Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2014

Today’s striking guest picture shows Bilbao.  My brother Andrew paid it a flying visit a few days ago.

Bilbao

I was enjoying a day of rest today, having exceeded my cycling target for the month by some 90 miles.  This resolve was assisted by some very grey and dreary weather which persisted all day.

It was quite warm though so I went out into the garden after breakfast and did my bit by dead heading a lot of the daffodils which have come to the end of their flowering season.

I also looked around with camera in hand.  Unless we are very unlucky with frosts or voracious pests, the fruit prospects for the summer look good.

fruits

From top left clockwise: apple, blackcurrant, gooseberry and strawberry.

We are welcoming some new flowers….

azalea

Azalea

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Welsh poppy

Welsh poppy

Spanish bluebells

Spanish bluebells

 

clematis

A rather faint looking clematis.

geum

A geum. I had to hold its head up to the light to get the shot.

…and  waving goodbye to others.

tulip

Going out in style

I did a little business in the morning and combined that with doing a crossword and having a cup of coffee with Sandy and thus managed to pass the time quite painlessly.

Sandy returned after lunch with a suggestion that we should go to visit the new primary school where the powers that be are installing an artificial playing surface.

This was carpet laying on  a grand scale.

artificial pitch

Putting down the underlay

It looked even more impressive from the Galaside.

artificial pitch

We should have had one of these years ago.

On our way to see the pitch, we stopped to look at spring in the Lodge Walks….

Lodge walks

…and the inviting looking horse racing track on the Castleholm….

racetrack

The first meeting of the season is on Saturday.

…and passed through the bluebell wood at Holmwood as well.

bluebells at Holmwood

At this point, Sandy, who had not been feeling very well, felt a lot worse and went off in his car to the Health Centre to seek medical advice.  I strolled on, hoping to see nuthatches but what with dog walkers and estate workers banging about, I soon gave up.  I admired some anemones…

anemones

…and just made it home before some serious rain set in.

I settled down to put some music for Luke and myself on to the computer and waited for Mrs Tootlepedal to return from a wheelbarrow wheel buying excursion.  Our old wheel had seized up after many years of loyal service and the wheelbarrow is always needed so she was in a very cheerful mood when she returned with a brand new, bright green replacement.

The gloomy weather hadn’t encouraged any bird photography and I had settled for a single perching bird for the day…

goldfinch

…and one example of rude siskin behaviour…

siskins

…when a loud cry from the kitchen summoned me from my keyboard.

It was a perching bird of a very different kind.

sparrowhawk

Knowing that the light was very poor, the sparrowhawk sat extremely still while I took the picture.

We had more of the delicious slow cooked venison stew for our tea with some very tasty new potatoes from Jersey to go with it.

In the evening, we went off to a choir meeting for Langholm Sings.  We are practising a specially composed Commonwealth Games song which we are going to sing later in the month when the baton relay passes through the town.  In contrast we also had a go at Va Pensioro from Nabucco which is a great sing so it was an enjoyable session.

Advice for the squeamish….look away now.

I would have got a really good flying bird of the day but unfortunately someone else got to the flying bird first.

sparrowhawk

Nature red in tooth and claw

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture shows Matilda enjoying a little sunshine but warmly clad in the hat and shawl which her granny knitted for her.

Matilda

Mrs Tootlepedal was in adventurous mood again today and since the wind was light and the weather was fair, she suggested lunch at Newcastleton.

Newcastleton is only ten miles away but between it and Langholm lies the Langholm Moor rising to over 1000 ft and starting with a one and a half mile climb, an instant descent and then another lengthy uphill haul.   It seemed like a good idea on a day that was too good to waste so after a big plate of porridge and some coffee we set off.  I was riding my belt drive bike.

We were very pleased to arrive at the White Yett, at the top of the first hill, without having had to stop for a breather on the way.

I took a picture or two as we went over the moor.

Mrs Tootlepedal climbing to the White Yett

Mrs Tootlepedal climbing to the White Yett, taken with my phone while in motion.

white yett

Looking back from the top of the hill.  Langholm is 600ft below.

Tarras hill

Climbing the second hill after crossing the Tarras Water

Tarras Bridge

Looking back down the hill at the bridge over the Tarras Water

Langholm Moor

A general view of the moor as we got near the summit.

We stopped to eat a nourishing banana beside three lovely clumps of cowslips in a passing place.  This was one of them.

cowslips

There was no time for taking pictures once we were over the top, as there is a splendidly uninterrupted descent down into Liddesdale and the little town of Newcastleton.

