General gloom

orange river bridge

Today’s guest picture is another look at South African exile Tom’s Orange River Old wagon Bridge.  Unlike our bridges, it rests on metal pillars. The iron bridge was built by Scottish Engineers Breston and Gibbons 1878-1882

orange river bridge

It is going to be a short post today for two or three reasons.  Politically it was a depressing day with  a good deal of portentous nonsense being spouted on every side in a situation where nobody seems to have any idea of what is going on and this was matched by incessant rain from dawn until dusk.   On top of that, whether for spiritual, medical or physical reasons, I was feeling a bit ‘off’ all day and even a two hour sing at our choir in the evening hasn’t restored me  to full amiability.

A look out of the window in the morning gives a feel for the day.

orange river bridge
Birds being disagreeable in the rain.

Juts to prove me wrong yet again, a huge flock of siskins descended on the garden only a day after I had remarked that the siskins had gone on somewhere else.

The activity at the feeders was as relentless as the rain.

Total siskinnery
A step too far for an intrusive chaffinch though another one had sneaked in

I made some vegetable soup for lunch and it turned out well but I wasn’t cheered up much by this and spent the afternoon stomping about the house, muttering to myself and finding out just how difficult it is to get new songs mastered.

The action outside the window only slackened for a moment when a passing sparrowhawk made off with an unfortunate chaffinch and a few minutes later, it was back in full swing.

busy feeder

The sparrowhawk didn’t even have the grace to pose with its trophy.

I was pleased to see a few less frequent visitors among the hordes of goldfinches, siskins and chaffinches.

A greenfinch dropped in for a snack..


….a collared dove looked things over….

collared dove

…and as the light faded away, a redpoll popped up on the feeder.


In fact Mrs Tootlepedal saw two redpolls like bookends on each side of the feeder but by then the light had gone entirely.

I made a beef and mushroom stew for my tea and then went off to sing with our local choir. The practice was enlivened by a vigorous political discussion (not about Brexit) at the tea break and that did cheer me up, as I enjoy a bit of give and take.  The singing went not too badly, although the choir couldn’t be said to have totally cracked the pieces we were working on.

The only thing that really raised a smile today was the suggestion by some wit that the European Union should have returned Mrs May’s Article 50 letter to her on the grounds that it was written in English and thus they couldn’t understand it.

At least we are due to visit Matilda tomorrow so that should bring a ray of sunshine into our life.

I did (just about) find a flying bird among the raindrops.

flying siskin

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “General gloom

  1. A committed European already for a decade, I was on the Europe desk in HM Treasury on 1.1.73, thrilled to be a tiny cog in the machine as Heath took us in. I’m devastated and heartbroken today.

  2. Maybe the dove saw the sparrowhawk.
    I find that nature regularly does the opposite of what I say on my blog so I’m not surprised that you saw hordes of siskins after saying there were none.
    I hope there will be drier weather soon on both sides of the Atlantic.

    1. I was hearing an interesting suggestion in a science programme on the radio as to why we may be getting our weather in more noticeable blocks than previously. It is that old friend the jet stream again.

  3. A sad day for us all, Tom. I hope you feel better tomorrow and enjoy your visit to Matilda and her parents. I like the Collared Dove’s expression – such an attractive photo!

  4. Glad you’ll have a visit to Matilda tomorrow. Children always bring smiles! Well, unless a person is living in the mess we call America right now. There’s not enough children to bring smiles here.

  5. That clever comment about Mrs May’s letter really tickled my sense of humour, I shall repeat it frequently. What a mess we are now in, no wonder you are feeling depressed.

  6. Politicians squabble like your birds best to enjoy just looking at them and be amazed at their antics. The collared dove has a knowing look in his eye – wonder what he is pondering? Have a happy time on your visit to Edinburgh.

  7. We all have off days, but not many off us can write about them so wonderfully. Does it help that, in recounting your fug-infested day, you helped lighten mine?
    They say laughter is the best medicine, but a good dose of Matilda is sure to cure the blues.

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