Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie in London. She met a relation of Mr Grumpy.
We had a chilly morning here with just a hint of frost about after yesterday’s clear night. As a result, I was more than happy to spend the morning inside while things warmed up outside.
In among the coffee and crossword, I set about making some more date rolls. I had it in mind to make a set worth presenting visually on the blog but my rolling pin skills were not up to scratch and visually the results were poor. The date rolls passed the taste test though with flying colours so there will be an opportunity to have another go pretty soon. I don’t know why rolling out a neat rectangle of biscuit dough should be so hard for me but it is.
I had a look at the birds too, but they were very scarce in the morning, perhaps put off by the chill. A great tit was among the early visitors…
…and one of the resident dunnocks was about too.
It took some time for the finches to appear. A goldfinch led the way…
…followed by a chaffinch trying to look important.
There was a moment when all lovers of pantomime got the chance to shout, It’s behind you!”…
…but it was generally a quiet morning.
I went to make a loaf in the breadmaker and discovered why the last loaf to come out of the machine had seemed strangely undercooked. The breadmaker had died, presumably in the middle of making that last loaf
It has done good service over many years, so perhaps its time had come. I have ordered a new one but in the meantime, I had to take the prepared mixture out of the bread pan and knead it by hand. It needed quite a bit of added flour to to make it sturdy enough to hand knead, but in the end we got a good loaf out of it, baked in the oven, auld style.
After all this excitement (and some black pudding for an early lunch), I went out for a bike ride. I looked around the garden before I left to see if there were any frogs in the pond. There were none and I had to settle for crocuses.
Curiously, although there hadn’t been any sun and it was still quite chilly, the crocuses were all open.
A blackbird was finding things to dig up.
There was still quite a noticeable breeze blowing when I got under way, but it was not as strong as yesterday so I had a more comfortable ride today. I took more or less the same route as my last few rides so there was nothing much new to photograph. I did stop for this nice line of trees above the Hotts Burn as it winds its way along a very flat valley floor….
…but I didn’t stop again until I was on the road home and being helped by the wind. I liked this tree in a field with the very faint outline of the Lake District hills across the Solway in the backgrouund.
There had been loose talk in weather forecasting circles of a sunny afternoon, and you can see a little pale blue sky in the picture above. Sadly for me, the sun only came out over me just as I got to Langholm so the views were not sparkling.
I stopped to take this picture of a field sloping down to the banks of a stream at Half Morton. In my golfing days, it always seemed to me when I passed it, that this would make a very nice final green on a golf course, with the stream making an attractive water hazard.
Nearby, the churchyard is the site of some of the rather unforgiving pruning favoured by the council managers
Just after I had cycled through Glenzier, I saw a black bird perched on the very top of a small tree…
…and uncharacteristically, it stayed there while I stopped the bike, got out my camera, switched it on and took a close up, revealing it to be a crow.
Later on, I saw a buzzard with its prey. It was much more normal and waited until I had stopped and got my camera out before lazily flapping off into some trees, doubtless sniggering to itself as it went.
I settled for 32 miles today and got back in time for a cup of tea (and some date rolls) with Mrs Tootlepedal. She had been making a pan of Scotch broth with home made stock from a ham hock and as a result, we had the most delicious soup with freshly made bread for our supper.
After cycling and before the customary sibling Zoom, I had another look at the birds. It was a lovely late afternoon, but by this time the sunshine was more of a hindrance than a help, producing unwanted highlights for birds on the fake tree…
…and with the feeder itself casting a shadow on approaching customers.
The sun worked better with a bunch of yellow crocuses in the garden.
Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these flowers were here before we moved into the house over 40 years ago.
After our soup supper, I finished off a day of cooking by making a fresh batch of goat’s cheese. I am getting the hang of how much salt to put in now, and the result was very satisfactory. The recipe book says that if I want to impress my friends, I should call it fromage de chévre so I had some chévre on a cream cracker and it tasted just like goat’s cheese. Such is life….or perhaps, c’est la vie.
The flying bird of the day is one of those shadowy chaffinches from the late afternoon.