We had a good lunch in the Olive Tree cafe there.  I nibbled on a lightly toasted goats cheese panini with coleslaw while Mrs Tootlepedal got her laughing gear round a substantial all day breakfast.

Before we left Newcastleton, we paid a visit to the newly erected bridge across the Liddel Water which,  when it is officially opened, will take cyclists and pedestrians directly to the mountain biking centre at Dykecrofts.  It was rather ugly and somewhat larger than we expected.

Newcastleton bridge

Instead of battling back across the moor, we chose the longer 16 mile route home via Canonbie.  Although this route must be downhill as it follows the Liddel downstream through the valley, it has some stiff climbs on the way and feels surprisingly like hard work.  Still, we managed it and then took the bike route up the Esk from Canonbie back to Langholm.

There were bluebells to be seen beside the way here.

canonbie bluebells

The ride is not very long but it is quite taxing with 1500ft of climbing so we were pleased to get a sit down with a cup of tea when we got home.  We had taken our time going round but had thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful weather and the lovely views on the way.

Details of the ride can be found here for those with time to kill.

I was a little worried that the 27 miles of our circuit wouldn’t quite get me to a nice round 500 miles for the month so after I had finished my cup of tea (we were joined by Mike Tinker), I got out the (fairly) speedy bike and nipped out for a quick 10 mile dash to the bottom of Callister and back.   The benefit of a good warm up was demonstrated by my best time of the year for this ride.

When I got home again, I was much struck by the evening sunlight playing on the tulips.

sunlit tulips

sunlit tulips

sunlit tulips

The anemone looked good too…

anemone

…and the aubretia dangling from the chimney pot under the feeder caught my eye as well.

aubretia

At odd times during the day, when I had a moment, I looked out for an exciting bird shot but my timing was off and I missed any excitement there was and had to settle for two perching birds.  The cute…

siskin

…and the striking.

jackdaw

An already excellent day was rounded off by a bowl of slow cooked venison stew for my tea and a trip to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group.  Roy, our librarian, produced an eclectic programme of music from dances of King Henry VIII’s time to a rag by Scott Joplin by way of Mozart and Gounod among others.  Most enjoyable and stimulating.

I did catch a rather fuzzy siskin to be the flying bird of the day.

siskin

Final note: when I checked my cycling stats, I found that the 500 mile target had in fact been exactly reached after our lunch circuit but as I enjoyed the dash to Callister, I didn’t mind.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, from my sister Mary’s camera, shows some very smart chaps going to defend the Queen from something or other.

Horseguards in The Mall

It was a grey and dull day when we got up, not much good for photographs but excellent, as it turned out, for cycling.  The temperature was very comfortable and the wind was extremely light.  When Dropscone arrived for the morning run, he kindly agreed to my suggestion of yet another trip to Gair (although he prefers the traditional route) and we were able to get there and back at a respectable rate of knots.

After coffee and scones, Dropscone departed and I had a few minutes before Mrs Tootlepedal returned from a church choir practice.  I spent them staring out of the window of course.

The feeder was busy.  There were a lot of siskins about and when I looked there were four siskins and a goldfinch nibbling away.  I turned away for a moment and lo and behold, when I turned back,  there were four goldfinches and a siskin instead.

siskins and goldfinches

Both pictures taken at 11.20 am

There is never a dull moment in the Tootlepedal household.

I looked away again to watch a perching goldfinch…

goldfinch

…and when I turned back this time, a sparrow and a greenfinch had appeared.

sparrow and greenfinch

I went out into the garden too.

spirea

The spirea shows that it was a damp day

pond skater

A pond skater was enjoying the very still conditions and appeared absolutely weightless.

Then Mrs Tootlepedal appeared.   While she had the last of the coffee, I watched a blackbird father and his demanding child.

blackbirds

At least one of the young blackbirds has grown old enough to feed itself.

blackbirds

Foraging for fallen seed.

As it was such a good cycling day, Mrs Tootlepedal and I  went off for a pedal ourselves up to the Collin Bridge and back.   The conditions were so benign that we achieved a season’s best time for the nine miles without even trying.

I had time for a shower and a light lunch before packing a recorder and my flute and going up to the town to play some music with Mike and Isabel.  With trios by Mozart, Telemann and Quantz on the menu, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and generally, but not always, managed to start and finish at the same time.  (This is the second golden rule of music playing.  The first is for all the players to be playing the same piece.)

By the time that I got home, the weather had improved and the afternoon was pleasantly warm with a hint of sunshine. This was a perfect chance to mow the front lawn so I took it.  The moss is enjoying the warm spring.  This is not good.

There were good things about though.

golden bee

This golden bee was getting stuck into the pulmonaria.

I have been much struck by a beautiful plant in the border by the road.  Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is a Euphorbia Myrsinites, the myrtle spurge.

Euphorbia myrsinites

I find it strangely other worldly.

By this time, the day had become so pleasant that I had an idea.  I had met Jim and Sandra at last night’s concert and they had issued a very pressing invitation to take a camera up to look at their bird feeder which, they assured me, was constantly being visited by nuthatches.

I got my long lens out and cycled up the hill to their house.  They have a lovely view over the town.

View from Whitaside

The sun was in the wrong direction for the camera to do it justice today.

As is almost inevitable in these cases, Sandra told me when I arrived that the nuthatches had been much scarcer today than yesterday.  Indeed I stood for some time in her kitchen watching great tits…

great tit

…blue tits…

blue tits

….even robins…

robin

…but no nuthatches.

After a while Jim took me into the next door garden to see what he thinks is a warbler building a nest.  He showed me the nest, neatly lined with a feather and sure enough we saw the nest builder coming back with another feather in its beak.

nest builder

It goes without saying that while we were watching this bird, a nuthatch had come to the feeder and Sandra rushed out to tell us.  We hurried back, fearing that we had missed the chance to see it but we were in luck.

nuthatch at whitaside

A nuthatch arrived, took a seed and  left……and then reappeared so frequently that we think perhpas it was two nuthatches who must be feeding young nearby.

Sandra’s feeder is right outside her window but the nuthatches paid no attention to us at all.

nuthatch at whitaside

Coming in…

nuthatch at whitaside

….and going out loaded up

I had a great time watching and clicking away and Jim and Sandra have kindly invited me and Sandy to come up again to have another look, an offer which we shall certainly be taking up.  There are a lot of benefits in having a house right on the edge of the town.

Although the nuthatches were still coming and going, I had to leave  to get back in time for a flute lesson with my pupil Luke.  He is making good progress and showed me his report from his recent successful grade examination.    The most pleasing aspect of his progress is how much his breathing has improved recently and as this is something that he can only do through constant practice, it shows how seriously he is taking his work.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to go to a performance of a choir in Gretna of which she used to be a member.  This was their final performance as sadly the choir is  now closing because of a lack of members.

All in all, a day with two pedals in very light winds, two opportunities to play music and a chance to to watch nuthatches as well must be counted as one of the very best sort of days.

The flying bird of the day, seen in the gloomy morning,  was one of our resident goldfinches.

goldfinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was showing a friend, who is very interested in rocks, a fine example of worked stone in Trafalgar Square.

Guarding Nelson's column, Trafalgar Square

It was a dull day as far as the weather went with intermittent drizzle for most of the day and it was a dull day as far as getting out and about went as I spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon writing some remarks to go between the items at our concert in the evening.

A moment of interest came over breakfast when the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal notice some parenting going on under the feeder.

blackbird

I’m hungry!

blackbird

I’m really, really hungry!

blackbird

I’m hungry now this minute!

blackbird

Call that a meal?

It is amusing to see such a large bird standing in a heap of food still having to rely on a parent.

We were visited by a blue tit a moment or two later.

blue tit

The blue tit behaviour is a bit mystifying as they appear out of nowhere, take one or two seeds and then disappear for days again.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in church and I slaved over a hot computer.  I had been asked to write a brief review of last night’s concert which was added to my in tray but which was a pleasure to do because I had enjoyed The Sweet Lowdown so much.

After lunch, there was a moment to look out of the window…

a ringed redpoll

A colourful redpoll which has flown into a ringer’s net at some time.

..before returning to do the last two intros for the concert.   Of course if I had done this work when I first knew about it, I wouldn’t have had to spend so much time on it at the last minute but I seem to need an impending deadline to get me going.  Anyway, I got it finished in time and went along to the Buccleuch Centre to help put out the chairs.

