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The guest picture of the day comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She recently took a break in the Highlands of Scotland where she saw this lovely little tree creeper.

tree creeper

The forecast was for sunshine and light winds in the morning and rain and strong wind in the afternoon.  As I was hoping to have coffee with Dropscone to find out about the state of his health, this meant that I would have to be up early and be well organised to get a bike ride in before coffee time.

To my own astonishment, I managed it.

It was a lovely morning for a pedal…

Chapelhill road

…but as I didn’t have a lot of time in hand, I pressed on without looking for cows or wild flowers in the verges to photograph.   I couldn’t miss Canonbie Church though.,..

Canonbie Church june

…or the ‘leaping poodle’ tree…

laughing poodle tree

…and the beauty of the River Esk at Irvine House called me to a halt too.

river esk at Irvine hiuse june

I got back after twenty miles in good time to get changed and grind the coffee before Dropscone arrived.

He has been given the all clear by the hospital after his golf buggy accident, but he will have to take things easily for a couple of weeks.  As he had just got his golf game working well after some months of poor form, he feels the accident was very badly timed but he is bearing up well and went off with some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s surplus runner beans to plant.

When he went, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a walk round the garden.  Just as the sensational white clematis flowers to the left of the front door are fading away, a new set of blue ones has arrived to the right of the door.

two front door clematis

Elsewhere in the garden, the flowers were reflecting the sunshine with bright colours…

four bright flowers

…and more subdued ones too.

four yellow flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of our melancholy thistles…

melancholy thistle june

…and it was hard to miss the bright Sweet Williams which are beginning to make a splash.

early sweet williams

Other flowers were to be seen…

four garden flowers

…and once again, there were a lot of bees about.

I put down the camera and got to work mowing the front and middle lawns.  As I was able to do this without having to use the box to collect the grass cuttings, it was an easy and pleasant task.  Cutting lawns every day or every other day is the secret of a happy life….and leads to good looking lawns.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy clearing nerines away from the base of the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.  Now that the bird feeder has been moved, she has plans for creating a little colourful spot to please the eye of the cook or washer up when he or she looks out of the window.

At the moment it is a blank canvas.

cleaned up sundial

I dug holes ready for her to plant the nerines in a different bed and then edged both lawns, shredded some hedge cuttings and sieved some compost.

By this time, we were both ready for some lunch and a sit down!

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had had a very heavy morning in the garden, went off for a siesta and I did the crossword and then looked at the weather.

In spite of the forecast, it didn’t look as though it was going to rain so I went for a walk.  I have cycled 100 miles in five lots of twenty gentle miles over the week and my feet and Achilles tendon have survived very well so I thought that I would see if some pedestrian exercise would help too and went for a two mile walk ’round the Becks’.

I went up the road first and passed under this very interesting tree with leaves within leaves.

varied leaf

As I was going slowly enough to stop easily, I kept my eye out for wild flowers…

four wild flowers

…but to tell the truth, I didn’t have to look very hard to find  them….

lots of wild of flowers

…as they lined my whole route from start to finish.

four more wild flowers

It was good to be out and about after not doing much walking at all for a month and I enjoyed the views even if the sun had gone in and the blue sky was disappearing.

view of whita from becks road

I crossed the Becks bridge when I came to it…

becks bridge june

…and very much enjoyed the little sunken buttercup meadow on the far side.

buttercup meadow becks

I haven’t had a good gate on the blog for some time so I thought that i ought tor repair that omission today.

gate june

I could have stopped for a picture very few yards but I didn’t want to get caught in the rain so I pushed on as fast as my feet would let me.  All the same, there were things to see on every side, slow worms at Pool Corner, moss recovering after the dry spell….

slow worm, hedge rose, moss and hawthorn

…hawthorn flowers turning pink as they go over and the first hedge roses of the year.

Two miles was as far as my feet would let me go, but the walk doesn’t seem to have made them worse and rest doesn’t seem to make them, better so I will try walking again as soon as weather permits.   The hills beckon.

When I got home, I had a look at the feeder in its new position.  Business was quiet with just a few sparrows coming and going…

sparrows coming and going

…so I went off to practise the songs for our forthcoming choir concert and the hymns for church on Sunday.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round.  They had brought a bottle of white wine with them and this provided fine lubrication for music and conversation.

