Easy like sunday morning

Today’s picture is from my sister Mary and shows Regent’s Park in autumn.  She was probably there to play a game of tennis.

Regent's Park, 12th Nov 2012 001

Mrs Tootlepedal reported that it was perfect day in the south and Mary’s picture seems to bear this out.  It wasn’t too bad here either, though it was a little gloomy at breakfast time.  I wasn’t at all gloomy because I had had an excellent night’s sleep for the first time this week.  The only annoying thing is that I cannot imagine or recall any action or circumstance that made it so good so I can’t guarantee to get another one tonight.

It wasn’t a good day for garden photographs at all and only habit makes me put in this collection of sparrows on the plum tree after breakfast.

I just liked the expression of the one on the right

Thanks to some tuition from Dr Barlow, I can state confidently that the great tit in the picture below is a male.  The thick black stripe running right to the bottom of its body is the clue.

great tit

(Spoiler alert for Mrs Uphilldowndale if she chances to read this post: there may be mention of average speed in the next section.)

The main business of the day was an easy pedal round the flat lands of north Cumbria.  I haven’t had many longer rides lately and I felt well after yesterday’s ride and a good night’s sleep so I set off for a fifty miler.  The forecast was for fine weather and light winds and after 20 miles, I was averaging 16 mph without raising a sweat.  Even allowing for the gentle downhill nature of the route, that should have given me a clue that the wind was behind me and probably a little stronger than I had thought. Sure enough, when I stopped for a banana in Newby East after doing the next four miles into the wind, my average had dropped considerably.  I liked the stylish helmets on the bike route signs.  I must get a crest on mine.

bike route signs

There are a lot of bike route signs round us but that is all they are mostly, just signs.   They point cyclists along quiet back roads but dedicated cycle tracks are few and far between. They allow those who have put them up to claim that they have “created”  hundreds of miles of cycle routes but I am not very impressed.  I was cycling today between Carlisle and Brampton, two places within easy cycling distance of each other, but there is no cycle route between them.  For the first half of the journey, at the cost of adding a bit of extra distance to the trip, there was a good cycle track beside a main road and then a diversion onto quiet back roads but for the last few miles into Brampton I had to cycle along a very busy, rather narrow main road.

Just being a few miles south and out of the hills from Langholm meant that there was still some fine autumn colour on my route.

Near Newby East

Heading on into the wind as I went to Brampton, I found it was hard, hard work.  At Brampton, I turned back towards Longtown and all my hard work disappeared in a moment and it became a treat to pedal along the well surfaced road.  I looked down at me speedometer on a fairly flat section and found I was doing 28 mph.  That’s what I call a good following wind.  I did the nine miles from Newtown to Longtown in comfortably under 27 minutes and got the average back up to 16mph.  I paused in Longtown to eat my second banana and take a picture of the River Esk from the splendid five arch bridge there.

River Esk at Longtown

I was pleased to see that Longtown has got its Christmas decorations up.

After all there are only six weeks to go.  (That was not a sincere comment.)

I was gathering my strength for what I thought would be a battle back to Langholm as I had to turn a few degrees to my right after Longtown but although the wind was across and into me, it conveniently dropped considerably and I enjoyed a pretty painless pedal home.  I was still averaging 16 mph as I came back into Scotland but the two little hills to cross meant that I couldn’t keep it up and I finished at 15.8 mph.

For those interested, you can see a map of the route here.

There were few birds in the garden when I got back and the feeders had not gone down very much so I assume that the fine weather had tempted the birds back to the woods.

The low sunlight was catching the bare trunks of the walnut tree and this is one of my favourite autumn and winter sights as I look over the front lawn.
walnut in sunshine

Dr Barlow was telling me that there is considerable debate at present in the bird world about telling the sex of goldfinches and just how far the red patch over the eye has to stretch back on the head for it to be certain that the bird is a male.

I can now say with confidence that this is either a male or a female

These two birds were in the shadows cast by my neighbour’s house but a chaffinch on the plum tree was getting the full spotlight treatment.


I got a call to go up to the town to help a friend with a computing task and I took the opportunity to go on to the Archive Centre to printout some extracts from the E&L which a correspondent had asked for.  Some of them were reports of a hearing in the bankruptcy case of a local manufacturer who was in prison while waiting for the court to decide about his case.  I am not a great believer in savage punishment just for the hell of it but I can’t help feeling that a little threat of jail might concentrate the minds of our present financial wizards to the benefit of us all.

I am going to fetch Mrs Tootlepedal from the train tomorrow and then life will be back on an even keel.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

2 thoughts on “Easy like sunday morning

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