Gloom thoroughly lifted (temporarily)


Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruc.  On his way to catch the train at Tweedbank a few days ago, he stopped to snap the fine pond in the village.


Today was day that can only be described as grey.  To be fair, it could sometimes be described as ‘very grey and wet’ and there were moments when it was ‘exceedingly grey and wet and windy’ but for the most part ‘grey’ would do very well.

I had to walk up to the town to pay a bill and get a prescription, actions which were well suited to a grey day but otherwise, I spent the morning indoors, occasionally looking out.

Sadly, I wasn’t looking out on either of the occasions that a sparowhawk paid us a visit but the hawk must have found the light a bit tricky too because it was unsuccessful both times.

The small birds don’t stay away for long after the hawk has gone but they looked as though they found the day quite grey too.  I have had to do a good deal of brightening in the photo editor just the make them visible in the pictures.

Greenfinches were much in evidence.


The weather hadn’t done much for their temper.

greenfinch and chaffinch with goldfinch

There was constant bickering


And it got to beak to beak business at times.


The chaffinches got into the act too.

greenfinch and chaffinch

You don’t often see chaffinches giving greenfinches the hard stare.

greenfinch and chaffinches

Then goldfinches got into fights as well.

goldfinch and siskins

No wonder this siskin was keeping a good eye for invaders while it ate a seed..


I put the afternoon to good use by practising songs.

First it was Langholm Sings songs with another of the tenors from the choir who dropped in for some confidence building before tomorrow’s practice.

Then it was Carlisle songs by myself.  The trouble with practising by yourself is that you often seem to have got a tenor part off pat only to find that it has gone wonky when the other parts join in at the choir practice.  In my perfect world, composers and arrangers would avoid discordant clashes and stick to simple harmonies but I realise that that would lead to some pretty dull listening for an audience.  More practice it is then.

In the evening, I went out to a concert at the Buccleuch Centre given by the Dave O’Higgins Quartet.

Dave is described by one commentator as a post-bop jazz saxophonist.  I would describe him and his quartet as the ideal pick me up at the end of a gloomy day.

I like serious jazz musicians like this.  They wander onto the stage in an unassuming manner, looking for all the world as though they might have come to go over the books for tax purposes but then they get to work and magic spreads out from the stage and envelops the audience.

Best of all, the sax and drums were totally unamplified and the bass and piano had only the lightest touch so there was every opportunity to listen to the music without having to duck.  A very rare thing these days.

The forecast is worse for tomorrow.  This is my fault.  While my cold was bad, the weather was good and now that my cold is getting better, the weather is getting worse.  I apologise.

I did the best that I could as regards a flying bird of the day.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Gloom thoroughly lifted (temporarily)

  1. Such goings-on at the feeder. What a fine description of the quartet and the music. As for your cold… it was some powerful, as we might say in Maine.

    1. Yes, it just won’t give up and is still lingering on. These lengthy colds seem to be very common all over the country this year so I am not the only one feeling cheesed off.

    1. I am looking forward to that beautifully synced day with keen anticipation. Birds are restless creatures so I am glad to be an elderly, restful human. They do entertain me a lot though.

  2. Grey is the new white…apparently! So you are on vogue with everything looking slightly grey except for the flashes of bright colour on your birds and the great description of your evening with jazz.

  3. Like your yesterday, today here in South Wales is truly grey wet and windy, very windy in fact. I had reason to travel over Dowlais top above Merthyr Tydfil earlier today and on the open moor, the highest point in South Wales, I thought the car was about to take off. Now back home again the wind is still howling and the rain hammering down. Not a day to be out on my Pioneer, but I wish I was. Gloomy grey wet and windy days aren’t so bad when pedalling. I’ve had many thorough soakings and heavy buffettings by the rain and winds over the years, and strange so it may seem, I’ve really enjoyed it. Yes, perhaps I’m nuts! Cheers.

    1. I have had good rides in the rain in the past but I am less keen on them these days when a slip at a wet corner might have very bad consequences for me. You are still young though.

  4. I did enjoy your description of the merits of the performance – esp. the reference to not having to duck – so à propos that I laughed out loud!

  5. Your grey sky photo looks much like ours did the other day, with the sun shining through the veil of clouds as if through a sintered glass filter. I suspect rain soon followed.

    I am glad you got to hear a good jazz concert without having to duck from amplification. My one objection to attending some concerts is that the music is so loud I cannot hear it.

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