As well as looking for fossils, my Newcastle correspondent Fiona likes to take her family to interesting places and today’s guest picture shows the ruins of Finchdale Priory which she visited with them a week or two ago.
We had a warm and calm day today, ideal for cycling. Hmmm. I didn’t even have company for coffee as both Dropscone and Sandy were away from home.
As a result, I had a lot of time to watch the birds and fortunately, there were a lot of birds to watch.
Although we mostly had the usual suspects seen here hanging around in the plum tree…
…we did get some unusual visitors too.
A small brown bird with an unremarkable back view….
…revealed itself as a redpoll when it turned round. They are winter visitors and cheer the gloomy days up.
There were a few of them around and while some sat in the plum tree looking demure…
…others got on with the business of terrifying chaffinches…
…which are much bigger than them.
However the real surprise of the morning was a visit from a greater spotted woodpecker which suddenly appeared in the plum tree as if by magic.
Although I often see them up at the Moorland feeders, we hardly ever see one in the garden and especially not one so happy to pose for me.
However, it didn’t pose for long and soon flew off, not to be seen again.
A curiosity of looking at pictures of the birds when the feeder is busy is to see flying seeds everywhere. How did the seed in the top of the picture below get there?
I got a visit from my part time neighbour Ken, a fellow cyclist. He is in the opposite situation to me and after being poorly earlier in the year, he is now getting some good miles in. I was very envious of him as he had been of me in the spring.
The morning drifted away but after lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal set to work in the garden and that galvanised me into action, or at least into as much as I could manage without flexing my leg.
I took a leisurely photographic tour in search of colour. There are flowers about if you look hard enough.
The perennial wallflowers in the bottom left frame above started flowering in April and been in bloom ever since. That is what I call value for money.
The warm summer has encouraged roses to produce hips this year. Although the rosa Gallica (on the left) always produces some rather subdued hips, we have never seen hips on the Goldfinch (on the right) before.
In the absence of flowers, the spireas are a source of pleasure at this time of year.
I did a little shredding and sieved some more of the compost from Bin D as Mrs Tootlepedal is planting out bulbs and needs compost. I know that readers have been eagerly awaiting compost pictures so here is the result of sieving Bin D.
And if that wasn’t exciting enough, I also turned a very full Bin A into Bin B and took a picture of Bins A to D.
Mrs Tootlepedal is responsible for the plastic bin on the left of Bin A and I have no idea what is in it. It is a closely guarded secret.
The next task will be to finish the little bit of sieving left in Bin D and turn Bin C into it. It is good for a man to have a purpose in life.
While I was having fun, Mrs Tootlepedal was preparing for next year.
She removed a fern from a spot where, if all goes well, a fine display of tulips will appear in spring.
I had made a lamb stew in the slow cooker in the morning and while I played duets with my flute pupil Luke, I left the sous-chef to fettle up the gravy. She did an excellent job and we had a tasty evening meal.
To end the day, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel. We played Mozart, Telemann and Quantz and that was the perfect way to forget the many little inconveniences that come to all of us with advancing years.
The flying bird of the day is another ‘just-in-time’ chaffinch.