An email from a mother in Newcastle has brought me a picture of the day at the very last moment. It shows a young fellow feeling very sad because it is not his birthday. I know how he feels.
The forecast had been for very wet weather so I had cancelled a morning ride with Dropscone and indeed, it did rain during the night. By the time we got up though, the weather was quiet, warm and grey and we could have cycled easily. Dropscone put the time to good use in catching up with various bits of paperwork and joined me for coffee and scones. (I had put the time to no use by doing nothing.) Over coffee, Dropscone kindly allowed me to call him by his given name in posts from now on so he will appear as Dennis which is much easier for me to type. So farewell Dropscone and welcome Dennis. Mrs Tootlepedal wishes to preserve her sense of mystery but in deference to my typing strain has allowed that Mrs Toot will be an acceptable diminutive so Mrs Toot it will be.
Just before Dennis ( ci-devant Dropscone) arrived for coffee, I went out into the garden to search for forerunners of spring. There were plenty about.
While Dennis and I were sipping our coffee, the bird feeder was very busy outside the window.
It is a constant source of entertainment.
After Dennis left, I had another wander round the garden. Mrs Toot has been commenting on how green the front lawn is looking and it is hard to disagree with her….
…but the greenness has little to do with grass and lots to do with rampaging moss. No wonder the Japanese like moss lawns.
Back in the house, I caught a quiet moment at the feeder when a few chaffinches had it to themselves.
After lunch Mrs Toot decided that the day was nice enough for a winter pedal and we got our bikes out and set off up the Wauchope road. We stopped at the little waterfall where my bike fell over last week and I found that there was another small rapids a few yards downstream. I put my bike on its stand and Mrs Toot leaned hers against one of the malign bollards that had let me down last week and we walked along to view the rapids.
In spite of myself, I am getting tempted by blurry water shots (if not overdone).
When we got back to the bikes, Mrs Toot’s had been let down by the bollard and hit the tarmac but luckily had not suffered any damage. I felt rather smug.
At Wauchope School, Mrs Toot turned for home but it was such a pleasant day that I decided to head on and cycle round the morning run the wrong way. As on Sunday, there were breaks in the cloud and the promise of some sun but as on Sunday, it was always a few miles down the road. Nevertheless I couldn’t really expect to get a better day for pedalling in January so I enjoyed myself.
The views were good….
…but the roads were still pretty wet.
I had a very nice time pedalling down to Canonbie with the light wind behind me but after getting quite tired on Sunday, I made sure that I took things easily on the way back to Langholm, stopping for frequent photo opportunities. I include one or two results here.
And of course there are always bridges to cross.
When I arrived home after my 20 miles, there was the promise of a fine sunset for the first time for many days.
I have recently purchased a gradient filter to help with shots like this so I went into the house and got it out to try it. You can see the difference when I used it.
A first effort. It helps you get both the bright sky behind and the house in front more evenly exposed. Like everything worthwhile, it will obviously take a bit of getting used to before I can get the best out of it but it looks promising.
The sunset turned out to be good value on every side.
In the evening, Susan came to pick me up and took me to Carlisle to play with our recorder group. All six of us were present and we had a particularly splendid night of playing. We very much enjoyed the title of one of the madrigals we played: Thule, the Period of Cosmography. It is by Thomas Weelkes and turned out to be more fun to play than the title might suggest. The biscuits were good too.
I found a flying bird of the day more easily today.