Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Carlisle Community Choir’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Australian correspondent Stephen.  Having read about the Langholm Christmas tree illumination, he sent me this shot to show that Australians can do Christmas too.

australian Christmas tree

Talking about Christmas, our resident robin is working hard to get us into a Christmas mood.

sunny robin

As you can see, we had another sunny day today but once again, it was pretty nippy and the thermometer didn’t get above zero all day.

The odd goldfinch braved the cold and made it to the feeder, but they didn’t stay long.

goldfinch departing

Mrs Tootlepedal had a quiet morning in after yesterday’s very long day, so I went off to sing in the church choir by myself.  Our potential new minister has been voted in by the congregation but will not start work for ten days so we had a visiting minister today who chose cheerful hymns and gave us an interesting sermon.

When I got home, the feeder was still quite busy but the bright sunshine is a mixed blessing when it come to taking pictures of the visitors and I settled for a flying chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…and a sitting greenfinch…

greenfinch on feeder

…before getting ready for a walk.  The robin appeared again before I could go out…

sunny robin 2

…but I managed to resist the temptation to take even more pictures of it and went out into the cold.

Out of the sun, it really was cold in the garden and this was the side window of our car.

car window ice

After three days of frost, the leaves in the garden are no longer just fringed with crystals, they are covered with them.

garden leaf ice

…and even our wooden heron has got signs of a runny nose.

garden heron drip nose

A box ball summed up the two sides of the day…

half frozen box ball

…and Lilian Austin was frozen stiff.

frozzen rose

The chilly conditions had turned every leaf on one of the golden box balls into little ice flowers.

frozen golden box leaves

I left the garden and walked up to Pool Corner where a lone larch tree has retained some its needles.

last of the larches

I liked this contrast in tree shapes as I passed the Wauchope graveyard.

three trees wauchope

Expert navigators are supposed to be able to tell the points of the compass by looking at moss growing on tree trunks.  Today, the ice on fence posts gave a pretty good indication of East and West.

frozen fence post

Who needs diamonds when its frosty?

fence post ice

I crossed the Auld Stane Brig and walked back towards the town along Gaskells Walk.  I was keeping an eye for hair ice and I was pleased to find an example beside the path.

hair ice gaskells

The track runs along the side of the hill and was in shadow so it was occasionally icy underfoot and always chilly.

 

icy gaskells

My hands had got pretty cold from taking my gloves off to use the camera and I had to keep a good eye on the where I was putting my feet so the camera stayed in my pocket and I concentrated on walking fast enough to keep warm.

I added Easton’s walk to the end of Gaskell’s walk and found another example of hair ice as I walked back along the river.

hair ice eastons

I was pleased to get back into the warmth when I got home.

When we drove to Carlisle after lunch to go to our Carlisle Choir, the temperature was -5°C and we hit a fairly thick patch of fog not long after we started.  I wondered how the electric car would enjoy these conditions but it seemed unworried, although the battery charge went down a lot more quickly than it does in the summer.

Luckily the fog didn’t last for long and we got to the choir in lovely sunshine. This was the last practice before two concerts next weekend so we worked hard to polish up some of the awkward corners that had remained a little rough.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I agreed as we drove home (-6°C) that time will have to be found during the week for some final homework on the songs.

The temperature should get above freezing tomorrow (fog permitting) and we are due to get up to double figures by Friday.  I hope we do as I have done very little cycling lately and I am getting distinctly tubby.  Two mile walks taking pictures are fun but they don’t burn calories.

The flying bird of the day is a rather dashing chaffinch, showing great determination in the pursuit of a seed.

flying chaffinch lunge

Read Full Post »

Looking through my files. I found that I had overlooked this guest picture sent to me by my sister Susan last month.  It shows the good work of a guerrilla gardener who is brightening up her neighbourhood.

guerilla gardener

After spending some time devoted to the essentials of life, reading the papers and doing the crossword, I felt the need for some novelty and went off to visit our corner shop to buy milk.

“Where is the novelty in that?” I hear the attentive reader cry.

Well, in a deeply unsettling event, our corner shop, which has been on a corner about 100 yards from our door for decades, has suddenly upped and moved 150 yards further away, round a corner and down the road.  It is now a quarter of a mile away and not on a corner any more.  The world has shaken on its foundation.

I managed to find it without too much of a problem.

When I got back though, I needed a coffee to settle my nerves.

After coffee and a few ginger biscuits, I felt that the lack of actual rain outside on a very grey day justified the putting on of cycling gear and getting out my bike.

