villages which are happy to use our concerts as a fund raiser for both them and us.  This is mutually beneficial and it has the added bonus for us that our hosts will work their hardest to get a get audience in.

We are also going to make a guest appearance at a concert by our town brass band so we will be busy.

I am trying to get my conducting arms under control and only knocked my stand over once tonight which is a big improvement.

Amidst the flurry of activity, I did find time to catch a flying chaffinch of the day.

flying chaffinch

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I was sent today’s guest picture by my neighbour Bruce.  He tells me that it is a parrot plant and he is very impressed by its ability to avoid being killed by his plant care methods.

parrot plant

At Wauchope Cottage there was another birthday to celebrate as Mrs Tootlepedal tried in vain to catch me up.  She was greeted by a plate of the traditional birthday porridge.

Birthday porridge

In fact she was lavished with gifts as she also received a surprise pair of earrings.

earrings

Ideal for a soprano

After a little sit down to get over the excitement, we set off for a birthday ride.  It was very grey but the wind was light and the temperature had crept up to 5° so there was no danger of ice on the roads.

We went round a shortened 14 mile version of the morning run at a pace suitable for two seventy and a bit year olds on a chilly day.  The official photographer recorded the occasion

Birthday pedal

The birthday girl on a rare flat section….

Birthday pedal

…before turning a corner and puffing up a hill….

Birthday pedal

….and two minutes later up another expletive deleted hill.

Our route took us past one of my favourite small hills.

Near Ryehills

If it was in the south of England, there would be all sorts of druids cavorting around on top of it.  As it is, the Ordnance Survey put a trig point on its summit although it is a mere 154m above sea level.

The countryside is rapidly losing its colour as the cold spell continues but there are compensations.

Tree at the Bloch

I think it was Ron Hoover who complained in a post that he couldn’t see the point of photographing trees when their leaves have fallen off but I think there is a beauty in the very definition that it gives to them.

From the tree onwards it was all downhill to home and we were pleased to get there as the dampness in the air made the cold feel a good bit colder.

I had had a moment or two before the pedal to look out of the kitchen window but we are still waiting for our winter visitors to arrive.  In the meantime the goldfinches are continuing to be gratuitously disagreeable even when there are plenty of seats available at the table.

goldfinch

Sometimes the fact that a seat is missing doesn’t deter them.

goldfinch

I don’t know where the missing perch is but I suspect a jackdaw took it.

I read that blackbirds migrate more than people think and certainly the garden has filled up with them recently.

female blackbird

As the weather gets colder and food gets scarcer, I expect to see more sparrows like this one too.

fat sparrow

Old age and the onset of some light rain persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal to devote the afternoon to a mixture of sewing and snoozing while I put a lot of hard work into doing absolutely nothing.

I should have gone to Carlisle to play recorders in the evening but a combination of shampooed carpets, illness and unavailability led to a call off so I rounded off the day by doing nothing in the evening too.   I wish that I could learn to lounge around without feeling a bit shifty about it.   I am hoping for a more productive day tomorrow.

It was such a grey day that catching good shots of flying birds was tricky.  It wasn’t that there weren’t any birds flying around…

flying chaffinches

…because they were lining up.  It was trying to get a good picture that was the problem.

I failed but here it is anyway.

_DSC1010second cut

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a Madrid fan club, another from my brother’s portfolio.

No self respecting spanish lady would be without a fan.

It was a genuinely sub zero day today with the temperature only just creeping up to 1°  by lunchtime.  A cheerful sun and no wind made it feel quite pleasant though as I walked up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to to try to sort out a small electrical problem there.  I had taken advice from my friend Bruce, who knows all there is to know about practical science, and so I shall certainly blame him if my repair proves to be inadequate.  First results are good though, as an afternoon archivist reported no problems.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I got back in time to entertain Dropscone to a cup of coffee and wolf down several of the excellent eponymous drop scones which he had brought with him.  With good freshly ground coffee in the cup and a light dressing of home made raspberry jam on the scones, no king or councillor could have been better catered for than us.

As Dropscone left, goldfinches bickered in the chilly shadow cast by the house.

goldfinches

Out in the garden, the frost remained on the leaves…

frosty leaves

box hedge

…but in the direct sunlight, a drop of unfrozen water might appear on a euphorbia.

melted frost

When I went in, I spotted a robin near the feeder but as soon as I got the camera out, another robin appeared and drove the first one out of the garden.  The only shot I got of either of them was of this one looking warily around.

robin

Although it sounds a bit weedy, standing behind the stall at the craft fair yesterday had proved quite taxing on the legs so although it was a promising day for a walk and far too nice to stay indoors,  I compromised by driving up to the moorland feeders and having a sit down to watch the birds.  Following Mrs Tootlepedal’s advice the birds all goodly stood on the left of the feeders and looked right.

great tit

A great tit

greenfinch

A pale greenfinch

coal tit

A coal tit

Even the woodpeckers behaved (although not as near to me as I would have liked).

woodpecker

The only sign of new visitors was a small collections of siskins.

siskins

Many of the birds were well plumped up against the chill.

plump goldfinch

There was quite a bit of traffic through the feeders as a man went to and fro with feed for the pheasants so I didn’t stay too long and went down to commune with the ducks on the Kilngreen.

