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This is a pretty accurate representation of how dark the garden was at 2pm this afternoon: two stops below the 18% grey the camera thinks is normal. I’d been hoping to go out somewhere – anywhere! – but it rained almost all day, and the only times when it wasn’t raining, it was just gathering its breath in preparation for the next downpour.

I was looking through the kitchen window, contemplating a set of empty bird feeders, and a number of small, wet birds sitting miserably in the apple tree close to them, when this cock pheasant strolled down the drive and across the ‘lawn’. I think he’d come to join his harem, who were already here eating whatever they could find in the grass under the feeders; he didn’t seem particularly interested in food himself, but strolled about checking on the girls. Once I’d taken his photo through the window I went out to refill the feeders, putting the entire clan to flight.

This evening at choir we’ve started work on our Baroque programme for the concert next March with Zelenka: Te Deum and Bach: Tönet, ihr Pauken! – tricky, but wonderful and uplifting. We’ll also be doing the Purcell and Charpentier Te Deums, but haven’t yet got the music for those – so I’ll be driving R mad singing Bach and Zelenka over and over for the next five weeks.