A bit fishy

Today’s guest picture amazed me.  My brother took it at the end of January in Bristol. January is not the time when I would expect to see such a wonderful show of  blossom.

Bristol blossom

It was dry and reasonably calm when we got up.  I should have got up earlier and gone cycling while the going was good but I dozed a little and then went off to the monthly producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre after breakfast.

As usual I stocked up on local honey and venison and bought some delicious cheese from the cheese monger.  I was just about to buy my customary fillet of haddock from the fishmonger when I caught sight of a real treat, a large mound of cod’s roe.  This is very seasonal and I missed out on it altogether last year so I was delighted to find some this year.

It has been a favourite food all my life and luckily Mrs Tootlepedal can take it or leave it alone so I am going to eat most of it.  I had some for my lunch and then some more for my tea so today has been a very good day gastronomically.  I have left some for breakfast tomorrow.

As I left the Buccleuch Centre, laden with good things, a friend suggested that I ought to be out on my bike as it was such a good day with no wind and no rain.

I did go out on my bike when I got back and apart from the fact that it was raining and there was a bit of a breeze, she was quite right.

There weren’t many birds about when I left, just a blackbird squeezing onto a perch at the feeder….


…and a blue tit trying out a rather unappetising looking roll which I have put out in the hope of attracting various tits.

blue tit

I had my phone with me to take pictures on the bike ride if the opportunity arose but as a persistent drizzle started as I left the house and it soon turned to steady rain for the rest of the time that I was out, the phone stayed in my back pocket.

Luckily the wind stayed at a reasonable 10 miles an hour instead of the forecast gales so my ride wasn’t too bad.  I was using my ‘outdoor gym’ method and just pedalled up and down the sheltered and flattish Wauchope road three times until I had collected 20 miles.  I felt quite perky and was pleased to manage a respectable (for a chilly winter’s day) 14mph for the trip.

When I got back, the bird feeder was in great demand in spite of the rain so I spent a happy forty minutes standing in my soggy bike gear staring out of the kitchen window.

A siskin was trying the yellow roll too.


There were enough birds about to generate a bit of heat on the perches.

goldfinch and chaffinch
A goldfinch had a word with a chaffinch and the chaffinch answered in kind.

Things had started slowly with a lonely chaffinch….


…but soon warmed up.

busy feeder

There was always a good crowd in the waiting room too.

chaffinches in plum tree

A goldfinch was apparently shouting abuse at no one in particular….


…and seemed to get quite a shock when someone answered back.


I had never seen a chaffinch trying to sneak up on the feeder on tiptoe until today.

chaffinch on tiptoe

This was probably necessary because the feeder was often full and lively.

goldfinch and chaffinch

On one occasion a helpful chaffinch kindly distracted a goldfinch so that a fellow chaffinch could nip onto a spare perch unobserved.

chaffinch and goldfinch

Sometimes things were quieter and more reflective…

goldfinch, siskin and greenfinch

…but through it all, the rain kept raining so I abandoned any thought of an afternoon walk and settled down to watch the Six Nations rugby on the telly.  From the point of view of teams that I had hoped would win, the wrong sides won both matches.  Scotland’s second half performance was like one of those amusing compilations of ‘fails’ which are so popular on YouTube.

Still, a day with a pedal and two meals of cod’s roe is one on the credit side of the great ledger of life so I mustn’t grumble.  My aches and pains have decreased as well and my breathing was good when I was pedalling.  I suspect that I must be feeling unusually cheerful.

The flying bird of the day was an angelic goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

Did I mention that it rained a lot toady?

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “A bit fishy

  1. Here, an hour’s drive south of Bristol, my snowdrops were over by mid-January, and snowflakes have been out for two or three weeks.

  2. I love your bird commentary and I laughed at the shocked Goldfinch. I am glad you are feeling a little happier today – it’s amazing what a little pedalling in the fresh air can do.

  3. I was sorry to see Italy lose, and grateful to the Scots for letting us win. 😉 Meanwhile, we even have some blossom in Nottinghamshire, and the daffodils started to come out before the snowdrops. It’s a strange year.

  4. Well, that is all very good news apart from the absence of sun.
    Very amusing running commentary on the bird’s behaviour.

  5. Your outdoor gym is a wonderful concept. Glad you got out into it. Loved the bird commentary but am not sure about the cods roe; guess it’s one of those acquired tastes 🙂

  6. I spent quite awhile mesmerized by YouTube videos about cod roe cooking. It looked a bit like making sausage. Then I remembered reading something about freshwater cod and went looking for that and became engrossed in a story about burbot (a/k/a lawyer or eelpout). It crosses my mind that I am altogether too distractable. Nice angelfinch by the way.

  7. The angelic goldfinch is a beautiful shot. I’ve never eaten cod’s roe so I m quite curious about it. Have you a picture of some? Yes, a pedal and a gastronomical treat make a great day.

    1. I haven’t a picture of cod’s roe. To tell you the truth it doesn’t look very appetising when you buy it. It comes in sacs rather like a very pallid and bulky sausage. You can get it raw and cook it from scratch but I get it ready cooked and then slice it up and fry it very gently in butter.

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