Birthday absence

cycle route south africa

Today’s guest picture comes from South Africa and shows the cycle route followed by Langholm exile, Tom. I wonder if he stops before he gets to the mountains.

cycle route south africa

After a short run of chilly but brighter days, we returned to our warm, wet and windy weather today.

It was gloomy but dry in the morning but the need to be in the High Street to take down our camera club exhibition kept me off the bike.  I looked out of the window instead.

As the light was even worse than yesterday, I got my big camera out.

A goldfinch was amazed that I was even trying to take its picture on such a dark day.


I am still keeping my eye for goldfinches to check if we ever get more than six at once in the garden.

There were only two or three today.


They were heavily outnumbered by chaffinches.


In between looking out of the window, I was doing a tricky crossword.  I looked up every now and again to see if there was any interesting bird action but it was one of those days when the bird had always flown by the time that I had got up, got my camera and got to the window.

I took some general shots just to pass the time.

I enjoyed the chaffinch carefully steering himself between the feeder and the pole.

I have got two feeders outside the kitchen window at present in answer to a brisk demand for seed.  This is good for the amount of business that is attracted but bad at the same time.  The down side is because whichever feeder I point the camera at, the other one is where the interesting action is going on.  As soon as I switch my view, the action goes in the contrary direction.  I got so fed up that I took them both at the same time.

busy feeders

Sandy appeared on cue to help take the pictures down and the job was done in double quick time.  Unlike our last show at the Hub in Eskdalemuir, we didn’t manage to sell any pictures this time. There aren’t many visitors to the town in November which may explain  this.

When I got back, I just had time to catch a blue tit having its lunch…

blue tit

…before I made some vegetable soup for my own lunch,

After lunch, I set out for a short ride on the fairly speedy bike.  The clouds were down to about 200 feet above my head when I started but by the time that I finished, they were at road level and it was quite wet.

As I reached the house, I passed the minister and invited him in for a cup of tea and with perfect timing, just as I had put the kettle on,  Dropscone appeared too (bearing not scones but a gift of leeks).

These two brightened up a day which had got so gloomy that there was no hope at all of a little after-cycle walk.

When the tea party men had gone, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and after my evening meal, I went up to the Archive Centre with Sandy and we put another couple of weeks in. This took me into the new archiving year of 1892.   The year started with the death from influenza of the Duke of Clarence, the grandson of Queen Victoria, at the age of 28 and shops in Langholm were asked to close their doors and the people of the town to pull their blinds down during the time of his funeral.

I should mention that it was Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday today and she sent me a picture to show just how much she was enjoying herself, far from home on this auspicious occasion.

Mrs Tootlepedal's birthday

I felt much the same.

The flying bird of the day was one of the many chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Birthday absence

  1. Poor Mrs. T – you’ll have a chance for a second cake when she gets home (provided you get baking, that is . . .). In the meantime, she’s very nicely colour co-ordinated with that lovely card on the right in the photo!

  2. I’m up to 9 goldfinches now, but I’m really worried about the chaffinches. Only four max where last winter it was more like 14. Still there’s a lot of winter left, unfortunately.

  3. Many happy returns to the exiled Mrs T! This weather is so changeable at present it is difficult knowing what to wear and what to do. I like the photo of the bluetit.

  4. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Tootlepedal!

    Our bird feeder has been busy as well with the onset of really cold weather. I found it tilting again today, and will have to investigate.

  5. Happy birthday Mrs T. My card awaits your return!
    Those goldfinches brighten up a gloomy day.

  6. And birthday greetings from us, too, Mrs T.
    All the birds appear very well groomed in your photos today; not a feather out of place. Have you upped the dress code? 🙂

  7. Please pass along my Happy Birthday wishes for Mrs. T as well!

    The two most frustrating challenges that I’ve found in life are golf and photographing birds. As you say, when photographing birds, which ever direction that you have the camera pointed, the best photo opportunity is in another direction. They seem to know what we’re doing and delight in teasing us.

  8. Oh dear, Mrs T is obviously missing you. I wish her a belated Happy birthday. I hope the pain of separation will be over soon! I’m sure you are looking forward to her return. Lovely bird shots. The colours of the goldfinch’s head are quite startling!

  9. Mrs T’s expression is priceless. I too wish her a belated Happy Birthday and hope the reunion fixes everything. I wish our Goldfinches had as many colors as yours.

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