Slow cooking, a short pedal and a long sing

Arum lily given at Christmas

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  It shows a fine arum lily given to her at Christmas by one of her nephews and his wife.

Arum lily given at Christmas

We had a much brighter day today but it was too full of activity for me to enjoy it photographically to the full. Being Sunday, I prepared a meal for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.

I had the camera set up on a tripod beside the kitchen sink so I was able to click away as the onions were sweating in the pan. By and large, there were only chaffinches to look at but they came in at a steady rate…


…both male….

flying chaffinch

…and female.

flying chaffinch

There was one interloper, a very rare example of the backward looking siskin family…


I didn’t have much time for bird watching as I needed to get out on the bike as soon as possible if I was to get any miles in at all because our Carlisle choir practice was starting at one o’clock.

Luckily conditions were friendly and I was able to enjoy 20 miles, popping up and down the Wauchope valley, being careful not to get marooned too far from home.  I didn’t have much time for photos but a set of colourful lichens on a wall have been catching my eye on recent rides so I stopped to record them today.


The bright colour and fruiting bodies of a lichen on another stone looked worth a portrait of their own.


Finding myself three miles short of my target as I passed my house for the second time, I carried on through the town and out on the north side where I cast a longing look up a very inviting road…

A7 north

…before reluctantly turning for home.

I was quite excited, when I got there, to see that the better weather had brought some improvement to the crocuses….

Nearly out
Actually out

…but I was even more excited to hear the real sound of spring from another quarter.


The frogs are back.

Mrs Tootlepedal had seen ten a little earlier but this was the only one showing by the time that I looked.

During the rain yesterday, I had used the bread maker to make dough for bread rolls so we able to have a light lunch of rolls with various fillings and then set off for Carlisle.

The practice took the form of a ‘singing day’ where rehearsals with our regular conductor are interspersed with sessions in small groups with visiting singing teachers from Glasgow.  Since it lasts for five hours, it is very hard work but because I was lucky enough to be in a group of only two, I got a lot of personal advice which was very useful….and much needed.

As far as learning the four songs goes, I am pretty well there but with a number of rough edges needing to be smoothed off.  Unfortunately though, a section of eight bars in one of the songs was a total disaster for the whole tenor section and we have been sent home to study them hard.  With a week to go, we are hoping that all will be well in Manchester next Sunday.

The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch (hooray).

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Slow cooking, a short pedal and a long sing

  1. Frogs! Our local Pacific Chorus frogs have been serenading us nightly since the heavy rains started again.

    The arum lily is particularly beautiful, and the chaffinches in good form. Even the lichens seem bright and cheery.

  2. It’s nice to see the crocuses and the frog. I can’t think of any more reliable signs of spring.
    The lichens on the wall certainly are colorful and the dark fruiting bodies on a relatively light background are a surprise.
    The empty road does look inviting, even for a walk.

  3. Your crocuses are at the same stage as ours. The earlier ones I had were the extra early “tommy” crocuses. Like Lavinia, we are hearing the spring peeper frogs now, too, but I haven’t seen any yet.

    1. It is always exciting to look at the pictures on the camera card and see what the camera has captured. A lot of hit and miss is involved as you might imagine.

  4. Really liked the different flying and landing styles demonstrated by the chaffinches. I bet cooking is a pleasure with such lively entertainment.

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