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).
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…
…of which I approve, though I am not sure that this siskin is so keen on them.
We had a good few chaffinches around and the siskins definitely didn’t approve of them…
…and any chaffinch approaching got a dusty welcome…
…and was quite likely to be blown away by the ferocity of the welcome.
These goldfinches were more relaxed when a siskin approached them.
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.
I was soon back inside, drinking coffee and watching the birds again. A dunnock lurked among the flower stems…
…and a pigeon arrived for some fallen seed…
…while up above a goldfinch checked the feeder for aggressive siskins before venturing down.
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.
The first pulmonaria flowers have also appeared.
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.
Footnote: After my two quiet days, I am feeling pretty well, so I hope to be more active tomorrow.