Mrs Tootlepedal came along later and we had a full rehearsal with the orchestra for the concert.    Luckily the programme is quite short and we had plenty of time to go home for tea before the evening show.  Once again, as we ate, the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal was on the alert.  Because I taken had so few pictures during the day, I have put quite of a lot of this one bird in tonight.

sparrowhawk

It looked right

sparrowhawk

It looked left

sparrowhawk

It looked down

sparrowhawk April 2014

And as I crept nearer the window, it looked straight at me

But not seeing anything to eat, it turned its back….

sparrowhawk April 2014

…and flew off into the plum tree and pretended to be a chaffinch.

sparrowhawk April 2014

When no other birds were fooled into approaching it, it flapped lazily off.  That made my day.  Sparrowhawks don’t usually sit still for so long on our feeder.

When the time came, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went back to the Buccleuch Centre to sing in our concert.  Sandy was in the audience and took recordings of several of the pieces and I hope to be able to put a short extract from this onto the blog soon.

Although I am not really a singer, I had offered to sing one of Gilbert’s patter songs, Sir Joseph Porter KCB from HMS Pinafore and in the event, I really enjoyed singing to a good sized audience with an orchestra to accompany me.  In general the choir sang as well as we could expect and the audience seemed to enjoy the evening a good deal.  One of them even said to me as she came out,  “I could have done with all that again.”  This is not a sentiment that you often or indeed ever hear after an amateur concert and was in part a tribute to the sensible programming which kept the concert to a very reasonable hour and a half with interval.

As a reward for the work on the introductions to the numbers, I got one or two nice laughs which for a would be comedian like myself is better than a tonic.

We both enjoyed our singing but will go to bed tonight feeling that we have been hard at work during the day.

Owing to the poor light and the presence of the sparrowhawk, flying bird opportunities were few and far between and in the absence of a decent shot, I have gone for a picture that shows that even on the gloomiest day, Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden offers a feast of colours

flower beds

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, kindly taken and sent by the new baby’s maternal grandfather Francis, shows Alistair and Clare happy to be home with Mathilda Jo.

Alistair Clare and Mathilda

Our day started off grey, drizzly and windy but steadily got better in every way as it went along.

First Dr Tinker arrived with a big wrench and got a jammed front wheel off our wheelbarrow which was very helpful.

Mrs Tootlepedal was considering an adventurous pedal up hill and down dale but the gloomy weather and the brisk wind fortunately discouraged her and she did some useful  potting in the greenhouse and then went inside to have a burst on an old exercise bike while watching old episodes of the West Wing.

I went off to buy a ticket for a concert and then went shopping for coffee, cheese, bird seed and paracetamol and thus armed with all anyone could need for the good life, came home and started work on the spoken introductions for tomorrow’s concert items.

The weather improved a little so I took the camera out to record the passing of some of the early tulips.  Mrs Tootlepedal likes to give these plants a full life and enjoys them even in their last moments.

faded tulips

I like the dicentra which is enjoying the mild spring weather in various clumps round the garden.

dicentra

It was still a bit gloomy at midday, as this picture of a chaffinch in the plum tree shows…

chaffinch

…but it had dried up enough after lunch to let me mow the grass round the greenhouse and the back lawn.

I didn’t catch any of the continuing blackbird battles today but I did see one of the combatants taking a rest from the stress of conflict.

blackbird

I was just about to finish mowing when Sandy arrived and we decided to go on a bluebell hunt.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy preparing the ground for her potatoes and did not join us.

We thought that we might be a little early for the bluebells and so it proved.  There was a smattering about but not enough to make a convincing photograph so we drove on to Hollows Bridge.

Hollows Bridge

The trees have begun to go green in a serious way over the past two days.

Spring

Springing

By now it had turned into a warm and sunny afternoon so we walked along a track on the far bank of the river….

Track at Hollows

…checked out the bluebells there…

bluebells at Gilnockie

Still not quite ready

…and dropped down to the river bank.  We were opposite the caul where the intake for the waterwheel at the Hollows is taken off the river.

Caul at Hollows

Across the river we could see a seat that would have been very nice to sit on.

seat at Hollows

We could see Hollows Tower on the far bank and Sandy suggested that we should visit it so we walked back to the car and drove along the opposite side of the river to the tower.

Gilnockie Tower

We parked the car and once again walked down to the river and followed the fishermen’s path upstream.  This was a new part of the river for me and I was delighted by the views and resolved to bring Mrs Tootlepedal down as soon as another nice day allowed.

River Esk

A close up of the little cliff on the far bank is an education in geology.

River esk

River Esk

As we came round the corner to enjoy the view above, we met mother and son, Shirley and Craig from the Hollows Mill enjoying the sunshine.

