More birthday porridge

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.

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.


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


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






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “More birthday porridge

  1. Happy Birthday Mrs. Tootle! Your new earrings are lovely. I really love the picture of the bare tree, it’s very dramatic and inspiring. The flowers on Bruce’s plant remind me of candy corn! 🙂

  2. A wonderful birthday wish to Mrs T from Southern California! Please let her know I think the earrings are fabulous, and that Kat would adore them as she the pianist of our little family. I’m also needing to tell you the tree without leaves is a brilliant shot – very achitectural. Best wishes, ~SueBee

  3. Happy Birthday from me also, Mrs. Tootlepedal! That second hill (the expletive deleted one) looks all the harder for the road surface, which looks more like ours than those in Languedoc.

    1. For a major oil producing country, the state of our roads is a disgrace and a reproach to the politicians from Mrs Thatcher onwards who have wasted our inheritance.

  4. I found this post even more amusing than usual, which is quite. Also, I love that solitary tree. I have a fondness for a solitary tree. Here in New Hampshire, the trees are so thick upon each other one can barely find a place to stand. But you have lovely vistas, if few druids.

  5. I am ashamed to have missed sending timely birthday greetings to Mrs T. apologies are in order. I loved the leafless tree, such patterns against the sky.

  6. TP, you are correct in seeing beauty in a tree, leaves or no. I remember the comment. I remember I was having fun at our daughter’s expense. She is always photographing dead trees, trying to find the perfect artistic scene. She takes my kidding good lightheartedly.

  7. Happy birthday to Mrs T, even if it is a little late to be wishing it. Trees in ever season have their beauty in my eyes and I liked your naked tree. Coming from the soft south of England I’m not so sure about the Druids though. I can’t say I’ve ever seen on, on a hill or otherwise and I live quite close to Stonehenge. Perhaps we invented them to scare off invaders from the frozen north 🙂

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