Today’s guest picture is a water lily from the hot house at Kew taken by my daughter Annie. She was visiting the gardens with my sister Mary and my stepmother Pat. Further pictures of the jaunt may well appear soon.
Soon after breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal was out and about on her bike on another manure collecting trip. I walked round the garden.
I was waiting for the minister to arrive as I had reluctantly agreed to go with him to Carlisle where he was going to look at some possibilities for his new bike purchase. My reluctance was solely due to the fact that in spite of riding about on one quite a lot, I know nothing about bikes at all.
There is a seemingly infinite variety of bike styles, bike materials, bike components and bike makers. Should it be aluminium, steel or carbon fibre for the frame? Should be Shimano or Campagnolo for the gears? Should it be road, touring, sportive, audax, cyclocross, hybrid or whatever for the style? What sort of saddle is best? Do you need mudguards? And then, having considered those choices, you have to wonder which model offers the best value for money. Are those fancier components really worth £200? All these are hard decisions to make for yourself but even harder to offer advice on for someone else.
Still, the bike shop was very helpful and offered Scott no less than four different bikes to try out in the car park opposite the shop.
In the end, he decided to come back next week and try two of the bikes again for a second assessment. The bike shop said that they would make sure that he had the correct sized frames and that should help him come to a decision. The fact that any of the four would be quite satisfactory makes it even harder for him to choose one of them.
Although they were too small for me. I had a quick pedal on three of the bikes and at a quick first go, the Bianchi seemed to handle the best but I don’t think I would have enough street credibility to be seen riding one.
There was quite a bit of standing about involved in all this and by the time Scott dropped me off at home, I abandoned any thoughts of a pedal or of lawn mowing and gave the afternoon over to complete idleness. If I can’t get my hip a little better soon, my character will be destroyed.
The sparrows were a lot busier than me.
Amidst the hurly burly, a young sparrow sat and flapped its wings in the hope of a feed.
I did wander about the garden from time time to ease off the stiffness of sitting about, For some reason, pairs of flowers seemed to be prominent as I looked about.
There was one combination which really made me look twice.
Among the throng of sparrows, one or two growing starlings could be seen.
I liked the haphazard way the new plumage seems to be developing. It will soon look like this:
Mrs Tootlepedal was away helping with the driving for the disabled during the afternoon. Each pony trap requires an escort of able bodied cyclists in front and behind and the organisers have acquired some electric bicycles for the helpers. Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are great fun to use. I was visited by Mike Tinker and was entertaining him to a mug of tea when Mrs Tootlepedal returned. There was a big article in our local paper this morning about Mike’s daughter and her rescue of the little boy from the river last Friday and he is very proud of her.
Sandy was detained by the offer of a hot meal from friends in Carlisle so in the evening, I went up to the Archive Centre by myself to put a week of the newspaper index into the database. Sitting in front of a computer doesn’t suit my hip so I stopped after a single week. The discomfort of typing away at a keyboard may also be accounting for the somewhat random and disjointed nature of this and recent posts.
I am going to have to find a different approach to easing off the hip pain as the present methods are not helping much. Annoyingly, I get times when all is fine and I think that I have cracked it, only for things to go downhill after an hour or two. Still, mustn’t grumble.
The flying bird of the day is one of those busy sparrows.