Unusual weather event

Today’s guest picture, from my sister Mary, shows Mrs Tootlepedal and Pat on a Christmas walk last week.

pat and ally

It was raining again when we got up so I had breakfast and sensibly went back to bed again.  I rose gracefully from my resting place just in time for a cup of coffee, kindly provided by the management who was going full steam ahead through the holiday washing.

After coffee, I took out the sodden newspapers which had been mopping up the steady drips of water coming through the end wall and lit a fire in the hope of drying things out a bit.

The brightest spot of the morning was provided by a robin perching on the plum tree among the raindrops.

robin in  plum tree

Mrs Tootlepedal was just getting ready to go to work for the afternoon when a strange thing happened.  It stopped raining and the sky brightened up.  I could see clearly now.

chaffinch landing

The chaffinches put on a little show for me to celebrate.

flying chaffinches

I had started off a sour dough loaf and dealt with some of the washing which Mrs Tootlepedal had started when a strange light filled the sky.  The sun had come out.  I took my cameras, got into the car and headed out.

Unbelievably, considering the rain yesterday and the fact that it had been raining all morning, the rivers were running calmly between their banks and the gulls were back on the fence posts at the Kilngreen.

gull on post

It was as if yesterday and been but a dream.

The heron was in place too.

heron at Kilngreen

Some gulls flitted along the river bank…

flying gull

…while others soared upwards with a beak full of food.

soaring gull

I stood for a while but decided that the light would be all right for a visit to the Moorland feeders.  There was plenty of water rushing along and over the Penton road as I drove along it.  If there was a snap frost, things would be very dangerous.

When I got to the feeders, they were pretty well all empty so I filled them up and within seconds of sitting down, they were back in business.

busy moorland feeder


The mild if gloomy winter is still providing plenty of food elsewhere and there were only the usual customers on show but as always, I enjoyed watching them.

blue tit and coal tit
A blue tit and a coal tit share the peanuts.
great tit
A great tit arrives.

The bird ringer’s bands show that these are residents. There were some less frequent visitors to be seen.  A greenfinch…


…and a siskin.


There were several woodpeckers about too, chasing each other off the feeders.  This one came up close for a moment.


I was thinking of walking through the clearing and on down to the river but volleys of shots from below showed that shooters were around and I thought better of it.  This pheasant agreed with me and kept well out of range of the shotguns.


The birds in general were unfazed by the noise of shooting but I didn’t find it very restful so I cut short my stay.  On the way back to the car, I could see a pair of birds of prey circling high above the moor.

birds of prey

Every now and again, more pheasants sneaked past me, keeping low to the ground as the sound of the guns continued.

flying pheasant

For the good of my health, I should have probably been pedalling instead of bird watching but there was a brisk and very chilly wind and the back roads were awash with water so I didn’t take long to persuade myself to stay warm, and dry.


When I got home I looked at my cycling spreadsheet for the last time in 2013.  It tells me that I have cycled 4368 miles this year (with perhaps a few dozen unrecorded miles around the town as well).  This is an advance of 800 over last year which is good but well over 2000 miles less than I managed in 2011 which is not so good.  This is entirely down to having contracted rheumatoid arthritis last year but the generally cold and unsympathetic weather at the the beginning and the end of this year have not helped.  I am hoping for warm temperatures and kindly winds to get me over 5000 miles again next year.

Of the four thousand miles, I have done 1211 with Dropscone, 633 with Mrs Tootlepedal and 2524 by myself.   I did roughly 900 miles on my belt driven bike, 3300 on the Giant and 150 on a hired bike when we were on holiday in France.

WordPress kindly provide bloggers with end of year stats.  These are notoriously unreliable as they don’t differentiate between people who just hit your posts in the hope that you will then hit theirs and people who actually stop and read the stuff.  Allowing for all that though, it is quite amazing to find that people from 111 countries have clicked on the blog over the year.

I have tried to post this diary every day but didn’t quite succeed but even so, I must thank those of you who take time to read my ramblings or look at the pictures (and particularly those who do both).   Thanks also go to those who comment both regularly and from time to time.  This is much appreciated.

I would also like to thank those bloggers elsewhere who provide me with such a rich diet of words to read and so many wonderful pictures to look at in awe. The standards of spelling and the absence of typos are a tribute to the care which people take with their posts and the politeness of the occasional disagreements taken with the general good nature and wit of the posters is a continual tonic.

