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.

Ewes valley

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.

ewes valley south

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.

Mosspaul Hotel
Mosspaul Hotel 2012
Mosspaul Hotel 1904. There were more cyclists then.

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.

blue tit with a face
A blue tit with a face
great tit
A great tit later in the day. It looks as though it is grasping a seed.

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.

aggressive siskin

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.

aggressive siskin with chaffinches

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.

perpetual wallflower
A perpetual wallflower, a recent purchase.
biennial wallflower
A biennial wallflower, grown from seed by Mrs Tootlepedal
flowering currant
The flowering currant is fully out now.

Apart from the flowers, some other plants are interesting to look at as well.

A sedum
A sedum

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.

mysterious gardening

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..

feeding station

…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.

chaffinch triangle
This was just about the busiest moment of the day in the garden.

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 philadelphus
A spirea
A spirea

A jackdaw was also taking in the ray in the rays.

shiny jackdaw

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.

chaffinch flying


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “Tailwind

  1. Wow, I’d never heard of wallflowers or flowering currants before. But seeing as how these are early spring flowers, they deserve a little research. I wonder if either of them would do well here in Virginia…

  2. I’ve never had hills like that to walk over, but I think I know what you mean. There are beloved hiking trails along the Lake Superior shoreline that I am unlikely to take again. Still, I love getting to the places I can reach, and remembering the places that I reached when I could. Much sadder to think of never having known them at all.

    The birds are engaging as always. I’m very taken with the jackdaws. I don’t think we have those at all, and the eye is very striking. The chaffinch acrobatics remind me of a WWI dogfight, all fearless diving and swooping with white scarves trailing from the open cockpits.

  3. Well done for doing your best to be patient, you still seem to get a lot done despite having to rest more often than you would like. The final chaffinch looked pretty good to me with my untutored eye.

  4. Lovely flowering currant. And beautiful Ewes valley photograph. You seem to have managed quite a lot of bicycling in spite of everything!

  5. Thanks for another great tale of another excellent ramble. I always enjoy the juxtaposition of historical photos with the ones you take on your ride. Once again, you have failed to properly lean your bike against the pictured building, which would be the piece de resistance!

    Although I am still young enough to climb over most of the hills in my world, I am not so young that I do not relate to your sentiments. I shall do my best to take them to heart and store as many memories as possible for the day when such feats are less feasible.

  6. All yours and the Mrs. T’s work has inspired me to try harder in my gardens this spring! (Of course, Violet is working wonders.) Thanks for sharing so many garden pictures with us! Hope the Dr’s advice to rest is helping.
    ~ Lynda

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