Today’s picture, taken by my friend Bruce on an excursion earlier this week, shows a slight leak in some water works creating an ice sculpture by the roadside. It goes to show that despite the sunshine, the mornings are still pretty chilly.
We had another day of dawn to dusk sunshine, with a chilly start and a slight warming as the sun rose. A brisk north easterly wind made sure than we didn’t get too comfortable and shed any clothes.
When Mrs Tootlepedal went off to her church choir practice, I thought it right to get on my knees too but eschewing anything spiritual, I spent the time scrubbing the kitchen floor. I scored some credit for doing this but that was set against a mountain of debit in not doing it more than once every ten years. While I was in a virtuous mood, I also put a week of the newspaper index into the database, cycled up to the High Street to order more bird food and then went to help my friend Arthur solve one of those niggly computer problems that come to baffle people who don’t play on their computer every day.
All in all, I thought, a useful morning. Then I made it even better by lending a hand in the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was spreading muck and compost on the raspberry bed, pruning the gooseberries and generally getting things ready for the new season. My role was compost carting and pruned cane shredding. Nothing is more satisfactory than seeing some of the compost made last year being ready for use.
I found a moment in the midst of all this activity to look out of the upstairs window.
Generally it was a day for widespread wings.
We went in for a late lunch and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal returned to her gardening activities, I got wrapped up and set off on the fairly speedy bike to battle with the wind.
I chose to go out to Paddockhole first. This gave me 10 miles with the wind behind me as a gentle warm up. I had to make an enforced stop on the top of Callister when a glance down at my bike computer to check my speed showed that it wasn’t there any more. Luckily it had fallen off only a few hundred yards back along the road and I found it and replaced it quite easily.
I only stopped once more to catch the first lamb that I have seen this year taking in some rays in a well sheltered paddock at Dunnabie.
From Paddockhole, I headed north up the valley of the paradoxically named Water of Milk. Owing to the stiff hills and the strong wind, I was more tempted to stop for the occasional photo opportunity on this part of the trip.
I couldn’t resist yet another gate.
It is a lovely part of the country and as I took it slowly into the wind, I had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. I was pleased to pass a farm that had figured in the newspaper edition of 1884 which I had been working on in the morning.
At the head of the valley, the road crosses the watershed before descending into the valley of the River Esk.
The view from the top of the hill looking north showed the hills of Ettrick still holding a fair bit of snow.
I was grateful for some of shelter from the trees as I left the moorland and plunged down into the valley.
From here, the last ten miles home were not as badly affected by the wind as I feared and I completed the 26 mile journey in 5 seconds under my target time of two hours. It was a real treat to do a good circular ride rather than the poky out and backs that I have been doing lately.
Mrs Tootlepedal had just finished her gardening when I got home and we enjoyed a celebratory cup of tea and biscuit with a slice of her walnut and banana cake.
I had a quick look round the garden for any new signs of spring and found a couple more potential crocuses.
I just had time for a refreshing soak in the bath before my flute pupil Luke came and once again showed that he knows how to practice properly as he had made more progress. I have every hope that he will sail through his forthcoming grade exam.
After that it was time for tea and then a trip to Newcastleton with Sandy for a camera club meeting. I had put in one or two rather feeble efforts for the competition because I had been in a rush to get material ready and Sandy had put in none so we weren’t surprised not to trouble the judge. He was a painter rather than a photographer and it was interesting to hear his take on the entries. I have learned a lot about photography by going to the camera club meetings and I shall try to make a better effort in the competitions next year now I know what to do.
Our way there and back was illuminated by a gloriously bright full moon and I nipped out into the garden to take a quick snapshot of it when I got home.
The good light in the morning let me catch a crisp flying chaffinch.