The tenors get a tune

Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s Amsterdam trip.  He took a tour of the canals in the city while he was there and saw the the Muziektheater, which is called now The National Opera and Ballet.


We are beginning to have only a distant memory of the sun and it was no surprise to wake to another very grey, windy and wet day today.  It doesn’t make for good photographs or interesting outings.

In years gone by, I could rely on a busy feeder to keep me entertained on dull days but there was only a lone dunnock to see…

dunnock on tray

…before we walked through the rain to go to church.

The choir sang a couple of extra hymns for an introit and an anthem so we were kept busy today.  As it was Candlemas, the church was was bright with twinkling candles and this gave the service a cheerful feel.

It was still raining, but not so heavily, as we walked home and the rain was light enough to let me walk round the garden before settling down to coffee and the crossword.

The lone crocus had been joined by two more….

three crocuses

…and when I looked around, I found a larger clump in another bed.

lots of early crocuses

There is still some way to go before our daffodil gets a friend.

bunch of daffs

I did think of going for a walk in my new waterproof coat but the rain persisted for longer than my determination to enjoy the fresh air did, so I took vicarious exercise by watching heroic young women cycling through appalling mud in the under 23 Women’s World Cyclocross Championship.  Anyone who calls young people “snowflakes” should be made to watch this footage by law.

I wasn’t entirely idle.  I looked out of the window from time to time too.

Siskins arrived.

two soggy siskins

The shot below shows the fine rain that continued all morning.

siskin in rain

Quite a little crowd of siskins arrived in the end…

siskins on feeder

…and monopolised the feeder again.

siskins on feeder in rain

The dunnocks kept an eye out for fallen seed…

dunnok on tray rim

…though it was sometimes hard to spot them against the background of winter vegetation.

dunnock on plants

A lone goldfinch flew down out of the mist to land on the plum tree…

goldifnch in the mist

…and a chaffinch came too.

chaffinch in wet plum tree

The chaffinch didn’t venture up on to the feeder…


…but stuck to some ground level scavenging.

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle, with Mrs Tootlepedal at the wheel.  As well as going to the choir we made good use of the energy expended in getting us there by calling in to pump up our tyres in Langholm, recycle paper, card and milk bottles in Longtown, and do some cheese and honey shopping in Carlisle.

We still got to the choir on time.  We spent the first half of the session practicing a piece where the tenors have the melody for a good part of the time.  This is very rare and made us a bit nervous. Fortunately, it was not a very difficult number so we didn’t disgrace ourselves.   We weren’t big headed though, and we still talked to members of the other sections at the interval.

We are having to learn three pieces by heart for a competition in March and when we tried one after the interval, it was heartening to find that I pretty well knew it already.  Only two to go!

I had prepared rolled shoulder of lamb and veg last night, and Mrs Tootlepedal had put this into the slow cooker in the morning so we had a good meal waiting for us when we got home.  To add to the feast, she also made an  apple crumble with some of the last of our apples from last year.  There will be enough for one more crumble.  We had to buy onions today for the first time for five months so we are entering the ‘hungry gap’.  Fortunately our corner shop is on hand with supplies.

The flying bird of the day is one of the siskins.

flying siskin

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “The tenors get a tune

  1. We have a couple of parallels: January 2020 had the least sunshine since 2013 in several Canadian provinces (including MB), and we, too, have just run out of last summer’s onions. Not a bad run! And – still lots of beets in the offing.

    1. When I looked again, we had four onions left and as they are pretty big, we will not have to use the bought ones for a week or two. I am sorry about your gloomy weather

  2. You may be tiring of it, but I am enjoying the misty and rainy scenes so different from the daily heat and relentless sun here. It goes to show that we need moderation in all things.

  3. The crocuses are beautiful! Your mention of hungry times made me think of how it must have been when people pretty much grew, made, everything they ate. My grandmother, born in 1911 on a potato farm in northern Maine, was raised that way. The most unfussy eater I have ever known.

  4. I like the raindrops on the crocuses – it’s a lovely photo. Your visit to Carlisle sounds as though you had a shopping list of things to do and ticked them all off nicely…very organised. Good to read you now have cheese!

  5. Good to see the birds enjoying the feeder. The dunnock looks a bit more colorful photographed from the backside. I’ve mainly been seeing towhees, juncos and various sparrows at mine, with fewer chickadees than expected for some reason.

    Good luck on the choir competition in March! I know Langholm will do well.

  6. Awfully glad you got some good cheese. Just watched Winterwarch on BritBox. Interesting re no snow and lots of dreary rain and warmer than usual weather for winte, and how it affects the wildlife.

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