Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, who has been touring the wonderful shops to be found in Glastonbury. She had to step back a little when this book illustration flew at her.
We woke to a different world this morning. The soggy green had been covered up by a sparkling frost and the change was chilly but very welcome.
While Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made a venison stew for the slow cooker and enjoyed looking at a new perspective from the kitchen window…and an infrequent visitor too.
There was quite a lot going on for the brambling to see.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to get a shot where all the perches were busy at the same time but there was always at least one annoying bird popping from one perch to another so I didn’t manage it.
I noticed some other birds while I was trying.
It was such a crisp morning that when I had got the stew safely in the slow cooker, I took NewCam out for a walk. I was hoping to see some ducks on the Kilngreen but something else on the river caught my eye instead.
Some of them were having fun going down a small rapid….
…and some were having fun going back up it again.
A member of the group told me that they were having their annual winter paddle. I was staggered to see that some of them were braving the sub zero conditions with bare hands….
…and I asked the helpful member if there was some benefit from this but she just said, “They’re crackers.” I found it hard to disagree. These must be very hard men.
They did have some minders watching over them.
I left them paddling off under the town bridge on their trip to Canonbie, six miles downstream….
…and walked over the Sawmill Brig onto the Castleholm.
The castle was looking suitably grim for such a chilly day…
…but as I got near the Jubilee Bridge, I saw an unexpectedly bright flash of colour. This was just the moment to pull out the zoom on NewCam and it showed me that I was looking at a bullfinch.
There was another not far away but even NewCam couldn’t bring it close enough to shoot.
There was no shortage of evidence of frost as I went along…
…and I was quite pleased to get back to the warmth of the house.
The rest of the day was spent going to Carlisle to rehearse and then sing with the Carlisle Community Choir. On this occasion, the audience considerably outnumbered the choir, no doubt because a primary school choir was invited to sing some songs during the programme and a primary school choir always brings a lot of relatives in is wake.
The floods had caused us to miss last week’s practice and we felt the loss a bit so we were not as note perfect as we would have liked to have been but our work was well received. All the takings from the concert went to the flood relief fund.
All through the concert, there was quite a bit of disturbance in the audience from a crying and noisy child or two and there was a slight feeling of where was Herod when we really needed him?
At just over an hour with no interval, the concert was a perfect length for a late Sunday afternoon and by good fortune, the temperature had risen above freezing by the time that we came out so we had a trouble free drive home.
The venison stew went down well with some tagliatelle and we were happy to put our feet up and watch some undemanding telly after a hard day.
The flying bird of the day is a frosty chaffinch.