Today’s picture, which I received last week from my brother Andrew, shows the famous Banbury Cross deserted as a heavy fall of snow hit the town.
Today defied the rather chilly forecast and stayed resolutely above freezing, rising in the afternoon to a very reasonable 5°C. I had to get up early to take the car to the garage where it is being fitted with a new timing belt. It turned out as time went on that it needed a new water pump too so we won’t get it back until tomorrow. It was a bit too cold to cycle straight after breakfast but by the time that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had enjoyed a cup of coffee , it seemed mellow enough for a gentle spin. I took the belt driven bike up to Callister and back at a gentle rate of knots, stopping to take a couple of pictures.
As the chief purpose of this blog is to act as a diary, I took a picture at my turning point just to prove to myself when I look back that I did actually get there.
In spite of the snow on all sides, the road was in very good condition and I didn’t have to keep a wary eye out for ice. I stopped when I got home because today is our 45th wedding anniversary and I was going out to lunch at the Douglas with Mrs Tootlepedal to celebrate this.
I did have a few minutes before we set out to look at some chaffinches.
We had an excellent meal and walked home in good humour. Robin at the Douglas asked if a 45th anniversary had any symbol like ruby or gold and we had to say that we didn’t know. Further research however has revealed that a 45th anniversary should be accompanied by a shower of jewels of any kind but preferably with an enduring resale value. (Actually it turns out to be a sapphire wedding. I see a trip to a jewellers coming up.)
With the temperature up to 5°C when we got back, I didn’t want to waste such a good opportunity so I hauled myself and lunchtime steak pie back onto the bike and set off up the Wauchope road for the second time. Once again I had sandycam in my back pocket and was pleased to have an excuse to stop from time to time as my legs didn’t fell as good as they had before lunch.
The sky had an interestingly wrinkled appearance which fitted the way I felt as I pedalled along.
The sheep on the hillsides merged into the patchy snow at times.
I stood the bike on its useful kickstand and walked across a field to catch this tree and gate. I might not have bothered if I had realised that there was the inevitable set of wires in the background.
I cycled on to the top of the hill at Callister in spite of moaning knees and was rewarded with a glimpse of finer weather to the south. Peering hard, I could just make out the Lake District hills.
During the day, Dropscone rang up and revealed that he had pedalled along the same road in the morning but he had done the whole Morning Run distance of 21 miles without stopping. I didn’t stop on my way home because even though the wind was very light, pedalling into it was surprisingly chilly.
The 22 miles I did today brought my total for January up to 250 miles and with more snow forecast tomorrow to be followed by rain and wind, that might be as far as I can get. I am hoping to average a minimum of 350 miles a month through the year so this is not quite the total I had hoped for when I did 200 miles on the first eleven days of the month. However, any mileage in January must be counted as a bonus.
I had a rest and a shower when I got back and then spent a little time trying to iron out some rough spots in tomorrow’s talk. I may make some more cuts before settling on the final version. It is easy to outstay your welcome.
In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean and Sandy and did some useful work but I was still tired and we stopped sooner than we might have done and retired to the Douglas for a ginger beer.
I did catch a flying chaffinch.