Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan. Stepping out of her front door the other day, she came across this fine display of early hellebores, a welcome sign of good things to come.
We had a dull and occasionally drizzly morning here, but I held back from resorting to the bike to nowhere for my exercise as the forecast offered the possibility of a better afternoon. Or to be more precise, one forecast offered the possibility of a better morning (which was obviously wrong) while another went for a 30% chance of rain in the afternoon. As the 30% chance of rain was accompanied by a detailed weather map showing no rain over Langholm in the afternoon, I crossed my fingers and opted for that one.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been invited to take part in a Microsoft Teams meeting in the afternoon by someone interested in the process of the community land purchase. As we had not used Teams before, she spent some time installing the app and trying to find out how it worked. I am happy to report that her meeting went without a hitch.
In between offering Mrs Tootlepedal moral support and making some lentil and carrot soup for lunch, I watched the birds. It was so dull in the morning that even shooting sitting birds produced unusable results. The only two that I kept were shots of a blue tit at the peanut butter feeder…
…and a rook on a wire.
I had nearly given up, when unexpectedly the sun came out.
The change was dramatic….
…and suddenly there was a lot of action…
A chaffinch flew in trailing a thread.
After a bowl of lentil soup and some bread and cheese, I felt strong enough to get my bike out and take a chance on that 30%. Although the temperature had made it up to 4°C (40°F), I didn’t feel totally confident about little used back roads or going up hills, so I stuck to the main road south and pedalled into a chilly wind down the A7 to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass.
To go any further would have meant entering England. This is not recommended under our regulations (and anyway I had forgotten my phone so I didn’t want to stray too far from home in case of mechanical or physical breakdown). I turned back and pedalled back up to Langholm through Canonbie village, passing the three sisters at Grainstonehead who were looking less dramatic today…
…and a nice pair of pines at the Hollows.
The rain held off, so instead of going straight home when I got back to Langholm, I pedalled through the town and out of the other side going up the A7 northwards. As I came up the hill from the High Mill Brig, I stopped to look back to check that I wasn’t going to be overtaken by bad weather from behind. I was pleased to find it looking relatively bright to the south.
Further omn, a little shed in a field beside the road caught my eye.
With the brisk wind now behind me, it would have been tempting to keep going but thinking of the wind in my face on the way back, I settled for three miles before stopping to admire the scenery in general…
…and a very uncompromising wall in particular.
The three miles back home took my journey up to 22 miles. I was very grateful to have got any miles in in the changeable weather.
When I looked at the forecast for the next three days before I started writing this post, it suggested an inch of rain every day. Now it is suggesting an inch of rain for two days and then a fine day to follow. This gives an idea of how difficult the forecasters are finding it to predict the weather as the climate changes play havoc with their models.
After Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her Teams meeting, we had a lively Zoom with my brother and sisters and that rounded off another day of lockdown. Thank goodness for that little burst of sunshine that cheered up the chaffinches (and me).
One of them is the flying bird of the day.