Altogether, it was a full day, both useful and enjoyable.  The forecast is for a mixture of sunshine and showers in the week to come so I hope to be able to keep cycling and walking if my feet permit.

The flying bird of the day, taken when the sun was long gone, is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent.  She set herself up with this splendid view with the intention of enjoying the Red  Arrows display team as they flew towards her.   Unfortunately, owing to a failure of communication, they appeared from behind her and were past before she could get a good shot.  Still, the  countryside is lovely.

somerset view

We had dawn till dusk sunshine today (with the occasional cloud) and as a result, I spent a lot of time outside.

I was going to go cycling in the morning but Mrs Tootlepedal had asked if I could clean the tray which catches the fallen seed below the bird feeder so while she went off for a meeting, I did that.  Bird poop and soggy seed are difficult to get off so this took me some time.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned and it was such a  fine day that it seemed like a really good time to dig up the remaining potatoes and let them dry before storing them.

There were quite a lot to raise.

potatoes on bed

Some of them were definitely not small potatoes.

big potato

And the haulms needed chopping up and putting into the compost bin.

compost bin full of haulms

And I couldn’t spend time in the garden without looking around a bit.

yellow bee

three poppies

two reggae

And after all this, it was suddenly time for lunch and I still hadn’t gone cycling.

After lunch, I checked on the butterflies.  There were a lot about and as the buddleia blooms are going over, it wasn’t surprising to find a peacock and a red admiral sharing one of the ones that is still out.

peacock and admiral butterflies

I finally got cycling and soon found out that although the sun was out, there was a brisk wind to go with it so it was warm but hard going.  I set off to go over Callister but found that the loose gravel merchants had been at work there very recently so I turned back and took a diversion.  At one stage, this entailed going along a narrow road with a very poor surface, gently uphill and  straight into the wind.  I was pleased to take a rest and nibble on a bramble in a hedge…

bramble

…and make up for the recent lack of gates in the blog.

gate

I passed several farmers in the process of getting a second cut of grass for storage.

grass cutting in field

They must be pleased because when the cold wet spring was followed by a drought, things didn’t look very promising.

In spite of the constant verge cutting, some (short) wild flowers are showing again beside the road as I pedal along.

wild flower

For one reason or another, my legs were in a very uncooperative mood and the wind was coming from a rather unhelpful direction so my progress would have made a snail feel quite comfortable.

I needed a few stops to let the legs recover and I took one of them at this small bridge over a little burn a few yards from the border with England.

bridge near Springfield

It was a pretty spot…

path at bridge near Springfield

…with a lot of Himalayan balsam about.

balsam at bridge near Springfield

I took my last breather, about three miles from home and was impressed by the seediness of the area.

rosebay willowherb seed

seed head

In spite of my lacklustre legs, I managed 43 miles and found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy while I was out.  She had collected up the potatoes…

potatoes in barrow

The ones in the bucket are damaged and have to be eaten first.

…and sorted out the bed.

potato bed

She is going to sow green manure in the bed now.

I checked on the butterflies and saw five peacocks at once….

five butterflies

…and then went in for a cup of tea and a look at the birds among the plums on the plum tree.

birds in plum tree

Mrs Tootlepedal was preparing a home made pizza for our tea (our breadmaking machine makes a very good dough for pizza bases) and while she was doing this, I had another check on the butterflies….

four butterfleis and a bee

Four butterflies and a bee on the same flower head this time.

…before going off for a shower and coming down to eat the delicious pizza.

We are taking a keen interest in La Vuelta (the Tour of Spain cycle race) and I was very envious of the beautifully surfaced roads that they were cycling along today though I was happy not to be going down the final hill with them at 76 kph.  My nose starts bleeding at 48 kph.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow threatening the position of a greenfinch.

incoming sparrow

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s Irish holiday.  As well as an interesting wall, he found an interesting house.

irish house

After more snow overnight, the first task of the day was to clear the path along our drive and go to the shops for some milk.  The path was cleared but the milk hadn’t got through to the shop so we just have to hope that there will be some there tomorrow.

The path clearing had the unhappy effect of bringing on the snow again and it then snowed on and off for the rest of the day, leaving us with nine inches by the evening.

As there was a brisk wind blowing and the snow is light and fluffy, it was sometimes hard to tell whether we were seeing snow falling or just blowing past the window.  Either way, it wasn’t a good day for watching the birds as the kitchen window was often covered with snowflakes.

