I am blessed at the moment, thanks to my siblings, with a great number of possible pictures of the day but I couldn’t possibly pass over this example of top quality lawn mowing sent to me by my daughter Annie. She added ‘Come on you Spurs’, a sentiment with which no one in their right mind can disagree.
Just at the tail end of a dismal summer, we have had two lovely days in a row. The price for a lovely day at this time of year, is sharp temperatures in the morning…
That picture was taken at half past ten and it took until after lunch until the temperature rose above 5°C. The house casts a shadow over the feeder in the morning on a sunny day at this time of year and this makes photographing difficult because of the stark contrast between foreground and background. I had to look at birds circulating above the trees at Holmwood high above us instead.
I did manage to catch a dunnock creeping around under the feeder looking for scraps.
The peanuts came into the sunlight first.
I stopped looking out of the window and went out into the garden to turn another part of the compost heap. Mrs Tootlepedal was very impressed that I had actually managed to do two short sessions in two days instead of wrecking myself by trying to do it all in one go. I will do a bit more tomorrow.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been singing in the church choir and when she came back, we had an early lunch and got ready to make good use of the lovely day by going out cycling. After some discussion, she decided to cycle the 15 miles to Gretna to see if the discount M&S there had anything to tempt her, while I decided to do a flat forty miles down the main roads and back.
It took us quite a lot of time to decide on the balance of gear to put on with a bright sun out but a decidedly chilly temperature to go with it. We finally got organised and Mrs Tootlepedal set off west…
…while I headed off south down the A7 on the (fairly) speedy bike .
The wind was so light as to be non existent in cycling terms and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Longtown. Once there I took the road towards Brampton, expecting to turn for home at the 20 mile mark at Newtown on the Roman Wall.
Although the countryside I was cycling through was flat, it is not dull with villages and farms to pass…
…and always the hills of northern England as a backdrop.
So good were the conditions that when I got to Newtown, instead of turning for home, I went on down the hill and took the opportunity to visit two fine bridges.
The first was over the Cam Beck
Riparian owners should realise that photographers need uncluttered shots of their bridges and clear off the shrubby growths and low branches that block their view.
The second bridge, only a few hundred yards away, was over the River Irthing.
Here I did turn back. When I grow up, I am going to live in a house with a drive and a lodge just like this one I passed between the bridges.
I was feeling so perky that instead of going straight back the way I had come, I turned right along the line of the wall, passing not far from the site of a Roman camp and crossing the line of the vallum (I didn’t notice it) until I came to the pretty village of Walton, which unsurprisingly is a town on the Wall. A town in the sense being a small collection of houses.
It has an elegant church.
From Walton, I ventured onto a side road which I had never cycled along before. It turned out to be very attractive but with a drawback.
This bridge, also over the Cam Beck, was at the bottom of a 13% drop with bends and a 12% rise the other side. Luckily they were not too long and I was soon cycling across Walton Moss…
….which is an unimproved mire or peat moss.
I arrived at Hethersgill which has a crossroads….
…and more importantly, a bench for sitting on. I sat on it courtesy of HRH The Queen.
It was almost enough to make a man a monarchist. Almost but not quite.
Hethersgill has a neat Wesleyan Church which is another place of worship which is now a dwelling house.
I enjoyed a snack of dates and sultans and was soon back on the bike and heading home via Longtown again. Just north of Longtown, I passed a typically autumnal scene.
My last photo was just to show Hollows Tower and it is fairly topical because it shows the very balcony that the late Neil Armstrong stood on in 1972.
When I got home after 46 miles at a modest 14 and bit miles an hour, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had not yet returned so I set off up the Wauchope road in the hope of meeting her. I had not met her after two miles but a quick phone call established that she was not far off so I pedalled on in the glorious evening sun.
When I got to the top of the hill at the Kerr wood, I stopped for a moment and in the absence of any wind to carry traffic noises from distant roads, there was not a sound to be heard. Even the birds had fallen silent. It is really very rare round here to be in such a situation and I felt very lucky. Not far on, I met up with Mrs Tootlepedal and we cycled gently home.
She had had a good day at the shops and finished up with thirty one miles on the bike computer and a nice jacket and shirt in the back bag. I completed 56 miles, easily the farthest I have cycled this year, so we were both very pleased, if a little tired when we got home.
There was a good deal of resting after that though we did mange to find the energy to cook some fish from the producers’ market for our tea. Mrs Tootlepedal had salmon fish cakes and I had haddock and chips.
A shady chaffinch from the chilly morning is the flying bird of the day.