Singing again

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Leicester and shows the last remnant of the castle there, apparently being threatened by  a rather ugly modern building.

Leicester castle

We were threatened here by more overnight and morning rain and Mrs Tootlepedal had to take her umbrella with her when she went off to sing with the church choir.  The snow has vanished and we are back to living in Puddleland.


In her absence, I made a beef stew for the slow cooker and had another pointless excursion on the bike to nowhere in the garage.  I made the mistake of listening to an album of Louis Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven pieces as I pedalled.   You might think that this is just the sort of music that would enliven a dull moment but the trouble is that all the tracks last for about three minutes only and you have to listen to a tremendous number of tunes to fill up half an hour let alone an hour.

This morning I had listened to what seemed like a great number of tracks but when I checked my watch, I had only been working for 15 minutes and this weighed so heavily on my mind that in spite of having an hour as my target, I cracked up after 50 minutes and retired to look out of the kitchen window.

A blackbird was looking ready for action….


…and a few moments later, it flew up onto the seed feeder…


…where it perched and pecked away quite happily.  This is the first blackbird that I have seen perch on this feeder and I will be interested to see if the other blackbirds that visit the garden learn the trick too.

I couldn’t put our newest seed feeder visitor on without also putting on one of our most regular visitors by way of balance.


In spite of the gloomy weather, the chaffinches are looking in very good condition at the moment.

On the pellet feeder, a pair of jackdaws were in deep discussion about precedence…


…while another looked calmly on from an arch.


The blue eyes of the bird on the arch tell me that it is a young bird according to some quick research.

As Mrs Tootlepedal is part of the music organising committee of our Carlisle Community Choir, we had to set off early for the first practice of the new year so that she could help set out the music for the session before the rest of the members came in.

We were very pleased to find that we have got several new members and the choir seems to be going from strength to strength.   We had an excellent practice but as we have started to prepare songs for two competitions that we are entering, it was hard work.

The beef stew turned out very well, especially after Mrs Tootlepedal, in her role as gravy wrangler, had perked up the gravy a bit before serving.  The slow cooker really is a boon on choir Sundays when we know that we are going to come home to a hot meal without having to do any great amount of cooking.

The flying bird of the day is a reliable chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Singing again

  1. Some good music and bird viewing on a grey day! Soup on the stove here. We had some sun this morning, but the mists coming down out of the mountains have won out.

  2. 50 minutes on a stationary bike is 45 minutes more than I could do, no matter what music was playing.

    Once the blackbirds figure out that the feeder hold food, I have no doubt that a few more will learn to use the perches.

  3. Great to come in to a hot meal after your journey to Carlisle. Glad to hear the choir is flourishing.

  4. Do you have to suffer wading through porridge for an hour at a time on the bike to nowhere? Wouldn’t a number of shorter sessions -15 or 20 min perhaps – during the day have the same effect on health and wellbeing? Glad the day had some compensations anyway.

  5. I don’t think that I have ever posted a comment after both my sisters before. Glad about the blackbird, the choir and the stew, it all seems very well organised.

  6. Singing is so good for the soul. I’ve just spent a weekend on the Quantocks with 60 others, about ten times more than I usually sing with, but it gave the chance to sing some gorgeous early 20th century stuff that I wouldn’t usually experience.

  7. Sorry you are still puddling. Love the bird pictures, and I didn’t know that about Jackdaws, I thought they all had blue eyes. That means I’ve never seen an adult bird? Must feel good to start singing again. I am beginning to understand the mystique of the choral experience.

    1. The site I visited said that they go from blue when young through brown and then to pale grey. I thought that the bird in the picture looked young.

  8. I agree with you about the ugly building next to Leicester’s remaining stump of castle.
    I think we might get a slow cooker. My husband had one years ago before we met and still talks about how wonderful it was. As you point out, we could go out for the day and not worry about cooking late in the evening. 🙂
    Your photo of the young Jackdaw is excellent.

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