As good as it could be

Today’s guest picture comes from my nephew Dan. He was walking recently with his father, my brother Andrew, when he saw these alpacas.

The weather outside was cold and grey but indoors we had a quiet but satisfying day, meeting our children and grandchildren electronically. Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a delicious Christmas lunch while I watched birds in the morning.

Our daughter Annie had given me an unusual Christmas present, a jar of peanut butter for birds with an ingenious housing to hold it. I hung it out a day or two ago and it took until today for any birds to get bold enough to approach it. A blue tit paid several visits…

…but when I turned it round so that I could get a better view of it, the only visitor was a coal tit and it didn’t actually have a peck.

We didn’t have a great quantity of visitors but we did have a good variety of birds today.

A dunnock, perhaps slowed down by the cold, was more obliging than usual.

Pigeons always look as though they have a grievance with pursed lips.

And this chaffinch didn’t look very happy either.

A blackbird was happy enough…

…and a sparrow practised its James Dean look (mean, moody and magnificent).

We had busy moments…

…and blue tits kept coming.

I was hoping for a Christmas robin and when one did turn up, it attempted to attract my attention…

…and succeeded.

After a late and excellent lunch, I felt the need to shake the food down a bit to make room for Christmas cake later on so I went for a short three bridges walk.

It might have been just above freezing by this point but it was still pretty chilly, and it was gloomy too as it was getting late, so it was more a walk for exercise than images.

I did see an old friend who wanted to wish all you readers a very merry Christmas.

The gulls had mainly deserted the fence posts and were lining up in the river instead.

I had walked this route yesterday and seen no hair ice but there was plenty about today.

It is curious stuff. It looks like fabric threads but if you touch the filaments…

…they immediately melt on your hand and have no strength in them at all.

I noticed that the hazel catkins have got even more cheerful in spite of the frosts..

…but otherwise, I just kept walking to avoid getting too cold.

I had a slice of Christmas cake with my afternoon cup of tea and then turned a tin of Seville oranges into six jars of marmalade in half an hour. It may not be quite the same as marmalade made from fresh oranges but it saves a lot of time and work.

We had a cheerful zoom with my siblings and then we enjoyed a light evening meal. We did manage a morsel of Christmas pudding with cream and bandy butter for afters, so all in all, it turned out to be a pretty good Christmas under the present trying circumstances.

And there was a crossword with 100 pretty good clues and a nice unclued cryptic puzzle round the edges to solve as well. So time never hung heavily on my hands.

I hope that everyone else had as good a day as possible too.

The flying bird of the day is sparrow.

Footnote: Mrs Tootlepedal gave me a high performance base layer (or vest as we used to call it) for my Christmas so I hope to get a chance to test it out soon.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “As good as it could be

  1. The birds put on a good Christmas show! Mr. Grumpy strangely looks the happiest of all of them. The James Dean sparrow was quite impressive. 🙂

    It was a cold and somewhat rainy day here. Rick will be preparing our Christmas dinner soon, fish in ginger sauce with forbidden rice.

  2. I think that’s the best photo of Mr. Grumpy that you’ve posted yet, and I am thankful for the photos of the robin – there’s no such thing as too many UK robins, is there?

    It’s a lovely evening here so after our meal and dishes, a walk will be in order before we can handle dessert and possibly a coffee that I will regret when I am awake at 3 o’clock.

  3. I’m glad your Christmas turned out to be as good as it could be. It was a quiet day here but most every day is a quiet day, so there is nothing to report.
    It was nice of the robin to stop in on Christmas. Maybe he can be on next year’s Christmas card.
    The peanut butter jar holder took some thought I’d guess.
    I hope to find some hair ice one day.

    1. You have to check whether you have got the presence of a specific fungus called Exidiopsis effusa in your area. We see the ice of fallen branches with bare bark.

  4. Good to see you had a few select birds celebrating Christmas in your garden especially the robin. Once they get the idea of the peanut butter it will be gone! The marmalade looks tasty! Our Christmas walk in the woods was special as we saw lots of hair ice- it is the strangest sight to see- just pleased I know what it is now! Thank you!

  5. The dunnock and robins (of course!) are adorably round. That is one of the best pictures of the regal Mr Grumpy. I have never seen hair ice, I wonder if we have it here? It’s so pretty.

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