A ringer

Looking through my files. I found that I had overlooked this guest picture sent to me by my sister Susan last month.  It shows the good work of a guerrilla gardener who is brightening up her neighbourhood.

guerilla gardener

After spending some time devoted to the essentials of life, reading the papers and doing the crossword, I felt the need for some novelty and went off to visit our corner shop to buy milk.

“Where is the novelty in that?” I hear the attentive reader cry.

Well, in a deeply unsettling event, our corner shop, which has been on a corner about 100 yards from our door for decades, has suddenly upped and moved 150 yards further away, round a corner and down the road.  It is now a quarter of a mile away and not on a corner any more.  The world has shaken on its foundation.

I managed to find it without too much of a problem.

When I got back though, I needed a coffee to settle my nerves.

After coffee and a few ginger biscuits, I felt that the lack of actual rain outside on a very grey day justified the putting on of cycling gear and getting out my bike.

As I was going out of the door, I passed Mrs Tootlepedal coming in.  “It’s just starting to rain,” she said.

Was I discouraged?  Well, I was a little discouraged but the rain was light and the day was reasonably warm so I pedalled off in good spirits, helped by having a friendly wind pushing me along.

I managed to last for twenty miles, pedalling up the top of Callister and back down to the town, and then up as far as  Wauchope Schoolhouse and back so that I was never too far from home in case the day turned nasty.  It rained pretty well all the time, but generally so lightly that it wasn’t a drawback to enjoyment.  It was wet enough for me to keep my camera in my pocket until just outside Langholm, I came across a small river of fungus flowing down a bank beside the road.

river of fungus

I had never seen fungus there before so I stopped for a look.

Springhill fungus

When I got home, I was just about to have some soup which Mrs Tootlepedal had made while I was out, when I thought that I saw two robins in the plum tree.

I took two pictures with my cycling camera.  Whether they were of two different birds or the same one on two different branches, I cannot say for sure.  This one looks familiar…

robin in plum tree

…but this one has been ringed and is certainly not our usual friend.

ringed robin

The day got greyer and greyer, if that was possible, so photographing birds through the window was a bit of a thankless task, made harder by a distinct lack of birds. (I blame encroaching cats among other things.)

I did see some birds enjoying our sunflower hearts, among them this chaffinch, who like me had been getting a little wet…

chaffinch eating seed

…and this goldfinch who apparently wasn’t enjoying the meal as much as it might.

goldfinch eating seed

I did catch another glimpse of a robin, this time lurking under a hedge.

shy robin

I put a grey afternoon to good use by practising some of our Carlisle choir songs and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were singing away when Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea.

When he left, I lit a fire in the front room and got ready for the arrival of my flute pupil Luke.  He has been practising a bit in a most satisfactory way and I will definitely have to work hard to keep up with him.

I thought that today might be as grey as it could get but it looks as though it is going to be even greyer tomorrow.  Flying birds might be in short supply.  This ‘just landed’ flying bird was the best that I could do today.

nearly flying chaffinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “A ringer

    1. You will have to make friends with an authorised ringer. I knew one and she came and ringed (rang?) birds in our garden. We ringed over fifty siskins.

      1. I once was able to locate the owner of a dead racing pigeon by his leg band. I learned the unfortunate bird had started his maiden race down in California, and was on his way to Washington when something happened here in Oregon. I had spotted the bid on my way home from work, lying in the road. He looked unusual for a wild pigeon, so I stopped to have a look. He is buried under an oak tree in one of our front gardens. The Racing Association I called looked up the identifier numbers on the tag and notified the owner of his bird’s demise.

  1. Hi tootlepedal, I ventured out yesterday evening to commute to work for my night shift, it was very grey but we hadn’t had rain. But as I drove to Aberdulais to park my trusty Yaris, it grew greyer and blacker to the point where as I parked it began lashing down in biblical amounts of the wet stuff. I sat in the car wistfully believing it would cease, but 10 minutes later I gave up and decided on the better part of valour, to give up on my proposed cycle to work. Was I disappointed yes, but getting soaked through just unloading my Pioneer from the car wasn’t to be entertained, and I still haven’t been able to acquire that mystical method of putting on my overshoes, so the idea of wet feet was also a major dissuader! Said retreat involved a sojourn to a supermarket café for an hour for a cream tea and chat on the phone to my sister and brother in law in Cardiff. The forecast is really dire for the next few days, and I’m on day shift tomorrow and through the weekend, but I’ll be doing my best to pedal. I hate to miss a pedal, and don’t want to be just a fair weather cyclist. Hoping the weather holds for you up in the Borders. Cheers.

    1. You are very bold even to contemplate cycling in this rotten spell of weather. I nearly went out today but the weather forecast was so dire that I stayed at home and did useful things. Of course, the weather wasn’t nearly as bad as the forecast so I should have gone. I’ll try again tomorrow. Your retreat didn’t sound too bad with the cream tea and the family chat. Good luck tomorrow.

  2. Just a couple of months ago I was saying that what was needed was a wet autumn and winter to put things right. I think I would like the rain to stop now. I like your bird portraits very much.

  3. Your robins continue to be adorable.

    From what I saw in a later post, I don’t like that the grocer has changed its name to the more modern convenience store. (Or shop.). I like the old name, and the corner.

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