Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia. The weather is so kindly in the south that her roses are still flowering, even when it is frosty.
It wasn’t frosty here today, but it was another unsympathetic and grey day. We cycled round to church to find that the organ has been taken away for restoration and the choir was seated in a side aisle downstairs, singing to a piano. We are hoping that it won’t be too long before the organ is restored and we are once again sitting up aloft.
We had coffee when we got home, and there were some very tasty ginger biscuits to go with it.
In spite of a couple of visits from the sparrowhawk, fortunately without any success, the feeder was pretty busy today. It was mostly chaffinches but the occasional goldfinch was to be seen.
They flew in from every side.
After lunch, I had just enough time to go for a three mile walk before going off to Carlisle for my afternoon choir.
I checked the winter honeysuckle and the magnolia in the garden as I left.
Although we have had a lot of grey skies, it has been a dry month and there was not much water running under the town bridge when I got to it . . .
. . . and there were not many birds about after I had crossed the bridge.
I walked up the Lodge Walks to the North Lodge, passing a rather mysterious set of logs on my way.
Why only these logs have not been taken away, and why they are arranged like this is an open question. Maybe there is a use for them and they are being left to dry.
A broken stump in the wood beside the Lodge still catches the eye . . .
. . .but after having spotted the liverwort on the tree trunk on my last outing, I was looking around to see if there were more about. It is a truism to say that you won’t see anything if you don’t look, and I soon realised that I had passed many examples on previous outings.
I had seen them before, but I hadn’t looked at them.
I tried to get a better close up today and managed to get some lichens by accident as well. . .
Some helpful readers and a bit of quick research lead me to believe that what I was looking at is frullania dilatata or dilated scalewort, a subpinnately branched leafy liverwort which is found very widely in the UK.
I could do with a nice bright day to take a good picture. These were the best that the macro on my phone could do today.
If any expert can confirm or deny the ID, I would be pleased to hear from them.
Seeing the liverworts was the main purpose of my walk, and as I was a bit short of time for idle wandering, I pushed on a bit once I took the track above the wood back from the North Lodge.
I was grateful for the dry weather. It has left the usually quite soggy track in a very walkable condition.
I did have one more close up opportunity when I saw a contrast in colours between moss and lichen on a tree . . .
. . . but in general I kept my eyes on where I was going. There is no doubt at all that it is still winter in spite of any green shoots in the garden. Colour is in short supply. . .
. . . and there is no doubt also that however many trees Storm Arwen knocked down, the commercial timber companies knock down and pile up a lot more.
I got back in perfect time to collect my music and head off for a Carlisle Community Choir practice. We are still singing socially distanced and wearing masks, so numbers are well down on what they were two years ago, but our conductor has not lost any of her enthusiasm and we had a really good sing today. We have got a new accompanist. She has played at Carnegie Hall, Filarmonica Sibiu in Romania, RNCM, Belfast Castle and Wigmore Hall, so we feel that she may well be up to the task of playing for us.
A smoked sausage, mushroom and pepper risotto brought the day to an end.
The flying bird of the day is the only gull that I saw in the air on my walk.