Sawmill Brig

It really was very sunny.

The ducks were in placid mood today…

placid mallard

…and didn’t offer much of a challenge.  (There’s only modest fun to be had from shooting sitting ducks.)

I found a gull looking for a parking place…

car park gull

…and another in reflective mood…,.

standing gull

…before retiring home for lunch.

Somehow, I managed to spend the whole afternoon being theoretically quite busy but actually bone idle.  It was very relaxing.  I did find a moment to practise singing some of the trickier songs that our choir is going to perform.  I really need to do it every day as my memory for music is not nearly as good as my ability to read it and it will take some dinning to get it fixed in my head.

I did manage to take a couple of perching birds for those who prefer them to the constant flapping of the flying chaffinches.

chaffinch

Ooops wrong way round …

right facing chaffinch

goldfinch

I know, I know.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came. Mrs Tootlepedal and I were ensconced in the kitchen and didn’t hear the doorbell so he went away again but a quick phone call brought him back and we had a very good practice.  He has been working hard and getting results.  This is cheering because it is quite possible for a pupil without good practice habits to work very hard and make no progress.  In hindsight, the failure of any of my teachers when I was a boy to teach me how to work rather than just telling me that I should work has been a big contribution to the failure of my plan to rule the world.

In the evening, I went with Sandy and Irving to the Liddesdale Camera Club to hear the judges comments on our entries in the recent ‘blue’ themed competition.  Irving only had one picture entered but Sandy and I had several each and we both figured in the prize list but not near the top.  I got a third place for a metaphorically blue picture of myself looking very glum on my birthday last year when Mrs Tootlepedal was away visiting her mother.

Birthday fun

The judge was much struck by my blue demeanour but I am sorry to say that with one accord the rest of the audience said, “He’s looking unusually cheerful there.”   How I laughed.

Although it was still cold, the temperature stayed just above freezing for our drive home and we got back promptly and safely.

The flying bird of the day is one of the gulls from the visit to the Kilngreen (flying the wrong way).

black headed gull

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a nice Moorish gate in Toledo, photographed by my brother.

Gate built by Moors in 10th Century

In a typical stroke of malice, the weather gods relented from the unremitting provision of near freezing temperatures and delivered a day that was suitable for cycling on a day when I had very little time to spare for going cycling.

It was still pretty chilly first thing and by the time that it had warmed up, it was time to go to the Buccleuch Centre to help Sandy set up his photograph stall at the craft fair there.  This didn’t take long and I got the opportunity to take the belt drive bike for a ten mile pedal before the fair opened.

The autumn colours are fading fast and I took this shot from  my turning point just for the record to prove that I had actually had a cycle ride.

View from Callister

At 4°C it wasn’t exactly warm but there was no ice on the road and the wind was gentle enough to make riding a pleasure.

I had a quick bowl of soup when I got back and then went along to the fair and to my amazement, it was absolutely packed and Sandy was already surrounded by eager shoppers.

Sandy at the fair

I was hoping to get a photograph of the stock on the table but such was the steady flow of visitors that there were few opportunities.  I was able to catch a glimpse of Maisie’s aunty running her jewellery stall a few yards away from us with the assistance of her son William.

Elizabeth's stall

I don’t know who the little person in the background is.

Elizabeth’s stall was full of nice things and I bought a pair of earrings for Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday from her.  I took the precaution of getting Mrs Tootlepedal to choose them for herself to make sure of acquiring an acceptable gift.

When the jeweller went off for a wander William was joined by his grandfather in supervising the stall.

Mike and william

A hot sales team.

The fair was supposed to last from 12 until 4 but by three o’clock the stream of visitors had started to dry up and it soon came to a complete stop and we packed up and went home at about half past three.

We had had a busy time and chatted to many friends both old and new and sold quite a lot of picture cards between us.  Sandy also sold a large mounted picture and a lot of his rather fancy bookmarks so we were both satisfied.   In all, we raised £90 for the benefit of the Archive Group and learned a bit about what sells and what doesn’t.  We both had a set of cards which sold out almost immediately and others that didn’t go so swiftly.  We might well do this again of we get the chance.

I had made four of each of my cards and sold at least one of each set.  Because I didn’t take any other pictures today, I am putting the photos that I used on the cards here.  You get a digital smile if you can pick the best and the worst sellers out of them.

Male blue titflying chaffinch (118)rosesparrowperching chaffinches (3)great tit feederswaxwing for postcardfuchsia (7)perching chaffinches postcard

The blue tit flew off the table and the house sparrow stayed perching with only one sold.  Mrs Tootlepedal thought that the left facing birds would have had more appeal if they were facing right.  She may well be correct in this.

house sparrow

The sparrow will face the other way before he reappears on a card.

Sandy came round for a cup of tea when we had packed up and we found that Mrs Tootlepedal was making a good looking batch of tea cakes so when they came out of the oven, Sandy got a couple to take home with him and Mrs Tootlepedal and I had several each just to test to see of they were OK.  They were OK but not very long lasting.  She will have to make some more quite soon.

I only a had a moment to peer out of the kitchen window all day but luckily a chaffinch flew by at the right time to make flying bird of the day..

flying chaffinch

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