Dropscone and Sandy braved the snow to come for coffee and as Dropscone brought some of his excellent treacle scones with him, we were all greatly cheered up.

After coffee, I cleared the path again and spotted a robin on the feeder…

robin

…before making some soup for lunch.

There was a promise of occasional sunny spells in the afternoon so I was mentally prepared for a walk after lunch and when things lightened up, I put on my coat and shot out.

I sneaked across the unfinished dam bridge and saw that the dam itself was pretty well snowed up.

dam filled with snow

I had to run the gauntlet of some dangerous looking icicles on a gutter in Caroline Street…

icicles in caroline Street

…but after I passed, a resident was doing his best to knock them off with some well aimed snowballs.

There has not been a lot of driving about lately and you can see why.

snow covered car

Although the main roads are reasonably clear, the advice is not to drive unless it is absolutely necessary.  Because we get so little snow, it is hard to be prepared for it when it comes and also unreasonably expensive to get all the gear suitable for snow and ice which you might then use for perhaps only three days over two years.

Fifty years ago, lots of people, including us,  had chains for their car tyres because it snowed a lot more and cars were trickier to drive but I doubt if anyone still has them now.  Many of the problems on our roads come from the fact that so many businesses operate on a ‘just in time’ basis and in effect have mobile storage depots on motorways.  It only takes one sliding articulated lorry to block a road. Mind you, optimistic and inexperienced car drivers don’t help either.

It was reasonably clear when I started my walk….

Langholm bridge

…but by the time that I had crossed the bridge, far from the sun coming out, it had started to snow again.

Langholm bridge

I plodded on, making heavy weather of the deep snow but not tempted to to take a rest on this bench.

kilngreen bench

When I needed a breather, there was always something to look at.

kilngreen trees

It was a lot easier when I had some car tracks to walk in along the Lodge walks.

Lodge walks in snow

gate

When the snow stopped and the tops of the hills came into view, I was interested to see that the wind was so strong  that it looked as though the higher up the hill you went, the less snow there was.  I could see a hint of green on the summit of Timpen.

Timpen in snow

The trees were very neatly outlined.

snowy bare tree

The gas canisters were the only spot of colour on my walk but there were many good patterns.

snow shots

There is a lot of ice on the edges of the river but it doesn’t look as though it will be anywhere near cold enough for the whole river to ice up.

esk with ice

I certainly hope so.

I crossed the Duchess Bridge which looked quite handsome in the snow…

duchess bridge

…and this was more than could be said of the view from the middle of the bridge as it had started snowing heavily again as soon as I stepped onto it.

view from duchess bridge

As it was mostly buried under the snow, there had not been much in the way of lichens or moss to look at on my walk but the wall at the Scholars’ Field had small piece of iced moss on display.

moss

Once again, I was interested to see how different the moss looks from a distance and in close up.

When I got home, I cleared the snow from on top of and around our car which is parked up the road a bit during the bridge repair works.  As a kind passer by noted, this may have been a bit of a Sisyphean task and it started snowing again not long after I had finished.  I also cleared the path along our drive and that was soon covered up again.

snowy path

With a forecast of more snow showers tomorrow, a continual 25 mile per hour wind and the temperature at or about freezing all day,  I may have a busy drive clearing day in front of me.  Still, it keeps me occupied which must be a good thing.  And on the plus side, the snow is the easiest shovelling snow that I can ever remember meeting.

As the alert reader will have realised, we didn’t go to Edinburgh to see Matilda today, even though it was a Thursday.   Honestly, as superior newspaper columnists tend to ask on these occasions, what is wrong with us?  Two flakes of snow and the whole country shuts down.  Get a grip Britain!  But we are old and cautious these days.

The individual flying bird was not easily found in the whirling snow and poor light and strong winds make them unwilling to hover if they can avoid it so an ensemble piece will have to do.

busy feeder

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary’s Lake District trip.  I have shown you some of her nice bridges so I thought I better include a lake too.  This is Grasmere.

Grasmere

The main business of the day was our Carlisle Community Choir concert in the afternoon but the morning was free for other things.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I had another go at shooting bees.

