Out and about again

Today’s picture was sent by my daughter Annie and shows the Exeter Morris Men at Topsham in Devon.

Exeter morris men at Topsham

We had that very rare thing, a pleasant summer day with absolutely not a single drop of rain involved.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in he church choir while I made preparations to go out for a proper Sunday pedal.   Before I left, I got the fairly speedy bike out and gave it a good wash and brush up and cleaned and lubricated the chain in the sunshine.  As it took me quite a bit of time to get organised and purchase the necessary bananas and healthy bars to act as fuel on the trip, Mrs Tootlepedal had actually come back from the Kirk before I got away.

Some of the delay may have been caused by the temptation to look out of the window.

coal tit
A coal tit takes advantage of an empty seat and nips off with a seed.
There were birds flying in all directions again.
There were birds flying in all directions again.

With a sparrow, a greenfinch, a siskin and some chaffinches, the picture above gives a fair reflection of our current visitors.

chaffinch flying off
An unusual shot of a flying chaffinch.

It takes me a bit of time to get mentally revved up for cycling these days so I might have wandered round the garden as well. I was baffled by what this flower was….


…as it seemed to be growing in an azalea and fern place but was obviously neither.  When I examined it more closely, it turned out to be a cosmos poking through the foliage from underneath.

These daisies are hanging on in a rather depressed sort of way.

But the rain hasn’t discouraged the bees and there are still plenty about.  The nasturtiums show how much moisture is still around on a sunny morning.

bee nasturtium

So I had cleaned the bike, bought fuel, watched the birds and looked at the flowers and I had finally run out of excuses.  I got on the bike and set off.  I hadn’t planned my journey as I thought that I would see how I was feeling but I did want to go somewhere different.

I set off off up the familiar Wauchope road and went over Callister as far as Paddockhole.  Instead of turning back there as I have been doing, I kept going this time and soon found myself looking down of the Water of Milk….

Water of Milk
You can see that an autumn tinge has started to turn the country brown.

…on my way to Bankshill.  When I got to Tundergarth School, I turned left and headed to the top of the hill passing this slice of modern life on the way.


My little camera couldn’t do justice to the splendid panoramic view which greeted me as I went over the summit (a lofty 244m).

Solway view

On my right was Burnswark…

It has the site of an iron age fort and a Roman camp on it.

And to make everything even better, in front of me was a lovely descent of two miles with no sudden bends or potholes.

I went on to Ecclefechan and then I was in the flat lands and my route home took me through Kirkpatrick Fleming, Glenzier and Canonbie, all with a kindly breeze behind me.  I stopped  to take a picture of the bridge over the River Sark.

River sark
In a mile or so, this will mark the border between England and Scotland. As I have remarked before, it is not quite the Rio Grande.

Once I reached Canonbie, I turned along the A7 and stopped to record the fine show of daisies on the banks beside this main road.

daisies on the A7

I pedalled home along the cycle path and arrived in good order having done 41 miles, easily the furthest that I have cycled this year.  I had taken the whole trip very easily and was pleased to arrive in a minute over three hours of cycling time.

Mrs Tootlepedal provided me with a cup of tea and a slice of cake to aid my recovery in a scientific way.  In my absence, she had done more good work in getting the new kitchen in order.   While we sipped our tea, we could hear a public address system going full blast on the Castleholm so after I had finished the tea and cake, I got the slow bike out to see what was going on.  It turned out to be a local flapping (unlicensed horse race) meeting.


I stopped to watch a three horse race.

Going to the paddock
One of the three going to the paddock
Another going to the start
Another going to the start
All three on the first circuit
All three on the first circuit
coming to the winning post
Two left as they came to the winning post, a lady jockey on the winner.

The last race of the day was another three horse race and as I thought I had had quite enough excitement already, I went home.   Mike Tinker came round and so I had another cup of tea and another slice of cake.  The day was turning out very well.

To make a perfect end to the day, I went out into the garden and saw a butterfly…


..and mowed a lawn.

The only fly in the ointment was an outbreak of computer bafflement as Mrs Tootlepedal got all sorts of indecipherable warnings about security on her computer as I was writing this post.  She got increasingly baffled and as I was trying to do two things at once, I wasn’t much help.  In the end, we are leaving it until a new day dawns in the vain hope that it might have all gone away.

We are applying a cup of hot chocolate to our mental wounds.

During the day, a blue tit made a strong bid to replace the robin on our Christmas card.

blue tit
It will need to comb its hair better  and choose a twig with less bird droppings on it.

Today’s flying bird is a chaffinch flying in a different direction.

chaffinch flying off












Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

11 thoughts on “Out and about again

  1. I so enjoy the way you take us along on your many ventures over hill and dale …to the races! and home again for tea. 🙂

  2. An impressive cycle – well done! I think I need to find a map of your area so I can trace your travels.

  3. Absolutely delighted you managed such a long bicycle ride, and still had energy for all the other activities! A splendid butterfly.

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