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Posts Tagged ‘Wauchope Water’

Today’s guest picture comes from Sandy’s adventures in Thailand.  They are very thorough there and even elephants have to be washed up after meals.

Thai washing up

I rose at my usual time and did both vocal and leg exercises before Dropscone arrived for coffee bringing scones with him.

I wasn’t feeling very well before he came and even his good conversation and fine scones couldn’t get me back to full perkiness by the time that he left.

It was fairly warm with the temperature in double figures but a brisk breeze and very grey skies didn’t make going outside seem attractive so I sat at my computer and put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database while Mrs Tootlepedal worked away at her rocking horse restoration.

Because i was not feeling well, I had a very light lunch and stared idly out of the window at the birds instead of eating properly.

There were no redpolls or woodpeckers today so I spent some time training the goldfinches and chaffinches to fly in synchro.

coming and going at the feeder

Not bad for a first effort.

Coal tits are very small birds and I have some very small seeds out for them but they prefer the sunflower hearts…

big mouth

…even though they can’t swallow them.  The birds have to take the seeds off to a handy branch and peck at them while they are held under their feet.

There was steady traffic for most of the time and the birds kept an eye out for any perch vacancies.

heading for a perch

If I got bored with the birds, I could enjoy the spirea instead.

spirea through the window

By the time that the afternoon began to wear on, I got so bored that I went out for a short walk to test my dodgy leg.

The leg turned out to be pretty dodgy and so the walk was even shorter than I had intended and consisted of a turn round the park and then back home again.

I took a few pictures along the way which I will put in without comment as I am still feeling very part worn.

Wauchope Water from park brigpark wall lichenleaves in the parkMeikleholm Hill november

I took one flower picture in our garden…

helenium

…and then retired to bed for an hour or so.  I got up to see how I was doing and this turned out to be a mistake as I found myself in a reverse eating scenario so I went back to bed again.

I got up in the evening and enjoyed a nice glass of water for my tea and that concluded the fun for the day.  I know that I am keen to lose the weight that I have been putting on recently but this method was a bit drastic so I hope that I am back to normal tomorrow.

To make up for the lack of content in today’s post, I am putting in two flying birds of day….head down and wings up…

flying chaffinch wings up

…and head up and wings down.

Flying chaffinch wings down

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who was more adventurous than me and went for an outing in the rain.  His reward was a picture of the Byreburn in full flow over the Fairy Loup. (I have put a little video that he took at the bottom of this post for those who like loud noises.)

fairy loup

As you can see from Bruce’s picture, there was a lot of water about today.  It had started raining before two o’clock in the morning and it rained until it got dark in the evening.  At that point 35 mph winds started to blow so it wasn’t in general a very pleasant day.

Dropscone arrived with bonus scones as he had left his hat and gloves here yesterday  and we had a cup of coffee before we went off with them firmly in his grip.

While we were sipping, there was a mass flight of birds from the feeder and when we looked, we could see the reason for the excitement.

sparrowhawk in plum tree

The sparrowhawk lurked in the plum tree for some time but no little birds were foolish enough to come back to the feeder and it eventually flew off.

As it had been raining for 8 hours by the time that Dropscone went off to do some shopping,  I walked down to the river under a capacious umbrella to see if the water was high.  It was surprisingly low…

Wauchope fairly full

…and you can see from the grass on the far bank that it had been higher yesterday after a much shorter but much heavier shower.

Two goosanders found it calm enough to paddle about.

goosanders on wauchope

…and I noticed the usual autumn outbreak of fungus around an old tree stump next to the church wall.

church mushrooms

The rain started to come down a bit more vigorously so I went home and looked at the birds as there was nothing much better to do.

Although the rain was very persistent, it was quite light at times and the birds didn’t get as soggy as they sometimes do in the wet.