I got a better picture but I wonder if this is a hoverfly and not a bee at all.

hoverfly

There were definite bees about.

bee

Collecting pollen from a Welsh poppy

I peered into the heart of a poppy….

poppy

…and enjoyed the sight a new rosa complicata popping out in the middle of the rosa moyesii.

roses

Back inside, I went through all the songs for the concert and then to give my head a rest, I went for a short walk round Gaskell’s.

I started with a view of seven ducklings at Pool Corner…

seven ducklings

…and wished that I had brought my other camera with me to do them justice.

I have been rather lax in the matter of taking gate pictures lately so here is one with a fine view of a meadow behind it.

Young riders field

There had been  sharp shower of rain while I was going through the songs and everything looked very fresh in the sunshine….

springhill

…though I kept an eye for encroaching clouds.

Harry's Hounds field

I was lucky though and it stayed fine while I walked and only rained again early in the afternoon.

I had interested spectators.

cow at auld stane brig

There were lots of wild flowers to keep me entertained.  Here are some samples.

Two purple…

toadflax and geranium

Toadflax and geranium

Two pink.

clover and campion

Clover and campion

And two geums.  I like really whiskery flower.

geums

There were fruits as well as flowers.

raspberry

I think that might be an early blackberry flower on the left and there is an indication of a very healthy wild raspberry crop to come on the right.

The path back to the town was a narrow causeway in a sea of green.

Gaskell's Walk

Spring is turning into summer and the lambs are growing up.

lambs

It was a refreshing walk and there was just time for another look through the songs and an early lunch before we sett off to Carlisle for a final rehearsal and the concert.

Our concert was held in St Cuthbert’s Church, a very handsome church with a gallery.

St Cuthbert's

It was hard work, as we had a intense workout at the songs and then only a short break before the concert itself.  The audience gave every evidence of thoroughly enjoying the programme and as far as the tenors went, we did many things pretty well and did our best to forget about the moments when our memories let us down.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I have put our names down for a final flourish next week when some of the choir are giving an informal performance and then the singing season will have ended for another year and we will have a couple of months off before starting all over again.

Next to the car park where we left the car while we sung is a large area of flat ground which was occupied by car showrooms until recently.  The show rooms have been demolished and the area is now occupied by gulls, lots of them.

gulls

Mrs Tootlepedal was very impressed by the fact that almost all the gulls were sitting pointing in the same direction.  They were there at half past one when we arrived and they were still there at six o’clock when we left.  I wondered if they were sitting on nests among the concrete.

With a busy day on the cards tomorrow, we were glad to have a quiet evening in.

A flower of the day to end with today as I couldn’t catch anything in flight.

_DSC5624

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my friend Gavin’s son Fraser when Gavin went to Yosemite with him.  I gather that you may have to knock other photographers out of the way to take this stunning view.

Yosemite

We had another day of mostly sunny weather but with an even stronger and colder north wind than yesterday so we were not as appreciative of the sunshine as we might have been.  The clear skies had brought low temperatures which had done a bit of damage to tulips and azalea alike.

frost damage

I have been rushing about a bit lately so I had decided that this would be a day of mainly doing nothing.  This gave me the opportunity to take a few bird pictures and see if I had learned anything from last night’s camera club meeting.  I tried to get some slightly sharper flying shots.

flying siskin

flying chaffinch

flying goldfinch

…with variable success but with enough progress to keep me trying.  For some reason, the flying birds went better than a sitting redpoll.

redpoll

In this way, I passed a leisurely morning though the sunshine got me out into the garden for long enough to do some dead heading of daffodils and mowing of the greenhouse grass.  It is very satisfying to find myself throwing the dead headed daffs into a sparkling new compost bin.

After lunch, the lure of the sunshine drew me out for a walk.  I took a fixed lens pocket camera with me in an effort to take some better quality pictures here too.

I was a bit handicapped though by the changeable conditions.  I was just heading up past the golf course and this stunning garden escape…

berberis

…with a view to going up on to the hill for some expansive views when the wind became even gustier, the temperature dropped and it started to sleet with a vengeance.

Luckily there was a handy tree under which I was able to shelter until the shower had passed.

The open hill had somehow lost its attraction so I headed down Drove Road (so called because it allowed those driving livestock through the town to avoid the toll bars in times past) and waited for the sun to come out again.

It didn’t take long to arrive and I walked along a picturesque path….

