On a knife edge

Today’s picture, from my sister Susan, shows the art gallery she visited in Paris on Tuesday.  She likes to get about.

Paris gallery

Dropscone and I like to get about too but on a more local scale and so we got out our new bikes and pedalled to Paddockhole and back.  My new bike is called the Avanti Blade but in spite of the aggressive name it turned out to be a comfortable ride, quite forgiving over the bumps in the road and with very positive handling.

It has an eight speed hub gear (Shimano Nexus) and I was a bit worried in case I would be left puffing up the hills and spinning like mad down them.  The gear range gets a good work out on the way to Paddockhole and back and it came though the test with flying colours.  The only thing it lacks is subtlety as there is a noticeable gap between each gear and I won’t be able to find exactly the right gear for every hump and hollow as I could with the 14 gear Rohloff hub on the slow bike.   The fact that it is a much lighter bike almost makes up for this.

Hub gears take a bit of time to bed in and in some gears there was quite a bit of  noise but in others, where the gears worked smoothly, the bike was silent and smooth as velvet.  I am looking forward to using it as my stock bike over the winter as well as pottering round the town doing my shopping on it.

I am going to refer to it as my slower bike as it added five minutes to our twenty one mile ride which is not a great amount of time and it was certainly quicker than the slow bike would have been..

The weather conditions were very pleasant for the ride and I was even able to take a picture before breakfast because it was so much brighter than  recent mornings.

Siskin full house
A goldfinch looked at the siskins hogging the perches.

I even went out into the garden to look at the yellow rose while the porridge was cooking.

yellow rose

My final picture, taken just before Dropscone’s arrival shows a sparrow examining the menu at the fat ball feeder.


After coffee and scones after the ride, I had time to have another peer through the kitchen window.

A brambling tentatively takes a piece of the large pile of seeds dropped from the feeder above.
Another (or perhaps the same one) basks in the plum tree.

There was a moment when the chaffinches seemed to be using the plum tree as the avian equivalent of the beach and ignoring the food in favour of sun bathing.

sun bathing chaffinches

I liked this winged shot.


I took the new feeder with its own bird cam which Sandy and I put together and hung it on the elder outside the dining room window. I haven’t connected the camera yet as I am giving the birds time to get used to it.  There was some mild early interest.

coal tit on feeder cam

I am using mixed bird seed on the table.  It attracted a robin…


…but it soon left and returned to the sunflower seeds on the ground.


I will attach the cable and see if the camera works properly tomorrow.

I have received a letter from an agent acting on behalf of the blue tit community complaining about the excessive focus on coal tits.  I bowed to pressure.

blue tit

In a moment of madness yesterday, I managed to attach my bike computer mount upside down on the new bike when I transferred to from the slow bike.  This meant that I had to go up to the High Street (on the new bike) to get some more cable ties to reposition it.   I stopped many times as I went along the High Street to casually show off the belt drive to anyone who might be interested and to several people who weren’t.

When I got home, I removed the defective mount and carefully put it on upside down once again.  How I laughed.  Then I did it again properly.
Luckily, cable ties are very cheap and the whole disaster only cost me 25p.

While I was clipping and unclipping the mount, I heard some frantic scratching in the corner of the garage.  I summoned Mrs Tootlepedal who does my wildlife wrangling for me and we carefully lifted out a couple of boxes.  We thought that there might be bird trapped under garden netting but it turned out to be a very lively mouse which had fallen into a plastic tub from which it couldn’t escape.


A few words came unbidden into my head as I looked at it:

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

How true, I thought.

Mrs Tootlepedal released it into the wild as they say.

I had a moment to catch a rather wintry looking goldfinch before the light faded away.


In the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre to see a Mike Harding play put on by our local dramatic society.  The hall was full and the packed audience enjoyed themselves thoroughly.  The play was a series of comic vignettes rather than being driven by plot or character and I found it a bit thin but it was well acted and there were two outstanding moments which both made me laugh my head off.   Considering that we have still got a pantomime and a musical to look forward to, we are well provided for by our local talent.

Today’s flying bird is a sideways greenfinch.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

11 thoughts on “On a knife edge

  1. Congratulations on the Avanti’s maiden voyage. The internal hub and the belt are quite interesting to me. Here’s hoping all those gears bed in properly for you. It looks like a great ride!

  2. “How I laughed.” Well, reading your account made me laugh .

    My wife’s folding bike has an 8-speed Nexus hub, and on the occasions that I have used the bike I found that it performed very nicely.

    1. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t seem to much of a let down after the Rohloff. I see they are doing a version for belt drive too.

  3. What a splendid excuse for working off that Burn’s quotation. Glad the evening’s entertainment was satisfactory, laughing ones head off is very good for the system!

  4. That top goldfinch seems to be bowing its head in prayer . . . or perhaps just picking its shot – you never know about goldfinches. Watching your birds in flight is an education in humility. Those tiny little things have mastered an entire world of skills that will always be beyond me. Astonishing to think of the complexity of it all.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: