Song cycle

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Exeter.  It is self explanatory. (Just in case it isn’t self explanatory, here is a link.)

exeter customs house

We had a pretty strong indication from the Met Office that it was going to rain in the afternoon.  This meant that if I wanted a pedal, I would have to get organised a bit better than usual and get out promptly after breakfast.  To my surprise, I did get organised reasonable promptly and  if I didn’t get out strictly after breakfast, it was at least before coffee time when I hit the road.

In view of the impending downpour, I didn’t hang about taking pictures and increasing wind, often a sign of rain here, towards the end of my 25 mile trip encouraged me to pedal a little harder with the result that I got home just before the rain started in earnest.

There was the merest drop or two of rain by the time that I had put my bike in the garage so I got a quick walk round the garden.

I tried out a camera/lens combination which I hadn’t used before and got rather unsatisfactory results but one or two at least showed what I was pointing the camera at.


The Camera Club has a challenge to produce black and white pictures of flowers for next month so readers may expect a few trial efforts from time to time.



There were lots of very unsatisfactory pictures of crocuses on the camera card so I put another one of them through the photo editor….


…in an effort to make the best of the bad job.

I don’t think that that camera/lens combination will reappear, or not at least until there is some much better light.

All the same it was good to see the crocuses were appreciating the 10°C temperature even if it wasn’t sunny.

Mrs Tootlepedal was volunteering at the Buccleuch Centre coffee bar so I went in to have a bit of lonely lunch and a look out of the window.

Chaffinches circled the feeder….


…and I took a couple of portraits as they settled down.

angry chaffinch
This one was not a happy bird…
…but I thought that this one looked quite philosophical as it was buffeted by wind and rain

A set of rather severe looking siskins turned up with no time for socialising or fighting.


The day got gloomier and gloomier so I put the camera away and settled down to go over the songs for the choir several times in an effort to get them solidly entrenched in what remains of my brain.   There is no doubt that in my case steadily advancing years have taken their toll on my memory.  In my youth, I passed all my exams on memory skills alone without bothering to understand much of what I was writing down but now it is a struggle to learn twenty lines.

Annoyingly, as I sing through the songs concentrating on correcting any lapse from my last go, I make a different mistake each time.  It is very frustrating.  Mrs Tootlepedal came along  and that lifted my mood.

The rain is pounding the windows of the house as I write this in the evening but we are being offered the chance of a little sunshine tomorrow which will be welcome.  In contrast we are being offered the fourth named storm of the winter on Thursday with the strong possibility of gales and even snow.  The storm has been named Doris.  This will presumably make Thursday, Doris Day.  Whip crack away!

I was looking through the pictures which I had taken at lunchtime when I came across this interesting composition.  I took me some time to work out how a bird might have three claws on a perch and simultaneous open and folded wings!


I got there in the end.

The flying bird of the day is another of the chaffinches as I didn’t have much choice today.

flying chaffinch

Oh the Deadwood Stage…….

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Song cycle

  1. That is a very strange photo! I assume there are two birds there. I sympathise with your song-learning troubles. I have never been any good at memorising anything!

  2. I’m surprised that the crocus was so dark in black and white but I don’t think I’ve ever taken a black and white of a flower, so maybe it is to be expected. I wonder what a white rose would look like against a dark background.

  3. I’m not a huge fan of photos of flowers in black and white, but it will be interesting to see what you come up with.

    It may not help, but have you tried learning songs by singing along with a recording of the song you’re trying to learn?

    1. I have put the songs on my computer and that helps but I am having to remember a part as well as the words and it is concentrating on two things at the same time that I find difficult.

  4. Love the contemplative chaffinch. I must say it has never occurred to me to photograph flowers in black and white. That is a challenge mentally in itself. I’m with you on the singing parts, memorization comes much better to my fingers (playing piano) than it does to my vocal cords.

    1. I learnt to sight read reasonably early in life and rather lazily never bothered to learn music by heart as a result.

      The flower challenge is going to be a real challenge.

  5. I like the flower photos…it’s good to be different. I wonder if the birds can tell that there’s a storm approaching. Your stream lined chaffinch looks very determined- maybe he’s got some new songs to learn too!

  6. I always love the birds at the feeder and their expressive faces (and beaks). A very fine crocus, too. That one seems to beam with an inner light, and the orange stamens like a candle flame.

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