Today’s guest picture comes from my daughter Annie and shows a gently steaming gatepost that we met on a walk this afternoon.
It was business as usual with the weather when we woke up, with grey skies and rain to greet us.
It seemed like a good day for indoor activities so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a church choir practice, Annie and got going on the business of making tea cakes. This is a lengthy process involving a yeast starter, heating milk, melting white chocolate and any amount of kneading and resting of the dough so we were able to pass the morning very pleasantly, interspersing the baking with peering out of the window.
The sight of a coal tit and a blue tit made us think of the American chickadee. A correspondent asked me recently if they were related so Annie did a little research on the internet and found the matter discussed quite fully here.
It turns out that though they look similar, they are probably not closely related. Interestingly, I have never seen an American equivalent of our blue tit, though there may well be one.
We were visited by a small group of greenfinches….
…while it was still raining. We were also visited by a blackbird as the rain eased off…..
…and a robin after it had stopped.
I didn’t put out any pellets for the jackdaws so a starling came to try the seed feeder…
…and the photograph showed that the spots on a starling are not round as they may appear from a distance but heart shaped. Annie and Mrs Tootlepedal looked at a close up….
…and remarked that they look exactly like needlework and gave the impression that the bird is wearing a nattily embroidered waistcoat.
In the pursuit of ‘oily fish for a better brain’ we had rolls filled with a home-made sardine pâté for lunch.
These not only improved our brains but the weather too and there was an unexpected outbreak of sunshine. We needed no prompting and set out for a walk, chiefly to inspect the fallen tree at the Sawmill Brig which Kevin had photographed yesterday.
We could see that the bridge itself was still in place as we looked up the Ewes water from the Town Brig…
..and so we walked on, enjoying the unexpected sunshine and the gleaming colour of the male mallards as we passed them.
We were not the only ones interested in the events at the bridge.
I was pleased to see that the bridge seemed to have survived the fall of the tree. Closer examination showed that the parapet had taken a bashing…
…but the wall beyond the bridge had fared even worse.
Two trees had come down but the work of clearing them away had been done very quickly and traffic was freely crossing the bridge.
It was such a lovely day by this time…
…that we extended our walk up to the Lodge and then back down the river bank to the Jubilee Bridge which can be seen in the picture above.
There was lichen to be seen….
…remains of the morning weather floating up the hillside….
…hazel catkins thinking about next spring…
…and a splendid view of the top of Whita being kissed by a passing cloud.
I took an arty (but not entirely successful) shot of a raindrop on a branch….
…and finally we enjoyed the sight of one of the minister’s chickens doing some basking in the sunshine.
We got home feeling very cheered by our drop of golden sun and were able to entertain Mike Tinker to a cup of tea when he dropped in shortly after we had arrived.
I put a brioche mixture into the breadmaker, lit the fire in the front room as it was pretty chilly in spite of the sunshine, finished off cooking the tea cakes and then retired to look at my photographs.
No long afterwards, Luke appeared for his flute lesson and we worked away quite successfully. Then it was time for tea and yesterday’s ragu came into its own, served with tagliatelle and mushrooms.
There was no time to sit around after tea, as I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel. This was the first time that we have met for a few weeks so it was really good to meet and play again. I had to watch my step as I walked up and back to Isabel’s house because it was very cold and the road was icy in places.
More rain is forecast for tomorrow morning so there may be quite an ice rink when we get up.
The flying bird of the day is one of the gloomy morning greenfinches.