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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Sings’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s holiday in Skye.  It  shows his daughter Susan, my fellow recorder player, enjoying a magnificent view on her birthday earlier this week in the company of one of her brothers.

Susan in Skye

We spent all day today crossing the country to visit the gardens at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.   We were hoping to see 350 Japanese cherry trees in their full glory but we probably arrived two or three days too late.

alnwick cherry trees

There was plenty of blossom still out but a lot had already fallen and the leaves were starting to appear.  In real life the cherry orchard was wonderful but for the camera, the leaves got into the picture a little too much.  It was a dull day which didn’t help.  Having said all that, it was well worth the two hours of driving each way (and the rather stiff entry fee).

The gardeners have thoughtfully placed many swings among the trees and Mrs Tootlepedal had a moment of reflection on one of these benches.

alnwick cherry trees

We walked through the plantation, which is on the side of a hill, down a serpentine path…

alnwick cherry trees

…which was lined with fallen petals.

alnwick cherry trees

The plantation is still young and the trees will soon form complete arches overhead but for the moment, we could see the grey sky above.

alnwick cherry trees

The camera cannot convey how beautiful the scene was, far whiter in real life than the pictures show.  Rather oddly, I think a black and white shot coveys the colour better.

alnwick cherry trees

The gardens are very popular and even on a dull midweek morning, they were full of people enjoying the scenes.  A bit of blue sky for a contrast would have helped.

Apart from the cherry trees, the main feature of the gardens is a rather showy water feature….

alnwick garden water feature

…which bursts into life every half hour so that childish people like me can enjoy themselves.

alnwick garden water feature

Fountain at the bottom with sky high squirting behind

alnwick garden water feature

More fountains appear every moment until the entire cascade is alive.

There are other smaller water features all over the place…

alnwick garden water feature

…along with well trained hedges….

alnwick garden water feature

…both large and small.

alnwick garden hedge

The hedge on the left in the panel above is in a large walled garden. It is made up of crab apple plants and will look sensational in a few days when the blossoms come fully out.

The walled garden is divided into small ‘rooms’ each with with their own ‘walls’…

alnwick garden walled garden

…and tulips were the featured plant today. …

alnwick garden walled garden

…though there were other plants to see as well.

It is a great pleasure to wander through this recently created garden and see so many people of all ages enjoying the little nooks and crannies filled with plants and features.

I enjoyed these two clematis in one of the garden corners.

clematis

We left the flowers and cherries….

clematis

…and went and had a good lunch in the cafeteria before going to have a quick look at the town centre.

We passed the castle on our way.

Alnwick castle

There was a lot of extensive planting as you can see and we noticed a fritillary meadow and a scilla meadow as we went along.

I was much struck by two street names in the town….

Alnwick

A gate is a street of course and not a gate.  This is a gate….

Alnwick

…and it is this that the streets are within and without.

Within the gate is a market place with a fine hall…

Alnwick

…which has an attractive portico.

Alnwick

We didn’t spend long in the town and went back through the gardens, where Mrs Tootlepedal bought a plant or four in the plant shop, before passing this fantastic tree house….

Alnwick tree house

…on our way back to the car.

Google Maps had offered us choice of routes to Alnwick.  It is almost exactly opposite Langholm on the map but unfortunately there is a large lump of hills and moorland in between with no direct route.  We could either take main road to the south and travel 100 miles at speed and take two hours or go by more  minor routes to the north and (rather surprisingly) take two hours.

I chose to do both and went by the main roads to the south and came back by the more scenic northern route.  Just as Google said, they both took two hours, more or less exactly.

As the sun started to shine just as we left the gardens, we were a bit annoyed about our timing but it did make for a beautiful drive through the border hills on our way home.

We got home in time to fill the feeders, have some tea and then for me to go out to a practice with our Langholm Choir.  After 60 miles cycling yesterday and 180 miles driving today, I was quite tired but all the same, it was a useful practice and I enjoyed the singing.

I found a moment to catch a flying bird of the day when we got home.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another look at South African exile Tom’s Orange River Old wagon Bridge.  Unlike our bridges, it rests on metal pillars. The iron bridge was built by Scottish Engineers Breston and Gibbons 1878-1882

orange river bridge

It is going to be a short post today for two or three reasons.  Politically it was a depressing day with  a good deal of portentous nonsense being spouted on every side in a situation where nobody seems to have any idea of what is going on and this was matched by incessant rain from dawn until dusk.   On top of that, whether for spiritual, medical or physical reasons, I was feeling a bit ‘off’ all day and even a two hour sing at our choir in the evening hasn’t restored me  to full amiability.

