A smile and a song

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. It shows an elaborate bridge to get cyclists over a main road in Derby. My brother thinks that they have gone metaphorically as well as literally over the top.

We didn’t have a frosty morning here today though it was near zero, but as a counterbalance, we didn’t have a sunny day either. In a way we got the worst of both worlds as a front laden with rain clouds stopped some miles to the west of us, so we didn’t even get a much needed soak for the garden.

The winds were light though, and this was fortunate as Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz went for an after breakfast bicycle ride up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back. They are hoping to make this a regular habit. Mrs Tootlepedal hasn’t been out on her bike for a bit and was absolutely delighted to be back pedalling. She returned home with an enormous smile on her face (and since since she and Liz are a public spirited persons, quite a bit of the road side litter thrown out by motorists which they had picked up on their way home).

While she was gone, I took a picture of a siskin.

As a result of the failure of the rain, there was some watering to be done by the gardeners and the pond was given a top up before coffee.

While the watering was going on, one of the gardeners who shall be nameless, took time off to note two doves on a fence…

…a second white fritillary which has spontaneously appeared near the chequered ones which have been doing well in spite of the continual early frosts…

…and a rather bedraggled doronicum and two daffodils which have not enjoyed the frosts so much. The lamium, after an early burst of flowers has kept its head down until today when these two flowers appeared.

It has been hard to get good pictures of the daffodils this year as they have been hanging their heads in the cold weather and many have given up the unequal battle and have collapsed in full flower.

After coffee, it was time for the ceremonial opening of the newly paved drive. This was done with full honours and the traditional ivy band. The opening party posed for a formal picture and then Mrs Tootlepedal cut the ivy.

It felt rather chilly outside so we didn’t linger and we all dispersed to our various houses.

After lunch, I had another look at the birds and found that there was no shortage of action.

I had some time to spare before the virtual practice with our Carlisle Community choir so I went for a walk up Warbla.

There were some very pretty primroses beside the track up to the hill…

…but it wasn’t a day for a views, as a photo taken as I walked up the track showed…

…so I concentrated on walking and didn’t take another picture until I was on top of the hill and looking down to the route that I would take next.

I chose a slightly different way to walk down and passed a small sheepfold that I have never seen before…

…and was able to easily pass through a broken wall.

The path was steep so I had to go carefully, and by the time that I came down to Skippers Bridge, I was in danger of being late for my choir practice so I scooted home as quickly as I could. A clump of wood anemones was the only thing that delayed me on my way.

I got back just in time for the choir practice and was happy to be singing again after a two week Easter break.

I did think of going for an evening cycle ride but I was overcome by lethargy and stayed in and took bird pictures instead.

The feeder was still busy.

A group of three greenfinches arrived…

I like the siskin on the bottom perch trying to look tough and pretend that he is a greenfinch too.

Not all siskins are tough though, and I caught one sneaking away to avoid getting involved in a beak to beak row between chaffinches.

Greenfinches are the biggest of our usual feeder visitors…

…and redpolls are the smallest.

I thought that I saw a blossom on the plum tree and when I went, I found that one or two had come out.

While I was out, I checked the magnolia and found that a flower or two there had tried to open in spite of frost damage.

There are still unopened buds so with luck some of them may be alright.

The weekly forecast says that we are going to remain under high pressure for the whole of next week. There will have to be a good deal of watering, boring but necessary.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “A smile and a song

  1. Those are excellent bird photos, especially the first siskin and the redpoll, which are quite detailed. Congratulations on the grand opening of he newly paved driveway! That was hard work.

    The mornings are warmer here the last few days, and it has been in the low 80s. This heat is finishing off the last of the daffodils. Plums, cherries, pears and apples are all blooming together, which is unusual, but I have seen this happen before. It is beautiful and quite fragrant out there, but not normal.

  2. I am pleased that you marked the grand opening of the new drive with the requisite pomp and ceremony!

    The wee redpoll looks almost small enough to climb right inside the feeder.

  3. I’d guess that both you and Mrs. T. are happy to see the end of slab laying. That’s hard work.
    It’s nice to see the wood anemones. We won’t see any here for a week or two.
    Sorry to hear that you have to water. It looked like we would but the snowstorm last Friday helped.

    1. You would be right about the drive project though it was a good lockdown task.
      We are promised a millimetre of rain tomorrow which won’t help much.

  4. Hope there was more than coffee…champagne maybe…. in those mugs at the excellent opening of the new drive way- it all looks very artistic with curvy slabs and such fun. Love the new small sheepfold and tree and the wall- how lovely to discover something new. Great action photos of the birds and a lovely snapshot of the redpoll.

    1. I was pleased to come across the little sheepfold. It is good to think that there is more to discover about your own area when you can’t travel far!

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