I don’t know if we just have one coal tit who visits a lot or several coal tits who come one at a time but I never see more than one at the feeder though I do see it/them a lot at present.

coal tit paying flying vivit

We had a good number of greenfinches today and at times they dominated the feeder, shouting at sparrows…

greenfinch being rude to sparrow

…and grumbling at other greenfinches.

greenfinches squabbling

Between the greenfinches and the sparrows, goldfinches could only sulk in the background.

goldfinch sulking

Some sparrows tried enchantment to get rid of a fellow sparrow on a perch…

greenfinch witching

…while others took a more direct route to eviction.

sparrow kicking sparrow

A greenfinch…

greenfinch on arch

…and a goldfinch rose above the bad behaviour.

goldfinch on arch

A touch of class was brought by the arrival of some collared doves…

collared dove

…but sadly, in a sign of the times, even the doves fell to fighting each other.

fighting doves

I couldn’t look any longer and went off to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practise some singing as I will have two choirs tomorrow.

Since it was still raining in the afternoon, I went down to look at the rivers again but although the water in the Esk was high, it was still lower than it had been yesterday.  I was surprised…

esk fairly full

…but it shows how well our rivers drain the rain away. There was plenty of water going under the bridge…

town bridge with water

…but not enough to wash away a tree which has been stuck under one arch for some time.

I passed another very similar crop of fungus on a different tree stump on my way home.

more fungus

And that more or less completed the events of the day though I did have some stewed apple and custard for my tea which was quite exciting.

The flying bird of the day is one of the greenfinches…..

flying greenfinch

…and the flying water comes courtesy of Bruce and the Fairy Loup.

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce and shows his dog, Guthrie considering the pros and cons of a quick swim in the leisure pool  on the Castleholm.

Guthrie

The changeable weather came as forecast but luckily for us, all the rain came during the hours of darkness and the day was dry and even occasionally sunny.  There was a lot of rain in the night though and when I crossed the river after breakfast, I could see the result.

Esk in spate

I was on my way to the doctor to find out about my iron levels.  They are fine and I am now certified as fully attractive to any passing magnet.

On my way across the river, I noticed an old friend so I pedalled back to the house to get a camera and came back in the hope that he would still be there.  He was there….

heron

….tucked away in a sheltered spot in the lee of the Kirk Bridge while the river roared past.

Some vigorous bird calls made me look about and I saw a pair of very active grey wagtails, one of whom stopped still long enough for me to take a picture.

grey wgtail

When I got back to the garden, there was a pair of active blue tits there on the fat balls.

two bluetits on fat balls

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy painting a door in the kitchen and when she had finished, we had coffee.  After coffee, I applied myself to the crossword and then, when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre, I applied myself to lawn care.

I mowed both the front lawn and the greenhouse grass which were remarkably firm and dry after the night’s rain.  A brisk wind and some sun had helped.

In order to get a breather from the mowing, I broke off from time to time to look around.

In spite of the strong wind, the garden was full of butterflies again…

tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies

…and there were bees and other insects everywhere.

bees on daisies

We have had quite a good selection of bumble bees this year as well as lots of honey bees.

three bees on flowers

This was my favourite moment.

big and little insects

One of the astrantias has come again but oddly for such a bee magnet, it was bee free today.

late astrantia

I did a little bird watching too.

Sparrows and blue tits took turns on the fat balls.

sparrow coming blue tit going

A siskin had its feathers ruffled by the breeze.

blowy siskin

And a coal tit dropped in a couple of times but was rather camera shy.

coal tit

After lunch, I decided that I should brave the wind and go for a pedal as the weather looked set fair.

Once out of the shelter of the town, it was very breezy, with gusts of up to 30 mph so I settled for a ride to the top of Callister and back followed by another turn up the Wauchope valley as far as the schoolhouse and this gave me 20 miles, quite far enough for my legs.

There is no doubt that the hills are beginning to turn brown…

Wauchope road brown view

..but the overnight rain had made my favourite cascade quite dramatic and worth a scramble down the banking to see it in action.

Wauchope cascade Sept 2018

The level in the Esk had dropped though and a gull could stand on a rock by the water’s edge without risk of being swept away.

gull beside river

Mrs Tootlepedal had had a busy afternoon and arrived home after me and we spent a little time in the garden.

