Crystal clear

Cox's Yard

Today’s guest picture is another from Mike Griffiths’ visit to Stratford-upon-Avon.  This is Cox’s Yard, once a timber merchant’s place of business and now a high class eatery.

Cox's Yard

We had plenty of sunshine here today but it had to struggle against the chill and on the whole, the chill won.

frosty lawn

It was sub zero C when we got up and it never got above 3 degrees all day.  Still, it made for pretty patterns in the garden.

frosty leaves

And as a bonus, it wasn’t icy underfoot so after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing with the church choir and I had made a pasta sauce for the slow cooker, I went for a short walk.

There are still remnants of my cough lurking about to discomfort me just when I think that all is clear so my walk was short and easy.

It was just above freezing when I set out but only just…

boiler venting

…but where the sun had had an opportunity, it had melted the frost away.

Wauchope in frost

A beech tree at the entrance to the park still provides a bit of colour on a sunny morning…


…but in the woods along the river bank, things are bleaker….


….and the ice persisted.


As soon as I could, I came out from under the trees and enjoyed the sunshine.

Stubholm stable
There is something irresistible about an ad hoc collection of sheds like this.

My walk was very short and I was soon back down among the ice crystals on the park wall.

park wall ice

I was even more impressed by the top of a fence post in the road just outside our house.

fence post ice

As we were going to Carlisle in the afternoon, I took our car out from the very cold and shady spot where it lives in our drive and parked it in a pool of sunshine on the road outside our gate.

It needed a chance to defrost a bit.

wing mirror
This was the wing mirror.

Once the car was parked, I had a moment to watch the birds.

The plum tree made a good vantage point for a goldfinch to check out the seed scene.

goldfinch in plum tree

Down below, birds were both coming and going….

busy feeder

…and going and coming.

busy feeder

I liked this picture which shows that landing on the perches is not quite as straightforward as the birds make it look.

chaffinches landing

And of course it is easy to miss your footing when greenfinches start shouting just as you are landing.

greenfinch shouting

There were more peaceful moments.



After lunch, we had to go into the choir a bit early as a journalist from the local Carlisle newspaper was writing a story about the choir’s fifth birthday and I had been asked to chat to him as a long serving member who had joined with no singing experience.

As they are hoping to recruit more men to sing with the choir, I hope that the remarks that I and another of the tenors made will be reported in a way that encourages others to come along and try.

The journalist stayed for the first half of the practice and was quite impressed so we await his article with interest.

Once again, we were worked very hard by our conductor but with the Christmas concert looming, quite a lot of homework is on the cards.

The slow cooked pasta sauce, basically mince and veg, went very well with some tagliatelle for our tea and as Mrs Tootlepedal made semolina pudding to follow it up, we were well insulated from any evening chill.

The weather is due to warm up for the next few days but it is going to bring wind and rain so we may soon be looking back on our frosty mornings with nostalgia.

If the prose in today’s post seems a little distrait, blame it on Mrs Tootlepedal.  She kindly cut my hair today so I am feeling a little light headed.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch trying to avoid the paparazzi.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Crystal clear

  1. A fine set of bird photos. You capture their personalities quite well!

    28 degrees here this morning and a good coating of frost. It warmed into the low 50s. Winter has set in early.

  2. I’m not a lover of winter but I do like what you can see when it’s cold. I’d guess that before long you’ll see the hair ice.
    I’ve seen frost on lawns here but not quite as thick as what was on your lawn.
    It’s not hard to take a frosty morning when the sun shines after.

  3. The cold did bring one good thing, the photos of the various frosty surfaces were a sight to behold!

    The choir may be small, but it must be attracting some attention if a reporter was sent to do a story about it, I hope that it works out well.

  4. It has been frosty here too for the last couple of mornings – so beautiful after all the gloom! I liked your photos of the very long ice crystals coating the car and the fence post.

  5. We didn’t get a frost here, it was dry though, not much sun. It’s now pouring with rain, has been most of the night ugh. Love the frosty leaves.

  6. For some crazy reason I ‘m finding it more difficult than usual to wrap my head around you having frost while here I’m harvesting strawberries. Either way, it sure does look pretty:)

  7. Lovely frost shots! In Maine, we’ve been having some pretty chilly days, too. Always enjoy seeing your bird photos, and good look getting new recruits for the choir.

  8. Jack Frost was certainly busy around your way- great photos of all those ice crystals. Hope your plants don’t suffer too much from frost damage. The ‘toes’ of birds seem to be too long and fragile to grasp the perches maybe manufacturers should make the perches thicker and rougher to give better purchase. Favourite photo today is the dunnock…hope it is a dunnock!

    1. It certainly was a dunnock. We had a good number of them in the garden just now but they never attempt the tricky task of landing on a feeder and are content to scavenge down below.

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