As I was going out of the door, I passed Mrs Tootlepedal coming in.  “It’s just starting to rain,” she said.

Was I discouraged?  Well, I was a little discouraged but the rain was light and the day was reasonably warm so I pedalled off in good spirits, helped by having a friendly wind pushing me along.

I managed to last for twenty miles, pedalling up the top of Callister and back down to the town, and then up as far as  Wauchope Schoolhouse and back so that I was never too far from home in case the day turned nasty.  It rained pretty well all the time, but generally so lightly that it wasn’t a drawback to enjoyment.  It was wet enough for me to keep my camera in my pocket until just outside Langholm, I came across a small river of fungus flowing down a bank beside the road.

river of fungus

I had never seen fungus there before so I stopped for a look.

Springhill fungus

When I got home, I was just about to have some soup which Mrs Tootlepedal had made while I was out, when I thought that I saw two robins in the plum tree.

I took two pictures with my cycling camera.  Whether they were of two different birds or the same one on two different branches, I cannot say for sure.  This one looks familiar…

robin in plum tree

…but this one has been ringed and is certainly not our usual friend.

ringed robin

The day got greyer and greyer, if that was possible, so photographing birds through the window was a bit of a thankless task, made harder by a distinct lack of birds. (I blame encroaching cats among other things.)

I did see some birds enjoying our sunflower hearts, among them this chaffinch, who like me had been getting a little wet…

chaffinch eating seed

…and this goldfinch who apparently wasn’t enjoying the meal as much as it might.

goldfinch eating seed

I did catch another glimpse of a robin, this time lurking under a hedge.

shy robin

I put a grey afternoon to good use by practising some of our Carlisle choir songs and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were singing away when Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea.

When he left, I lit a fire in the front room and got ready for the arrival of my flute pupil Luke.  He has been practising a bit in a most satisfactory way and I will definitely have to work hard to keep up with him.

I thought that today might be as grey as it could get but it looks as though it is going to be even greyer tomorrow.  Flying birds might be in short supply.  This ‘just landed’ flying bird was the best that I could do today.

nearly flying chaffinch

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Tony on a walk in East Wemyss, the land of eternal sunshine.

east wemyss sunset

Our weather got warmer today but there was not a hint of sunshine here as Mrs Tootlepedal and I cycled to church to hear our potential new minister preach a sermon before the congregation voted on whether to accept his nomination for the position.

There was a good turnout and the choir was in the middle of singing an anthem when the lights suddenly went out.  We battled on gamely, peering at the music in the ecclesiastical gloom but it was all in vain because a few seconds later the organ gave up as its wind ran out with a sigh.

With great presence of mind, our organist zipped downstairs from the gallery and accompanied the last hymn of the service from a handy upright piano near the lectern.

Was it an omen?  We don’t know because the queue of church members to vote was so long that we had to leave long before the result was announced.

We got home in time for a cup of coffee before taking my stepmother Patricia for a final walk before she caught the train home.

Although it hasn’t rained a lot lately, the lack of sun has meant that things are generally rather damp and we had to mind our heads when walking under dangling conifer branches.

dripping conifet

We walked up the river to the Duchess Bridge…

duchess bridge through mossy tree

…where Patricia and Mrs Tootlepedal paused to check on the river below.

pat and Mrs t on duchess bridge

We crossed the bridge and I noted a very pale fungus beside the Lodge Walks…

white fungus

…down which we walked  towards the Sawmill Brig…

walkers on lodge walks

…noting a late leafy tree…

late autumn leaves lodge walks

…and a profusion of bright red berries at the gate…

red berries lodge walks

…before we got to the bridge and leaned over it in the hope of seeing a dipper or two.

There were no dippers to be seen today so I took a picture, staring straight down at the water below, of a sapling growing out of the cutwater of the bridge.

tree on butress sawmill brig

We introduced Patricia to Mr Grumpy who was standing on one leg today…

heron

…and noted a rook who was taking advantage of the free parking provided by our local authority on the Kilngreen.

rook parking

Looking down the High Street as we got to the Town Bridge, we could see the fine Christmas tree, freshly installed in front of the Town Hall.

town christmas tree 2019

As you can see from the Town hall clock, it was nearly one o’clock and we had time for a bowl of Mrs Tootlepedal’s leek and potato soup before driving off to Carlisle where we put Patricia on to the London train and then, having waved her goodbye, we went on to a practice with the Carlisle Community choir.