Lamb Hill gate

(I was looking for black and white opportunities but the colours were so delightful that I didn’t find any)

Lamb Hill path

(See what I mean?)

Lamb Hill path

…..until I came to the hill road and walked down that to the main road and set off away from the town towards the High Mill Brig.  I had to cross this handsome little bridge under the main road at Whitshiels….

Whitshiels Bridge

…before getting to the High Mill Brig…

High Mill Brig

…which became a subject for experiment later on.

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and took the path above the fields on the other side of the river to get back to the town.

Ewes valley

Click (if you want) to get the bigger picture as I looked back down towards the Ewes Water

The path was dry underfoot and had several high quality gates along it…

Pathhead gate

 

…but the brisk wind blew the next sleet and hail shower along before I had got to the end of it.  Once again I was lucky to find a suitable tree to hide under and although i could have done with a few more leaves on the bare branches to shelter me from the storm, it kept me dry enough to enjoy the rest of the walk home when the sharp sleety shower had passed.

I passed the old Episcopal Church….

Episcopal Church

…and waited in vain for a sight of nuthatches before giving up and heading for home before the next shower came.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day today, helping at the Buccleuch Centre both at lunchtime and in the evening as well as doing a lot of gardening and some preparation for interior decoration.    She showed me a gardening disaster when I got back from my walk.  The Ballerina tulips had suffered badly from the morning cold which had attacked their stalks just below the flowers so many of them had lost their heads entirely…

Ballerina tulip.

…and ended up in a bowl in the kitchen.  This was a tragedy as they had looked at their best yesterday evening.

Mrs Tootlepedal has put in a request for less fighting birds and more peaceful scenes of perching so I got the camera out again and had another go.  I filled the feeders and the wind immediately blew the lid of one of them open which gave an opportunity to an enterprising pair of birds.

redpoll and siskin

Other birds waited in the plum tree, swaying about  in the brisk breeze…

chaffinch

…and the flying bird of the day is a pair of matching perching redpolls (who had been flying earlier).

redpolls

I completely failed in my effort to to take fewer but better pictures today.

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The guest picture of the day is a  hang glider caught in action by my brother as he climbed Blencathra last weekend.

Hang glider in action

Hang glider in action

I had more sun here today than my brother had on Blencathra but a little less exciting action this morning.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to chat to Matilda and I went out for a gentle cycle ride to test my general bike readiness.

It was a glorious morning…

chaffinch

…as this sunny chaffinch can testify.

I found a 20 mile circular route with a friendly wind and thoroughly enjoyed an hour and a half in the sunshine at a modest pace.

I stopped to take one picture just to show what a pleasant day it was.

Irvine House dell

I like the way that the wall seems to have been built to enclose these thee trees, making them look rather like a sacred grove.

When I got back to Langholm, I took the opportunity to pop into the Information Hub and book the gallery there for a two week  exhibition of Camera Club photographs in late July.

I had a moment to look out of the window while I made myself a cup of coffee.

three goldfinches

The goldfinches were in command of the feeder.

I didn’t take many pictures while cycling as it was my plan to go for an equally gentle walk after lunch and I duly put this plan into action.

I started by looking for nuthatches but only saw a blue tit instead.

blue tit

I walked on and had another look at the red fungus in the hollow tree trunk beside the Lodge walks.  There were more of them about.

red fungus

I am going to keep an eye on them to see how they develop.

There were some pretty colours beside the road further along.

moss and tree trunk

I crossed the Sawmill Brig and walked up the road to the rugby club and then took this inviting track…

Whitsiels track

…up onto the hill.

There will doubtless be readers who are feeling the lack of gates in recent posts very keenly so here is one of my favourites…

gate

…which I passed through today on my way to getting a good view up the Ewes valley…

Ewes valley

Dappled sun and shade was the order of the day.

..before heading across the fields in the general direction of the monument.

Monument

My sights were set rather lower than the top of the hill though and when I hit the road, I turned back along it down towards the town.

The wall beside the road, as ever, was rich with multicoloured lichen…

lichen

…but I stopped looking at the wall and climbed over a little banking and descended into an old quarry.  It is usually full of puddles and I was hoping to spot some frogs and frog spawn.  I was disappointed today as I didn’t see any frogs in spite of spotting a large puddle of promise.

puddle

On closer inspection, there was little or no frogs’ spawn and absolutely no frogs but to my delight, there were a large number of toads instead…

toad

…and lots of toad spawn…

toad spawn

…and on every side, toads making more spawn as I watched.

toads spawning

This was a sight that I have never seen before.

