With a song and a smile


Today’s guest picture shows a fine clock which Dropscone saw on his recent visit to Westerham in Kent.


I usually like to go for a cycle ride on a Sunday morning while Mrs Tootlepedal goes off to sing in the church choir but there was no chance of an enjoyable pedal today with more wind and rain in plentiful supply.  On the plus side, it had gone back to being unseasonably warm but as it was too wet to do anything outside, this wasn’t much use.

Instead of cycling, I entertained Dropscone to coffee and ate his excellent scones.  When he left, I walked down to the river in a light drizzle to see where all the rain was ending up.  It was coming from here….

Esk in flood

…and going off down there.

Esk in flood

Even though it was still raining, the river had dropped a bit from its full height and had left a very neat edge as it went.

EskIt looked as though someone had been along with a lawn mower.

I walked across the bridge and visited the Archive Centre to pick up the work of the data miners ready for entry into the database and I was pleased to find that they have just reached a new year, 1892.  It gives us a lift when another year is ticked off, although there is still quite a bit to go, to say the least.

When I got home, I filled the feeder and spent a little time looking at the birds through the drizzle.

coal tit
A coal tit displays a dainty seed collecting technique.
While two goldfinches get stuck in more heartily.

We had several siskins at the feeder today….


…and at times, there wasn’t a chaffinch to be seen.

goldfinch and siskin

On the covered feeder, a blue tit was practising pole dancing skills….

blue tit

…to entertain a robin which was watching from the tree behind.  I was rather hoping that the robin would come and join in but it flew off without posing for me.

The only flower that I could find which was fit to photograph was a nicotiana.


In the afternoon, we went off to sing with our Carlisle choir.  We have a programme of ten songs which we are studying for our Christmas concert and almost all of them are a joy to sing so practices at the moment are even more enjoyable than usual.

In spite of dire warnings of floods, the roads to Carlisle were perfectly safe and the drive was worry free.  I think that the forecasters live in dread of being sued if they fail to predict a damaging weather situation so they are erring on the side of overestimating  the risks.  This is a bit annoying if you cancel an activity or outing and then find that it would have been perfectly feasible but I suppose that erring on the side of safety has something to be said for it.

We got home to a very tasty lamb stew which had been slowly cooking all day in the slow cooker and a slow cooked meal on choir Sundays has now become as traditional as scones with coffee.

The wind is howling and the rain pattering down as I write this so it is nice to be snug indoors behind our new wall.

The flying bird of the day is an indignant chaffinch, caught before the invasion of the goldfinches and siskins.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “With a song and a smile

  1. You are still getting rain while ours subsided but a cold front has started, this morning we had frost. 🙂

    1. The wall is doing what it is supposed to do so we are very happy. The river has gone over its banks in the town once in the time that we have been living here and that was nearly 40 years ago.

  2. I am pleased the river didn’t rise much further! It was good to see Westerham church as I know it very well from having lived nearby in my youth. I have cousins who live a few miles from Westerham. My favourite photo is of the dainty coal tit – you timed that shot extremely well!

  3. The river looks full! Glad it did not rise further. We are back to seasonably cool now and in the 40s today, with wind, rain and some sun. Always something different going on out there throughout the day.

    Two more markets this month, and hopefully a treacle scone will show up for tasting.

    1. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the treacle scone will be greeted by an outburst of love. I hope that they are worth the wait if they do appear.

  4. Wasn’t a meteorologist in Italy arrested because he got the forecast wrong? I never heard the outcome of that case though.

    A rainy spent inside practicing songs for a Christmas show sounds like a good way to spend a dreary day.

    1. I believe that you maybe right but in my mind it might have been a seismologist failing to predict an earthquake. The principle is the same though.

  5. The river does still looks extremely full, unsurprisingly after all that rain.
    So glad the Carlisle choir programme is so enjoyable.

  6. I never thought I’d read the words “pole dancing” in your blog, Tom. I nearly spat out my tea! Thanks for the humour. 🙂
    A lamb stew eaten while the wind howled and rain came down sounds very cosy. I’m so glad all your renovations are done. It was quite disruptive at the time but worth it to be drip-free during this downpour. The rivers look a little too full. Are the houses every flooded?
    My favourite shot was the goldfinches attacking the feeder at the same time.

    1. There was nothing flooded in the town. We would need a lot more rain than we have had for that to happen. Although we have had long periods of rain, it hasn’t been very heavy for long and our rivers drain very quickly.

  7. That’s a lot of rain coming and going, even if it wasn’t at its maximum. For a few seconds I thought that was a caiman lurking near the neat edge, then remembered this was Scotland.

  8. Great gallery of birds! And you still found one flower to photograph…sounds good to be having lamb stew on such a windy and rainy day behind a new wall.

  9. I had a fantastic ride, home from work, yesterday evening. It’s been a good while since I’ve had the distinct pleasure of riding in a non stop deluge. Fortunately, despite the heavy rain, and howling wind, it was extremely mild 15 or 16 centigrade, (originally I wrote celsius, but I don’t understand the difference. I was brought up on Fahrenheit, then Centigrade came in, now weather forecasters talk in Celsius? It’s a mystery to me.) So, even though, I was completely soaked through, long before I actually got home, call me mad, but I really had a great ride. Long may it rain, just keep those low temperatures at bay. Thanks for a great read, cheers.

    1. The temperatures here are due to drop sharply at the end of the week so I hope that yours will not do the same. (I just put C and don’t bother about Celsius or centigrade.)

  10. The newspaper archive always sounds like an interesting and worthwhile project. I wish they’d do something like it here, online records only go back to the 1990’s.

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