We worked hard at the practice as we have a concert in two weeks and by the time that we got home, we were ready for a sit down.  It has been a couple of busy weeks.

I didn’t have a chance to catch a flying bird at the feeder today so a rook making use of a bench on the Kilngreen is standing in for the flying bird of the day.

rook on becnh

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s recent holiday.  As well as waterfalls and wonderful views, he and Marianne also saw this.

alpaca from Tony

We had the coldest night of the year so far and woke to a frosty scene.

frosty leaves

It was chilly but the birds were active.  A dunnock looked in soon after breakfast.

dunnock

The ground was pretty hard but that didn’t discourage a small group of jackdaws from pecking vigorously at the middle lawn.

two jackdaws pecking

We left the jackdaws to it and went off to take part in the Remembrance Day service in the church.  It was an unusual day for the choir as the hymns were accompanied by the town band and not our organist but we had some rousing hymns to sing so we didn’t mind.

After the service, we watched for a while as wreaths were laid at the war memorial and then headed home.

After a cup of coffee, I went out for a short walk to see how my feet would behave.  I was a bit shocked by how sore they were yesterday so I hoped to find out that that was just an aberration…and take in some nice weather at the same time.

It really was a lovely day and the calm state of the Wauchope as it passed under the Kirk Brig shows how lucky we have been here when there has been so much rain not very far away.

kirk brig reflective

I passed the war memorial with its wreaths….

war memorial remembrance day

…and some tough minded wild flowers and an interesting stick…

two wild flowers

…on my way up to the track at the Stubholm.

The sun made the best of what autumn colour is left…

stubholm track november

…and picked out some very red berries on a mature holly tree beside the track.

holly berries

A little further along, a combination of very yellow leaves and the direct sunshine produced a dazzling display which was a delight to me but which completely threw the processor in my camera which couldn’t cope with it at all.

stubholm tracj dazzle

As my current pocket camera had resisted all entreaties to behave and continued to be very stubborn when it came to taking any pictures at all, I was carrying my old Lumix with me.  It is in poor condition and I only use it on cycle trips now. Still, it did its best today even if it couldn’t cope with the leaf/sun combination.

It noted a small crop of fungus on an old log on the ground…

fungus on old log

…and a curious flaky growth on a branch above my head.  I don’t know whether this is a fungus or a lichen.

fungus on branch

And it enjoyed looking back over the town from a vantage point.

view from stubholm bank

I walked along this very autumnal path…

top path at end of stubholm

…which took me down to the river bank and back home.  My feet behaved very well.  This was a relief.

When I got home, I ordered a new camera.  It may be possible to live without champagne and caviar, but it is impossible to live without a good quality pocket camera.   (The camera on my phone is not great at all unless conditions are perfect.)

After this, I had a little time to watch the birds and was pleased to see that the/a blue tit had visited again…

blue tit looking up

…and that a mixed bag of finches and sparrows was on the feeder (I had replaced the missing perch).

full feeder

I didn’t have time for a longer walk, a short bike ride or more bird watching as we went off to Carlisle straight after lunch because we wanted to do some shopping before going to our Carlisle choir.

Our choir conductor has just won a prestigious singing prize in a competition in London so she was in a very cheerful mood.  She communicated this cheeriness to us and we had a very enjoyable and progressive practice.

Among the things that I bought on our shopping trip was a swish new feeder for the birds.  I have put it out already so I will be very interested to see what they make of it tomorrow.  The store where I bought it is having a closing down sale so I got it at an advantageous price.

I didn’t have enough standing around time today to catch a flying bird so this one, which was flying half a second before I took the picture, will have to do as the nearly flying bird of the day.

nearly flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s visit to Kedlestone Hall.  Looking over the reflective bridge, he could see the hall itself, as this very fine picture shows.

Keddlestone Hall

We woke to a rather gloomy, occasionally rainy morning but we were able to cycle to church to sing with the choir, although once again, the bike seat needed drying carefully before I could cycle home after the service.

When I got home, I made a venison stew for the slow cooker and then drove off to our local recycling point to get rid of a small mountain of paper and do a little shopping. The weather had taken a turn for the better while I was cooking but by the time that I got back home after shopping, it had started to drizzle again, so I gave up any thought of going for a walk and mooched around drinking coffee and occasionally looking out of the window.

There was quite a bit of traffic out there to catch the eye.

