Today’s guest picture is another cheerful contrast from San Jose to our gloomy weather. It was sent by Gavin and shows his granddaughter and a friend in a neighbour’s lovely garden. The drawback is that he was told that it can cost up to $200 a month to water the garden in the summer months.
It was very grey here today but at least it was dry when we got up and reasonably warm too. After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to see Matilda. She had another gift for her grand daughter in her bag. Who knew that there was a black sheep in Shaun the Sheep’s family.
The conditions didn’t look very inviting but I pulled myself together and set out to do three seven mile repetitions up to Wauchope School and back in the shortest time that I could manage. I haven’t been pedalling too hard so far this year so I thought it was about time to put myself and the knee to work.
The result was reasonably satisfactory. The wind was a lot less strong that it has been recently and this let me get a steadier tempo going both uphill and down. There is very little climb of note on the route so it was just a question of putting the head down, breathing heavily and trying not to cry.
I was diverted by passing (going the other way) not only Dropscone but also Scott, the minister, who had both got up earlier than me and were near the end of their respective rides.
I would like to be able to get the speed up to 15 mph before too long but I will have to get fitter first as the effort left me feeling quite tired for the rest of the day.
I was very pleased to have several visitors when I got home. The first was a tree sparrow.
And the second was a redpoll practising looking severe (and succeeding).
They were followed by Dropscone, Scott and Sandy. We enjoyed a cup of coffee and a biscuit or two. Dropscone had cycled 21 miles and the minister 26 miles while Sandy had been up to fill the Moorland bird feeders so there was a feeling all round that the coffee and biscuit were well earned.
Our usual avian visitors were as argumentative as ever.
After lunch, I sat and tried to do the crossword but as I kept on falling asleep and dreaming about clues that weren’t there, I didn’t make much progress. I stirred myself and di some singing practice until Sandy came round by prior arrangement with a view to a walk. It had started to rain in a determined sort of way so we decided that a walk was not on and instead we got into his car and went up to the Moorland Feeders’ hide where at least we would be dry.
Pretty well all of the seed that Sandy had put in the feeders in the morning had been eaten by the time that we got there. That didn’t leave us with many birds to watch so I filled one feeder again and moved it and some peanuts up to near the hide. We sat and waited to see what would happen.
It didn’t take long for the birds to notice and we were royally entertained for the next hour.
There were dancing displays by chaffinches…
We were able to take some pictures in spite of the rain and gloom because the birds were so close to us but I had to put the the ISO up to 6400 which explains the rather fuzzy photos. It was easier when the birds sat still.
There were blue tits and dunnocks about too but they wouldn’t pose for me. And of course there are always pheasants.
The high spot of the visit was a fly past by a much larger bird. I was so busy watching it glide effortlessly down the glade that I almost forgot to photograph it and only got it at the last moment.
We need expert help but after some consideration, Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that this is a hen harrier because the tail isn’t split like a kite. I know it isn’t a good picture but any suggestions will be gratefully received.
The little birds weren’t alarmed by it at all.
The hide was brilliant as we were dry and warm and close to the birds while the rain poured down outside.
When I got home, I made good use of a wet day by putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database. Then I had a relaxing bath and finally managed to finish the crossword without falling asleep.
Mrs Tootlepedal got safely back from Edinburgh and almost immediately went off to a WRI night at Ewes. I went up to the Archive Centre to find once again that the BT wi-fi hotspot is not functioning properly so I came back home again and put another week of the paper into the database here. Once again, I am up to date. Hooray.
The flying bird of the day is a Moorland feeder chaffinch creeping up behind a goldfinch.