I have learned a lot over the past three years in this community and one thing that sticks with me, as I sometimes moan and groan about my petty ailments, is that there are many people out there bearing much severe loads than I with a lot less moaning.   Still, as I really enjoy a good moan, I don’t think that I will be able to follow their good example.

In a change from the flying chaffinch of December 31 2012, I am ending 2013 with a flying gull.

flying gull

May I wish all those who have read this far a really happy and preposterous New Year.   I hope it exceeds your expectations in every way.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

55 thoughts on “Unusual weather event

  1. I’m with you on going back to bed if it’s raining. I procrastinated most of the morning away waiting for the sun to come out so I could cycle

  2. Thank you for a very informative and entertaining blog. All the very best for 2014 to you, and to Mrs Tootlepedal. May it be a happy and healthy one for you both.

    1. Thank you for your informative and thoughtful comments over the past months. I hope the weather doesn’t get too wild in the north. A guid new year to you.

  3. Happy New Year to you and mrs tootlepeddle. Very much enjoyed your jottings over the past year. Take care.

  4. This is to wish you a happy and healthy New Year! Tom, I always enjoy reading your posts and love your pictures! 🙂

  5. Hello there Tom!
    Now on the eve of 2014, I write to wish you both a very satisfactory, healthy, happy and adventurous New Year! One thing that I treasure and will never forget is meeting you in Nimes (and also near Aigues Morte) and our delicious, verrrry fun dinner! Be well, walk and pedal on, and ….. keep indulging us readers with your gorgeous photos.
    Best of best wishes, Suze

    1. It was a pleasure to meet you Suze and it is always a pleasure to read your posts. I hope you have nothing but good coffee and great cycling adventures in 2014.

  6. I’ve enjoyed your blog a great deal this past year – thank you. All the best to you and Mrs. T. (and Dropscone, and Sandy, and your sisters, and all the regular cast)!

  7. I thoroughly enjoy both your writings and your photos – they take me to another place, a wonderful, beautiful place. Because although my place (Southern California) is also beautiful, and I love it completely, yours is so different and allows for variety in life. It’s fun! All the best to you and yours in the new year! ~SueBee

  8. I’m sure a happy and preposterous new year is on the cards for many of us! Hope yours is kind on the health front and filled with photographic opportunity.

  9. A great blog – particularly liked the heron. Congratulations on keeping all those statistics and on doing better than last year. Lovely flying gull picture to finish with. And a preposterous New Year to you and Mrs T!

  10. left you a carefully crafted comment but it got wiped as I tried to post it… Happy New year to you both anyway.

  11. May this brand new year bring you and Mrs T all the wonderful things life has in stock – good health foremost. May your bird feeders never go empty and wanting for visitors. May your cycling be on pothole-free roads with favourable winds all the time. May your garden prosper and bring about fruit and blossoms aplenty and may all your endeavours ripe to satisfying results.

  12. Wonderful bird pictures as usual, I loved the robin,. Fancy the water in your rivers going down so fast. I found your end of year summary very interesting and wish you lots of good weather and no sore joints so that you can bicycle away regardless. Happy New Year to you both.

  13. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and look forward to many more. That heron always looks grumpy to me but, as you say, a bit of a grumble can be quite enjoyable. Hoping 2014 brings you good weather and a chance to pedal all the miles you wish. 🙂

  14. A great end to the year, informative and entertaining as always. I have enjoyed your posts and love your photographs. We have some common interests; I love feeding the birds in my garden and although I dont pedal, I try to walk every day and your posts inspire me to persevere. I hope 2014 brings you and your family good health and happiness.

  15. Congrats Tom on your mileage this year, what an accomplishment! I’ll wish that you go over 5,000 this year as you hope! 🙂 Happy New Year to you and Mrs T, I look forward to your birds, scenery, and Mrs T’s gorgeous flower gardens that you photograph and compose so nicely. I’ve missed out the past couple months and look forward to keeping up with you again!

  16. I have signed up for many blogs over the years, but, whenever I open up my emails, yours is the first that I look for. Your posts are always fresh and a good read, with the pictures a massive bonus. Thanks for sharing your days with us out here in the blogosphere, and a very Happy New Year to you and yours. Cheers.

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