Another rest (and a change)

Today’s guest picture once again arises from my brother Andrew taking his son on vigorous hill walks to help Nick prepare for a trek in Nepal.  Ignoring Storm Jorge’s strong winds, they battled up to the top of Bunster Hill and enjoyed this splendid view of the junction of the Rivers Dove and Manifold (and some traces of the recent flooding).

Manifold and Dove rivers

I did no hill climbing today, or indeed any exercise of note at all, apart from walking to church in the morning.  To be truthful, I walked back too, but that still didn’t amount to much.

I had felt so much better after my restful day yesterday that I decided that some more of the same would be a good idea.

I wasn’t entirely idle as I made a beef stew with carrots, turnip and parsnip for the slow cooker in the morning and a loaf of bread in the bread maker in the afternoon.

In between, I did some archive group work on the computer and watched the birds.

We have a small but select supply of redpolls at the moment…

redpoll looking round

…of which I approve, though I am not sure that this siskin is so keen on them.

redpoll and siskin

We had a good few chaffinches around and the siskins definitely didn’t approve of them…

siskin and chaffinch

…and any chaffinch approaching got a dusty welcome…

siskin blasting chaffinch

…and was quite likely to be blown away by the ferocity of the welcome.

siskin shouting at chaffinch

These goldfinches were more relaxed when a siskin approached them.

siskin threatening two goldfinches

I had a look round the garden before lunch but it was very cold in the brisk wind so I didn’t loiter and this encouraging azalea bud was the most exciting thing that I saw.

azalea bud 1 March

I was soon back inside, drinking coffee and watching the birds again.  A dunnock lurked among the flower stems…

dunnock among the plants

…and a pigeon arrived for some fallen seed…

pigeon head and shoulders

…while up above a goldfinch checked the feeder for aggressive siskins before venturing down.

quizzical goldfinch

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle to sing with the community choir there.  We were early so I had time for another look round the garden with my phone camera in hand before we left.  This time some flowers caught my eye.

Mrs Tootlepedal has cleared some old dead stems from around the pink hellebores to give us a better view of them from the kitchen window.  They looked unusually cheerful about this, I thought.

hellebore

The first pulmonaria flowers have also appeared.

pulomonaria

When we got to the choir, we found that our usual conductor Ellen was not there and we were inclined to be a bit disappointed, but she had sent down a really excellent substitute, Andy.  He was in tremendously energetic form and passed on some very useful techniques for improving our singing at various points in our pieces as well as jollying us along to produce some really whole-hearted choral efforts.   We all left the practice feeling uplifted by the warmth of his personality on a cold day.

The drive home had two good points about it.  Firstly, it was still light the whole way home, and secondly, the starlings were in fine form overhead as we drove through Longtown.

The stew turned out well and it rounded off a day which was a great improvement on the one which dire forecasts of the malevolence of Storm Jorge had led us to expect. The forecast for next week suggests that we will have nothing more than a mild breeze until next weekend.  Some relief from strong winds will be very welcome.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: After my two quiet days, I am feeling pretty well, so I hope to be more active tomorrow.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Another rest (and a change)

  1. So good to see spring flowers! It gives me hope that ours are not too far behind. Your bird shots are wonderful! Are they hulled sunflower seeds in your feeders?

  2. Those quiet days can be quite restorative. I highly recommend them.

    I enjoyed all the photos, but especially loved the siskin looking askance at the redpoll. Your commentary along with the feeder photos is quite entertaining. The flowers in bloom in your garden now are beautiful, especially the pink hellebores liberated by Mrs. T.. Some trees at lower elevations are starting to bloom here, a bit early I think, but spring is coming early to my area.

      1. Checking my records, I see that I haven’t seen pulmonaria in February since 2014 and I usually see them in late March so this one was quite early

  3. Hellebores are such good doers and they brighten any day and last weeks too- wish more plants were like them. It’s amazing how an enthusiastic conductor/teacher can get improved results and make everyone feel that bit special. Three cheers again for the slow cooker….and chef!

  4. Very glad that storm Jorge wasn’t horrible. One never knows, and living on a country road, I have found that it is best to be prepared for a bad storm. 😉

  5. Despite not going walking or cycling you had a very productive day and the rehearsal sounds very satisfying! I am pleased you are feeling well rested and much improved. The bird photos are great fun!

  6. Loved the Hellebores, I also enjoy your interpretations of the birds thoughts about each other, I always look carefully at the pictures and can see just what you see! Wonderful.

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