Today’s picture shows the very small amount of me exposed to the cold once I am set up for cycling.
The forecast was not great but it wasn’t too bad after breakfast so Dropscone appeared and we set off round the morning run. It was quite breezy and a chilly 3° but we made good progress until we got to the far end of Canonbie when we started to see hail lying beside the road. By the time we had got to the end of the by-pass, there was a lot of hail lying on the road and we had obviously missed a big hail shower, though not by much.
Old joke: Julius Caesar arrives off the coast of Britain in his boat. He pokes his nose out of his bed and asks a lackey what the weather is like. “Hail, Caesar”. “Oh in that case, we’ll just go home”, he says and we did exactly the same. Rather than face strong winds and hail storms as we toiled up hill and into the wind, we turned tail and headed for home with the wind behind us and back along the way we had come. In this way we enjoyed a seventeen mile ride without getting wet and felt very smug when we saw the hail rattling down on the drive while we were having our coffee.
There was a single chaffinch in the garden…
…otherwise, once again, the birds were conspicuous by their absence from the feeders, though quite a few chaffinches could be made out on the branches of the walnut tree.
Between the hail storms, the day remained very grey.
The wind grew stringer as time went by and I was impressed by the gripping power of this goldfinch who perched on the topmost twig of the swaying walnut tree rather than come down into the shelter of the shrubs in the garden.
You can see the strong breeze ruffling its feathers.
We had lunch and then set off in the car. Just before we left the number of birds in the garden swelled to a magnificent total of three.
We were a bit worried by yet another hailstorm…
… but we went anyway and in fact although it was very windy, we got through our trip in the dry.
We started by taking my speedy bike and Mrs Tootlepedal’s tourer down to the bike shop in Longtown to get them serviced. Mrs Tootlepedal’s is going to have the light service and mine is going to have the “take it to bits and put it back again” job.
This will let us greet the new year ready for anything.
We went on to a garden centre where I bought some more bird food in the probably vain hope that the birds will return to the garden soon. While I was there, I purchased some mince and cheese so that even if I can’t feed the birds, I will be able to feed myself.
We went on into Carlisle where Mrs Tootlepedal did some serious shopping while I idled about. We parked beneath the city walls in the shadow of the cathedral.
Thanks to the competition from on line music stores, I was able to buy three Humphrey Lyttleton CDs for £10 in a record store and after wandering through the Cathedral precincts on my way back to the car…
…I sat in the car listening to one of them while I waited for Mrs Tootlepedal to return.
Having bought cheese at a garden centre on the way out, I bought coal at a petrol station on the way home. This all made for a satisfactory trip. The wind was very severe by now and I was not looking forward to going to Carlisle again in the evening to play recorders. Fortunately Jenny rang up and we agreed that conditions were against us and called off the playing. This is the second week running I haven’t gone to Carlisle to play because of the weather and this is undoubtedly a sign of growing old. A few years ago I would have laughed at gales and snow and ice and gone regardless but now dark care sits on my shoulder and inhibits reckless actions.
As I write this, the house is being lashed by wind and rain so perhaps it was not such a poor decision.