Today’s picture is from my brother’s recent skiing holiday in Avoriaz. It makes me ill just thinking of how steep the ski run must be.
We had a bit of a stay of execution with regard to the promised cold weather and although it was a bit colder, it was still a lovely spring day with a lot of sunshine. A light northerly wind put a bit of chill into the air and I was well wrapped up as I set out on the (fairly) speedy bike to put in a few gentle miles to end the month. I headed up the A7 towards Mosspaul once again as it is an easy ride with no steep hills at all.
The traffic was light but I was passed by two caravans, the first of the year. Caravans are a cyclist’s nightmare as they swing along behind the towing car. The car is often driven by someone who forgets how long his caravan is when he passes a cyclist and cuts in alarmingly. The two today were very considerate though. I stopped to take a picture of one of the many little glens that I pass on my way. This one is to the east of the main road.
It is sad to think that I will never have the legs to walk over these delightful hills again but at least I can enjoy the view as I cycle past them.
I looked back down the valley to the south from the same point.
There had been a tiny sprinkle of rain as I started out but as you can see, the weather was brightening up behind me and I got home dry.
I stopped at the summit of the hill to take a picture of the Mosspaul Hotel. It has been neatly done up but is closed for business at the moment.
It had taken me 57 minutes to pedal the ten and a half miles up the hill and into the wind and I got my reward for the labour in the 32 minutes it took me to cycle back again. This left me with an average of around 14 mph which is my target at present. It also took me over the 400 miles for the month and although this is 100 miles less than I would have liked, it made March the best month of the year for pedalling so far.
I made up a fancy spreadsheet for recording my cycling statistics at the beginning of the year and I said at the time that being so well prepared would probably lead to trouble and so it has proved. Still, the spreadsheet has columns in many pretty colours and I enjoy filling it in, even with reduced distances.
Once home, I was able to look for any birds in the garden. After yesterday’s generous supply, we were on short commons today but I was pleased to catch to rare visitors.
There is still no sign that our new bird box is going to be used unfortunately.
One siskin turned up but made enough fuss for an army.
This picture was a revelation to me as I thought when I was taking it that the chaffinch had been driven off empty beaked but as you can see, it was so quick that it landed and took a seed before retreating.
And once again, both chaffinches had secured a seed before taking to their heels.
Even though, apart from the daffodils, there are not a great many plants in flower, there are still some good colours in the garden at the moment.
Apart from the flowers, some other plants are interesting to look at as well.
Inside the house, the amaryllis has taken full advantage of a sunny windowsill.
Mrs Tootlepedal spent another busy day in the garden. Here she is doing mysterious things in some bushes.
The leeks are getting towards the end of their useful life and will need to be picked and frozen soon but I dug up a couple and made leek and potato soup for lunch. After lunch, I gradually, with rests, got on with turning the next set of compost into the empty bin I had created yesterday and then started on the task of turning the most recent heap into the space this created. And so the endless process of composting goes on. I enjoy it. I know you can just leave compost to moulder away over the years but I like to be able to use last year’s plants to help this year’s growth.
It turned into such a lovely afternoon that I thought we should do something with it so we went up to the moorland feeding station to see what we could see but sadly, except for the charm of the freshly green trees in the glade..
…there was nothing much to see as there were less birds there than there were in our own garden. I had my special bird watching stool but even sitting on that did no good and we returned home without a picture to show for our visit.
Mrs Tootlepedal threw herself back into the work of cutting back old growth which we then shredded and added to our freshly turned pile of compost. Nothing is safe from the clippers. I always stand well back myself just in case she is tempted to cut me down to size too.
Some shrubs survived and glowed very nicely in the evening sunshine.
A jackdaw was also taking in the ray in the rays.
After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sell programmes at the Wizard of Oz and I sat quietly, recovering from what has been quite a busy day for me. I am coming to terms with the fact that I just can’t do this year what I could do last year and that I must be patient, which is not my most prominent characteristic.
I struggled all day to try to find another bird to act as chaffinch of the day but in the end I had to settle for a chaffinch and by the time I caught him, the light had gone.