Second flowerings are to be seen on all sides.

second delphinium

Delphinium

second vebascum

Verbascum

And the golden wedding rose keeps producing new flowers.

golden wedding roses Sept 18

We are still dead heading in an effort to keep things going but it can’t be denied that the flowers are gradually fading away.

The plums are over but we are awash with apples and the raspberries are ripening steadily so we are not starved of fruit just yet.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an interesting one pot evening meal which involved almond milk, cauliflower and linguine.    It was very much to my liking though Mrs Tootlepedal thought that she could take it or leave it alone.

After previous predictions of gloom and doom, the forecast is now for another dry but windy day tomorrow.  It is difficult to plan when things change so frequently.

Under the circumstances, I thought it only proper to have two flying birds of the day today, one in the sunshine…

flying chaffinch in sunshine

….and one on the shade.

flying chaffinch in shadow

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was on a bus crossing Waterloo Bridge when she came over all Wordsworth and admired the view.  (I know, I know; he was crossing Westminster Bridge but that is not far away).

View from bus window while crossing Waterloo Bridge

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:

After rain overnight, we had a fine and occasionally sunny day today so Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of it and toiled away in the garden morning and afternoon with a break for a committee meeting after lunch.

I went out for a look around after breakfast and saw Mrs Tootlepedal’s least favourite bird sighting , a sparrow in the vegetable garden looking for vegetables to destroy.

sparrow in veg garden

Sometimes when we got out there are twenty or more sparrows lurking about among the plants.  This one didn’t stop long though.

flying sparrow

I noticed that a young bird was lost in the greenhouse and looking pensive….

sparrow in greenhouse

…but it found its own way out in the end.

It was quite damp as you can see but it soon dried out and I mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass rather carefully.  We keep the grass there quite long so I even took the trouble to get the grass rake out first and make sure the grass was standing up to meet the mower.  In an uncooperative way though, quite a lot of the grass lay down again between me putting the  rake away and getting the mower out.

I had a look at the gooseberry bush to check for sawfly….

gooseberry bush

…and was pleased to find that there were none about.  The Solomon’s seal is being eaten by sawfly so the gooseberry may well be next.

I then got some lawn feed out and finished feeding the middle lawn.

While I was at work, our neighbours Liz and Ken walked over to see what was going on and I was telling them about my fern walk yesterday.  I lifted up the leaves of one of the ferns in our garden and they were impressed by what lay behind.

fern

So was I.

After all this excitement, I went in and watched the birds.

I saw a blue tit, an infrequent visitor…

blue tit…and several regulars too.

goldfinch and siskin

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went to her committee meeting and I got the new bike out and pedalled round my 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I checked to see if all the recent rain had put a bit more water into the Wauchope….

Wauchope Water cascade

…and found the little cascade was busy but not overflowing.

The grass beside the river was full of these little yellow spikes.

yellow wild flower

I need help in identifying them

Not long after I set off,  I became a bit worried about the weather, both behind me…

bloch view

..and in front…

bloch road view

…but the grey clouds passed me by and I had an enjoyable ride with the brisk breeze being more helpful than not.

When I got into the Esk valley, it was easy to see by the river that it had been raining quite a lot.

River esk at hollows

I said confidently to a reader the other day that there was lots of yellow rattle about but since then it has been hard to find so I was pleased to find a good sprinkling about beside the old A7 today.

P1110652

And there was a lot of knapweed there too…

knapweed

…and a mini meadow of daisies, knapweed and meadow vetchling as well.

wild flowers old A7

Thanks to the helpful wind, I got home in good time and found Mrs Tootlepedal back from her meeting and busy improving the back border.

I mowed the front lawn.  It is showing the benefit from the feed that I gave it last week and now definitely has more grass than moss on it.  I regard this as a minor triumph considering that earlier in our very wet and cold spring, I was seriously thinking about digging the whole thing up and starting again .

Then I went to sieve compost as Mrs Tootlepedal is using it by the bucket to improve the soil in the back border.

