Sing, walk, sing, sit down

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.

Mary Jo's socks

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.

2020 marmalade

(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.

jackdaw pair

As the welcome sun came round to the feeder, some dunnocks appeared on the ground..


…and a pigeon landed on the electricity wire above…

pigeon on wire

…and finally a redpoll actually came and ate some seed.

redpoll on feeder

A siskin arrived too….

sisking on feeder

…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.

robin on wire

After our coffee, we took a quick walk round the garden.  We were delighted to see the first signs of snowdrops.

first snowdrop

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…

new course of wauchope

…and the Esk looked very calm…

Esk after flood

…but the lines of leaves on the bank showed just how near the road the river had been at its height.

tide mark esk after flood

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.

sandbank at mouth of wauchope

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….

fungus and lichen waterside

…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.

skippers through trees

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.

murtholm winter shadows

And the reflective fence posts recalled yesterday’s rain.

fence post relections

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.

view of timpen january

As we walked along the Stubholm track, we passed some fine trees.  Mrs Tootlepedal gives a sense of scale to this one.

big tree at stubholm

The walk finished with a quick look at fungus and lichen on trees and walls round the park.

four lichens park wall

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.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Sing, walk, sing, sit down

  1. I have a croissant with frank coopers oxford marmalade every morning,but it looks nowhere near as inviting as your homemade.
    So much so I’m going to have a go at making some myself.
    Glad to see your robin wasn’t the casualty.

  2. What a startled looking siskin! Also glad the wee robin is still safe. And your marmalade – it looks like jewels in a jar. Hope it’s as tasty as it looks.

  3. Nice to see that the robin didn’t meet up with the hawk.
    We have a lot of water and puddles here too but they’re from snow melt rather than rain. I hope you’re forecast has been exaggerated.
    It’ll be good to see your snowdrops blooming again. It always means ours can’t be too far off.

    1. We hope that we escape the worst of the storm. The river was very high a couple of days ago and the ground is wet so it wouldn’t take an enormous amount of rain to cause a flood.

  4. Sorry to have missed GQT this week but I was out. I look forward to seeing the picture of the photogenic plant in due course. As you’re now famous, I expect your autograph will make you a lot of money.

  5. The marmalade looks like it would make it to my breakfast. As for the feathers on the lawn I’m glad the robin survived.

    1. I am always sorry when any of our small birds get taken by the hawk but I too was pleased to see that the robin had survived. You are welcome to come over and enjoy some toast and marmalade.

  6. Wow! Gardener’s Question Time must be one of the longest running programs on BBC radio. I used to enjoy their podcasts so, when you mentioned that you had been one of the participants, I went to the Langholm episode to listen. Nice job! So will Mrs T be growing blue meconopsis? Or do you already have them?

  7. I enjoyed the photos from your sunny day, as it looks like we not not see the sun here all week, just cold rain and wind, possibly snow. I just looked out the window, and now see snow coming down with the rain as I write.

    Your feeder birds do seem to be looking over their shoulders since the sparrowhawk came through.

    I am waiting to see what Mrs. T will grow as the result of your question. Can you give a hint? 🙂

  8. Good to hear your voice and great question. I’d love that panel of experts to come back later in the season and see your roses! Lovely photo of the robin and the views on your sunny walk.

  9. It’s the first time I’ve lived so close to a creek and have been fascinated watching the rise and fall of the water, leaving behind new gravel bars much like the one you showed here. Many of the signs of flooding are the same in our area. It’s a wonder that most folks have been wise enough not to build in any flood plains. Though there are the times when the cows get bunched up on some small high patch during the very worst of the flooding. The water generally goes down speedily enough.

  10. Exciting about being on the radio show. I look forward to finding out which flower Mrs T is adding.

    That gravel situation in the river looks like it could make for some flooding.

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