Bike shopping

Today’s guest picture is a vivid view of the south bank of the Thames at night captured by my brother a few days ago.

The South Bank at night

It was a dry and sunny day and it would have been ideal for the morning run with Dropscone had there not been a very stiff breeze blowing.  It was still pretty nice by recent standards and we set off hopefully.

Dropscone had arranged to cycle the eleven miles to Longtown to put his bike in for a service and borrow a bike for the return trip.  This, as it turned out, was a trip straight into the teeth of the breeze and we had to work hard to cycle down the gentle slope to Longtown.  We were refreshed by a welcome cup of Earl Grey tea provided by the bike shop when we arrived.  The bike exchange was effected and having managed a measly 13mph on the way down the hill, we achieved a respectable 16mph on our way back home.  Dropscone’s borrowed bike behaved very well.

This  22 mile trip took me over 400 miles for the month which was very gratifying.  Any miles in a winter month are welcome and achieving 400 in February is a real bonus.  I have only once done more.

After coffee, I took a walk round the garden admiring the crocuses.

A definite touch of spring colour


While I was out, I also caught the first of the aconites in full flower welcoming a rare bit of sunshine…

winter aconite

…and called in on the frogs.


Then Mrs Tootlepedal and I went for a short walk.  She had received a message from our friend Bruce that a wooden bridge on Gaskell’s Walk was being replaced and we went to investigate.

We met the workmen doing the job and they explained that they were laying a couple of concrete bases for the new bridge before removing the old bridge.  The old bridge spanned a very eroded gully and although it was perfectly serviceable,  it was obviously thought that a wider bridge was necessary for safety in the long term.

old bridge on Gaskells

The timbers for the new bridge were lying beside the path.

new bridge at Gaskells

They look to be of high quality and the foreman said that they had been very heavy to carry into place.  If the weather is suitable, I will go up again tomorrow to monitor progress.

On our way back, I stopped to snap a sedum growing in the park wall among the moss and lichen.

sedum in park wall

We had had the best of the day for our morning cycle and walk but there was still enough light about to do a bit of bird staring.

Having said that there was only one siskin yesterday, four turned up today.  There’s another one round the back.
A representative sample of our feeder visitors, chaffinch, goldfinch and siskin….and rain.

The siskins’ small size does not lessen their desire to pick a fight.

siskin and chaffinch

I caught an unusual flying shot of a passing chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

And a very common shot of one just landing.

landing chaffinch
As they come to a halt, it lets me get some reasonably sharp wing feathers.

There has been no demand for the fat balls in the feeders so I broke one up and spread it on the lawn.  The blackbirds were beside themselves with joy.

blackbird happy

After lunch, I spent quite a bit of time re-ordering some second hand books from the internet for my friend Arthur which has proved to be a more time consuming business than I thought.  Then I wrote a letter to an Archive Group enquirer and drove up to the town to post it.  Unaccountably, some Italian cheese turned up in my pocket when I got home.  If it wasn’t such an inappropriate metaphor for me, I might say that I had killed two birds with one stone.

I drove up to the town and walked back because I had to leave our car at the garage.  It has taken it into its head that one of the doors is open, even when they are all firmly shut and as a result, the interior light won’t go off when it is being driven.  This is the sort of minor (but probably expensive) fault that is brought on by having more bells and whistles in your car than you actually need.

I took one more flower picture as I arrived home just before the light finally went.

It takes all sorts.

In the evening, Susan drove me  to Carlisle to our recorder group and we had another excellent evening’s playing.  It was so good that we passed our usual time for tea and biscuits without me even noticing.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch doing the side stroke.

flying chaffinch






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Bike shopping

  1. It seems as if your entire family has been bitten by the photography bug, and you’re all good at it.

    I’m loving the flowers most of all, any color other than white is a welcome sight for me right now!

  2. Scotland has bike shops that give you a cup of tea? I wish it were the same here in Wales, no such comforts yet, but hopefully, our bike shops will be reading your blog

  3. The new bridge looks like it will be good. Your council are very good to you, unlike ours. Our new bridge had to be supplied by a local farmer in the end. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smiling blackbird before.

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