Doing even less

My brother Andrew visited Queenstown and Kinloch in the South Island of NZ earlier in the month.  This picture shows the famous paddle steamer Earnslaw, returning from Walter Peak farm, viewed from his motel balcony.

The famous paddlesteamer Earnslaw, returning from Walter Peak farm, viewed from my motel balconyIf yesterday’s activity could be described as slow, today’s was glacial, although it did contain some cooking.  Appropriately enough, the main dish of the day was made using the slow cooker, ideal for a Sunday when we come back from our Carlisle choir practice ready for a meal but happy not to have to cook it there and then.

This was another go at a lamb tagine and I moved up a class by adding some saffron tails to the mix, something that I have never used in cooking before.  I couldn’t recognise them when it came to eating the stew as I don’t know what they taste like but just knowing that they were there made the whole thing a superior gastronomic experience.

Mrs Tootlepedal had gone to church to sing in the choir while I was cooking and I was still in my dressing gown when Dropscone dropped in.  He had gone up to play golf in the Winter Competition.  He is an enthusiast and had been rather surprised that gales and rain had discouraged anyone else from coming to play with him.  I consoled him with a cup of coffee and scanned in and printed out a picture of him in a rugby team in the 1960s which he had brought round.  He looks not too bad nowadays but he definitely looked tall and handsome then.

After he left,  I took a look out of the kitchen window for a short while.

goldfinch
A goldfinch and greenfinch look on in shocked disapproval at the bad behaviour on the lower perches.
goldfinch
A chaffinch is made of sterner stuff and doesn’t respond to provocation.

Then  I retired for a relaxing bath.  I emerged in time for lunch and  a quick walk round the garden as the rain had stopped.

The marigolds cheered up a gloomy day.

marigold _DSC4059The other plants had their heads bowed under the twin onslaught of wind and rain so I soon went back inside.

I caught a glimpse of a robin in a bush….

robin…and after a quick word with its agent, it agreed to pop out for a pose.

robinThen it was time to go to Carlisle for our choir.  The forecast was miserable and the weather was horrible so I didn’t bother to put a camera in the car which I often do “just in case”.

The practice was very good as the musical director worked us hard in preparation for forthcoming concerts.  The tenors have got two new recruits who can sing well and the musical director said at one point that he had never heard us sound so good.  The rest of the choir broke out in spontaneous applause and we blushed modestly.

There had been a very heavy rainstorm during the practice but by the time we came out, the skies had cleared.  Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a small flock of starlings as we drove through Carlisle and suggested a diversion to Gretna on the way to see if there was any sign of the famous starling murmuration yet.

starlings at Gretna
A shot from last year’s murmaration

There were a few small groups of starlings but not enough to make a murmuration yet. Nevertheless, we weren’t disappointed as there was possibly the best sunset that we had ever seen to be enjoyed instead.  It was a close run thing at one time as to whether I was more delighted by the sunset than I was annoyed that I hadn’t got a camera to hand but on balance, I was just pleased to have seen such a magnificent sight.

The stew turned out fairly well and I rounded off my cooking day by making a dish of baked semolina for our pudding.  My friend Sue had kindly brought a new container of sourdough starter to the choir practice for me, as I had carelessly let mine die and I hope to make some sourdough bread soon.

The rather fuzzy flying bird of a grey day is a goldfinch.

goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Doing even less

    1. We are promised quite hefty winds for tomorrow (gusts up to 50 mph) but the rain is not supposed to be too bad so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

  1. The starlings here never do anything so spectacular. They just storm around stealing things from native birds and being sloppy. I would love to see that phenomenon in their native land though.

  2. I learned something new, I didn’t know that saffron had a tail.

    Anyway, the marigolds would cheer up the gloomiest of days, and the antics of your birds are always entertaining.

  3. I loved the robin’s picture, it’s a pity you can’t show it to him/her. The birds arguing among themselves were very entertaining and I was impressed that the tenors got a round of applause.

  4. I’m glad you have such far-flung, traveling relatives because I always so enjoy your guest pictures of places I will never get to see myself. Always wonderful to get a glimpse of other, “exotic” places from here in Michigan.

    Loved the posing robin, so sweet. And those marigolds cheered up the gloomy day I am currently experiencing here.

    My hubby loves to cook with herbs de province, it always makes him feel gourmet. 🙂 The slow cooker is one of the best inventions ever.

  5. I’ve just been reading about someone who harvests their own saffron from their crocuses. Given how expensive the stuff is it sounds like a great idea to me. I always feel saffron adds more in the colour department than taste but I do use it, especially in Moroccan dishes. Many years ago I did a cookery course in Marrakech and it seems to be a very popular ingredient there. What a shame you could t capture your sunset. Still seeing it is better than not.

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