A look out of the window in the morning gives a feel for the day.

orange river bridge

Birds being disagreeable in the rain.

Juts to prove me wrong yet again, a huge flock of siskins descended on the garden only a day after I had remarked that the siskins had gone on somewhere else.

The activity at the feeders was as relentless as the rain.

siskins

Total siskinnery

siskins

A step too far for an intrusive chaffinch though another one had sneaked in

I made some vegetable soup for lunch and it turned out well but I wasn’t cheered up much by this and spent the afternoon stomping about the house, muttering to myself and finding out just how difficult it is to get new songs mastered.

The action outside the window only slackened for a moment when a passing sparrowhawk made off with an unfortunate chaffinch and a few minutes later, it was back in full swing.

busy feeder

The sparrowhawk didn’t even have the grace to pose with its trophy.

I was pleased to see a few less frequent visitors among the hordes of goldfinches, siskins and chaffinches.

A greenfinch dropped in for a snack..

greenfinch

….a collared dove looked things over….

collared dove

…and as the light faded away, a redpoll popped up on the feeder.

redpoll

In fact Mrs Tootlepedal saw two redpolls like bookends on each side of the feeder but by then the light had gone entirely.

I made a beef and mushroom stew for my tea and then went off to sing with our local choir. The practice was enlivened by a vigorous political discussion (not about Brexit) at the tea break and that did cheer me up, as I enjoy a bit of give and take.  The singing went not too badly, although the choir couldn’t be said to have totally cracked the pieces we were working on.

The only thing that really raised a smile today was the suggestion by some wit that the European Union should have returned Mrs May’s Article 50 letter to her on the grounds that it was written in English and thus they couldn’t understand it.

At least we are due to visit Matilda tomorrow so that should bring a ray of sunshine into our life.

I did (just about) find a flying bird among the raindrops.

flying siskin

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Today’s guest picture comes from South Africa and was  sent to me by far flung Langholm exile, Tom.  He tells me that he travelled up north to the Kimberley area and came across the Old Wagon Bridge.  It crosses the Orange River near Hopetown where the first diamond was found in South Africa.

South African bridge

The weather was even more miserable than usual today, being wet, windy and cold but once again we had escaped the worst as roads blocked by snow were reported to both the north and south of us.

It was quite bad enough to be going on with in Langholm so we were glad to be spared worse.

There was nothing much to do in the morning except to walk up to the town under my big umbrella to do a little business and look out of the window mournfully when I got back.

The birds were not bothered by the wind and the rain and arrived in numbers so that the feeders were almost always busy.

siskin and chaffinch

The chaffinches have got bolder and this little siskin was about to be dislodged by the  royal order of the chaffinch boot.

Goldfinches are the most patient of our finches and will wait for an vacant perch.

goldfinch

The feeders were sometimes full and calm…

chaffinch, siskin and goldfinch

…and sometimes full and frantic.

siskins and goldfinches

Other than siskins, chaffinches and goldfinches, the garden has very few other bird visitors at the moment and i haven’t seen a brambling, redpoll, greenfinch, blue tit, coal tit  or robin for some time.  There are occasional dunnocks though and a regular blackbird.

blackbird

I did try to walk round the garden and take a picture of new flowers but trying to take pictures with the camera in one hand and my umbrella waving violently about in the wind in the other proved impossible.

The daffodils on the back path did their best to cheer me up.

daffodils

After a very early lunch, we went off to the Infirmary in Dumfries where my eye was going to be looked at.  I have had a couple of small, harmless but mildly annoying cysts under the lid of my left eye and various medical practitioners have been assuring me for many weeks that they were quite harmless and would go away of their own accord.   I was very pleased therefore when the doctor magicked them away with the merest touch of a needle today and my eye feels much more cheerful already.

The visit was painless in every sense.  We arrived a bit early for my appointment but I was seen, treated and discharged almost before my true appointment time had come.

It was still raining when Mrs Tootlepedal drove me home but we stopped for a cup of tea and some reasonable priced compost at a garden centre on our way.  It has discovered that dinosaurs sell just as well as plants and pots….

