Out and out (and out)

Today’s picture is a final one from Dropscone’s French adventure as he has now returned safely home.  It shows one of Agen’s fine buildings offering music, comedy and drama.


On the day that she came and the day that she left, my sister Susan saw some blue sky and sunshine.  It was therefore a bit sad that on the two days that she stayed here, the sun was not to be seen…but that is life.  Still she seemed to enjoy herself and we certainly enjoyed her visit.  We took her back to Carlisle  this morning and in spite of some disruption on the railways, she arrived home safely.

We took advantage of our trip to stock up on food for birds and Tootlepedals alike.

When we got home, after stopping in Carlisle for lunch, I got out the speedy bike and pedalled to Paddockhole and back.   It wasn’t a straightforward ride as on the way out, there was a very strong wind behind me and I wondered if I was wise to keep pedalling on and have to face the journey back into the wind.  I am not supposed to get myself too tired and as the wind was gusting at 30 mph, I did think about turning tail at the five mile mark and doing two sets of ten miles to break up the length of time against the wind. However, as cyclists will appreciate, it is very hard to stop cycling when the sun is out and there is a strong wind helping you on….

Sunny hills

…so I pressed forwards.  When I got to Paddockhole, I really began to regret my conduct as turning into the easterly wind made me realise how cold it was and a couple of gusts had me hanging onto to the bike for dear life.  I even thought of calling out the MTRS and getting a lift home as I could see myself grinding to a halt in the freezing wind and ending up crying with cold in a ditch.  As is usually the case though, my worst fears were not realised and the strongest gusts died down and I was able to make my way home without too much trouble.

The base wind was quite manageable and luckily the heavy gusts didn’t seem to last long and gave me time tor recover in between though I did think it was a good idea to stop halfway up the steepest hill to take a couple of photos.

cows on the hill
It looked a lot warmer than it actually was.
One of my favourite views

I noticed as I got nearer home that yesterday’s sleet which had fallen as snow on our hill tops had thawed almost entirely but further up the valley, the hills were still capped with snow.

snowcapped hills

The outward journey has a nett gain of 220 feet and the prevailing wind is usually against and as a result, the return journey is often a great deal faster that the way out but today the wind was so strong that I took ten minutes longer to get home.  It was also very cold but I was well protected from the elements.

self portrait
This was a self portrait and you can see my outstretched arms reflected in the ski mask.

I can thoroughly recommend a ski mask for cold windy conditions as it stops your nose running and runny noses are a constant pest for pedallers.

While I was out having fun, Mrs Tootlepedal was back at her manure mine and the garden is gradually getting covered with the delightful results.

Raised bed with manure
Ready for digging in

When I  got back, I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing some pictures for the camera club open competition which I had forgotten all about. My entries will not trouble the judges, having been produced without anything like enough time for proper presentation.   I like this snowy one which has appeared in the blog…

Suspended animation

…but which I have turned into a black and white picture for the competition. It is still not striking enough to win though.

I only had time for a quick peek through the window.  There were not many birds about by this time.

This chaffinch could nibble his seed unmolested by other birds.

My flute pupil Luke came in the early evening. He has been to see a proper flute teacher and has got some handy tips for better technique.  She seemed quite pleased with his basic set up and playing so we will press ahead.  He has got a date to take a grade exam soon.

Later on, I went across to Newcastleton with Jean to a meeting of the Liddesdale camera Club (Sandy had a hospital appointment and couldn’t come.)  We sat through a exceedingly interesting illustrated talk on a trekking visit to Nepal.  It seemed absolutely appalling to many of the listeners, with a frightening mountain airfield (skeletons of wrecked planes beside the runway), dodgy sanitation, mountain sickness leading to deaths in groups on the same trail, hair raising trips on the open top of buses negotiating potholed roads (one crashed later killing all the top deck passengers), lying for twelve hours a night in freezing conditions in uncomfortable tents and so on.  At the end of the talk I asked the lecturer if he had actually enjoyed the trek and his face lit up like a lighthouse and he assured us that it had been tremendous fun and he would recommend it to anyone.  Jean and I agreed that it was probably not for us.

Still, he did show us some wonderful pictures of the Himalayas including Mount Everest and it certainly was a lot more interesting than my morning trip to Carlisle had been.

Today’s flying chaffinch reflects how little time I had to try to catch one.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Out and out (and out)

  1. the scenery is very beautiful where you live.. I wish I had the physical stamina you must have to do as much biking as you do.

    1. I am only doing half as much as I did in 2011 so I wish that I had a bit more stamina too. When (if) the warmer weather comes I am hoping to do some rides of a decent length.

      1. Well, I couldn’t care less about being stylish, and being that I’m 6 foot 6 inches tall and weigh in at 275 pounds, not many people are brave enough to laugh at me, and few that do survive. 😉

  2. Glad Luke got the OK from the flute teacher, you must be doing the correct things with him. Good luck for his grade exam. It was colder in London when I got home than in Langholm when I left you!

  3. Absolutely LOVE your bird pics!!! I think I would like to go to Nepal AND France…both would be lovely… : )

  4. I envy Mrs Tootlepedal her manure mine – could really do with some for my patch. I need to cultivate some horse owning friends I think.

    As always, the pictures in your blog are wonderful, particularly the ones of the birds at the feeders.

      1. I wear a commercial stretchy mask over my lower face if it’s colder than -10c, I put the goggles on when it’s about -18c, and I use my home made mask on my lower face at about -20c or colder. I only used the DIY mask two days this year.

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