A short song cycle

Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent, Paul. He thinks that this pretty pot rose of his has a very fitting name, “Alpine Sunset”.

We did have a good sunset here today, but we had a very grey dawn and it rained while we were in church, so once again we got damp bottoms when we cycled home. However, there had been some measurable rain overnight which we did welcome.

I found that we had greenfinches in the garden when I looked out after breakfast.

The church service has been reconfigured lately and only includes three hymns these days. We in the choir think that this is about two hymns too few. We had a very acceptable substitute organist in again this week, but we are hoping that Henry, our own choirmaster and organist, will be back next week after recovering from Covid.

I had a walk round the garden after coffee when we got home, and found that the wet weather had put the bees off visiting our dahlias, though one was sneaking in . . .

. . . but there were some very soggy bees on the sedum.

I did some dead heading and then sieved a load of compost. As this cleared all the compost out of Bin D, I turned the contents of Bin C into Bin D. It had rotted down well. Then, feeling perky, I turned the contents of Bin B into Bin C. I got a surprise in the middle of the task when I spotted a slow worm burrowing into the material.

We have never knowingly had a slow worm in the compost bins before so this was quite exciting.

Mrs Tootlepedal had just cut the sweet peas down so compost Bin A was very full, and I decided to wait for a day or two before turning its contents into the now empty Bin B.

By this time, I was quite ready for lunch, but as it consisted of ham broth and cold sausage toad, I recovered my energy quite quickly.

After lunch, I spend a few minutes watching the birds. They have returned in quite good numbers, though the sparrowhawk flying through the garden keeps them away from time to time.

Today we had a seedy blue tit . . .

. . . and a young goldfinch from a late brood hoping to be fed while its parent ignored it and tucked in, looking a bit shifty I thought.

There was quite a good selection of birds about, including chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, a sparrow and a siskin.

It was a reasonable, if grey, afternoon so Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided to go for a short cycle ride round Potholm. Almost as soon as we had made the decision, it started to rain quite heavily, so we watched the cycling World Championship Time Trial instead. The rain stopped before it had finished so we turned it off, got our bikes out and set out.

The route took us past the ice cream van on the Kilngreen. We didn’t pass it, but stopped for a 99 and a nougat wafer.

The skies looked a bit doubtful . . .

…with a mixture of clouds and blue skies, but we we were suitably dressed . . .

. . . and we were rewarded with dry weather for our outing, although the sun was always over there . . .

. . . or up there . . .

. . . and never where we were.

There was just a little more water in the river when we crossed the bridge at Potholm . . .

. . . but I don’t think that our reservoir will have risen much, if at all.

Today’s curious cow is a bull.

With their typical idea of what is funny, the weather gods turned the sun on just as we got home. At least it brought out the best in our neighbour Liz’s magnificent creeper.

A sad pile of feathers on the lawn showed that the sparrowhawk had paid us another visit while we were out.

It hadn’t put off the bees and other insects though, who were back on the dahlias again.

I had a look round the garden and enjoyed the flowers in the sunshine (and the fuchsia tucked round the corner by the back gate). . .

. . . before going in.

We had stewed apples and blackberries with custard for a treat after our evening meal. They were delicious, and there may be just enough brambles left in the garden for us to have another helping soon.

The forecast is for a low of 7Ā°C overnight tonight, but after that, overnight temperatures should rise again and there seems to be no danger of frost for a while at least. Under the circumstances, we should soon be ready to have lettuce in our lunchtime sandwiches (for some time).

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch keeping its head very still as it applies the brakes before landing.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “A short song cycle

  1. I enjoyed the photos from your day, though the poor bees do look a bit soggy. Slow worms are not creatures we have here, and are always intriguing.

    We have had one light frost already over here, and then rain. The sun has come out for a little while this afternoon, though there are plenty of clouds about, and probably another passing storm yet to come through.

    I had to look up sausage toad, and seems it is also called toad-in-the-hole?

  2. As a founder member of the SDS (Siskin Defence Society) I note that your greenfinches look every bit as aggressive as any siskin, and are twice as large, but you say nothing about that, …

    1. Siskins would argue with their own reflection in a mirror. Greenfinches are bossy but don’t waste time when they could be eating in having fights.

  3. Your narrative about the young goldfinch and its parent is very apt! And I must say . . . your lettuces have far outstripped mine – Iā€™d be embarrassed to send a photo of my second crop.

    Did you put mustard on your cold sausage toad? I hope so!

  4. That’s a lettuce crop any gardener would be proud of.
    Your neighbor’s Virginia creeper is indeed impressive. I haven’t seen them turning here yet.
    The slow worm in the compost must mean you’ll have to be a lot more careful with your turning.

    1. I avoided doing it any harm. As it was the only one that I saw, I am not expecting to find a lot more at the next turning . . . but I will be careful.

  5. Love the bird photos, and interested to see the young Goldfinch. Thanks for not documenting the pile of feathers. Liz’s creeper looks primed to take over the planet… šŸ™‚

  6. Never noticed soggy bees before- I’ll have to keep my eyes open in future! Good to see a sturdy fence between you and Mr Bull- he doesn’t look too happy seeing you! Lots of lovely photos to enjoy especially the flowers, your header and the beautiful creeper devouring the shed.

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