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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Still at Greenbank

greenbank.borders 060 Well, I emailed the RSPB and was put in touch with Lewis, who identified my singing bird as a wren.  This is what he wrote about its size, because I felt it was too big to be a wren…  

The pale stripe above the eye (supercilium), light barring on the wings, and stocky tail are a dead give away.
The fact you felt it was too large for a wren provides me with the suggestion that: 1. it was fluffing up because of cold, or 2. most likely the shear effort wrens put into their call. They seem to expand as they fill their airsacs to bursting to be able to send out that loud melodious call which seems far to loud for such a small bird but needs to penetrate thick scrub that they frequent.
Wrens have very large air sacs and syrinx (bird larynx) in relation to their size which may have given the impression of it being larger than it is.

So there we are!  I am amazed!  I thought it was at least the size of a robin redbreast, but yes, it was singing with great gusto – giein’ it laldy, as we’d say in Scotland – so its airsacs must have been well full. wren-03 I thought too that wrens’ tails were always upright, as in this photo by Stephen Round.

Anyway, it certainly does have the spotted bar along its wing and the eye flash, so I’ll accept that it was a wren we saw!


So, let me continue into the house which is not really open to the public as a rule, as it is used as offices for the National Trust for Scotland, but two rooms at least are set out in the style of the period, and we were allowed to go in and have a look. Both rooms that we saw were at the back of the house with views of the garden.  greenbank. stairs This is the staircase from the main hall with a mezzanine room in the sunshine, and the doorway down to the kitchen and servants rooms no doubt. greenbank.dining room

The dining room was painted in typical Georgian fashion and had its share of portraits on the walls.  You could see Mr and Mrs Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) in the two looking down from their positions over the buffet table. The china cupboard would once have had doors, but its ornate interior was on view with its beautiful Georgian crockery.  greenbank.rasps and cream flan The group were looking at something on a small side table – a beautiful raspberries and cream flan under a glass dome.  So?  Well, if you click the photo to enlarge it, you might see that it is knitted!  Yes, really!  Knitting needles, yarn, etc.  Knitted!

Next we saw the room on the left of the stairs, which might have been the original drawing room – it’s not a large house - laid out for afternoon tea, but with a twist!  greenbank.aftn teaThe dish of sandwiches on the right of the photo, the scones and cakes on the cake stand, even the sugar lumps in the silver bowl to the right of the teapot, were all knitted!  greenbank.cake stand   

They actually look better than the cakes Jean and I had for afternoon tea at the Carlton for her birthday.greenbank.cakes

Then there was the bowl of fruit!


Just how can anyone work things as fiddly as sugar lumps and grapes?

Aren’t they amazing?   greenbank.flowersEven the flowers on the mantelshelf  were knitted.  Someone has a lot of patience!

It would have been great to see some more of the house but that wasn’t possible, and the other rooms probably haven’t been done up and furnished anyway.

greenbank.the group 

Our tour over, we thanked Graham, our guide, and made our way back to the tearoom for another cup of tea and a bite to eat before we set off for home.  It was lovely to be able to sit outside for about the first time this spring. (The fine weather didn’t last long!)  Some purchases were made and both Sheena’s and my car (cars?~) were full of pots of primulas and shrubs for the drive home. 

What a lovely way to spend a birthday! 

Talk again soon.


Peggy Ann said...

I love that staircase! and would love to peek thru that door under it! I have a pattern for crocheted donuts! but I don't really crochet. Only a straight scarf:)

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

I'd love to see the whole house in whatever state the rest of it is in, Peggy, but the doorway to the basement does pull you towards it, doesn't it! I'd have liked to climb just a few steps for a sneaky peep at the little sunny room on the mezzanine. I wonder if that block was added to the back of the house or was it an original feature.
Crocheted doughnuts sound amazing too, but a scarf is more practical!

Katrina said...

I love the staircase too. I have patterns for cakes but have not been mad enough to knit any - yet. At least they won't be calorific. A wren - hhmm, quite a lot of birds have those eye bar bits.

Katrina said...

I love the staircase too. I have patterns for cakes but have not been mad enough to knit any - yet. At least they won't be calorific. A wren - hhmm, quite a lot of birds have those eye bar bits.

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

What completely threw me was the tail, Katrina. I agree with you about the eye thing but the bars on the wing seem pretty like a wren's. I saw a magazine with a felted wren today and it had very definite bars too, but it's the tail.....not wren-like at all!