Today’s guest picture is another from Ada. She thought that a good burst of almond blossom might cheer us up. She saw it on her recent holiday in Tenerife.
We have got a bit of blossom indoors here at the moment. Mrs Tootlepedal brought some snowdrops in from the garden and was amazed by how quickly they opened out.
As usual on a Sunday, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I set about making a lamb stew in the slow cooker. I used some rolled shoulder which Mrs Tootlepedal bought last week at our producers’ market and I was a bit worried that it might be too fatty but when we came to eat the stew in the evening, it was delicious and it really suited the slow cooker’s treatment.
Following my thoughts about the following wind discouraging birds from landing on the feeder, I changed the feeder to the other side of the pole so that they could land upwind and perhaps for this reason, chaffinches arrived in force.
A goldfinch sneaked onto the feeder and sat there unruffled by chaffinches arriving…
…until the he feeder got too busy.
Sometimes very busy indeed.
I like to try to get out for a cycle ride on a Sunday morning but it was very cold and a boisterous easterly wind made it feel even colder so I settled for a walk down to Skippers Bridge and back, keeping as sheltered as I could.
The clouds were high and if you could keep out of the wind, it was quite pleasant….
…but if the wind caught you, it brought a tear to the eye. In general the walkers that I passed were very well wrapped up and keeping their heads down.
I had my head well down when I noticed this splendid lichen display on the arm of a metal bench beside the river.
I was crouching down to examine a tree stump a little further along when a passer by shouted cheerily at me, “Taking an arty shot eh”
I had to admit that I was and this was it.
I showed it to him and he was mildly impressed.
I was impressed by the amount of ivy clinging to a tree by the waterside.
When I got to Skippers Bridge, I slithered down the banking and had another look at the works….
…but they didn’t seem to have got much further than last time that I looked. Maybe it has been too cold for them.
The scaffolding is an elaborate construction….
…and it looks as though they have dropped in a big rock to help anchor it. Even on a calm day like today, there is plenty of water coming down towards the bridge…
…though it looks peaceful enough on the far side of the bridge.
I scrambled back up the banking and continued my walk home.
I passed clouds of catkins and crowds of ducks….
It was rather gloomy and the automatic flash on my camera must have been triggered by the poor light judging by the curiously bright eyes on these two mallards.
My last picture was of a tall tree.
While was walking along, I heard and saw two oyster catchers, those noisy harbingers of spring, swirling across the fields beside the river. It was great to see and hear them but not having my ‘birds in flight’ camera with me, I couldn’t record their first appearance of 2017.
There was just time for a little song practice and some lunch when I got home before we had to set off to Carlisle for our community choir practice there. We combined singing with a little shopping and both were very satisfactory.
We are going to Manchester in a fortnight for a competition with the choir so we worked very hard again today under our regular conductor. Luckily the songs have some very rewarding lines to sing so the hard work was also enjoyable and the enjoyment was enhanced by the feeling that we had made some good progress. We won’t win the competition but we would like to think that we will present the choir at its best.
It rained heavily as we drove home but the stew, as I said, turned out well so a cold and wintery day passed pretty satisfactorily.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.