Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba. She was unimpressed by my flimsy footwear in a recent picture on the blog and sent me this shot of real boot quality in her latest pair.
The ‘wet day’ marmalade which I made yesterday has set well, and this morning I put the caps on the jars and used some rather fancy labels.
(My handwriting was never good and has got steadily worse with the advent of keyboards and computers.)
The day was remarkably calm after yesterday’s strong winds and I was able to stroll down to sing with the church choir wearing a light jacket and a cheerful smile. The hymns were a mixed bunch with an African tune, a Jewish melody and some old faithfuls and we had an enjoyable sing. After a quiet time, we are going to start singing introits and anthems again so we had a practice after the service. We were ready for coffee when we got home.
The birds were in no hurry to come to the feeder today but the walnut was playing host to jackdaws. Jackdaws pair for life and we often see pairs of them sitting and chatting amiably among the branches of the tree.
As the welcome sun came round to the feeder, some dunnocks appeared on the ground..
…and a pigeon landed on the electricity wire above…
…and finally a redpoll actually came and ate some seed.
A siskin arrived too….
…but it was a very quiet morning for bird activity. A small heap of feathers on the lawn showed that a sparrowhawk had visited earlier in the day so that possibly explained the lack of visitors.
I was pleased to see that our robin had not been the victim.
After our coffee, we took a quick walk round the garden. We were delighted to see the first signs of snowdrops.
We have occasionally seen them fully out by this time, so I hope it will not be long before a flower appears.
We left the garden and headed out for a visit to the river. The rivers had fallen a lot since Gavin took his picture yesterday…
…and the Esk looked very calm…
…but the lines of leaves on the bank showed just how near the road the river had been at its height.
It had brought down a good load of sand and gravel with it and this has blocked off the flow of the Wauchope through the second arch as it comes under the Kirk Bridge.
We crossed the suspension bridge and walked down the river towards Skippers Bridge.
Because we go to Carlisle for our other choir on a Sunday afternoon, we didn’t have a lot of time to spare. Mrs Tootlepedal kept up a brisk pace and I only took a few pictures as we went along.
The heavy rain had left fungus on a bench and lichen on a fence untouched….
…but the river was high enough and the rocks slippery enough to make me think that a glimpse of Skippers Bridge through the trees was probably as close as it was sensible to get today.
Although it was now a lovely day and it wasn’t much after midday, the long shadows across the field at the Murtholm reminded us that there is still a lot of winter to go.
And the reflective fence posts recalled yesterday’s rain.
It is curious that the left and right fence posts are reflected straight up and down but the centre post is at a marked angle.
The forecast for the next couple of days is appalling, with a named storm coming our way but today really was the calm before the storm. It was a lovely day for a walk.
As we walked along the Stubholm track, we passed some fine trees. Mrs Tootlepedal gives a sense of scale to this one.
The walk finished with a quick look at fungus and lichen on trees and walls round the park.
After a light lunch we added a useful visit to the recycling facilities in Longtown on the way to the Carlisle choir.
As we drove down, we were able to listen to the edition of Gardener’s Question Time on BBC Radio 4 which had been recorded last month in the Buccleuch Centre. Among others, they used my question on the show so now I am famous.
The question asked for suggestions for flowers which the panel thought might make good photographic subjects. Mrs Tootlepedal has taken up one of the recommendations and if all goes well, you will be able to see the results in the blog in the course of time. I am not going to say what it is. It will be a surprise.
At the choir, we found that yet another tenor had come to sing with us. That made three new members in two weeks. The hard work of the committee in trying to attract new men to the choir seems to have paid off.
We had a very hard working practice, with three new songs to learn. Fortunately our choir director was in fine form and she drove us along at a good pace so we got a lot done.
The weather stayed good for our drive home and as we weren’t in the mood for heavy cooking, we had boiled eggs with soldiers for our tea. As good as a feast any day.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.