Opening my eyes

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Opening my eyes

      1. Good luck with it.; I don’t feel that choral singing is being treated quite as well as football, where huge crowds are allowed to sing their tuneless hearts out as much as tyhey like.

      2. At the moment Boris is surviving because he is still the darling of the shires. If he steps over the line I’m sure the 1922 Committee will send round Rees-Mogg with a cloak and scythe . . .

      3. I think that he will survive until the right wing press think that he is harming their interests. It is noticeable that complaints about taxation are beginning to appear.

  1. Lovely detail on your liverwort, and I never get to see script lichens at home, so that was a treat as well. The winter honeysuckle is a very hopeful sign, I’m starting to feel as though spring will never come…

  2. Hello TP,
    Wonderful observations and photos of the lichen, and I love the arching beech(?) boughs over the lane. You are indeed fortunate to have such wonderful terrain to explore, and how exciting to have such an accomplished accompanist to work with your Carlisle choir. Your reputation must have spread far and wide… or there was a good golden hello on offer?
    Best wishes

  3. Those are great macros of the liverwort for a phone camera. I don’t know enough about them to say one way or the other but it does look a lot like the ones I see here.
    I liked the carved bird in the header. That would be a great thing to do with all the logs lying around.
    The winter honeysuckle was just what I needed to see.

    1. It is a pity that the carver who made the eagle has given up carving and gone back to his old job. There wasn’t enough business in the carving to keep him going.

  4. Venetia’s rock sculpture and frosty roses were are interesting and beautiful. It is frosty here to this morning, below freezing and mostly clear.

    I enjoyed all the photos from your day, especially the tunnel made by the overhanging branches of trees down that road, and the liverworts. I will pay closer attention here, and see if I can find some.

  5. Great macro photos of the liverwort- a new world to explore! Favourite photo is the arch of trees over the lane a proper winter tunnel. Amazing frosty roses – how lovely they must be brightening the garden in winter.

  6. I am a fan of the beautiful tree arch over the path too. And the lichens and liverworts are fascinating in the depths of their diversity. The one closeup looks like hieroglyphics.

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