Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. It has been another cold and gloomy day here, so I looked back into my files to find a sunny scene which she took when the weather was better some days ago. You can tell that it was before the lockdown ended.
The day started with Matilda soundly beating me at both Snakes and Ladders and Ludo. My grief was assuaged when I heard her telling her father about the victory but adding that it was all about the luck of the dice. She has a kindly nature.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I then left Matilda to the care of her parents as we went off to sing in the church choir for the first time for over a year. The choir is limited to six people so it was rather an eerie experience, especially as we had to sit so far part that we couldn’t really hear each other singing very well. We sang a little introit and the congregation were so pleased to have us back that they gave us an unsolicited round of applause as we sat down.
We were much touched.
Although it was not entirely satisfactory, it was good to be standing up and singing loudly with an organ accompaniment, and we have agreed to meet for an extra practice next week to try and get things properly organised.
When we got back, tit was sunny and Matilda and her parents were out at the back of the house looking at the dam. Mrs Tootlepedal took Matilda round to visit our neighbour Margaret before we had coffee.
I took advantage of the sunny moment to enjoy the light on the rhododendrons…
…but the sun was soon gone, and when I spent five minutes watching the birds, it was in the gloom with occasional spots of rain.
Matilda is very impressed by the amount of seed that the birds get through, though she noticed how much seed the siskins drop on the ground, usually because they are too busy shouting to chew their food properly.
Two sparrows appeared today, which must mean that they are feeding young somewhere nearby. I will keep an eye out for the youngsters who are very demanding.
A siskin and a goldfinch were heading round the back of the feeder but it looked as though they were going to be too late as another siskin had sneaked in first from the opposite side.
This siskin had chosen a better moment.
It was still cold and damp when we went out for a walk to the park after coffee, dressed for winter rather than spring.
As we crossed the bridge into the park, I noticed that once again, the copper beech on the left has come into leaf well before the copper beech on the right.
It wasn’t nature that they younger three members of the party were interested in however. They had come to play Pokemon Go, where they used their phones to capture virtual characters that had been left in a designated spot by other players. They showed Mrs Tootlepedal what this entailed, while I enjoyed the trees in the park…
…and was disappointed that there was no sunshine to light up the poplars beside the river.
When they had captured the characters (and left some of their own for others to capture later), I showed them the noble fir…
…and it is fair to say that they weren’t quite as appreciative of it as I am.
Mrs Tootlepedal, whose interest in standing in light rain watching other people play on their phones is limited, went off to cook some soup for lunch, while we went to visit the parents of an old friend of Alistair. They were delighted to see Matilda again.
As the rain had stopped by the time that we had stopped chatting on their doorstep, we went along to the Buccleuch Centre…
…where there were two fine trees for me, and another Pokemon battleground for them.
There was a glimpse of sun by this time so we continued to the river where there was another battleground for them, and some fungus to keep me happy.
It turns out that Langholm is full of these animated characters just waiting for a fight.
Three battles were enough for a chilly day though, and we headed for home.
I had seen a lot of swallows darting about the river on recent walks, and I was happy to find one being still for a moment today.
I can confidently report that one swallow does not make a summer, and in this case not even thirty or forty have had any effect. They must be wondering if they have got their migrating dates right.
We had an good lunch when we got home, with excellent soup, and then the day took a sad turn. Our visitors collected up their things, packed them and themselves into their car, and disappeared in the direction of Edinburgh.
We hope that it will be a good deal less than a year until we see them again this time.
The weather got worse as they left and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were happy to watch the Giro d’Italia rather than brave the elements. I broke off to attend the Carlisle Community Choir virtual practice. Oddly, it felt more enjoyable after doing some real singing in the morning, as there was now a definite feeling of hope for the choir meeting again in the not too distant future. It is a big choir though, so we may have to wait longer than some smaller ensembles.
After the excitements of the visit, the day drifted quietly away and the house seemed very quiet.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.