Shirley and Craig

We had a very interesting chat with them and Craig has kindly agreed to let us go and take pictures of the water mill in action.  We shall certainly take up this kind offer.

They left us to walk back to the mill and Sandy and I took a few more pictures.

toadspawn

Sandy spotted these strings of toad spawn in a shallows

Then we walked back to the Tower.

Gilnockie Tower

It is set in a very green place.

Gilnockie Tower

The view towards the river.

The time was getting on and so we reluctantly packed away the cameras and headed for home.  An excursion that had started with bluebell disappointment had ended splendidly.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out for a toot in Annan with a gang of dangerous women who were celebrating the retirement of another of her Health Centre colleagues and I strolled along the road to a concert at the Buccleuch Centre.

I was going to hear a trio of Canadian ladies from Victoria B.C.  called The Sweet Lowdown.  The programme promised original song writing, three part harmonies and an old time instrumental groove that would take me on a pleasurable and memorable journey.  The programme turned out to be remarkably accurate and the trio of banjo, fiddle and guitar were very good value for money, playing with great zest and singing most harmoniously.

The outstanding thing that separated them from almost any other band that I have heard lately was their use of a single microphone round which they stood, now coming forward to emphasise a solo and now stepping back to blend instruments and voices.  The volume was set at a human level, the microphone offered a very natural sound and every note could be clearly heard.  It was a real treat to be able to actively listen to the music rather than sit there passively while having it rammed down your ears by deaf sound engineers which is the usual practice.  I even borrowed some money off my Friday accompanist Alison to buy a CD and I am listening to it while I write this.

One of the most offbeat moments of the concert was when the writer of one of the songs, ‘The Heart is a Hollow Thing’ told us that she had got the inspiration for the song from a colouring in book of anatomy.  “Indeed,” she told us, “if you are looking for lyrical inspiration, an anatomical colouring book is hard to beat.”

Mrs Tootlepedal returned safely from Annan having enjoyed a good meal so we were both satisfied with our night out.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin heading back to the feeder with a beak already full of seed.

flying siskin

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture, sent to me by cyclist Lorne,  shows the results of a piece of well travelled sourdough starter in action.  The starter came to me from Talkin in Cumbria across the border, a gift from my recorder playing friend Sue and I passed some of it on to the clarinet playing mother of infant cyclist Sarah who took it to Linlithgow on Sunday and made this fine loaf with it.

loaf

The good spell of blue skies and warm temperatures has come to the end and Dropscone and I went out for the morning run in grey conditions and a thermometer struggling to reach 50°F.  Still, it was dry and the wind was reasonably gentle on us.

The wind gave us a helping hand on our way out but only became a factor in  the last 6 miles on the way home.  We drank our coffee and ate our treacle scones when we got back with a degree of contentment.  Nobody had got a puncture and nobody had fallen off so it had to be counted as one of the better morning runs of late.

The chief business of the day was returning 90 choir books to the public library in Carlisle.  These are heavy books in big boxes but Mrs Tootlepedal had whisked them into the car before I had finished my shower after coffee.   We had an early lunch and drove off with the books.  The library sits in a shopping mall with a multi storey car park beside it.  We phoned the librarian just as we got near and she was waiting for us with a trolley at the back door to the library which leads on to the top floor of the car park.  The transfer was completed in a matter of minutes.  If you want friendly and efficient service, the Carlisle Public Library is the place to go.

While I was in Carlisle, I took the opportunity to visit a camera shop.  I wasn’t looking for a camera though.  I have become a bit fed up with sitting or standing next to Sandy or Mrs Tootlepedal while they look at distant birds through binoculars and enjoy sights which are mere dots in the sky to me so I was looking for a pair of binoculars suitable for an old man with dodgy eyesight and specs.  They had a pair.  I bought it.   I am looking forward to using them over the weekend.

When we got home, I realised that I hadn’t taken a single photo all day so in spite of the fact that it was raining, I nipped out into the garden.  Some of our tulips are over but there are still many looking very well.

tulips

The bergenia is not the most elegant flower but it added a dash of colour to a dull day.

bergenia

As did a healthy clump of lithodora.

lithodora

Mrs Tootlepedal intends to divide this up for next year and spread the colour round the garden.

The rain unfortunately had turned the head of this geum towards the ground.

geum

But this newly acquired euphorbia has settled in well and was smiling through its tears.

euphorbia

I didn’t stay out  in the rain for long and was soon inside looking out.

goldfinch action

The goldfinches were busy shouting at each other

goldfinch

Though some took a more detached view of things.

siskin

A siskin practises the one wing brush off gesture

I have left two of the perches off the feeder to try to save myself a little money but the birds can get at the seeds without a perch and still eat me out of house and home.

goldfinch

A rather bedraggled goldfinch on one side…

redpoll

…and a calm redpoll on the other.

In the evening, the Linlithgow breadmaker’s parents arrived for their customary Friday evening visit and while Mike helped Mrs Tootlepedal to effect repairs on a seized up wheelbarrow wheel. Alison and I played a couple of enjoyable Loeillet sonatas for flute and harpsichord.  We were all happy.

The flying bird of the day was shot in rainy and gloomy  circumstances.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another of a flower bed in the Royal Park in London, just to put a bit of perspective on our own tulip displays.  My sister Mary took the picture.

St James's Park

St James’s Park

I had a day of fits and starts today.  This was partly conditioned by the weather which started off grey, then turned to rain and after lunch magically turned into a lovely warm spring afternoon.

Dropscone was off on business so I had no impetus to leap out of bed and get going.  Mrs Tootlepedal however was in sprightly mood and made breakfast for us both and was out working in the garden soon afterwards.  She came back in to tell me that there was blackbird mayhem out there.  I took a camera and went to see.

I saw a blackbird straight away….

blackbird

…and it wasn’t long before fighting broke out.

blackbird

The battles continued round about us and sometimes almost under our feet as the birds scooted in and out among the fence and the vegetable beds where Mrs Tootlepedal was working.

There were moments of peace when a temporary victor surveyed the scene…

blackbird

…but they didn’t last long.

blackbird

Sometimes there was a staring competition…

blackbird

…but it soon degenerated into another battle.

blackbird

Fearing that I might get brained by one of the combatants, I took a quick shot of a nice tulip daffodil combination….

tulip and daff

The daffodils have lasted very well this spring.

…and retired indoors to start a sourdough loaf off and do the crossword.  The damp morning seemed to have encouraged plants to release pollen and a short spell in the garden was quite enough fun for my chest.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal put her bike in the back of the car and went off to act as a cycling attendant to the disabled pony and trap drivers at Brydekirk.  When she had gone, I decided that it was time to stop stopping and to start going so I got the speedy bike and set off to go to Gair and back past the evil pothole which had unseated me a few days ago.  I avoided it today.

It was a beautiful afternoon for cycling after the grey and wet morning.  It was warm and the wind was light so after some discussion with my legs, we decided to give it a go and I went as fast as old age would let me.  Rather to my surprise, I was able to keep a reasonable effort going and came back home in easily the best time for the ride for some months if not years.  I had to have quite a thorough sit down though when I got back into the house.

I stood up for long enough to look out of the window and enjoy the show at the bird feeder.

chaffinch landing

A chaffinch stopped in its tracks by the combined hostility of two other birds.

chaffinch pecking

Another chaffinch takes an overhead flying peck and avoids the fuss below.

redpoll and chaffinch

A chaffinch approaches a disagreeable redpoll…

redpoll and chaffinch

…and decides that caution should be its watchword and veers away.

chaffinch and siskin

A chaffinch waves a siskin away with an imperious flick of a wing.

I had a shower and managed to get upenough pep to go outside to mow the middle lawn.  The snails in the pond were enjoying the sunshine enough to get well out of their shells.

snails

There were flowers out….

magnolia by the front gate

The magnolia by the front gate

…and flowers threatening to come out.

azalea buds

This azalea looks as though it will do well soon.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned safely having spent some time cycling up and down hills so we both were ready for a cup of tea.

In the evening, while Mrs Tootlepedal finished off cooking the sourdough loaf, I went off to the Archive Centre with Sandy (Jean is still poorly and didn’t come with us) where we did a lot of work.  Sandy had started back at work at Carlisle College after the Easter holidays so we were both looking forward to a quiet drink in the Eskdale to relax us at the end of the day.

We had hardly sat down before we were hailed by a regular blog reader who was in a very cheerful mood after a good meal at the hotel with visitors.  She soon returned to her group and left us in peace to mull over the doings of the day.

It was very nice to have a vigorous pedal today but the fatigue that sits on my shoulders as I wrote this is a reminder to me not to do it too often.  I will be more careful tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »