Posts Tagged ‘St Cuthbert’s church’

Today’s guest picture comes from our older son Tony in Fife.  On one of his recent outings he met these charming alpacas.


Those weather gods certainly know how to get a good laugh.  After several grey and miserable days, they waited until we were bound to spend a whole day indoors regardless of the weather and then they turned on the lights.

There was not a cloud in the sky when we came out of church to see kayaks bobbing up and down on the Esk.


We had a short time at home, enough for a coffee, a sandwich and a glance at the birds, (who were enjoying the sun)…

sitting chaffinch

distant flying chffinch

…and then it was time to drive to Carlisle for a final practice before the Carlisle Community Choir Christmas Concert in St Cuthbert’s Church, a seasonal must for lovers of good music and alliteration.

Outside the church….


…a large crowd had gathered.


We had a very good attendance inside the church for the concert and thanks to the slightly more relaxed attitude of our new conductor, I enjoyed the singing more than I usually do.   I view practices as times where there is a chance of getting things right and a concert as a time where it is all too easy to get things wrong so I find practices enjoyable and concerts slightly stressful. However, since the audience members whom we met over  refreshments after the concert told us that the choir had sounded really good, we had to be pleased with our performance today.

The slow cooker had been patiently cooking a pasta sauce while we were out singing so we had a warm welcome when we got home, even though the car thermometer was registering 0° C.

I rang my sister Susan to ask after her health and she reported that she was feeling much better.  She told me that her arm was much less painful and this was another factor that led to today being entered on the credit side of the great ledger of life in spite of the weather gods’ cruel joke.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch as I didn’t have time to wait around for something more interesting to come along.

close flyinh chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie, who has been out shooting night street scenes in Macao while working at the film festival there.


We had another bright and sunny day today but it was even colder than yesterday so we were very pleased to be one of the parts of the country that didn’t get any snow. That might have made driving difficult.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing with the church choir and I made a venison stew for the slow cooker.

While I was cooking, I glanced out of the kitchen window from time to time.

A siskin added some colour to a frosty scene.


Down below, I asked a robin where its friend had gone.


“Over there,” he replied.


Once the stew was safely stowed in the slow cooker, I went for a short walk.  In spite of the low temperatures, the sunny weather has made sure that our pavements and paths are ice free for whihc we are grateful.

I was looking for gulls.

I soon found one which had lit on a lamppost thus become a lamplighter I suppose.


It flew off and got into an argument with a friend about something.


On Castle Hill, the cattle once again preferred the high ground.


As I walked along the Kilngreen I was very taken by an optical illusion which made this perfectly flat picnic table look as though it was bent into waves.

kilngreen bench

The low sun certainly increased my stature as a photographer.

If you were well enough wrapped up, it was a lovely day for a walk.


And I enjoyed the view up the Lodge Walks….

Lodge Walks

…before turning to cross the Castleholm…


…and heading for home…

…where the garden was frosty.


Once back inside in the warmth, I looked out again.   There was steady traffic at the tray under the feeder.




Up above, the unfriendly light did the flying chaffinches no favours in their efforts to get the nomination for flying bird of the day.


Mrs Tootlepedal returned from church and we had a moment or two to enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice or two of toast before setting off to Carlisle for a final practice and the Christmas concert with the Community Choir.

The concert took place in St Cuthbert’s Church.  This church is one of those places which it is a pleasure to visit under any circumstances.

St Cuthberts Church

The concert was very well attended with the balconies and the main body of the church both being pretty well full.  The choir sang well and the guest school choir was very charming and accomplished.  Our choir needs more men badly and one of the reasons for our lack of men might have been seen in the fact that the primary school choir  had only a single boy in it.

Unless schools can instil a love of choral singing in boys, it is hard to see where adult male singers are going to come from in areas without a living tradition of male choirs.

It was -5° as we drove home but the road seemed to be ice free and we got home in nice time to enjoy the venison stew from the slow cooker.

There were only two gulls about today but they stopped quarrelling for long enough for one of them to make flying bird of the day.


Read Full Post »

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.


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.


There were definite bees about.


Collecting pollen from a Welsh poppy

I peered into the heart of a poppy….


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


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….


…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.


There were fruits as well as flowers.


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.


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.


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.


Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal and shows a view of the Thames at Marlow taken from a landing stage near her mother’s house.

Thames at Marlow

We had another grey day today, a bit cooler than of late but still dry and calm and above freezing.  It might have been a day for a pedal or a walk but I was fully occupied on other things.

For a couple of days our water has been ‘discoloured’ as the water suppliers describe it, following a repair to a water main some way out of town.  We describe it as  ‘dirty’ and don’t like the look of it for drinking.  It also makes you wonder about the advisability of putting this dirty water through the boiler to get hot water so bathing and  showering have not been on the menu

My neighbour Liz and I both rang up for advice and we were told to run a cold tap for an hour which, they said, should clear the dirt out of the system.  We both did that and it did improve things a bit but by the evening, there was still quite a lot of unwelcome colour in the water.  The water company has provided drinking water in bottles but clean water out of the tap would be better.  We hope for improvement tomorrow.

As well as fussing about this, I put a sausage and bean cassoulet together for the slow cooker and this left me with little time to peer out of the window.

There weren’t many birds about when I did look out.  Sometimes there was a pair of headless goldfinches…


…and sometimes there was a pair with heads.


And at one exciting moment, there were three at the same time.


But it was a quiet day for birds.

I didn’t have time to wait around for things to get better as I had to drive to Carlisle for the Community Choir concert there.

I should more accurately have said ‘concerts’ as we trooped off to sing three songs to unsuspecting passers by in the Market Place before going back to St Cuthbert’s Church…

St Cuthbert's

A rather dour exterior conceals a delightful interior (which I forgot to photograph)

…for a final rehearsal.  As the rehearsal started at about two o’clock and  finished at ten to four and then the concert started at four o’clock, I was more than a little tired by the end of the performance.

The choir sang well and the large audience (the organisers cleverly include a local primary school choir in the programme) received us well.  I would get more satisfaction from concerts though if I was able to sing the songs without having to concentrate so fearfully hard and if I could avoid making two or three mistakes which weigh on the spirit a bit.  Still, I am getting better each year so maybe by next year, I will be able to put in a more satisfactory effort.

It was dark by the time we came out and I passed on the chance of tea and biscuits after the concert and drove home.

The cassoulet turned out well which was warming but the radiator in the room where I write this blog stubbornly refused to come on and I faced a chilly evening.  However, a phone call to Mrs Tootlepedal, a check on YouTube and some hopeful valve manipulation brought the heat back to life so all was not gloom.

The flying bird of the day is a photographic disgrace but if you only take four bird pictures on a slow day, what can you expect?


Read Full Post »