I left the toads to it and walked on down the hill towards the town.

There was more tree art to be seen…

tree stumps

… a beautiful dandelion saluting the sun…

dandelion

…and any number of other interesting things which I omitted to record.

When I came down to the river, I watched a gull…

gull

…and a goosander but the goosander stayed on the far side of the river and refused to be photographed.

While the sun was out, it was almost a hot day but when it clouded over, the cool breeze from the north made me glad to have a jacket on.

I had received a letter in the morning asking for some Archive Group publications and including a very reasonable donation so I had to walk up to the town to post the publications off and I dropped in on Nancy, our treasurer, on my way back to give her the news.  We agreed that it is very gratifying when our work is appreciated, especially with a small donation included.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Edinburgh but complained about having to negotiate ferocious potholes in the road on the way.

After tea, Susan came to pick me up and take me to Carlisle to play with our recorder group.  We had an unusually enjoyable evening of music from Giles Farnaby, through Purcell and Haydn and even a little Scott Joplin and it came as a surprise when it turned out to be time to stop.  To round off an excellent day,  the biscuits with our cup of tea after playing were particularly tasty.

Amidst all this pleasurable but peaceful  activity, I didn’t have much time to try to catch a flying bird so an angry duck shooting up the river will have to do for today.

duck

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s visit to Leicester and shows the Guildhall there.

Leicester Guildhall

The named storms keep rolling in and we are about to be visited by Imogen.  Because the jet stream has obligingly shifted a bit, Imogen is likely to pass us by and visit the south of England instead of us.   We are not escaping entirely however, as we are to have strong winds and heavy rain tomorrow morning.  After that, we are promised a short spell of calmer, slightly colder weather which will be very welcome.  There may even by sunshine.

It was very windy and wet again this morning so I was pleased to have a venison stew to prepare for the slow cooker and coffee to make for Dropscone when I had finished the stew.

That let the worst of the weather go by while I was indoors.

Before I started the cooking, I did look out of the window to see if any birds were braving the breezes and was pleased to see a small flock of goldfinches flutter down on to the plum tree.

goldfinches

The effect was the exact opposite of autumn with colour falling back onto the branches from above rather than falling off them to the ground below.

A single brambling appeared.

brambling

The feeder was busy for a while ….

goldfinches and siskins

…but as suddenly as they had come, the small birds disappeared again.

They might have had a good reason to make themselves scarce.

sparrowhawk

The sparrowhawk settled on the bench for a while, looking round rather crossly to see where all the little birds had gone…

sparrowhawk

…then stretched its wings…

sparrowhawk

…and flew up on to the feeder.

sparrowhawk

It left empty footed.

Its manoeuvres did let me check to see if sparrowhawks have eyes in the back of their heads.

sparrowhawk

You might think so at first glance.

After coffee, the rain relented for a while so I put on my waterproofs and went for a brisk walk in the brisk wind.  The rain came and went while I walked so it wasn’t too bad and I got the camera out in the drier moments.

gate at Springhill

There was a handsome new five bar gate to admire near Pool Corner

lichen

And plenty of lichen on the Auld Stane Bridge parapet.

The day was not conducive to glorious views….

Gaskells in Winter

…and the horses had their waterproofs on too…

horse at Stubholm

…but the paths were reasonably dry and no trees fell on me as I went round Gaskell’s and Easton’s walks.

It was time for lunch when I got back and Mrs Tootlepedal helped me polish off the last of the cod’s roe.  It is sad to think that I will have to wait twelve months for my next decent meal.

In the afternoon, we went off to Carlisle to practice with the Community Choir.  Our great leader had discovered that we were a few minutes short on our programme for the competition in Manchester at the end of the month so we had to start work on a fifth piece.  I had been congratulating myself on getting the existing four pieces for the programme pretty well learned off by heart so this was a bit of a blow.

Still, it is an enjoyable song to sing so learning it won’t be too big a problem (I hope).  With only two more practices to go before the competition, we are going to have to work hard.

The venison stew turned out well and we were able to have a relaxing evening in while the rain and wind battered our windows.

The (almost) flying bird of the day is the sparrowhawk.

sparrowhawk

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