As predicted

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.

wallflowers in December

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.

a chaffinch
A chaffinch shows that it doesn’t need a perch to get at the seeds.
A male tries to put a spell on a female. She doesn’t look impressed.
Another one slams on the brakes as he approaches the feeder.

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.

robin triptych
Are these the same or different birds?

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…

Forestry road 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.

flying chaffinch





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “As predicted

    1. Indeed. Since I am one hour in advance to you, I could read – and enjoy it before turning in 🙂 May it be consoling Tom a bit – I feel the same setbacks as he does. But the cascade is very lovely. As are/is the robin/s.

  1. Excellent pictures – the waterfall is lovely. I think the robin is trying to suck its cheeks in to look thinner.

  2. Many lovely shots of spread wings today. The last one is quite stunning – almost looks as though it’s posing for you. Your “loss of elasticity” is quite descriptive – sounds much better than me saying that I don’t have any knees any more!

  3. I called my husband in to see why I was laughing out loud at the chaffinch attempting to place a spell on his lady friend. My husband just stared at me as I said, “No, no, read the caption! It’s hilarious!” His response: “I did read it. What’s the matter with you?” Sigh. Some people.
    I find you hilarious, Tootle.

    1. He is just not a member of the chaffinch appreciation society and that can’t be helped. He must have many redeeming features to have won your heart.

  4. “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” is SO true, and I am only almost-59. It is reassuring, in a way, to read such a perfect description of the condition.

  5. Your bird pictures continue to delight me.= and the cascade was worth the minor injury I hope.
    I had the same bank problem as you a year or so ago but when I finally gave in and rang them it turned out that someone had stolen my card details and used them to buy something. However the bank was quickly on to the problem, no more shopping for the thief and I got my stolen money back from the bank.

    1. It is very annoying that the people who have the intelligence to do these nasty things, can’t turn that intelligence to making some legitimate money which they could obviously do.

  6. Really lovely view of the chaffinch. I know what you mean about elasticity of the joints. I’m fine throwing a leg over my bike, but when it comes to painting or doing other things in a kneeling position, I struggle to get down and back up again. I hate it, and would hate for anyone to see me struggle so. By the way I’m a decade younger than you, so you’re doing OK by my reckoning. The last time I jumped down some four feet in the back garden, I regretted it for weeks….OUCH!!!

  7. That little gate is lovely, I’m not sure id be able to resist going through and seeing what was on the other side. I think the creaky ness comes to us all, especially at this time of year. They say youth is wasted on the young, so are good strong bones and mobile joints 🙂

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