A pedal, a walk and a ride

Today’s picture, sent in by Gavin Graham, shows the poplars that are being cut down along the waterside in the Buccleuch Park. It is rather sad to lose these landmarks. poplars

Irritatingly, although the weather was pleasant enough, the temperature in the morning was just too cold for cycling. I had to scrape ice off the car window when I went to take it to the garage for its MOT. As I am under strict instructions to try not to fall off again, I had to say no when Chuck rang me up to see if I was going out for a morning ride.

Instead, I settled down to do some editing of sound files for the Heritage DVD and then  put the sound with  pictures to illustrate the journey from Riddings Junction to Langholm. I am collecting recollections from various people to add colour to the trip.

The morning was very sunny and this let me take some nice sharp shots of birds as well as some action pictures of the feeders on the plum tree.

Some of the sharp ones first:


A brambling waits his turn
A chaffinch above it all
A sparrow on the seed feeder watches the fun at the sunflower seeds
blue tit
A lone blue tit is the only taker for the peanuts


Meanwhile elsewhere all is go, go, go….


brambling at bay
A brambling gives a siskin a hard stare
brambling flying
Aerial gymnastics from a brambling


goldfinch flying
A goldfinch tries to get among the bramblings
The goldfinch has another look
chaffinch coming in
A chaffinch (I think) makes a dash for the feeder

All this was very exciting so to calm myself down after lunch, I set off on my bike round the ‘morning run’ the wrong way, going up Wauchope first. It was still a lovely day and I paused for a moment to take a shot of this small hill with a trig point on its summit.

trig point

However, my enjoyment was spoiled when, just after I had passed Glenzier, a ‘pop’ told me that I had got a blow out. I discovered later that a thorn had pierced the tyre. I was of course, exactly at the furthest point from home when this happened as is always the case. Mrs Tootlepedal was out on a cycle ride of her own, and even if she had been in, the car was at the garage so I was facing a very long walk home. Fortunately, Doctor Tinker was kind enough to come to my rescue and after I had walked a mile or so, he arrived to pick me and the bike up. He asked, reasonably enough, why I wasn’t carrying a puncture kit or at least one of these reflators and sealers you can buy nowadays. My only excuse was old age and forgetfulness. I think I will buy one of these gadgets to seal and blow up your tyre.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal arrived very soon after. She had only done three miles of the ride that she had intended to do because the cold weather had made her fingers turn white. That sounds like a good enough excuse to me.

I was going to go out on my second bike to make up my distance but just as I was leaving the house, I met Grace, the daughter of the the last stationmaster at Langholm, out for a walk. I seized the opportunity to get her to come into the house and record some material for the DVD. Just after we finished the recording, the garage rang to say that the the car had passed its MOT and was ready for collection so I walked up and collected it.

In the evening I went to the bowling club for a fast and furious session of slot car racing which rounded off the day very nicely indeed.

For anyone with too much time on their hands, I have put an album of 78 siskin pictures on Picasa. You can find them here.

Health warning: siskins can become addictive and may be bad for your health or at least waste a lot of your time.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

6 thoughts on “A pedal, a walk and a ride

  1. I did enjoy your slideshow of the Siskins and it brought back memories of when my father actually kept a few Siskins in his aviary during the 60s but of course that is not legal these days.

  2. Why are the poplars being cut down? I think one of my relations was responsible for their planting. Dropscone, can you help out with this? Or am I completely off base? It has been known to happen on many occasions… 🙂

    1. From what I can gather it was because they have been damaged by the severe frost in December with many of them split up the trunk. Glad you were able to meet up with Fraser in Salt Lake City.

  3. Sorry about the puncture but glad, at least, that Dr Tinker was at home. Sounds like he gave you good advice!

    I looked at all the siskins and especially enjayed a couple of the closups and the ones of the bird in flight, well photographed!

    Mary and I are off to see Cally today in Chichester.Is this a photo oportunity?

  4. The goldfinches we have here are very different to yours. In the winter the North American ones are drabbish with just a little yellow on the front but in the summer the males are a brilliant canary yellow. They have been very active at our feeders these past few days as it is bitterly cold. When I got up yesterday morning the temperature was -27C in our screened porch and in spite of it being a brilliantly sunny day it never got above -17C. I enjoyed seeing the green grass in your pictures, we haven’t had a glimpse of green since the beginning of November!

    1. The weather here looks quite good in comparison. It’s getting frosty again but nothing like your temperatures.

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