I checked and found that the bees are still finding pollen on the astrantias.

bee on astrantia

This concluded my outdoor activity for the day except for a few minutes of thinning out the gooseberries.  I stewed the thinnings and had them with cream in the evening.

Following my new schedule, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before tea.  I am trying not to take too many photographs so I don’t have to spend so much time looking through them but it is hard.

The flower of the day is a Martagon Lily, taken in the morning when things were still damp.

martagon lily

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is a reminder of a sunny day just past and shows an unusual view of the Benty bridge and church.  It was taken by my friend Bruce and stars his wife, Lesley as ‘The Lady on the Bridge’.

benty bridge

The sun made infrequent appearances today and in between the sunny spells, there were frequent showers of light rain.  It made planning a day difficult.  However, it was reasonably warm and the wind was light so cycling and gardening were on the menu.

The minister dropped in for coffee, his coffee radar being perfectly attuned.  As he brought a couple of eggs from his large flock of chickens with him as a gift, he was even more welcome than usual.  He is a keen cyclist and naturally our conversation turned to cycling.  When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal was so inspired by his cycling efforts that she got her speedy bike out.  I pumped up the tyres and we pedalled off to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, her first bike ride since New Year’s day.

Needless to say although it was fine as we set out, it rained quite heavily when we were two miles up the road.  Luckily, it soon stopped and we had a gentle and pleasant ride.  Since the weather was good when we got home and I needed the miles, while Mrs Tootlepedal turned to gardening,  I set off again to do the journey again.

It soon started to rain again.

Once again it stopped and I pedalled on.  I passed a small landslip, a common occurrence on our steep banks….

landslip

…and which once again shows how shallow the soil is on our hills.

Thanks to quite a bit of rain lately, there was a good amount of water coming down the Wauchope.

wauchope cascade

Yesterday I had seen seated cows and today it was the turn of the sheep to sit down.

sitting sheep

I didn’t stop for too many pictures as I didn’t want to get wet again if I could help it.

I ended up doing six and a half miles with Mrs Tootlepedal and seven and half miles by myself which, while not a great distance, at least got a few miles in on a damp day.

I set the camera up at the kitchen window while I was having lunch and had a look at the birds.  We had a good variety.

Sometimes there were siskins…

siskins

…and there was a good number of goldfinches…

goldfinches

…and of course there were chaffinches…

chaffinches

…but our most interesting visitors today were a pair of lesser redpolls.  Here is one showing why they got their name.

redpoll

At this time of year, they have very red breasts too to show themselves off.

redpoll

They are very small birds, much the same size as the siskins and make the chaffinches look big by comparison.

redpoll and chaffimnch

I had a walk round the garden after lunch.

I was most impressed by how much moss there is on our azaleas.

moss on azaleas

Each plant seemed to have a little clump of moss at its branch junctions.

I liked the range of colours of the moss on our old pile of stones.

moss in garden

We wouldn’t mind though if it stopped raining for long enough this summer for a lot of the moss to get discouraged and die away.

There were more signs of spring to be seen.

lilac buds

It is not too long before it will be lilac blossom time.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal got really stuck into the business of making a new seated area next to the middle lawn.  I went for a walk.

I have seen two very impressive displays of British Solidier lichen in America recently on blogs from Gunta and the New Hampshire Gardener  so I went along beside the park wall to see if I could find any there.

There were some to be seen but they were very tiny…

cladonia

As you can see, they hardly poked their heads above the surrounding moss.

I couldn’t find an army of them but there was enough for a small troop.

cladonia

Our friend Mike Tinker, who is a fern enthusiast, has promised to take me out on a walk to try to teach me to distinguish between varieties.  I look forward to it as there are a lot of ferns out there.  I passed some today.

ferns

Did I mention that it started to rain almost as soon as I set off on my walk?

Still, it was only light rain and I was pleased to see signs of wild garlic emerging….

garlic

…as this is a marker for the start of the wild flower season.

It wasn’t a day for views and I was happy to get some shelter from the trees along the Beechy Plains.  I was looking for birch trees in particular to see if I could spot any script lichens.  It turned out to be quite easy as almost every birch I passed seemed to have a patch…

script lichen

…or two.

script lichen

Mrs Tootlepedal was still working hard on her seating area when I got back but she came in for a cup of tea and a biscuit to get out of a heavier shower of rain before going out again.  There is a difference in height between the main lawn and the seating area and she has been swithering between a step, a slope or a dugout area, all of which have good and bad points about the construction required but after some experimentation today, she has settled on a step.

I look forward to seeing the results.

While I was out cycling yesterday, the man who made our new compost bins arrived with some new raised beds for Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden….

new veg beds

…and they are waiting to be installed.  You can see that the old beds are past their best.  It will take a lot of labour to get the new beds set up but Mrs Tootlepedal is not afraid of hard work and I am always available to do a bit of supervising.

I did some lawn spiking today in the hope of encouraging a blade or two of grass to grow among the moss.

I ate the minister’s eggs as part of a mushroom omelette for my tea.  They were very good.

The flying bird of the day is two chaffinches.  I couldn’t choose between them.

flying chaffinches

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who visited Denholm on a recent sunny day and took this picture of the Leyden memorial.  (If Denholm looks familiar to attentive blog readers, it is because I have been to two recorder playing days there.)

Denholm

Mrs Tootlepedal’s plans to get up early and do some gardening before breakfast were foiled by a frost which had left the ground rock hard.   By the time that I got up, the temperature was above freezing and it rose steadily through the morning until it reached 5 degrees where it stubbornly stuck for the rest of the day.

This wasn’t too bad in the early part of the morning when the sun was out but by the end of the day, when the sky was covered in thick cloud, it made for a fairly dismal welcome to spring.  A brisk and chilly wind didn’t help matters.

The birds didn’t think that it was a day for visiting and the seed level in the feeders hardly dropped at all.  This saves me money but starves me of photo opportunities and I didn’t take any kitchen window shots before leaving for a short run on the slow bike while the weather was at its best.

I stopped off at my favourite Wauchope cascade just to show how dry it has been recently (a most unusual state of affairs for us).  There was little more than a trickle going through the  narrows…

Wauchope cascade

…but it did give me a chance to admire the cruelly folded rocks in the river bank.  This gives an insight into the strong forces that shaped our seemingly gentle landscape.

Wauchope bent rocks

It also provided a quiet corner for this elegant eddy to form.

Wauchope cascade eddy

And I found myself standing on a rock covered with a combination of moss and lichen.

Wauchope cascade lichen

A couple of miles further on, I turned up the road to Cleuchfoot and stopped to take a picture of our gentle landscape.  It shows one of the flats or holms that have provided a place for farmers to live and work for centuries.

Cleuchfoot

A little further on, the man who farms the land stopped for a chat as he passed me on his quad bike and his passenger had to wait patiently while we discussed the ins and outs of the battle between our local landowner, who feels that there is more money to be made from trees on our hills than tenant farmers and the farmers and many  others who feel that the land should be kept for sheep who have been farmed on the hills and the men and women who have worked them for two hundred years and more.

farmer's dog

Everyone is agreed at the estate has not handled the matter at all well so there is considerable debate ongoing.

Because of the brisk and chilly wind, I skulked about in the valley bottom for the most part of my 20 mile pedal but I did make one short excursion into open country where an oyster catcher gave me a look.

oyster catcher in field

I also saw a curlew but it was too quick for me so it went unrecorded.

At the top of the hill, I could see that a recently replanted felled wood is looking good.

Kerr wood

These trees grow amazingly quickly which is why the estate likes them of course.

When I got back, I noticed that the first of the hellebore flowers was in evidence in our garden.

hellebore

And in spite of the cold, a couple of frogs were relaxing in the pool.

frogs

I did try to catch a bird or two in between making some soup for lunch but didn’t have much luck.  As I enjoy alliteration I shall point out that I made just a soupçon of soup in a saucepan and subsequently supped it.

