Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She came across this fine seasonal decoration near Tower Bridge on a recent outing.
As an addition to the Covid situation, we have got an outbreak of avian flu in our area, and I saw several of these signs on my cycle ride yesterday.
Perhaps as a result of suggestion brought on by seeing these signs, I found myself feeling rather poorly last night with a cold. I cautiously took a lateral flow test just in case, and was quite pleased when it returned a negative result. I was definitely still feeling under the weather though when I got up today, and as a result, I had a very quiet morning indeed.
It would have been an ideal time to watch birds on the feeder, but once again, there were no birds to watch. I had a check back on the last two years’ posts in December, and they were full of garden birds so something odd has happened. Perhaps storm Arwen has discouraged visitors, perhaps avian flu has affected them, perhaps small changes in the garden have made it less attractive to birds in winter, perhaps there are just many less birds about. I am certainly not seeing flocks of birds in the hedges as I cycle about, though maybe this is not so surprising as almost all the hedges along the roads have been trimmed by machines. The lack of birds on the feeder is a big loss to me as I like to fill my blog posts with bird colour once the flowers have gone.
There are larger birds to be seen, a pigeon in the walnut tree . . .
. . . and a jackdaw flying over the garden . . .
. . . but the only small bird that I saw today was this dunnock checking things out . . .
. . . before popping up onto the feeder tray to scavenge some seed.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy writing Christmas cards, and I helped out by addressing envelopes and writing a few greetings too.
After lunch, she walked round to the post box to send them off while I walked down to the river to get a breath of fresh air and see if I could spot a dunnock. There was plenty of fresh air, but dunnocks were not available. I had to make do with a crow.
I met up with Mrs Tootlepedal and we went round a gentle three bridges walk, stopping on the Kilngreen to admire the ducks. The light was a bit odd and changed colour depending on the direction that I was looking.
In real life, it was uniformly grey.
The arbitrary nature of some of the damage done by Storm Arwen was on view at the Sawmill Brig, with a single tree picked out for felling among a standing group.
As we walked round the new path to the Jubilee Bridge, we could see that almost every tree had lost a branch or two to the wind even if they were still standing.
Mrs Tootlepedal vaulted lightly over the fallen tree across the path . . .
. . . while I went round the obstacle and marvelled at the strength that had torn its roots apart.
There was a good crop of shield lichen on the gate just before we crossed the Jubilee Bridge.
We found our friend Mike Tinker tidying his garden as we went past, and he invited us in for a cup of tea. As I didn’t want to spread my cold about, we declined this kind offer, and we went home and had a cup of tea by ourselves there.
I felt a bit better for my walk, and made some Garibaldi biscuits to go with the tea.
It was dark by the time that we had had our tea and biscuit, so I put some more entries into the Archive Group’s newspaper index database. I also downloaded back-ups of both the newspaper and photo databases, something that I should do more often.
I shall go to bed early tonight in the hope of feeling recovered tomorrow. Being a snivelling wretch is not good.
The flying bird of the day is one of the passing jackdaws dropping in for a moment’s rest.