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.
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.
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.
Things had started slowly with a lonely chaffinch….
…but soon warmed up.
There was always a good crowd in the waiting room too.
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.
This was probably necessary because the feeder was often full and lively.
On one occasion a helpful chaffinch kindly distracted a goldfinch so that a fellow chaffinch could nip onto a spare perch unobserved.
Sometimes things were quieter and more reflective…
…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.
Did I mention that it rained a lot toady?