Dinosaur clipping

…and has a large dinosaur attraction for young visitors.  I don’t think that the dinosaurs are alive though.

There was a lull in the rain when we got home and I tried to capture the new flowers again.

forsythia

There was so much swaying in the wind that this was the only Forsythia flower that I could get anywhere near in focus.

I found a more stable silver pear bud showing promise…

daffodils

…and a wallflower with its own swimming pool.

wallflower

The day continued to be soggy in the extreme so Mrs Tootlepedal got busy on her interior decorating project and I did the crossword and practised my flute and some songs.

After tea, I went off to sing with our local choir.  We have got some enjoyable music to sing but our conductor was in such a brisk mood tonight that not much of it had sunk in by the end of the evening.  Still, we have homes especially so that we can practise songs.

Looking at the forecast, we are promised a spell of brighter, drier weather and this will be most welcome, particularly if the wind drops a bit too.

I did find a flying siskin in the gloom.

siskin

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony, who was working under the shadow of the Forth Railway Bridge today and kindly sent me this fine picture of the noble structure.

Forth Bridge

I had a day of constant but gentle activity with little time for staring out of the window or visiting the pond so the usual number of frog and battling siskin pictures is greatly reduced.

It was a fine dry day with quite a bit of sunshine but this was balanced by a brisk wind.

I discovered just how brisk the wind was when I went out on my bike at ten o’clock.  I had hoped to pile a few miles on but in the event, I had to lower my expectations considerably after the first ten miles took me just on an hour battling into the wind.  You might think that battling into the wind is always rewarded by being pushed home but my course was a sort of square and I ended up with one quarter against the wind, two quarters with cross winds and only a quarter with the helpful shove.

I managed thirty miles in the end but at a very slow speed indeed.

I didn’t have the mental energy to stop and take a lot of pictures so I settled for one of a fine gorse hedge near Gair….

Gorse hedge

…and one of a gang of English trees gossiping across the road near Battenbush.

Two trees.

I just had enough time for a shower and lunch when I got back before I had to go out to a meeting with Sandy and the lady who is project manager for the scheme for a community takeover of our local newspaper.  She was hoping to involve the Archive Group in her planning and we explained what we might be able to do (not much unfortunately but we will try our nest to help)

Sandy and I arranged a walk after the meeting and I cycled home, took a quick look at the garden where the crocuses have revived a bit…

Crocus

…and the tadpoles are developing well….

Tadpoles
…before walking along to the Town Bridge, where I paused to admire a gull on a rock and a goosander doing some fishing.

Gull and Goosander.

Looking from the other side of the bridge, I could see Sandy patiently waiting for me to arrive on the Kilngreen.

Sandy

He tells me that he was sitting and thinking and not just sitting.

We took a moment to admire the bird life…..

Ducks and heron

Mr Grumpy is looking is age.

…and the riverbank crocuses

P1100148

…before crossing the Sawmill Brig and touring the Castleholm.

The wall beside the bridge has a lot of blue green algae on it and I finally managed to get a definitive picture which confirmed what the New Hampshire gardener had showed me.  Our algae is strangely furry just like his.

Algae

A bit different when you look really closely

We were looking at the cones on a Noble Fir when strange blue objects caught our eye.  Research tells us that these are the male flowers of the fir.

Noble fir flowers.

We could hear a nuthatch singing in the tree beside the Jubilee Bridge but it took a passing walker to point it out to us.  It was too far off for a good picture but it is satisfactory to know that it is there.

All round our walk, we could hear robins singing and we saw quite a few as we went along.

Robin

This is just a sample. The one in the middle has lost a lot of feathers somehow.

We looked at flowers, both big…

Daffodils

…and small.

Hazel

A hazel flower on a hairy twig.

We pottered round the pheasant hatchery and enjoyed this omnivorous tree eating fence wire of all sorts.

Tree with wire

After crossing the Duchess Bridge, we made our separate ways home and I was impressed by the colourful show of Mike and Alison’s cherry tree.

Mike and Alison's cherry tree

I took a moment to look out of the kitchen window when I got in…

siskin and chaffinch

A tiny siskin gives a chaffinch some advice about going elsewhere.

siskin and goldfinch

The goldfinch is in for a shock.

