Living up to my name

Today’s picture shows two real hard men.  They are cycling from Lands End to John  o’Groats at not less than 200 km per day, with no rest days, without any support and carrying all their own luggage.  The wind has been against them all the way so far.  I take my hat off to them.

real cyclists

The forecast was for rain sweeping in by ten o’clock but things didn’t look too bad at eight o’clock so Dropscone and I arranged to go out half an hour earlier than usual in the hope of avoiding the incoming rain.  In the end this proved unnecessary as it didn’t start raining till well after lunch.

Not only was there no rain but there was also very little wind and what there was came from a helpful direction so we enjoyed our pedal very much indeed.  We took it gently up the steep hills and pedalled vigorously where we could and ended up just beating the 15 mph mark without being jiggered which was very satisfactory.  What was less good was that the early start had meant that there was no production of scones and we had to make do with toast instead.  Still you can’t have everything.

After Dropscone left, I cleared off the sheets and breakfast from the B & B and then I packed the camera up and went for my usual walk.  Because the light was better today, I was hopeful of getting some good shots but because the light was better today, there were no birds to be seen of course.  I had to settle for some headless ducks.


In the absence of moving targets by the river, I had to settle for trees which at least have the merit of always being where you expect them to be.  I liked this entrant in the knobbly trunk contest.

knobbly trunk

The Lodge walks are beginning to look good too.

Lodge Walks early May

Luckily for my good humour, the nuthatches were all present and correct.

Nuthatch collecting food
Collecting food…
Nuthatch leaving nest
..and going out for more having delivered the first lot.

I walked up to the Duchess Bridge after spending some time watching the nuthatches and saw a very somnolent bee on one of the gates on my way.


It remained placidly where it was as I opened and shut the gate that it was on.

The wild garlic is just starting to come into flower.

wild garlic

As I had taken a picture of the Duchess Bridge from the new bridge yesterday, I thought it only right to return the compliment today.

The new bridge
It was opened in 2002

As I left the river bank, I went in to the wood beside the road to admire the bluebells.

bluebells at Holmwood

The new sports hall for the school caught my eye.  The buildings at the back on the right are the school buildings proper.  These were a product of 1960 building standards and have had many, many window replacements and the curved white roofs which you can see, are entirely new and stuck on top of the existing flat roof to stop the perpetual leaks.



When I got home, I made myself useful to the gardener by watering in some buck-u-uppo to the seven azaleas that surround the front lawn.  For those with a technical interest in gardening, I should say that it was blue powdery buck-u-uppo, dissolved in a watering can.  I like to keep on top of the science.

While I was having lunch, I noticed some fierce action round the feeders of which I recorded these moments.

chaffinch and siskin
A chaffinch startles a siskin.
siskin and chaffinch
A siskin turns to fight back

Some birds made it to the feeder without interruption.

chaffinch landing

After lunch, I went up to the town to play music with Isobel and Mike again.  I had an enjoyable time puffing away on recorder and flute and I left Mike and Isobel trying to get to grips with an arrangement of  Gershwin’s ‘Lets call the whole thing off’ which Isobel is going to play as an accompanist for an exam pupil on a euphonium.  Amazingly to me, neither of them had heard the song before but I daresay that I haven’t ever heard things played that they would consider that everyone knew.

By the time I left them, it had started raining but that had not stopped the birds from visiting the feeders and I filled them up for the third time in the day.

The rain had stopped when I saw this fluffy redpoll at the nyger seed.


It had started again a minute later as two rather threadbare birds contested a seat at the sunflower hearts.

siskin and chaffinch
Yet another siskin/chaffinch confrontation

And almost stopped a minute later when a goldfinch and a chaffinch got tangled up.


We still really need a good splash of rain here, although the whole of the rest of the country has had a thoroughly wet month. In some places it was the wettest April since records began. We are as sorry for them as they are for us when the weather is more normal and it rains here all the time.

My flute pupil Luke came in the evening and we looked at some new music which will be a bit of a challenge for him but I am confident that he will be able to play it soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal is beginning to feel the effects of having had a tickly cough all week.  It is one of those annoying things when she doesn’t feel ill enough to take any medicine but the cough just won’t go away.  As I write this, my legs are feeling the strain of the speedy pedal this morning which is warning to me not to get carried away by good cycling conditions.  Neither of us is at our peak.

Today’s chaffinch is a rather elegant chaffinch.

chaffinch flying


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “Living up to my name

  1. A very elegant chaffinch, and I love the knobby tree and the overhanging avenue. Very inviting.

    By the way what did you have your camera set on to catch your moon? F stop? Shutter speed? It turned out so nicely.

  2. Hard men, indeed. I have often wondered if there is a “conventional wisdom” as to the best way to ride Lands End to John o’Groats. With the prevailing winds largely westerly, I suppose that doesn’t factor into the equation. I would guess it comes down to when you would prefer to deal with the Scottish Highlands, at the end or in the beginning. I eagerly await your thoughts on the matter.

    1. The prevailing wind is south westerly so Land’s End to John o’Groats is the most common way. The Scottish hills may be higher but in general they are more gentle in gradient and are much easier to cope with than the Cornish hills which are devilish and unremitting. This year there has been a persistent northerly wind and our last potential gusts gave up at Preston, beaten by mechanical failures and the severe weather so you can’t be certain until you try..

      1. Very interesting. I would think this often means your guests have very interesting stories to relate as they have completed much of their journey by Langholm. Unfortunately, it also seems to mean you get a greater percentage of cancellations.

  3. That chaffinch is an Art Deco goddess–or maybe one of those 1930s actresses wearing slinky satin evening gowns and pouts. The whole post is full of interesting things, but I must admit the headless ducks are most memorable. Good grief I hope they were diving for breakfast and not floating there, well, dead. That would be embarrassing.

  4. Splendid chaffinch finale also chaffinch and siskin action photograph among other excellent pictures. Glad you had an enjoyable pedal.

  5. New bridge? Millenium bridge? Jubilee bridge? Maybe it should be School bridge, as we will soon have a dedicated approach path from Galaside. Great photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: