A good start and a good finish. The less said about the middle, the better.

Liz's picture of Langholm

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s sister, Elizabeth, who took advantage of a recent sunny day to climb up a hill and look down on the town.

Liz's picture of Langholm

Our warm spell continued but in the absence of any sunshine.

I had a busy morning, starting with a trip to the producers’ market to stock up on meat, fish and cheese, which with the help of any amount of good advice from concerned onlookers, I managed to accomplish.

Then there was just time to greet the return of the goldfinches to the feeder after a day off…


…before I got the slow bike out and went for a fifteen mile ride. I had a job to do after lunch so  I had a choice of a shorter ride in the morning or a longer one in the afternoon.  The forecast wasn’t very positive so I chose the short morning ride.

Unlike yesterday there were no views available….

View from Megsfield

….so I kept my eyes down today.  I stopped near the top of Callister on my way out to see what a bit of roadside wall might hold.  It turned out that it held quite a lot.

Every lichen seemed to have a red tip if you looked closely enough, whether it was tall and stringy…

lichen on Callister wall

…or short and fat among the moss…


…or so tiny that you could hardly see it all.

lichen on Callister wall

I stopped at the bottom of the hill on my way back when I saw some clumps of wild primroses near the new bridge at Westwater Cottage.

wild primroses

So I had to have a look at the bridge while I was there…

Collin Bridge lichen

…and some very fine lichen on the parapet…

Collin Bridge lichen

…as well as a potential wild flower in the grass verge.

wild flower

My choice of a fifteen mile trip turned out to be well judged as it started to rain just after I got home and it kept raining until seven o’clock in the evening.

I had time to walk round the garden before the rain started and had another go at doing justice to the pulmonaria but the camera always seems more interested in the back of the plant than the front.  I shall keep trying.


The magnolia was poking its nose out….


…and so was a surprise frog in the pond.


I chased after a bumble bee with no success so I took a picture of the developing primula and went in.


Once in, I looked out.

The goldfinches were back in good numbers and blowing each other away in style.


Some, but not many, siskins joined in the fun…

goldfinch and siskin

..and once again, there was always a queue for a perch.

flying goldfinch

…with the chaffinches at the back of it.


We had the usual suspects, goldfinches, siskins and chaffinches with a couple of redpolls arriving after I had put the camera away but I did see one unusual bird in the plum tree.

At first I thought that it was  a sparrow…

reed bunting

…but that didn’t look quite right so I had a close look when I put the picture on my computer and I think that it is a reed bunting, though I am always open to correction from knowledgeable readers.

reed bunting

It is a pleasure to have new visitors to the garden.

I did my lunchtime task, which was to open the meeting room for the Embroiderers’ Guild in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal and then retired home in heavy rain to waste the rest of the afternoon watching the early stages of the third round of the Masters golf tournament.

I cooked a smoked fish kedgeree for my tea and then went off to the Buccleuch Centre for a concert where I met Sandy.  I was very vexed during the afternoon when a friend rang up to ask if I was going to the party to find that I had inadvertently double booked myself as I was also supposed to be going to a choir member’s birthday do today.

This was embarrassing but as the choice was driving thirty miles in the rain to the party which however enjoyable would go on very well without me or walking 200 yards to the Buccleuch Centre where I had bought an expensive ticket, I chose the short walk.

I just hoped that the concert would make the choice worthwhile.

It did.

It was by YolanDa Brown, a jazz, reggae, soul fusion saxophonist backed by a very well drilled, skilled and creative quartet.  You can find YolanDa on Youtube  and very pretty she sounds but the recording does no justice at all to her live show which was sensational.

It was loud and at times the rhythm was so funky that you risked breaking an ankle if you tried to tap your foot but the flow of inventive music was so overwhelmingly immersive that I came out at half time feeling pretty euphoric.  The whole thing was like being caught in a landslide of joy.

YolanDa is personally very charming as well as being extremely accomplished and she managed without any strain at all to get the entire largely elderly audience on its feet and rocking to a reggae beat.

The second half was better.

I should say that the audience was not large, especially for a band which was on a world tour including, Australia, America, Europe, Morocco and Langholm but the band didn’t stint and obviously loved playing the music as much as the audience enjoyed listening to it.

I walked home a happy man…and the rain had stopped.

The flying bird of the day is one of our loyal band of chaffinches.

flying chaffinch






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “A good start and a good finish. The less said about the middle, the better.

  1. That looks like a female reed bunting to me. They have been coming to my garden earlier and in greater numbers over the last few years, and this winter at least one has started eating at my feeders, not just on the ground. The male is very handsome indeed.

  2. It’s always exciting to see a new species of bird, isn’t it?

    It isn’t until we turn our cameras towards the tiniest things in nature that we begin to see just what nature has to show us if we look, such as the reds that you found in the lichen.

    The concert sounded interesting, it sounds like an evening well spent.

  3. Yes, it looks like a Reed Bunting – they would occasionally come to the feeders on the farm during the winter.

    Not only do you have a great variety of birds, but you also have enough social life to be double-booked.

    I’m envious. 🙂

      1. I have to write everything down. I seem to be losing my concept of time and can happily spend a week or more planning two things for the same day without realising.

  4. There are quite a few live YolanDa Brown videos on you tube. She is very good with a saxophone and a bundle of energy. I can see why everyone would be on their feet.
    The yellow wildflower looks like a just opening coltsfoot. I saw one today too.
    Lichens are always at their best on misty days, so you chose a good time to look for them. The one on the bridge parapet might be a concentric boulder lichen (Porpidia crustulata.)

    1. I am pretty sure it was a coltsfoot but it would have been more satisfactory as a picture if it had been open.
      Your lichen suggestion looks good.

  5. Fantastic to see a reed bunting in your garden, I have to travel a long way to see something as exotic. Do you have reed beds nearby?

  6. Great variety of lovely photos especially the reed bunting and all the different lichen. The concert sounds amazing as do your cooking skills!

  7. The concert sounds fabulous! What a wealth of music you have in your community! Too bad you double booked. Always enjoy seeing a frog photo.

  8. Sorry you didn’t make it to the party..I passed on your apologies and you were forgiven! Glad you enjoyed the concert, it sounded great!

  9. How nice to have a reed bunting in your garden. We used to have them visit at the beginning of spring but I haven’t seen them for a few years now. What a fantastic concert it must have been to induce euphoria!

  10. What a treat to be back to blogs and the computer. I’ve had the most ghastly cold and haven’t kept up at all. Your parapet lichen looked like it might be trying to send you a heart-shaped valentine. A bit behind the times (like me)! 🚴‍♂️

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