…and then went out to see what Mrs Tootlepedal had been up to in the garden while I was walking.   She is very happy with the neat appearance which our neighbour’s new fence gives to the vegetable garden.

Fence

It makes the plot look much more purposeful.  We will have to wait and see whether it will make the vegetables grow better.

I then made a risotto for my tea and went off to a choir practice with our local choir.  The choir is working well at the moment and the practice was most enjoyable so it rounded off a day of continuous pleasure and hard work.

I did catch a flying bird of the day during my brief look out of the window.

Chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s visit to Nottingham.  As well as bridges, he saw this wheel.  Your town or city is unappealing if you don’t have a big wheel these days it seems.

Nottingham wheel

After a lonely breakfast, I checked on the vigour of the wind outside and decided that this would be a good day to stay indoors for a while and catch up on putting some of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I have been very slack lately and have not been doing my fair share of the work.

It took me quite a bit of time as there were one or two existing entries in the database that needed editing and by the time that I had put my week in, gone to the corner shop to get some milk and done the crossword there was not a lot of time to look out of the kitchen window.  It was fun when I did look out.

siskins and chaffinch

Some birds who were on the feeder were shouting at others as they approached….

goldfinch and chaffinch

…and others who were approaching were shouting at those who were on to get off

I went for a walk round the garden too.  The crocuses were looking very pretty.

washing green crocuses

white crocus

The pond was humming with frogs again today.

frogs in pond

Sandy rang up and we made an arrangement to meet for a walk in the afternoon.  Time was a bit tight so I made a quick leek and potato soup for lunch and then popped out for a short test run to see how the new rear gear mech was working on the fairly speedy bike.

It worked very well but the very brisk wind made testing it quite a trial.  I pedalled five miles up to Callister and in spite of trying quite hard, it took me 31 minutes.  By contrast, the return journey back to town took me 14 minutes.  I had time for a battle back up the road to Cleughfoot and another 20mph glide back home to complete 18 miles.

I topped my fuel up with a cup of tea and a roll and honey and was just changed and ready as Sandy appeared.

We walked along Gaskell’s and The Becks, starting along the river beside the park.

mossy wall at park

The glowing green of the wall at the park made me moss conscious and we looked for a few more examples as we went round.  They were not hard to find.

Moss on gaskells

Sandy’s sharp eye caught sight of a scarlet elf cup in a ditch near the Auld Stane Brig….

scarlet elf cup

…and I knew another place later in the walk where we should see more if they were out.  I was right and the example on the left is from Sandy’s ditch and the two on the right are from a large crop in the Becks wood.

The light was good enough for big views at the start of the walk….

Castle Hill

Castle Hill

…but the sun went in as we walked along and once we were in the wood, it was hard to get the cameras to focus.  We saw some bootlace fungus on a dead log and lots of hazel flowers in a dark corner.

bootlace fungus and hazel flowers

On the whole though, it was a better day for stretching the legs than taking pictures.

I did stop to take yet another picture of the Auld Stane Brig, just because I could…

Auld Stane Brig

…and a splendid gnarly tree beside it.

tree at auld stane brig

On our way back along the track after crossing the Becks Burn and coming up through the wood, we saw equines of various sizes…

pony

…some with very cheerful associates.

Ramsay and horse

When we got home, Sandy stayed for a cup of tea and a biscuit or three and then I made a  really delicious dish of baked eggs in a bed of spinach with a cheese sauce topping.  This is a recipe with so many variables (how much mustard in the sauce, how long to cook the spinach, has the cheese got enough bite, is the sauce too thick, too thin, are the eggs cooked properly or like bullets) that when you get them all right by sheer accident, eating it is like dining with the gods.  Tonight was such a night.

I had a shower and a shave and went off to the Langholm choir practice in a very good mood after such a generally pleasant afternoon of cycling, walking and eating.

The choir practice was enjoyable as well and it rounded off a day which was as good as any day without Mrs Tootlepedal in it can be.

There is a frog of the day….

frog

…and a flying bird of the day to go with it.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from our younger son, Al.  He came across this intriguing fungus outburst while on safari in darkest Leith.

Leith fungus

We had another dry and occasionally sunny morning but once again it was freezing at the start of the day.  As a result, the morning was spent killing time while waiting for the thermometer to rise to cycling temperature.  Time was killed by making and drinking coffee, trying to complete the crossword, shopping for porridge and occasional checking on the robin scene.

