Food miles

Today’s picture shows a blind hurdy gurdy player whom my brother met yesterday in the Prado in Madrid.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that the best audience for any hurdy gurdy player, blind or not,  would be a deaf one as she doesn’t care for the instrument at all.

I quite like it.

a Tour - The Blind Hurdy Gurdy Player

As I was still not quite at my peak, I called off from the morning pedal with Dropscone.  I felt a bit wistful about this when I looked out of the window at nine o’clock to see a frost free, calm and sunny day.  I felt a lot better about it when I looked out of the window at ten o’clock and saw rain pelting down.   Dropscone got a real soaking and had to go home to get dried off before he came round with the traditional Friday treacle scones.  As he had carried them round on his route, taken them past my road end and then brought them back again, he felt that food miles might be an issue but I overlooked it and ate my share gratefully.

It rained on Mrs Tootlepedal as she cycled back through the town from helping with the reading for the recording of our local paper for its blind readers.

It rained again while we were having coffee but then it got fed up and the rest f the day was very nice.

I took a picture of a blackbird visiting in one of the darker moments of the morning…

blackbird female

…and after yesterday’s flotilla of flying chaffinches, there was a plethora of perching birds today.  A chaffinch of course…

perching chaffinch (24)

and a greenfinch….

perching greenfinch
Another chaffinch may have sneaked into the frame.

…and a goldfinch….

perching goldfinch (5)

The goldfinches often like to perch on the highest twigs in the plum tree.

perching goldfinch (4)

We are keeping our eyes open for waxwings but there have been none yet this autumn so I put on my wellies and went off after coffee to fill the Moorland feeders to see if I could see any winter migrants there.  The most noticeable thing as I approached was a pheasant who was guarding the gate to the feeders.

perching pheasant on gate

Although I could hear shooters popping away in the distance, the pheasant must have realised that I had a kindly face and a camera rather than a shotgun because he didn’t move until I actually  touched the gate.

I filled the feeders and sat down to wait.  No new faces appeared but I had put a little seed on top of a post near the hide and it attracted a coal tit…

coal tit feeders

..and a great tit.

great tit feeders

You can see that Dr Barlow has been busy ringing birds.

I had arranged to meet Sandy later so I didn’t stay too long but I did manage to take a few pictures as I left.  It was a day of mixed weather.

view of tinnis with light mist
A view of Tinnis with a little of that autumn mist about taken before i left.
view of tinnis with light mist
The mist rising from the Tarras valley on my left as I drove past Broomholmshiels
view of Warbla from Broomholm
Warbla bathed in sunshine on my right from taken a couple of hundred yards further on.
broomholm view
The trees on the far bank of the Esk seen from the Broomholm road.
broomholm larches view
The larches really caught the sun.

My favourite was this picture of a pylon emerging from the rising mist and just catching the sun.

foggy pylon

I had a nice plate of warming soup for my lunch and met up with Sandy in the early afternoon.  The weather was looking quite settled for a while so we drove up to the White Yett and looked up the Ewes valley, one of our favourite views.  There was a trace of mist on the shady side….

Ewes view

…but clear sunshine at the top of the valley.

Ewes view (2)

I took a set of pictures and Photoshop obliging turned them into a panorama for me.  (Click for the bigger picture.)

panorama ewes

As the light began to fade, we made out way home and Sandy helped me put another week of the newspaper index into the database.  We had arranged to take Mrs Tootlepedal down to Gretna to see if we could see the celebrated murmuration of starlings there which happens around the time of sunset.

By the time we were ready to go, Mrs Tootlepedal and Sandy thought that we had left it too late but I was more optimistic and we went anyway (I was driving so I was the boss.)  We were entertained by a wonderful sky on the way down with clear blue sky to our right, mist from the river low in the fields on our left and a fantastic bank of black, black clouds looming over Carlisle, looking quite apocalyptic.

In the event, it turned out that I was wrong and Mrs  Tootlepedal and Sandy were right (there’s a surprise) and it was too dark to see anything by the time we got to Gretna so we just turned round and headed for home again.  At least we will have a better idea of when to set off when we go again.


In the evening, Maisie’s grandparents arrived for conversation and music as is customary for a Friday evening, and Alison and I had a good time playing a selection of sonatas  for flute or recorder and harpsichord (courtesy of a Roland ep75) with varying accuracy.  I was a little inclined to let my mind wander while tootling which is never a good thing if you wish to play well but it didn’t diminish the satisfaction which playing music always brings.

After a few years of playing together, Alison and I have now gathered quite a useful of heap of pieces which we can play so we can vary our programme each week.  Every now and then we introduce a new piece just to keep ourselves on our toes.


There was no flying bird to be had today but as a more than adequate substitute, here is an object lesson on how to keep warm when reading in bed on a frosty night.  Who needs a burqua?

Mrs Tootlepedal



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Food miles

  1. ♪♫♫ Pheasants on fences and readers in bedclothes, mists on the hills and cute kids in their bare toes . . these are a few of my favorite things. (Diddn’t want to do too much and overwhelm you with my verse.)

  2. ‘Mist rising in the Tarras Valley’ looked just like an Impressionist painting and took my breath away. Surely it has the possibility to be a prize winning picture Enjoyed the plethora of perching birds too.

  3. Lovely photos as always and the panorama was very well stitched. You brothers photo of the Georges de La Tour Hurdy-Gurdy Player almost had me fooled for a moment too 🙂

  4. Luckily for my loved ones, a decent hurdy-gurdy is out of my price range.

    Excellent hill photos, as always, making me a little homesick, as always. The view of Tinnis from the feeders is now a favourite.

    I bought local beer when I was at the liquor store last night; virtue and vice walking cozily hand-in-hand.

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