Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary and shows that she was in the right place at the right time to catch the sun illuminating a dogwood in Regents Park.
December ended as it has been going on recently with a dry, mostly grey and reasonably warm day. I was taking a break from cycling so I enjoyed the final coffee and scones of 2018 with Dropscone. He had not lost any of his scone making skill over the holiday period so this was a good way to end the social year.
Along with Dropscone, we were visited by more birds than we have been seeing lately which was also welcome.
Goldfinches were queuing up to get a seat at the table…
…and competing fiercely for the privilege.
Sometimes they let their good manners slip in their anxiety to snatch a sunflower heart from the feeder.
And all too frequently, seeds went flying in the midst of all the excitement.
Although it was pretty grey, it was a pleasant day so after Dropscone left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a walk in the woods. To give ourselves a good start, we drove a mile or so out of the town and parked next to a large fallen tree that had been sawn up and left beside the road.
Where the trunk had split, it was covered in white fungus.
We walked up the track past the Longwood fields and passed many trees, some that stood proudly…
…and some that were curiously knotted and twisted.
When we got to the woods, there was fungus, both big and small to be seen…
…a dingly dell to cross…
…and a track through the old oak wood to follow.
We were only out for a short walk so as soon as we got to the top of the oak wood, we headed back past a river of moss….
…and made our return journey downhill through a birch wood that has grown up beside the oaks.
We were going to take a diversion on our route back to the car by going along the old railway line, but fallen trees provided an obstacle….
….that was too low to crawl under and too high to jump over so we retraced our steps and went back by the path along the field.
This gave us the chance to enjoy the sight of a chestnut tree standing in a very neat pool of its own leaves.
When we got back to the road, I took a moment to check out a favourite mossy wall…
…which was rich in interest…
…for those who like this sort of thing, among whom is numbered yours truly.
We had a walk round our garden when we got home and I was pleased to find that the sweet rocket had managed another flower or two, a single snowdrop was showing a touch of colour and a groundsel was growing in the drive. The groundsel pleased me for its little patch of colour…
…but Mrs Tootlepedal was not so happy about it and it soon suffered from being comprehensively weeded.
After lunch, the last of the duck soup, a weak sun appeared for a while and illuminated a dove and a pigeon in the plum tree.
It also lit up the holly in our neighbour’s garden.
I did think of going for another walk to take advantage of the sun but I dithered a bit and by the time that I came to make a decision, the sun had gone and the clouds were grey again.
This was the moment that a robin came out.
I spent so much time thinking of things that I might do in the afternoon and so little time in actually doing anything useful that it was time for the evening meal before I knew it. Still ending the year on a restful note was no bad thing and I should be full of pep when 2019 arrives tomorrow. Here’s hoping.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the patient and forbearing readers of these posts over the past year for their company which makes writing and taking pictures very rewarding. I would like also to express special gratitude for those who add their many kind, amusing and useful comments.
The honour of being the final flying bird of the year has fallen to this goldfinch.
I don’t usually end with a quote but I think think Robert Burns speaks for many when he wrote to the wee. sleekit, timorous mouse words which apply just as well to the politics of 2018 and 2019:
“But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!”