It was an exciting day robinwise.

robins

Finally, two for the price of one.

They took turns to go to the feeder so I really do think that these two are more than just good friends.

But the burning question is:  are there actually three robins in the garden?

robins

The two on the left look like the ones from the bench but is the one on the right one of them or a different one?

This next bird is definitely a blue tit.

blue tit

 Otherwise our visitors were the usual suspects, goldfinches, siskins and chaffinches on the feeder and blackbirds and dunnocks on the ground.

chaffinch flying

The temperature climbed to 5° before midday so I had an early lunch, wrapped up well and headed off.  There was a chilly west wind blowing which made my first eleven miles heading straight into it quite hard work but the day was bright enough to illuminate an interesting tree…

Falford tree

…so I cycled on in good heart with the intention of taking a panoramic view of the new windfarm from the hill above Paddockhole at 11 miles.  I then planned to return home by a circuitous route to make up a gentle 30 miles.  You can imagine then that I was pretty miffed when my plan, which had been going well, was completely thrown into disarray as clouds came suddenly down wiping out any chance of a photo and it started raining just as I caught a glimpse of the windmills.

I turned for home, hoping to outrun the advancing rain and with the wind now behind me, I soon got into clear weather.  Things looked so good that I added a four mile diversion into my homeward route and was just congratulating myself on my excellent route planning when I started to notice a few stray hailstones floating past me.

As I was on top of the highest hill on my route at the time, with not a tree to shelter under and six miles still to go, there was nothing for it but to grit my teeth and pedal for home.  Within  minutes I was being painfully pelted by a thorough going hailstorm and I began to get worried that the road might get covered and become too slippery to ride.  I needn’t have worried about that though as the hail bounced off the road and melted when it settled back down.

What made all this even more annoying was the fact that I could see blue sky to both sides and in front of me while I was being subjected to the meteorological assault.

Blue sky and hail

A patch of blue sky over Langholm as I headed home.

It was not quite the enjoyable ride that I had hoped for but I got home safely and found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden!

Even more surprising to me was the fact the the crocuses had decided that this was the day to fling wide their petals.

crocuses

There is no understanding the mentality of plants.

Single flowers stood out.

crocus and scilla

A stout crocus and the very first sign of a scilla

I changed out of my soggy cycling gear, had a shower and re-emerged to find a dry and pleasant afternoon in progress.

Since I hadn’t taken any pictures on my bike ride, I went for a walk by the river.  It is the time of the year to see pairs of birds.

There were oyster catchers….

oystercatchers

And ducks.

ducks

The sun came out and as I looked at a tree across the river…

Castleholm tree

…and admired the views…..

Ewes water

…it was hard to believe that I had been in the midst of a hailstorm only 90 minutes ago.

Erskine Church

There was an article in our local paper this morning saying that someone has plans to develop the Erskine Church for accommodation so perhaps we will finally  see the end of the very ugly scaffolding round its spire which mars the view of the town bridge.   There have been previous plans which have come to nothing so we are not holding our breath.

I walked home over the Sawmill Brig and across the Castleholm, passing blue green algae on a wall and a conifer pretending to be a palm tree in the sun.

algae and conifer

It was good to see sunshine on the hills which surround out town as I walked along Eskdaill Street.

Warbla and eskdaill Street

As darkness fell, I made some cauliflower cheese for my tea and then went off to sing with our local choir.  Illness and church services had reduced our numbers a bit but we had enough members to have an enjoyable practice.  The choir is planning two concerts in May and June so we are working on some pieces for these events.

In  spite of the hailstorm, I was very pleased to have started the new month off with a few miles and I hope to get many more in as the days get longer.

The flower of the day is a very decorative crocus on the Kilngreen…

crocus

…and the flying bird of the day is the pair of oyster catchers.

flying oyster catchers

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I have raided my brother’s visit to Exeter for another guest picture today.  He had rather gloomy weather for the trip but managed to get out for long enough to photograph a new bike and pedestrian bridge over the river.

The river and a handy new foot/bike bridge

Today was the last of my visits, for a while  at least, to the Moorland Feeders to act as a fill in feeder filler as the regular workers are returning from their long  weekend in New Zealand shortly.

I went up with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She kindly acted as assistant filler but it was a rather chilly and wet morning so we didn’t stay long.