After lunch, I finally got a bird…

robin

…and then a few others.  They tended to appear one or two at a time and were quite upset if a third bird appeared.

chaffinch and goldfinch

It was very gloomy by this time but I felt the call of a walk.  Mrs Tootlepedal ignored the cold and an occasional light drizzle while she toiled in the garden and I went out to stretch my legs.

I saw another oyster catcher at the Meeting of the Waters…

oyster catcher

…but birds were scarce, the light was rotten…

monument in mist

…and it was always threatening to rain so I didn’t spend much time looking for interesting things.  I saw some.

conifer

noble fir cone

lichens on tree

When I got home, I took steps to get detached from the power company which supplies electricity to the Archive Centre.  This is not as straightforward as it should be but as all my dealings with the company have been extremely tortuous, this came as no surprise.

I also took steps to get  my new bike purchased.  I have decided to spend our children’s’ inheritance on it.  I hope that they don’t read this post.  It won’t arrive in a hurry so I have all the pleasure of anticipation to enjoy meanwhile.

In the evening, I went to our Langholm community choir and enjoyed the singing.  This helped take a bit of the glumness out of the day.

One flying bird appeared so it is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Sue who sent me this shot of a Christmas visitor to her bird feeders.

IMG-20171224-WA0000

Either my eyes are getting dimmer (and my camera’s sensor too) or the cloudy days are getting greyer and greyer.  It was a really miserable day today with very little light filtering through from above so it was just as well that there were things to do indoors while the rain pattered down outside.

Mrs Tootlepedal did some serious clearing out of our utility room and I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

I did look out of the window from time to time but there was not much to see.  Just a lot of raindrops…

raindrops

…a soggy looking siskin…

wet siskin

….and a clueless coal tit.

coal tit

The utility room clear out led to many agonising decisions regarding throwing away things that had sat unused and unloved at the back of the same shelf for thirty years but which were still obviously entirely necessary for the well being of the house and/or far too good to throw away.

We managed to get rid of quite a lot of stuff.

After lunch, the weather improved to the extent that it actually stopped raining but it was still tremendously grey.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping and I got out the slow bike again and set off for a short spin.

Although it looked very gloomy when I started, it improved a little and I got an hour of gentle pedalling in before I thought it was dark enough to come in again.

I did take a camera with me but it wasn’t a day for cheery scenic photographs so I concentrated on some water shots and visited a couple of my favourite little cascades on the mighty Wauchope.

wauchope cascade

After the rain, there was a fair bit of water coming down the river…

wauchope cascade

…with more rushing to join it from across the road.

wauchope cascade

I did basically the same ten mile trip up to Callister and back as I had done yesterday but put in a diversion to Cleuchfoot to add an extra couple of miles.   This took me across the Glencorf Burn…

Glencorf burn

…which has a handy sheep catching gate.

Glencorf burn

There was not much to see today but a couple of well furnished fence post tops caught my eye.

My lichen grip is sketchy but this might be Parmelia sulcata or a similar lichen

lichen on fence post

It looked very striking on a dull day.

The second fence post was more varied and seems to have two different sorts of lichen on it.

lichen on fence post

I put one of these images into the Google image search and it suggested that it might be a lilac!  Maybe AI still has a bit to go.

When I got home, we were visited by Mike Tinker, who had enjoyed his walk yesterday too.  When we told him that Mrs Tootlepedal had been doing some heavy  “spring cleaning” in winter, he told us not to mention it to his wife Alison under any circumstances.  Mike likes a quiet life.

If you read this Alison, it was just a little decluttering, nothing serious at all.

My ambition to eat a bit less has been hampered by the fact that I keep on eating more.  I am afraid that 12 miles on the slow bike won’t do much good but it can’t do any harm so I will continue to take any small window of cycling opportunity that appears in the gloom and hope for some better light to go with it.

No chance at all of a flying bird of the day today so a paddling blackbird will have to do instead.

paddling blackbird

 

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