Be your age

Today’s picture, from my sister Susan’s recent jaunt to Wales, is of the station at Porthmadog on the Welsh Highland Railway.Porthmadog station

Not such good weather in Wales, it would seem from the photo, as we have been enjoying here. It was another wall to wall sunshine day today. Once again it was accompanied by the surrounding murk which was so evident yesterday. I have noticed as I have been cycling along  that the cars that move into the middle of the road to pass me have been kicking up a trail of dust behind them and a librarian of my acquaintance complained that a recent exhibition of books in her library had become dust covered too. We may be paying the price for the steady high pressure and light winds during March.

The garden was strangely bare of birds today. The siskins and goldfinches had disappeared and most of the chaffinches too. This at least left some room for a few sparrows to make for the feeders.

sparrow

sparrow

The sparrows enjoy the nuts and the fat balls but don’t seem to be tempted by the sunflower seeds. The greenfinches like the sunflower seeds but not the nuts or the fat balls. There was very little competiton for food as a result.

greenfinch

I am hoping that the quieter garden will encourage the return of the tit family. There are one or two about at the moment but we had more last year.

In the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal at her mother’s, there was not much to do except go for a pedal. After yesterday’s scenic run, I went for something less interesting and flatter today. I thought the conditions were so benign that a longish run was called for so I went down the A7 to Longtown, across to Gretna Green and then up the old A74 which has now been superseded by the M74. It has been turned into a single track road with cycle lanes each side. You would think this would make for ideal cycling conditions but you would be wrong.

The cycle lanes are created by the simple expedient of drawing white lines a bit in from the edge of the road. The result of this is that if you use the cycle lanes, cars going very fast down the lightly used road, pass you inches away as they don’t feel they need to move out, since you are in a cycle lane. In addition, because the cars don’t go on the cycle lanes, the lanes gradually fill up with the little stones that the cars sweep off the road as they go. The one thing cars are good at is sweeping gravel into the gutter.

When the road is resurfaced, the workmen often don’t lay the new surface right out to the edge so it may leave a rough ridge right up the middle of the cycle lane. In fact, it would be more pleasant and probably safer for there to be no cycle lanes at all but then administrators wouldn’t be able to draw pretty lines on maps to show how good to cyclists they have been.

Anyway, in spite of all that, I often cycle along this road because it has light traffic and is relatively flat. I only took the small camera as there is no possibility of good views. I saw this well cared for roundabout at Ecclefechan.

roundabout

The reason that I stopped to photograph it might have had something to do with the fact that it is at the top of one of the few hills on the journey. I took the opportunity to have the first of two cheese and tomato sandwiches which were my fuel of the day.

Ecclefechan

It was not quite as intimidating as the climb from Caldbeck village! I went on along the old A74 (now the B7076) past Lockerbie where I was struck by the gleaming brilliance of this wood burning power station.  It is difficult to know how well it is functioning. There are farmers growing willow specially for it but not nearly enough to provide it with sufficient feedstock.

Steven's Croft

I pressed on up to the Dinwiddie Lodge Hotel. There I turned and headed back home by the same route. The wind had been against or across the whole way out and the disadvantage of an out and back route in a cross wind is that that it is still across when you return. However, it was only a light wind and I managed the trip home, with the last 14 miles with the wind behind, quite a bit quicker than the way out.

I stopped just north of Lockerbie for a cheese and tomato sandwich and took this photo of the main West Coast railway line crossing the Dryfe Water.

railway

On the other side of the road, the Water is crossed by the motorway but not quite so elegantly.

motorway

It had got quite warm by this time and I made an unscheduled stop at Kirkpatrick Fleming to buy a welcome ice cream. I kept up a steady but not furious pace and ended up doing the 72 miles in four and a half hours. Annoyingly, the average speed was 15.9 mph, just a fraction below the 16 mph which I consider really satisfactory. I was pleased to have put in more miles than my age (just) as I hope to able to continue doing this for as long as possible.

In the evening, I made a pizza for my tea using the bread machine to make the dough quite successfully and then I spent a lazy couple of hours watching the Masters from Augusta and thinking how lucky we are in general to have the BBC with no advertisements on it. The American coverage, which the BBC takes for this tournament, stops every few minutes making the whole thing rather restless.

I am sorry that there are no flower pictures today but I could not find a new bloom to show you.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

2 thoughts on “Be your age

  1. Well, another tremendously long bike ride, you are so energetic! Glad you used the train station. It was a most exciting day despite the rather gloomy weather, I am planning to go again sooner rather than later!

    Hope all is well in Marlow.

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