It was a really lovely day today and the forecast was for light winds so I deserted Dropscone (who went to the gym instead) and set off for a circular 50 miles by Eskdalemuir and Lockerbie. I pottered gently up the hill to Eskdalemuir in rather chilly but brilliantly sunny weather, taking care not to fall of when coming down the Crurie Brae. At Eskdalemuir, I turned left to cross the hills to Lockerbie. This is one of my favourite pieces of road, not least because it has an excellent surface as it has been looked after to cater for the forestry traffic. It is an undulating ride as it crosses the grain of the rivers and streams but you can get full value out of the downhills because the bends are gentle and there are no potholes. This makes the uphills far less of a grind.
I stopped in Lockerbie for some chips which I ate on a bench on the station platform. The chips were excellent but the result was not so good as it was hard to get going after eating them as all my energy seemed to be set on digestion rather than pedalling. I went down the old A74 to Kirkpatrick Fleming, turned left and headed for the A7 which took me back home. The whole ride was completed at a rather gentle 14+ miles an hour but I hadn’t hurried and the chips had slowed me down. On checking the distance on Autoroute, I found that I had done 53 miles.
When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden, digging compost into the veg beds for next year. We had a nice cup of tea and a dainty cake under the walnut tree and then I went for a relaxing bath. While I was there, our visitors for the next two days arrived. Unusually for us, they are a young Italian couple who are holidaying in Scotland. They couldn’t have picked a better week because the weather looks set fair.
While Mrs Tootlepedal went to the shops to purchase the necessaries for the visitors’ breakfast, I spent some time admiring my first two ripened peppers from the greenhouse. We have been keeping the greenhouse doors more shut this year than before and let the roof ventilators do their job unaided. This has kept the temperature up and this is the first year that I have got the peppers to go a true red. I was also able to eat a late strawberry which ripened in a hanging basket in the greenhouse. Unfortunately I had eaten it before I was able to photograph it.