I sat in the hide for a moment or two and very much surprised a woodpecker when my camera flash went off unexpectedly….

woodpecker

…which was a pity as it was right in front of me at the time.  It left in short order.

I watched a succession of tits visiting the nuts…

coal, blue and great tits

…and admired the delicate gradations of colour on the backs of  the blue and great tits.

tit colours

On our way home, we stopped to look at the work on the damaged cutwater of Skippers Bridge and were very surprised to see that it had been finished…

skippers Bridge repair

…and very neatly too.

skippers Bridge repair

It may get tested as we have heavy rain forecast for tonight.

After a cup of coffee, I went out into the garden and picked a couple of leeks and then made some leek and potato soup for lunch.

By this time, the rain had stopped and there was even a little sunshine so while I was cooking, I was entertained by the birds.

siskin and chaffinches

Very entertained.

chaffinches flying

I did think of cycling after lunch as the better weather continued but it was quite windy and as I haven’t done much walking lately, I decided that a walk might be better value.

Before I left, I was drawn to the pond by the mellifluous croaking of the frogs.  They were in affectionate mood…

frogs

…and one in particular tried to catch my eye with some elegant throat puffing.

frog

I tore myself away and walked down to the river to see if I could spot an oyster catcher or a dipper.  An oyster catcher on a rock in the Esk was most co-operative….

oyster catcher

…but although I saw two dippers as I walked up the road beside the Ewes Water, they were both obscured by branches and I couldn’t get a good shot.

I walked up the track from Whitshiels,  hoping to find a British Soldier lichen or two on a gatepost where they usually live and was pleased to see that they were still there.

British Soldier lichen

The red spots are tiny so I was even more pleased to find some helpful light when I got close.

British Soldier lichen

I walked on up the hill in a very cheerful mood and thanks to the sun lasting well, I took far more pictures than I should have with the result that this post has gone a bit over budget as far as images go.   Still, it was a good day for taking pictures so it would have been a pity not to take a lot.

The views were good….

Ewes Valley

…and I played around with the camera settings to give a bare tree a slightly mysterious feel….

tree at Whitshiels

…and thinking of my black and white flower challenge tried the same settings on a gorse flower.

gorse

I am getting a few ideas.

On my way back to the town, I watched buzzards and hunted in vain for frogs in the quarry puddles as well as checking out the moss on a stone wall….

moss on wall

As I came down past the golf course, I saw a very colourful shed which I have never noticed before.  I don’t know whether it is new or whether I have just been unobservant hitherto.

shed beside Kirk Wynd

No camera tricks there.  It really is that colour.

The colours on the shed made me think of the camera colour picker though and I took this shot of the ninth green on the golf course….

ninth green

…before dropping down into the Market Place.  For once, there were no cars parked in front of the  new tourist information centre where I often volunteer in the summer so I took a picture to show it in all its glory.

Welcome to Langholm

It’s quite hard to miss.

By the time that I got home, the sun had gone and after taking a picture of a hellebore in the back bed…

hellebore

I cheated by holding its head up.

…I set about the first compost sieving of the new season with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We were dealing with a bin of substantially aged kitchen compost and it was so well rotted and friable already that it hardly needed sieving. It was a gentle start to the composting year.

Some drizzle tried to discourage us as we worked but we looked it sternly in the eye and it went away.  As it went, Mike Tinker arrived.  He came just as we were stopping for a cup of tea and so he joined us and we enjoyed some good conversation with our biscuits.

After he left, I went through the pictures while simultaneously practising the choir songs for Sunday.  It worked surprisingly well and I think that I might well have got them off before the big day.

In the evening, I went out to sing with our Langholm choir and had an enjoyable warble but I took care not  to sing too loudly.  My voice is feeling the strain of the constant practice a bit and it would be very annoying to arrive in Manchester with the songs learned but with no voice to sing them.

The two flowers of the day speak of spring; the daffodil is from the garden and the crocus from the bank of the Ewes at the Kilngreen.

crocus and daffodil

The sunshine today was really lovely and it looks as though we might escape the worst of the winds during Doris Day tomorrow, although it is due to rain a lot.  We are keeping fingers firmly crossed.

Meanwhile, the flying bird of the day is a gloriously sunny, fully streamlined goldfinch.

flying goldfinch

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