Today’s guest picture is another from Zyriacus, showing a fine view of his local river.


The weather gods had really decided to stick the boot in today to punish me for leaving my work on the toast until the last minute.  Instead of some nice grey drizzle, the morning was aburst with sunlight on every side with a glorious golden light.  I was stuck once more in front of the computer tearing my hair out as the ideas fizzed and popped and the words to express them drooped and sagged.

I had to junk about half of what I had already written and rethink how to use the material I had collected.  After a moment of despair, a cup of coffee and a peek out of the kitchen window got me going again and I was able to knock out a presentable toast with only the final section to go in time for a late lunch.

You can see just how sunny the morning had been both for the flying…..



…and the perching birds.



The blackbirds got to eat their pellets peacefully without any intervention from jackdaws or any internal discord…


…though the chaffinches did help them quite a lot.

The sunshine didn’t make all the birds happy.

chaffinch and goldfinch

After lunch, just to give my brain a break, I drove up the road to fill the Moorland feeders and naturally the sun went in as soon as we set out.  Mrs Tootlepedal came up with me and set off to walk home while I dallied for a moment, camera in hand.

The birds at the feeders are still just the regulars.


There was an odd siskin or two about.  I liked the chaffinch's hair stylist's work a lot.
There was an odd siskin or two about.  I liked the chaffinch’s hair stylist’s work a lot.
blue tit
Blue tits are scarce this year.  This one is ringed so is a regular.
great tits
There’s a ring on the great tit too.
great tit
The long black stripe shows that this one  is a male.

I didn’t stay long as it started to rain and Mrs Tootlepedal, who had gone a good distance by the time I caught up with her, was quite pleased to get a lift home.  We stopped in the town and I went to pick up some coffee beans which I had ordered.  I bought some Iranian dates while I was in the shop.  These will count as nearly Mediterranean.

They sell bird feeding stuff too and I asked if they had a similar seed feeder to the one I use in the garden and to my surprise, they gave me one for free as they had used it themselves but it didn’t suit their yard.  This is excellent as it will give me a good opportunity to hang one feeder out while the other is being properly cleaned.

When  we got home, I took a picture of a clump of snowdrops which is developing nicely and some primulas which have never stopped flowering all winter.

winter flowersAfter a cup of tea, I sat down for the last time and finished off the toast.  A weight came off my shoulders.

When the evening came, I put on my best bib and tucker and trundled up the road to the Crown Hotel where a good audience of over 50 people met in the Assembly Room for the Rotary Club of Langholm’s Burns Supper.

Everything about the evening was well organised except that the person delivering the toast to the haggis, under orders to be brief no doubt, omitted my two favourite verses.  I append them here.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

This may well be a warning to anyone about to embark on a Mediterranean diet.  If I end up like a withered rash (rush), I’ll know that I have only myself to blame.

As well as the toast to the immortal memory of Burns which was my department, a Burns supper always has songs and tonight we were exceptionally blest to have two young singers from the town, Glen and Rebecca,  who gave us beautiful renderings of four of Burn’s love songs.  Billy Young, the man to whom the task of reciting Tam o’ Shanter was given was more than well up to the task and delighted the audience with the dramatic immediacy of his recitation.

The toast itself was politely received although the dim light and my poor eyesight meant that I had to hold the sheets rather closer to my nose than was ideal.  I must have looked a bit like a buzzard hovering over some carrion.   No one shouted abuse or walked out so I count that as a triumph but I will have to wait until a third party tells me what a second party said to them, before I can find truly how it was received.

There was only one other toast and reply, To the Lasses, and this was very well done so to cap an excellent evening off, we were finished  by half past ten and I won a box of biscuits in the raffle.

I end with a flying chaffinch.

flying chaffinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Torment

  1. You didn’t mention having to dodge tomatoes or eggs thrown in your direction, so I assume that the toast was well received.

    You’re so lucky to see flowers this time of year, you’re making it harder to deal with all the snow here.

    1. Lucky in a way but it is not right and we can’t help feeling that we will have to pay in some way for not having a proper winter…..slug invasion?…..late frost killing blossom?

  2. Glad the weight of making the ‘Toast’ is finally off your shoulders, I am sure that it was very good. Thanks for including some perching birds in your excellent avian collection.

  3. Enjoyed your two favourite verses. I suspect your toast was very well received. It sounds like an excellent evening.

    1. The whole poem to the haggis is very enjoyable. If you are ever bored (which I doubt that you ever are) you can find it on the internet very easily.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: