Keeping myself to myself


My Somerset correspondent Venetia, who has recently been in Spain, has answered my plea for a guest picture with this fine study of a Spanish bull.  Like our pheasants, this one has been bred for sport and may well end up in a bullring.


We had a day than never got warm, staying at under 4°C all morning and not doing much more in the afternoon.   It has got a bit warmer by the time that I write this but to make up for it, it is raining.

Still, a dry day is a dry day so we were not complaining, though I had to scrape the frost off the car before I could take Mrs Tootlepedal down to Carlisle to catch the train south to visit her mother.

Before we left, we had an early call from a sparrowhawk.  It failed to pick up a meal and sat sulking in the walnut tree for a while before flying off.


As we got ready to leave, we had a small panic when it turned out that Mrs Tootlepedal had inadvertently ordered a train ticket that would register on her smart phone.  As her phone is old and very dull, this was a problem.  However, it was a problem that was easily solved by a quick phone call to the railway ticket company who were able to change it by magic into a ticket that could be picked up from a machine in the station.

We were equally surprised and delighted to find a company with a real person at the end of the phone and systems that were not too set in bureaucratic concrete to be changed.

After I had left Mrs Tootlepedal at the station, I improved the shining hour by rushing round Carlisle like a busy bee, filling my shopping bag with absolute necessities of life such as cheese, coffee, dates, prunes and tea.

Once home, I stared out of the window through a rather dim light.

There were robins everywhere
greenfinch and chaffinch
Greenfinches and chaffinches were the flavour of the day on the feeder.  No goldfinches appeared.
A chaffinch demonstrating keeping its head very still while in flight
sparrow and greenfinch
A sparrow and a greenfinch had a scowling competition.
The sparrow won and did some posing.
Matched by a blackbird
This one chose the cuddly option.

There was just the merest suggestion of a little sleety snow at lunchtime but it came to nothing so I weighed up the charms of cycling or walking.  A check on the thermometer suggested walking and I went out, well wrapped up against the chill.

I walked out along one side of the Wauchope Water and after crossing the Auld Stane Brig….

auld stane brig

…I walked up the hill a bit and came back along the other side.

On the outward trip, I enjoyed the larches….


…and a beech hanging on to its leaves….


…but was sad to see a whole crop of crab apples lying wasted on the ground.

crab apples

It was a day for big skies with subtle but interesting cloud formations.

big sky

Once I had crossed the bridge, there were more big skies in an opposite direction…

Wauchope valley clouds

…plenty of bare trees…


…and, rather annoyingly, signs of blue skies and sun on the hills but not where I was.


I had to content myself with fungus and lichen.

Aged bracket fungus the size of serving plates
script lichen
Two sets of script lichen on trees near the Esk

Although it was only just after three when I got home, it was pretty gloomy so I went straight in.  It was not as gloomy as Mike Tinker though who dropped in while passing to say, quite correctly, that his cold was far worse than mine and that he had gone to the doctor and got medicine!

After seeing him and learning from Clare, one of my regular correspondents, that she has had her cold for four weeks now, I suppose that I shouldn’t complain so much about my minor ailment….but I will of course.

Actually, I felt quite a bit better this morning so I am hoping that light is finally visible at the end of the tunnel.  To mix my metaphors, I am not out of the wood yet though so I am trying not to get my hopes up too much.

I made good use of a gloomy afternoon by putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and then the gloom was lifted by the arrival of my flute pupil Luke with whom I had an enjoyable half hour of playing.

I didn’t get a very good flying bird of the day today….

flying chaffinch

….so here is final flower of the year.

An (almost) indestructible sedum.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Keeping myself to myself

  1. Beautiful skies, and trees against skies, and the fluffy blackbird – wonderful! Sorry your weather isn’t cooperating with a bit of heat to go with your dry spell. We had a glorious -4 with sun today, which was perfect for a walk, although sadly there were no birds to speak of except for a formation of rather disoriented geese that appeared to be heading north!

    1. Did someone tell them? We have geese overhead quite a bit at the moment as they fly out from the spot where they stay overnight to look for a nice field during the day.

  2. If I had to pick a favorite photo from today’s post, it would be the larches glowing gold in the sun. But, I liked them all, the Auld Stane Brig being another one that deserves mentioning. I’m happy to hear that you’re feeling better, let’s hope that the trend continues.

  3. Recently, I went to a talk by an award winning photographer and he said that one shouldn’t take a photo of a view unless the skies are interesting too…..and your wonderful photos perfectly illustrate that point! Love all those different clouds, the beech lane and the pretty bridge. Your charm of goldfinches have just arrived here in vast numbers!

    1. Your expert is quite right but when you are taking pictures every day, you can’t afford to be too choosy. I am glad that your goldfinches have arrived. They really brighten up a garden.

  4. I reckon that you can tell what age a person is from their view on prunes. In my younger days I detested them. I now like them and eat them regularly. How soon before they become a necessity, I wonder…

  5. Great post and AWESOME photos. Our sky is gloomy here today, too, with a bit of dampness in the air. A good day to stay inside and read a few posts. You have a great variety of birds visiting your bird feeders! I need a few new feeders so I can put them closer to the house where we can watch them. Problem is, we have a lot of cats…

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