Today’s guest picture is the biggest fungus on the tree stump that my son Al saw in Leith recently. I think it is impressive to say the least. If I have the identification right, it rejoices in the name Auricularia auricula or jelly ear.
It wasn’t frosty this morning but it was exceedingly misty so I was quite happy to have got up late as I hadn’t missed any good cycling weather. There was no sign of the snow from last night and once the mist cleared, it was quite a pleasant and calm day but with no glimpse of any sun.
When I went outside, it was obvious that the frogs were enjoying the slightly warmer weather as the garden was full of the sound of croaking. The pond was full of frogs…
…some of whom were very close friends indeed.
There were quite a few visitors to the feeders and they were in feisty form today.
…with a good deal of pushing and shouting going on.
One goldfinch shouted so loudly that it nearly blew the feathers clean off a passing chaffinch.
I was just trying to catch a flying chaffinch of the day….
…when my eye was drawn to strange happenings on the lawn. Mrs Tootlepedal had brought some sheep’s wool into the garden with some manure at some stage and a couple of jackdaws had discovered it and were making off with it…
…in a rather guilty way.
I think we can definitely say that the nest building or repairing season has begun.
When I turned back to the feeder, I was happy to see a coal tit among our visitors.
The chaffinch in the background shows just how tiny the coal tits are.
About midday, I finally got organised and got my cycling gear on. I had in mind a 35 mile ride which would give me a total of 100 miles in three days, very respectable for this early in the year. I have been having a little trouble with my chain jumping off the cogs in the rear cassette lately so I cleaned and oiled it before setting out.
I might have saved myself the trouble as I hadn’t gone much more than two miles before a serious clunk told me that something had gone badly wrong. When I looked, I found that my rear gear changing mechanism had broken fatally and pedalling any further was impossible. Appropriately enough, this disaster happened just opposite a ruined cottage…
I had my phone with me so I called up the MTRS and she kindly agreed to come to the rescue immediately. While I was waiting I had time to take a closer look at the ruin…
…before the MTRS came driving down the road towards me.
We packed the bike in the back and went home. The MTRS is an excellent service. Not only is it prompt and courteous but it is very reasonably priced too.
I had some thoughts of taking the slow bike for a short ride or even going for a walk when I got home but I felt a bit depressed by the gear failure and didn’t do either.
Instead, I looked out of the window and took some close ups with my Lumix.
And then Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to Gretna Gateway retail village for some shopping therapy. On our way we dropped the (no longer) fairly speedy bike off at the bike shop in Longtown and the mechanic there confirmed the demise of the gear mechanism and sucked his teeth. New parts will be required.
There were a number of things in stock in Gretna, including a nice fleecy jacket, that exactly matched our needs so we came away well therapised if a little poorer.
It was very gloomy by the time that we got home so all thoughts of a walk were put aside and we found things to do until the Tinkers arrived in the evening, as is customary on a Friday.
Alison and I played some old favourites, one entirely new sonata and one pair of Couperin miniatures which we hadn’t played for many years. These were quite testing and will need another go before we will be able to claim to be doing them anything like justice.
I hope that my bike doesn’t need to spend too long in the bike shop as I am already quite a bit behind my mileage schedule for the year but we can only wait and see.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.