Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary. She has been spending a day or two in Bristol with my brother for his birthday celebration. They viewed the Avon Gorge from the Clifton Bridge yesterday.
Following my own advice on being prepared to cycle whenever the opportunity arises, I ignored a light drizzle and a chilly 4°C and went out on the fairly speedy bike after breakfast rather than stare at the garage wall indoors.
The clouds were wholeheartedly embracing our hills so there were no views to be had or photo opportunities to be taken but, on the plus side, there was very little wind either. This made the drizzle very bearable and I scooted up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse until I had clocked up twenty miles and then I stopped.
Fortunately 20 miles leaves me exactly outside our garden gate.
While I was pedalling, Mrs Tootlepedal had been singing in the church choir and she just got home before me. As a result, she had started on making the beef stew for the slow cooker which I had intended to do. This was a good thing, as the stew tasted absolutely delicious when tea time came.
As I had time on my hands, I spent it looking out of the window. The bird action started slowly with a casual chaffinch….
…followed by an even more casual goldfinch.
As the feeder got busier what started as polite enquiries….
…turned into heated discussions.
The rain came and went and at times it was very gloomy….
…but the birds kept on coming…
Of course now than the garden bird count was over, I saw a redpoll (before I had the camera out) and a brambling.
The brambling obligingly flew down and stood beside a male chaffinch so that those interested in these things can clearly see the difference between them.
They are very similar in size and not too different in colour when seen from a distance so you might have to look twice to tell the difference if they are up in a tree together.
After lunch there was time for a moment’s silence as we mourned Andy Murray’s inability to put one over the unstoppable Djocko in Australia but we cheered ourselves up with a bit of ukulele practice. We are trying to master O Sole Mio with Mrs Tootlepedal picking out the melody while I strum the chords.
It was soon time to lay the instruments aside and go to Carlisle for our choir practice. The choir seems to get bigger all the time, and today almost all the pews in the church were full of singers. We make a rich sound when we are on song.
Once again our conductor was looking for as near perfection as we can manage so we spent two very hard working sessions going into a lot of the fine detail for two of our competition pieces. The cup of coffee and choccy biscuit in the middle were never more welcome.
The wind was still calm as we left for home but it was raining heavily. We are promised a rising wind over the next two days, reaching up to 60mph at times but once again, it should be worse to our north so we are keeping our fingers crossed (and everything nailed down).
Among the birds and the drizzle, the splashes of colour in the garden keep reminding us of spring.
Even if the weather is terrible, the days are getting noticeably longer which is as good as a vitamin D tablet.
I had many choices of flying bird to day so I have chosen two, one horizontal….
…and one vertical (and vocal).