An unexpected pleasure

Today’s guest picture shows a very woolly goat spotted by my brother who was visiting  Paradise Springs near Rotarua in NZ.

Paradise Springs near Rotorua Sept 2014 - 25It was a calm day after all the rain but I didn’t manage to get organised enough to go out for a pedal.  Instead, while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I put together what the recipe claimed was a lamb tagine for the slow cooker.  It had apricots, cinnamon, lemon juice and honey in it so that was quite sophisticated for a cook of my calibre,  It tasted pretty good too when we had it for our tea in the evening.

Somehow the cooking and some heavy bird watching managed to fill most of the morning.  The were plenty of birds to watch today.  Blue tits are just as irresistible to me as poppies are.

blue titAs an added bonus, we saw the return of the great tit today too.

great titIt looks like a mild enough bird but it has laser eyes….

great tit….that can stop a sparrow in its tracks.

The flying chaffinches were zooming in from all angles.


And sparrows were jostling for places on the perches.

An unsuccessful bid for a place

I did find time for a walk round the garden in a brief sunny spell.  The rudbeckias have lost heart….

rudbeckia and sunflower…but some of the smaller sunflowers are still quite cheery.  The bee in the picture was one of the very few in the garden today.

Pale delphiniums and dicentras are adding a little late watery colour.

delphinium and dicentraThe good summer has meant that the walnut tree has produced a measurable amount of walnuts this year….

I picked these up in a few minutes today.

…although we are too far north to ever get a good crop of ripe nuts.

And my addiction to poppies has not abated.

poppyI went back in and did a little flute practice.  Although I am very good at telling other people that they need to practice, I find it hard to get organised enough to have a regular practice regime myself, even though I know that this is the only way to improve.

I had a cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch with one of the last of our tomato crop for the year.  I shall miss having tender and tasty tomatoes when we have to go back to shop bought, tough skinned specimens.

After lunch, there was enough time for a quick look out of the window….

sparrow and goldfinch
A sparrow and a goldfinch demonstrate that there are more than one way of looking at things.
A greenfinch looking a bit more cheerful today.
tree sparrow
Two shots of a tree sparrow which nibbled a peanut and flew off.

Then it was time to go to Carlisle for our choir there.  We combined the artistic with the practical and called in at Homebase to buy a sheet of corrugated plastic to cover composting bins C and D as one of our old sheets has finally been battered into submission by the elements.  We then popped into Sainsburys to buy coffee beans and smelly Italian cheese along with some other less necessary things.  You can never have too many different sorts of cheese or coffee beans in the house.

We worked really hard in the choir and I am continually amazed by the patience of our choirmaster who has to go over the music in great detail for us novices week after week.  Still, we are definitely always improving and this must give him some reward.

We got home in time to enjoy the lamb tagine and then we were off out again, this time to the Buccleuch Centre for a concert.  I had bought tickets for a group called the Swing Commanders on a bit of a whim as I thought that might be either awful or quite fun.  In the event, they turned out to be jolly good value, playing a wide variety of swing and dance music with tremendous zest and a really good sense of rhythm.   Apart from the fact that the sound balance wasn’t perfect, it was an excellent evening, although it must be said the the first half was better than the second half when they perhaps got a little too ambitious.

The flying bird of the day is a rather scruffy goldfinch.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “An unexpected pleasure

  1. Lovely pictures of the very smart great tit. The tagine sounds delicious. Glad to hear the choir is going well and that the concert was so enjoyable.

  2. Such a pleasure to see so many birds at your feeder in this post. The laser-eyed great tit gave me a grin! 🙂 Mr. C is slowly dismantling our veggie garden and the tomatoes were done. I have purchased two more gardening volumes so hopefully we will fare better next year. I do hope we can avoid the blossom rot that did in a good portion of our tomatoes and whatever mildew that hit our cucumbers.

    1. The blossom end rot is a real pest. We have been bothered by it before but it was such a good summer this year that we escaped. My fingers are crossed for your crop next year.

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