A blue tit….

blue tit on bigus tree

…a goldfinch…

goldfinch

…and a chaffinch all tried the seeds.

chaffinch

It didn’t rain much and I had time for a walk round the garden where I saw the autumn colours of a self seeded rowan tree that is growing near the new bench…

new rowan

…and a selection of good looking black and white berries with some rather tired flowers.

berries and flowers november

After lunch, we went off to Carlisle to sing with the Community choir.  After the fun of last weekend in Glasgow, it was back to the serious business of singing Christmas songs for our forthcoming concert today.  A potential new tenor had come to try out the choir but at the end of the practice, he told me that he wasn’t coming back as he couldn’t stand all this gloomy Christmas music.

Perhaps it was the way that we were singing them.

After the practice, we scuttled back home and I picked up my camera and walked back to the Langholm Bridge.

A group of enterprising people with the good of the town at heart have raised funds and organised a bonfire and firework display.  I could see that the bonfire was well alight by the time that I got to the bridge….

bonfire from bridge

…and I walked onward to the Kilngreen to enjoy a closer view.  It was an impressive sight.

binfire from kilngreen

A good crowd had assemble to enjoy the fun.

crowd watching fire

Someone told that when the pipe band had led the procession to the bonfire up the High Street to the Kilngreen, the High Street had been full from the bridge right back to the Town Hall.

I took his picture.

big dave at the binfire

After a while, the fireworks began.  At first, a modest display of cheerfully coloured but quiet illuminations set the scene…

first fireworks

…followed by some extravagant gestures…

fireworks 2019 1

…but soon things warmed up with some interesting cross fire…

fireworks 2019 2

…with enough smoke to make me glad to be standing upwind of the explosions.

fireworks 2019 3

The display had an excellent variety of effects from the traditional starbursts…

fireworks 2019 4

…to a loud and noisy section which painted the sky with dazzling flowers of light.

fireworks 2019 5

As well as big bangs and bags of sparkle, there was colour…

fireworks 2019 6

…and fountains…

fireworks 2019 7

…and curious curly whirly things.

fireworks 2019 8

There were trees of light…

fireworks 2019 9

…and spectacular lichens.

fireworks 2019 10

The show seemed to go for ever, though in real life I think that it lasted for about a quarter of an hour.  When it finished, the crowd gave a heartfelt round of applause to the organisers and the display designers.

If the purpose of a festival of fire at this time of year is to lift the spirits as we head into the winter months, this one certainly succeeded and I wish that I could have done it more justice with my camera.  It was a thoroughgoing treat.

Venison stew with boiled potatoes and Brussels sprouts was waiting for me when I got home as Mrs Tootlepedal was not so keen on rushing out to see the fireworks as I was.

The flying bird of the day is a rather impressionistic sparrow taken at the gloomiest part of the morning.

vague flying sparrow

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who came across a collection of 1000 year old Peruvian bottles.  I am not entirely sure that I would like to own bottles that were giving me  a hard stare.

peruvian bottles

In spite of the title of today’s post, it was actually Glasgow Central Station where we stood up and sang today and we didn’t even get a glass of champagne from the station bar.

Glasgow central station

After our hard day of practice, workshops and a concert yesterday, the Carlisle Community Choir on Tour had a more relaxed day today, wandering about the streets of Glasgow and surprising many unwary passers by suddenly forming a mass and bursting into song.

Nobody threw anything and many people applauded heartily so we enjoyed ourselves.

Luckily the weather was in a very kindly mood too and blessed us with brilliant sunshine.

Glasgow george square 1

We were based around George Square where the interior of the impressive City Chambers has starred in many movies as an important building supposedly in many different countries.

Glasgow george square 2

The surrounding architecture likes to throw in a column or two where possible.

Glasgow george square 3

And there is an eclectic mix of styles on every side.

Glasgow george square 4

There is absolutely nothing that a Glaswegian likes more than sticking a traffic cone on a statue and they had surpassed themselves here, we thought, not just with two cones but a pumpkin too.

Glasgow cones

We sang in Central Station and in three or four other locations before ending up back in George Square for our last effort.

Then we had a bit of free time, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I popped into the Gallery of Modern Art for some culture and a Waterstones bookshop for a teacake and some coffee.  Mrs Tootlepedal brought a book on wild flowers and as a result, I hope to be able to be a bit more informative next spring when the wild flowers return.

The lady at the desk in the gallery of modern art told us that she had seen the choir gathering outside the door earlier in the morning and had assumed that we were going to have a group visit to the gallery so she had got out a pile of brochures for us. Then she said, “But you burst into song and it was wonderful.  I wish that I could hear that every day when I came to work.”  We were much touched.  She didn’t even mind having to put all the brochures away again,.

