Today’s picture shows my brother Andrew at Pop’s View in NZ. It was taken by my sister Susan on her phone. Who needs a camera?
We didn’t have quite the same mountains to look at here today, but we did have some excellent sunshine. It was still freezing when we got up but the sunshine was more than enough to lift our spirits. I went off to do some some shopping and received a report that Dropscone had been seen pedalling off by himself round the morning run. I was shopping rather than pedalling because we were expecting a visitor for lunch and there were preparations to be made.
When I got back I snapped a chaffinch on the plum tree….
…and welcomed the thrush back to the garden.
I cooked a pan of lentil soup and Mrs Tootlepedal made a cheese flan. I was secretly glad that I wasn’t pedalling with Dropscone as it was very chilly and there was a very brisk wind. Our visitor was Sue from our recorder group and we had planned a ride for later in the day when I hoped that it would be warmer and less windy.
While we were cooking, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that the great number of chaffinches on the plum tree looked like jewels in the sunshine and made up in a small way for the lack of colour in the garden at present.
Sue arrived on schedule, bringing with her a small box of sour dough starter. It smells good and I hope to be making some sour dough bread before long.
After lunch, we were joined by another of the recorder group, Susan, Dropscone’s daughter. We planned a 15 mile ride to Enzieholm Bridge and back. Susan had got her bike out for the first time in six months and was not at all sure that starting the spring campaign with a 15 mile ride which has a very hilly start would be a good idea. It turned out that it wasn’t a good idea and having puffed up the first two hills, she gave up the unequal struggle and headed for home, not wishing to hold us up.
This is Mrs Tootlepedal hitting the summit. You can just see Susan’s head in the background showing what a steep hill it is. We reluctantly waved goodbye to Susan and set off down the other side of the hill.
It was warmer than the morning and the wind had dropped a lot too. The wind was across but rather behind us on the way out and it felt pleasantly warm in the sunshine, though we were well wrapped up. Mrs Tootlepedal and I were amazed to see Sue cycling without any gloves but she told us that she didn’t like her hands to get too hot. As she had revealed over lunch that she has an electric blanket, she is obviously a woman of contradictions.
The roads were very quiet and it was enjoyable to to be able to pedal along while having a chat. The scenery was lovely but there were other things to catch the eye too.
When you read descriptions of leisure cycle rides in magazines, they are often accompanied by a picture of two lovely ladies chatting animatedly. Why should this trip be different….
…and here they are peering over the parapet of the bridge. It is a very big bridge for a small road.
Although the ride home was into the cross wind, it wasn’t too hard and we arrived back after a most enjoyable excursion. We had of course stopped on our way to take the compulsory picture of Westerkirk Church and the bridge over the Esk at Bentpath. It’s against the law to pass these on a sunny day without stopping to take a photo.
Once home, we put on the kettle and toasted some of the teacakes which I had made yesterday. There is nothing like a nice pedal to make the simple enjoyment of a cup of tea and a teacake into something sublime. We hope to have another pedal with Sue before too long.
When Sue left, Mrs Tootlepedal set about some gardening and I rang up Sandy and we agreed to go for a walk round the Castleholm.
We started by walking along the river and it looks as though two herring gulls have set up home for the spring here.
There were plenty of ducks flying in all directions when we got to the Kilngreen.
There was a black and white contrast as well.
As we crossed the sawmill Bridge, a small brown flying object whizzed past us. It turned out to be a wren which kindly stopped for a moment to get its picture taken.
We walked along taking far more pictures than I can post here but my main thought was to try to snatch a seasonally appropriate picture of an Easter bunny. Several rabbits scampered across the path before I could catch them but in the end we found a spot where a rabbit could be seen taking in some rays.
As always, there were many trees to enjoy as we walked passed them.
Because of the mixture of broad leaved and conifers there is always a bit of greenery about.
It really was a lovely evening and I have put a picture of Whita hill and the monument in just to underline that.
What the picture doesn’t show is the brisk east wind coming straight towards us over the top of the hill and making us glad that we had woolly hats and thick jackets on.
We have had hardly any rain lately and the white stripes on the rocks in the river show just how much lower than normal it is.
We looked to see of there was any sign of the nuthatch nesting yet at the Jubilee Bridge but it wasn’t to be seen. I took a picture of the new path along the river instead.
We didn’t follow the path but crossed the bridge and noted significant progress in the construction of the new primary school.
When we got back, Sandy went off to have his tea and I found that my flute pupil Luke had arrived for his lesson while I was out. Because it was a Bank Holiday and I wasn’t in my normal routine I had forgotten all about him which is very bad. Still, if he is anything like I was when I was a boy, he probably won’t have been absolutely distraught to miss a music lesson.
In the evening, I went off to play some music with Isabel and Mike and the pleasure of playing good music (quite slowly) rounded off an excellent day.
One of the ducks made flying bird of the day.