Albeit originally dry, today’s bright start, beset by grey sheep’s wool skies and drizzling rain, descended into cooler dankness.

My morning session devoted to WordPress comments was extended by the distraction from shaking branches of a crab apple tree in which the cumbersome barrage balloon of a nest-building wood pigeon thumped into the boughs clutching a selection of tightrope walkers’ balancing poles before diving into the foliage, emerging empty beaked and blundering off for a refill.

You may care to bigify these images by clicking on any one to access the gallery in order to discern the size of the nest twigs.

Jackie, meanwhile, having inadvertently discovered a robin’s nest while tidying up some boxes a couple of days ago

took a chance on quickly snapping the babies today. Since the earlier discovery, the parents have continued to carry in food through the gap beside the rusty iron bar.

This afternoon I read a little more of Nicholas Nickleby, enabling me to scan four more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to Charles Dickens’s novel.

‘Mr Snawley tucked the poor fellow’s head under his arm in a most uncouth and awkward embrace’

‘Within ‘the rules’ ‘ illustrates life in the Liberties of The King’s Bench Prison – an area covering three square miles around the prison where those inmates who could afford it could purchase the liberty to live there. (Wikipedia)

‘Arthur Gride sat in a low chair looking up into the face of Ralph Nickleby’ reminds me of a tax inspector I once knew who always sat his interviewees in a lower chair to establish his power. I explained that I did the opposite for the opposite reason.

‘Nicholas found himself poring with the utmost interest over a large play-bill’

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken and tasty parsnips; creamy mashed potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; tender greens, and flavoursome gravy with which Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I started on the Barossa Valley Shiraz 2017.