I am still lacking a guest picture at the moment so here is a flower from the garden. There will not be many years when you will be able to find a wallflower in bloom here so near to the winter solstice.
The weather forecasters hit the nail on the head today and we had a very pleasant day with a chilly start as they had predicted.
The early morning was punctuated by automated calls trying to tell me that I had a security problem with my bank and inviting me to press a key to continue. This was so obviously a scam that I ignored them at first but after the third call, I checked with my local branch and they assured me that it was genuine so I pressed the key next time.
I found that over Christmas they are taking extra care with payments that are out of the usual which explains why I had no luck trying to buy presents for my younger son and his family last night. These precautions are comforting in a away but make the process of buying presents a bit of a pain. It would be even more comforting if the bank’s systems were robust enough in the normal run of things to make these extra precautions unnecessary.
The breakfast temperature of 1°C was too cold for a morning pedal but Dropscone appeared for coffee with a welcome batch of his girdle scones which we enjoyed almost as much as if we had earned them by cycling.
When he left, I spent ten minutes bird watching. We are still being entertained by the usual suspects.
The garden is full of blackbirds, both male and female. Here is a male looking or scraps under the feeders.
There are at least two robins in the garden as I often see them chasing each other around. One or both of them was much in evidence this morning.
I got a pursed lips kind of look when the lens got too noticeable.
The jackdaws are regular visitors to the fat balls….
…but if they get too frequent and put the smaller birds off, I will put the fat ball fortress back on.
The temperature had crept up to 5° by lunchtime so I put on a layer or two of warm clothes and pottered off up the Wauchope road on the slow bike for a ten mile pedal at a very steady pace, not wanting to put any undue pressure on my joints. I crossed the new bridge and took a short diversion up the forestry road past Westwater…
…stopping to turn back just before it starts to climb the hill over to Arrisgill. It isn’t easy to see the difference between this rough track and some of our paved roads.
The ride home was enhanced by a following wind but I stopped twice, once to visit a favourite gate near Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure mine….
…and once to see how much water was going over an attractive little cascade near Bessie Bell’s.
This last picture involved clambering down a muddy bank and walking out on some moss covered rocks so I was pleased to come away from this with no more than a slightly bruised knee. One of the real pains of getting older for me is the loss of elasticity in my lower limbs over rough terrain. Little drops of one or two feet which would have been no more than a quick hop in times past are now a matter for serious negotiation and sometimea even require the use of hands and knees. Still, I love this little waterfall and the diversion to see it was well worth while.
Once home, I took a walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and then had a late lunch.
I spent some time after lunch negotiating the purchase of a present for my daughter on line. This was a bit of a rigmarole. The firm in question insists that they ring you or that you ring them after purchasing your goods to confirm the transaction. This was rather curious but it turned out to be an ingenious scheme on their part. They had some very attractive bundles at extremely reasonable prices, one of which I purchased but when I rang them up, they tried to get me to upgrade several of the minor parts of the bundle to more expensive items which if I had succumbed to the charm of the salesman would have added more than a little to the no longer so reasonable price.
On top of this, my bank once again refused to honour my payment and rang me up to question me closely. I shall be feeling guilty about buying anything soon which may not be such a bad thing.
I didn’t go to Carlisle to play recorder this evening as a result of work commitments and illness among the other players so I had a quiet night at home for the second weekday running.
The flying bird of the day is an unusual view of a chaffinch.