The journey back to Carlisle was smooth and as the scenery was bathed in sunshine, it was no hardship to look at it as it went by and the 90 miles passed quickly.

All in all, the weekend was a great success but as it was quite energetic, so this is going to be another brief post.  I apologise to all the authors of the brilliant posts whose offerings I have not read while I was away.  I will try to catch up tomorrow.

There was a great flock of flying pigeons in George Square, but trying to catch them in the air with a phone was tricky, so here they are at ground level.  (You can see some choir members in the background.)

Glasgow pigeons

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from Simon and this time shows the inside of the covered bridge between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  I do not know whether the light at the end of the tunnel is in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

swiss bridge

After yesterday’s extremely gloomy weather, we enjoyed a bright and cheerful day today, although it was a bit colder than we have become used to with the thermometer unable to creep into double figures.

As a result I put a pair of gloves on before cycling off to church with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We had a ‘Songs of Praise’ service today with favourite hymns chosen by members of the congregation.  Fifty hymns were suggested and the Worship Team had chosen the eight most popular for the service.  That amounted to quite a lot of singing but as they were tuneful hymns, it was no hardship.

The sun was still out when we got home so after a look round the garden…

fuchsia, marigolds, verbena, rose

…where I was pleased to see an insect on nodding acquaintance with the Crown Princess…

rose with insect

…Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out for a short three bridges walk to enjoy the day.

There is colour about but much of it is already on the ground.

tree at suspension bridge

The lonely gull that haunts the stretch of the River Esk between the Suspension and the Town bridge was in its regular place again today…

lonely gull

…And as we watched the gull, a flash of blue speeding up the river turned our heads.  A kingfisher had flown past us at speed.  It was far to quick to catch on camera so we walked up to the Town Bridge to see if it had stopped nearby.

tree at meeting of waters

There was no sight of it unfortunately but a look back down the river was quite rewarding.

church and poplars from town bridge

We crossed the bridge and walked down onto the Kilngreen.  It was a good morning for a walk.

looking at Timpen

We were not the only ones taking advantage of the day and when we reached to Lodge Walks we could see other walkers…

lodge walks 20 Oct

…in every direction.

Lodge walks 20 oct (2)

Although we have long thought that the trees along the Lodge Walks are all beeches, looking at the trees on recent walks have shown us that some of them are hornbeams.  Although their leaves  are different to beech leaves, their trunks are so similar that it is not too surprising that we have only just noticed.

There is still no sign of all out autumn colour but the variety of shades among the trees across the Castleholm is still very attractive to me.

 

castleholm trees 20 Oct

And the felling of the conifer plantation at the far end has made the walk more scenically enjoyable.

view over pheasant hatchery

We didn’t walk far and having passed under this well established fungus near the Lodge…

old fungus duchess bridge

…we walked down the leaf covered track to the Duchess Bridge and headed home…

leafy tarck to duchess bridge

…pausing to enjoy the view from the bridge…

river esk from duchess bridge

…and also the glint of sunshine on moss covered fallen branches in the dark wood on the far side of the river.

moss in wood besode esk

When we got back, I was impressed by how vigorously the Weigela is producing a second flush of flowers after its first flowering in June.  Looking at my records, I see that it also flowered in October in both 2018 and 2017 but the last time before that was in 2011.

weigela oct 20

An insect was exploring a rather bedraggled dahlia.

insect on dahlia oct 20

Like the fuchsias in the flower beds, the ornamental fuchsia in the chimney is also enjoying the season.

pot fuchsia oct 20

We went in and I made some celery and Stilton soup for lunch which we ate with enjoyment, and then there was just time to sieve a little compost and practise a song or two before we set off for Carlisle and the Community Choir practice.

Our conductor, who is based in Glasgow, has organised a musical weekend for us in the city next week, including a joint concert with one of her other choirs so we had a good solid practice today in preparation for the jaunt.

Not surprisingly after eight hymns in the morning and a good sing in the afternoon, my throat feels as though it needs a bit of cossetting this evening.  Our conductor says there will be even more singing next weekend and we may need a lie down after it.

I had made a pasta sauce in the slow cooker in the morning and we were quite ready for a reviving meal when we got home.   There was a beautiful sunset as we drove back from Carlisle but after the clocks go back next weekend, we will be returning from Carlisle in darkness, a signal that the long winter months will be upon us.

The flying bird of the day, a black headed gull, was asleep at its post and not flying at all..

gull on post

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »