Today’s guest picture from Gavin shows the Devil’s Slide, a (very) unusual geological formation located in northern Utah’s Weber Canyon.
My plan was to get up early and do twenty miles on the bike before coffee and the plan partially worked as I got up at my normal time and did fourteen miles. All right, it didn’t work at all but at least I got some miles in.
They were a great pleasure to do, not because of the weather, which was cold and grey again, but becuase it is always a treat to go out on a freshly serviced bike where every bearing is greased and every joint is tight. Smooth and silent running makes it seem as though you are cycling faster than you actually are!
Although I try to keep my bike clean and lubricated, I lack the confidence to take it to bits and put it together again (in case I leave a bit out) and it is never as good as when the professionals have given it the once over.
While we were having coffee, our neighbour Liz, who had called in for some horticultural advice from Mrs Tootlepedal, suddenly pointed to the window and said, “What’s that?”
It was this:
The sparrowhawk was looking for a snack. It came back again twice during the day but without any luck as far as we could see. The small birds only take a few minutes before they return to the feeders after the incursions.
The chief task of the morning was to give Sandy a lift to the hospital in Carlisle. Because we left in plenty of time, the roads were traffic free and we arrived far too early. Sandy was very patient though.
He has been in a bit of pain lately and was due for a minor operation. He sent me a text to say that he was being kept in overnight and would be operated on tomorrow. A later text in the evening told me that he was bearing up remarkably well under the circumstances. An operation is always a worry but getting rid of the pain would be most welcome for him so we wish him all the best for tomorrow.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden but as she was working round the back of the house, the birds were happy to come to the feeder while she toiled.
The chaffinches were not without sustenance though because, as you can see in the picture above, siskins are very careless eaters and there was always plenty of seed under the feeders for the chaffinches to collect.
Siskins are argumentative as well as messy. They argue with goldfinches….
…and they would probably argue with me if I went out and joined them.
When they are not arguing, they are handsome little birds.
I made some more brown lentil soup for lunch but kept an eye out of the window as I did so.
The action was incessant.
I did some counting after lunch.
I should have gone out in the afternoon and topped up my cycling miles as it was just staying dry in spite of a token drop or two of drizzle but the chilly wind persuaded me that I might find warmer things to do indoors.
I did go out and photograph a bunch of daffodils…
…but basically, I footered the afternoon away doing this and that in a desultory way. I did find time to practise some of the songs for our Langholm choir.
When I went to the choir meeting in the evening, I found that practice in the afternoon didn’t necessarily lead to perfection in the evening…..by a long chalk.
Mrs Tootlepedal didn’t come and sing because she wanted to go to hear a lecture on a great hoard that has recently been unearthed not far from us. The excavation and the finds have been very carefully recorded and she had a golden time looking at the treasures that had been unearthed. This is a subject close to her heart and she lives with the hope of unearthing a fascinating artefact one day while delving in the garden. So far it has mostly been old children’s toys and pots and jars of recent vintage but she can dream.
You can see the hoard on ‘Digging for Britain’ on the telly at 9pm on BBC 4 tomorrow.
A flying chaffinch, searching for a vacant perch, is the flying bird of the day.